Warhammer Fest’s annual gathering of miniature wargaming fans will take place at Manchester Central Convention Complex in the UK next year and brings a new event format that includes laser tag, the Golden Demon painting competition and a bevy of competitions.
Hosted by miniature maker Games Workshop, Warhammer Fest has historically brought together players of Warhammer: 40,000 and Age of Sigmar (along with all of the publisher’s other various offshoots) for community events and product reveals. As much an advertising showcase for the company’s next few months of miniatures as anything, the event remained the largest opportunity for hobbyists to engage in some earnest sharing of interest.
As with other live events, the COVID-19 pandemic sent Warhammer Fest online for the past few years. 2022’s event existed mostly online but tested the waters of physical gathering for a one-day preview of The Horus Heresy’s reintroduction to the tabletop wargaming space.
Next year’s Fest will embrace a full return to pre-pandemic procedures by filling the UK’s Manchester Central with Orkz, Space Marines and all other manner of extruded plastic bits and bobs. Warhammer Fest 2023 will run from April 29th to May 1st and includes a number of new activities, including a “Kill Team Live” laser tag arena themed after 40,000’s smaller-scale skirmish game mode.
Accompanying Warhammer Fest’s return is the Golden Demon miniature painting competition. Often cited as one of the most coveted awards for those who excel at artistically portraying dwarves, Gitz or Ork Boyz. No joke, past winners are incredibly involved creations that put my beginner brush techniques to shame. There are categories for all sizes of miniatures, and the contestants’ pieces will be on display throughout the event.
Attendees will be able to play their desired Warhammer game in both competitive and freeform modes - Underworlds, Kill Team and Warcry, and the two main games will have their own dedicated spaces. Competitive entry requires the purchase of a ticket separate from the price of admission. There will also be painting areas, hobby classes hosted by Games Workshop staff and a cosplay section for those in costume to show off their massive shoulder pads and chaos-twisted weaponry.
The official announcement on Games Workshop’s community website makes no mention of safety procedures the company plans to enforce for Warhammer Fest 2023. Without requiring vaccination records or enforcing mask and distancing rules, this event will remain inaccessible for many and dangerous for everyone else given infection and hospitalisation rates continue to impact countries around the world.
Games Workshop will likely defer to the official policies of the Manchester Central Convention Complex or the city of Manchester. Both entities “encourage masking” but have relaxed business restrictions and placed much of the onus on individuals. Regardless, Dicebreaker has reached out to the publisher for more information about their safety procedure plans for Warhammer Fest 2023.