Why every child should grow up playing Warhammer.

Warhammer has it all for the generation of children addicted to their screens.

For those of you who don’t already know, Warhammer is a tabletop based game which encompasses all the greatest parts of miniature gaming into one experience. It starts with buying unassembled models which you then put together, paint any way you like, then battle against your friends with a set of rules designed around your armies unique characteristics.

My Mighty Space Marines (White Scars)

There are a string of armies to choose from. From the mighty Space Marines, to the Daemonic hordes of Chaos, and the terrifying Tyranids swarms. All of which have huge back stories fleshed out in hundreds of books, giving people more than just inanimate army men to command but characters and races which you can connect with on a deep and emotional basis.

I grew up in the 90’s, back when Warhammer 2nd edition was prevalent. Some of the best memories I have are building my armies of lead miniatures and painting them up myself (while sticking my fingers together with super glue in the process!), all so I could bring them round my friends house and CRUSH them in glorious battle on the tabletop!

Early work (courtesy of my good friend Gerry)

For many people, collecting Warhammer is a right of passage in the UK. An essential part of any childhood which holds many treasured memories for millions. As these generations grew up and moved away from Warhammer they have started to get back into the hobby again to relive these treasured memories. This has seen a huge spike in players getting back into the game as people settle down, have children of their own, and now have disposable income to spend.

Iconic 2nd edition artwork

Warhammer had a very important role in my development as a child, teaching me important skills which today’s generation are seriously lacking. Whether it be from reading and understanding complex rules, learning how to assemble and paint models by hand, and the social and strategic side of the battle itself.

Today, the models are made from a much safer plastic. The range is nearly unlimited too, with the diversity of the hobby giving you the ability to pick and choose the different parts of the hobby to suit you. Some people just like the painting side of the hobby, some like to read the books, while others join for the tabletop battles. People like myself have dived in head first and do the entire lot!

I introduced my son to Warhammer at the age of 8 and he has been obsessed with the hobby ever since. Now at the age of 11, Warhammer has brought us closer together through a shared interest. We discuss the latest releases, paint together, and have developed a bitter rivalry on the battle field!

My son building his first Death Guard army

The best thing about the hobby is that Warhammer has a diverse lore and complex rules which is engaging for all ages. It has numerous levels with some books even having adult themes (I am looking at you, Slaanesh). This means for a parent joining in the hobby to specifically bond with their children can still enjoy it in their own right and is not such a chore to engage with them — unlike having to sit there playing Mario on a Nintendo Switch, for example!

With all that aside, here are my top reasons why you should also be considering getting your daughter or son into the hobby.

1. Getting them away from that blasted screen!

As parents we are always trying to distract children from their phones, games consoles, and television screens but more often than not the pull is just too great!

Warhammer offers a board gaming experience which engages children in a way which their generation have almost completely lost.

The scenery, the absolutely stunning selection of monsters, tanks, and hero’s, the strategy, and atmosphere of gaming around a table with other children. For some children this is an alien concept which can inspire and show them a world which they never knew existed. For some, it may be a shock, with attention spans at a record low but Warhammer have even thought of that, with games which can last from anything from 20 minutes to 5 hours!

Hours of fun away from the screen!

The best thing about the hobby is the Warhammer shops across the country which have gaming tables and miniatures already set up and ready to play. The staff at Warhammer are excellent and are willing to sit there for hours (time permitting) to talk and show you demo games to give your child a taste of what to expect, so there is no need to worry about forking out a fortune only to find your child is not interested.

My son and his friends joining in at one of the many Warhammer birthday party events at his local store.

It’s also worth mentioning that Warhammer do subscription magazines which are available at most local supermarkets which give you a gentle start into the painting side of the hobby. Each issue comes with a few paints, a brush, and a plastic model to paint. This will include instructions and explain more of the rabbit hole you are about to go down without breaking the bank.

Conquest magazine — available at most local supermarkets

2. Social skills and learning to compete.

The competitive edge of Warhammer doesn’t only lend itself to “win at all costs" players who haul their army to hyper competitive tournaments across the country.

Teaching a child how to win and lose is an essential part of life. Most children today rarely play board games and will only learn how to deal with defeat through the anonymity of playing online. This will not equip them with the essential life skills of being a good loser or humble winner in the same way as gaming in person.

Most importantly, the hobby teaches them that winning at all costs isn’t everything. Something which can be hard for a child. My son has long disposed of the idea of winning games and sees it as an added extra if he does. As long as he can field an army of completely bizarre and hilariously fun monsters, he’s happy!

This is exactly how it should be!

It’s all about the game!

3. Reading, maths, and learning how to follow rules.

The Warhammer lore is immense and vast with hundreds of books explaining the story and history of each army and character. I have literally lost count of the number of books there are in the Warhammer universe. Games Workshop have also released a new series of books which are aimed at children giving a gentle introduction into the universe.

There are also rule books for the armies called codexs for the gaming side of the hobby which are much more accessible for children. These are filled with short stories and stunning art work which really capture the imagination of children.

I remember being fascinated by the Gothic style art work as a kid. At the time, I had never seen anything like it and to be honest, even today, with most comparable hobbies still use soulless computer generated images…they just aren’t the same!

Classic retro Warhammer artwork

My son will sit there for hours reading the latest rules, working out which strategy works best against each army and unravelling the exciting story lines of his chosen army at the same time. This has improved his reading, critical thinking and understanding rules, and applying them to real life situations.

Warhammer is also a good way of gently introducing children into maths. By rolling dice my son has worked out the importance of statistics and odds. He has to frequently add and subtract numbers as armies are built up on points for the sake of fairness, so each game is balanced. This means he is having to keep a tally of points spent in his army so he does not go over his point cap.

My boys collection of codex’s. I will come down some mornings and find them spread across the floor being frantically studied.

4. Hand eye coordination.

When was the last time a child wanted to paint? Any time you ask children today what they want to do it’s an immediate response of their phone or games console.

There is nothing quite like seeing a child getting excited about buying a model they have identified for their army, saving up the money themselves, then getting it home and then painting it themselves. The sense of accomplishment and achievement slotting in that final missing piece to your army is unparalleled.

You can walk in off the street and start painting or gaming at any number of local Warhammer stores.

This will teach your child patience, improve hand eye coordination, and learn the importance of doing something a certain way. Most importantly, this is an activity you can do together.

5. Delayed gratification.

As you can tell already by reading this far, there is a lot of delayed gratification in his hobby. This is one of the most important skills to teach a child and numerous studies have linked it to successful development.

Learning to build up an army slowly, really think about what kind of army you want to field, taking your time to paint that army, and play a game which can last hours is going to benefit your child greatly over the years.

Making decisions so important that it requires a sit down in the middle of the shop

Currently, my son is saving up his pocket money for a model he wants as the crowning jewel of his Ork horde. He has worked hard to save up, has done extra chores, and has scarified Christmas presents for money to build up his funds to finally get the monstrous Gargantuan Squiggoth.

Thanks for reading!

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Aspiring professional writer. Owner of The Cambridge Curry Community & Cambridge Foodies Facebook groups. HEDip in Economics & Mathematical Science.

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Simon Tompkins

Simon Tompkins

Aspiring professional writer. Owner of The Cambridge Curry Community & Cambridge Foodies Facebook groups. HEDip in Economics & Mathematical Science.

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