Thursday, 25 August 2011

My Return to Minis (Part 1)

many years ago, I was into Warhammer 40,000. While I still find the works of games workshop interesting, and their settings ripe for darkly humourous role-play, I haven't bought anything of theirs in a long time, nor played either of their two big games.

My reasons for quitting were several-fold:
  1. Games Workshop miniatures became too damned expensive.
  2. I grew to hate painting dozens of models.
  3. I sucked at strategy, which was exacerbated by the fact that 40k strategy seems to mostly be army list selection - and I could only field the small selection of models I had.
  4. the friend I would play with lost interest, and while I could probably have found people to game against, I like to have a circle of friends, some of whom I game with, not a circle of gamers, some of whom are my friends. Hmm, this sounds liek a topic for a future blog post...
Then last year, The Lone Amigo dragged me into playing battlefleet Gothic with him. It was excellent. While the official GW BFG models are even more stupidly expensive than the rest of their range, we used lego or meeples blu-tacked together for our ships. Movement and prioritizing of actions is a very important part of the strategy, not just getting the right models to counter the other army. I really enjoyed it, but it wasn't going to cause me to actually go out and buy any models. The meeples worked far too well.

Then, in the last few months I've made friends with a fellow nerd named Matt in my liberal arts classes who is really into miniatures. I went around to his house and we played a game of malafaux using stuff from his copious minis collection. I, again, enjoyed it. It's a good game, and I recommend it to anybody reading this. Skirmish games involve rather different strategy than huge 40k slug-fests, and that's strategy I can actually handle. I find myself momentarily feeling the urge to rush out and buy some minis for the game, which are quite reasonably priced. But I don't. Matt is pretty much the only guy I would play against, and he owns a copy of essentially every Malafaux model ever made, so there is no need. Besides, the models are cool, but they don't appeal as much as some other stuff I've seen out there. I vaguely consider buying other models and having them "count as" but that seems a bit pointless when I can just use the "normal" models that Matt has, particularly as steampunk minis are a little harder to find than some other genres.

Then Matt mentions that his gaming group is really into Mordhiem.

I tried to get into Mordhiem back in the day. Heck, it solved my issue about heaps of minis. But the problem was, I didn't actually LIKE any of the minis they released for Mordhiem. I got some Orc and Goblin minis to use for it, but I never actually acquired the rulebook, and so never actually played.

So suddenly I realize all the barriers to me collecting tiny metal and plastic men have been lifted. There are so many competitors to Games Workshop that sell miniatures I like more for far cheaper prices that getting together a dozen or so models won't be hard. I have glasses now, so painting won't be an issue. I have access to people to game with. And the rulebook for the game is free.

Looks like I'm back into miniatures.


  1. I like the plastic pre-paints Wizards used to do-- I run a Weird Fantasy game that has a bunch of science fiction elements to it, so I bought a ton of their Star Wars minis, too. I don't use them for strict strategy-- I run the World of Darkness system-- but I still like them as a visualization aid for NPCs & monsters as well as a way to keep track of where your character is in combat (I hate "I thought I was by the door?" "No, you attacked that guy!" "But I thought HE was by the door!") & in bigger social scenes ("Okay, the Duchess is here, her handmaids are here, creepy Baron is here, the rich Merchant is on this floor...")

  2. Well, for RPG stuff, I use coloured wooden playing peices called Meeples. It causes less of a disconnect just having everything colour-coded. No cases of "hang on, the gnolls are elves, but the elves are actually representing dwarves?" because you don't have the right minis.

    However, meeples just don't cut it for wargaming.

  3. Glad to hear you are back into minis Jarrah, and the fact that i helped that along makes me kind of proud. Mordheim is still a firm favourite in our group, but Joe and i are 'working hard' to get some gorkamorka going again. nothing funnier then having a shooty pit fight between your leader (with a big gun) and your driver (armed with a knife)

    Also now that i have new scenry Malifaux/Mordheim is going to get even better.