Warhammer Fest Europe 2018 – Part 2

Continuing with the coverage of Part 1 on Warhammer Fest Europe 2018, the main venue was a two story hall with a large store, covering products of the main range along with Black Library, Forge World and Warhammer World exclusives. The glass cabinets of the Golden Demon painting competition started to fill up slowly.

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The line at the Forge World trade stand was quite long, as many people were looking forward to get their hands on some of the resin kits and show exclusives. At the Black Library booth you had the chance to talk to some of the authors and have your books signed.

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The event included Cosplay of the Warhammer World as well, and the visitors picked that chance up. Among the present groups were the Children of the Horned Rat, a German LARP Group.

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At 11 am the first seminar started. Games Workshop offered a couple of seminars, among them a general one on the several systems that we participated. You had to register beforehand, as the seats were limited. That ensured everybody who got in had a seat, it was not too crowded and they even had A/C, which was very welcoming. Over the day, there were several further seminars, on Black Library and Specialist Games, but our focus was on the "big" one that covered the broad range of the Games Workshop products.

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They covered each of the (new) systems, partly a bit brief, but I liked the open and communicative way of the seminar.

  • Warhammer Underworlds will receive a second season. Moving from Shadespire to Nightvault. A new starter kit and war band expansions. Among those will be new factions that haven't been introduced to the world of Age of Sigmar (yet). It will be compatible with the first season.
  • For Blood Bowl they showed us the new Nurgle team of the Nurgle rotters. Pictures are covered in the first part of the coverage.
  • For Adeptus Titanicus will be more plastic Titans released. The introduced the Warhound Titan, we've seen the Reaver as well. There are thoughts about producing an Imperator Titan (that would be even bigger than the Warlord Titan).
  • For Age of Sigmar; a new eternal spell, a flaming bull. No info to which faction it will belong. Some assume it might be Chaos Dwarfs / The Legions of Azgorh. Would like to see that, but maybe it is "just" Beastman / Brayherds.
  • For Warhammer 40.000 we've seen quite a lot. The Kill Team sub-line will be much more prominent than it was in the previous editions. We will see more Kill Zone sectors and a very interesting stand-alone boxed set with Kill Team Rogue Trader. It will cover two new sub-factions, among them Rogue Traders and Infected. Pictures of these are in the Live Blog and in the first part of our coverage.
    In addition October will be dedicated to the Orks, covering the codex and a few new kits. And a stand-alone boxed set called "Speed Freeks", it will contain the two times the new buggy, 6 bikers and terrain, along with a fast paced rule set for ork vehicle races. It is not GorkaMorka, it is much more focused on the racing.
    Next year we will see the release of the Sisters of Battle / Adeptus Sororitas. We we're shown a few 3d sculpts of the weaponry. The new plastic range will be around the same size of the Celestine miniatures and there will be new vehicles as well.
  • There was a Q&A round afterwards, where they answered questions from the audience.

We were not allowed to take pictures, but the majority of the content was covered in the Live Blog on Warhammer Community about Warhammer Fest Europe. Some people argued, that limiting the tickets was a bad thing and that they published the content of the seminar at 1 pm on the blog. I don't get the problem with that. If I can have proper marketing shots, including the videos and such, why would I prefer some wobbly smart phone pictures somebody sneaked out of the seminar. And the limiting of the seats is to ensure that everybody that got in had a pleasant experience.

Over the day more and more people came to the show, and the venue got a bit more crowded, but still not too crowded. Some of the displays they brought along from the Warhammer World, have never left the UK before, like the fallen Warlord Titan gaming table.

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Among the presented games at the Warhammer Fest were a couple of licensed products, like Doomseeker by Ninja Division (a.k.a. Soda Pop Miniatures) a coop card based board game and Warhammer Champions, a trading card game, both set in the Warhammer World. Unfortunately those were the only participation / demo tables of the whole Warhammer Fest.

