Recently I decided to get back into playing Adeptus Titanicus. It was a decision motivated by a few factors. The first was that it was a game that just Ian, of The Chaps, and I played and although we played infrequently they are some of the best nights I’ve had in the 23 years I’ve been wargaming for. It was as much to do with the company as the game or the game outcome but there is something immensely satisfying about stalking Titans through cityscapes hunting one another. So I suppose I’d like to rekindle some of that fun and general tomfoolery.
The second motivation is I deeply and truly love the Imperial Titan models. Well, all Titan models really, but the Imperial ones especially. They are a triumph of design perfectly balancing the asethtic of each faction whilst making it perfectly clear to even the most untrained eye that they represented an unholy amount of arse-fuckery.
The third and final factor I suppose comes from the fact that bar Hero Quest and Space Crusade, Adeptus Titanicus and Epic was the point my brother and I properly got into the hobby. We’d been playing Hero Quest and Space Crusade for over a year, writing quests/missions and ever-expanding the game with home-made files etc. But where it changed was whilst on holiday, on a balmy evening in Torquay, Cornwall. I couldn’t tell you the exact year but I suspect around 1990/1. I, rather typically, had already blown the paltry amount of pocket-money I had saved whereas my brother, ever the tight fisted frugal one, had managed to save up and had money to burn. And he came across this…
I’m not sure if, at the time, he knew what he was buying. Or maybe he’d seen a picture or two in the couple of issues of White Dwarf I’d bought using money I’d saved that our mother gave for sweets after school. Neither of us could have known that this simple box of 6 ‘detailed’ plastic model kits would be the start of our love affair with Epic and beyond that wargaming as a whole.
I rather suspect it’s because of this seemingly innocent purchase and the later acquisition of Space Marine that I have such a fondness for ‘Epic’ scale games be they on the ground, churning through Victorian seas or in the depths of space. It may have also had something to do with the awesome artwork knocking around at the time.
So you can imagine my excitement when Epic 40,000 came out. Especially when you consider that it was then that the new look (current) Warlord Titan came out. As I’ve written about before it is, and possibly always will be, one of my all time favourite models. Even though they’re often badly cast and are an absolute bastard to put together, I can’t help but love them. If nothing else they’re bloody great war engines that can lay waste to an entire city.
More than that though, the Warlord Titan is the natural evolution of a model that fired the imagination of an 8-year-old boy into embracing the hobby that I now couldn’t be without. And they’re bloody great war engines that can lay waste to an entire city.
It is little wonder then that after Epic 40,000 turned out to be a complete dogs dinner, and it wasn’t financially viable for myself, or Ian, to collect an Epic Armageddon army that Adeptus Titanicus was the obvious choice. Although the rules aren’t going to win any awards it is immensely fun. And there are few things more satisfying than charging a Reaver Titan with a close combat weapon into close combat against a Phantom Titan and hacking its leg off. Granted the resulting critical caused the reactor to blow killing the Reaver along with the Phantom but it was still totally worth it.
There’s a nice symmetry to coming back to Adeptus Titanicus considering, although we never played the original rules, it was that game and those, iconic, beetle backed behemoths that got my brother and I into the hobby. I like to think that my continued excitement for the hobby still comes from that point when my brother lifted the lid and we saw the models for the first time. I try to channel the wide-eyed wonder of 8-year-old me seeing something so awesome and complex he can’t comprehend it.
I also suspect this is the reason I get so cross when wargaming companies let us down. Their job is to make each and every one of us feel as excited as an 8-year-old and more and more that gets forgotten.
Whatever the reason for me rebuilding my Titan force (having sold it during a particularly brutal period of skintness years ago) I feel that same sense of giddy anticipation that I felt when I first played Epic across my mini-snooker table and my brother convinced me that Howling Banshees were long-range troops and Dark Reapers close combat specialists.
The cost of the models and idiocy/greed of some sellers on eBay will mean that it’ll most likely be a slow burn project, but that’s okay because rest assured the God Machines of Mars will stride once more.