Warlord Games Open Day 2013

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Chilli – The original Gamer WAG

On 27th July, myself, Corehammer compatriot Charlie B and my girlfriend Chilli (Gamer WAG?) traveled up to Nottingham for the first Warlord Games Open Day (held in a ballroom next to their workshops). For those of you who don’t know (and I’ll assume you don’t) Warlord is a games company that until recently has had a focus on 28mm Historical games (more on this later) who as well as create their own games, also produce their own resin and metal minis in house.

So as a bit of a primer, here is a quick run down of the released Warlord Games:

Hail Caesar – 3000BC to 1500AD
Think Romans, Saxons and Vikings.

Pike & Shotte – 1500 to 1700
Thirty Year War & The English Civil War

Black Powder – 1700 to 1900
This one covers a hell of a lot over a very bloody period including Napoleonics, American Civil War & Anglo-Zulu War.

Additional supliments give detailed scenarios and army list for the historical gamer in all of the above games. Last year Warlord released their new kid on the block.

Bolt Action – 1939 to 1945
World World II, nothing more and nothing less than the single most violent war that has occured on the planet.

Since March, Charlie and myself have started and collected a 1000pt Bolt Action force each, so with expansion and diversification in mind, we travelled up pretty much to focus solely on the whole WWII aspect of the day.

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Bolt Action in full flow

Upon arriving, it’s a given that any Corehammer contributor worth his salt would scope the Cosplay (or in this case, historically accurate battle dress) and we were not disappointed, seeing a 17th century witch hunter as well as many people in WWII attire (even if they did look a little over weight to do some actual soldiering). But not wanting to look like a gimp (and feeling slightly threatened by the real Thompson SMG in their hands), I just kept the photo taking to the boards and armies on display.

On arrival we picked up our free metal Gladiator model and spotted a whole bunch of posters about a “Pink Panther” tank model, which if you found, you won a tank of your choice, not too bad a prize. Also there was several sign up sheets for Q&A sessions including Rick Priestley  talking about the origins of his new game, Beyond the Gates of Antares, the Perry Brothers talking about their careers as sculpters, Alessio Cavatore and Andy Chambers discussing Bolt Action and finally Paul Sawyer talking about upcoming Warlord releases and discussing the design process at Warlord. Older readers will hopefully have noticed that all of those names are from the glory days of Games Workshop and will have many fond memories of them in White Dwarf.

Every table in the ballroom was of exceptionally high standard (unlike Salute where I found some were rather lacking), with many looking like display boards that I would fear to play on as functional gaming table. All of the Warlord titles were covered with Bolt Action seeming to me to be the most dominant (or maybe I just took more notice of it).

Definite props to Warlord, as walking around the packed ballroom the event was held you noticed as well as the many gaming tables and their own store, there were many other sellers and manufactures selling their wares. I can’t ever imagine that Games Workshop would ever invite their “rivals” along for the day to compete against them for the contents of your wallet. I could have easily picked up enough to start a Saga force (Viking ancients game) or the Judge Dredd RPG books as well as some Star Trek minis.

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Pegasus Bridge, fuck yeah!

By far the best stand was Warlord’s (rather long) table showing the upcoming sculpts and works in progress. This included future artwork for the books (the artwork of all the Warlord books blows me away), work in progress sculpts and early prototypes. Dominating the table however was a particularly large working laser cut MDF Pegasus Bridge, this thing was huge. Paul Sawyer let me have a little play with it (and even took a pic for me, what a dude). I can’t even start to describe how amazing the model is in the flesh. When Paul said they would be selling them in future, I got very happy (although I have no idea where the hell I would keep this, better start looking for a lock up).

Other sweet models of interest were the prototype sculpts of the new plastic USMC and Battle for Berlin Germans (including night vision scopes and assault rifles that shoot around corners, it blows my mind that these were actually used then). Loads of new resin tanks and other vehicles where in the cabinets, just showing that Warlord really does have a lot of models ready for release to support its games and allow the gamer a really wide choice of models, even for one faction.

