Cardboard Children: Warhammer Quest: Silver Tower 2

Hello youse.

Last week I started talking about Warhammer Quest: Silver Tower, the new big box board game release from Games Workshop. Actually, it’s not a board game. Oh, it is. But it’s a strange hybrid thing, where miniatures from further into the GW line can be incorporated into the game, and characters from the board game can be used in the GW miniatures game Age Of Sigmar. It’s an interesting product, incorporating a classic design ethos and fusing it with modern marketing sensibilities. That’s why I continue to tell you about it this week.


So you’ve bought Silver Tower, and you’ve assembled all the miniatures. You’ve punched all the tokens and unwrapped all the decks of cards. You are ready to play!

But wait. Aren’t you going to paint those things? Are you really going to play the game as if every character and every enemy is in black and white, like an old Bing Crosby movie? Or are you going to go all in, just like Games Workshop has planned it?

Painting these things is important. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that you’re better off having a crappy paint-job than no paint-job at all. There will be people in the comments section below – guaranteed – who will be able to explain how to do some nice washing techniques that will allow your miniatures to pop properly without a full paint-job. That’s a great idea, and something I completely support. But it’s not for me. I plan to paint my Warhammer Quest in its entirety. And I’ve started!

Check out my first paint job. He’s the barbarian chaos guy from Silver Tower, and he’s a beauty of a model. Look at that smirk on his face!

I took the opportunity to introduce my 9 year old daughter to painting too, and that’s her little dwarf in the picture. Don’t tell anyone from Games Workshop, but that’s a Mantic dwarf, I’m pretty sure. A wee spare I gave her to paint, just for practice. In fact, that’s a compliment to GW, I guess.

But yeah, once you’ve painted one miniature, you have to do the rest, because the whole concept that Games Workshop is built on these days is not just “gaming” but “showpiece gaming”. Attractive gaming. Visit one of the shops and you’ll see tables full of beautifully painted miniatures scattered around incredible scenery. It’s sheer spectacle. In the shop window you’ll see a cabinet full of beautiful minis – on display, not in play. Calling this thing “the hobby” is not just a weird affectation – it’s genuinely how you have to treat being a customer of GW stuff if you’re going to let the products reach their full potential.

Let’s talk about that potential. I don’t think the design work has ever been better at Games Workshop. As I was browsing through the range of the new Age of Sigmar stuff I was struck by how imaginative it all is. I know there was controversy over the ending of the Warhammer Fantasy Battle line, and I know that some people haven’t warmed to the Age of Sigmar line just yet, but it surely can’t be argued that this break from the traditional Western fantasy tropes has allowed the GW designers to go crazy with fresh ideas. I’ve been showing the models to casual gamers and non-gamers alike, and they’ve been blown away by how spectacular the new miniatures are. Silver Tower is a psychedelic freakshow, a circus in a box, and it’s been pulling some gasps of admiration out of some very jaded mouths, believe me.

And it all ties in. It all ties in. A guy like me goes back into the shop because of Silver Tower. I buy it, unwrap it, assemble it, start painting it. I then read a White Dwarf that offers free rules for another Silver Tower character. That character is an Age of Sigmar mini. I go in and lay down my tenner to pick that one up, the Lord of Plagues. I now have an excuse to pick and choose the beautiful miniatures that I want to build and paint.

Let’s talk about this app that can be downloaded onto your phone. It’s a Warhammer Quest: Silver Tower app, and it tracks your progress in the board game. It has the rules for your favourite characters, and all the treasure cards your character might find as they move through the game. But it’s also an app for tracking your collection of characters. You pay a small sum on the app, less than a quid, and it unlocks the ruleset for more miniatures that can be transported into your game. Great for those who already have the miniatures, and so very very tempting for those who don’t.

So yeah, I’ve already bought a hero expansion. Four new characters. Four new beautiful miniatures. Bought the rules for each of the characters through the app. I’ve expanded my collection already. Five new miniatures, new heroes, within weeks of buying the original game.

