Yes, this is the second version of this post entry. The first one was published, but somehow I managed to delete it shortly after publication. I am not entirely certain how I achieved this feat of foolishness but I did, so there you go! So I find myself in the unenvible position of having to re-write what I have already discussed, something that I am not really that sparking with enthusiasm to do, so I have decided to write a completely different post instead. I am sure that some of the waffle my first post contained will be reproduced, but if you were one of the few people who got to read the original, I am sure that some of the old waffle will return too.
So where are we in this history? Issue 106 of White Dwarf actually. It contained a short article by Nigel Stillman (who I would love to interview, if anyone knows of his whereabouts these days) in which he discussed the 'why' and the 'why nots' of Warhammer Armies, the penultimate hardback supplement for Warhammer Fantasy Battle Third Edition. By this point, WFB3 was about a year old. The rulebook had been launched in the style of GW's output in the mid '80s; a large, hardbacked book with an impressive cover painting and loads of high quality (and varied art) in both black and white and full colour. This had been followed by Warhammer Siege and later, Realm of Chaos: Slaves to Darkness which both followed the same pattern. Warhammer Armies was to be no different, only this book would contain not only army lists but actual images of GW stalwarts and their armies.
|The Army Photo. This is probably best exemplified by the Mighty Avenger himself . The recipe for success is simple: assume a suitable pose, spread models out in front of you, and take the picture.|
|Of course, Warhammer Armies went a little further, detailing the construction of the different units and so on and so forth. Here we see more of Bryan's chaos army, much of which Steve Casey has photographed for his blog, Eldritch Epistles.|
I will resist the temptation to publish them all. It will spoil the retro delight readers will experience when they first purchase this book and flick through its musty pages. So let these few pages serve as an appetite wetter for the future (for those who do not yet own this book) and a nice reminder for those who do.
Now, for those of you who are in the former camp, you don't own the book, let me explain what you would be getting yourself in for should you decide to pick Warhammer Armies up. Firstly, you get the armylists themselves; and these can be split into major and minor lists. Forces like the Wood Elves, Dwarfs and so on get large lists and additional rules, while smaller forces (or contingents) like Zoats, Nipponese and Pygmy forces get a mention. There are plenty of others that I have not mentioned too. Another excuse to buy the book really, to find out what is in there!
There are also further rules for extra monsters missing from the Bestiary in the Main Rulebook itself; with the unicorn and Temple Dog being two of these intriguing beasts. There are also lots of magic item generation tables for weapons, banners and amulets and so forth. These really are excellent and are full of brilliant ideas.
Right, back to Nigel's article then. Its well worth a read, so I'll include it all below. It contains several (to me, anyway) vital quotes because, with the growth of Oldhammer, Warhammer Armies has become rather controversial. The concept of having 'one book to rule them all' is relatively unknown to many younger gamers, who have grown up in an age of army books, but it really is possible to play Warhammer Third Edition with just the main rulebook. All the races are described, special rules provided and associate posts costs included. Warhammer Armies provides a framework with which to construct armies in more detail, as well as including different types of troops not mentioned before. It is not a 'legal' document that must be adhered to rigorously.
I am starting to see people interested in Third Editon writing things like (and I paraphrase) 'I only need five more models to have a legal Third Edition Dark Elf army' and 'I am not sure I can field my army yet, Warhammer Armies states that I have to have 20 skeletons as a minimum to field Undead'. These views are quite un-necessary when playing Warhammer Third Edition, and agreement on forces is largely down to your opponent, or even better, the GM who will create the game that you are going to take part it.
Now, there are two quotes worth discussion from the article about in my view. I will present them for you below along with my views why they are important in the rise of Warhammer Third Edition gaming, perhaps you will agree or perhaps you will disagree. You may even have another quote that you think is equally, if not more so, of importance to those that I have selected! If this is the case, then please share your view with us, either by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org or using the comments box below.
Its up to you to pick an army that suits your character as a general and come up with right tactics in different battlefield situations.
