Wednesday, February 4, 2015


One of the forums I browse had a thread recently "Warhammer Fantasy - What Went Wrong?"

I thought that it might be an interesting read to get some differing perspectives. Regular readers will know that I love the Warhammer 8th Ed rule set finding it far more balanced than its predecessor. This is especially so as the cycle of Warhammer Army Books has progressed.

One of the main reasons is that the game has IMO become one of risk management rather than spatial awareness. While a lot of critics decry it as randomhammer there are a fair percentage who remember 7th WHFB as the "carpentry edition" (all angles and micro-measurement).

So reading through the thread I quickly realised that a lot of the commentators either hadn't played 8th or "tried one game and it wasn't for me". The forum is primarily US based and, apart from Australia, that appears to be the centre of anti-8th feeling. Not all of the USA - because in essence it is a series of countries wargaming wise, but significant pockets.

A common refrain was that things like random charge distances take the skill out of the game. Again IMO this is so far from the truth that you really struggle to give credence to their other observations. It takes different skills - you need to be able to risk weight outcomes and determine whether you need a credible Plan B in the event you upset the dice gods!

Now I'm not saying 8th is without fault but army balance relative is not one of them. People seem to forget the troika of Vamps, Daemons and Dark Elves that dominated 7th ed events. They forget the UKGTs with three identical lists (give or take one unit) dominating the top 25 tables. The tournament game required far more comp than it does now - pre ET (where we are seeing some old probs resurface).

What I'm not sure is how people who haven't played the game can say that another version was better. Sure, you can say the current version isn't to your liking or that you preferred the other but that is subjective rather than objective. I know in my case I never really played 5th, 6th or 7th 40k. As such I have no idea if they were better than 4th and could never make an objective assessment as to which is the better game.

Anyway I found it amusing to read long dissertations on what was wrong with the game - stated as fact - and then find that they were backed by little or no objective experience. Us humans are funny animals.



  1. I am a diehard Warhammer player and have been since the late 80s (i am old!) but for the life of me can't figure out what exactly the 'carpentry' edition players loved so much about those versions? I want to lose because of tactics (you broke my center, rolled up my flank, diffused, etc etc), or I want to lose because of insane heroics (that Shaggoth simply waded through everything I had - good job giving it the magic halberd of doom as well, etc etc) or, I am happy to lose because of extreme luck either way (i rolled what? you rolled what?) BUT when a good portion of the game was being able to better judge 8 and a 1/4 inches or tilting a model in a displeasing looking direction to 'redirect' me I got none of those things. i too love 8th, and feel that warhammer can overcome its rules no matter what edition. Different strokes, but the background glory and beer and pretzel game style are both clearly better executed in 8th. Those who want to tilt models to win tactics are better off elsewhere really.

  2. For me i think its the way the army lists have gone that puts me off the most - i draw your attention to the two eagles 60 archers and a tower list! 2500 points of WFT!!!!

    I like the good old days of 4th, 5th and 6th editions (lots of units and a few character and war machines and maybe 1 big monster to make things look interesting.) I feel alot of this odd army design is the current Warhammer players as opposed to the rules themselves (although if the rules let you do it you cant really blame players for doing what they do). Obviously home friendly games with friends can and hopefully still look similar to the armies of old days but somehow i don't think that's the case.

    I see a reason why Mantics Kings of war game is continuing to gain popularity. Its simple to learn and fun to play and allows you to have lots of large units on the table which always looks great. Basically its doing what drew most of us into Warhammer in the first place. Warhammer no longer looks like this - at least not at all the tournaments i have seen in the last couple of years.

    I think the new Warhammer rules have done alot of things right - although im not a fan of the random charge myself :) . I like the fact that you can have nice big units and get bonus's for it but the core model costs are so high that you end up with 2 or 3 large units and a few big add ons and that's it.

    Arr well times change and so do games - i have high hopes that 9th edition may change things for the better but for me i think Warhammer is dead. There are many other games out there that provide a better gaming experience for me personally and the people i game with. Warhammer will always have a place in my heart as the first fantasy wargame i ever played and i hope GW manages to get it back to the popularity it had back in the 90's but i dont see it happening.

    I always love your posts Peter they are always thought evoking :)