I’ve been finding it fascinating, to be honest. It feels like Games Workshop have really hit on something big here. There’s been many a day when I’ve wandered past the Warhammer shop and looked at the miniatures in the window, feeling that little pull to pick one up and make it beautiful. But I’ve never wanted to commit. Not to 40K again. Not to Fantasy Battle again. Not to Age of Sigmar. It’s too much. Too much! But now – here comes a lovely new board game, complete in its basic form. But with it comes the excuse. Now I can do “the hobby” again, at my pace, at my leisure, picking and choosing what I want to incorporate into my game. And all that stuff I’m picking up? That free rules sensibility that comes along with Age of Sigmar might just end up dragging me into AoS too. I mean, I have the toys, right? I might as well play!

Silver Tower is a gateway – no – a portal into “The Hobby”, and maybe the finest one that Games Workshop has ever devised. But what about the game itself? What of the game?

That’s for next week.

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  1. dbsmith says:

    No stop! I don’t want to be tempted by another games workshop game. I have a job! I have other hobbies! I have other board games I’ve yet to even play (RIP dusty Cosmic Encounter).

    But…you make it sound all so alluring. It’s a little embarrassing every time I put my unpainted miniatures on the table, especially as my friend is a professional miniature modeler/painter who always looks down in disdain at my grey drab figures.

    Sigh. Guess I’m going to buy some expensive Games Workshop paints this weekend…

    • Greg Wild says:

      I refuse to accept the idea of a copy of Cosmic getting dusty.

      Is that even possible?!

      • tigerfort says:

        Sure copies of Cosmic Encounter can get dusty. Sometimes people switch from one edition to another, and their original copy goes in a cupboard – because you can’t part with something like your first copy of CE, can you? – and maybe doesn’t get dusted all that often, because they’re busy playing the new version, and then… dust.

  2. thekelvingreen says:

    That is indeed a Mantic dwarf.

    I’m trying to be very good and resist buying too much extra stuff for Silver Tower, considering all the unpainted GW stuff I have around here, including the original Warhammer Quest. But it is difficult to resist.

    • Premium User Badge

      magogjack says:

      Poor mantic, no one loves their models, at best they get, “Good enough to teach my kids to paint.”

      • Unruly says:

        I like Mantic’s models…

        Don’t get me wrong, they could use some better detail work and the restic stuff takes some getting used to, but they’re no worse than Reaper’s Bones minis which I also love. And considering that, unlike GW, they sell their figures at a reasonable price, I’m willing to look over minor defects. I was able to put together an entire 1500 point, 52 mini(half of which are cavalry), Undead Kings of War army for about $100 including shipping. Just 3 Vargheists for WHFB would have run me at least $40, or 5 Blood Knights for $100, and then I’d have to find them in an actual store somewhere because GW doesn’t allow online sales. For reasons.

        So yea, I’ll trade GWs super-detailed and super-expensive stuff for Mantic’s detailed enough and affordable.

        • aircool says:

          I’m kinda the other way around. First thing I did when I bought Dreadball (which is a cracking game, beats Bloodbowl hands down) was convert some Dark Eldar Wyches to Asterians.

          • Unruly says:

            Which is perfectly fine. I mean, I like the look of GW minis. They’re fantastic and wonderfully sculpted, for the most part. But GW’s pricing and corporate policies drive me nuts and have very literally kept me from their games, despite wanting to get in on the action.

            Like, with Kings of War, Mantic says “use whatever minis you want, just be consistent, make an effort about matching proper sizes, and let your opponent know what’s what.” They aren’t even going to make minis for their Kingdoms of Men, because there are so many other manufacturers out there that cover human figures. So if I want to use Warlord Games and Wargames Factory’s Feudal Japanese minis to field an army, I can. And I can do it for a fairly decent price, while still being legal in their official tournaments.

            Meanwhile you’ve got GW, where you’ll get chased out of a tournament for using non-GW minis and they sue shops for making custom conversion bits because “they look too similar and we think we own the rights to shoulder pads.” I’ve never experienced it, because there isn’t a Games Workshop store anywhere near me, but I’ve heard tales of people being given the stink eye and made to feel unwelcome, or even being thrown out in some cases, by employees for trying to use non-GW minis as proxies in a pickup game between friends.

