Giant regiments of plastic Orcs. Fistfuls of dice. Paint named after bodily fluids. Tape measures. Heated rules arguments. Bald, angry Space Marines who could make Marcus Fenix feel positively emasculated.
Games Workshop has been a huge part of my life for just over fifteen years, and like all long-lasting addictions, it’s hard to shake. In fifteen years, I’ve seen three editions of Fantasy and two editions of 40k come and go. I was there for the release and re-release of Necromunda (still my favourite GW game). I’ve seen Mordheim, Battlefleet Gothic, Inquisitor, Warmaster and Epic 40,000 all spring into life before fading into undeserving obscurity, though I still haven’t played Blood Bowl.
Let’s be clear. Warhammer – in all its forms and genres – is basically The Shit.
Now I could fill this post with all the rantings I’ve built up over the years about Games Workshop’s company policies over the past few years; price-hike after price-hike, inconsistent rules, scrapping their Mail Order components catalogue service, the deterioration of White Dwarf’s content quality, etc. Believe me, as a hairy old grognard, I have a lot to whinge about.
But I won’t. Despite all my complaints, despite the fact I’ve loudly sworn off everything GW-related at least five or six times, I keep getting bitten by the Warhammer bug and dragged back in. Why?
Because, as previous established, Warhammer is The Shit.
So, my buddy Ian has exploited this bugbite and talked me back into spending far too much money on little plastic soldiers. The last time I played Warhammer, it was in the GRIMDARK future with a Plague Marine army that won a lot, and an Ork army that didn’t.
However in the years of my latest hiatus, 40k seems to have gone and dropped a wedge of crazycake into its game balance salad; the recent releases (Wolves, Blood Angels, Imperial Guard) seem to be perpetrators not of power-creep, but power-rampage-and-chainsaw-you-in-the-balls.
So I’m leaving the GRIMDARK future thanks, and trying something a bit more tactical and balanced; Warhammer Fantasy.
Fantasy’s just entering its 8th edition, and already there are some grumbles about new rules. I haven’t seen the new rules myself, but I’ve scanned over rumours. There’s some stuff I like the sound of – like all units now fighting in multiple ranks- and a lot I don’t, like random charge distances and percentage-based army selection. But Ian and I, being house rules fanatics that we are, are planning to cherry-pick the best bits and essentially play 7.5th edition.
My last Warhammer army was a vaguely Tzeentch-themed Chaos Warrior army and that did fairly well, apart from those games where everything I had got shot down by douchebag High Elf Archers, Bolt Throwers and Mages (which was every game). I would’ve gone for Chaos a second time just so I could dust off my old miniatures, but Ian’s already gone ahead and staked his claim on everyone’s favourite psychopaths in spiky armour.
Plan B for me; Empire! Silly hats, ridiculous German names, a dabbling of steampunk and religious fanaticism, and artillery out the wazoo, what’s not to like? At the moment, we’re starting out small; some 500 point Border Patrol games, leading up to 1000 point “proper” games. Smaller points limits means smaller armies, and less money spent – I certainly don’t want to end up spending a lot of cash and finding out that I completely suck. I have a horrible feeling that’ll happen again anyway; it did when I got into Warmachine and Hordes, and that’s why my Cygnar and Trollbloods now collect dust on a windowsill. Time will tell.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some zweihanders to highlight.