Like a lot of gamers, I was introduced to the world of wargames via Heroquest and Space Crusade. The first ‘real’ wargame I got into though was Epic, by Games Workshop, a 6mm scale game set in the Warhammer 40,000 universe.
I first learned about Epic through reading a battle report in a copy of White Dwarf belonging to @CaitoGalenus. The battle pitted Blood Angels (supported by some Imperial Guard super-heavy tanks and Titans) against a Chaos force centred around Magnus the Red and the Thousand Sons.
This was the first battle report I had ever read and it captured my imagination. At that stage, I wasn’t hugely into the 40k universe but the tanks and gunships and giant warmachines Isaw in the pages of White Dwarf intrigued me and caught my imagination in a way that mainstream 40k thus far had not. Most importantly, the battle report introduced me to the concept of Titans by featuring a pair of Imperial Warhound-class scout Titans.
In those days, you started playing Epic by buying the ‘Space Marine’ box set, which was full of Space Marines, Orks and Eldar along with their attendent vehicles. (Land Raiders, Rhinos, Battlewagons and Falcons). This box went straight on my birthday list. But in the meantime, I started collecting a few bits, like the contents of the ‘Stompas’ box set (an eclectic mix of dreadnoughts and similar models for all armies) and the seminal ‘Imperial Titans’ box set.
The six Warlord Titans from that set were amongst the first ‘proper’ Citadel Miniatures I ever painted. I painted mine in the blue and white of the Imperial Fists Titan Legion, not to be confused with the Space Marine Chapter of the same name.
I collected models for all of the armies available for Epic, except Chaos. Meaning I had Space Marine, Imperial Guard, Ork, Eldar and Squat models in my collection. In hindsight none of these collections were well rounded or well thought out. They consisted mostly of plastic miniatures from the wonderfully cheap box sets and a few metal miniatures that I liked the look of such as Titans, Gargants, Thunderhawk Gunships, Stormhammers, Overlord Airships or Eldar Doom Weavers.
Eventually, the Titan Legions box set was released. I saved up my money and bought it during my one and only visit to Games Day at the NIA in Birmingham. Titan Legions was a great box, containing the iconic Imperator Titan and a load of other great miniatures.
Titan Legions brought a lot to the game, but it also ramped up the complexity higher than ever. It had great models and great ideas but no one could deny it was complicated to play.
By this point I had gotten into 2nd edition Warhammer 40,000, collecting Space Wolves and Imperial Guard.
Eventually Epic was redesigned and rebranded as ‘Epic 40,000’. This was a total redesign not only of the rules but also of the entire model range. Sadly the game I liked had changed beyond recognition, becoming dry and abstracted, where there was practically no difference in game terms between a formation of 3 Baneblades or one comprising a single Reaver Titan. I got out of Epic and carried on playing 40k instead.
These days Epic is now available as a revised version called ‘Epic Armageddon’ and is part of the Specialist Games range. The amount of support the game gets is almost non-existent. Personally, I think it’s a shame that such a great game has been all but consigned to the dustbins of history. Ironically a lot of the units that were originally introduced in Epic like the Mantacore, Shadowsword, and even the Warhound Titan, have since been introduced into Warhammer 40,000 as shiny 28mm scale models. These days, the scope of 40k has expanded to cover much larger armies, such that in many ways Epic isn’t really necessary anymore.
Still, I have fond memories of the game and although all the models I had have long since been consigned to the big bitz box in the sky it gave me a lot of enjoyment and indirectly paved the way to all the fun I’ve had with other games since.