Friday, August 12, 2011
Back to the Old School: Warhammer Fantasy Friday
Posted by Michael Ovsenik
Warhammer Fantasy has always been my first love when it comes to 28mm wargaming. My best friend got us into it when we were in middle school; my brother and I started with one beastman each, moving across our living room carpet from like 48" away. Ridiculousness.
Soon we moved onto Orcs and Goblins (I had probably 5,000 points) and my brother had Skaven. We must have played two or three times a week on dinner tables. Little to no terrain, we'd start 48" inches apart and my buddy with Undead (no TK and VC at the time) would win every time because the magic back then for Undead was unstoppable. No idea why we didn't actually read the rules. My standard was a unit of 64 goblins marching around 4 ranks wide. So stupid.
I hadn't played fantasy in ages, just 40k, and I didn't plan to play it at all anymore. 7th Edition was broke-r than Randy "The Ram" Robinson. I sold all my Orcs and Goblins. I bought more 40k stuff with it.
At some point in 2009 I decided to pick up Tomb Kings. I love the aesthetic - all these risen warriors fighting for their super pissed off mummy lord. The monsters and chariots are so cool. They sucked really bad, though. Under 7th they were so bad.
8th edition came out last summer and it has been pretty awesome. Lots of kills, lots of dice rolling, fun. Tomb Kings were updated recently and they're pretty cool. Where am I going with all this?
I think Fantasy has gotten a really bad rap lately from big sites who generalize and state their opinion as fact. I think a lot of 40k dudes only play 40k and I've always been about trying a number of games (not a TON! People never want to invest in a ton) so you can actually tell what you like. You'll also be able to look critically at a game like 40k and realize it isn't the end-all-be-all.
There are inherent problems, sure. Tons of models to buy and paint. It is fantasy based (I've always been about sci-fi, but still I like fantasy's world more than 40k's. 40k really is just fantasy in space - space knights, space empire, space elves, chaos, etc.) but the fluff is still great and the things that happen in the fantasy world seem to be much more coherent to me. Things that the Chaos invasion does are all encompassing and affect everyone; in 40k whole systems die and the high command on Terra doesn't care one bit.
This isn't to say Fantasy is better; it is just different and well worth your time. Instead of blindly hating on it because you want to feel better than others, try it out sometime. Learn the differences and actually try to understand it before putting it away. 8th Edition makes a great wargame and is LOVELY for beerdrinking (what GW games are all about. Not "competitive wargaming").
I guess the only reason I decided to post this up was because my buddy and I were playing Fantasy Wednesday night. We had a great time, killed everything on the board. His Stegadons ran down my skeletons and my mummies beat up his dudes. A good time. So good, in fact, that I went out and purchased a starter army for Empire. Totally on a whim - my buddy had started a Wood Elves army at Games Day so I decided to as well.
Why did I choose Empire? They are solid overall, but mostly the fluff. They've always been besieged on all sides by Chaos, Skaven, Orcs and Goblins, Tomb Kings, etc. They fight as well as they know how to and barely hang on by a thread. They are led by badass bald priests with gigantic warhammers; they have insane fire mages that blow things up. They have cannons and handguns and all that. They're just a really cool faction.
It is a shame that the price of the game has gotten so high that it is hard for me to convince our players to try it out. We do have a few players that will play it though, so be on the lookout soon for more battle reports and hobby updates related to Fantasy to balance out our blog!