Brent: A Bias About Background (WarmaHordes and 40K)

  • Posted by
  • at

Recently, I started taking my first real step into WarmaHordes, specifically the Circle Orboros for Hordes.  I’ve bought in big time and I’m excited about the game…

…but I have to admit that until recently, I thought the background story would be a bit hard to get behind.

It’s not that it’s bad, far from it. It’s just that it’s been developing over the course of many years and I’m trying to get in on the back end. Also, the many characterful armies have each complicated, intertwined histories that are a big departure from the sort of human-oriented stories we are used to.  For example:

  • A dragon who exists only as shards embedded in its disciples works to expand its blighted influence. 
  • A fractured Empire of both the living and the dead come together to coalesce power, and then march west.
  • Elf assassins work in secret for decades, before garnering the power to take over their society and seek retribution.
  • Hard-core worshipers of a rigid god developing an army in secret to overthrow their religious oppressors.

And of course, the father of dragons himself really likes sailing. He’s a fan of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies.

What’s more, with the Privateer Press games the fluff itself is not static, but with each book released the story progresses just a bit further. It’s very different from products such as the Warhammer games, as there can be different versions of a character based on his or her progression along the storyline. From a development perspective, it’s interesting that PP has (arguably, of course!) balanced the character so they are each still viable in the game. Yes, Forge World has 30k versions of well loved 40k characters, but I don’t really see it as the same thing.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m hardly an expert in the Privateer Press backstory, but I’m getting there! Prior to last week, I only owned the main rulebook and two faction books for the collections I have models for; that, and the War Room app were more than sufficient play the game. I see that as a real strength of the product. We’re all aware in this current market a player needs to be frugal with money and wise in purchasing, as indiscriminate spending is a way to get a bunch of crap you just can’t use!  Anyway, I found the expansion books for a decent price on eBay and jumped to get in a good bid. I see it as making a further investment in the game that I intend to get some real mileage out of, but as mentioned it’s a luxury and not a necessity.

I said all that to say this: while I still believe that Warhammer 40K has the best background bar none for any wargame on the market, I no longer believe that the WarmaHordes storyline is just built to accommodate the (as I saw it) rather silly concept of monstrous miniatures combat. Talented designers have taken it and shaped it and developed it into so much more than my preconceived notion. In fact, I’m a bit ashamed of myself. I had a rather elitist point of view and never took the time to bother shaping it.

* * * 

At work, I always take an hour out to meet the new orientation class.  It’s great to speak with them while they’re still in training, before they hit the floor of whatever unit they’ll be assigned to where they’ll inevitably be exposed to the veteran staff who tell them, “Forget what you’ve heard, here’s how it is.”  Or, “Here’s why you should be glad you work here and not on one of those other units.”  Since we’re inevitably shaped by those around us, those kind of prejudices are hard not to take on and own.  Unless you’re warned in advanced, at which point it seems like ham-fisted manipulation.

I’ll tell the class what I’ve seen in my observations over the years: inevitably, your favorite unit to work on will be the first; it’s what you get used to.  Still, I encourage them not to take on a narrow point of view regarding the others.

* * * 

Warhammer 40K was my first exposure to wargaming. I’m biased. Now that I’m opening myself up to another experience and allowing myself to appreciate it without just dismissing it, I’m enjoying the hell out of it!

I’d encourage you to do as I say and not as I did. There are other games and other compelling stories out there to take part in. I feel as if I missed out on a good thing for years.

Darn it!

That’s it, BoLS Faithful, this is another Terrible Tuesday editorial in the bag.  It’s time for you to weigh in.  Can you relate to my experience?  What game do you suggest your peers in the wargaming community should look into?  Are you a fan of the WarmaHordes backgrounds, and if so what’s most compelling to you?

And as always, thoughts?  Comments?  Hugs and gropings?

Comments are closed.