This is the article everyone could see coming from a mile away, but it ended up taking me more than a year to write this. It seems I’m perfecting the art of taking a while to write articles here on the blog.
Joking aside I do have a gestating period when it comes to writing articles like this. While some are born in the spur of the moment and seem to write themselves in a flash, others take their time inside my head, and this apparently is one of the latter.
I did mention on the first article of the “Visiting Britain’s Lead Belt” series I was travelling to Nottingham in order to visit some of the miniature gaming companies based there. Having already written articles about visiting Mantic Games and Warlord Games it was high time I addressed my visit to Games Workshop’s Warhammer World.
Founded in 1975 in the city of London in England by three game designers, John Peake, Ian Livingstone and Steve Jackson (not to be confused with the homonymous American game designer), of which the last two were pretty famous because of their “Fighting Fantasy” series of books, Games Workshop was born as a company that produced boards for other games, and soon after became the importer and distributer of the famous American Role Playing Game “Dungeons & Dragons”.
I don’t think anyone would predict back then how big the company would become, but in time Games Workshop left its original activities aside to focus on the production and development of miniatures for their popular wargames, Warhammer and Warhammer 40.000, whose IP belonged solely to GW. With the growth in popularity of its games GW saw the need to relocate to bigger premises and in 1997 consolidated all its departments in a single place in the city of Nottingham where, to this day, its corporate HQ, design studio, White Dwarf editorial offices, distribution centre for all of Europe and online sales centre are located.
It was only natural that with 40 years of history and huge premises at its disposal Games Workshop would dedicate some room to celebrating the success of the hobby it constructed and the products it makes, and that’s exactly what GW does at its Warhammer World.
Described as a visitor centre Warhammer World has evolved into an attraction on itself receiving visitors from all over the world that go there not only to attend tournaments and events held by GW (like its Throne of Skulls), but also to shop, play pick-up games, gather with friends for a drink in the in-house pub, or even just immerse in the atmosphere while admiring one of the largest, if not THE largest, collection of Citadel miniatures gathered in a single place. If you’re into the GW hobby there’s bound to be something for you to do there.
I had already visited Warhammer World with my friend Ivan, but that was more than 10 years ago. Thinking about it what we did back then was pretty stupid and had we planned accordingly we would have had a much better time, however, planning was the last thing we did, so we ended up taking a train all the way from Exeter to Nottingham early in the day, getting there in the early afternoon and heading back on the 7PM train. We spent more time travelling than actually enjoying the place, and we still had a blast.
The result was that I left that first visit wanting to come back one day, and that’s why having the chance to go there 10 years later I jumped at the opportunity, but this time around I’d make the trip count.
And that’s how I found myself on a train station to once again travel all the way from Exeter to Nottingham. The trip took a lot longer than the 4 hours it was supposed to last as I had to take a bus to Taunton, as the train lines linking the two cities were flooded by the pouring rain back in January 2014. Adding insult to injury our departure from Birmingham was also delayed as a train broke down ahead of us, so we had to wait until that was removed in order to continue the journey.
I got to Nottingham early in the afternoon and after checking into my hotel I wasted no time and took a taxi ride all the way to Willow Road, Lenton. There’s no mistaking the place as the huge Imperial Eagle on the front of the building proudly proclaim’s the place as Games Workshop’s HQ. I had arrived and by now I couldn’t hold back a discreet smile.
Before heading into Warhammer World I checked into Games Workshop’s reception. I did that 10 years ago and wanted to see what was different, and I wasn’t disappointed as they had some incredible armies on display there, the Blood Angel one having been featured in White Dwarf and later on the cover of a book that compiled the best armies shown in the magazine.
Yup, those were the models on display at the reception. You can tell by now what we’re getting into right? Well, leaving the reception it was time for Warhammer World, and in order to get there one must cross the parking lot and that’s when the discreet smile turned into a grin as I came across a real life sized Ultramarine’s Rhino. From that moment on it was hard to hold the fanboy in me in check.
Trying hard to overcome the excitement and the shock (Holy Moly, that was a RHINO back there!!!) it was time to get to Warhammer World.
During my visit there were four main areas in Warhammer World (that’s about to change, but I’ll talk about that in tomorrow’s article): the store, the gaming hall. Bugman’s Bar and the Citadel’s Hall of Miniatures, and that’s pretty much how I visited them.
My first stop had to be the store located inside as that one was special. Different from other GW stores around the globe the Warhammer World store is special because it sits at the very same place where GW’s warehouses are thus ing it ossible not only to order “Direct Only” items on the spot, but also all of Forgeworld’s miniature line. Having said that it is important to place your order as soon as possible in order to give the attendants time to process our order which effectively means going into the back and fetching our models for us. Another nice thing about it is that it has a lot more models on show than your average GW store.
Having sorted out my purchases it was time to finally get to enjoy the Warhammer World experience and I decided to do so by the HUMUNGOUS gaming hall. Few minutes made me want to emulate the flagelants from the Empire for not having brought an army with me, as the tables available begged to be played upon. I’m not over praising them when I use the word AMAZING, because every single table they had on display was that, amazing, and you get to use any available table, for free, to play on (or if you want to play on an specific one that suits your army, or your narrative, the only thing you have do is give them a call in advance and they will book that table for you, for the duration of your visit. Yes, break out the whip right?
Well, I quickly resigned myself to not being able to play, and spent some time chatting to the people who actually took their armies there, enjoying the beauty of the models and the tables while at the same time taking some photos to share here on the blog. There were loads of nice people to talk to, from the guys from the “HATE Club” (HATE actually stands for Hackney Area Tabletop Enthusiasts) to the guy pouring drinks at Bugman’s everyone I met on that day was pretty nice and willing talk about the hobby, so I couldn’t be happier.
Did I tell you about the gaming tables yet?
But after having a late lunch it was time to finally visit the Citadel’s Hall of Miniatures, the high point of visiting Warhammer World according to some, however, to check out that part of my visit you’ll have to come back tomorrow for the second part of this article.
No, I’m not trying to save content for another article, but after talking with a friend, I took his advice to split the article into two parts so it wouldn’t be too long. Do come back tomorrow for more. I’ll tease a bit:
Over and out.