First time on the pilgrimage

Hi there people, Bifur here.

Having been in this hobby of ours for nearly a quarter of a century it may come as a surprise to some of you that I have never made that singular hobby pilgrimage to Games Workshop HQ: Warhammer World. Well my brothers and sisters this week just gone I, and CC Monroe, rectified this particular omission. Not only did we pay a visit to its hallowed halls, but we played two days worth of games while we were there!

On the first day we played Zone Mortalis in the morning and a big Cityfight game on the Spyral Prime board in the afternoon and into the evening. Day two was entirely filled with a massive battle, with 5000pts per side, on the gigantic J’migan Bridge Apocalypse board. These battles fitted into our narrative campaign The Raising of Prol IX so I wont be saying much more about them right now as we’ll write them up as proper battle reports as soon as we can (So six months from now? – CC). Nevertheless even without talking about the games there’s plenty for me to enthuse about in this article…

Day 1, very early in the morning: I picked CC up from his South East London Battle Bunker at dawn and we tore up the motorways and A roads of southern England on our way to Nottingham (Whilst maintaining a completely legal speed at all time.) Arriving at our hotel with enough time to park up, load ourselves up with our bags of models and stagger the 15 minutes to Warhammer World (By the time we got there we were beginning to wonder if we needed three cases each – CC). We got in there at just gone 10 and were greeted by super friendly staff (something that was to become a running theme…) who directed us to our table. Games were played over the next two days but, as I’ve already said Warhammer World is so much more than just a gaming hall full of tables covered in awesome scenery (though the fact that the gaming hall looks like the interior of a castle is pretty impressive – CC):

IMG-20170615-WA0000

Bugmans Bar – No trip to Warhammer World is complete without a trip to Bugmans. It is an institution and we indulged in food and drink over the two days. I had been warned that the beer was reputed to be overpriced and low quality, but they’ve clearly upped their game over the last few years. There’s a selection of good quality lagers on tap and three Warhammer Branded Ales on pump: Blitzer’s Best stout – Good quality stout, not toIMG-20170615-WA0006-1 heavy with light hoppy notes, really good with food (especially the chicken and bacon sandwich I had for my lunch) 4.4% so you can drink a few of them without drastically affecting your tactical ability. Durgrund’s Hellfire IPA – We were both surprised how bold this IPA is, really strong hop taste overlaying a light malt profile, nicely bitter and, at 5.2%, their strongest ale (although still not strong enough to stop me seeing my dice…) and finally the classic Bugmans XXXXXX – Pale Ale, simple and refreshing. This Bugmanswas the beer I found myself going back to most over the days, at 3.2% it didn’t see me slumped in a corner of Bugmans dozing the afternoon away and its taste was clean and fresh. We can recommend all three of these beers and at less than £4 a pint each they leave you with plenty of cash to pick up a few of the Bugmans exclusive goodies (which I did, first hobby purchase…). The food was also reasonable, standard pub grub. We didn’t try any of their competitive eating challenge plates (a huge fry-up, burger, or éclair with half a litre of cream in!) but even their standard portion sizes were good.

The museum – Wow. GW make a lot of models. It sounds obvious but until you’ve spent a couple of hours staring in wonder at the four rooms worth of hobby goodness you don’t realise just how many things they make. The exhibits are roughly split into two types; Display cabinets showcasing the minis and the painting and gigantic dioramas depicting scenes from the various games. It’s these dioramas that are the most striking, there is so much detail in them that you really have to allow hours to tour the museum, otherwise you will miss so much. What really struck me was the level of painting. I know IMG-20170615-WA0004-1these guys paint for a living and they are the HQ for the biggest wargaming company in the world so you would expect a high standard but every single miniature was painted to a ridiculously high standard. Even in the diorama with over 5000 minis. No matter how hard I looked I couldn’t see a brush stroke out of place. Damn you GW and your obsessive perfection! It’s £7.50 to get into the museum (although that’s the price for admission throughout the day, so you can go in and out) and that seemed a bit steep, until I realised that the use of the gaming tables is completely free, terrain and all, and in reality you can have an entire days gaming and a poke around the museum for not a lot more than the cost of an evenings gaming at many of the gaming clubs around London. CC here – I really liked the museum as well. A really impressive Warhammer World Classic marinescollection and the dioramas are incredible. The only thing I would have changed was a bit more on their history. They have some early rogue trader era miniatures at the start and some of the incredible dioramas I remember from childhood issues of White Dwarf (the famous Emperor vs Horus one for instance). What they don’t have, and I would have liked to have seen, was anything about their previous products. In true Imperial fashion they’ve whitewashed the past – no Squats, no Necromunda, no Epic, no Mordheim, no Gorkamorka, no Dreadfleet, no Man O’ War, no Battlefleet Gothic. You get the idea. It would have been nice to have seen a bit more of them.

The shops – Some would argue these are the reason WW exists, some will warn you that staff will pounce upon you like hungry money vampires from the shadows and hard sell you into buying so much you need to re-mortgage your mine/castle/battle bunker. But again, our experience was the opposite. There are two Shops; Games Workshop (which includes a dedicated Black Library store) and Forgeworld. When you have finished in the museum it brings you out, perhaps unsurprisingly, into the Games Workshop store. Me and CC gravitated towards the 40k stuff and a staff member approached us; “Oh no”, I thought, “Here we go..” “You OK there guys? Need any help?” he said, pleasantly. “Not really, we’re just looking” I started, ready to rebuff any hard selling techniques. “Cool, let me know if you need anything” says the nice young man as he turns and ambles away. What? No hard sell? Huh… “Actually” I call after him “Do you have any of the new 8th ed books we could look at? Only I heard stores were getting preview copies.” I was interested to see them, but I was also curious to see if he was going to show them to me and instantly recommend I should pre order the new game and all of the accessories “Sure do, come this way” He leads me to the counter and produces the stack of unreleased goodness from the new edition, “if you need anything else I’ll be around” he says, wandering off again. We are left alone to peruse the books and remain unmolested for the rest of the time we are in the shops. Is this new GW sales techniques? Be nice, helpful and not pressure people like you’re trying to sell them a timeshare on the Lustrian Coast. It clearly worked on me as I bought A Bugmans Exclusive Mini, A WW Exclusive Blood Bowl mini and a massive Fireraptor aircraft for my 30K army in the Forgeworld store.

One last thing about the store which I found particularly useful, they have display cabinets with all of their models built but not filled or painted. This is so useful because it really lets you see what you’re buying. You can see the bits where perhaps it doesn’t fit together perfectly and green stuff will be needed and its so good to see the stuff built and not painted; you can imagine your own army colours laid over the mini rather than being distracted by the fact that GW staff are better painters than you are…

By the end of day two we were both played out, our farewell to 7th edition 40K had been a success and we’d both had loads of fun. Slightly poorer and pausing only to take some snaps of the full size Rhino and Space Marine statue in the car park we piled into the car and headed South again.

Like I said: Stay tuned for the Battle reports from our adventure, but if you find yourself with a spare day or two and you’re within reach of the North of England (Midlands Bif, are you really so Londoncentric that everything above the M25 is “The North” – CC) (Yes – Bif) go to Warhammer World, it’s a great day out even if you don’t play a game, but it’s a fantastic day out if you do…

Freud judges those who do not adventure north into the wastelands…

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