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Story by CATHY ULRICH Photos by JOHN WARNER Of The Gazette Staff

Every Sunday and Monday, a loyal group of Warhammer players carry their paints and figurines to the gaming area of the Splash Page.

Warhammer, a science-fiction miniatures game, requires more time, more patience and more money than most strategy games.

“It’s different every time you play,” said Dan Dostal, a student at Senior High.

“I like that it’s complex. I also like the story line. Warhammer World — 40K and Fantasy — is huge. Stuff like ‘Star Wars’ focused on a few people. But, with Warhammer, you run into people who play all the different races and have to know all the different backgrounds.”

Warhammer is for the serious gamer rather than the casual player. The game’s tiny figurines require painting and backgrounds that need gluing and even some sculpting.

“It’s

Figures come unpainted, and part of the Warhammer world is painting the fighters. Most are less than an inch high. Below, Jason Benner holds one of the larger and most lethal combatants, “Dread-naught.”

fun because it rolls in collecting and your own artistic ability with a game you can actually play,” said Jason Benner, another Senior High student. “The best part is winning, though.”

Warhammer players are an eclectic group, with players from age 11 to 38.

Ethan Mashek, a sixth-grader at Miles Avenue, is the youngest regular player. Although he enjoys the strategy and the artistic nature of Warhammer, his main reason for playing is social.

“It’s the only time I can play with Peter (Adair),” he said. “He used to live right next door to me, but he moved.”

Adair began playing the game when introduced to it by Mashek’s older brother Kory.

“The figures are the best part,” Adair said. “I like playing with them.”

Kory Mashek got interested in the complexities of Warhammer after beginning with the role-playing game Magic.

“I just watched people play Warhammer at the Splash Page,” he said. “I do still play Magic. Warhammer is more challenging — that’s kind of the hard part of it.”

Cal Schmidt, a senior at West, started playing Warhammer after coming across a computer version of the game. Although he also plays Magic, Warhammer is his first love.

“I started out with this, and I’m just going to keep it,” he said.

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Other players, such as Pat Nixon, a junior at Senior, started playing for a much simpler reason.

“Boredom,” he said. “A lack of interesting things to do on a daily basis.”

The oldest player in the room, Matt Leuthold, has been playing Warhammer for more than 10 years, and is considered the “honorary leader and cub scout master.”

While Leuthold admitted that, “it’s better to play older opponents because they’re more disciplined, it teaches the kids.”

“It’s important to understand the rules, to teach the rest of the crowd the rules,” he continued. “I’m really just kind of a referee.”

Warhammer players have spent between $100 and more than $4,000. With starter sets costing about $75, players find themselves spending money on Warhammer rapidly. Most players trade for pieces, or, in the case of Leuthold, who has spent only about $200 or $300, won sets at tournaments.

Leuthold also supplements his Warhammer budget by selling figurines that he’s painted on e-bay.

Although he admitted, “I have to force myself to have the discipline to paint them,” he finds that he can “pay attention to detail until I achieve my goal. A real artist would just crank them out.”

Artistic aspirations aside, Warhammer is first and foremost a strategy game.

“You see what they have and weigh what you’re going to lose to what you gain,” Leuthold said. “You spend men accordingly to reach your goal.”

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