Tuesday, December 27, 2016

My Journey to Mordheim – Part 1

Today in The Cube:

Howdy folks and welcome back - hope you've had a nice holiday!

Anybody who happens to follow me on social media is probably familiar with the fact that I'm very interested in he old Games Workshop boardgame/wargame known as Mordheim. I'll not go into the rules or even the canonical history of the game - there are many others who could do better justice to it on that score - but the game has fascinated me enough to the point that I've really started devoting much of my hobby time to my own conception of the game. (For instance, check out the #mordheim2016 hashtag on Instagram to see the progress of a Mordheim game board project that took up 6 months of my time this year.) This, strangely, despite the fact that I've actually never even played a game of it.

I have, however, been captivated by the ethos and aesthetics of the game, set in a moribund city decimated by a meteor and crawling with all kinds of factions vying for supremacy. It's a skirmish game, for small groups of characters to battle, largely in a setting the size of a small neighborhood.

If you google "mordheim board" and look at the images that result, you'll see one of the reasons I'm captivated by how this game looks. Set in a world that looks like high-Medieval or early-Renaissance Europe, it's redolent of mud, plague, and hardscarbble characters. There's a mix of technologies, everything from your standard swords, warhammers and other implements of battle, to matchlock rifles, pistols, and cannon.

I've always liked the aesthetic of World War I - gray skies, mud, trenches, muck, bombed-out buildings, and so on. Mordheim has this in spades. You're playing in a ruined city, with characters cut out of the pages of a novel by Dumas or a woodcut by Durer or a painting by Pieter Brueghel. There's a strong sense of horror and the macabre in the game. Check out fan-driven miniature projects like Outgard, or the popularity of Frostgrave (a clear Mordheim imitator) and you can see these aspects reflected in them.

Now, I'd never heard of Mordheim until a few years back. A friend – the same one who introduced me to D&D about a decade ago – mentioned he'd played it, showed me a picture of one of the half-timbered houses he'd built, and provided me with a copy of the rules. I was hooked by the ambiance the game afforded, by how it looked and felt and even seemed to smell and feel to my mind's-eye.

I'm currently cobbling together a Mordheim-type project of my own, and I'm excited to share it with you. I'm planning a series of posts on this very subject, of which this is the first.

Please join me on My Journey to Mordheim. It's bound to be interesting...

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