Thursday, 31 July 2014

Rekindling Interest in Inquisitor.

Welcome to the end...

Inquisitor, Games Workshop's narrative skirmish game, was released in 2001. I remember getting the starter set containing the rule book and models of Inquisitor Eisenhorn and 'Slick' Devlan as a Christmas present that year, and inspired by Phil Kelly's converted war band led by Inquisitor Lichtenstein, ordered some bits from the mail order trolls and got converting. It was the first time that I really felt like I was investing in individual models, and making them uniquely mine. The end result was Inquisitor Mikael Van Helser, and his gun-slinging accomplice, Alexei Quirrick. Almost 13 years on, they don't look particularly special, and the conversions weren't all that complex, but they started me down a path that I've yet to fall off, though there doesn't look like there's much of a track ahead any longer.

Horusian Inquisitor Mikael Van Helser sported the daemonsword Crian'laar...

...his hired muscle had to make do with a shotgun and stubgun.

Inquisitor never really hit the heights of any of its contemporaries in the Specialist Games, and had a very small fan base. I believe there are a few reasons for this. For one, there was a muddled message of what sort of game it was, as it appeared as neither a pen and paper role-playing game or a skirmish game. For some role players the need for a gaming table and models did not appeal, and some skirmish players didn't feel that the rules were tight enough for balanced play. In order for campaigns to work a hard-working Games Master was needed to sell the game to the 40k players, and weave an interesting enough story for the role players. Another issue was the use of 54mm models, something that was unusual outside the realm of military history modelling enthusiasts. For a lot of potential players, switching to an unfamiliar scale was a daunting, if not outright scary prospect. It was tough to get players to buy in to begin with, and then it was even tougher to keep them interested without a GM on the ground keeping campaigns running.

Official support through Exterminatus Magazine, Fanatic Magazine and then Fanatic Online kept Inquisitor in the minds of the gaming public for a while, as did the Large Scale Model category at the Golden Demon painting competitions, but as Games Workshop lost interest in its Specialist Games division, Inquisitor really began to suffer, despite fan-led endeavours like Dark Magenta. The Conclave, once a thriving forum with hundreds of posts every week, has seen visitor numbers dwindle and plenty of players who were championing the game five years ago have had their interest wane. Inquisitor is on life support.

Rogue Trader Romain Varteg was put together over a decade after Van Helser and Quirrick (I hope there are some signs of improvement in modelling ability!).

There are a few signs of hope however. There is a busy community of players at the ammobunker using the more familiar 28mm scale, and a shrinking nucleus of users on The Conclave still producing content. I intend to use this blog to rekindle interest in Inquisitor in those who have drifted away from it due to a lack of passion for a dying game, and to try and nab some new players, perhaps those that like the 41st millennium, but hate the rates charged to play war games there nowadays!

This is going to be a multi-pronged approach, and I've got a lot of stuff waiting in the wings to get up online. Rules, back story, models, competitions... Loads of things to entice the dormant inquisitor back into the field. As well as this blog, there is a Facebook page, twitter account, and YouTube channel.  I will also be using this blog to write about other games, models, and terrain to attract the attention of others and to show off things that are just cool! Although this blog will always be Inquisitor-centric, even someone as fanatical about the game as I will need to take a break from it now and again. If I burn myself out then there will be no one left to spread the word!

The Carthaxian Inquisitor.


  1. I'm not in the habit of posting anywhere very often, but I just wanted to tell you that your blog is being read. I don't have much to say, except to thank you for what you're doing. Keeping Inquisitor alive!


    an Inq28 player from Belgium

    1. Thanks for leaving a comment. It's great to know people are reading and enjoying this blog!