Saturday, December 24, 2011

Brickbats & Bouquets

The other day I gave a runthrough of Games Workshop's individual products this year focusing on models and the like. Today I want to focus on three specific releases and give my opinion of whether they worked or didn't work (for me).

So I have two brickbats and one bouquet to give out. I'll start with the negatives and finish with the positive.

Miss #1 - Dreadfleet 

This was 2011's mystery box - though to be fair everything is a mystery these days. The models included in the game were lovely although I wonder how many sets will actually get painted. However I believe that this missed on two fronts.

Firstly, it was a different scale game so that there was little chance for cross over into the wider Warhammer world. But more importantly it was a closed-in system with set scenarios and GW clearly stating that they planned no expansions. This really limited its appeal for the wider Warhammer audience. If it had been designed for expansions for race-specific fleets like Man O'War then I'm sure it would have had wider appeal.

 As it is I walked into my local GW the other day and was not surprised to see at least a dozen copies still on the shelves. I'm sure there are plenty more in the warehouses. The price point didn't help but the release was a clear miss on a number of levels.

Miss #2 - Storm of Magic 

Well I called this early and I was so right. The whole concept was a marketing ploy from the outset. Purely designed to sell some random monster kits the expansion for Warhammer crashed and burned on release. I am actually yet to met a single person who I am aware of having played the game.

The game reeked of "Apocalypse - for - Warhammer" and was aimed squarely at the GW Shop market. Big spells, big monsters, little thought.

For all that I don't think GW actually dedicated a lot of resources at the game so not much wasted. If I'm wrong and they did then it certainly doesn't show. If it isn't already it will be a distant memory in six months a bit like Planetary Strike for 40k.

Hit #1 - 8th Edition Warhammer Army Books

It is almost scary how successfully GW have hit the nail on the head with their three army books released in 2011. There was a seven month wait from the release of the new edition until Orcs & Goblins was released but it was well worth the wait.

Followed up by Tomb Kings and Ogre Kingdoms the new books have leveled the playing field in the Warhammer World, building on the work done by the base rules. The power level of the various armies has flattened considerably. I'm desperately keen for this to continue with the upcoming VC book. The other thing is the increased number of viable options in each list means that there is greater variety in the lists we are seeing on the table. More than anything this has continued to enhance the game.

I have regularly espoused my few that the new balance is a factor of the move to an extensive list of Common Magic Items backed up by a small list of race-specific items. This has introduced increased balance into the game. So for me this HIT more than offsets any negatives. It is a significant enhancement to a CORE game so is more far-reaching in its influence than the other two which are frankly, sideshows. 

Whatever you do GW, don't blow this new balance in 2012.


  1. Correct for Dreadfulfleet. I don't agree about SoM though, which I really like.

  2. SoM is very popular worldwide. We down south have had about a dozen games so far

  3. We are routinely using StoM in our gaming group as a break in the usual campaign games. Adds a nice "spice"... and sells a few extra monsters, I guess -- me personally got the Bonegrinder Giant.

  4. Well good to hear some people are getting use out of SoM

  5. I don't know anyone who has brought Dread fleet or SoM he in chch.There are still guys playing 10-20000pts games without using any of the new rules


  6. The local store here still has a dozen copies of dreadfleet and that hasn't changed in weeks.

    StoM is a lot of fun if not very crazy game.

    Army book and game balance so far so good Vampires will be the next break or make. I think GW have worked out that making the Army books and game in general balanced = more sales & less redundant figures. ie Corsairs; Warriors of Chaos etc.