Goonhammer Interviews: MandaloreGaming talks Warhammer, Video Games, and Tom Hanks

I have a confession to make: I have a bit of a competitive streak. 

When Marcy did her excellent interview with Vtubing superstar Zentreya, I admit that it sparked an ambitious fire in my heart. Don’t get me wrong: you should read Marcy’s interview. It’s a great article, and she deserves all sorts of praise for her interview. 

It was such a good interview, in fact, that it got me thinking that I should try to do one of my own for the website. See who else we could reach out to that also would bring in a unique view on Warhammer, as well as gaming in general. The idea bounced around in my head for a few days of possibilities, but as I was painting some miniatures while listening to a podcast one day it hit me like a freight train. We should interview the only person on planet earth who has a video about Fire Warrior with over two million views. We gotta get MandaloreGaming

For those who don’t know MandaloreGaming, or just Mandalore, he is a popular YouTuber who has been making video game reviews for a few years now, as well as a frequent collaborator on the podcast Please Stop Talking. Many of the games that Mandalore selects for his reviews are games that are far off the beaten path of mainstream coverage, such as Arcanum, Pathologic, Myth: The Fallen Lords, and Genesis Rising. He has also done some more notable retro game reviews, like his reviews of the old Thief games, as well as leaping down the rabbit hole of some truly bizarre video games, like Limbo of the Lost, Mysteries of the Druids, and Cabela’s Dangerous Hunts

Mandalore has spent quite a few of these videos talking about Warhammer games, both new and old. He’s done reviews on the aforementioned Fire Warrior, Space Marine, Mechanicus, Necromunda: Hired Gun, and a mod spotlight for Dawn of War: Apocalypse. He has also made excellent in-depth reviews of both Total War: Warhammer II and III for the channel. It’s clear that Mandalore is a fan of Warhammer, and because of that I decided to reach out to Mandalore on twitter to see if he’d like to do an interview, so he could have a chance to talk about his experience being a Warhammer fan, weird video games, life as a YouTuber, and any other strange places our conversation took us.

I shot over a DM on twitter, heard nothing for a while, and assumed I had been lost in the sea of Mandalore’s inbox. As I resigned myself to my message being buried, I got a response, and to my shock and delight Mandalore was down for an interview! 

So, we spoke for a bit, organized some time to chat, and met up on a discord call for the interview. We spoke for about two hours before we both had to get off the call, and the whole interview was a great time, full of Warhammer, Death Cubes, illegal GURPS modules, and Tom Hanks. 

Please sit back, get a nice cup of a hot beverage, and enjoy what I promise is a very normal interview with MandaloreGaming, where no one says anything weird!

Credit: Extellus/MandaloreGaming

Swiftblade: Okay, let’s get this show on the road-

Mandalore: First topic: female space marines!

Swiftblade: JESUS CHRIST. They’ll kill me, Mandalore. Rob Jones lives here in the same town as me, and he will kill me. Like, I’ll be in his garage, they’ll never find me.

Mandalore: Mix you into the cement, you’re just gone.

Swiftblade: I’m just gone, man. They’ll be like “Oh who? Who wrote these? Who wrote those articles? It was always Greg.” It’s like that one photo with Stalin.

Mandalore: Yeah, where he just vanished, that guy is just gone!

Swiftblade:  No, no please. I don’t want to talk about female space marines.

Mandalore: That’s fair.

Swiftblade: It’s like, if they come out, neat! Cool!

Mandalore: Yeah. With how much they’ve had Bellisarius Cawl doing things, I’m sure it’s inevitable. But when and if it happens, it’s gonna be such a shitshow. 

Swiftblade: Anyways, so, first question that’s very normal: how did you end up making game reviews for YouTube? How did that become the rabbit hole that is your professional career?

Mandalore: So it was pretty early on. Nowadays, you look at YouYube, and there’s about five million weird game videos. When I started out, it was around a little bit, but not quite as much as it is now. I just thought it would be very funny to start off going “Hey, what if I was digging up some weird games that not a lot of people are playing, but put the same effort into the video as people who are doing things like the Luigi’s Mansion big retrospectives on beloved retro games. Or like anything current. I will just play the ball as it lies, and pretend that this has virtually come out now. I’ll just talk about it as it is, and ask if it’s worth anything, or if it’s bad in a really interesting way.

Swiftblade: There are just hordes of people, slamming their fists on the desk, demanding Empire Earth content.

