Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Why doesn't the UK have Battle Bunkers?

Around about the middle of last year, I was lucky enough to be passing through LA on my way back from a job, and had some time to kill, so I took a drive to the LA Battle Bunker.  I'd been keen to see what it was like after hearing a lot of good things not only about the gaming space available, but also the quality of the painting on display.  I certainly wasn't dissapointed!

You can see the gaming space below, and some of the brilliant tables available with permanently setup terrain.

And surrounding it all are some great displays:

This display had some fantastic pieces from the length and breadth of history of the hobby, I think I stood in front of it just staring at all the items for a good half hour.  In fact, the whole place reminds me a lot of Warhammer World (or should it be the other way around as I went here first), which brings me something close to the point of this (other than to show you these brilliant pics ;).  
Why don't we have places like this in the UK?  Yes, we have Warhammer World, and its a fantastic place, but its up in Nottingham and if I'm not mistaken, thats not exactly the largest place in the UK.  It would be fantastic if GW had something like this (or maybe even a couple of places) in London, to give access to the majority of people in the country who live in the South.  This place even stocked Forgeworld for crying out loud!  As GW gets smaller and smaller stores, and reduces the number of tables to game on in their stores despite having the space for more, and the demand for them on gaming night, a few places like this would be fantastic for the hobby and gaming community as a whole.

Anyway, back to the pretty pictures :)

This squad was so beautifully painted, the captain at the top of the page goes with them too. 

Sadly this pic didn't turn out too well, the glass got in the way of the focus, but it was a fantastic diorama of Lileth having just sliced and diced a bunch of guard so quickly they are still falling apart. 

This Vostroyan force was the bunkers managers, and the awards below are all his too apparently.  I got to chat to him for a while as he was in that day, seemed a really decent chap, and was happy to show me around for well over an hour seeing as I was a "visiting limey" :).

Just some of the amazing, huge Forgeworld and scratch built armour and gribbly's.  There was more too, Dave Taylor's Custodians were in a cabinet by the door, but I forgot to take a picture of them - let me tell you though, they are absolutely gorgeous.  It was a real treat to have a chance to see the place, and if I'm ever travelling that way again, I'm definitely going to take an army with me and try and get in a days gaming there!

Cheers, Andy.


  1. There are a few Battle Bunkers in the UK, but the couple I've been to were nothing like this!

    I reckon having something like this nearby, with the permanently set up tables would get me back into playing.

    There's plenty of empty shops about for GW to rent and use.

  2. yeah id like somewhere spacious to play without being rushed other than my own house for a change of scenery and a chance to meet other gamers good post and some very nice pics!

  3. there used to be some. there was one in Cambridge but they closed it because they didn't like the competitive attitude that it was fostering. please bear in mind that this 'competitive attitude' was manifesting itself through a monthly combat patrol tournament and some really good games. there was no nastiness, no WAAC behavior and it was great fun. moreover, the store was ALWAYS packed full of people. Tuesday gaming nights had anything between 20 and 40 people attending usually, and with 10+ tables that wasn't a problem. I'd like to add that many of those people bought things regularly.

    then they shut it. many of those people quit the hobby because of no place to play, many moved to other games, and the rest struggle to get a game on tuesdays with 3 4x4 foot tables to fight over.

    great move GW.

  4. What a great post - I've always wondered about these 'battle bunkers'. Thank you.

    I've utterly fallen in love with my new club, to the point whereby I actually took my wife in there to show her. Within the month I plan to run a post highlighting some of its features. It's a huge space: a double industrial unit with two floors and tons of tables, but the best thing is that it's really friendly and welcoming: a real flagship for what (I believe) a UK 'FLGS' should be.

  5. @Courtney: I wish GW would advertise where their "battle bunkers" are then, although I wouldn't consider it much more than a glorified shop unless it were to at least have a decent, permanent gaming space like this one.

    @FD Mini: I think we'd all ove something like this. The midlands seems to be well catered with WHW, Maelstrom and Gifts for Geeks all ones I know of, but nothing seems to be further south, or they just don't advertise themselves well enough.

    @Atreides: Yep, that sounds just about right. The local still manages to get 20+ people in on games night, but since the company decided that they have to stay open to the public on games night, the number of tables has reduced from 8+ to 4 on games night so you are lucky to get a game 1 week in 3. Definitely sounds like they killed the scene in Cambridge, and Ven doesn't seem to be having much luck getting it back either - a real shame.

    @Drax: Your club sounds fantastic! Theres a gaming club near me, although its not a permanent setup like you are talking about which I'd love to try out, but they only operate on one night, and its one that I can rarely make so isn't too much use. I look forward to seeing your post about the place and how it measures up.



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