Talk: Ash Barker of Miniwargaming and Guerrilla Miniature Games


I’d previously enthused about Miniwargaming on the blog (see here), and then just after that, Ash joined the team. With his love of Warhammer, Infinity, Warmachine and metal, and solid gold video content, it was natural we’d want him to share his thoughts with us. You can also follow his new venture, Guerrilla Miniature Games on Facebook, YouTube and on his Blog

Can you give us a brief overview of your history in the hobby, and how you got involved with Miniwargaming?

The second part is a short story; it was totally by accident. When I left Games Workshop (and the USA) in March of 2014, our first port of call coming home to Canada was in St Catharines, about fifteen minutes up the road from the studio in Welland. I’d never heard of MiniWarGaming (or really even that people were putting hobby stuff on YouTube) prior to that. Around June, I was looking for people to play Infinity with, and Matt’s shout-out on the MWG Facebook Page came up in a Facebook search. We played a game, and a couple weeks later they offered me a job.

As for my wargaming hobby, that goes back to 1988. I first heard of Citadel Miniatures in the back of Ian Livingston and Steve Jackson’s Fighting Fantasy books (the choose your own adventures with the green spines?). One of my best childhood friends older brothers had heaps of 40k minis, and I put two and two together. My first ever GW miniatures were an old hard-plastic clamshell of Empire knights with Wizard and General. I believe I’ve still got them somewhere. Since then, I’ve played a ton of wargames, and spent 13 years at Games Workshop in various positions in sales, ending this past year.

Standard question is did you get much hobby done in 2014, but you just posted this overview on your blog, and knocked it out of the park. So, what’s the secret to getting so much done?

It sounds flippant, but painting is like jogging. It only works if you do it. I think people are naturally inclined to want to complete everything in one go. You kind of have to let go of that, and be happy with getting a step done here and there. I also batch-paint a lot, meaning I’ll paint five or ten figures at once up to a base-coated level, then finish each one off individually. Painting on breaks, at lunch or after my kid goes to bed adds up. You just gotta steal those minutes, and not put it off.

What are your thoughts on the End Times in Warhammer, has it made it more exciting, or do you think it’s too much? Will we be seeing some of those insane new magic rules being used in the Old World Wars shows

People have asked me that a lot. Personally, I think it’s great. I always find myself drifting out of love with things when they stay the same too long. 6th Edition WFB was like that. It was a great, clean game, but it was really one dimensional. 2000pt games of Pitched Battle over and over and over again for four years. That being said, change always makes someone unhappy. Nothing to be done about that. I actually did a Machine Shop episode all about that exact topic.

As for Khaine Magic; we’ve used it a bunch. The most memorable was a game you’ll get to see with Clarence in a couple weeks that has a pretty wild Turn 2.

Your videos on the new N3 Infinity rules went down very well with Corehammer crew, as everybody is getting hooked on it, and have found the guides really useful. How have you reacted to the new rules, now that it’s been out a few more weeks?

It’s turning out to be a lot of really healthy changes pushing the game towards being more playable and approachable. It feels less like it is trying to be a tactical simulation, and more of a heroic confrontation. I like that a lot. Lots of stuff has been added to make it more glossy as well, like Hacking really being put to the fore (it needed it) and dynamic movement (jumping, climbing, etc) being more achievable. The missions in the book were also well-needed and I think they are all interesting and lend to a lot of replayability.

That being said I think the big barrier to N3 is always going to be in the need for very specific scenery for people to really get the most out of playing the game. Trying it without the right scenery on the table kind of robs you of the whole experience. Unfortunately, with the basic core ARO mechanic so entrenched in the game, I don’t think there’s anything CB can really do about that.

Do you have any specific hobby goals lined up for 2015? I noticed you’re making noises about your own online battle reports for other gaming systems, aside from what you do with MWG

That’s a big one. MWG is a fun job, but it’s not going to support my family. I’m trying to find a way to make the most of it while I’m there, and find other ways to feed my kids as well.

Hobby Resolutions I won’t get into now as I’m still ruminating on that. I should have something in my Machine Shop on the 5th of January (editor – that’ll be here)

Your choice of cool bands t-shirts, such as Clutch and The Sword has been noted. Any bands that blew your mind in 2014?

I really dug Back from the Abyss by Orange Goblin. The new Death from Above 1979 was on a lot over the summer.

Thanks so much taking part, and we always like to put a YouTube music video at the end of each article, so take your pick



6 thoughts on “Talk: Ash Barker of Miniwargaming and Guerrilla Miniature Games

  1. So, cocking good interview and I totally agree with the thoughts on painting (I’m finally coming around to the idea that you don’t sit down to the desk with a primed figure and get up with a finished one… well, not always), and I’ve liked all the videos of yours I’ve seen. I want to say that now so that what I’m about to say doesn’t come across as total douchebaggery.

    “6th Edition WFB was like that. It was a great, clean game, but it was really one dimensional. 2000pt games of Pitched Battle over and over and over again for four years.”

    Seven standard scenarios. Siege and Skirmish in the core rulebook. Annual campaigns that actually did new things (Dark Shadows brought new scenarios, Storm of Chaos new army lists). THE GENERAL’S MOTHER-FUCKING COMPENDIUM.

    If you ended up playing boring, one-dimensional sixth edition, that’s on you, not the game. :p

  2. To be fair, I don’t even remember there being more than one mission in the 6th Edition rulebook. Skirmish was cool, but we were all still playing Mordheim at the time (it was even still in shops!) so it was kind of overlooked. Seige had been around forever already and frankly… wasn’t the best ruleset because it still thought you were using magic from 5th Edition. lol

    The generals compendium was the best thing the US office ever produced.

    Good points though! I guess it was my meta that was just stuck in Pitched Battle!

    • Meeting Engagement, Last Stand, Flank Attack, Seven Brave Men. I can’t remember the others, if there were any. Seven Brave Men was the bomb, especially if you played Undead – it became a very different ball game very quickly.

      In fairness, it’s not just your… ‘meta’. I think WFB players, as a breed, were and are frequently not keen on peeling out in a fast van and getting away from The Usual. (Much like how getting Warmachine folks to play something other than prep for their next 50 point 3 list C restricted timed turns Steamroller pack tournament is like getting blood from a stone.) Mordheim was cool provided you played something that fit – you could homebrew all kinds of shit into the game but I feel some of its flavour was lost if you had High Elves and Chaos Dwarfs running around the place. Oh, and I’ve just remembered the Lustria book too. 😉

      Siege was… OK, I’m biased, I played Vampire Counts and pre-Hellcannon Chaos Warriors, so I never really got into Siege as a concept – but it was there and I did try a spot of castle-cracking over the years.

      The General’s Compendium was mint and so was the Skirmish scenario book when it eventually came out, almost at the end of the edition’s lifetime if I remember rightly.

  3. If you’re living in the southern US now, check out Kylessa on tour.

    Oh yeah all the hobby stuff is great, too. Nice article and videos.

    But yeah…Kylessa. You might get Baroness as a bonus, they play together a lot.

    • Great band! Baroness is fantastic. If you’re out Austin way you can often see Eagle Claw and Gypsy Hawk tour with The Sword as well. I saw them in Memphis when they came through last year. Gypsy Hawk did a cover of Black Betty that brought the fucking house down. 🙂

      • Sounds badass. I was near Austin for a few years but live near Raleigh now. Woes of the army life.

        You Corehammer mofos need to stop scanning my brain and stealing all the stuff I have lined up for KHOP Pirate Radio. First Agent Orange, now this? Shit’s getting ridiculous.

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