Credit: Sierra/Stainless Steel Studios

Mandalore: Oh my God, Empire Earth. I don’t know why, but I had like this demon whispering in my ear to play Empire Earth 3 again. Like, I did not want to touch it. 

I was a little disappointed in Empire Earth 2 as a kid too, I was sad about there being borders. But Empire Earth 3 is just something else entirely.

Swiftblade: I remember as a kid, my friend’s mom let him play as much of Empire Earth as he wanted because he convinced her it was an educational game.

Mandalore: Oh my God, because it showed all the history stuff?

Swiftblade: Yeah, and even back then, I knew it was a racket. This kid’s up to something.

Mandalore: Growing up, I got an hour a day on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday for video games. That was the rule for quite a while. Maybe there would be an exception where I would get up to two hours or something.

Swiftblade: You should’ve pointed to those Romans in Empire Earth and been like “Eh? Eh?”

Mandalore: “Look, I’m learning!” 

Swiftblade: Look mom, they’re building the Coliseum! 

Mandalore: You know, I guess that kinda makes Empire Earth the only really authentic GURPS video game. It has everything from cavemen to mechs. 

Swiftblade: We started off on female space marines, we started off on one ledge. We took ten steps, and now we’ve found the GURPS ledge. 

Mandalore: I mean, we aren’t creating a character, so it’s not much of a ledge. We don’t have to have our three character creation sessions.

One of my friends has all the GURPS books. He has all the supplementary ones too, including the one that the government temporarily banned because they thought it was some sort of terrorist cookbook.

Swiftblade: Wait, what? Hold on, huh?

Mandalore: Yeah it was, oh which one was it… was it cyberpunk? Yes, it was GURPS Cyberpunk! And they actually added onto the cover that it had been banned, they were very proud of it. Actually, I might be able to pull up a copy of it, hold on… 

Credit: Steve Jackson Games

Yeah, there we go. They’re very proud of it, on the cover they’ve got their big triangle that says “The book that was seized by the U.S Secret Service”. They thought it was some sort of hackers manual for terrorism, because they didn’t quite understand it. They saw the scary cover and the stuff about hacking. So they came to the office and raided it to make sure everything was a-okay.

Swiftblade: I’d give so much money to be a fly on the wall, to watch that government agent bursting in, ready for anything except for a roleplaying game book.

Mandalore: I mean, that came out in what, 1990? That was the peak hackerman era. Like if you didn’t know computers at all you would have no clue what’s happening. 

Swiftblade: And Satanic Panic, where if you’ve touched a roleplaying game book, you are possessed by the devil.

Mandalore: Oh my parents were totally in on that. They’d heard that Dungeons and Dragons was like a Satanist thing. Someone had told them “Yeah, these people got murdered after they gathered to play Dungeons and Dragons”. 

Swiftblade: You aren’t turning a corner, and some guy in a dark alley is like “Hey kid, wanna play Dungeons and Dragons?”

Mandalore: “You wanna play a fighter, kid?”

Swiftblade:You can battle my wizard!”

Mandalore: I dunno, they saw the scary artwork on the books and went “This looks like Satan shit. They go in this basement where it’s dark and they’re rolling dice and I don’t get it.”

Wasn’t there that movie with Tom Hanks, I think it was called Mazes and Monsters, where he gets addicted to D&D?

Swiftblade: What a rabbit hole this is, I did not know there was a Tom Hanks movie where he was cripplingly addicted to D&D.

Credit: CBS

Mandalore: Yeah, it was called Mazes and Monsters. So basically Tom Hanks joins a D&D group, and it was a peak Satanic Panic D&D movie. It was made for TV at the time, but now they plaster his face all over it. 

And he starts believing he’s actually a Warlock or something. He’s about to jump off the roof of a skyscraper, and his D&D gang is trying to stop him. Like “Don’t do it, Tom!”, and Tom shouts “I have spells! I can fly!” 

“You can’t Tom, you don’t have enough points!”

“Yes I do, I’m a level five sorcerer”

“No Tom, I’m the master of this game-”


And he snaps out of it and starts crying “Aw man, what am I doing up here!”

So that’s the peak of it: Tom Hanks starring in a movie called Mazes and Monsters where if you play Dungeons and Dragons you’ll start forgetting the real world.

Swiftblade: Moral of the story: Dungeons and Dragons: not even once.

So was there a moment you felt like “I’ve made it” on Youtube, or did it sort of creep up on you over time?

