Veterans Leaving 40k (And Coming Back)

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Pimpcron discusses an interesting trend in our hobby and how it’s not the end of the world.

Hey people of earth (and maybe a few who aren’t). As you might imagine, the Pimpcron is back this week; same bat-time, same bat-channel. I want to give you some advice.



Veterans Leaving The Hobby

I was just talking to my friend the other day who has been playing 40k for 15 years. He’s still a young guy and 40k actually helped him improve his reading in elementary school due to his love of the lore. The first night I ever came to a 40k club, he basically assaulted me with lore and information in his usual socially-awkward way. He’s played Nids, Guard, and Blood Angels and has seen quite a few editions go by. He’s one of those people who you think is going to stay in the game forever.

kid-reading“… And then they beheaded the heretic. Teehee. Behead is a funny word.”

The other day we were talking on the phone and he had a confession to make that floored me: he’s taking time off of 40k.

Now I know there is a portion of you who will jump up from your chair right now, flip the table, tear your shirt off Hulk Hogan-style and scream, โ€œI knew it! See? See? Nobody likes 40k anymore and even veterans are leaving! Aaargh!โ€ Then you’ll start a Facebook group of old, grizzled, angry ex-Warhammer players so you can bitch about how the good old days were better. Then you’ll set up a whole schedule of when and where you guys will take turns standing on the corners of building rooftops at midnight screaming it into the wind for all to hear. I’ve seen your billboards in my town. I read about your rallies you hold in the newspaper. I’ve walked out of a GW store and had you throw red paint on my fur coat. Maybe that wasn’t you.

Well, all jokes aside, I’m sure some veterans leave because they don’t like the current edition and that’s fine. Who’s to say I won’t be one of those jaded gamers when 8th edition 40k hits? But my friend is leaving because he’s just got a lot of other stuff going on in his life, and he needs some time away from 40k. Because no matter what it is in your life, after you do it for 15 years it will eventually become less exciting [insert marital sex joke] [then reconsider to be on the safe side].

guy-on-roof“Hey! Cut it out down there! I see you reading White Dwarf!”

40k Veterans Don’t Die, They Just Take A Break

So when you quit the hobby you should burn all of your bridges, spit on your friends and set fire to your minis? Nope. It actually seems pretty common for people to take a couple-year break in this hobby. Usually it has to do with life getting in the way of this very time-consuming hobby. Going to school, getting married, having kids, buying a house, getting into X-Wing, etc. So it’s no wonder that people take a break. But don’t get depressed if life rips you away from the one thing that makes you a complete human being! It’s a couple times a week I see posts on Facebook groups I’m part of saying that they are a veterans gamer just getting back into the game and need advice on army composition, etc. I’ve seen it in comments sections, letters written in to podcasts, and on FB groups.

As a matter of fact, one of my good 40k friends took a ten year break from it before getting back in. Now after four years, he’s slowly moving back out. Ha ha. It happens. We have another guy in our group that came back to the hobby last year after a decade-long hiatus as well. And my good friend Steve didn’t play for five or ten years until he found our gaming group because he had nobody to play with.

So When Is The Pimpcron Burning Out?

sleeping-giantDon’t fall asleep in the woods.

Ya know, I gotta tell you. I’m shocked that I haven’t burned myself out yet. My life is Warhammer 24/7. I have written over a hundred articles on the topic of Warhammer weekly, have started a Warhammer convention, hobby, play, listen to podcasts, and talk about it all day with my friend/ co-worker James. I have an entire room devoted to terrain and Warhamer non-sense. My entire Facebook feed is all pictures of models.

Why aren’t I crazy yet?

(you are)

Shut up, you!

(you’re grand mother never loved you!)

I’m not listening! I’m focusing on blogging.

I play other games. I play Firestorm Armada, Magic: The Gathering, and Age of Sigmar.

I’ve also been busy making the rules and play-testing a new skirmish game that I’m making that uses any models from any range. So that has been fun and distracting. I’ll let you know when it’s finished.

It’s amazing how playing different games refreshes your love of other games. I ebb and flow in and out of my zeal for 40k, but give me just one game of Firestorm Armada and I flush out the over-saturated 40k particles.

firestorm-armada-01Throw away your X-wings and play this game.


