Her reasoning was sound, we live next door so I take Logan there quite often, but some people may have to travel several hundred miles for a visit and might be reluctant to bring their wives and children, not knowing whether there is much there for the rest of their family to do. Well, this review is aimed at you dads who find yourselves in that position and I'm here to tell you that yes, bring them, they'll love it!
I originally wrote this review last year but so much has changed at Warhammer World in the last 12 months that I thought I'd update it. So here goes...
I'll split this review in to several parts, looking at the general experiences, the shops, the Gaming Hall, the Exhibition Hall, the facilities and Bugmans. Hopefully you find it useful.
Over the last couple of years I've had experiences of taking a number of different little people to WhW. Logan is 3 now but I've been taking him there since he was about 2, so definitely the youngest, but he runs around like a loon looking at everything. I haven't tried him in the exhibition hall yet, but I think I'll leave it a while (although kids are free so I could give it a go).
I visited with a friend who had a 7yr old at the time. He loved it too, although at this age there is still A LOT to see and he seemed to tire well before my friend and I had finished looking at the exhibits (5 rooms at the time, jam packed with stuff is a lot to take in, so I can understand that).
Then today some family friends came over with their two children. Their son being 10 and daughter 6, and again, they have never been but they both loved it. In fact everyone loved it today, which shows there is just as much for mums to see as there is for the dads. Helen, my non-gaming wife, often enjoys coming along for some lunch.
All in all, most kids will love it and there is something for the whole family to see.
Also note, parking is free, though there's not always enough customer parking so arrive early, and there is now a tram stop adjacent, making travelling to the venue easy peasy from Nottingham City centre.
Nowhere in the world will you find another Forge World store, or Black Library store for that matter. The range of products is incredible.
That aside, as a family destination, Warhammer World has definitely come on over the years. When I was a kid, popping along for games night, it was pretty much wall to wall geeky teenagers, but as those teenagers, like myself, have grown up, got married and had kids, WhW seems to have taken this on board. The staff are friendly and helpful without being in your face with the hard sales.
When we went with the family ends and explained that the they had never been before and quick as a flash the store colleague offered them a painting tutorial. Not only did they get to try their hand but mum and dad joined in too (I think Games Workshop gained 4 potential customers that day rather than the 1 I was expecting). Later the whole family got to play Dark Vengeance too, which by all accounts they thoroughly enjoyed.
The guy in the Forge World store at lunch was even playing peekaboo with Logan, who was eyeing up a Warlord titan at the time! (that thing is only a few inches shorter than him!).
Recently both the Forge World and Black Library stores have had a change around and about doubled in size. I think this not only lets Games Workshop fill the floor with more stock but it has also allowed them to fit in a number of new display cases, showing off numerous miniatures from every range. Although this has reduced the number of exhibition halls from 5 to 4, when I last visited the hall you didn't really notice this.
The Gaming Hall
There was a 40k gaming event on when I visited with the family friends, ideal for showing off the game in action to the kids. The tables in the gaming hall are some of the best you will ever see. Nowhere else will you get to play on the tables you see photographed in Warhammer Visions or White Dwarf. I absolutely love playing on these when I get the chance.
This is also the bit Logan probably loves the most too. He literally spent an hour looking at the tables today. That's a lot of time for a toddler to be interested in one thing. I have to watch him though as he wants to take a closer look at what the other big boys and girls are doing with their tiny space toys. I usually pick him up and do a tour of the room, explaining what's going on so he can get a good look. Most of the time the gamers give him a smile, a wave or even talk to him. Admittedly it's usually the older ones, who probably have kids of their own, but there's a good mix of age ranges these days so they account for a decent number.
You can book tables in advance, and so if you plan on getting a game in during your visit, I would recommend this as it's generally pretty busy, especially now some of the gaming hall has been turned over to the creation of the Forge World and Black Library stores. For the more specialist gaming tables, such as the Zone Mortalis, booking several months in advance can be required.
Here you can see us all having fun today, Logan clearly having the most fun as he swivelled the tiny cannons around.
The Exhibition Hall
Man oh man, you do not want to miss this. The old miniatures hall was great, even though it was small, and was free. So when GW announced the opening of a new museum and that it was going to cost £7 entry, I was aghast!
However, I was wrong. It is awesome! And under 12's get free entry. 4 rooms of Warhammer, Warhammer 40k and Warhammer 30k goodness. Plus bits about all those old games that us veterans remember from our childhood (please, please, bring Necromunda back!!)
I've been three times, all very different experiences but enjoyable none the less. There's a mixture of 'miniatures on display' and 'dioramas'. Seeing the same miniatures that are in the magazines, painted by the 'Eavy Metal team is fantastic, and the thought that has gone in to the dioramas is mind-boggling. Every angle reveals something new and interesting.
The first time, as mentioned, was with my mate and his son. There's loads to see but his son was over it after about 2 rooms. He seemed to love it but it can be sensory overload. Me and my mate were still running around like school kids in a candy shop though!
The second time I went, I took my brother-in-law. He doesn't play the games but is a bit of an artist so I thought he'd appreciate it. He did, and after 30 minutes of repeatedly saying "that's awesome" to each other we agreed to just shut the hell up and view the rest in silence, albeit with our jaws on the floor.
No doubt I'll be going back again. I went and saw the Horus Heresy display when Betrayal at Calth was released and was blown by the displays. I just loved it.
£7 isn't cheap, but it is well worth at least one visit. Leave at least an hour and a half though, every room is chock-a-block with things to look at and Room 4 in particular will need 30 minutes to take it all in (if you've seen the Hogwarts model at Harry Potter World, this is bigger than that and way more detailed)
Lastly, but by no means least, is Bugman's bar. It's awesome. Set out like a Dwarfen tavern, even the bar is set lower down than for a normal sized man. There's art on the walls (which you can buy) and nice little touches, like swords and shields on the walls.
The food is excellent, good value and huge portions. The menu has been changed recently but all the favourites (such as Build a Burger) are still there.
There are highchairs available, the staff are very child-friendly and accommodating (once when I was there with Logan on my own the lady behind the bar actually came to the table to take my order at the table so I could keep an eye on him) and there is a children's menu, which has as much variety as any other pub you're likely to take a kid to.
Helen loves the food there (she's a veggie), and never misses an opportunity to come along for lunch. Logan likes the food to (as much as any toddler likes any food). As already mentioned though, the portions are large, but that goes for the kids meals too so if you have a smaller appetite, go for a kids meal, it'll easily fill you up.
Also, the cakes, they are quite often amazing!
This is a hard one really. The new entrance hall has great new disabled and baby changing facilities. I can't fault them.
And there is another set of disabled and baby changing facilities upstairs in Bugman's, along with ladies and gents toilets. However, these second set of facilities has been there for as long as I can remember, feel free to correct me GW but they haven't changed in about 10 years at least and are really starting to show their age (don't worry, my wife gave me the low down on the ladies, I haven't been going in places I shouldn't). With the amazing new stores and exhibition hall, these toilets could definitely do with a re-fit as they're letting the place down a little.
Warhammer World holds a special place in my heart, growing up in Nottingham and playing 40k as a geeky teenager, I was spoiled by having the ability to go there whenever I wanted, it was (and is again now) my local friendly games store. As a graduate structural engineer I even had the opportunity to design the new HQ building too, so not only do I get to share my hobby with my wife and son, I get to show them something I did at work when we visit!
All in all, I'm probably a bit biased as to how good the place is, but saying that, I have had bad experiences with the attitudes of staff their in the past, so I've seen the bad side too. These days, I can absolutely say that Warhammer World is a great place to take all of the family.