            And that’s not even mentioning the way they make it so hard to get things unless you live somewhere biggish. We never really had a local shop that carried GW products because, while there was a market, the market was small. We’re only a town of roughly 40,000. But if you want to sell GW, you’ve got minimum orders, and they have to have everything they make. You couldn’t just say “I only have a market for 40K and WHFB so I only want to order those.” because they’d shove the LOTR stuff that you knew wouldn’t sell down your throat too. Or at least that’s what I was told by the guy I know who ran his own shop from 2002-2006. He said the stuff he was required to stock but wouldn’t sell just kept building up, and it was part of the reason he closed down.

            But now I’ve just gone off on a rant, so I think I should stop.

  3. Bull0 says:

    If you like the general aesthetic of age of sigmar the starter set would be a logical next step – the chaos models in particular are some of the nicest they’ve ever done, and you get two decent sized forces in the box.

    Had a play of the first Trial last night, Mrs played the elf mistweaver character and I was Smirking Barbarian Man. The mistweaver kicks serious amounts of arse. Smirky is OK but I’m not sold on his relative power level as of yet.

  4. aircool says:

    I’ve got a whole four mini’s finished including the Lord of Plagues that I’ve had lying around undercoated for a long time.

    I’ve also got a Bray Shaman in it’s blister, but as I have no android and apple, I can’t get the rules :(

    The cards and the tiles are still in their shrink wrap. I’m saving them until I’ve painted all the mini’s.

  5. Zankman says:

    Boobs return in this edition of Cardboard Children, albeit they are moobs.

    • Baines says:

      Those same moobs were in the last column.

      Last column I also noticed that the cover proudly displays that bare moob, while the miniature has both moobs covered. Honestly, the miniature doesn’t have moobs at all. While the cover art is stereotypical beefcake, the miniature has a kind of upper chest line work that you’d only see during serious flexing (though the figure is clearly in a rest pose) or for someone who’s had his skin removed.

      • Zankman says:

        Indeed, there is a serious lack of parity here; The ones on the model indeed look a bit iffy.

  6. PhilBowles says:

    Most of the Age of Sigmar miniatures are the same as the WFB miniatures, other than the hammer-wielding winged Space Marine characters. A few of the mounts for the new models look good, but overall I don’t see much appeal – and the new Warhammer Quest lost me as soon as it was clear they were using that setting.

    If they’d wanted to try a new aesthetic with a new world, the additions to the miniature range are light enough that they could easily have made it in parallel to continuing WFB, with a story setup that allowed representatives of these factions to be moved to a new world without disrupting the main game.

    It’s a real shame to be drawn into Warhammer: Total War and, realising that it’s nice aesthetically but fundamentally not terribly good either as a Total War game or as a translation of the miniatures game, be unable to go back to the game and setting that started it all, as a game like Warhammer essentially ceases to exist once it loses official support because the player base is no longer there.

    • aircool says:

      The actual setting for Age of Sigmar is actually quite old. If you’ve got a copy of the ancient ‘Slaves to Darkness’ and ‘The Lost and the Damned’ (published 1988/1990), you’ll find a lot of material on ‘The Realm of Chaos’ (obviously) that’s reflected in Age of Sigmar (such as the names of the realms etc…).

      So basically, Age of Sigmar is set in The Realm of Chaos as imagined almost thirty years ago.

      • PhilBowles says:

        That makes it even less excusable to end the Warhammer World as permanently as they did to launch a Realms of Chaos spin-off – they already had story mechanisms for getting factions of most races into that setting. They could even have mixed in Space Marines proper if they wanted instead of making a new range of Celestials just so they could rip off the colour scheme from Diablo’s angels.

