I have never really had an interest in Total War games. From the series initial release with Shogun: “Total War” in 2000, I thought they looked cool but the heavy strategy and logistics of the game never really appealed to me. Since then, I have sat on the sidelines and watch friends dump hours and hours in the series. I would hear epic tales of battles won and lost. Entire empires toppled by quick thinking or oceans of dead bodies. I have always been so close to the series without ever jumping in myself. Total War: Warhammer changed everything for me.
Oddly enough, Warhammer is another franchise I have never really had much experience with. And yet again, I have always heard stories of table top games and lore about this incredibly brutal universe where everything dies, always…Except for Grimgore. The combination of the rich backdrop of a fantasy setting, and the ability to control armies of creatures my interest was finally peaked.
Needless to say, I am a noob when it comes to strategy games. So my first few steps in Total War: Warhammer were unsteady, to say the least. I started with the dwarfs, because dwarfs. The idea of a high king that carries around a giant shit list made me chuckle a little so I had to pick him as my almighty leader. What started out as a loot fest in the first few turns quickly turned into a shit show of epic proportions.
I was unaware that there was “Public Order” that I needed to care about. I skipped through the tooltips like an idiot and wanted to jump right into the action. One by one, I would loot and occupy each settlement I took. Running around like a medieval Scrooge McDuck, swimming in fields of gold with only a few turns behind me. My high king and his ancient Hover Round led a massive army (by dwarfen standards) all across my province, and that was a really cool feeling. This was MY province. I was able to set a commandment to control what was produced as well as building up each settlement to meet my needs. Notice, I’m about 10 turns in now, and still, have no idea what public order is.
My subjects started to grumble but I couldn’t hear them over all the gold jingling in my pockets. Next thing I knew, there was a massive army in my province that had taken all but my capital and I was stuck hiding in its walls, desperately trying to recruit anyone to help my crooked high king fight back the completely reasonable and easy to side with rebel force this fantasy world had ever seen.
Off in the distance, an orcish war party, a Waaagh, was preparing to take what was left of my sad but rich kingdom. After a few turns of recruiting soldiers, I finally had a strong enough force to push back the rebellion in my lands. Unfortunately for me, I skipped through the tutorial telling me what a Waaagh was, so I had no idea what was coming for me. As fast as a dwarf army could, I ran to the other end of the province to kill the remaining rebels. It was a short fight, probably because their entire army had gone home since it took me 5 turns to build a new army.
There I was, basking in the glory of slaughtering my own subjects, revolting only because I ignored their needs and put the kingdom’s coffers before their bellies. Nonetheless, I was proud! I imagined a fantastic parade back to the capital and just before the first float had passed through the games, the Waaagh was upon me, and this was no normal Waaagh. With the combined forces of Grimgor and Azhag, what was left my the Dwarven Kingdom that was maybe 15 turns old had been ousted. As my capital was burnt to the ground and my men slaughtered, confusion set over me and I tried to figure out where I went wrong. I mean, I know I handled my kingdom a little poorly, but enough to be killed so quickly. After a little research, I came to two conclusions that were equally true.
#1. I was an idiot. I skipped tutorials and turns without a care in the world. I wanted to “get to the game” and didn’t realise that every mechanic in place in Total War is there for a reason.
#2. This is Warhammer. The landscape is brutal and the denizens are far worse than anything I had come across in a strategy game up to this point.
Next time will be better. My subjects will adore, or at least fear me enough to not fight. My enemies will crumble and my kingdom will flourish! Or I might last just long enough for Chaos to descend upon the land a destroy everything I built. You’ll just have to wait and find out.
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