Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Digesting WHFB 8th Edition + Bonus Topics

Thanks to a generous donation last month from the Mom and Dad Fund For People Who Are Turning 30, I was able to get my hands on my very own copy of the 8th edition Warhammer rules.

I thought it might be a fun diversion to flip through since all my 40k books have been thumbed through at least a million times - even to the point where they aren't even a good thing to read while taking a crap.

Don't kid yourself, blogoshpere - every red blooded gamer has read an army book on the crapper.

On top of that, my Eldar are coming close to being completely done.  Then it'll be time for actual games (good bye vassal!).  But the Daemons will still be lurking on the workbench.  And burnout is my greatest enemy.

Soooo... I may be looking at at least a handful of Fantasy models.  I always like to have the rules for any unit I paint... even if I never use it.

I think it's far, far too early to talk about purchases yet but having now read the main rules, I think I'll dig into that for the time being.

Actually... it occurs to me that I should get the bitching out of the way first.

The main rules are a bit of a rip off.  As if anyone who had paid $75 bucks for a book they'll only ever need 40% of needs to be told that.  Old news, right?  Right.  No need to rehash what everyone bitched about when the book came out.  No Island of Blood mini-book, suspect binding. yadda yadda, etc, etc.

Thank good for indexing and the bookmark.  I use mine to mark the pages I won't use.

I guess the only other thing that irks me (in the main rules) is the mysterious terrain rules for forests and rivers.  Blech.   I know there's a healthy amount of disbelief I have to suspend, but... c'mon, 80% of the worlds forests are magic?  And then there's the river rules... Ugh.  Any river you may want to cross has the potential to be made our of magic... or blood... or will flat out kill you for no reason.

Though I suspect that the rules play out fairly well in the context of being a part in a larger set of rules come game time.  No point bitching until units hit the table and all that.

Ok, time for the not bitching.

Overall, the rules seem like they'll make for a fun game.  I think I'm past the shock of having my Stegadon herd sold for hamburger meat.

Actually, that raises a good point - my last contact with 8th ed. was back in the rumor stage when I was eagerly awaiting the news on my dino-buddies.  Having actually sat down with the book after the better part of a years has passed by has given me a much better perspective. 

I gotta say, I like the rules changes.  Especially given my past woes in the 90's.   Virtually everything I can remember that I ended up hating has been changed for the better.  Hell, I've even made terms with the new army building rules.  A good change after all, I think.

Again, this has all been covered.  Now to make the discussion interesting.

The big thing that grabbed me about the rules (as well as people's reaction to them) is that WHFB is still a pretty 'casual' game.  Which is to say that it's not nearly as tuned and balanced as 40k.  'competative' gamers are going to be frustrated.  There are a number of scary rules exploits lurking around and magic may be 'fair', but it is by no means balanced.

Looking back, it seems like this has always been the case.

I think it stems from the sheer amount of randomness that sits at the core of the game.  Things like magic, mysterious terrain, all those non ballistic skill based ranged attacks and a whole hose of special rules from the army books.  It's not necessarily a bad thing, but to a large extent, there is a lot of influence on the game you have little control over.  Thank god close combat isn't included in this so much anymore - in the old days, an entire unit's life would hinge on the outcome from a tiny, tiny handful of dice.

I know, I know - these things can be mitigated with planning.  But not completely.  I'm just bringing it up because I find it interesting.  I also bring up the randomness as an example of the mindset behind the game as much as I do for mechanical reasons.  Like the designers, I like the idea that the control you exert over your army is limited.  It makes it feel more like an old style wargame.  However, I can also see why this is frustrating.

Either way, the game is what it is.  And it seems like fun. 

Bonus Topic 1:  Past Warhammer Experience
I've detailed my problems with Fantasy in the past.  4th edition and 5th edition were nightmares on their own.  Very poor games compared to what I'm reading now.  Or even seeing in other game systems.   And then there was my noob-toob problem of being too green to notice certain armies sucked diggity dick. I was 4000 points into the worst WoC army in history before it dawned on me that I would never win.  Compounding that was the really shady rules interpretations some of my friends were into, the 'acci-cheating;  and even the outright cheating.  Unknown to me at the time, I stopped playing fantasy as a very bitter gamer.

But, lessons have been learned.  I have a much better bullshit detector - both for rules interpretations and for what makes a bad army.  I also have the benefit of access to information to help me make informed choices. It's good to be 30, educated and employed.  I've worked through all the anger and I think I'm just about ready to give the game another shot. At the very least, I'll have some fun models to paint.

Bonus Topic 2:  Eldar Progress
One of these days I need to build that light box.  And then take pictures.  And then post them. Though it is good to be close to done with a project that has gone on far too long.  I'm down to a couple of grav tanks, a handful of turret options, 5 Fire Dragons and a couple of IC's.  Not bad.  Great, in fact.  2500 points of Eldar is a glorious thing.  Its on my Boner jams 2011.

 At one point I had collected a bunch of army lists I wanted to try and then done some pricing on all the things I would need.  Then I had a bought with good sense.  There is virtually no reason to buy more Eldar stuff when what I have has only ever been playtested on Vassal.  No more Eldar until some real games.  I have Daemons to paint and a wandering eye anyway.

1 comment:

  1. I have to say, when me and Dethtron played our 'test' game last year, we had a lot of fun, and it was certainly a refreshing change from 40K. We were both (me moreso than him) bumbling through the rules, but it was a riot. It actually made me question, though if I still wanted to do Tomb Kings. They are super fiddly with their magic stuff.

    I'm sure you'll have fun with it mate. If I wasn't committed to Lizarddudes, I would go for Beastmen. I've always had a soft spot for those hairy bastards.