It’s been a while, but we’re back with another Tabletop Gaming News Interview. This one is with John Stallard, CEO of Warlord Games, about the history of the company, their new rules sets, and where they’re headed.
TGN: What is the history of Warlord Games? How did you guys get started? What made you want to do historical miniatures as you do?
John: Warlord Games was set up 5 years ago by John Stallard and Paul Sawyer both long term Games Workshop employees when they both were made redundant from their former roles.. Fortunately for them, GW had trained and inspired them well, as they both had a passion for historical games, it was a relatively easy step to transform the making and selling of fantasy models to historicals..
TGN: Warlord Games is rather prolific with the amount of models they put out. How are you able to keep up such a pace across so many lines?
John: How do we keep it up? Good question.. It doesn’t always seem like a huge amount we put out , but in the cold light of day, it is quite a haul each week..its because we are terribly excited by it all really. We have so many periods to go at. We also have some great writers and sculptors and a factory and sales team that can support it all..Loads more planned before the end of the year too…
TGN: You have several new rulebooks coming out or that just came out. They’re some of the most-anticipated historical minis rules in a while (even having several nominations for Historical Wargames awards for your Bolt Action and Hail Caesar lines). How long have these sets been in development? Is it hard to try and create rules for all of these models that you’ve been releasing for years?
John: We have had great success with all our rule books so far, and with Bolt action out on 20th Sept we hope to add another winner..
The secret here is two fold. Having Rick Priesley and Alesio Cavattori living within 5 miles of your office and a cool studio that “gets” the Warlord look and feel is a winning combination. We write the books that reflect the way we have all played as mates over the last 30 years (is it really that long!) so its not a chore to commission write or play test them , far from it. Its really an extension of writing up the games we play and hoping that enough gamers out there are kindred spirits IE enjoy a game Informed by history rather than enslaved to history and detail.
TGN: You’ve acquired other companies along the way and integrated them into Warlord. Does that make things easier or harder when it comes to production of miniatures, especially ones for a game now?
John: Yes we have acquired a good few companies now, all of which have been successful and the models integrated into our ranks…It has meant that our offer has increased at a faster rate to what we could do it ourselves, and spurs us on to do more..
TGN: How much research goes into creating a new model for a historical line? Especially the Bolt Action stuff, almost every release has an actual photograph of the unit in question that was obviously the inspiration for the sculpt. With rules now associated with them, how much harder does this make the whole process?
We do do a lot of research, despite what some people may think! We quite enjoy that part of the job. WW2 is Paul’s and mine favorite period. What is astonishing is that someone else always knows more than you do, genuinely. Despite all the photos and books we learn loads from our forums and emails.So it is a big challenge that we get right, most of the time. And people are entitled to poke around and argue, its all part of the fun.
TGN: Are there any other historical settings you would like to get into (as if you guys didn’t have a lot on your plate already)? Any future plans for a more modern setting such as Vietnam or even Gulf War era sets?
John: Cant see us doing Vietnam, but we do know guys who game it very well (Dave Andrews and Ali Morrisson for two), but Paul is very keen on the Falklands (Malvinas to our Argentine friends) and I fantasize about Korea and the Indo/Pakistan wars of the 70s..Maybe we should do some 1946 crazy stuff?
TGN: What about more of the airplanes of WWII? Any chance we’ll have Mustangs and Luftwaffe models (and rules) at some point?
John: Again we LOVE our ww2 planes. But have too much on plates at present.. one day….
TGN: Any other things you’d like to say or any questions for our readers you’d like to get feedback about?
John: I would like to say thanks for asking some great questions, they are not always easily answered! I hope your readers approve of the direction we are going and please do write in with ideas and comments Paul and I do read it all you know, honest!!
Best wishes John Stallard co owner Warlord Games
TGN: I would like to thank John Stallard for his time in answering the questions and Paul Sawyer for helping to set up the interview. Stay tuned to TGN next week for a review of the new Bolt Action rulebook and your chance to win it before it’s even in stores!