Lifting the lid on the hobby

By Chris King

Earlier this month, WS&S went along to Warlord Games' Headquarters, in Nottingham, for their 2022 Open Day, and it was an experience that is worth delving into a little.

The Warlord Open Day is a great opportunity to glance behind the scenes at what goes into the hobby and to see a little of what goes into the commercial side of tabletop wargaming. That said, this isn't written as yet another blow-by-blow 'review' or 'breaking news sneak-peek bombshell' - I want to talk more about the tone and 'feel' of the day. 

Which was very impressive indeed. 

Don't get me wrong - my impressions are very easily swayed by bacon sandwiches, so to be greeted by a fast-food van right by their main gates put me in a very receptive frame of mind, but the whole day felt very pleasant throughout. 

Being handed a great little goody-bag on arrival helped.

We're a grumpy bunch in this hobby sometimes, but even so I was surprised to hear that some were unimpressed: the price value of the freebies easily outstripped the cost of the entrance ticket, and that's before they threw in a free tank. Did I mention the free tank yet? - I'll come back to the free tank.

(the Warlord Games Laser Display Screen)

The space outside the building (car-park, probably, but let's call it the 'courtyard') was full of some very pretty demo- and participation games, about some of which we may well blog in future, and there were timed events too, such as seminars by Messrs. Stallard, Sawyer and Priestley, and tours of the operation too.

Essentially, friendliness was evidently the day's watchword. If we bear in mind that this was a Saturday, and that the Warlord staff were working there whilst about 98 percent of the visitors clearly were not working, the staff were very friendly. Welcoming too. John Stallard played a gregarious host to the half-hourly tours of punters shuffling wide-eyed into his office, and the same was true of everyone we met.

(one of the many beautiful models on display - in this case, sadly not a gaming piece.)

After a brief introduction, sculptors, modellers and painters were happy to take questions about what they were up to (despite the amount of fishing going on for juicy hints about forthcoming releases!) and it was lovely to hear sensible, engaged questions being asked in an informed and engaging way. Well done to the studio team: so far, so positive! 

We then got to see the brilliant team of casters at work: resin first, then Siocast, and finally the traditional white metal.

The experience was brilliantly enlightening and - and here is really the main thrust of this post - the staff were without exception brilliantly enthusiastic: they clearly loved what they do.

(Not only new toys but the forthcoming starter set for Bolt Action, too!)

They made us welcome, they showed us a brief snippet of their arcane arts, and they did so in a way that really showed off our hobby in the best possible way. In the group I toured with, there were a couple of non-gamers (I've no idea how they ended up there) and they were just as impressed as was. No easy task.

All in all, I believe this was a masterstroke of hobby PR. Yes, most of the world can't easily make it to the Nottinghamshire 'Lead-Belt' for an idle Saturday afternoon, but for those who could, the staff were amazing, and the atmosphere there was one that it would be wonderful to bottle and reproduce across the hobby: forward-thinking and optimistic - not a navel-gazing grognard in sight! 

(Oh yes - and everyone who went got the chance to build and take away a free tank too: not too shabby, that.)

1 comment

Wow! Some are never happy! I would love to be able to attend an open house, freebies or no!

Don Mac Intyre

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