That's right, it is up to you! There are no flavours of the month in Third Edition. No army that has just been released to clamour around. Nor will your list suddenly be withdrawn, changed or updated. Its static. This should allow the gamer and collector as many years as they would wish to spend creating and perfecting their force without any concerns that things will change. The term 'obsolete' often springs up to describe particular units and so on, on sites like Warseer. How can something suddenly become obsolete if there are gamers willing to play with particular models or rule sets? The same goes with terms like 'broken'. As all the lists for Third Edition (apart from the later chaos ones in Lost and the Damned) were written by the same few people at roughly the same time, the forces on offer to the Oldhammer general are, as far as I have experienced, fairly balanced. Sure, a daemonic army or a beastman horde are extremely powerful, and rightfully so, in Third Edition, but they are not unbeatable and daemonic legions cannot really be maintained outside the Realm of Chaos anyway, so are unlikely to be turning up very often. Now if you are building an army for narrative play, and quite frankly, most of us are, your forces need to be able to deal with more than just a set of given scenarios published in a book, the most likely one being a straight forwards fight across a table.
There are two ways in which to use the lists... the purists approach... and the flexible approach.
Yes, you read that correctly. You can choose to use the lists in Warhammer Armies as they are written, or you can use them more flexibly (or even not at all). This is something that some gamers find difficult to get their heads around, particularly those coming from a more tournament based scene. Quite why this is, is open to debate, because as others have said, there is nothing stopping a gamer being flexible with any army list published on any date. Its just curious that some many people (and to me it seems the majority) are obsessed with the official rules rather than just getting on with the job of having an entertaining and mutually enjoyable experience.
So if you are new to Oldhammer, or are interested in having a go at an older ruleset, I hope that this little article has helped clear a little of the muddy waters that seem to be swirling around what many of us are doing with Third Edition. Of course, if you have anything to add please do. You know how!
The modern community is addicted to the official rules because their opponents usually can't be trusted. The role of GM and the concept of ensuring everyone has a good time has been lost over the decades. For example, if I wanted to collect nothing but optimal units for Oldhammer I suspect my opponent would either never play me again (in an environment where games are few and far between) or say "if you can't beat 'em..." and start an arms race. The road the hobby actually went down in fact. We all need to relearn how to organise a good game, they rarely happen by accident in my experience.ReplyDelete
Absolutely. One of the things that apparently rigid army lists has allowed (perhaps even encouraged, in my experience) is a creeping laziness on the part of gamers so that battles have lost their narrative drive. It does take time to put together a really top-notch set of linked scenarios that will be equally enjoyable for every participant. However, asymmetric victory conditions (raids on supply convoys, sallies from a besieged town, recover the item/hostage, defend the bridge until re-enforcements arrive or the main army can escape) can give a quick way of avoiding "line-em-up-and-knock-em-down" games which rarely satisfy.Delete
These are two excellent points, and I thank you for sharing them. It is a sad truth that for many in the wargaming hobby, simplistic 'line them up and knock them down' games are the mainstay of the hobby experience. It is key to develop a rich and detailed gaming world in which to fight our narrative battles, and this is the theme that I shall be choosing to develop a little later here at Realm of Chaos 80s.Delete
I agree with Rab's assessment of the situation too. There is a buzz to be had from purely competitive games, otherwise nobody would do it, but the charmlessness of it leads to burnouts and the need for a hobby hiatus. Crafting a story from your games is often the most complex bit, it's also the part that is the least supported so it has to be up to us.Delete
Please do bang the narrative drum as loudly as possible Orlygg! The hobby needs champions now more than ever!