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Having a bit more of a walk around, there was a lot of the new terrain hotness that is laser cut MDF buildings. To be fair when you look at WWII and Ancients scenery, MDF scenery looks pretty much the same from company to company, but what did stand out was the sci-fi offering of Warmill. Chatting with the owner he told me that most kits come with cut clear perspex to create Blade Runner style signage, something I’ve not seen before and would make games like Infinity really immersive. It would also do Warmill a huge disservice if I did not mention the supurb air brush paint job (although you buy them unpainted) the owner did himself, using neon colours really made the Warmill items have their own unique look.

Next up was the Mantic stand. While I can’t say that the art style of Mantic has ever grabbed me, I do love the DIY ethos of the company, giving out some Space Orc sprues was also a nice touch. From my limited knowledge of Kings of War, it seemed they had the full stock of the new wave on sale that day, again, not really to my taste but it’s nice to see that they are branching away from their Games Workshop roots. Something that has been tempting me for a while is their game Dreadball. I’ve yet to play a game but as GW seem to never want to rerelease a box set of Blood Bowl, I can only imagine it will not be long before I’m playing (also thankfully the bored, underage looking cheerleaders where not in attendance after creeping me out at Salute). There were demo games to be had of both Kings of War and Dreadball, but alas, time was short as I wanted to check out as much stuff as possible before the Q&A sessions.

Whilst getting a fried egg butty, I ended up having a chat with Paul Sawyer. What I really took from the day was an openness to just talk with their customers and fans, nothing seemed like it had to be kept a secret from you and they just engaged you on a level that was just like two fans talking. We chatted a little more about the Pegasus Bridge model and gave some insight into the production process (something as a graphic designer, I found pretty interesting). There was also some very nerdy talk about WWII weapons and then a chat about living in Bournemouth and Dorset, yeah, pretty much like talking to an average Joe. Delightful.

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Loads of Germans

Next up was the Q&A session with Paul Sawyer, which pretty much told you what to expect release wise from Warlord for the next year (there is tons!), none of this rumor of X army maybe being released on Y month. Even with the run away success of Bolt Action, its good to see support for all of their other games, loads of new campaign books for all the titles as well as new and expanded miniature ranges (some of which the community has requested! Fuck, if GW did that, then the Wood Elves would have had a new book ages ago).

There was plenty of Bolt Action news, a lot of which had Charlie and me quite excited. Once the current run of army books are released, there will be a full supplement dedicated to Tank Battles, something that a lot of people have been asking for. But then it gets really interesting, campaign books will be released, including D-Day onwards, Easter Front to the Battle of Berlin, Pacific Theater and loads of others. These will also include new rules and missions, like beach landings, new units and weapons such as the German night vision scopes. A massive announcement was the news of special characters, something that has been a hot topic of debate on the forums, and example being Dick Winters for the US Airborne. Topping it off, was the news of an official Dad’s Army range (both as civilians and in uniform) coming out in the future too. This next year will be massive for Bolt Action.

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I am, the LAW!

Tagging on the end of the session was the news about the Judge Dredd releases. If you don’t know, Mongoose have signed a deal where Warlord are producing and distributing all of the Dredd table top game line. This has already started with the repackaging and release of minatures. Rules for the Dredd game can be downloaded free, until a hardback release comes out in a few months time. I think the most exciting news was that vehicles will be released (which I’m pretty sure will be resin). I asked if the line will be converted from metal to multi-part plastics, unfortunately there is no plans, which to be honest has made me slightly hesitant about picking up the game (as I would love a Bot Gang).

From one Q&A session, straight into the next, this time with Alessio Cavatore and Andy Chambers (who unfortunately, no longer has his greebo hair that we all loved seeing in old issues of White Dwarf), chatting more Bolt Action and letting us know some more details on the Easter Front campaign book (as Andy is writing it). Again this was a great session with a little history given to how the game came from concept to be an actual game and then turning into a big question session which covered a massive range of topics from historically accurateness, the sensitive nature of nation special rules (so no France auto surrender on turn 2 then) on to being a gamey twat. Oh, but lets not forget, rules for armored trains and attack/defend scenarios for said trains, nerd-gasm.

