You have probably heard of Warhammer and Warhammer 40k, and if you have not then chances are you have seen the excellent computer game Dawn of War.
Games Workshop are the masterminds behind these epic franchises. As the largest tabletop battle games company in the world, Games Workshop are also responsible for the more recent games based on the Lord of the Rings trilogy.
A Little History
Warhammer Fantasy Battle was the first game to be set in Warhammers alternate middle earth realm. Since its release in 1983 Warhammer has inspired generations of table top gamers, introducing them to painting and collecting the miniature models that represent battlefield units.
Warhammer 40k is Games Workshops futuristic version of the original game, set in the far future. Post apocalyptic societies struggle to control the galaxy, finding strange alien races and evil around every corner. This franchise was brought to wide media attention with the release of Dawn of War on the PC in 2004.
The Warhammer Fantasy Franchise
The Warhammer fantasy franchise encompasses table top games, role-playing games, card games, computer games, books, magazines and comics. Games Workshop is famous for the hard line it takes against impersonators and those who try and sell fake versions of their products, specifically the miniatures needed to play the table top games.
25 years of game development has produced an amazingly rich and detailed world. The official website lists over 200 written resources for Warhammer Fantasy. Additionally many older products are no longer in print or are unavailable.
The depth of information is staggering. Historical, religious and political histories are available for each of the 15 major armies used in the game.
Warhammer Fantasy inspires amazing artwork. Books produced as part of the worlds background feature stunning illustrations. Fans of the franchise also produce spectacular artwork of their own – often rivalling the official artists.
An Expensive Hobby
Warhammer has come a long way from those early days. Games Workshops commercial attitude to the franchise has turned many unsuspecting people into serious hobbyists who are almost addicted to the system.
Miniatures are supplied unpainted and unassembled, much like an airfix model. To collect, build and paint armies consisting of hundreds of models is not for the faint hearted! Add to this the need to create scenery and model buildings and you begin to appreciate the time, effort and money that fans invest into Warhammer.
Warhammer And The Future
The Warhammer franchise appears to be eternal. Games Workshop are clearly willing to move with the times as demonstrated by the release of several computer games in the past decade.
The impending release of a Massive Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game (MMORPG) – Warhammer: Age of Reckoning – based in the Warhammer fantasy world is adding to the reputation of this gaming giant. Nearly 600,000 people have signed up hoping to get a sneak preview of the game, providing solid evidence that Warhammer is now firmly in the mainstream.