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Pimpcron: 40k Players Aren’t Wargamers

5 Minute Read
Feb 23 2018
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Pimpcron comes out swinging this week.

Hey persons! 2020 Presidential Nominee, Pimpcron is here. Sadly, the only walls I know how to build are emotional ones between me and the people who care about me. If they can’t get close, they can’t hurt me, right? Recently I’ve taken an interest in wargaming books and have discovered that Warhammer is not a wargame. You’d better sit down for this.

What Is A Wargame?

Pssssh, as if I know. Oh wait! I do! I just remembered the point behind this article. So as a Warhammer player for quite some time, I have slowly started picking up wargames books (mainly for solo play rules to apply to Warhammer or my game Brutality). I figured that I play Warhammer, and that’s a wargame, so this other part of our hobby has to have some neat tidbits. But after reading several of these books, I realize that almost nothing they discuss has anything to do with Warhammer. I don’t mean that their topic isn’t Warhammer because, well, it’s not. But that’s not what I’m talking about. Nearly every facet of these books is very different from Warhammer.

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*Most* of these wargamers play historical games like Napoleonics, play with little square tokens to represent units like in tank games, or even fantasy stuff that is rooted in more reality than our game. The rules themselves are similar enough to ours to make them somewhat the same. They use dice just like us, and paint their little models just like us. Many of them either own terrain or have a store nearby that they can use just like us. Their community seems split between solo gamers and social gamers which is also similar to ours. So if all of this is so similar, what is the difference?

Wargaming is an Adult’s Game

Almost unerringly, the books I read are written by adults at least in their 40’s with many of them being significantly older. The air about these games and players seems more mature, and their games tend to have a larger scope of battle and their battles seem to have many more models. From what I’ve read, many of the rules are more akin to Warhammer Fantasy in their complexity rather than the newer Warhammer versions. Many of these people run solo campaigns for literally years on end, slowly determining the outcome of a literal World War on their fictional planet. The amount of dedication to paint hundreds and hundreds of models to play seems much greater than ours. Though, I own 10 40k armies alone, all ranging from 40-90% of the units painted. So I may be the wrong one to say that their dedication is more than ours.

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There is no rat-race of buying new models, there is no “new hotness” that “changes the meta” for these guys. They might be playing the same exact system since the eighties and maybe in the same campaign. They don’t eagerly await the new releases list for new models. Overall, it seems much more sophisticated and somber than our hobby, maybe partially due to the fact that most of these games are set in real-world settings with real-world consequences for the outcome of their games.

These people seem quite a bit akin to Oldhammerers, who don’t concern their self that much with the newest models or what is popular. Both of these groups of people seem to really enjoy their hobby and it’s the type of thing that includes quiet contemplation versus net lists and  they are a good example of “forging their own narrative”.


Go ahead and google “wargaming”, 40k surely won’t pop up unless it’s a cookie related result on your computer I guess.

So Why Aren’t You A Wargamer Pimpcron?

Why would ask such a pointed question in front of everyone? Wow. Rude. Now that you’ve put me on the spot, I empathize with wargamers and read their books, join their FB groups, and enjoy their stories. But honestly it seems a little bland and boring to me to actually play the games. I like games that are faster, with a game of AoS or 40k ending at about 3 hours max. I designed Brutality to play in 30-45 min because that’s what I like in a game. Games like Magic, Heroclix, and X-Wing also take advantage of speed-of-play being a big selling point.

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I am a solo gamer first and foremost and solo gamed for years before finding 40k. So I can completely see what they like in soloing. Just today I was getting my Star Trek Heroclix starships to play with my son, which I haven’t touched in years, and found a five-page solo campaign I had documented between Federation and Klingons. I was like, “Dude! I forgot about this and may pick this campaign back up.” That campaign has to be from four years ago or more.

Anybody who knows me personally also knows I despise painting or moving horde armies, which many of the wargames seem to be, like old Warhammer Fantasy battles. Plus, I like the constant changes in our hobby, new models, new rules, etc. I also like that our game is a living game that evolves over time and your tactics have to adapt. So all in all, I fully appreciate wargames, but I think I’ll stick to just reading their books, and playing the more mainstream games.

Do You Agree With Me That 40k & AoS Aren’t Real Wargames? Or Am I Splitting Hairs?

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Author: Scott W.
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