Sunday, September 21, 2008

Introducing Warhammer to your own children..

Having an intense hobby like Warhammer is impossible to 'hide' from the family, and dealing with weaponry, killing and death is always a delicate issue in the family. I was not at all interested in having our kids be exposed to violence, even if it is in a fantasy surrounding, and so it has taken until now before I decided to teach the game to my oldest daughter, who is nine.
She has seen me modeling extensively for years but never really showed an interest. As part of a deal with my wife I promised not to model any gruesome models and so Chaos or Skaven was out of the question for me. My 40K Orks were about as 'nasty' as I could get away with, while modeling at the breakfast table.
I made my mind up after realizing that math in school is not much fun for a nine year old, and placing numbers and what they can do, in a fun setting would really help her enjoy them more. Warhammer seems perfect for this experiment of bringing math in a fun way into the house; there is lots of hidden math in the game, like counting, guessing measurements, making the measurements with rulers, rolling lots of dice and memorizing stats. It IS a real numbers game!.
When I asked her if she wanted to do it, she shrugged and said 'sure'.
So we borrowed the old Skirmish Rulebook from our oracle Christian (who owns most of these old Warhammer books) and started out 3 weeks ago with really simple scenarios. This book is hilarious and totally makes the game accessible to younger children that you DON'T want to expose to the tragedy of 40K, where you really can't make the leap from serious to frivolous and happy.

I have a Dwarf and a Wood Elf Army so that works out really well for my daughter; very much in line with the fantasy world that she dreams of.
In starting the games, I decided not to use magic and not to use the to hit modifiers, that would become too convoluted. The first one we did was 'Free the Dragon'. The dwarfs had captured a Wood Elves Dragon and the Elves wanted it back. It was a great success, my daughter won and she loved it. Last week we played Rob the Eggs from the Dragon Nest, which ended in a draw and today we played Shadows in the Forest, which was a real nail biter and also ended evenly. For terrain today we needed tons of trees and we used all the Playmobil trees we could find in their room. Of course her little sister (5) helped to set it up.

Look at the paint job on those Wood Elves...they were my first Fantasy Army and really didn't have clue how to I need to work on those a little. Of course my daughter doesn't care.

Our nine year-old absolutely loves the game now and looks forward to it every week. I will not introduce modeling and painting or using our toxic glues; it will be all about rolling dice and adding numbers! For me it is wonderful to share the hobby and get back into the fantasy swing of things. All in all I am a happy and proud dad! Next week this battle is coming up:

I mean, what's not to like?

PS. Later on they both helped me with some clipping of the sprues.
That is good stuff for young kids: sharp tools and a need for fine motor skills. And it saves me lots of time...
here's my 5 year old showing off her clippings:

and here they are both hard at work.


  1. Sounds like a great way to introduce the game to younger family members. And that book sounds great for the job, a lucky find! Also, I never knew you could put the kids to work clipping parts... maybe I should have had some!

  2. Brilliant Job. My daughter has her first birthday in October, so I'm still a long way out - nine seems good age to introduce the 'fun' aspect of adding up! I remember I got into D&D at 10-11. So that age seems a good one to introduce more complex percentage work.

  3. Something like this is really what I like about hobby blogs. Sure its nice to look at peoples hobby projects and new rules and rumours of whats coming out next, but stuff like this is legend.

    My wife has a friend at work whose son is 9 and just started out at warhammer in his local school. I've been signed up to teach him how to glue his metal models together and paint them. My regular gaming buddy also has a son who is coming to the age where he is now up and about when we game and is also showing an interest.

    Introducing new people is all good and well, but passing on your knowledge and skills to the younger generation is much more satisfying. Plus it makes getting a game in easier if all the family play.

    Have you not thought of using heroquest or other simple board game which is also another avenue in?

  4. My daughter is 11, and interested in tabletop gaming... but she likes the idea of painting the Marines from the Black Reach box, so she's going to make a Salamanders army.

  5. brilliant! those playmobil trees and flowers really add a surreal look to a battle table... good to see you got beat by your 9yr old daughter too!

  6. Such a nice way to introduce to tabletop. Thanks to you, another generation of our beloved hobby is now secure. I want to become a Hobby dad too...but I still dont have kids.