On a bright fall Saturday morning, about a dozen young men gather in the upstairs loft of Memory Lane Antiques to face the grim battlefields of the 41st Millennium. On this day, they are die-hard soldiers or, perhaps more accurately, enthusiastic competitors in a game of Warhammer 40,000.
This particular game of Warhammer is being hosted by a local club, the Tri-Hards, and is a preparatory tournament for the upcoming Warzone: Atlanta Grand Tournament to be held in November in Georgia. The Tri-Hards are led by Ricky Addington, a lifelong resident of Scott County and fan of the Warhammer hobby.
Jackie and Harold Kimbler, the owners of Memory Lane, have donated a large portion of their store to the Tri-Hards as a gaming space and even stock the models, paints, and rulebooks in their store so that locals don’t have to travel so far to enjoy the hobby.
Creating a Warhammer 40,000 game room is not an inexpensive investment. Addington and other members of the Tri-Hards have built twelve tables along with numerous individual pieces of terrain for the games to play out on. From haunted forests to frozen ruins, they are able to fight battles in any environment they desire. They also have tables set up for many other games if they aren’t playing Warhammer that day.
Warhammer 40,000 is a tabletop game for two of more players, where you command an army of miniatures representing the “Imperium of Man” or one of its many enemies. Warhammer offers three broad gaming styles—open play, narrative play and matched play. Open play is considered the easiest way to start playing. All you need in Open Play is a few models and dice.
Addington explains, “Warhammer is similar to playing a video game, except you have analog rules in which you roll dice to determine the order of play and you are interacting with people instead of sitting in a room alone in front of a television. It’s a very social hobby.”
Miniature models of soldiers, tanks, alien monsters, and other weaponry are used in game. The actions of each is determined by a roll of the dice and the use of a tape measure. There are also different rules for each Warhammer figure so that each model plays a little differently.
To the novice, it’s a rather complicated game. Paul Murphy, of Atlanta and host of the Warhammer Podcast, “Forge the Narrative,” explains the game is just like any other hobby. “You can invest as much or as little as you want in this game. Instead of playing golf on a Saturday morning, we play Warhammer.”
Warhammer is a game of both luck and strategy. Luck in the fact that a roll of the dice determines how effective your actions are, but strategy in the fact that you determine the best way to use your dice roll.
Most of the competitors on this particular day spend a lot of time playing. “It’s like any other game or hobby, the more you play the better player you become,” Murphy adds.
Murphy is considered to be one of the foremost Warhammer 40,000 players in the nation. He often travels the country to play in major tournaments with the Tri-Hards and with his own club, The Wrong Way Kids. On this Saturday, participants had come from throughout the region, Knoxville and North Carolina to participate.
Murphy added Warhammer isn’t just about winning, but also building and painting the miniature models. “The object of the game is to win, but you can also receive awards for models and sportsmanship.” During the Tri-Hards’ tournament, awards were presented for “Best Sport,” “Best Appearance,” Best Overall, and “Best General.”
Contestants pay to play, but all the proceeds are put back into equipping the gaming area or for door prizes. Memory Lane sells a wide variety of Warhammer products, and Jackie explains, her son puts all the proceeds back into building and expanding the gaming area. At this time, Memory Lane has more tables dedicated to miniature wargaming than any other store in the Tri-Cities region.
The Tri-Hards club is open to any player. Novices are invited and encouraged to attend gaming events at Memory Lane or to join the Tri-Hards Gaming Facebook Page for news and upcoming events. For more information, contact Addington at [email protected]