Monday, 11 March 2013

Oldhammer and Dredd.

I have recently finished reading Judge Dredd The Complete Case Files Volume 01...

and have subsequently started reading the 'golden era' Judge Dredd The Complete Case Files Volume 02...

Featuring the first Dredd epic, The Cursed Earth'.

Now this is some serious 80s goodness, and Dredd needs no introduction from me, but I wanted to mention him as part of the "What Oldhammer means to me" debate.

Personally, it's about revisiting my war-gaming roots in the hope of 're-setting' my gaming preconceptions, which had left me very jaded by the hobby and on the verge of taking a prolonged hiatus.

Although, that is not the whole story. It would be sheer hubris on my part to pretend I got everything right back in the old days and that I later strayed from the track at some point. In truth, I was still a young child when the 90s began and all our games in those days fell into two categories, we either obsessively competed with each other in search of total victory or got annihilated at a club by disapproving, older gamers on a power trip.

I don't remember the hobby being in a healthy place back then at all.

Not only did I get gaming all wrong, failing to appreciate the potential of Rogue Trader or Warhammer 3, but I missed out on so much other stuff the era had to offer because of limited pocket money. Buying 2000AD progs regularly for example.

This Oldhammer thingy, it belongs to us all, but as individuals. To me it's about a point in time when the hobby (and life) had so much to choose from and doing all it had to offer all over again, but this time getting it right. I have matured emotionally to the point where I can empathise with other people and game as a team instead of as simply competitors, and I can not only afford to buy all of Dredd's stories but I also do not have have to suffer the slow drip release of a comic. They are all available on demand, as is the whole spectrum of Oldhammer goodies.

This definition of Oldhammer is very personal and unlikely to exactly match anyone elses, and might be better described by another term altogether (mid-life crisis, manopause...) but do we really need an exact creed to follow? After all, isn't Oldhammer about being mature enough to accept and understand each others differences (and foibles) and have a great time together anyway?

I have to accept other points of view of course, practising what I preach, so let me know here if you have a lesson for me to learn on Oldhammer, or if you want to discuss it with the community try here instead.

To return to Dredd before I sign out, if he is not part of your Oldhammer experience may I respectfully suggest you may enjoy discovering or rediscovering him. The Dredd universe influenced the 40k universe so much back then with it's land raiders, power swords, jet bikes, etc. (Would the Arbites exist without Judges? Would Space Marines have such iconic shoulder armour without Dredd?) that I am sure sci-fi gamers will get a blast from visiting Mega-City One. When the writing improves in the Cursed Earth story arc and takes on it's own sci-fi influences (Roger Zelazny's 'Damnation Alley') it truly becomes an unmissable part of an Oldhammerers education!

IMHO, as is everything else of course.

Thanks for stopping by!


  1. great post dude, I was a Dreddaholic as a teenager and lvoe reading the collected works now and again, although the new dredd film was good I was appauled at it portrayal of mega city one and the following night i wathed the Stallone version again as mega city rules in that film. Now White Dwarf 78 set us mental as kids, The great Dredd heavy metal ever check it out:

    We went milliput mad for a month with Airfix 1/72 making muties until we had saved enough from our paper rounds for some miniatures, happy days

  2. Thanks for the compliment Jason, and thanks for posting the link to WD78. I ended up reading the whole magazine. I love how funny the letters page got sometimes, better than Viz. The Dredd stuff was awesome though, I have so much stuff to crowbar into future games of Rogue Trader now.

    Don't get me started on the films though! While both get some stuff right why did they reverse so much good canon unnecessarily?

    *Continues rant in that vein ad infinitum*

  3. Dredd pretty much passed me by - apart from the C64 game! I do agree on your idea of Oldhammer though and having collected many of the old WD's (including 79 - which immmediately leapt to mind as I have that Dinosaur mini!) I've certainly found myself enjoying all the Dredd stuff to be found in there. Paranoia always intrigued me too...

    I seem to remember a few folk getting hot under the collar over the idea that Dredd should be considered as a role model or hero on one of those letter pages!

