One step closer to the dork side

A few weeks ago my kids suddenly got it into their heads that they wanted to play Warhammer. For those who don’t know, it’s a wargame in a fantasy setting that uses miniatures. I was fairly heavily into it back in my bachelor days when I had both time and money to spend on such things. Since I got married and had a family (and a job), however, I’ve not played that much. For one thing, it’s not a short game. It can take an hour or more just to set up to play. The game itself can take two to six hours.

For another thing, Games Workshop, who makes the game, likes to come out with new rulebooks every few years, and often new miniatures (many of which don’t really work well with older ones). It just got too expensive to keep up. I still haven’t painted all the miniatures I already have. Another problem is a lack of people to play with. Finding people I like who play the game is difficult enough. Finding a time when both of us can set aside six hours is rare. It’s been several years since I last played.

So I’ve been hanging on to my stuff, waiting for the day my kids get old enough to understand the game.

That day may have come. Recently my older two got it into their heads they wanted to learn how to play. They’re eleven and nine, so I think the finer points of the game are still beyond their reach. But I agreed to start teaching them. They quickly showed that lectures and discussions from the rulebook wasn’t going to work very well. And, frankly, that’s not the way I first learned, either. I learned by playing, when the local game store sponsored a “Warhammer Day” at the university. They had some excellent (and patient) players come with pre-made armies so anyone could walk in off the street and try a game. The players would walk you through how everything worked, and after an hour or two you had a feel for the basics. It was fun, and effective. At least they hooked me.

So I decided that might be the best way to start the kids off, too. I had a day off last week, so we took the afternoon and set up a quick demo game (“Quick” being relative. It still took three hours). It was not my intent to show them everything, or have a serious battle, just let them get a feel for how the game works. They had fun, and since I’d made it clear we were practicing, not playing a serious game, they took winning/losing pretty well. They are eager to play again. They’ll need to do some more “book-larnin” first, but if I’m patient, in a year or two they might be ready to give their father a serious run for it.

My youngest realizes it’s too complicated a game for him for now. He instead committed me to teach him how to play Pokemon. Last night I spent some time with him showing him the important information on the cards and the basic flow of the game. We’ll be battling it out this weekend.

And so I lead my children one step closer to true geekdom. Not that my kids ever stood a chance of being normal anyhow.