~How many of you have taken a break and came back? Or are taking a break and plan to come back?

Shorehammer ticket sales close October 31st!

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  • jeff white

    i see what you did there.
    You tacitly affirmed what I have always suspected.
    The zealot is the only happy man.

    • Always, the happiest men I met are the fool, who does not know any better, and the zealot, who does not care. Truly there is comfort to be found in the simple mind and the simple heart.

      I envy them sometimes.

      • Frank Krifka


        • I’m not entirely sure what had me so poetic that night, but I’ll take it!

  • pad_uk

    Burn the Apostate!!!

  • I wouldn’t say I’ve burned out on GW. I will say I’m in a holding pattern, keeping their games in my peripheral vision while I focus my efforts elsewhere, waiting for something within them to change for the better. If they do I may step back in, but I’ll not mourn the loss if they don’t.

    I surprisingly thoughtful article from you, Pimpcron. It suits you.

    • ZeeLobby

      Same boat I’m in. Having a great time playing other systems, and patiently waiting to see where GW goes.

      • Yep. What they did with WHQuest and what they appear to be doing to Blood Bowl gives me hope for Necromunda, so I’ll likely poke my head back into a hobby center for that.

        As far as the “main” systems go… we’ll see.

        I’ve no real interest in AoS even post-General’s Compendium, which, though it did address my primary gripe with the system, came too late. Had it launched that way, the story might be different, but as it is, that ship has sailed.

        For 40K, I’m waiting to see it 8th fixes the issues (by which I mostly mean design decisions) that have been piling up over the last four editions, and reduces the game back down to something that’s actually playable. Given the way the model range has expanded in the last fourish years, I don’t hold out much hope, but GW has seemed unusually in-tune with its customers lately, so you never know.

        • ZeeLobby

          You’re basically my clone. Excited to see if necromunda pans out as well. And I have to admit, my group appears to have little desire to head back to 40K even if 8th turns things around (similar to the delay in actual rules of AoS).

          Likewise we have little faith that GW can take what they’ve pushed out the door in the past year and even rebalance it. To be honest, a lot of it just has to do with finding new game systems that are more exciting to play but require a 3rd of the cost. For many of us GWs pricing is simply not sustainable, especially not at the current rate they release things. It’s like their entire business plan is centered around pushing releases to plastic addicts. I like to collect a lot of pieces/models in the systems I play but I just can’t keep up in the GW world, while I can easily afford to buy every WMH release in a year.

          The thing is I don’t know how they slow it down as they must have modified their entire internal infrastructure to produce things at this rate. They’d have to accept some internal shrinking, and reduced profits, to return back to a slow chugging machine rather than this rampant release engine they’ve become…

    • Hey, I do thoughtful articles. . . it’s just in between the nonsense ones. ๐Ÿ˜€

      • Right, sorry! Confused you with goatboy for a moment. Dunno why.

        • Well he’s been at this much longer than me and better known, so i guess I’ll take that as a compliment. ๐Ÿ˜€ His way of uber competitive 40k is not at all my cup of tea. So there’s no risk of you reading a post from me like that.

  • Insert_nickname_here

    I took a break for about 7 years, approx. ’98 to ’05, did me the world of good. I felt when I came back after the break I was a better overall hobbyist – my army selection was better (more thematic) my painting was more disciplined and I enjoyed the game a lot more (and being defeated didn’t bother me at all, whereas early/mid teenage me took every loss as a kick to the nads of my delicate little ego).
    One thing that seems more common now is that the greater choice of miniature games means more folk will switch rather than completely drop gaming. When I was growing up, in a lot of ways GW was “the hobby”, and if you were fed up with 40K, there really was no readily available alternative, so many people I knew took a clean break. Nowadays it’s a lot easier to play a different system if you need a break from GW style games, but still float in the same circles, so if something new and shiny comes along and catches the eye, and then float back, as opposed to leaving gaming forever.
    In conclusion, it’s a good time to be a gamer.

  • Angus Murphy

    i was out of the hobby for 6 years and only came back when forgeworld started to release the heresy

  • I was pretty hard core from the mid 90s to the mid 00s. Tournament or two a month, major tournament four times a year or so. Driving everywhere. Keeping up with the meta.

    My last tournament ever a guy legit flipped a table in rage and after that I took a couple years off because the game was starting to erode my soul lol.

