“Games Workshop”: some grams of fantasy in a world of brutes!
Posted by Sylvain Bories
Well before the computing, their games put me to English (and still there’s a lot of work) 😉
Since young, I was always interested in mockups, in science fiction universe (Star Wars, Star Trek, Alien, Galactica, Albator, Ulysses 31) and fantasy (Lord of Rings, Willow, Arthurian legend). While I was still adolescent (in 1991), I discovered the Games Workshop universe through three games:
Space Crusade, a board game taking place in a hostile vessel (space hulk), inspired by the Warhammer 40k universe;
Blood Bowl, a simulation of fantasy “American” football;
Warhammer, a classical medieval-fantasy role playing game.
These games titillated my imagination and led me to immerse in these various universes, to play various games, to paint and to collect models. It also allowed me to meet new friends. At that time, the main part of the writings being in English, it forced me to take it more seriously (in particular Warhammer 40k “Rogue Trader”, 1987).
The Games Workshop universe is very dark and violent. They have an proper style, a very strong identity which developed over the years by synthesizing science fiction classics, of the fantasy, the history or still the myths and the legends.
The brand articulates around two universes, Warhammer and Warhammer 40K. These universes are declined in two big games of eponym trays and a multitude of specialist games (Blood Bowl, Space Hulk, Necromunda, Inquisitor, Epic, Man O’ War or Battlefleet Gothic). The brand also exploits the “Lord of the Ring” licence.
Flying over the principle of the games:
The board games allow to set up confrontations between two players (or more according to scenarios). Every player collects her army / team / gang on the basis of a point cost, the total of which does not have to exceed a certain value (defined beforehand). Every figurine has an appropriate value corresponding to its characteristics and its basic equipment, which it is possible to complete according to some options.
A party lasts a number of turns. A turn corresponding to the sequence of various phases for each of the players: movement, shooting, hand-to-hand fight, magic / psy (for the battle games). The resolution of the actions is based on dice result (generally in 6 faces) compared with a difficulty (function of the characteristics).
At the end of a defined number of turns, the winner is indicated, generally according to a score, reflecting the objectives reached.
Simple no 😉
The sinews of war of these board games are collecting models to build the armies which are in confrontation. The general conventions are that figurines represent the choices of troops, including in their options of Equipment… Yes, Games Workshop is before any a seller of figurines 😉
A consequent time is dedicated to assemble them, even to modify them, then to paint them according to plans corresponding to her army. The techniques of painting are numerous and often explained in the monthly magazine of the brand: White Dwarf.
There is moreover an official competition, Golden Demon, which takes place during Games Day, grouping of the fans of Games Workshop games.
Warhammer is a universe transposing the Earth in a medieval-fantasy period. It resumes historic elements (Middle Ages, Revival), incorporates it elements of the classic fantasy (Elfs, Dwarfs, Orcs, magic) and of legends and myths (Arthurian legends, vampires). An originality is the presence of the Chaos, the powerful strength dedicated to the destruction of this world.
The game stages battles whrer good-sized armies are in confrontation. These battles can be isolated or become integrated into campaigns or be reconstructions of big events taking place during the ceaseless wars that are engaged the various nations. Extensions allow even to lead siege.
This universe, although at war perms, leave a certain place for interactions between certain races, thus to role playing game and to fantasy stories in the same vein as the Lord of Rings or Donjons and Dragons… But brutal 😀
Warhammer 40k is an (apocalyptic) vision of the future of the Earth in the 41th millennium. We find the same elements as in Warhammer, but without family ties (Human beings, Dwarfs, Elfs / Eldars, Orks, Chaos) and many other futuristic elements there. The peculiarity comes here from Warp, a parallel universe populated with devils allowing fast interstellar journeys, although dangerous. For the rest, as describes by Games Workshop: “In the grim darkness of the far future there is only war.” Everything is said 😉
The game himself stages battles where two camps or more are in confrontation. These battles are either isolated, or integrated into a campaign (chain of various battles), or in reconstructions of big events. The size goes of the confrontation of patrols to the large battle. It is even possible, with certain extensions, to lead urban wars, gigantic battles or campaigns to the planetary scale.
This universe is in permanent conflict and its factions are extremist as one pleases… What makes it very rich at the level of conflict but limited at the level of the interactions… Therefore, what can get the most closer to the role playing game (Dark Heresy, Rogue Trader and Deathwatch) turns around Imperium (human beings).
Space Marines are a strong image of the universe of Warhammer 40k and a full army. Futuristic warlike monks, genetically modified and indoctrinated, they are an elite force dedicated to the protection of Impérium. They keep however a certain independence face to face of “politics” power and act according to a code dating of the emergence of the human empire.
Organized as “Chapitres” of thousand warriors, restricted in their heavy armors, over equiped, they live in fortresses of which they go out only to go to defend the humanity of the dangers which threaten it.
Since the beginning, they are my preferred, very certainly because they are the image of the futuristic knights, the hero without fears and inflexible 😀
Games Workshop produces complex and convenient universes not only in board games, in the “literature” (Black Library) but also in the video games. We count among the adaptations: Space Crusade, Space Hulk, Firewarrior, Final Liberation, Chaos Gate, Warhammer (several episodes, of which Mark of Chaos and Battle March), Blood Bowl, Dawn of War, Warhammer 40k: Squad Command, Warhammer Online, Warhammer 40k: Space Marines… And it’s not finished!
Having stopped board games, I always appreciate to paint a model or to assume the role of Space Marine in a video game (there is no denying, I love the futuristic knights). It’s not generally very fine, but that lets off steam 😉
See you soon for new adventures!
About Sylvain BoriesSoftware Developer (.Net, C#) and hobbyist game programmer (Unity 3d, XNA/MonoGame, DirectX). Interested in Green IT, Windows ecosystem, Technology and Science Fantasy.
Posted on October 11, 2011, in Board Game, Game, Role Playing Game, Strategy and tagged Board Game, Game, Role Playing Game, Space Marine, Strategy, Warhammer, Warhammer 40k. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.