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Resisting the Siren's Song: Fantasy Edition


cristomeyers
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In some of my weaker moments I've been finding myself eyeing the $90 army boxed sets for Warhammer Fantasy, particularly High Elves and Skaven (I'll refrain from posting the lists I've put together for now as I don't know if they're even legal). I'm getting a bit tired of being one of only a few Warlord players scattered over the entirety of Chicagoland (we won't get into Rezolution, Battlefield: Evolution, and Starship Troopers...), so I've been exploring the big options of the area: which leaves me with Warmachine, WHF, and Flames of War. I'm not much for historicals, and given the choice between Warmachine and Warhammer Fantasy...well, I'd rather take the devil I know over the devil I don't.

 

Here's the thing, I never followed Fantasy much, so I don't know if I'm opening up another can of the same troubles I had with 40k (that eventually led to my dropping the game). Thanks to The Warstore, the prices seem more reasonable, but I don't want to buy into a game only to end up with everything getting changed within a few years. 40k has made me pretty gun-shy of that.

 

I know Fantasy is regiment over skirmish and relies more heavily on things like morale, but that's about it. I want to hear (relatively :poke:) unbiased opinions before I make an initial investment.

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I am marginally happier with WFB than 40k, but only because of the lack of vehicles in the system, which lowers the cost somewhat. But other than that, GW will change the rules in WFB in a few years (they just made a change to 6th or 7th ed (I forget which), so you have some time), and at which point, you'll have to rebuy your rules again.

 

The rule system is very similar to 40k as well - it mostly varies in the movement area - being regiment based. So depending on what issues you had with 40k, you'll likely have the same issues with WFB.

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My issues with 40k revolved mostly around the idiotic amounts of streamlining they did, especially around shooting and damage allocation. I liked the "This guy shoots at that guy" system they had before it became unit to unit. Then the complete revamp of all army lists came around and I started realizing how little fun I was actually having.

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My issues with 40k revolved mostly around the idiotic amounts of streamlining they did, especially around shooting and damage allocation. I liked the "This guy shoots at that guy" system they had before it became unit to unit. Then the complete revamp of all army lists came around and I started realizing how little fun I was actually having.

WFB has a similar combat system - although it's not as jarring in WFB as it is in 40k, since you are dealing with massed units in formation. When two units come together in combat, casualties are generally removed from the back of the massed ranks first. Same for shooting.

 

I have the same issue with the shooting in 40k, so I understand exactly what you mean. If I play 40k, I'd prefer to play it under house rules that don't use that method. I don't mind that method in WFB, though - the big difference is the massed units and lower tech weapons, so it makes more sence.

 

The complete Revamp of all the army lists will probably happen again. I quit playing 40k about the 3rd time they revamped the lists, I tried to get back into WFB a few months ago after a several year absence, and found that despite having 200+ Lizardmen figures, I couldn't build a legal 1500 pt army without using proxies - they pretty much ditched the Skink Archer (which I have about a hundred of) in favor of a Skink with Blowgun

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I played WFB from the 80's through the 90's and I feel the call sometimes. Resist. The game is very unfulfilling in its current state and for rank and file fantasy, not a very good ruleset. Play Wargods instead. It has better rules and all metal minis which are well sculpted. The Aegyptus line is finally being expanded and will include Olympus and Wendigos and such followed by Wargods of Valhalla. As someone who has played both for fun and in their biggest tournaments and won, I can tell you that wargods is a lot better. The playerbase is smaller but should get a lot bigger when theGreeks come out (They are right now). The release schedule is far slower and smaller than GW, but that is not necessarily a bad thing.

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I'm kinda hoping the fact that most of my choices are considered Core will mitigate any list revamps:

 

High Elves:

 

1 Spellcaster

1 Hero

 

2 Units of Warriors (32)

1 Unit of Archers (16)

1 Unit of the cavalry (8)

 

1 Unit of Swordmasters (15)

 

1 Repeater Bolt Thrower

 

Skaven:

 

1 Gray Seer

1 Warlord/Chieftan

 

2 Units of Clanrats (40)

1 Unit of Slaves (20)

1 Unit of Stormvermin (15)

 

1 Unit of Plaguemonks (20)

 

2 Rat Ogres w/ 2 Packmasters

1 Packmaster w/ 6 Giant Rats

 

That's what I'm looking at all told

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I'm kinda hoping the fact that most of my choices are considered Core will mitigate any list revamps:

 

High Elves:

 

1 Spellcaster

1 Hero

 

2 Units of Warriors (32)

1 Unit of Archers (16)

1 Unit of the cavalry (8)

 

1 Unit of Swordmasters (15)

 

1 Repeater Bolt Thrower

 

Skaven:

 

1 Gray Seer

1 Warlord/Chieftan

 

2 Units of Clanrats (40)

1 Unit of Slaves (20)

1 Unit of Stormvermin (15)

 

1 Unit of Plaguemonks (20)

 

2 Rat Ogres w/ 2 Packmasters

1 Packmaster w/ 6 Giant Rats

 

That's what I'm looking at all told

 

I can't really comment on the High Elves, I don't play with or against them. I do know that they're due for an update far sooner than the Skaven though. With the Skaven, just bear in mind that you need 2k pts for the Grey Seer. You might be better off with a warlock or two. Also I'm not sure you'd need a slave unit, they're usually better if you have some guns to shoot into combat with.