  4. I won't try to sell you Dredd over and over, but 'The Cursed Earth' is outstanding, on a par with Alan Moore's Watchmen for me.

    Paranoia does look really good fun, there was a 25th anniversary edition too I think? Though I don't know if it is a definitive edition or not. Maybe I will just check eBay...

    If the letters pages are to be believed OS WD readers could be a strange crowd, Mary Whitehouse types or rules nazis the lot of them. I always loved the famous one about the chap not being allowed to use Marines that were painted 'wrong'. I think Orlygg had it on his blog recently.

    (Early) Dredd is actually more 'superheroic' and less 'antiheroic' than I remember. The times they are a-changin'.

  5. Good call linking Dredd with Oldhammer. And I really like this post, I wish more Oldhammerers were as honest as you in admitting that we really didn't appreciate the old editions of Warhammer until they were gone.

  6. Thanks Ork, glad you liked the post!

    My avowed quest to fall in love with gaming again requires me to communicate effectively with my fellow gamers, no more casual "let's play this" and turning up a week later with the list of doom.

    This means being honest, with others and with myself.

    Also, as you say, Dredd is totally intertwined with OS gaming. WHFB3 may provide common ground for us all but I'm not going to leave it at that when there is so much else on offer I missed 1st time around!

  7. You'll be wanting a copy of the Spring 86 Citadel Journal, 3 or 4 pages of Warhammer rules for Judge Dredd by Rick Priestly, including Lawmasters, Perps, Lawgivers and special ammo, alongside B&W photos of the miniatures range.

    I was always more of a Nemesis the Warlock / ABC warriors kind of guy.

    1. Hi Zhu. I have a massive burning desire to game me some Dredd, but I would want an entire sector at least to game over, so it may take some starting up. Maybe a little project for Oldhammer Weekend 2014? I will follow the trail you have left me, cheers.

      I always liked what I saw of the ABC warriors (robots, what's not to like?) but I couldn't remember much about Nemesis, I had to look him up. That strip seems well worth a look, the satire and anti-establishment stuff probably went over my head back then but it seems wonderfully subversive now.

    2. 2014 Judge Dredd you say.. Ummm heh now that was good timing I found this post :)

  8. Just found this post after forgetting it, Really good it is !

    I've starte dto rea dthe compklete case files myself and though we suffer from a truly silly translation in France (which will lead me to read them in the original version from now on) I see how this universe is relevant to Oldhammer. Reading these has given me lots of ideas for new gaming material and modelling.

    1. Glad you found it and enjoyed it! Translations don't always do the originals justice, I hear Japanese versions are particularly bad for example. I have a follow up piece to this article in the works so watch out for that. I also want to explore the influence of the Dune series on 40K in a post.

    2. That'd be nice !
      1st tome must have been translated by someone who's never put on foot in UK (very common amongst translaters an english teachers in France unfortunately) and is therefore missing all the cultural references, 2nd tome is a complete pile of crap to be honest, I've wrote letters to the publishers but it really is a shame , 3rd gets better with proper french and some cultural refs and puns being understood by the translator.
      I would ask of a translation to interpret the puns and cltural refs so I get them, otherwise I'm sure I'll be missing far less by reading the original and talking about it with a british...

      Anyway, enough whining, I'm looking forward for you 2nd article and now know some people will get the references I'm going to use in a few projects to come soon.

    3. Cool, will look forward to seeing what you come up with. I've just finished number 20 so I have lots to talk about! Interesting to hear about your issues with translation and pop culture references, might work that in if I can.

  9. Know this is an old article but I am freshly discovering this blog. I'm long time Judge Dredd fan and Games Workshop. This article sums up Dredd and Oldhammer perfectly and I am slowly working through my own Dredd figures as we speak. Would love it if you could come check them out. Here is a link to Apelino, Joe Bananas and Fast Eek all from the 1980's GW Judge Dredd Roleplaying Game:

  10. Thanks, will do. The Oldhammer Facebook Community has been soaking up most of my attention this year but I want to get back to blogging now the weather is on the turn.