Society Spotlight: The action role-players kicking up a SWARM

Ever wanted to scratch that role-playing itch? Is Warhammer 40,000 a guilty pleasure? Then SWARM is the society for you


Whilst little-known outside of gaming circles, SWARM is one of the most quirky, inclusive and – as we are about to find out – oldest societies running at Sussex.

Run by a bunch of smiley enthusiasts in Falmer House, activities range from donning robes and swords in recreational role-play, to picking up the paint and glue with vast Warhammer armies. In SWARM, there is something for everyone.

To find out more, we spoke to SWARM’s president, Tom:

Firstly, what is it that you actually do?

It’s what don’t we do, that’s the question! We try to accommodate most aspects of nerd culture, especially the ones that don’t necessarily get a good social spotlight.

We have lots of war-gamers – with Warhammer being the most common one, and lots of Dungeons and Dragons. They are the standard table-top role-playing games. We like to be a sociable place for people to hang out, we try not to judge people and try to be as inclusive as possible. Most people who come here find something that they enjoy and like to stick with it.

How many people usually get involved?

We effectively run from ten till ten, so at different times of the day we get different amounts of people. So early on we get a fair amount – between a dozen and two dozen, mainly role-playing war-gamers, and later on we get lots of board-gamers, but the numbers are quite similar.

Haven’t you recently merged with the Live Action Role Play society?

Yes, we have! Originally they were the same society, then Live Action Role Play (LARP) got enough people to go off on their own…but now it’s come back into the fold. We do have separate management who deal with that, because we want to maintain their autonomy as much as we can, but we want to be supportive because there’s quite a lot of overlap (between the two groups). Walking around hitting people with foam swords…what’s not to like about that!

So how long has SWARM been going?

As far as I know, SWARM is the longest-running society at Sussex. On Tuesday’s I go to a local gaming night, and there are two people there – aged around 35-45 – who came to SWARM before it was called SWARM. In one form or another it’s always been around.

Sounds intriguing, right? It’s easy to get involved.

SWARM meet every Wednesday between 12pm – 10pm in Falmer Common Room, and can also be reached through their email: [email protected]

C’mon, everyone loves Games Workshop.