This game was released in 1987 and next month will be celebrating its 25th anniversary. From a simple game, it has gone on to spawn films, novels, computer games and enough fascination to consume a good third of my attic and spare room. People often ask me what is so good about moving little bits of plastic and metal around a board and rolling dice. I suppose the answer is simple: where you see bits of plastic and metal I see representations of people or Xenos, either fighting to stave of the eventual demise of their decadent empire or fighting to fetch the “greater good” to the universe. Where you see dice, I see the winds of fortune either favouring me with the 6 needed to destroy my enemy’s tank or the 1 that means my opponent’s poxy fire power has managed to find the weak spot in the tank suit I call armour.
I have most of the computer games and some are good, but all lack in one important factor: they cannot bring the universe to life as much as my imagination can.
I want to collect the armies, (blag someone else into) attaching and painting my models to a good standard and give them silly names, George the Avatar or Betty the Demon Prince of Doom. I want to play a game that is as much about remembering rules and stats, as it is about getting a 6 or a 1 at the right time. I think this and the quality range of models and stories Games Workshop produce help to explain how three men almost 30 years ago have managed to build a business classed as one of the top 100 floated companies in Britain. While they have gone from strength to strength, other companies have come and gone – some due to bad business sense, others due to failing to listen to the geekdom that is their base customer. Yet Warhammer 40,000 has survived by adding and recreating the races, the models and the background to the balance of money and the geekiness.
To the utter horror of my partner, I hope Warhammer 40,000 or 40k to those in the know (that’s you now of course) will survive for another 25 years and that next generation will take to it and gain the hours of enjoyment that I have. If my daughters show the same level of interest when they are older as they do throwing them around the room now then I will at least know I will always have an opponent on hand or someone to help daddy go to the “geek shop”. So I leave you know with my final words…
“Long live Warhammer and may the universe only know war”