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Tabletop Wargaming


Image from Kallistra Wargames - https://www.kallistra.co.uk/?page=27


A niche hobby that doesn’t get to much attention, but has been growing in popularity (especially during lockdown) is tabletop wargaming. It combines model building, painting and competition/fun in the form of war games on a table. Historical wargaming has been around for at least a century, with recreations of just about any time period imaginable. More recently in the last 40 years, this has expanded to include sci-fi and fantasy genres and popular intellectual properties like Lord of the Rings, Star Wars or A Song of Ice and Fire (Game of Thrones). Companies such as Games Workshop, Privateer Press and Warlords Games sell thousands of plastic model kits for their games every year. The community fondly refer to these kits as plastic crack.



Lots of plastic crack


While the hobby and community are easy to label as nerdy or geeky and you see that in media depictions such as the movie 40 Year Old Virgin, you will find it has quite the diverse community. Walk into any game store with a thriving community and you will see some stereotypes, but you will also see plenty of people you wouldn’t expect too. More and more stories or social media posts from celebrities make it clear they are not immune to the plastic crack either. Henry Cavil, Superman/Witcher himself has posted a Warhammer model he was painting to his IG account. Vin Diesel has been spotted picking up a Blood Angel’s Assault Squad kit from a Games Workshop store. Other notable celebrities include Jason Mewes, Ed Sheeran, Trey Parker and Robin Williams. Shayna Brazler of WWE has wrestled in outfits with many Warhammer 40,000 icons and symbols on them. Shayna also appears to have gotten WWE’s Caesaro into the hobby when she dragged him along for a tour of the Games Workshop Headquarters in Nottingham.


Games Workshop has been a leader in the segment with their Warhammer: 40,000, Warhammer: Age of Sigmar and Lord of the Ring’s games. Their Warhammer brands are known for their extensive lore with hundreds of novels and can be found in popular AAA video games such as the PC real time strategy games, Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War and Total War: Warhammer or console favorites Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine and Warhammer: Vermintide. It has long been rumored that Blizzard was originally licensed to create Warhammer video games, but it fell through and they changed the games to create Warcraft and Starcraft. Warhammer 40,000 (or WH40k or just 40k) has been so popular that the tragic civil war in its lore has spawned its own game, The Horus Heresy, which is often referred to as 30k because it takes place 10,000 years before the 40k setting.

A Warhammer 30k game


As a wargamer myself, there’s a sense of satisfaction you get when you finish painting a model that you can’t replicate with video games or other forms of entertainment. You have a physical finished product that will always be there, and it can be displayed and or used in games. You will find yourself watching videos and learning new painting techniques. The community itself is possibly one of the most welcoming of any out there and it’s full of talented people that are easy to find on Instagram or YouTube.

Some people will gravitate to just the lore or the painting, but many enjoy the games as well. The games are easy to geek out over if you play on a nice table with all painted models. They truly look beautiful. While many people have their own tables and terrain to use on them, most will meet up at game nights at a local gaming store. Most games are best to be played over some drinks and snacks with friends, but there are tournaments available for anyone who is competitive.


There is something available for everyone and I hope you find something here that sparks your interest. As I mentioned, the community is one of the most welcoming and if you have any questions, feel free to share in the comments and I will try to respond. If you want to follow my adventures in painting and table top gaming, you can follow me.


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