Indeed, I grew up playing 5th/6th edition and it was really difficult to get people to play non-standard scenario's, even in (multi-player) campaigns! My best friend would never do anything but "line-em-up-and-knock-em-down" games... But despite the more rigid, arms-race-like army rules, 5th edition did suit narrative play quite well if you knew how to do it right. WD and the citadel journal had some great scenario articles, and I played some of the most fun narrative games based on a scenario for Epic/space marine (Eldar vs Imperial guard) I ported to WFB (High Elves vs. Empire).ReplyDelete
Interesting, the reluctance to play more narrative games may be as simple as players being out of their comfort zones. Remove the protective layer of the published rule mechanic and you are vulnerable to so many 'unknown' factors. Perhaps this loss of control, something that players of our ilk find so exciting, is something distasteful to others?Delete
Bummer about having to rewrite the post but it was good the second time around too. I found some old Chaos Knights the other day that have really got me hankering to paint up and play Oldhammer.ReplyDelete
Get them painted and getting playing something that interests and stimulates you. You never know where it may lead!Delete
Hopefully, not to damnation mind!
Re: Nigel Stillman, there was a pay on warseer a could of years back with someone who seemed to know the whereabouts of quite a few oh the ex-gw guys, including Mr. Stillman. I know I found it by googling Ian Pistock. If you can dig it up, that member might now where he is.ReplyDelete
Nigel is still here in Nottingham. He visited us at Foundry last week.Delete
Thanks for that Bryan. I am glad that Mr Stillman is still with us and (hopefully) gaming. I remember his historical stuff from the later '90s very favourably. Point him in our general direction please!!!Delete
I personally use the lists as a rough guide line with which to build my force and reflect the 'soul' of the race I am assembling said army for. For example; where there is a minimum troop type i.e. 50 skaven slaves (!) I opt to take a useful sized unit of them. It generally looks as though the lists are designed with 3000 pt armies in mind so I round these minimum quotas down (not up as I don't have enough painted models!) proportionally depending on the points size of the battle. So in a 1000 pt battle I take 17 skaven slaves. I also like to limit the use of magic items to fairly subtle affairs. I don't see characters as being 'all powerful' but as useful tools and representative of the player on the battlefield. Often I just take standard equipment and rely upon the fighting prowess and battle cunning of a character model! Magic items would be bloody rare if they existed wouldn't they?ReplyDelete
I've written about that all important factor before. The only reason there is no soul or feeling in a miniature or game is because no one put one there. The character, for example, that Kevin Adams puts into each of of his pieces astonishes me.
You are making quite a point here. My greatest fun moments have always taken place when playing narrative scenarios which are nothing but 'storytelling with minis'.ReplyDelete
Maybe the 'modern concept' lies increasingly more on the line that Warlord Paul highlighted at the beginning, the competition mind that makes players don't trust each other, making everyone unreliable for fun.
Players not trusting each other, eh? A world of rules manipulation and army list fudging and abuse to secure an 'easy' win could certainly create such an atmosphere. I remember playing a great game of Space Hulk a few years ago with Dan, I was the Marine player and had one terminator left. All I had to do was to get one Marine out alive and I had won. Dan obviously wanted to stop me a surrounded me with as many genestealers as he could to finish me off. I then rolled 6 after 6 on a d6 and ended up one square away from victory. It was such an incredible moment, rolling all these 6s one after the other that even Dan wanted this marine to pull through a win.Delete
Sadly, he didn't.
But such a moment I think would be lost on some players I have had the misfortune to meet!
Oh, that sounds totally epic! And it's for sure a pleasure to play with 'gametlemen' like that ;)Delete
Must admit I never noticed the minimum requirements for the various armies until folk began debating them recently!ReplyDelete
We always used to play with what we had in our collections back in the day. Ironic that I've since then slavishly gone about assembling the forces to the letter for Orc's Drift! ;)
I can't imagine any other way of playing than through a narrative now - especially having grown out of lining up all my plastic army men and knocking them down with the accompanying sound effects.
hello even back in 4th editions day we played with whatever we had rather then a hard and strict list, that's not to say we didn't use the army lists, we did, but we often didn't have enough figures to make rounded points totals, and so often would throw in units from other lists as "Allies".....ReplyDelete
Coruoisly it's the only edition of Warhammer I have ever played, as I never was able to find the time or oppents after leaving school.