Monday, 17 October 2011

More Skulls! Garden of Morr - Out of the Box

The roses growing up this statue
a really wonderful
additional detail - something
GW are very good at including
in many of the miniatures,
scenery, and as extras on sprues
It was my birthday over the weekend and I received a number of gaming related presents, which I'm going to write short reviews for over this week. The first of these is the Garden of Morr scenery from Games Workshop.

Regular readers will know that I'm a big fan of scenery, particularly well sculpted buildings, and now that I've amassed a huge number of miniatures I'm going to be increasingly turing my attention to purchasing all kinds of wonderful scenery in order to bring character and atmosphere to all my  games at home - as a fluff-and-scenario driven player I really need lots of scenery for games to 'come alive'.

A recurrent jibe about the design team at GW is that when they look at a model that they're working on and come to an agreement that it needs something more, the answer is always "more skulls!" I've seen this criticism levelled at the Garden of Morr and I have to say that it's not really justified.

Did I mention it had skulls?
Yes, this is a very skull heavy set, but then, it's entirely within the culture of the setting. When I was at university I studied a course on the sociology of death and dying, where we looked at rituals from across the globe associated with death, remembrance, and celebration. These included, for example, Día de los Muertos in Mexico, and Dia de Finados in Brazil, where skulls, skeletal imagery and cemetery celebrations are commonplace.

I know the Empire in warhammer terms is loosely/historically based on a unified Prussian states sort of model, so wouldn't be expected to have influences from Central or Southern American cultures. But when the widespread (some might say over-) use of skulls and skeletal imagery is seen through the perspective of ancestry and the eternal, inescapable cycle of birth and decay, I think it makes a lot more sense - this also works with the way that Morr is understood as a deity.

Of course, the GW design team might just really like skulls.

Plenty in the box to work with. The only part I'm not that keen on is
the gate, which has a massive skull detail - that's a few too many skulls
even for me! Loads here to use as objective markers, walls and fences,
small buildings, and so on. Very pleased to add this to the collection. 

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