Again, what I loved about this session was the level of openness and ideas and information flowed both ways. There was a discussion on what type of missions would be fun and fitting for the Eastern Front book, where I suggested a mission much like the film Enemy at the Gates, where nominated units become VIPs and have a cult of celebrity or propaganda surrounding them, where making kills with said unit would give you extra victory points, but having them killed would give your opponent a large bonus of points, giving a nice balance of risk/reward. It seemed to go down quite well, although even I will admit it may need some tightening up by the boys (Warlord, email the site when you want to send me a cheque for that slice of gold though 😉 ).

Since we have begun playing Bolt Action, Charlie has been lamenting the out of production metal Germain Heer models. Pretty much all day it seemed that he had been psyching himself up to talk to someone to see if they still had some he could buy. After a trip to the bar to get a cool beverage, an excited Charlie approached Chilli and myself and instructed us to follow him. It turned out that he had been speaking to Andrew Chesney of Warlord Games and we were taken down to the metal casting workshop where they dug out the old moulds for the figures that Charlie covets so much. It was pretty cool just to have a look at the moulds close up but when Andrew told Charlie to pick a mould and he would run him off a batch I think he nearly pissed himself. So Charlie picked the mould which he liked the most (it just so happened they all had assault rifles, not great for me when we next play) and they literally spun some models for us right there and then. Top class guys.

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Rubber moulds for the Warlord metal minis

It just so happened that the factory tour came in just as we were finished with the casting process, so we jumped in on this and got the whole process explained to us. It was pretty cool to see (again) and have it explained (I’ll leave this as a mystery as I suggest you go along to see it yourself). Next on the tour was the resin casting which is something that Warlord have recently been expanding upon (and also do really well). This was slightly less interesting, but maybe because it didn’t involve hot metal getting spun at crazy speeds and was a lot less visual.

That's a lot of bits

That’s a lot of bits

To round the day off we picked up a few Warlord models for ourselves, Charlie buying a Puma armoured car, so he can try out a new recon style force. I opted for a blister of US Army Command so I can have a pretty cool stand out LT on the table and after my upcoming tourney, experimenting with the use of a Medic in my list.

New recruit for my US Infantry.

New recruit for my US Infantry.

All in all, it was an amazing day out. You really get an idea of how the personalities of the staff make the company what it is and that everything they do, they really are in love with. When I asked Chilli if she would go again, she was positive and said it was nowhere near as geeky as she thought and had a good time. I can easily say that I would definitely go again next year. The only way to finish a Corehammer day out was to go grab a curry.

Table naan!

Table naan, Northampton style.

For more pics of the event and other photographic joys, pics of games, occasional videos of shows and pictures of Nate from about 10 years ago, check out our Instagram.

This entry was posted in Bolt Action, Gaming, Reviews, Talk by Stevie. Bookmark the permalink.

About Stevie

Stevie Boxall currently lives in South London. He has experimented with putting shows on, doing a zine and being in a band, he was pretty crap at all of them. He redeemed some of his punk credibility by doing a semi-well received distro while living in Bournemouth. He is currently playing Bolt Action, Warhammer Fantasy, Dreadball, X-Wing, is currently obsessed with Infinity, Dredd and Deadzone and has sold all of his Space Marines.

2 thoughts on “Warlord Games Open Day 2013

  1. Nice one, mate! Good read. I especially appreciated the honesty in your writing about your excitement – it really came across. Any chance of a retrospective review of Salute?

    Thanks again.

    • Cheers for the kind words, makes it worth it. I just checked your blog too, looking forward to getting into those LotR battle reports tomorrow while “working”. A game I’ve definitely wanted to have a go at for a while.

      Re: Salute, I’ve still got a load of photos but to be honest the day was a blur and without any notes, I don’t think I could do the event or post any justice. I can say that I did have a good day and I left Salute a lot lighter in the wallet (mostly buying terrain and filthy .50 cal jeeps for Bolt Action).

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