More than just a table-top game

Daniel Lim

For the uninitiated, the term ‘Warhammer’ might just be two nouns that were bashed together to create a new word, but for those in the know, it represents much more.

Warhammer is a tabletop role-playing game (RPG) brought to life through miniature figurines flanked by towering set pieces and structures.

I spoke with several local Warhammer community members on what the game means to them, how it has shaped them, and how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected their activities.
Damian Wong, an avid player, said, “Warhammer is a tabletop war-game, where players collect miniatures to build, paint, and play, governed by a set of rules.”

Casual Warhammer community member Mohd Nasroul Hizam bin Haji Souyono described the game as a more sophisticated version of chess.

“Each move is played in turns and the act between juggling the units and your opponent along with strategising for the best outcome,” he said.

Planning also extends to the pre-game, where units are selected for their specific attributes that complements and contributes to the other units on the field.

Asked what draws them to this tabletop game, Damian said Warhammer is very similar to a real time strategy game on PC, but this adds an additional layer of interaction.

Mohd Nasroul said the lore is always changing, which can get people invested, as it changes how the units are being played and keeps the game very organic as it evolves over time.

Scaled figurines and structures for ‘Warhammer’ table-top RPG. PHOTO: DANIEL LIM

This interactions can be seen in the small and active community of around 50 players, with many more getting into the franchise to paint Warhammer figurines, another draw to the series.

Damian said figurine painting is mandatory in many cases in Warhammer as it gives character.
“Some have painted the figurines to match the lore, while others have gone the extra mile by customising and creating a character with his own backstory which adds a personal touch to the game,” he said.

The painting aspect motivated Mohd Nasroul to get into Warhammer, as he previously started out with Gun-pla, a portmanteau for Gundam Plastic Model, which involves building depictions of vehicles and characters from the fictional series Gundam, with occasional painting works.

He started collecting and painting Warhammer pieces, and played the game as he had amassed a number of painted figures to form a team.

Damian shared that he started out in the early 2000s with the PC games. Warhammer 40,000 Dawn of War and its lore drew him to the series of adventures.

He began collecting and painting the miniatures, which led to him and many others who expressed the same love for the hobby to form a community.

On the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak to the Warhammer community, Damian said, “People can’t play as much as they want to.

“Many of us take this time to paint our models and grow our collection in preparation for when we are able to play again.”

Damian shared that those who are interested to join the community can research online as there is an abundance of resources on the lores of Warhammer.

“If you want advice on what to get, what to read, or even how to play, you can visit the social media pages managed by the local Warhammer community,” he added.

Mohd Nasroul said it is important to start by not over-thinking it, and to pick units and factions that resonate with one’s own preferences.

“Even if after playing a few rounds, you might find that the units or factions don’t suit your style. Since you have already started playing and have understood the rules, it can help kick-start a journey of fine-tuning the choices and play together as a united community that shares the passion for the game,” he said.