Warhammer Fest 2023
Thousands of fantasy fans flocked to Manchester to celebrate the booming Warhammer gaming craze – now set to become even bigger with a blockbuster Amazon TV series starring ‘Superman’ actor Henry Cavill.
Warhammer Fest 2023, held at Manchester Central over the three-day early May Bank Holiday Weekend, saw lovers of the online combat, board games, roleplay and models descend on the city from across the globe.
Warhammer 40k is a UK success story, a miniature wargame produced by Games Workshop and the most popular miniature wargame in the world, launching back in 1987.
The classic format – along with other Games Workshop games such as Middle Earth, Underworlds and Age of Sigmar – sees players use miniature models of warriors and fighting vehicles on a tabletop battlefield, using dice to see the outcome.
But while some enjoy the thrill of tabletop – or online – battles, others just love to collect and expertly paint the delicate miniature artwork.
And the Daily Express joined fans of Games Workshop’s wargaming universes at the start of the huge event, meeting some of those who packed out the exhibition centre in what is becoming an increasingly booming business.
Cosplay artists who design their own elaborate fantasy outfits – some strutting the halls as giant eight-foot-tall space marines – posed for photographs with eager fans.
Warhammer 40k player Antonio and his friends travelled over from Italy to spend hundreds of pounds at the shop and pick up models only available for those attending the three-day event.
He told us: “We have been looking forward to this all year and its worth all the expense getting here.
“We cannot buy all the models we paint and battle with in Italy so coming here we brought a suitcase to pack it all in!”
Warhammer Fest welcomed fans of all ages – from the hardcore tournament adult gamers who brought their intricately-painted model armies to battle for prizes, to young children exploring it for the first time.
Attendees were treated to a slew of announcements, with new releases and updates for Warhammer 40k, Middle Earth, Underworlds and Warcry.
From new miniatures and expansions to collectible miniatures, there is plenty for fans to look forward to in the coming months.
Aaron Otway Lopez, 12, of Altrincham, Greater Manchester, came on the first day – Saturday – with his pal Lucas, 13, to buy some fresh models to paint and try his hand at some of the new games on offer.
Excited Aaron told the Daily Express: “It has been absolutely brilliant! We met some of the cos-play artists and got to try some of the new games.
“The place is huge. It’s the first time I’ve been and to see people of all ages here was good. The queues for the tills were incredible! It took ages but it’s worth it for the models I bought.”
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