  7. Phasma Felis says:

    The phrase “the Games Workshop hobby” is a way to pretend that that GW invented and has a monopoly on minis games, so that no one accidentally implies that other manufacturers exist.*

    Isn’t it weird how we’re supposed to accept that tactical board gaming and painting little men are, in fact, the same inseparable activity? It’s like assuming that a professional auto racer should also personally airbrush his car’s livery, and have points deducted at the finish line if it’s not up to par.

    *This can get you kicked out of a GW store in some places. I wish I was joking.

    • Unruly says:

      And yet, GW seems to actively hate their own customers and the market in general.

    • captainparty says:

      I think most companies in that world, and GW especially (because unlike most they sell products to cover all the aspects), try to encourage all parts of what they describe as the hobby; lore, collecting, painting and playing the games. They’re all given weight and each is its own hobby, I’m primarily a painter and I’ve never felt I wasn’t doing my hobby right by refusing to care about the competitive playing side of things.

      • Unruly says:

        As recently as September, GW has said that they don’t make games, they make miniatures for modelers and collectors. Despite doing no market research(stated in their 2015 financial report), and so having no data to back up their assumptions, they say that at most 20% of their customers actually play games. So they think that marketing towards gamers is pointless. Despite being called GAMES Workshop, they don’t like gamers and they don’t make games. They make collectibles. You can basically sum up their opinion of their customers as “If you can’t or won’t shell out for a Forge World Titan, get the hell out of our store.”

  8. Baranor says:

    … a portal into the Warp more likely, where your money disappears at an alarming rate. Entry-level portals should not cost E170 or the 130-ish £ its advertised for in England. Glorious miniatures or not, this is a very steep price for a game.

    Of course a E170 version of Mordheim I would still buy.*giggles*

    • captainparty says:

      Its £95 in the UK, at retail from GW, cheaper from others online, for the gorgeous components and stunning mini’s included, its a good price.

  9. Optimaximal says:

    Micro-transactions aside, I like the idea of using apps as companions for wargaming/board games. I know part of the charm is an ass-tonne of cards and a dog-earred book (I know I broke the spines of my Warhammer Quest books from just reading them over and over, let alone playing it), but in this day and age, just the idea of a digital compendium tracking stuff ticks a box for me.

    Heck, I’d have loved such a device when I had my 40K stuff years ago. I was always terribad at tracking status effects and my armies equipment.


  10. Premium User Badge

    sharkwald says:

    Rab, did you not paint your Imperial Assault minis? For shame if you didn’t! I got my copy of IA back in March, and I haven’t so much as played the tutorial yet, but I’ve had hours of fun painting stormtroopers and wookiees and the like.

  11. Chiron says:

    I’m also very confused, I mean on the one hand WARHAMMER QUEST, this to me is what Space Hulk is to some others, but then I see the pictures and the new models and new art and the mixed emotions just fire strange neurons in my brain.

    Everytime I see a Sigmarine I die a little inside.

    • Unruly says:

      But… But… Everything’s better with SPESS MERREENS! GW said so! And despite doing absolutely no market research, and being proud of that fact, they always know what people want!

      Embrace the SPESS MERREENS or burn like the heretic you are!

      • Chiron says:

        Sad thing is I’d have bought a straight reprint in a heartbeat. Didn’t even need to update the figures tbh.

  12. Fuligin says:

    Tell me, and be honest: how deep is GW’s cock lodged down your throat?

    • captainparty says:

      Yeah, how dare he be unashamed of enjoying a hobby. How how can he have the gall to like a product from the biggest company in that market?? Doesn’t he know there are other games he could spend his money on, like Mantic’s own Dungeon Saga, with its terrible, bendy miniatures and 1mm thick card components?

  13. jomurph86 says:


    Liking things and being enthusiastic is totally suspect.

    Get wid it, Rab! Be coo!

  14. captainparty says:

    I honestly think I was the first person to come up with “Sigmarine” to describe the Stormcast Eternals, I remember watching it spread from a forum organically over to comments sections and to Facebook, and I regret it a lot because, certain visual similarities aside (full suits of armour with big shoulder pads, not exactly uncommon in fantasy, they look more like WoW Paladins than Space Marines really) they’re totally different.