Mandalore: It was kind of a creeping up effect. a lot of the videos that are popular now aren’t necessarily things that were popular on upload, things now just have a long tail naturally. So it was never like all at once. I’ve known people who have woken up and gotten like 70,000 subscribers overnight or something crazy because they uploaded something really good. So I never had a moment like that, where I woke up like “I’m here, I’ve made it!”

When I got to about the 100,000 subscribers mark, I was like “Alright, thats good, I’m done with this as far as having a ceiling goes.” Like 100,000 people is insane. Anything past that is a bonus. Even being close to the one million mark as I am now is unthinkable.

Swiftblade: That’s gotta be totally surreal.

Mandalore: Yeah, especially because I’m doing a lot to not be successful? I don’t know how to put it. Like I could make videos have much more interesting titles if I wanted to, like “The game where SPACESHIPS run on BLOOD!”. Like describe them instead of just saying “Title: Review”. But I find it a lot funnier to surprise people that way, with no expectations of what will happen. “Oh, what’s this game about? Oh my God, what IS this game about?”

Swiftblade: You could even throw in some faces in the thumbnail, that really gets the people going.

Mandalore: Yeah, featuring X and Y

Swiftblade: Dante from Devil May Cry

Mandalore: Exactly. I just think eh, it’s more fun to surprise people with that kinda stuff, so I never did it really. 

Swiftblade: So on that topic, is there a kind of game you gravitate to for videos? Like, What is it in a game that you see and think “Oh, I gotta make a video on this”, or a series you gotta make a video on like you’re doing with the Amnesia franchise?

Mandalore: Amnesia is more personal, since I heard that Amnesia: The Bunker is very good and I replay Penumbra every few years or so.

Typically, what’s really attractive for a video is something I’ll find out midway through playing it or like kind of early on. Like I’ll have a moment, where a cutscene will go or something very strange will happen and I’m like “What the fuck am I looking at?”. And I’ll immediately go onto Youtube and check if anyone else has done anything about this game.

Like Genesis Rising had nothing on it except for some Let’s Plays of raw gameplay footage. Same as a game I’m playing now, called Warfront: Turning Point, which is like an alternate WWII where the Nazi’s are doing better in the war, which is most alternate history WWII games. But they made their main character for the allies, he’s in every shape and form Bruce Campbell. And then you play the German campaign and they have German Bruce Campbell on their side too. So he’s talking in this thick German accent like “The best part about being in the war is babes.” Like what the fuck is this?

Credit: Digital Reality

Swiftblade: [With rising distress in my voice] What? Huh? What are we trying to do with the Germans here?

Mandalore: Exactly. So I’m sitting here going “This is very strange”. And then there’s parts where the Allies and Germans team up, which is very unusual to see in anything.

Swiftblade: [Panicking] Wha-what? Who? What? Huh?

Mandalore: They’re Wolfenstein Germans is the thing. They have jetpacks and mechs. The cover makes it look like it’s gonna be a Wolfenstein thing where “Oh the Germans are super strong and how are we gonna beat them?” But no, its actually everyone teams up to kick the Soviet Unions ass.

Swiftblade: Oh, ah, there it is.

Mandalore: Yeah, so you see like the Germans and the Americans are like holding hands and waving and hugging and I’m just going “This is so fucking bizarre looking.” Like they have in-universe explanations for the fact they aren’t Nazi’s anymore, they’re Germans, but its still like the visuals of Tiger tanks and Shermans going to Moscow is so strange. 

So here’s this alternate WWII happening with bizarre political choices for how the war is progressing, and each side has their own not-Bruce Campbell. It’s almost like Command and Conquer, but not quite silly enough, so the tone is super weird.  

So I ask “Okay, I have to see if anyone has done anything with this”, and the answer is no. Nobody has bothered to do anything on this.

Swiftblade: Everybody has wisely maneuvered away from the clean Wehrmacht theory RTS, and you’re putting on the scuba gear like “I gotta go in.”

Mandalore: And these games I would usually find for like $10 at Best Buy and think “Cool cover, what a deal!” And then I get home, and it’s like “Oh no, this was ten bucks because no one was buying this.”

Swiftblade: The Pandora’s Box of Video Games: The $10 bin at Best Buy.

So I gotta ask for Rob, who I mentioned earlier: was there anything about “Mystery of the Druids” that you weren’t able to talk about in the video that got cut for time?