    Now our schedule is basically half a year AOS and half a year 40k. The rotation helps keep my interest.

    Though I have to say 40k’s really bad balance kills me, especially since my primary armies are all fairly bad with the exception of my eldar.

    • ZeeLobby

      Yeah. It’s just become an unfun game to play. And I rarely frequent tournaments (couple a year), but you could see it written on the walls over the past 3 years. I really hope 8th fixes things.

      • I’m going to be playing in our annual 40k campaign in january as thousand sons. Half of me wants to say why bother though because thousand sons are just going to be a heavy bag for the min/max armies to teabag across the table, but the other half still likes the narrative and wants to see the game evolve into something that is not an unbalanced vomitous mess.

        • euansmith

          I really liked a previous Primpcron article about running your own secret campaign; so you keep track of how your guys do on the table top and work it in to a narrative for them.

          • Karru

            Welcome to my life, this is how I do my armies. As a large fan of Dawn of War series, my armies are all, in head canon, fighting on the same planet. My Imperials are facing threats from Eldar and now the planet has been besieged by Orks. All the other fighting they do when I play against other players are “stories” that happened before they arrived on the planet they now fight on. This allows me to make stories as the army grows.

  • Sure

    My group had this happen with 6th ed. We’re only just starting to get back into it. We’re no longer serious about the competitive side, just want to play and paint cool minis. I liked 6th but the finecast fiasco (the 1st run of the product was awful), combined with the local situation, made me bail.

  • Raffazza

    I took a break of about 10 years at one point.
    Agree, happens all the time, its no bad thing

  • euansmith

    I’m currently in mid-break; having picked the game up for 5th edition after dropping out after Rogue Trader. I dropped it again when 6th came out as it was pretty much everything I didn’t like about 5th ๐Ÿ˜‰

    I’m waiting to see if 8th piques my jaded interest. I quite like the form of AoS, so I’m one of those people hoping for Age of Emperor.

    However, I still enjoy the fluff and take a morbid interest in the state of the game. So, until 8th drops, I’m sticking to various skirmish games set in the Grim Darkness, plus a multiplicity of board games.

    • Jonathan B.

      Maybe he’s still trying to puzzle out why there is no spoon.

    • ZeeLobby


    • Admiral Raptor

      Here’s a man who’s got it figured out ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Strategery.

      your clever jokes are wasted on BOLS and the internet. i hope some 40k group has the good luck to include you soon!

      • euansmith

        I come over far better on the internet than in real life, it covers up my some of my social inadequacies. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • Gustav
      • euansmith


  • Jonathan B.

    That photo with the kid reminds me of when my son was born, and how just hours after he was born, I held him and read to him from Graham McNeill’s Nightbringer.

  • Commissar Molotov

    Just don’t sell your miniatures. Or you’ll be combing FB sales groups trying to buy replacements for stuff that has been OOP for 20 years because you MISS them.

  • Defenestratus

    I took a break from 40k when I went to college, which thankfully coincided with the era of 3rd edition 40k. Something that took 2 games for me to play to recognize it was no fun.

    Now, I only get to play games about three times a year. Its sad but it keeps it fun no matter whether I win or lose.

    • ZeeLobby

      At three games a year I could probably stomach the dismal state of affairs. We play weekly though, and things become more apparent when you play it more often.

      • Defenestratus

        Yeah I’m having more fun playing 40k (when I get to play) than I have at any point since 2nd edition.

        I love all the complexity, rules, mysterious objectives, challenges, etc. I think formations and different ways of putting together armies is fantastic – I always HATED the CAD. It was so restraining and didn’t make sense for different races to adhere to the same army structure…. If I wanted armies that were put together the same I would play chess.

    • Admiral Raptor

      Three times a year? That explains why you can stomach 7th edition. My friends and I were playing weekly before we started to mix in AoS. All of the BS in 7th gets old real quick.

      • Defenestratus

        Is it considered “stomaching” it when I actually LIKE playing games in 7th edition?

        I’d agree with you if it was a situation where I had to play 40k but didn’t really want to.