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Around noon to early after noon, the crowd spread out across the venue. The Maritim catering took care of the visitors, with some drinks, food and snacks. The rates were okay for a convention. You could bring along your own snacks if you want to.

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For the Throne of Skull tournaments Games Workshop teamed up with one of their licensed partners and used the mouse-pad gaming mats instead of the realm of battle board. That might be due to logistics. Back in the day, when they had the German HQ in Düsseldorf as well, they used framed gaming boards. But with this event primarily planned from the UK, this is a good solution too. Quality of the tables was a bit uneven for my taste. The Warhammer Age of Sigmar tables had the more appealing terrain with the forests and ruins, compared to the 40k tables primarily using a couple of the old Cities of Death ruins along with the trenches.

The tournament was a bit smaller than the old Throne of Skull tournaments, but the rows were set up at an appropriate space and the whole tournaments had their own hall, aside from the razzle-dazzle of the main event.

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Warhammer Fest Europe 2018 Warhammer Fest Europe 2018 Warhammer Fest Europe 2018
Warhammer Fest Europe 2018 Warhammer Fest Europe 2018 Warhammer Fest Europe 2018
Warhammer Fest Europe 2018

One of the main events at any large Games Workshop convention is the painting competition, in this case the Golden Demon Classic. Multiple categories with the chance of winning the demon trophy, as well as special prices for example for the young bloods.

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The people stood around the square of glass cabinets to look for the entries. Unfortunately a lot of the entries were registered rather lately. From what I saw, that was due to the participants and not caused by the staff. The participants are "scouting" how hard the competition is and then decide in which category they place their entry. This caused unfortunately quite a lot of empty spaces in the cabinets.

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But among the one that were shown, quite a few impressive models and miniatures were seen. One of my favourites is the Sigismund vs. Abaddon duel vignette and the Macharius Vanquisher, by one of our readers who travelled from Australia to participate (Respect to you, Eddie!).

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My haul from the event is not that much. We got a Titanicus and Eye of Sauron pin and a Special Play Card for Blood Bowl at the designer booths, and every visitor got an official programme book. I grabbed a couple of Necromunda T-Shirts at the Forge World / Warhammer World booth, as they had quite stunning deals. Besides that, I got myself the Bugman duo. Was a bit surprised about the pricing, as the 22 GBP were charged 28 EUR, which is 18 Cents cheaper than buying it online at Forge World in GBP, adding 15% shipping fee and having it shipped to your house. Not the best deal.

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Warhammer Fest Europe 2018 was held at the Maritim Hotel in Düsseldorf from the 18th to 19th of August. Tickets were 25 EUR for a single day ticket or 42,50 EUR for the whole weekend. Kids tickets were 12 EUR and younger kids had free entry.

We went to the Convention with two people and had a good experience. It was interesting to talk to some of the designers from the Studio. We had the chance to see novelties with our own eyes and could pick up some things, that I would otherwise had to pick up next year or at my next visit in the Nottingham area, so that came in handy. So did I enjoy my visit to the Warhammer Fest? Absolutely! Is there room for improvement? There is always room for improvement - no matter what.

There were for example no demo or participation rounds by Games Workshop themselves, especially with so many novelties, like Kill Team or especially Adeptus Titanicus, I'd have expected something like that. A few compact good looking and a larger, stunning table to draw in the gamers into the new systems. Yes, of course, I could play those at my local store - but this is Warhammer Fest, so give me some Warhammer. That was something I really didn't understand, as the only participation rounds were there for the licensed products, not their own range. They could have offered a range of smaller simplified games with some give aways for the participants and winners.