Credit: House of Tales/CDV Software

Mandalore: Yeah, there are a few other things that can happen to make things slow down. Some I cut out just for pacing, I didn’t want to get too far off the rails. 

But a good example is after the drone strike on the professor’s house, you’re supposed to go to the time machine to go back and stop everything. But I guess you can also just decide to go back to France again for no reason? And because you’re wanted, if you try to go back to France you’ll just get arrested by cops at the dock. So that’s technically its own separate ending.

Swiftblade: The France Ending.

Mandalore: Yeah, cause France was the dock area, where you throw salt at the castle. So if you wanted to, you could just say “Screw the time machine, I wanna go back to France” and you just get caught.

Swiftblade: I wanna be with my salt, it’s the only thing I ever loved.

Mandalore: Bury me with my salt.

Swiftblade: So I guess we should talk about Warhammer, huh?

Mandalore: Oh yeah that’s true.

Swiftblade: How did you find out about Warhammer? What was your introduction into Warhammer, whether it was 40k or Fantasy?

Mandalore: The intro was 40k, and it was actually my friend’s sister growing up who was really into it. They both played a bit. She had a, I think they were a Chaos army? I don’t remember for sure. It could’ve been Raven Guard, but I remember they were black space marines vaguely. That’s how I learned about it, like oh, you paint these models, you have fun with it, and you take it to this game place that’s up the road and we all have tournaments with it. So I was allowed to borrow some Guard units and played with them a bit. 

But my first time playing 40k in the store on my own ever was getting to experience the T’au 4th edition Fish of Fury.

TY7 Devilfish. Credit: Rockfish
TY7 Devilfish. Credit: Rockfish

Swiftblade: Oh my God, so I thought you hadn’t ever played the tabletop game. But not only have you played it, but you’ve played against fish of fury. That is awful, I’m sorry.    

 Mandalore: Yeah, I didn’t understand what was happening. I just thought “Wow, these T’au are strong”.

Context for people who don’t know, you would have, oh what were those T’au ships called…

Swiftblade: Devilfish?

Mandalore: Yeah, Devilfish, right of course Devilfish and fish of fury. You get your two devilfish, and you would fill them with Fire Warriors, and you would move them up at an angle and your Fire Warriors would take cover behind them. So your opponent just like could not hit them at all.

Swiftblade: Yeah, and you couldn’t charge them, because you would have to charge the Devilfish who I think were also unchargeable? So you couldn’t interact with it, it just sat there and shot you. 

Mandalore: No, and I was a kid too. I remember telling the guy “hey, this is my first game”, and he was like “cool!” and acting all friendly with me while he’s about to fish of fury me. Looking back, man what a dick.

Swiftblade: Yeah that guy was like “Warhammer is really fun!” as he’s climbing up the ropes, getting ready to drop the elbow on a literal child.

Mandalore: I don’t think I played the game properly again until 6th edition? Because I experienced fish of fury and thought “I dunno if I wanna play Warhammer at the store”. So I didn’t try again until many years later. I haven’t played any of 10th edition yet.

Swiftblade: Man, you played 4th and 6th edition. Really hitting the highlights of Warhammer’s lifetime. 

Do you have a favorite faction or group in the Warhammer universe, that’s like “Those are my pals, those are my special guys?”

Mandalore: I love the Imperial Guard (AKA the Astra Militarum). I love the idea of normal people having to fight these horrible, horrible monsters. Though I do like Tyranids a lot, Tyranids are neat. And I’ve always had a deep respect for Ork players and the Orks since they’ve essentially already won the setting. 

Swiftblade: What do you think works so well with Warhammer and video games. Because they keep making ‘em. 

Mandalore: Boy, do they!

Swiftblade: Games Workshop just keeps on handing out the IP. But the games are popular, they work.

Mandalore: To be fair, the ones they’re doing now are pretty good overall. Like even the ones I don’t like as much I can see how someone else would really like this. It was maybe ten years ago or so now, there was that dark period where Games Workshop would just give everyone the license. So you had a lot of mobile games reskinned into it. Like you’d have your Plants vs. Zombies but it would be an Orks versus Space Marines lane game instead. Oh God, or that Eisenhorn game. 

Credit: Pixel Hero Games

It’s good there’s such a variety of Warhammer games. Like with fantasy too, they had like a Man-o-war game for a while that I think got pulled a year or so ago. There’s been like, I wanna say four or five Space Hulk games now? I do think a few got delisted because they lost the license. 

