Monday, August 8, 2011

My Favourite Warhammer Armies

Fluff day today.

Thought I’d list my favourite races in Warhammer from a fluff viewpoint. Here I mean those races that most motivate me into wanting to collect the army based on back story and imagery.

3. Ogre Kingdoms

The newest Fantasy race, the Ogre Kingdoms was released in 2005. I love these guys and have an army of over 4000 points of the “Big Fatties”. My main attraction was the models. Because it was a new race, all the models were new and what great models they were. The base ogre looks great, while the upgraded Irongut also hits the target. However where the range really excelled was in the metals. While the Tyrant is good, the cream of the range had to be the Maneaters. These were individual themed characters – Lady, Ninja, Arab, Paymaster, Pirate, Gunslinger – and what models they were! Each is a minor classic.

On top of this, the Ogres were one of the few fantasy armies to feel the Forgeworld love. I have a unit of three Bull Rhinox Cavalry and these beasties – as a unit – probably hit harder than anything in the game. I have fond memories of Kompleat Fanatic 2007 in Melbourne (4000 point event) where the unit hit and destroyed a unit of 24 Temple Guard plus 2nd Generation Slaan in a single turn. Temple Guard tastes a lot like chicken I’m informed.

The Army Book created all the imagery required for the army, tying previous tidbits in various books into the story of the Great Maw. The only real disappointment was that the Gnoblar plastics weren’t to the same standard as the Ogres.

Looking forward to the new book and models in September.

2. Tomb Kings

Okay, who hasn’t seen the movie “The Mummy” and been inspired to do a Tomb Kings army. Games Workshop brought back the “Khemri” as Tomb Kings in 2002 after they had languished from 4th/5th Edition. There they were part of a generic “Undead” but no doubt driven by the opportunity that the release of the “Mummy” movies presented, a wider Tomb Kings army was created.

My love of the Tomb Kings has been driven by the “Time of Legends” series on Nagash written by Mike Lee for Black Library. These books are fantastic and flesh out the bare bones (no pun intended) of Nehekharan society given in the Army Book. You find out the basis of necromancy and indeed vampirism over the course of the three books – and I mean who doesn’t have a soft spot for Nagash (the original emo teenager seething with resentment and petty jealousy).

Reviews on the 6th Edition models were mixed but I really loved them. The base skeletons with Khemri sprue are great, the chariots are excellent and the Ushabti metals are some of the nicest models GW have done IMO. In March this year they released the new book and additions to the model range including the fantastic Warsphinx.

I haven’t had a run out of the new book yet but they are clearly on the agenda latter in the year.

Now, no surprises with my top fav……

1. Skaven

Skaven are the reason I play Fantasy. They were the first army I bought, way back in 2004. Unfortunately they were always on the backburner and I didn’t finish them until mid-2009, three months before the release of the new 7th Edition book. Once the new figures were released they blew me away and so over the course of the next three months I painted a whole new army.

So what do I like about the Skaven? Well for a start the imagery and back story is pretty much all GW. In addition to the various Army Books there has also been insights into Skaven society through the “Gotrek & Felix” books – here they fight a long running feud with Thanquol, a Skaven Grey Seer. Thanquol got his own jersey recently and has had two Black Library outings –“Grey Seer” and “Temple of the Serpent”.

I absolutely love the deceitfulness and cowardice of the Skaven. I love that they create over-elaborate schemes destined for failure due to their inherent complication and interdependency. I love that their army parodies other armies, and while the feint control you realise that at best it is held together by a broken re-tied rubber band.

More than anything I love that the books and rules reflect the premise that if they could stop the in-fighting, back-biting and deceitfulness they could probably achieve world domination.

And I think the games rules reflect this. Everything they have is destructive….and not necessarily to the enemy. Magic, shooting and in some cases their assault weapons all reflect this.

The other thing with Skaven is that they are a modeller’s dream. You can create real character in your army….probably more so than any other race.

While I own a lot of other armies these three really resonate for me. Which race and why, do it for you?


  1. My Favourite army is the Empire. I love the struggle against the Chaos hordes. I also really love the idea of lots of halberds and crazy religious guys holding steadfast against whatever it comes up against. That plus the model range is all about the codpiece, skullz, and feathered hat. I'm not too keen on the Steam punk side, but that can easily be ignored.

    Closely followed is the Woodies (first army) and High Elves (latest modelling project). I guess I'm one of those people who saw them in LOTR and went "I want". The Woodies appeal to my "purest" elf side and who doesnt like trees smashing stuff????, while I tend to ignore High Elf fluff and just really enjoy the Ancient Greek feel of the models.

    And I do have a soft side for the Ogres-but only since 8th. I guess that is more of a "cool models steam rolling everything" than an actually love for the Great Maw fluff.

  2. As much as I love Skaven, my personal favourite would be Chaos Dwarfs.
    The new Forgeworld figures are great as are the old figures from the '80s.
    The Steampunky image of CD is also fairly unique in Warhammer, with Chaos Dwarfs fluff of an industrialised slavery based economy showing the dark underside of Dwarven nature.

    The Forgeworld releases make this an exciting time for people interested in Chaos Dwarfs.

