I was born and raised in the Midwest, but moved around a decent amount growing up. Born in Ohio, my family moved to Toronto Ontario when I was 8, and then back to Ohio when I was nearly 11. Moving around usually means its hard to keep a consistent group of close friends, but I learned I could always find camaraderie in a new group through sports and gaming.
Most of my life was spent balancing school, football, and gaming with my neighborhood friends when we could find the time. I played defensive end throughout grade school and high school, and helped found the club football team at Miami University in 2007 to continue playing DE in college.
Once I graduated, my now wife and I moved to Chicago (where she was raised) and I started working in human capital software sales. School and football weren’t really a part of my day to day life for the first time, and gaming began to take over as my main outlet for relaxing and recharging my batteries.
I also sometimes moderate on Reddit (I’m a masochist I guess), and I organize the largest global Warhammer Secret Santa exchange every year through r/warhammer. 2019 saw over 600 sign ups, which is truly incredible!
How did you get involved with Warhammer 40K?
I had always enjoyed creating. I was an artsy kid growing up, always drawing or painting or trying to build forts out of paper mache for my action figures to fight over. I started building model planes when I was 6 or 7 after a friend’s dad showed us his collection and showed us how he made and painted them, and I was instantly in love with miniature modeling.
Little did I know that things you build and paint could do more than sit on a shelf! When my family and I moved to Toronto, my world would be opened up to warhammer for the first time. At my friend’s 10th birthday party, every kid got to build a space marine, paint it, and take it home. I started to notice there was a store in the mall that sold the same figures, and eventually convinced my mom to take me inside one day – the rest is history. I’ve been playing warhammer 40k (and other wargames) ever since that fateful day in 1998.
What is your main faction?
I don’t know if its even fair to say I have a “main” faction – I’ve collected and painted nearly every faction in the game over the last 22 years, and still maintain a huge collection of Nids, GSC, Necrons, Eldar, Dark Eldar, Chaos Marines, Space Marines, Custodes, Thousand Sons, Ad Mech, and Knights (now in both flavors!). About the only factions I’ve never touched are Orks and Tau at this point!
If I had to pick one, I’d have to say my Tyranids are the nearest and dearest to my heart. They were the first faction I tried to collect properly instead of just painting models I thought were cool, and I still have a handful of the first 3rd edition models I ever collected and painted for them. They’re easily my largest force at almost 10,000 points, and lay claim to the largest miniature I’ve ever completed, a heriophant titan. They’re also one of the most flexible (historically) factions in the game, and offer a ton of variety in play style.
What is your favorite “fluff” faction?
Thousand Sons, hands down. I have a 5000 point XV Legion horus heresy army that I adore, and when the Thousand Sons got their army release with Wrath of Magnus, I knew I was going to port the army over to 40k as well. The story and background of the army and of the primarch Magnus is just so tragic, there’s something very classical literature about his rise in power and favor with the emperor and ultimate fall to darkness.
Yes, its possible to cause negative consequences despite good intentions. But no, Magnus did nothing wrong.
What do you enjoy most about the game of Warhammer 40K?
The creativity that this game brings out of people is amazing to me – and I don’t just mean in the sense of the hobby, in terms of painting and converting. Everyone has seen the cool conversions and paint schemes that get thrown up on Instagram (If you’re not on Instagram, do it for the hobby. Its absolutely wild what people are capable of – find a commission painter who sounds Italian or French and slam the follow button as hard as you can. You’ll thank me later).
I mean in terms of what the game itself forces players to pull out of a hat. Everyone walks up to a game or a tournament with an idea of what their list is going to do, how they’ve carefully tweaked it to optimize for certain match ups or the mission format or terrain or what they assume the meta will look like as it evolves…and then half the time has that plan fly directly into their face as they stare at the game state and wonder what they need to do to get back into the fight and pull out a victory.
Those are my favorite moments – when your plan starts to fall apart, and your back is against the wall, and you have to figure out a way to pull off something spectacular. Its those moments where, win or lose, you and your opponent are giddy with excitement, bouncing up and down at the table as someone rolls the dice knowing that whatever crazy plan they came up with is literally insane…and just might actually work!
Nick Powell is a founding member of Grim Dark Filthy Casuals, Content Director, Editor, Author, r/WarhammerCompetitive Moderator, and Chief “Roll a D6 to generate their army randomly” Cowboy