It’s really nice there’s such a variety. Like if you want, there’s an Ork aerial combat game you could play, or that vehicle arena one they’re working on. I can’t remember the name of it. You could get Boltgun if you want a retro boomer shooter. There’s Darktide for your Left 4 Dead, or Vermintide if you want the fantasy version. Like, there’s so many options for people. “Oh, you like Civ? We have Gladius now!”

Some aren’t great, but they’re throwing a lot at the wall. They’re concentrating their darts more now, where instead of throwing them in every direction they’re a little more centered now, to the point where there’s now a pretty good variety of stuff if someone wanted to get into Warhammer through a game. Like if someone said “I only play this genre”, you’d still find something. I think the only thing that has not been made is maybe like a fighting game or a visual novel dating sim. 

Swiftblade: I mean, I’d play the visual novel dating sim. I’d platinum it, I’d be the best at it. They couldn’t stop me. 

Mandalore: Even then, I wanna say Rogue Trader might kinda count for that. You can romance people in that game, so it is a step in that direction. 

Swiftblade: I just hope I can be horribly, horribly evil in Rogue Trader.

Mandalore: Oh yeah, you can. It’s, well I don’t want to say expected, but the game is very in the spirit of Warhammer. Like a big endorsement for it is people have been playing it and going “Hey, what’s going on, I did all the ‘good’ decisions and now my character has a permanent debuff and I’m being punished because I wanted to help the people be independent?” Like yeah, it’s Warhammer, that checks out. 

Swiftblade: Sounds like that person made the mistake of not trying to sacrifice the people of that planet for dark power, I dunno what to tell ya. Power is always its own reward, nothing ever goes wrong when you seek power for power’s sake. 

Mandalore: Yeah, just fall to Chaos instantly. 

Swiftblade: Immediately.

Mandalore: Immediately.

Swiftblade: It’s the only way to do it. Give me the power, give it to me now, I’m just gonna drink it up like a Big Gulp. 

Mandalore: Rogue Traders are kinda funny in that regard. In a setting where it’s so easy to fall and be corrupted by literal demonic entities that live all around us, but you have a paper that grandfather wrote you that says you can do whatever the fuck you want. 

Swiftblade: No oversight at all.

Mandalore: “Is that a Kroot with you?” “Yeah, I have my writ”

Swiftblade: Have you seen my “I do what I want” paper?   

Mandalore: Yeah, you can go read it, it’s kilometers and spills through the entire ship. You wanna debate the words on this writ?

Swiftblade: I did see that when I played the beta, that rips.

Credit: Owlcat Games

So with all these different varieties of Warhammer games, what makes them feel like a Warhammer game. What through lines can you draw through the games, aside from like ”big dudes with big gun.”

Mandalore: I wanna say the art style is definitely number one. Like you can have it very abstract, like Chapter Master even though that’s more of a fan game, but even then it’s still feels very Warhammer down to the font.

I think audio design is a very big part of it. This might sound like sacrilege to some people, but I could not get in Gladius to save my life. I sat there and tried, but compared to like Dawn of War where the voice acting in that game is so over the top and perfect for the tone, and the music is so bombastic. And Gladius is very minimalist. You go to your tech tree or build a building and its very stylized, very minimal icons, and the music is just “dun dun dun duh, dun dun duh, dun dun duh”. It doesn’t have big horns or over dramatic soundscape to it.

To the point where Gladius has doesn’t really feel like a Warhammer game, even though they have a lot of factions in it now. I think Dark Eldar are coming soon. It has so much stuff in it. But it still feels like a mod for a different generic sci-fi space game. It feels like we took Alpha Centauri Colonial Simulator and made a Warhammer mod for it. All the units are here, but it’s like eh, not quite loud enough.

Swiftblade: Yeah Warhammer is like, in its written form and the models themselves, whatever package I think you enjoy Warhammer, I think that most important part is the bombast. Like, that go-big-or-go-home feeling.

Mandalore: That’s the appeal of it, yeah, is that it’s so over the top. There’s subtle stuff if you read the books, there’s moments of subtlety in it, but the overarching theme of it is so absurd. And that’s the appeal of it. Like, no we aren’t just going to sit here in orbit and bomb them, we’re going to send down thirty billion people to go die in a trench. 

Swiftblade: From our ten mile long church spaceship, and we’re fighting demons, the biggest demons you ever saw, with our thirty billion dudes. 

