Tuesday, May 26, 2009

My journey to Warhammer 40k started with BattleTech

I got involved with Warhammer 40k because of BattleTech. Some 10 years ago, while studying abroad (in UK), a roommate of mine showed my his new PC copy of MechWarrior 2. I didn’t really like the graphics, they were too blocky, but I liked the concept of huge robots piloted by humans duking it out in the far future. I also liked the intro movie, which was outstanding for its time. I didn’t really pay any more attention to that game for some time. Also, there was a Games Workshop store near my university (Uni. Of Essex Colchester). I had a shallow roleplaying background at the time, and although the display of warhammer miniatures was exciting, the various codexes and rulebooks and different armies was way too confusing to me.

Some years later, I am back in Greece, having just bought a new PC. I think it was a pentium 486 one, and had an extra card to handle 3d (Diamond Monster-something, I am at work now and I don’t have net access to research it more). That card was bundled with a version Mechwarrior 2 optimised for that specific card. I gave the game a second chance and was hooked. It seems actually playing a game as opposed to just watching other people playing it, is a whole different experience. I was (and still am) more of a turn based strategy gamer though, so I got MechCommander when it was released too. Then it was MechCommander 2, and after that I was on a quest to find similar themed movies. Alas, there were very little such movies to be found, besides some mediocre ones, such as Robot Jox 1 and 2 (I hoped that the recent success of Transformers would change this, but so far, we only got Transformers 2. I am still hoping however).

I tried to get into Mechwarrior: Dark Ages miniature game (that clix game) but I couldn’t find greek players and after being burned with Magic: The Gathering, I disliked the ‘collectible’ aspect almost immediately. However, Mechwarrior: Dark Ages directed my attention to Classic Battletech . I got the Introductory Boxset, a few metal minis and paints. Then, I got the main rule book (Total Warfare). Unfortunately, as was the case with Mechwarrior: Dark Ages, I couldn’t find any players in my area, or anywhere in Greece for that matter. However I didn’t regret buying all that stuff, because the setting, the artwork and the minis are amazing especially if you are into giant piloted robots. The rules are very clear and straight to the point. The only disadvantage is that the games can drag a lot, especially it there are a lot of Mechs in the gameboard.

However, I found an online community that were using a Java version of the system, almost like Vassal 40k, but in my opinion a lot more advanced, and got a few games under my belt. I still play there occasionally ( http://www.mekwars.org ). Much as I liked being able to finally play a wargame I liked online, I longed to play a war-game in the ‘real world’, face to face with my opponent. So, while searching for greek Battletech players, and finding none, I also found out that Warhammer was pretty popular in Greece (by greek standards that is). More people seem to prefer Warhammer fantasy than Warhammer 40k, but I got bored of fantasy settings after reading so many fantasy books, playing a couple of fantasy RPGs and watching all those Lord of the Rings movies so many times, so I decided to invest in Warhammer 40k.

When Assault on Black Reach was released I ordered one from Maelstrom . I debated with myself buying it from Greece in order to support the local Warhammer shops, but seeing how they were selling it at a price two times of what I would pay to Maelstrom I decided to support my self instead. So I ordered the set at October 2008. It’s almost June 2009 and I still haven’t finished painting the Space Marines, let alone play a game. However I didn’t stop buying Warhammer stuff. I got another AoBR set (still sealed), a Predator (that I almost finished magnetizing), a Rhino (still sealed), A Sternguard squad (primed), Scouts with snipers (primed), and a marine on a bike (which I bought just because I am a fan of Judge Dredd and I liked the model). I also got a lot of Vallejo paints (I refuse to pay double the price for GW paints), a lot of brushes and some other random stuff. I still haven’t got the hardback rulebook, but I am trying to finish reading the small rulebook that was included in the AoBR set. I also got a Black Library book, the Caiphas Cain – Hero of the imperium, so I would get a feel for the setting. Oh, and some poor bloke, made a birthday gift of Tau devilfish and firewarrior to me, which ended up being useless to me since I am playing Space Marines. For some reason nobody seems to want to trade for it.

I still haven’t played a game of Warhammer 40k with anyone, I haven’t read the rules, and I wanted my first game to be with a fully painted squad, but things are going so slow. I am also reluctant to go to a WH40k club and play with someone experienced. I wouldn’t want to force them to explain to me all the rules I missed. My friend, fellow blogger Silevad, got AoBR so all I have to do in order to play a WH40K battle, is to convince him to finally glue all those models.

I am having a blast reading Greek warhammer forums which are full of DRAMA. Ever since my World of Warcraft days, I got addicted to drama! It’s very funny, seeing how Greece has only 30-40 Warhammer players, but almost 6 warhammer community/local club pages instead of a large one. And these pages are constantly getting divided and split into more… but more on that on another blog entry.


  1. Welcome! You're a much braver man than I to jump into the game without trying it first, but I'm confident that you will (as otherwise why would I be part of FTW?). Also much more disciplined... painting your army before playing a game? Lunacy my friend, lunacy...

  2. I agree with Mark, how can you make me feel so bad by waiting to play until you know the rules and have a painted squad. Seriously, I'm onto my third army for 40K but I am going to wait until it is painted before I put it onto the table.
    Max, welcome to the world of 40K. I think you are missing out on the community of 40K by not going and trying to play at one of the 40K clubs in your area. You don't have to bring your army, I think you will find there are some good players who won't mind explaining what is going on as they play a game, and may even lend you an army to try out a game.
    Also Max, the US Military has a number of 40K players, so with your good commandof english, if you were near a base you could check out the games stores in the areas there for a few more players.

  3. Battletechplayer in greece?

    are there any BT Player in Greece or Crete?
    I would like to make a fight and searching players, on Crete if possible.