  3. Pete,
    With the infamy attached to my nickname, you think it'd be an easy choice. Regrettably, no.
    I used to own a 9kg box of Skaven that broke my spirit when it came to paint them. I still hold a special place in my heart for the rats and given the quality of the stuff being turned out at the moment, revisit them.
    I think that the Ogres really hit the mark when they were originally released and have collected a fairly sizable army that is currently collecting dust in Dave's garage!
    Then there were the Wood Elves. I don't know why; there was something really appealing about the forest strolling on to the battlefield. An all forest spirit army is not HUGELY exciting to face or play, so there are conecssions that have to be made. Again, they're a work in progress that will definitley get some love once the house move takes place and I have a painting station again.
    All that said, I think that Warhammer, particularly, it's the feel of the army that will really sell it to you.

  4. Orcs and Goblins. Specifically Goblins. Specifically Night Goblins. For much of the same reason you've quoted for the rats Pete except that our policy of self-annihilation is actually consistently followed through on the tabletop with dependably cowardly tendencies, imploding gimmicks, and silly fun magic mushrooms coupled with diverse, colourful (often literally!) and interesting units.

    Drives home the beer-and-pretzels approach where you just have to laugh, shrug your shoulders, and get on with all the running away and failed rally checks.

    Oh, and I love failing Animosity and being forced to charge through my own Mangler Squig. You can't beat the thrill of pulping your own stoopid gitz.

  5. Fluff-wise, I love the High Elves with their epic struggles against Chaos and their evil kindred. Aenarion is (for me) the most epic/heroic/tragic character in the warhammer universe.

    I have always loved the Dwarfs with their incredibly grumpy attitude problems and their great history of a mighty empire gone to ruin.

    My other favourites are the Orcs and Goblins and the Skaven (even though I don't have an army of the furry ones). Their trickery and menacing lack of organisation appeals to me on a number of levels. They lack the proud history of the Dwarfs and Elves, but they make up for it with character.

  6. When I was considering my first army for Warhammer, it was a toss up between Dwarves and High Elves. I've loved both races ever since reading Tolkein as a 12 year old.

    Dwarves won out because I like their solid, unflashy, dour approach to life, leavened with their craftsmanship, love of beer and food, and their dark humour. After reading about the Battle of the 5 Armies, or of the War of the Dwarves and the Orcs, I like the idea of a line of grim, dour and downright angry Dwarven warriors out to settle some grudges. Thorin, Dain and Azaghul are pretty hard to beat.

    High Elves might seem like the opposite, but again, Tolkein put the vision in my head. His Elves were far more robust and deadly (and therefore more expensive on a point-per-model basis.....), so their Warhammer cousins are a pale imitation with their T3 and 5+ armour save. Still, the idea of an Elven army, greatly outnumbered, but relying on skill, speed and the odd blast of magic to win is an appealing one. Just watch out for the legion of Balrogs.

    If I ever have the time and money to do an evil army, then Warriors of Chaos might be it, thanks to the 1989 Realm of Chaos book, with it's pastel-hued Slaaneshi models. Slaanesh is the least-efficient mark, but they have the most style; Pulsating Pink FTW! Just don't be in their camp when it's Manlove Monday Night.

  7. So much character to many of the Warhammer armies. The armies I have: O&G for their sheer desire to pick a fight and the depth available in their army. Skaven for their sacrificial tendancies and ability to implode. Chaos for their neverending onslaught. High Elves for being a race so often responsible for holding back the tide of evil; their skill at arms, their frailty; their dwindling numbers. Of the armies I don't own - Dwarfs cause they are unshakable, Ogres cause they are big & beefy.

  8. Lizards for me. They were my first army when they came in the rule boxset and I still have a soft spot for them. Love the whole imagery with the dying slann race and the different spawnings. Plus they have funky names :)

  9. Ogre Kingdoms would have to be my favourite, followed closely by skaven.

    Skaven don't tend to appeal to me on a modelling level however, I just like collections of bigger things much more than chittering hordes, which I guess is why OK win out over them.

    Bretts will also always hold a pretty special place in my gaming history, but they're a bit too vanilla to really excite me.

  10. It's a tough one. My first GW army was Chaos Dwarf's (I had tried Epic before but never actually owned an army).

    I loved my CD army and my Earthshaker & Doomrocket always caused some good laughs. There's nothing like charging High Elf's with Dwarfs!

    I went from that to 40k (Dark Angels)then when I came back to fantasy it was for an O&G army as I just loved the randomness and the humour in the fluff & tabletop. I did have a Lizardman army too but I found them kind of bland (especially after O&G!) with at the time very little available in terms of models.

    Now after a long break from any GW games I have a Skaven army which is one of those I always wanted as the background appeals and there is a lot of available options to play with on the table.

    Of the armies I have never had it would probably be a tough choice between Ogres, as I know little about them as they came out while I was taking a break from GW. I like the models, combined with the temptation to have a hard hitting, tough army. The other contender would be Vampire counts as I always liked the background fluff and I think they would be fun on the tabletop too.

  11. joelatron told me once he'd never read the fluff section of a single army book. dont believe him