Mandalore: And there’s a chance Lord of the Rings orcs might show up to get in on the fight. Or someone on our ship is part of a cult of shapeshifting aliens who’s going to start overthrowing it mid-battle. There’s always just so much happening. 

Swiftblade: So much happening, and it’s hard not to read about it and not want to play air guitar. 

Mandalore: Exactly!

Swiftblade: We have a sword, but actually it’s a chainsaw sword. Isn’t that just a chainsaw?

Mandalore: No, it’s a ChainSWORD.

Swiftblade: See, it has a sword handle. It’s different. Otherwise yeah functionally it is a chainsaw. But you can swing it like a sword!

So, looking at those older Warhammer games, as the preeminent expert on old Warhammer games, what would you say is the hidden gem? And you can’t say Dawn of War, or Dawn of War 2, since like everybody knows those games. 

Mandalore: Dawn of War is about to get its twentieth anniversary this year, I think. Wait, yeah it is this year, oh my God. 

For the older ones, that old first person Space Hulk game is probably the one that holds up the best. But there is that… what’s it called? Oh there’s so many games, I’m going to have to look up the name of it. It was like a tactical game, I can’t believe the name is slipping me. Let me see… 

Yeah, you say old games, and I also did not think of Dawn of War, because I was like “Oh that wasn’t that long ago” and oh, shit, it’s been twenty years. 

I can’t believe the name is slipping me, I’ll have to check my GOG account. I know I have it. I can’t believe wikipedia has failed me. Okay yeah, there it is! Final Liberation! That’s what I was thinking of.

Credit: Games Workshop/Holistic Design/Strategic Simulation

Final Liberation is still pretty fun. It’s fun, but you could play better stuff.

Swiftblade: Isn’t that the game with the live-action cutscenes?

Mandalore: Yes.

Swiftblade: Yeah, high camp. That rocks.

Mandalore: It has that kind of Command and Conquer tone to it a bit. You have your Commissar, you have your people in their Ork costumes, you’ve got your Terminators lumbering around trying not to fall over. Yeah, Final Liberation is still pretty fun. 

Swiftblade: That Commissar costume still holds up. 

Mandalore: Yeah, Commissar Hoult!

Swiftblade: Are there any upcoming Warhammer games or releases that you haven’t gotten to play yet that you’re really looking forward to?

Mandalore: Space Marine 2 is probably the big one. That was something that I was convinced would just not exist since the studio went down.

It’s a shame they couldn’t get Mark Strong back, for whatever reason, because man he was such a good Titus. I’m interested to see how it goes, since it is a different studio, and it’s been so long. Very curious to see how it changes. 

Especially because I always thought “Oh, if there was another Space Marine game, it would make sense if they fought on a jungle planet against Tyranids”, because in the first game you were in a desert hive city the whole time. How do you do the opposite of that? Well, you make it a jungle. And then you have Tyranids instead, because thats something you can still cut apart like Orks that’ll be really satisfying. And then it turns out they’re doing exactly that! 

With today’s technology, they could really put so many Tyranids on the screen. Yeah, that’s probably the big one. I don’t know any others, hm. I guess there’s that vehicle combat game, Speedfreaks! That’s what it’s called! They had a demo for that, which was fun. Curious to see how it goes with that.

Swiftblade: Speedfreaks, yeah! Man, what an inspired idea for a game.  

Mandalore: I’m trying to think if there’s any fantasy games coming out. Well, I guess it’s not fantasy, but without a doubt there’ll be a 40k Total War game. So even though it’s not announced or anything, I’m interested in that, because it’s just inevitable. 

Swiftblade: Creative Assembly has gotta be doing something with that franchise. 

Mandalore: There was a survey they put out a year or two ago and one of the questions was “Would you be interested in Total War pivoting to a science fiction series?”

Swiftblade: Gee, I wonder what that would be.

Mandalore: Yeah, because like Warhammer: Total War is arguably what pushed Warhammer: The Old World to even exist. Very few people cared about fantasy, and then those games came out and people said “Wow, this is really cool! Where can I buy the models for this game?” and it turns out the game’s dead. 

You can play Age of Sigmar, and some of your favorite characters might be back. But now The Old World is back.

Swiftblade: Hey, Age of Sigmar is good now! It was very bad, but now it’s good!

Mandalore: Oh yeah, the models they put out look really fucking nice.

