Gentlemen, I have called you all here to discuss the future of our dear hobby.
Good evening Gentlemen, it is I, your roguish luminary, Mr. Black. I have gathered you all here to bring forth a matter most important to our dear wargaming collective, the arrival of a new edition of Warhammer Fantasy Battles.
Now, my personal benefactor has informed me that the “internet”, which he cited as a series of tubes, has been abuzz with the ramblings and portents of this new edition, various camps have sprung up, some along them doomsayers, speaking that this new release will surely spell the death of our fair system. It seems this vagabond group of individuals has let fear cloud their better judgment!
They claim that our parentage, Games Workshop, would have us degradingly revert ourselves to the simplistic and savage rules that are the bastard offspring of our glorious game, Warhammer 40K. They speak of only one saving throw, not the two to four we are accustomed to, of movement without the use of arcing wheels (preposterous!) The worst of them though, the lowest rapscallions of the lot speak that our dear system, veteran of nearly three decades, is in it’s death throes!
They cite armies such as “Vampire Counts”, “Daemons of Chaos”, and even my preferant army, the “Dark Elves”! They say that, due in part to these forces, that Warhammer Fantasy is now in it’s death throes. That we should accept this and move on, perhaps settling with War of the Ring, Flames of War, or other such systems befitting players of our esteemed caliber.
Well, it is to them I say this, fellow members of our most exalted league: We do not stand at the thresh hold of oblivion, no, we stand at the beginning of a glorious new age; a brave new world, so to speak.
And no, this is not the world of old, esteemed fellows…
I have gazed into the tome of our new rules, weighty though it’s pages may be, and I have seen what awaits us…
Being the gentleman and scholar that I am, I have listed forth in specific order changes to our beloved pastime. In no regards do I claim to be noting all changes, merely the ones I have seen in my initial fore’ into the a fore mentioned tome:
How One Shall Mobilize His Forces
First let us speak of the composition of our forces, how we select and rank the forces of our Army Books.
I will first mention that no longer are we bound by a posh system such as numbered limitations, no, it seems the parentage Games Workshop seeks to further remove the lower class of serf-like scoundrels that have perverted our system by moving back to a percentile based block in the lieu of 25% Lords, 25% Character, 25% min Core, 50% special (albeit with a maximum of three of each choice), and 25% rare (abiding by a max two-per-choice). Surely this was done in knowledge that only those of a keener intellect, the true creme de la crop of our hobby enthusiasts (I.E. us) can even make it as far as army composition! Route the “Lowers” out early, good show G.W.!
Do note with the above that one is not limited to a single Lord leading your forces, nor restricted by such petty concepts as unit limits (well, aside from the a fore mentioned three special and two rare, ahem). Should a well mannered gent wish to run, say, two Hydras and then add some Bolt Throwers than it is his choosing to do so.
More, dare I say the word, tantalizing, ideas of multiple Lords, say, a Khornate Lord and a Tzeentch Sorcerer Lord, open up a whole new avenue of construction to current themes and styles. Now, some amongst you may scoff the idea of such, crying forth shouts of “overpowered!” and a like, but pressing forth my general views after reading, I do not see this as a negative. Some will say it’s more of a move in the “Hero-Hammer” direction [which, if memory serves, is a type of Sandwich Mallet, citation needed], but the actual power of the single model has been reduced, the game in it’s whole lending itself more towards a mass of troops being let by inspirational, but not all-powerful, leaders. It would be hard to explain the exact details of such without gregarious time and space used, so I shall hold that for another week’s seminar.
Rules of Engagement
Gone now are the times of rushing forth headlong into combat and blindsiding an enemy in a furious blood frenzy (rightly so, in my humble opinion, this is an engagement of intellectuals, not barbarian hordes ). Now, instead of the bloke who charges forth being the one to swing first we wait until the referee shoots the starter pistol, and then may the fastest man win.
Yes, it seems now we go by Initiative in all combats, barring Always Strikes First and Always Strikes Last, which in the case of the former allowing Rerolls to hit in combat should you already be faster and acting to cancel out the later, thus making you strike at your usual speed.
Now, one can imagine how this changes the game. Now we must give pause before charging into the unit of Witch Elves or Slaanesh Daemonettes, for they will most assuredly go first!
All in all though, I believe this change is fine, as the faster, less armored fellows really had to exploit tricks to not die from a charge of the chaps wearing plate-mail! Adding into this the fact that the second rank, in all cases, may attack as well (though being limited to one attack) and we have a counter-point to balance things out. In the few games played, one unit type did not seem to have a drastic advantage or disadvantage upon another, as we saw in the previous edition…
…Well, except the lads in the Warriors of Chaos, being the I: 5 brutes they are, I foresee them laying quite a trouncing upon others!
A sad aspect I shall speak of though, and one that rather perplexes me. Even should you charge and slay the other fellows ruffians, the next ranks step up and fight, meaning that you could very well slay to a man your opponent’s first and second rank and still lose yourself in the counterattack… It truly does perplex me as to why we would move to an initiative based system and then add in this rule… I shall have to play a match or two and gather my thoughts on this matter.
Another aspect to note, while the the Sword and Shield warriors as current in topic, is that the +1 armor bonus for the before mentioned is gone! Replaced in favor of a 6+ Ward in melee! Yes, that is quite the change, Dwarves and Chaos now losing the 2+ shielding in favor of 3/6++ (or in Tzeentch’s case, 3/5++). Another aspect that changes our beloved battlefield in more ways than it’s simple reading would suggest!
This gentlemen, is but a short mention of the changing to our beloved combat system. We shall take a brief interlude and then I shall discuss the finer aspects of our new magic system, as well as the new postings of terrain and flora that we now have available.
~Cigars and fine brandy are available in the leisure and waiting room, while waiting for the next session shall we discuss how changes to the combat system have effected everyone army? How big a roll do you believe our new initiative system will play in your forthcoming games?