Game fans to battle it out

At Games Day 2010, fans of Warhammer and other war games face off — and socialize

August 19, 2010|By Kayla Bawroski, The Baltimore Sun

Prepare for battle, Baltimore, because a wave of miniature armies is on its way this weekend. Watch out for the Wood Elves of Warhammer, whose loyalty to good or evil is unknown, and make way for the heroic Hobbits of the Lord of the Rings.

These armies and more will meet at Games Day 2010, an event taking place at the Baltimore Convention Center for Games Workshop's three board games: Warhammer, Warhammer 40,000 and Lord of the Rings Strategy Battle Game. It's about more than war this weekend, though. It's a celebration of a hobby.

"This niche hobby has different aspects that appeal differently to each individual, just as any hobby does," Megan J. L. Torrini, outreach manager for Games Workshop, said. "Some people just like to paint and some people just like to battle, some people are very involved in the stories and some like to create dynamic displays and scenic terrain for battles to take place. It's your hobby!"

This is the first major event of this size, Torrini said. In the past there were several gaming events throughout the year, but this year, there is only Games Day 2010.

"We wanted to just make one big awesome event, rather than a few that kind of bring down what it could be," she said.

Some hobbyists come to battle, and others to show off the miniature worlds they've created on a tabletop.

There will also be a costume contest, a drawing contest, open gaming and the Golden Demon competition, a contest that celebrates the artistry behind painting miniatures.

"When you see the painting and the detail that these people get on the miniatures, it will seriously blow your mind," Torrini said. "You can see that people have spent hours, or days, or even weeks to perfect one miniature."

Nearly 25 percent of the people who attend these events come solely for the painting and drawing contests, according to Torrini. Other hobbyists come for the gaming sessions and the opportunity to socialize.

"They'll have open gaming, for people who just want to meet people from different places," Torrini said. "They have friendly competition there."

Games Day 2010 will also feature guests, such as artist John Blanche, right from the pages of Dwarf Magazine, Games Workshop's literary companion to the board games. Many of the guests are also known for their literary work in Black Library, bringing the characters of Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000 to life in novels.

Contrary to social stereotypes, the games are played by not only by nerdy teenage boys, but can appeal to any age or gender.

"The winner of the Golden Demon competition was a female last year, and I myself am 30 and a hobbyist, I collect and play wood elves and dryads," Torrini said. "It really comes down to what we like to call the 'hobby gene.' "

Games Day 2010 is an for fans to connect and for those interested to learn more about the hobby. The Games Workshop world is a niche within a niche, according to a Torrini, a passionate hobby amid the dwindling world of hobbies.

"Especially nowadays, hobbies are null and void almost and there is a need for instant gratification," she said. "And when it comes to a hobby, it's not instant gratification, it's something that you spend a lot of time and personal commitment and pride doing, and I think that's why that word 'passion' comes to mind."

Though the event focuses on Warhammer, Warhammer 40,000 and Lord of the Rings, there will also be other gaming events for visitors, including the Blood Bowl game for Xbox 360 and Playstation 3.

If you go

Games Day 2010 runs 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday at the Baltimore Convention Center, 1 W. Pratt St. Tickets are $25 and available at the door. For more information, go to games-workshop.com.

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