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Our Day at White Dwarf

Firstly, Happy New Year to all our followers! Hope you all had a fantastic time celebrating with friends/family/toy soldiers. The keen eyed amongst you may have noticed some familiar faces in this month’s White Dwarf! I thought it’d be interesting to give you all the “behind the scenes” lowdown on this!

I can’t really remember what I was doing the day that Pete Foley sent me and Innes a message on Twitter. I want to say playing Star Wars Battlefront 2? From a quick skim back, it was all the way back in April of 2018! He told us that he was a listener of the podcast, and that he found our views really interesting. This was a surprise to be sure, but definitely a welcome one. We had no idea that HQ was listening to what we had to say, never mind actually feel happy enough to reach out to us for a chat.

After some discussion, Pete invited us down to Warhammer World for a meet and greet. We initially wanted to get together at the LGT, but that didn’t materialize unfortunately. Around this time, Innes was due to fly out to Croatia for the ETC, and had been down south already for the North West Open. At the same time, I was on a sun lounger in Morocco, still coming to terms with the fact that I was going to become a father for the first time (a date that’s getting ever closer)!

I had been chatting to Innes in-between tanning sessions about his NWO plans and such, when another mail from Pete dropped into our box. This time he was asking us if we would be interested in slugging it out in a podcast White dwarf grudge match! The company was really interested in doing a battle report with tournament veterans (I use that term very loosely in the case of myself, but I suppose I do play competitively more than the White Dwarf guys who stick more to Narrative battles).

I had a chat with Innes about what sort of gunfight we were going to have. From our discussions with Pete, we reckoned that they wanted us to bring the big guns. In the spirit of trying to make a competitive game of it, we didn’t share our lists with each other, although we did tell each other roughly what we’d be using in terms of factions / attributes.

I knew that I’d need to borrow models from the studio, because firstly my painting sucks, and secondly I’d probably not have time to get organized upon my return to the UK. Pete put us in touch with Dan and Martyn from the White Dwarf team. They send us a massive set of photos for models covering the factions that we wanted to use. I think this is where it started sinking in for me – these were models that had probably been in the magazine before, and maybe even on display at Warhammer World.

So I fired up BattleScribe and tried to come up with a list. For me, even though I wanted to be competitive, it was equally important for me to take the kind of list that I love to play. After several rewrites, I eventually came up with my list. Innes bemoaned having to shuttle additional models to the tournament that he was attending, but we knew it’d be worth it for wargaming immortality!

Our trip was arranged for the 30th of July – but there was an unhelpful snag in that I arrived back in the UK (to Manchester) on the 28th, at 4AM! From there it was a gruelling drive back up to Glasgow, with all of the car windows and AC blasted on to full! After a much needed sleep, the order of the day was a stratagem cram session (and various unpacking bits).

The next day, it was another 4AM start – followed by the gargantuan drive down to Nottingham. I’ve done that trip a bunch of times with my gaming buddies, but this was the first time I’d done it by myself (or indeed so early). I took this opportunity to catch up on some other podcasts! I got some Chapter Tactics and Canhammer in, and thankfully the journey wasn’t too long.

When I got to Warhammer World at around 10AM, Innes and his cadre he’d been staying with were there already. I also got the opportunity to met Val from team Canada and Chapter Tactics – and for those of you who may not know, this was around the time of the infamous passport in the shoe story (make sure you ask him)!

Innes and I made our way over to the administratum part of the HQ. This was new and interesting- of my many trips to Warhammer World, I’d never been in this part. The reception was themed – stained glass windows in some parts and also lots of cool retro hobby stuff on display. The receptionist greeted us warmly, and issued us with ID badges (after we posed for the obligatory security photo of course). The offices were all names after cool Games Workshop stuff as well – I can’t remember all of them but I’m sure the room we were in was “Fyreslayer” (I think)?

We were then ushered upstairs to the “playtesting room”, where we got to meet Dan and Martyn (and Pete popped in later to say hello). We had to sign non disclosure agreements here (which makes sense given that the game we were about to play was from the upcoming chapter approved release. We did get to see some cool stuff though (all of which has now been released at the time of this article).

One of the first things I had to do was rewrite my list- because there were some changes in Chapter Approved, some small revisions were in order. The guys kept running back and forth to the studio to see if my requests could be accommodated, and for the most part they were! While I was being a massive pain, Innes was reading the CA missions, and decided that we would play Decapitation Strike.

During setup and the pregame, we were asked questions about our army choices, our Tactics and our rough game plan. This was really cool – although I’ve done battle reports before, I’d never done them in such a detailed format. We were also asked to provide retrospective analysis after the game a few weeks later, and it was interesting to put further thoughts down about it after the fact.

We started the game, and right from the off things were different. Photos were being taken, and also there was this cool mountain background that was used to block the real world in the action shots. After the first turn, Pete grabbed us for a quick chat.

We grabbed a drink in Bugmans bar (coming over a connecting bridge which was cool), and waxed lyrical about 40k. He was keen to hear our thoughts on the game, and what our opinions were. Ultimately (which you may also have read in the article) we were invited to join the Playtesting team, which was a huge honour.

Some quick lunch ensued, and it was back to the game. Later, we got to meet Robin Cruddace, who is one of the lead designers for 40k. It was an absolute pleasure to meet him, and I can happily report he is an awesome, switched on fellow, who is very receptive to listening to what you’ve got to say about the game. We spent a bit of time chatting as well.

Eventually the game came to an end (I won’t spoil the result), and it was time for the wrap up and farewells. I was homeward bound, and Innes was off to join Team Scotland on their ETC quest (and would go on to help them to a mighty third place finish). The drive home was definitely longer, as the excitement and anticipation was over, and I got home at around 11PM.

Fast forward to today, when I picked up my copy(s) of the magazine – one to read, one to leave in the cellophane! I was excited and happy to read the article, and all the fun memories came flooding back. I’ve won tournaments, ran tournaments, represented my country at the ETC, been on Warhammer TV and nearly done 100 podcast episodes – but this was a moment that stands above those for me. I’d been so fortunate to be a hobbyist making it into a magazine that I’ve read since I was really young, and honestly I can’t tell you how proud I am of this achievement. It’s definitely something that I can’t wait to show my daughter one day (hopefully after she hands me a crushing defeat in 12th edition).

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