Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Warhammer Fantasy - Downsize Me?

Over the past week there have been numerous rumours emerging that any reboot of the Warhammer Fantasy game will be focused on making the game smaller.
These moves are apparently driven by feedback from customers that the cost of entry to Warhammer fantasy is too high. This barrier has resulted in less new customers taking the game up.
Now there is so much that could be said around the drivers that create the barriers to entry - it seems in GW world that figure cost is not one of them. However I do think that they are missing one of the key reasons people play Fantasy over say 40k or dare I say it Warmachine. WHFB is an army scale game rather than a skirmish game and while some people are drawn by the fluff I'm sure that there are just as many drawn by scale of the game i.e. manoeuvring blocks of infantry. I know I'm attracted by that aspect more so than the derivative Tolkeinesque fluff.
I would hope that GW think long and hard before they take radical steps to downsize the game dramatically. Once that genie is out of the bottle they may not like all the consequences.


  1. Ha ha it's not all army scale with blocks of infantry - lord knows I've played against a few armies with 20 to 25 miniatures in the last few tournaments!

  2. I agree that a very large part of the appeal of Warhammer (for me at least) is that it is an army-level game. Making it skirmish only will probably see me looking at Kings of War.

    Having said that, I would rather see smaller blocks becoming more viable, rather than having to run a single large unit due to the lethality of 8th Edition. I see 3rd Edition battle reports, and to see multiple units of 12-20 models running around improves the look and tactics of the game. Skaven are meant to be in units of 40, but when Dwarves and Elves have to be too, I wonder if they've gone down the wrong road.

  3. I like the idea of the game having a lower entry level. 8th seems to work best at 2000pts+ which is a high entry point for someone new ($$, amount to paint etc). Sure the game works at smaller points levels, but the "tax" of the FOC means less fun toys.

    If there was "warhammer-lite" as a more warband-like game this would be cool. Little Johnny can still get his doomwheel and the like, but doesn't need to paint 80ish clanrats as well. if 1 box = viable unit in Warhammer-lite (like it does in 40k) = easier to get into the game and "graduate" up to bigger warhammer.

    40K "works" with 1 captain, 1 tactical marine squad, 1 rhino,and a dreadnaught if you want to branch out. Adding extra stuff is normal and with the permissive rules of 40k little Johnny could add pretty much anything. WHFB doesn't have an equivilent - the starter set does not contain viable armies (unlike the 40k one), and you need more than 4 purchases to have an army.

    However, the Sigmar's Blood campaign and the like do point to a positive hobby future where smaller games can be created (all units in that are 1 box purchase) with a strong narrative content. So long as they are seperate to "normal" warhammer = not fussed, if not mildly excited by narrative campaign books.

    Joel v

  4. What Tane said. If smaller blocks of infantry become viable, there are more of them per 2400 points, so more manouevring around the battlefield. In an ideal world (whatever that is), the game would be viable at small, medium and large points value and the player would be free to choose whether to field blocks of 10, 20 or 50. In the current game, that choice does not seem to exist.

  5. if both armies go end to end accross the table, there is no manoverability. to resemble a historic game you need options like flanking forces and the ability to have a reserve line. neither of these things are currently options in warhammer. Tha'ts as much a limitation of the 28mm models and the long ranges for things like missile weapons and cannons.

  6. Well Kings of War is a better rules set for using lots of infantry & cavalry units, both big & small. No character buses, death stars & instant death magic means that the game is all about the regular units, positioning & maneuvering. That's why you'll see as many or more blocks of infantry in KoW at 1000 points as you would in WFB at 2400...

    1. Hello Mr Anonymous,

      Do you live in Wellington, I'd like to try it.

    2. It's Dave G, I just couldn't be bothered switching google accounts to comment with my name. I'm up in Auckland sorry man, but u can download the rules & army lists for free from Mantic to try them out. Well worth it.

  7. I have downloaded them all, I'll have to give them a go I think.

  8. I hope it doesn't override the rules for large scale games in any way. Ruination was the most fun tournament I've been to in a while (despite my poor performance) - 4000pt has been permanently added to the roster now as it gives that epic army wide feel even when you play WoC.