Friday, April 8, 2011

Feature Fridays - Interview with Andy Chambers!

This week we talked to Andy Chambers and he was nice enough to take the time and answer a few questions for us.  That’s right!  THE Andy Chambers!  The one that helped develop Warhammer 40,000!  He didn’t just write about Space wolves, he is a Space Wolf! 

I personally want to thank Mr Chambers for his early work in Warhammer 40,000, it was truly an inspiration to me and helped to mold me into the hobbyist that I am today...

Digital Waaagh:  If you could meet and dine with a famous (or infamous) historic figure, who would it be and why?

Andy Chambers: Even though he was the arch Conservative himself I'd love to have dinner with Winston Churchill. I've read a shelf full of books he wrote (just finishing the World Crisis 1911-1918) and that man had a gift for writing like none other, so full of passion, personality and humour. The fact he wrote so widely and helped to guide the country through two world wars leaves me speechless.

DW: Over the past battle reports you participated in for White Dwarf, is there one in particular that you would call your "favorite" and why?
AC: I did an awful lot of battle reports and its hard to put a finger on a favourite. My ongoing battles with Jervis were always fun, and I particularly enjoyed the one between Blood Angels and Alaitoc Craftworld that was reprinted in Space Marine battles. In that one I decided to throw the game and let Jervis win for once, but then decided that was disrespectful and went to fighting as hard as I could. Upshot was a draw and it was an awesome game.

DW: When did you first get involved with the hobby of miniature wargaming, and what was your first miniature that you painted?
AC: I started 'wargaming' with Airfix toy soldiers in about 1974. The first metal miniature I painted was a Greenwood and Ball (a company long gone now) Misty Mountains goblin. I knew so little that afterwards I varnished it by dipping it in a tub of yacht varnish.

DW:  What was it like to be one of the pioneers of tabletop wargaming, and how has it impacted you personally?
AC:  I feel very lucky, I've had the opportunity to travel the world and meet all kinds of interesting gamers on different continents. I'm endlessly surprised by the positive way in which gaming has grown over the last few decades (it was pretty lame in the 70's), and humbled that folks think I've helped somehow because all I've been doing is having a great time.

DW:   Can you give us any "top secret" information on what your are curently working on?
AC: Some very exciting stuff coming up, maybe, that I can't talk about yet. Other than that I'm writing fiction for Black Library at present, first novel is out early next year, with maybe a sneak peak at this year's Games Day.

DW:  What advice would you give to any aspiring game designers?
AC: Don't get caught up in the numbers, concentrate on how the game feels when you play it. You will never create an accurate simulation of commanding an army/fleet (nor should you, it would be boring) but you might be able to create an immersive experience that feels something like it. Most of all don't make your game into a chore, it's supposed to be fun. Please note I don't claim to have always succeeded in following my own advice, this is what the failures taught me.

DW: I have sent an interview request to Gav Thorpe, what "off the wall" question should I ask him?
AC: Umm, whatever happened to his reptilians (when he came for interview he brought a codex he'd written himself, it showed me that he had the passion to write I always looked for)

Thanks again to Andy Chambers for taking the time to talk to us at the Digital Waaagh.  If you’re at Games Day, be sure to stop by and say “hi” to Andy at the Black Library, and tell him that Digital Waaagh sent you.


  1. Wait... they have wolves in space now?!

  2. Chambers novel? Good. I'd go so far as to say 'excellent'. 'Ancient History' is still my favourite piece of 40K fiction in the history of ever, just because of its marvellous fill-in-the-blanks-with-MORE-BLANKS construction. <3 Chambers. Love 'im. The company lost something very special when he left.

  3. Andy Chambers helped make that time golden. He has a slightly more secure place in my pantheon for finding the time to write back too. I remember when Gav Thorpe, Ian Pickstock and the third guy came in on the journal. That's getting on for 20 years now. Stunning.