“No Admittance, Except on Party Business”
– Bilbo Baggins
Warhammer and miniature wargaming as a whole is an incredibly rewarding hobby. It can be enjoyed alone, with a friend, partner, family or for many of us, as a gaming group.
I’m a social creature. This should come as no surprise to those of you that read my random tweets every day. One thing I love about this hobby is the element of the community; how we learn and grow through interacting with passionate hobbyists like ourselves.
I’d never played the Middle Earth Strategy Battle Game (MESBG, to the fans) until recently. I remember in the early noughties when the incredible Lord of the Rings films were released in cinemas and Games Workshop released their adaptation of those cinematic worlds on the tabletop. I remember as a child asking my parents for the Mines of Moria starter set, but they quite rightly pointed out that I’d already gotten a Warhammer 40,000 starter set. After all, I’d need to paint all the models from that box before I started another game. The advice I definitely took to heart throughout my hobby journey.
Fast forward twenty-something years, and as a twenty-something myself I come across this game ‘Battle Companies’ also from Games Workshop. This game seeks to emulate the feeling of The Fellowship or that tightly knit pack of Thorin’s Company. Each player amasses a small collection, often assembled out of one or two boxes of figures, to create their own narrative company trying to control their section of Middle Earth. I recently found a local group who were starting a Battle Companies game. Over several weeks, we would be watching the growth of our companies into regiments of renown, known across Middle Earth for their deeds or misdeeds. Now, I don’t have any painted miniatures and I’m a fan of playing with them when possible. This is how I learned to love ‘Battle Ready’.
“I Don’t Want to Be in a Battle, but Waiting on the Edge of One I Can’t Escape is Even Worse”
– Peregrin Took
Battle Ready is a term introduced by Games Workshop in 2019. Prior to this, there had been a bit of an unspoken rule of what was an acceptable standard of painting. But with Battle Ready, it was advertised first and foremost to be for ease of access to prettily painted wargames. It’s about not setting a boundary that hobbyists have to meet to be accepted into some kind of club. It’s about setting an accessible, achievable, universally accepted goal that hobbyists can easily meet. I’m a fan of naming this style of painting and encouraging it, as it’s friendly to new hobbyists.,This also helps veteran hobbyists break out of the mindset that everything has to be perfect. Battle Ready means minis can just be ready for the table.
Something we don’t speak enough about in this hobby is accessibility. Hobbyistscome in all shapes and sizes. Our bodies are unique and some things are a little easier for some of us than others. Recognising and celebrating this difference and encouraging equitable treatment allows everyone to feel comfortable in this hobby. Some of us bear invisible disabilities, and visual or motor conditions. Some of us also have restrictions on the time we can spend painting, for many reasons. One thing hobbyists have in common is passion, love and care to see themselves in these imaginary worlds. Talking about and encouraging Battle Ready allows anyone can show up at game night with their Battle Ready collection of minis and feel that their games are just as beautiful as everyone else’s because they are.
All That is Gold Does Not Glitter
Another incredible feature of the Battle Ready mindset is it caters to those of us on a budget. It’s no secret that life is getting more expensive, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be able to indulge in the hobbies that bring us joy. By limiting extraneous steps in painting recipes, hobbyists are able to keep their paint collections and palettes to a limit. This lowers the cost of entry for new hobbyists who can pick up the excellent ‘Citadel Essentials Kits and find everything they need to get started in miniature painting without feeling like they’ll never get to the point that some of their more established friends have reached. And wouldn’t you like some new smiling faces at the gaming club?
Could Battle Ready Be for You?
“All we Have to Decide is What to Do with the Time that is Given to Us.”
Well, it was definitely for me. I needed to join this game of Battle Companies as soon as possible., As the only one with an unpainted Warband, I wasn’t ostracized or told that I couldn’t join in unless my models were painted. However, I knew I wanted to turn out fully painted and proud so we could all contribute to brilliant looking games together. I ended up painting ten minis for my Battle Company in one afternoon primarily using contrast paints. I used texture paint for the base and one highlight colour, which covered the cloth and the dirt on the base. Say hello to the Cracked Tooth Clan.
Battle ready is great for those of you who really want to get an army or collection onto the battlefield quickly. There’s nothing more satisfying than finishing a unit of miniatures, stepping back and taking in that painted unit. With Battle Ready, you’ll be doing that all the sooner.
What do you think about Battle Ready? Let me know over at @PrinceofBielTan on Twitter.