Tuesday, 17 March 2015

When Fluff Meant Nothing...

For me, one of the great joys of Warhammer, when it came along, was just how open the world was. 

You got a skeleton of what is now an over-examined gaming world, which you could flesh out and shape to your own needs. And let's be honest, you never really needed all the 'fluff' in 1982. It was all about getting units on the table and knocking seven shades of imaginary shit out of the opposition.

I remember in one game, that a friend fielded a 3000 pt army which consisted of three wizards, who summoned demon after demon. Three Greater Demons ensured that on that day those seven shades of shit were:

Spectre (quite insubstantial stuff'
Fish Man
Skeleton (yes, he kicked me that hard)

But, it was a bloody good game, legal under the rules and did not need to be justified against any 'official' background story. There was a loophole and my mate used it to his advantage. After all how many 3000pt armies have you seen for a total of £12.60? 

They were great days, when floating castles 'just did' and no explanation was required. It was magic, it was mysticism it was FANTASY.

Best of all it was a fantasy that we created ourselves and which we did with relish and enthusiasm that would have modern parents reaching for either the Ritalin or, given how far gone we all were at times, the 'humane killer'.

When I was working on my first book I was speaking to the manager of GW Sheffield in the early 80s, and asked him why the staff at the miniatures counter (known then as 'the figure bar') were allowed to give us kids a hard time. The response was one which made me go red. Apparently we were so annoying (and remember that we were in there 6 days per week before the era of the 'GW creche') that he had to let them fight back or they'd go round the twist...

But I digress.

Recently I have seen posts on the internet, wherein grown men argue about what is canon and what is not. Reality check time...


That means that 'reality' can be what you want it to be. What a shocking notion that is.

For me, what has always been important is the flavour of the game itself. By that I mean the atmosphere, the people I share that experience with, the time we spend indulging in what for me has been a 35+ year love affair with the imaginary. I have never needed background to enjoy playing with little lead dollies, rolling dice and getting 'mundanes' to roll their eyes at me.

It is my opinion that we of 'a certain vintage' should try to spread some old school love at those who came after us, when Warhammer was strutting it's stuff like a sixth form punk at an 80s school disco, full of itself and posturing, but when it came down to it nothing special. Under the paint and peacockery it was fundamentally just another set of rules for playing with toy soldiers in the same way as that sixth former was just another kid in a room full of kids.

Anyway, for me fluff is just not that important... Your own opinion may differ. Both of us can exist in the same universe.