I think everyone will agree that 7th edition was a crazy ride. With highs and lows throughout the years we played it. I have seen more new faces join the fantasy ranks and seen more leave then I ever did in 6th.
7th started with a barrel full of questions. Probably the biggest was how skirmishers worked and how did enemy in the way work. Both of these massive changes from 6th edition had huge game changing effects. Unfortunately, the diagrams were not precise and the rules were barely explained. The rest of the book was well done and is one of the prettier rulebooks to date.
7th started with the release of Empire and Orcs+Goblins. These books were excellent balanced forces that seemed to be a good sign for the army books to come. It seemed special characters were a bigger part of the new army books by the way they were introduced. Previously the special characters were always placed in the back of the book. In these new books the special characters were placed in front and part of the lord or hero choices they belonged to. 6th edition special characters were rarely used and the community as a whole usually disregarded them. These books were a great start to 7th edition.
Then came the first crack in the armor of balance. High elves were released with army wide Always Strike First rule. Forums were churning out posts of “broken” and “whine” that we hadn’t really seen in 7th. Never before had an army had such a powerful special rule across the board. Things were definitely taking a change in the Warhammer world.
We had not seen the peak of the power books yet. Too many’s surprise Vampire Counts and Demons of Chaos were released in short order. Both of these books brought massive change to the game itself. Scroll caddies were no longer enough magic defense. Magic weapons were a necessity instead of a bonus. The special characters in the demon book are some of the most powerful models ever and at a relatively cheap point cost to field. Many players agreed that little if any play testing was involved in the Demon book especially with the special characters included in it.
After winning the 1st fantasy ardboyz with a fresh Demon book and assistance from Kairos Fateweaver I thought the power shift was over. Yet, we were in for a lot more treats. The second generation Slann of 6th edition that cost a lord and hero and a massive point cost. It changed drastically. The new Slann was cheaper and only a lord. He also was backed up by multiple stegadons that now also casts spells with other awesome abilities. Becalming became one of the best defensive magic abilities to date.
Yet the shock was not over for us friends. What could top VC, DoC, or Lizardmen? How about the most underpowered book of 6th edition revamped into the king of the mountain of 7th. Dark elves were given some of the best magic items in the game like Ring of Hotek and Pendant. Throw in a FAQ for str 7 rending stars and the best monster deal in the game at 175 points for the dreaded Hydra, and the Dark Elves are a power book that no one expected.
Towards the end of 7th’s ride we were treated with a new Skaven book. In it are some great fluff and ideas for the ratmen. However, it was poorly executed requiring one of the biggest FAQs to date. Lastly on 7th’s list of books was Beastmen. I think everyone agrees this book had some great potential. Leadership and point cost holds this army back though. This book left Beastmen well behind the arms race of 7th edition.
It has been a fun ride for 7th edition. I have had some of my greatest success at tournaments in this edition. I have made a lot of friends with Warhammer Fantasy and spent countless hours assembling, talking, painting, playing, and laughing about it. There is nothing like a fresh war story among friends over beers. With preview copies of the new rulebook only a handful of weeks away, I can only hope 8th brings just as many good times.