  • NagaBaboon

    I dropped out early 7th, I was getting a bit burnt out but I also really dislike formations and LOW so they were the nail in the coffin for me. I’m not sure if I’ll ever find my way back to it or not, I have discovered another world of wargames and, IMHO obviously, most of them are a lot better. I just think 40K rules have gotten too muddied and I think they’d have to rewrite it from the ground up to get me back into it (which I know will never happenm and most people don’t want) but we’ll see, maybe one day I’ll feel the pull again.

  • jack boland

    To be honest, I dont see any reason to play 40k at the moment. 30k is a much better game rules wise. The rules are more cohesive and concise with the ability for really fluffy, fun games. I loved 40k and it’s what got me started in the hobby many many years ago. I hate to play it now, as, inevitably, my fun, fluffy army gets absolutely stomped by an army full of formations that make 0 sense in the fluff besides what GW has just pulled out of thin air, despite 20 years of background already existing. I get it, formations makes you buy new things. It allows an almost unlimited amount of combinations of units and armies, which is actually kind of cool. However, its not balanced at the moment and not all that fun.

    • Defenestratus

      No xenos = no fun.

      • jack boland

        I disagree, in 30k each legion feels completely different from the next and feels like the armies are meant to play. Not too mention you have guard, militia, renegades, black shields, loyalists, traitors, demons, and soon to be custodes, and sisters of silence! I really hope the add xenos, especially as eldar were prevalent and orks were actually much scarier than the 40k version (not to mention the insidious cabal!). No problem if you think you need those to have fun, but for me, the story, models, and rules of 30k way outweigh the problems in the rules and story in 40k.

        • Defenestratus

          It doesn’t matter what they FEEL like. It matters what they LOOK like. And they all look like a bunch of meatheads in rusty tin can armor punching each other.


          • jack boland

            Again, I disagree. What is a game besides what you feel like when playing it? of course, you are entitled to your own opinion, but I’d def say give it a try and get some fluff behind you, its well worth a try!

        • Adrien Fowl

          Why were the orks scarier in 30k? What has changed?

          • jack boland

            Orks had a MUCH larger empire! At Ullanor, it actually took the emperor, horus, and numerous other primarchs, legions, and custodes to defeat an ork warlord! During dark night, orks basically spread like crazy since the imperium didn’t exist to help stem the tide. There are some mentions that they werent inhibited by dark night like the humans and other mentions that orks were actually genetically larger and stronger during the heresy, but nothing concrete. the biggerst factor that changed was the great crusade conquering the largest ork empires, leaving the 40k orks a remanant of what they were before.

  • Deacon Ix

    I started back in 2nd, threw my toys out of the pram when 3rd hit which also coincided with Uni and women, and got back into it about 3 years ago, purely as I saw a coworker with a Chaos pin and said: ‘Is that a Chaos pin?” to which he replied “Yes, you’re the first to recognise it” which then started a chat about 40k I then went a played a game with him and haven’t looked back.
    Fortunately I hadn’t got rid of my old models but unfortunately my younger brother had got hold of them so I have spent a lot of time undoing his handwork :).

    • euansmith

      “… and then I discovered that my co-worker actually worshiped the Ruinous Powers; and that, officer, explains my flamethrower.”

  • Nvision

    I’m waiting on two things before I dig back into 40K; a reduction in “rules bloat,” and a new CSM codex that will let me field my Thousand Sons (without Daemons) and hope to score a VP or two. I’m enjoying the new White Dwarf, I like the way GW is starting to listen to the clamouring throng, releasing new factions with incredible sculpts, and trying to be progressive. I’m not down with formations and dataslates everywhere, having to listen to a long preamble of special rules from an opponent because they come from 17 different sources. It feels less like a strategy game and more like kids play-fighting and making things up as they go.

    Infinity is aces, there’s a lot of rules, but they’re common across the factions, all contained in the (free) core book. I’m also having a lot of fun with Mk.III Warmachine, hitting tournaments again, and trying new factions. X-Wing continues to be solid, and FFG are always working to moderate the nonsense that pops up in the meta. I still pick away with hobby stuff for 40K, but I’m having more fun with other systems right now. It will still be there when I’m ready to go back.

    • Muninwing

      i think that the idea of “rules bloat” is interesting, because it’s really not too different than 3rd onward…

      there are a couple more options that have their rules. there are a couple more armies. but the scale remains constant.

      i would say that they could package them a bit better. i don;t mind each army having their own special tricks, but they should be in the USRs in the main book if possible.