Swiftblade: They are just letting those designers go crazy over there for Age of Sigmar. It’s awesome.

Mandalore: Yeah, now every time they announce new stuff for Warhammer 3, I think “Oh God, if it’s something Daemon related, please just use the Age of Sigmar model.” Those Daemon models are so much better, it’s crazy.

Anyways, with how well Total War: Warhammer did for fantasy, Total War: Warhammer 40k is such an obvious money printer. Even if its like “How would cover even work in Total War?” you know, who knows. But it is just too lucrative to not do. Because everyone is going to get in on that. 

Swiftblade: Yeah, and now that there’s that Amazon series coming out, and even more people are cursed with knowing what Warhammer is. 

Mandalore: Oh right! Henry Cavil is the one helming that, right?

Swiftblade: He’s at least the one executive producing it. Warhammer has got one handsome nerd, and Games Workshop was like “You are our person. You are the most normal looking dude we have. Please talk about Warhammer.”

Mandalore: And I think DC is resetting their setting, so he’s not Superman anymore. So it’s not like he’d be tied up with other obligations.

Swiftblade: Yeah, and I guess Cavill is like, INTO into Warhammer. 

Mandalore: Oh yeah, big time. He runs a Custodes army mainly, right?

Swiftblade: I don’t know how much he actually gets to play, honestly. Like I know he posted the picture of the Custodes model on Instagram.

Mandalore: Yeah, it’s gotta be hard for him to actually play. Maybe he secretly plays online or something. I imagine if he tried to go and play at a game shop, word would get out too fast.

Swiftblade: It might be one of those things where he has three people he invites over to his Warhammer fight club. And those are the only three people who get to see him play. 

Mandalore: That is kinda the curse of fame though, he became this big popular actor, but he was really into playing Warhammer, so now it’s hard for him to actually find a game. 

Swiftblade: At that point, you gotta figure out if the Clark Kent thing really works, right? Like hunch over and put on glasses.

Mandalore: Oh, that would be so funny, if Henry Cavill actually has a Clark Kent disguise for playing Warhammer. He gets some big glasses, he messes up his hair.

Swiftblade: He just wins some huge Warhammer tournament somewhere. And when he wins, he just stands up straight and takes off his glasses and people are like “Holy shit! It was you all along!”

Mandalore: “I thought you were the Witcher!” 

Swiftblade: “I thought you were British!” “I can do accents”

Mandalore: He’s been trained in the arts. Classically trained. 

Credit: Extellus/MandaloreGaming

Swiftblade: So I think it was on a recent-ish episode of the podcast “Please Stop Talking” you said something that made me think “We gotta get Madalore to do an interview for the site”. I can’t quite remember the context, but you said “I have bad news: you’ve stumbled onto Warhammer again.” 

Mandalore: Brendan (a co-host on the podcast) was talking about the Greyhound bus trip, I think.

Swiftblade: Yes! The Greyhound bus trip. 

Mandalore: In context, he was having a weird conversation with a priest on a bus. He said “I wish there were priests coming up and down the aisle saying ‘we are here to bless the bus and pray for the oil to ensure that the journey is safe’, and Brendan always likes to talk about how stupid Warhammer is and that he doesn’t care about it and wants to learn nothing about it. So I was so fucking delighted to say “I’ve got bad news: you’ve stumbled upon the Adeptus Mechanicus by accident.”

Swiftblade: So can you think of some other great examples of “Oops, you’ve stumbled into Warhammer”?

Mandalore: People who really like Event Horizon. a lot of people like claiming it as an unofficial warhammer movie, and like, sure! It would be pretty interesting if FTL was somehow a portal through hell. Well, you’ve stumbled onto Warhammer there. Except in Warhammer they have a big, big hell shield that stops the demons from getting in. 

“Wow, what happens if it runs out of power?” 

It, uh, it does sometimes. When the Gellar field fails, it’s really a shit time. 

Swiftblade: If that thing flickers, someone is having a very bad day. 

Mandalore: I love the opening of the Mechanicus game, and their showing the ship log as they’re going through warp. And it has like all the horrible things going wrong on different parts of the ship, like little tiny footnotes. “Servitors have gone rogue! Rogue Servitors put down! Machine Spirit acting erratically in engine bay!” just how old and decrepit everything is and how many issues pop up during warp travel. 

Which Event Horizon, that was a pretty stable ship. Except for the hell accident. 

