Why did my brain just make me say that? I can’t believe I just said that. The guys are all looking at me with such shame. This was meant to be a nice night out with my friends, why on Earth did I have to mention I collect Warhammer? The looks on their faces and the disappointment in their voices says it all. I have lost a portion of my friends respect for partaking in the hobby of Warhammer. But when did Warhammer become so…bad?

For those of you unaware, Warhammer is a tabletop wargame franchise created by Games Workshop. Players collect miniature plastic figurines from different factions, who all have different abilities and statistics; for example some factions have better melee combatants but weaker ranged units, and the same can be said in the reverse. Players then assemble armies from these figurines, and fight battles between each other. Rules for these games are different to typical board games, for example, melee and ranged combat is resolved via a player’s dice rolls. Originally the franchise was just Warhammer Fantasy Battle, created in 1983, but in 1987; Warhammer 40,000 (Warhammer 40K) was created which copied the basic rules of the original, but changed the fantasy setting to a futuristic sci-fi setting, 40,000 years in the future. Warhammer 40K has always been the more popular game amongst fans since its inception, and I personally collect models from this version of the Warhammer franchise.

I mean surely there are worse things I could be doing, instead of collecting miniature models, right? All I’m simply doing is gluing pieces of plastic together and painting them. Lets be honest with ourselves, these models look pretty cool. Come on now. I know you agree with me.

An example of one of my “shameful” Warhammer models. This particular model is a “Wave Serpent” from the “Eldar” faction, from the Warhammer 40K franchise.

Yet socially, I seem to have committed some sort of unforgivable sin. But it seems so long ago this hobby seemed cool. When I was younger, I remember seeing the box of the starter kit for the Warhammer 40K game; “Battle of Macragge” and looking at the box art and thinking, “This looks really cool”. I had always been a fan of the science-fiction genre since a child and Warhammer 40K really appealed to me as a child. Super-humans clad in power armour, fighting aliens and demonic beings with all kinds of futuristic technology. Back in the day, this used to be cool, so why isn’t it cool anymore?

A few more Eldar faction models I’ve painted. These are two “Eldar Guardians” alongside a “Heavy Weapon Platform”.

Is there a social stigma to the hobby? Certainly there is a “geeky” aspect prevalent, but hey, I thought geek was chic these days. Yes, I did just say that. But I won’t deny the stereotype of geekiness is present in tabletop war games, particularly in the older gamers and collectors, but is that any different to someone playing video games? You wouldn’t them a geek, you would call them a gamer. Besides these tabletop enthusiasts choose to spend their money on plastic miniatures, paints and rule books. Just like some peoplechoose to spend money on clothes or nights out drinking, it is up to people individually to spend money how they like. Who are we to judge them?

Personally I can’t understand why people look down at this kind of hobby. These tabletop games are so popular, they have spawned popular books and video games. You might have even played some of these games such as the “Dawn of War” series or “Total War: Warhammer”. Two critically and commercially successful video game franchises set in the world of Warhammer 40K and Warhammer Fantasy respectively. The hobby might be overtly geeky to some, who see a stereotype of social awkwardness and geeks who partake in this hobby, but I enjoy the hobby nonetheless. I enjoy reading about the fictional universe and the events that occur in it, and I enjoy quietly painting models in solace.

That being said, it’s probably easier to not mention it when out with friends. It’s a lot easier to avoid committing horrific social fopaux that way. But when I return from social excursions, and the coast is clear, it’s back to Warhammer.

Am I right to hide my love for Warhammer and miniature models from my friends, or should I proudly show my love for the hobby to them? I’m interested to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

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