I have a colleague who is really into the science fiction fantasy board game, Warhammer. It’s his main hobby. I can’t even begin to explain how the game works so, thanks to Wikipedia:
“Warhammer 40,000 (informally known asWarhammer 40K, WH40K or simply 40K) is a tabletop miniature wargame produced byGames Workshop, set in a dystopian science-fantasy universe. Warhammer 40,000 was created by Rick Priestley in 1987 as the futuristic companion to Warhammer Fantasy Battle, sharing many game mechanics. Expansions for Warhammer 40,000 are released periodically which give rules for urban, planetary siege and large-scale combat. The game is in its seventh edition, which was released on May 24, 2014.”
My colleague has gradually assembled a collection of the figures / characters used in the game, building and painting each one. Apologies to readers familiar with the game as I’m sure “figures” isn’t the proper term. It’s a very detailed game which I understand is played across the world.
I have never played Warhammer and it is too much based around war and combat for me personally to enjoy. However, as my friend told me about the game, I was interested by the premise on which the universe and how the characters originated. I’ve long been attracted to the way fantasy world stories and games allow us to explore emotions and values that may seem both threatening and fundamental in every day life. I think that’s why I enjoy the Divergent trilogy, the Hunger Games series and Harry Potter.
In Warhammer, as I understood it at least, emotions like rage, anger, depression, lust, and so on take on a monstrous form and inhabit their own plane that was somehow separated from the world we live in. However they can sometimes get through the division between the two planes, into the world, as monsters and destroyers, and attack or take possession of people.
I thought that was quite a vivid description of the emotions that we fear. Sometimes I dissociate and cannot feel. It’s as though the emotions are supposedly safely shut away in the other plane, leaving absence and numbness, but still draining and hollowing me out so I no longer know who I am. The veil that keeps them shut away is increasingly unstable. It shifts and weakens and then with horrifying force, the violent and monstrous emotions burst through back into my reality. They attack. They hurt. They scream fury or whisper paranoia and guilt. They cling, unbearable and foul. They consume me, control me and wrap themselves so tight around my insides that all I sense is pain and I lose sight of everything good. Hope and empathy seem to have fled. I do the terrible things I most fear.
Sometimes I worry what the creators of games like this have been through to come up with these images! Or perhaps it only reads this way to people who think like me 🙂