These days, it seems like everyone is running a subscription service. The most obvious example is TV streaming. From Apple TV+ to Netflix, it often feels like you can’t watch anything without paying a monthly fee. Amazon has not only Prime TV, but also Kindle Unlimited and Audible, dominating the storytelling market in multiple formats. On a smaller scale there are things like KoFi and Patreon, sites where you can give your favourite author a few pounds every month in exchange for snippets of their works in progress and other rewards. I have a couple of subscriptions, but have cut back in recent months to keep costs under control. One subscription service I did take a recent gamble on, however, is Warhammer+. A few months in, I’m going to run you through the basics and answer a simple question. Do I think it’s worth it?
Warhammer+ costs £4.99 a month, or £49.99 for an annual subscription. That puts it on the cheaper side of these things. Most big streamers are somewhere around the £8 per month mark. the obvious caveat to that is that something like Disney+ has a larger amount of content than a fairly small operation like Warhammer+. Still, for a long-term subscriber, the cost is minimal.
Warhammer is essentially a miniature wargame shop, so its only natural that a model be one of their unique selling points. The plastic miniature in question is exclusive to subscribers, and there’s a choice of two. One 40,000 and one Age of Sigmar. You need to be committed to several months of subscription to get this miniature, and there’s a new one added every year. Miniatures like these would sell for £10-20 in a Games Workshop store, so it’s a reasonable price, though naturally you’ll need paint and glue to hand.
Something else that a subscription gets you is access to the back catalogue of White Dwarf Magazine and a few other physical releases. the latter is largely outdated rulebooks that are still interesting from a lore perspective, while the White Dwarf Magazines are several years behind the current issue. Still, there’s plenty of interesting reading in here, from game design notes to battle reports and painting guides. It’s an interactive history of the franchise that’s well worth checking out, even if you’re not a wargames historian.
This is the big selling point, especially for me. Warhammer+ has a fair bit of original programming, which broadly falls under two categories. The first is ‘factual’ content providing information on lore, painting, and battle reports. Games Workshop has a very distinct and terrifyingly enthusiastic presenting style, but for gamers it’s all very interesting.
For me, the big draw was the original dramas. All in animation (because you need an Amazon budget to do the grim, dark future in live-action), but with a variety of styles. Hammer & Bolter is an anthology show that varies in quality, but is generally a breeding ground for ideas. Then there are single-story series like Astartes and The Exodite. Personally, I don’t see what all the fuss around Astartes is about, as it’s easily the weakest of the longer shows. The Exodite, however, is top notch, and features some truly impressive imagery.
All of these shows are delivered in episodes of about 10-15 minutes in length, making them perfect for watching over an evening meal, or having on in the background while you do something else. My main complaint would be that they lack credits, each being attributed only to ‘Warhammer Storyforge.’ personally, I would like to know who the writers of these shows are, and I’m fairly confident I recognise a few voice actors from my audio drama days.
What Could Be Added?
If Games Workshop continue supporting Warhammer+. I can see that support going in a few directions. It’s a perfect avenue for interviews with game designers and fiction authors, and I’m sure neither of those would prove too costly for the platform’s seemingly meagre budget.
I could also imagine prose fiction being included, either with exclusive short fiction, or a monthly audiobook situation. Either one of those would be greatly appreciated, though more costly than other options.
As you can see, there’s quite a bit available on Warhammer+. Warhammer TV in particular has been my tea-time viewing for several weeks now. However, once I’ve finished Angels of Death and The Interrogator, I’m essentially finished. Without the backlog, there’s not a lot on here that I’m interested in. if you’re interested in The Vault, then absolutely this is worthwhile. But if just the Warhammer TV side that appeals to you, you’re probably better off opting to buy a month here and there, and wait for the roster to fill in between logins.
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