Swiftblade: So aside from your dabbling in the worst parts of tabletop Warhammer, do you have any other tabletop hobbies? I know you’ve talked about Dungeons and Dragons in the past, we’ve talked about GURPS today too.

Credit: Please Stop Talking Podcast

Mandalore: Yeah theres a few tabletop pen and paper things I’ve played. Warhammer is the only real tabletop strategy games I’ve played. Well, I’ve played some Battletech, but it’s been ages since I’ve played. Like proper Battletech, because there’s stuff like Mechlab or Mech Commander, where you can virtually play it. Which is different. 

I think that’s it as far as figures on a table games goes. Theres some other pen and paper RPG stuff I’ve played, like the Aliens RPG, Pathfinder, GURPS, Starfinder. Though I’m waiting on Starfinder second edition before I really take off into that. 

Swiftblade: Looks like we have time for one more question, so I’ll make it count. Not necessarily a Warhammer question here, but was there any Video Game that came out this year that you really enjoyed that you just didn’t get time to talk about on the channel, or just wouldn’t be a good fit for the channel?

Mandalore: Oh man. It was pretty shitty for the industry layoffs, but if you were on the playing games side of it 2023 was awesome for games. It felt like every two to three weeks something would come out that would make me say “I’m kinda interested in playing that”. Even if I didn’t get it, there would always be something. Like if I had time, I would’ve loved to play it.

Baldur’s Gate 3 was a lot of fun. I would love to do a video on that, there’s a lot I think that it does right but there’s some weird oversights with it that I think come from it being in early access for so long. It feels like act 2 and 3 are kinda switched around, and generally a bunch of story stuff in Baldur’s Gate 3 that was weird. But that’s like a possible channel thing one day. 

Credit: Behavior Interactive

Meet Your Maker was pretty fun, if you’ve ever heard of that or played it. 

Swiftblade: I don’t think I have?  

Mandalore: It’s from the people who made Dead By Daylight, apparently. I tried it because it was free on Playstation for something. 

It’s kinda like Mario Maker, but it’s an FPS game. You can basically make a dungeon that other players then try to raid. You can set up guards and traps inside of it. Which is a lot of fun, but supporting those kinds of games over time can be difficult. They’ve had some trouble keeping players.

Also, a popular thing to do is, well the way you should play is you should think like a DM (Dungeon Master), and have like a treasure room or something off to the side. And some people will just block those treasure roms off. Or you’ll load into the map, and it’s this big cube, and every trap in the game is just lined up pointing at you. So the way you’re supposed to do it is you have to think “how do I make this fun, but challenging?”

Swiftblade: Does it have that Mario Maker thing where you have to beat a level that you make in order to upload it?

Mandalore: No, it does not. People were asking about that too, like “hey, can you make people clear it?” 

And the company’s argument was, which I do agree with, is that you might be really, really good at designing a good dungeon, but you may not have the reflexes or skill to actually run it yourself. Which, that is fair. But that does also lead to all the death cubes.

The caveat is that you can log out of a level at any time and not be punished, so you can log into somebody’s dungeon and see it’s just a big “fuck you trap” and say “well, okay, I’m leaving.” But how they incentivize not making death cubes isn’t quite right.

So it’s a very interesting game, but it’s also like, I don’t know how long the game is gonna be around. They keep adding stuff onto it, like they just added a new trap or guards or something a few weeks ago.              

Swiftblade: That does sound rad as hell. 

We’ve been talking for a pretty long time now, so  I’ll wrap this up and let you go. Thank you so much for talking with me and talking with Goonhammer, this was a great time. 

Mandalore: Yeah, of course! Thank you for having me!

And that’s a wrap on our interview with Mandalore! 

Now, there’s quite a bit of our interview that I didn’t have room to fit in here that I really wish I could. Talking with Mandalore is very easy, and we got into some great sidebars and bits that break my heart to leave on the cutting room floor. Killer weather, the cult of Regular Show, and plowing potato fields are all heaters that I just couldn’t quite fit in here. Maybe one day, we can release the Dan cut and include these bits on the site for folks to enjoy.

Thank you again to MandaloreGaming for speaking with me. You can find him on his YouTube here, as well as on Twitter here. You can also find him on the podcast Please Stop Talking on YouTube as well as anywhere you listen to podcasts. If you haven’t watched any of his stuff before, please check him out and subscribe to his channel. His stuff is a delight, and worth your time.