I last truly felt it a few years ago with the 21st century version of Space Hulk. It arrived in an impressive cardboard box. It had a hefty weight. The shrink wrap resisted my fingers ever so slightly. Once peeled off, I experienced that wonderful moment when you first lift the lid...
Whuff! Is the sound as the air escapes and there... there are the glorious contents all ready to be examined. I wonder what that is for, you think? Oh, I remember seeing that in the advert, you say to yourself. Spreading the contents out on the carpet, you organise everything (though you are careful not to open any of the little plastic bags) into little piles before you reach for the manual...
Then there is the new big box smell...
So what ever happened to the big box game? Sure, we had 3rd Edition Space Hulk and I dread to mention, Dreadfleet (which I own, haven't even got around to cutting the miniatures off the sprues) in the last 10 years or so but apart from that, nothing.
The most successful big box game of modern times. Dan and I have played this a lot over the last couple of years. A masterpiece of gaming!
Both Dan and I bought this set too but have, as yet, not got around to even playing it.
Inquisitor was a good attempt back in '99. But that didn't come in a box. And I have always felt that I was a shame that the game didn't take off. All the parts were there; metal models, narrative games, plenty of complex rules... perhaps that was the problem. What, I cannot do a tournament with this ruleset? I cannot abuse the rules and locate loopholes to win because winning is the MOST IMPORTANT THING IN GAMING LOL!!!!
I remember the days when GW released new games regularly; not rehashes or new editions. New games. In a box.
They were the days eh?
Classic Big Box Game Count Down
1) Adeptus Titanicus
2) Dark Future
3) Space Hulk (1st Edition)
4) Space Marine (1st Edition)
Now I owned a copy of this game. I remember reading about it in WD and being amazed at the amount of miniatures you got with the game, especially considering the price! Little did I realise that the models would be tiny, tiny, tiny... Still, that didn't prevent me from really enjoying this game. I bought up many of the additional forces boxes and really abused them with poor painting. Sadly, its all gone now. I sold my remnants on eBay some years ago. Not that I regret it, for one day I shall buy a nice decent copy and relive those epic battles (hopefully with Adeptus Titanicus alongside) of the Horus Heresy before it was ret-conned to death.
5) Advanced Heroquest
6) Advanced Space Crusade
7) Mighty Empires
I know very little about this big box game. I understand that it was kind of an expansion to 3rd edition in the way of campaign management but was a stand alone game too. It used the same models as the popular Dragon Masters game by Ian Livingstone. Boradgamegeek describes it as follows;
"Mighty Empires is both a strategic layer to the Warhammer Fantasy Battle system and a boardgame in its own right. It allows players of the miniature game to manage a kingdom, explore the world, and attempt to conquer other kingdoms, but it also can be played standalone as a fantasy wargame. The game board is constructed with hexagonal tiles to create a unique land with mountains, hills, river valleys, lowlands, and coastal areas. The game comes with some nifty bits representing armies, castles, cities and villages."
Certainly sounds interesting. Anyone played this one and can comment further?
8) Blood Bowl (2nd edition)
So there we have it! Have I missed any games? What strikes me the most is all this creativity was unleashed on the world over about 4 and half years. Its was an incredible achievement by a company at the height of its creative powers. Sure, some others came later; Gorkamorka and Man O'War but both of these were under development around the same time as these and are mentioned here and there in early 90s WDs but they were Kirby's babies rather than Ansell's so don't really belong on this list. Necromunda too, owe its heritage to Confrontation too, an early form of the skirmish game set in the Rogue Trader universe and published in WD.
I was incredible to experience it at the time and I guess that is why people like me keep coming back to these games and the miniatures that were released alongside.
As this is a retro blog, this post demands your memories too. How many of these games did you play back in the day? Do you still own them? Are they still played amongst your gaming group?