Saturday, 14 May 2016

The Silver Age

You may have noticed that the new Warhammer Quest game, Silver Tower, is available from GW today.


No? That's news to you? Why in all the hells are you reading this obscure website then, get over to somewhere more mainstream and choke yourself gluttonously on the news feed!

Now that I've finished decimating our viewcount by sending you elsewhere, let's think about this news.

It's good news, I think. An introductory hobby game, with smashing models that feed into the larger tabletop system. Puts me in mind of a certain other genius classic of yore.

Your Gateway Drug of Choice

But you know, Silver Tower is good news in more ways than one. (also: terrible news for the United League of Wallets, worldwide)

GW, under its new manager, is rolling back some of the more... oh, let's be charitable here, and say 'financial' decisions of the previous few years. Sure, under the hood, they still want all your money in exchange for a tiny lump of plastic. Two, if you're lucky. But they feel a bit more hobby friendly than they have done of late, Their on-site blog is more about pics of models, conversions and tales from the table than a pure catalogue of where to send your bucks.

Hint: to this guy, in a big sack

And that's still not all.

Everywhere I look on Kickstarter, I see fantastic new board games with high-quality plastic being put out. Not just Kickstarter, in fact, but with big companies like Fantasy Flight. Classics return from the dead, relics like Talisman or Dungeonquest. Mainstream cinema ties in with successful games like X-Wing. There's a wider range of tabletop games to choose from than I ever remember before, with popular titles like Mantic's King's of War or the excellent Frostgrave doing well.

Legal teams have let the add-on market go nuts, with companies like Kromlech (to name but one) offering interesting resin bits to customize and make fantastic your models. 3D printing is taking off, even if the results aren't quite ahead of the curve yet.

Or you could just use lego.

It has never been easier to buy terrain to make your table look awesome. A range of battlemats for any biome, pretty much any time period of building rendered in cheap but tough MDF, some of the most elaborate resin castles ever created by mankind - the list is endless. Nearly endless. More endless that I can be bothered to surf through, and that'll do.

Computer games, which are fairly mainstream these days, are joining in. GW have partly surfed through the late financial crisis by selling the IP rights for many of their discontinued games to a variety of developers. Although they had a reputation for some dubious decisions in this market of late...

Image result for warhammer 40k chess
Errr... 40K themed chess? Okay, Battlechess was good, back in the day, I suppose. But really? And it's called Regicide? And it has a campaign mode? 

...many of the latest batch promise to bear great fruit. Computer game tech has come to a point where it can effectively realise the artwork and visions that live in our heads as we play the tabletop games. Nor is it slowing down. This year alone has already seen Battlefleet Gothic and Mordheim out as digital adaptions, with Man O' War (as a Sid Meier's Pirates-style game), Space Hulk (as an FPS like Doom) and both the big name games, 40K and Warhammer, not far behind.

Worship at the monolith, people. It will teach you to bash other monkeys with increasingly ridiculous melee weapons.

This last one, Warhammer, is a case near and dear to my heart. Having killed the Old World put it neatly into the purview of historical re-enactment specialists Creative Assembly, with the license passing to their Total War series of games. Total War games are my favourites, the nearest to a perfect tabletop campaign you can get. Without the inconvenience of having to paint models, construct scenery or talk to other people, at least.

I shall be playing the hell out of this game and turning the results into a campaign blog on this very site in the near future, so expect hysterical squealing.

What does this all mean?

Well, I reckon this is the Silver Age of Gaming.

Too early to call, maybe. Maybe it's even a Golden Age, the first fruits of genius having ripened after being planted in the 80s. But there are too many remakes and re-releases of games for this to be Gold, I think, it's the softer and more stylish glamour of a second coming.

Perhaps this means we have nothing but slow decline and eventual senescence to look forward to, as the world moves on from our beloved hobby. Perhaps the best is still yet to come. Perhaps you disagree with me, and I'm deluded by my own fascinations.

It matters not. I bet you're still tempted by Silver Tower, and more excited about the overall state of gaming than ever before, and that's cool by me.

*rolls dice right off the screen and into your living room*


  1. Just completed my pre-order.

    Phew! Can't believe it took me a whole four minutes!