By the time I’d started high school hobby time had really dropped off. My once coveted starter set had been replaced with a new edition - featuring two new armies: Lizardmen & Brettonians. By now most of my troops had also fallen victim to the vacuum. According to my parents goblin spear tips are sharper than the modelling tools I wasn’t allowed to buy, especially when stood on! Those of us that still collected rarely ever played too.
A good friend of mine from school (and scouts!) in the year above introduced me his friend & next door neighbour, and said they both collected Warhammer. Keen to keep my hobby fix going I was invited to join them for games over the summer holidays. However when we all got together I found out they weren’t playing fantasy at all, but met regularly to play a board game called Bloodbowl. After watching them play a game together I was really keen to find out more.
Bloodbowl has everything I love about the hobby in one. Every team in the game is subject to the random encounters & chaotic play style that had appealed to me within the Orcs & Goblins armies of Warhammer Fantasy. Epic star players with unique abilities appealed to my love of Hero-Hammer, including large creatures like treemen literally huringl smaller players (with or without the ball) goblins that can sneak chainsaws & pogo-sticks onto the pitch & undead coaches that can literally reanimate murdered players into zombies for their team! Most fun of all is that every important decision is won or lost on a single dice roll. Even the weather & the crowd can impact the course of the games!
I was hooked. The next time I went into my local Games Workshop, this time with new hobby friends in tow, I realised that there was a huge range of miniatures involved in the game from star players to cheerleaders & much more. There were also expansions: deathzone & dungeonbowl to add even more layers to the game. Special play cards & dirty trick cards added bribes & cheating to occur within matches.
In hindsight, I suppose this was the real origin of the Hampshire Hammerers, or at least the ideal of what the original ‘club’ would set out to be. My two friends, one of their brothers & I created our own leagues that we would play out over the school holidays including cup games & transfers. It was the first time I’d been involved in any kind of continuous play within the hobby & loved the progression of teams’ finances, skills & experience throughout leagues & cups. Something I enjoyed so much that I evolved it many years later when I moved to Winchester.
Have you got a favourite specialist game? Or bloodbowl team? Or is there a game that Games Workshop once creates that you’d like to see return? Let us know!