The guys invite us to a Warhammer game and tell us how tabletop games became an office pastime.
"Roman, what are these figurines?"
It all began from one person's wish. Long ago, when we were still at the old office, Roma Zorin brought a squad of beautifully painted plastic soldiers to work and arranged them carefully around his desk. Not long after, the bright little figures caught our eye and we started asking questions. Touching the figures was strictly forbidden, so we only touched them while their owner was away. There was, however, one of us who immediately recognised the "plastic soldiers" as a squad of the order of Dark Angels from the Imperial Space Marines. That was Artyem Milyukov, a game designer from the "Knights" team.
The guys started to play in the evenings after work. They started with Warmachine, then they got into Malifaux, a steampunk turn-based game. After some time they started playing Warhammer. They invited people to watch and arranged training matches for anyone who was interested. Everyone who wanted to find out more about the mysterious miniatures turned up. Some even kept coming. At first they played on an empty table in the meeting room, then Artyem brought in some landscape features, which they kept in the same cupboard as the figurines. A special glass shelf was made for the figurines (this just increased the desire to touch the soldiers while Roma was drinking coffee in the kitchen). Slowly but surely, board games began to take a permanent place in Playkot's office culture.
Morning of the battle
Sven the Joyful grinned, baring his fangs. The Blood Angels would never wrest the Space Wolves' prize from their claws. Sven was born a hunter and wouldn't give up what had been taken with such difficulty. Still, the situation was unusual. To fight against another detachment of Space Marines? It had happened before. But to enter battle for Xenos was strange. Still, the order from the Rune Priests and the Inquisitor was crystal clear - find and return him alive. The detachment of Blood Angels were after revenge and protected by Baal, an excellent tank that was covering their troops. A sniper from Sven's squad aimed his rifle at one of the red helmets and stood poised, awaiting the order from his chief...
Hills in a cupboard
Artyem and Nikita agree on the rules as they prepare the battlefield
It's early on Tuesday morning and Artyem and Nikita have got together for another battle between the Space Wolves and the Blood Angels. The troops are deployed amidst the ruins of an old city. The two armies face each other, the tension in the air is electric as they wait for battle to commence. The clock hand reaches hour X. Artyem glances at the cards spread before him. He throws the dice - two fives. His Sniper shoots, hitting an enemy soldier right between the eyes. The battle has begun.
Moving to the new office opened up new spaces for battles. Even while we were planning the office layout, we already thinking of a special war table for one of the meeting rooms. In the daytime the room is for work (even though we've called it "the play room"). However, anyone feeling curious who opened the row of cupboards in the room would discover a great many interesting items - forests, hills, even entire city blocks. All of them are features that make up the battlefields, similar to what we're seeing right now.
Squads march in all directions, the players throw dice and read the guides closely to understand the characteristics of their soldiers. The battle rages ever hotter.
Wolves fight to the bitter end
Angel reinforcements change the course of the battle
Sven shook his head, trying to brush the tangled hairs from his forehead. If the situation had been bad before, now it was horrible. Reinforcements for the Blood Angels had arrived at the worst possible moment. The Wolves had precious few minutes to live. So it was time to enter the sagas. Throwing his face to the stars, Sven howled wildly and grabbing a new shield hurled himself at the wall of red armour. Shaking under the hail of bullets, with the fury of a berserker he laid into the enemy, and didn't hear the answering howl from nearby...
Is it possible to print out a squad of heroes on a printer?
A Dwarf for D&D. Everything he needs to fight - an axe, a shield and a beard. We've already printed them.
In the meeting/playing room, atop a shelf, a 3D printer stands proudly. Bought together money from the Hackathon winner fund, it's now regularly used by fans of role-play games. The guys play out scenarios using D&D rules and to enter the adventure, they need unique miniatures. Everybody chooses the figure that suits them best. Printing even a small figurine takes several hours, so players need plenty of patience.
Artyem agrees, patience is an essential quality for all table game players. Creating your own unique army for Warhammer and Warmachine is as important a part of the process as the battles themselves. For example, the armies that are fighting on the table now were painted by Artyem almost 20 years ago, the other one just recently. Has anything changed since then? "I just started seeing the painted figures differently" answers Artyem. "Where I used to just paint armour red now I want to highlight the indentations and ridges, play with scratches on the armour and take time to make the lower armour darker, since light comes from above." At that moment the situation on the battlefield takes a sudden turn.
The pack leaves no Wolf behind
Bjorn's squad avenges their fallen comrades
They'd arrived too late to save their brothers of the pack but in time to avenge their fallen comrades. Bjorn himself led them into battle. That's him, surrounded by wolves, smashing his huge adamantium sarcophagus into the Angels' line, throwing aside huge figures in power armour with his claw. With a howl, the Wolf Guards ran forwards through the smoke, right into merciless close combat. Already the Wolf scouts were far away with their prize, the captured Xenos.
3 - 0 to the Space Wolves
Artyem throws a dice-roll that wins him the game
Another match ends with victory for the Space Wolves. The clock shows 11:07, time to start work. The miniatures are returned to their camps, the landscape features are tucked away in their cupboard. Nikita isn't pleased, it's his third loss in a row. But he's already composed a cunning plan. What's his new strategy? We'll find out tomorrow evening when work is over and the players face off again.