  • Otter

    I got out for about 5 years when i was living in small towns with no 40k scene that I could find. I got back in when i moved to the city and haven’t looked back.

  • Richard Mitchell

    10+ years, moved on to other games. Tend to enjoy American style wargames over Euro stuff now. Not saying the Euro stuff is not good, but its not my style.

    • euansmith

      What is “American Style”? Not being sarcastic, I’m interested.

      • ***TRIGGERED***

        • Karru

          Actual footage of Pimpcron at this very moment!

          • So … much … rage!

          • euansmith

            ๐Ÿ˜€ No, really, I know what “Euro Games” are; worker placement, simple rules with tactical depth; but I don’t know what would qualify as an “American Style” game? Privateer Press, Wyrd and FFG are all US based, but their isn’t much of a coherent theme to their rules, that I could see being viewed as a style.

            See, sometimes you can take my comments at face value ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Karru

    I already know that I won’t be “taking a break” from 40k as long as it’s still around. If the edition doesn’t suit me, I just roll back to my lovely 5th edition. My group has done this ever since 6th was released. One of the reason why I never get around playing other games is the models though. I have yet to get my hands on another company that makes high quality plastic crac… models that have an insane amounts of alternative bits to modify your units without having to sculpt, cut and pin. I’ve tried WarmaHordes, Infinity and KoW, none have managed to keep my interest since my love is always with large armies that slowly come together. Armies that have character and individuality, in painting and modelling terms but also in game terms. Unfortunately WarmaHordes and Infinity both lack heavily on this department while KoW has horrendous models.

    • euansmith

      Oddly a lot of KoW armies bear more than a passing resemblance to old WFB armies ๐Ÿ˜‰

      • Karru

        I am very much aware of this. I’m still hoping that they one day get their details and sculpting to a passing state. I just can’t bring myself to paint them thanks to being so awful looking.

        • euansmith

          No, sorry, I didn’t make myself clear. I meant that a certain proportion of KoW armies are made up from Old WFB armies, where the players just swapped systems ๐Ÿ˜‰

          On the Mantic minis’ quality front, I agree they have some seriously fuggly little lumps of plastic and restic to their name. I don’t know why they don’t make more of an effort to up that part of their design process.

          • Karru

            Ah, that’s what you meant. Yes, I am aware of this as well. It was extremely smart move by Mantic to do.

          • Admiral Raptor

            I love Mantic and all the cool stuff they do, but you are so right about the fuggly plastic lumps :(. Some of their stuff is painful to look at. They are (slowly) getting better though!

          • euansmith

            Their Sci-fi ranges seem to have been getting the better sculptors recently. Fingers crossed it will spread. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Matt Razincka

    I started in miniature wargaming with 40k back in the mid 90s with 2nd edition. I played through 3rd. Started to slack in 4th and only played a couple games in 5th. Partly a lack of spaces to play in downtown Seattle (busing over an hour is a pain). I have always purchased the odd model/unit here and there, though. Finally getting into Space Wolves like I always wanted to (my friend who introduced me to the game switched to them suddenly so I couldn’t copy him). After whats been done with AoS, I’m excited at the possibilities for 8th, but I’m having fun assembling my Wolves in the meantime!

  • Muninwing

    5.5 burned me out. the “win button” style when ward-dexes ran roughshod over everyone was stupid.

    in every other edition i’d played, a good player with a decent list could still beat a bad player with the cheez of the month. suddenly, that was not only not the case… it was also far more common to see the exploits than the interesting lists.

    i suppose, since i have not played a game in months, and i haven’t painted since the summer, that i’m on an unplanned break. but family, work, degree, and buying a house all take precedence. i’ll pick back up when i have the room.

    then again, the last time people took a break from bad lists, GW thought WHF was failing and nuked it from orbit, so i feel like i can’t fully quit or they’ll kill another puppy or maybe my favorite army will get eaten by nids.

  • Carey_Mahoney

    “Itโ€™s amazing how playing different games refreshes your love of other games.” [insert marital sex joke]

  • Painjunky

    I talk to many people who are not buying anything or even playing 40k till they see if 8th can fix the sloppy mess that is 40k 7th.

    8th will make or break 40k. Don’t screw it up GW!