BBC Ask Why Grown Men are Playing with Toy Soldiers

March 13, 2012 by dracs

Samira Ahmed  has written a really comprehensive article for the BBC on just what it is that makes grown men pick up the paint brush and engage in mighty imaginary space battles.

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The article covers the length and breadth of our beloved hobby, from closet gamers to Games Workshop’s high prices.

The appeal is in collecting, assembling and painting the models, for play, which are manufactured in Nottingham (and Memphis, Tennessee) and sold through the Games Workshops chain and by mail order. Blood, torn flesh, grimacing skulls and very large guns and tanks feature prominently in the detailed artwork.

Despite the competition from online or console-based gaming, Warhammer continues to thrive, with successful spin-off novels set in the 40K universe. How many other British companies, for example, could report a 40% rise in their latest half-year pre-tax profits?

“It’s like why theatre remains popular in the age of cinema,” says 32-year-old Andrew Ruddick from Cambridge, explaining its enduring appeal. He describes himself as a “relapsed” Warhammer gamer, slipping back into it in his 20s with friends. “There’s an intimacy. With tabletop gaming you are there.”

I’m sure this story of a relapsed gamer is familiar to all. I myself drifted out of gaming for a while until I stumbled into the BoW office while looking for somewhere warm to sit.

However, the article reveals that its not just the older generation who are still in love with this 25 year old game. New players are being introduced all the time, with the article including quotes from across the ages, including one thirteen year old girl who wears pink as a form of psychological warfare against all those male gamers. Beware the pink!

The article goes on to say how this influx of new players has led to many claiming Games Workshop are now exploiting their monopoly (so what else is new?), with one long time player describing the prices as “eye watering.”

All in all this a really good article which could provide a good explanation to non-gamers just why we love our hobby. But could this article be a sign that gaming is moving more into the mainstream?

The popularity of wargaming cannot be denied, but is mainstream attention a good thing for the game?

Give the article a read guys and be sure to let us know your thoughts.

Why do you think adults are still getting into Warhammer?