I read a few rather harsh comments on the event yesterday and I don't agree with the majority of them. First of all, this is the first time the new format of Warhammer Fest was held in Europe / Germany (if you don't count in the Open Day 2016 in Amsterdam). The do not have a local HQ anymore, so the whole thing had to be planned remote from the UK and with a lot of new people, that we're not around for the Games Days or former events. And if you keep that in mind, it was a very smooth and well organised event. Staff was friendly and helpful, regardless if it was about picking up the tickets or pre-orders, having questions about the schedule or looking for something particular. The Community Managers were present at the show, had an open ear for the players and clubs, wanted their feedback for this and upcoming event. This is a move towards the customer as well.
The venue is large and there were quite a few hundred people, but it was not too much and there is still room for more people. If you have a problem with crowds, conventions in general may not be your things that is nothing you can impute Warhammer Fest for. Getting to the venue is easy; it is reachable by any means of transport, car, trains/busses and airplane. Parking is quite steep, so maybe if they can arrange some sort of event flat (some shows/fairs offer a flat fee of 10 EUR for parking), that would be a good thing to add for next year. With a lot of Wargamers coming from the Ruhr Area (you can see the density of Warhammer stores is quite high and a lot of clubs and events are in that area) the choice for Düsseldorf is a good thing.

About the participants of the Throne of Skulls tournaments. The tickets got cheaper, they were 75 EUR in the past and are now 60 EUR for the event and 32,50 EUR for the Shadespire event. You decided to participate in a tournament at a convention, there will be other visitors. You got your own hall, Deal with it. About the tables, it was certainly not as bad as the London Grand Tournament, there is room for improvement especially with the 40k tables. But we do know competitive players, if the tables were too elaborated and then even different from each other, people would accuse the set up for their losses / unfair disadvantages. You can't make everybody happy and there were no false claims on what to expect.

I enjoyed the seminars. We never had these in the past for the regular visitors. There were trade seminars, with a preview of the upcoming products and afterwards all you got was hear-say and with the smartphones some blurry pictures, but nothing more. Nowadays we have proper open to public seminars, marketing grade sharp pictures at noon for everybody - even those who didn't went to the event - and an open communication with a Q&A. It made a great step into the direction of the more open conventions you may know from Comicon or such. Especially if you have special interests like the Black Library books, you were ensured to have a great time with the seminars and Q&A sections. As for the price, the ticket is not cheap - neither is the Games Workshop Hobby. The venue is not cheap to rent and other events / similar conventions have even higher prices (GenCon is 60 USD+, Comic Con is 45 USD for the cheapest day and FedCon is 120 EUR for the base ticket). So I assume we could have the large gift bag at the entrance, incl. event miniature and such, but that will most likely not be happening at 25 EUR.

What would I wish for next year's Warhammer Fest? I think, if they have the feeling, that the people enjoyed the show and it has potential, it will grow. So maybe next year more designers / people from the studio. The event itself could be a bit more special. Hand out a goodie bag at the entrance. With a spare Space Marine or Stormcast, a badge or pin, a Black Library book(let) or short story, maybe a free shipping voucher for Forge World in case I don't want to stand in line. Promotional give aways from the licensed products (a booster for Warhammer Champions, a code for Warhammer Total War or special card for Doomseeker etc.). An (annual) event would be a great comeback. Beside that I haven't seen any participation games. Maybe pick up the Speed Freeks theme and let the people bring their own vehicles and race each other. Have a Gladiator arena. Do a sprue sale or sell some damaged boxes at discounted rates. Long story short, offer more things to the people at the events itself, to make it more worth it to be there personally. But other than that, I think this show has good potential and if the people get into / behind it, it can grow to something very amazing for everybody who participates.

Also, if you didn't like something particular about the event, don't just say "it's bad". Take the chance to give constructive criticism, send the Warhammer Community Team an e-Mail with the things you liked and the things you disliked, ideally with a suggestion how it would be better. Without the feedback of us, they can not make it better next time.

Posted by Dennis B.

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  1. Congratulations Eddie, the Vanquisher modell was great!!!

  2. Thanks for the kind words and I’m glad you liked the Tank

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