Using alternative miniatures in your games!
- by James Carey
Time has passed since the early days of miniature gaming, when Games Workshop effectively stood alone in miniature gaming. Since the early days of Warhammer 40,000 Rogue Trader and the Warhammer Fantasy Role Play Mass Combat game, many things have changed. For one, Games Workshop are now a commercial juggernaught. Still a leader in their field and turning profits in a recession, there are so many mainstream commercial enterprises which are falling on hard times (HMV) or as we all know too well are gone altogether.
While GW has undoubtedly changed in the last fifteen or so years, so have many other things in gaming. Other companies have surfaced some have come and gone while others, like Privateer Press, Corvus Belli, Mantic games, Rackham, Warlord Games, and Mongoose Publishing to name a few have surfaced. Some have had a massive impact on the hobby on a world-wide scale, bringing something new and special to the hobby, for the benefit of all! Maybe doing GW the favour of providing some healthy competition. Unfortunately, some have faded into the mists of obscurity for all time*.
So with many other companies, new and old, producing models in a varied range including historical, fantasy, science fiction, and alternative history, the modern gamer has a wide amount of choice for alternative toy soldiers to really personalise their own armies.
Personally, I have always liked to use models from the same company, regardless of game, in my armies for conversions or even simply alternative models. Over time though, this has changed slightly, but my own reason for doing so was because I felt the consistent look with the same scale and sculptors across the ranges, primarily with my GW armies seemed somehow more fitting. While I have become more lax with this on account of more products being available to me I still retain this mentality with Privateer Press games, mainly because that particular line and gaming world is so unique. In contrast, you could easily use some generic sci-fi soldiers or even WW2 models as Imperial Guard regiments for Warhammer (if the scale is right, in my humble opinion…), it is very hard to find an alternative for Cryx Bonejacks or Cyngar Stormblades.
Now, we come full circle. The tournament scene in Ireland has exploded in the last few years. People are travelling to more events, the internet has become a very useful communications tool for advertising tournaments and interaction between gamers who normally would not get the chance to talk all that much. While I miss Games Workshop running tournaments in Ireland, I think it is a very good thing that there are independently run tournaments by gamers, for gamers. A major problem I always had with the Games Workshop tournament pack was models had to be GW. This used to be the model having to be at least 50% GW. I heard recently that this percentage has increased. ‘Terrible’ is the word I would use to describe this rule.
I remember a few years back a GW tournament in Limerick where a local (at the time) from the Gathering used a Feral Ork army, using large dinosaur models as his Squiggoths and converting them. He had two in the army if I recall correctly. Long story short, he was told he couldn’t use them as they were not 50% GW, and part of them were scratch built. So, this cool, unique army was not allowed to play! I don’t know if this guy stopped playing because of this, but within a few months he had stopped visiting into the shop, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen him at a con or a tournament since. I’d imagine that these two things are related. I could be wrong, in fact I hope I’m wrong but due to this silly rule, a unique army has been lost to the gaming scene, and now Ireland is down one gamer.
Anyway, let’s try and keep it positive, and less about anger at big businesses and their brain-dead policies. Mantic games have released their Space Dwarves**, and they are very, very nice. What the hell, they are awesome. Buy them, use them as Forge Fathers in Warpath, and get friends in your gaming group interested by getting the local Space Ork player to bring along his models to use as Warpath Orx***, so nobody else has to spend money if they don’t want to. Then, use your Space Dwarves as Space Marines, in independently run tournaments, where it will be allowed. So now, you have saved money with less expensive models, have an army for two games, and in one game, a very unique looking Space Marine army.
I hope you enjoyed reading this article, and hope it didn’t come across as a jumbled mess with no direction in its writing, or a shameless plug of my own political opinion/agenda. Vote Republican! Gingrich 2012
Remember: Violence is never the answer, unless the question is ‘What is not the answer?’
*Rest in peace, Starship Troopers. Your time with us, though short, is fondly remembered.
**Pronounced ‘Forge Fathers’