As for whether to play WHFB or not, I think if you want a game with a large player base, then go ahead. Is it a perfect game? Of course not. But the plastic boxed sets, especially the big army ones, make it reasonably affordable to get started. And if you want to play casually there's nothing to stop you using a proxy or two from another company. The best thing you can do is try the game out first though.

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I can't really comment on the High Elves, I don't play with or against them. I do know that they're due for an update far sooner than the Skaven though. With the Skaven, just bear in mind that you need 2k pts for the Grey Seer. You might be better off with a warlock or two. Also I'm not sure you'd need a slave unit, they're usually better if you have some guns to shoot into combat with.

As for whether to play WHFB or not, I think if you want a game with a large player base, then go ahead. Is it a perfect game? Of course not. But the plastic boxed sets, especially the big army ones, make it reasonably affordable to get started. And if you want to play casually there's nothing to stop you using a proxy or two from another company. The best thing you can do is try the game out first though.

 

Oops, forgot the Ratling Guns (2 w/Clanrats) and Warp Fire Launcher (Stormvermin). I put down Grey Seer because that's what the site lists the model as, not because I want to use him as one. Also, I'm working without a book here. But I'd rather have some magic around than rely on Skaven strength of arms.

 

It was the price of the regiment sets that first caught my eye. $90 for a set of units that would go for around $120 is a damn good price, especially when you factor in the Warstore's 20% discount. I fully intend on spectating a few games before I spend any money.

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I have HE army books across 3 editions (4th, 5th AND 6th) and for the most part the core troops have not changed...or lets put it this way: the core models have not been deleted. With every edition new figures are added, but often they are to fill gaps in the inventory. FREX, I'm still using the 4e Plastic (2d hee hee!) HE spear and archers, and they are still representative of what's in the list. Even my 4e Repeater Bolt Thrower is still there. Granted, they can gank all that stuff in the next army list edition, but so far things have been stable as far as those lists are concerned.

 

Skaven, though I don't have any army books, not so much. At least so it seems.

 

Bretonnians, now they got ganked between 3e and 4e. Foot knights? Gone! Crossbowmen? Gone! Artillery? Gone! The latest incarnation of Bretonnians defininitely got a lot lamer. Seems GW likes to streamline not just the rules, but the lists too. Used to be you could arm your Bretonnian Men-at-arms with hand weapons, spears, or halberds. Can you still? What about armor for archers?

 

Damon.

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Lars makes a good point. The HE minis have something of a timeless quality, and I doubt that GW will change the look of them in any significant way. In fact I prefer the older 4th ed archers to the current ones, because they actually look like soldiers.

Skaven on the other hand need a good update on the minis front; the clanrats have those big, stupid hands and the tails can make ranking up properly a pain.

Basically, with HE you'll most likely have to update your rules within a year or two, but probably not the minis. Plus you need less minis for an army. I think I'd go with HE if I were you.

Damn... now I want an HE army... :wacko:

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Lars makes a good point. The HE minis have something of a timeless quality, and I doubt that GW will change the look of them in any significant way. In fact I prefer the older 4th ed archers to the current ones, because they actually look like soldiers.

Skaven on the other hand need a good update on the minis front; the clanrats have those big, stupid hands and the tails can make ranking up properly a pain.

Basically, with HE you'll most likely have to update your rules within a year or two, but probably not the minis. Plus you need less minis for an army. I think I'd go with HE if I were you.

Damn... now I want an HE army... :wacko:

 

See how it works? You're just looking around for a new game and before you know it, you're looking at prices and starting out shopping lists.

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You may also want to wait until later this year, when Confrontation 4 hits us. Larger battles (combination of new edition of Confrontation with Ragnarok in a single rule set) and AT43 style prepaints if you are that way inclined.

 

Me, I think that it is a really bad development, but I like Confrontation skirmish and nice metal minis to paint.

 

Also, Armies of Arcana has constantly growing support - good mechanics, taking the best elements of WHFB, and a total creature design rules set.

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I have to confess that Warhammer Ancients is a fantastic game. If you strip away the goofiness of WFB - the core mechanics are actually quite good.

 

That said, you can do a lot worse than WFB when it comes to mass combat games. it's not brilliant, but its not bad either.

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