I don’t like to give too much time to discussing Games Workshop’s games since I don’t play them at the moment for a variety of reasons. But the recent rumour that they may be releasing a Warhammer 40,000-themed skirmish game interests me.
The rumour appeared on the blog Blood of Kittens originally, and there are a few intriguing facets to it. Apparently what is in the works is a new “gateway” verison of Inquisitor that is heavily dependant upon John Blanche’s aesthetics (presumably like Dreadfleet was). One of my favourite Warhammer 40,000 bloggers, Fulgrim of Tears of Istvaan, has recently announced that he has a job at Games Workshop. Since Fulgrim is mainly an Inquisitor player, plays regularly with John Blanche, and was instrumental in bringing out the fan-released 28mm scale version of the game INQ28, I think this lends weight to the rumour.
It’s a strange thing to do though. Certainly Games Workshop must be noticing that there are a lot of gamers out there who just aren’t interested in behemothic battles crawling with tanks and titanic monsters and waves of infantry. Not at the scale of Games Workshop’s models any way. But Inquisitor? And Blanche’s art? Neither of these are particularly accessible bits of the company’s famous setting on which to base a game.
I prefer skirmish games when it comes to miniature wargaming. When I played Warhammer 40,000 I bugged my friends to play smaller games when they wanted to go larger. Maybe it’s because I started with Rogue Trader. But I think it’s more likely because I love to paint miniatures, and anything beyond a skirmish game is a big ask of someone who is a painter by temperament and wants to paint all of their models as well as they can. I also really enjoy the Inquisition as a theme amongst Games Workshop’s lore. Inquisition forces always allowed me the most freedom for baroque conversions but never quite sat with the larger scale of Warhammer 40,000.
But if – and it’s all still a rumour of course – this game were to come about, I don’t know how interested I’d be. I want options, not restrictions. What I want from a Games Workshop skirmish game is the ability to take any models from their range and use them against other people’s. A game centred on the Inquisition is going to be pretty limited in scope. Would it even be possible to fight a skirmish between Orks and Eldar for example? That was my only real gripe with the celebrated game Necromunda: it was limited to one world and a bunch of similar gangs when the Warhammer 40,000 universe has room for so much more.
So basically, I don’t think that a re-boot of Inquisitor is the wisest choice for a gateway game. As much as I appreciate both the Inquisition background and Blanche’s art, surely the iconic Space Marines would be a better introduction to the universe of Warhammer 40,000.
Until next time,