It was 3am, the room was thick with adrenaline, and Warhammer Quest had taken hold of me.
Had I been asked prior to my first twelve-hour marathon, the dungeon-based RPG – now twenty years out of production – would have been the last thing I expected to consume my bank holiday.
Yet, there I sat. Filled with caffeine, whisky, and an incredulous sense of collaborative competition.
It was an arguably ridiculous scene; four proper adults frenetically rolling dice to move plastic miniatures around Old World dungeons so old their haggard cardboard floors struggled to slide into their respective plastic door frames.
Except we weren’t proper adults anymore. We were a barbarian pit fighter, a wizard, a wardancer and an elf ranger. Embarking on a tabletop Tolkien tirade at the fate of dice mortality. With a lantern-wielding Level One leading us through the calculated corridors of a mathematical god.
The itsy-bitsy warfare is exhaustively human. Our wild warriors stood no and every chance from the outset. We could fumble our way through new experiences, discover our individual strengths, armour our weaknesses, do everything we can to defeat evil, and only truly survive by doing so together.
Ultimately, you’re fighting to stay alive. And Warhammer Quest has a knack for harvesting hell in a playbook. You could be potion-rich and heavily weaponed – even magical – and lose everything in the appearance of a single black dot.
But you survive. Sometimes, you even thrive. You save your ambushed friends, you share your wealth with those in need, and your proactive resilience leaves you stronger than ever.
As the thirteenth hour of gameplay set in, I looked up from my Adventure Record Sheet at my sleep-deprived comrades and smiled. We had all fought through pain. We had all forged glory.
We were warriors.
(Thank you to the inimitable Josh Thornton for being the best drunk photographer of all time.)