So the big release for February from Games Workshop is the Beastmen Army Book. My question for today is did the new book leave the Children of Chaos out in the cold without a place to call home in the game?
Lets take a quick look at the major changes in the army from a distance before moving on.
1) They went from being the skirmish army to being another traditional force with standard ranked units in the main.
2) They lost a lot of their characterful monsters to the Warriors of Chaos books and got a handful of monster replacements, many of which don’t have concept art provided.
3) The loss of Chaos Marks, leaving the army with perilously low leadership.
These three things combined to lead me to think that at some level the Beastmen don’t have a real place to call home in the Warhammer universe any longer. An army that was unique and characterful with several traits not seen elsewhere has become an army that is pretty much sitting at the intersection of Orcs&Goblins (cheap low powered hordes), Skaven (visual aesthetic of a brown, animalistic army of cheap units backed up by some larger besties), and Wood Elves (the woodsy sneaky bit). It seems that each of these three armies shares some of the Beastmen army’s traits but push their own traits to an extreme while the new Army Book sits in the average middle ground, without a well defined niche exclusive to themselves.
In a universe with armies as divergant as Ogre Kingdoms (whether you like the rules or not, they are a VERY different design concept for a Warhammer army), it seems that any army will need to stake a claim to some little design mechanics to call its own to hook the dedicated players. Lets face it, the Warhammer Fantasy world is crowded as it is, and I hope to see any new armies be able to stand apart from any of the others.
~Now all this might be just a short-term issue, and the Beastmen may work flawlessly under the impending 8th Edition Fantasy core rules. Time will tell, but until then, what do you think of the the Beastmen release as a whole, and do you think they have a unique “home” design-wise in the Old World?