Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Thinking About: Warhammer Fantasy Battles 8th Edition

Someone please freaking stop me. I beg of you! With all of the hype of the new Warhammer Fantasy Battles 8th Edition coming out, and how much it had changed and balanced the game, my crazy brain and OCD keeps tempting me to at least buy that new box set when it comes out and try it out. Can you stop me from doing this? Please?

Let's go back a little into EvilEd209's past. I started my miniature war gaming career with WFB way back in 1997. I believe it was under the 3rd edition of the rule set back then. Me and a friend of mine got into the game mostly for the hobby aspect of it. I think we played a grand total of 35 to 40 games of it. At this time I was graduating high school and moving on to college. So my plan was to bring my models with me to college and find folks to play at the LGS. Well, when I got there I found out what everybody already knows, 40K is much, MUCH more popular then WFB and I found it damn near impossible to find a fantasy game.

So I dropped it. Sold off all of my models and picked up 40K. I played for a year and then 40K dropped deep into the background of my life as other things of life pushed it out of the way. Hell, 40K would have been a part of my distant past forever if it had not been for a buddy of mine who only stayed in the hobby for the models, customizing of those models and the painting. If it had not been for a fateful night near Christmas 2007 when he brought his Chaos Space Marines over to show me some of the modeling and painting he had been doing, I would have never come back.

But ever since I got back into 40K, and I am happy I did and will call it my primary hobby, I have often looked back to WFB with wonder. A very small part of me missing the genre and the idea of playing a fantasy war game still appeals to me. Plus, every once in awhile it is good to have a different game to play. But WFB SUCKS right now, I mean it really SUCKS. As I started to do my research on the game I found out what a joke it has become.

The game system as it stands now is so fundamentally broken that no TO worth their salt would consider hosting a WFB tournament without some form of COMP just to help balance a severally broken game. Some of the newer armies are so grossly overpowered that older armies do not stand a chance in an un-COMPed tournament. Some units are so broken that they are either limited in tournament use or banned altogether. The system is broken, the rules are broken, and I am sorry to say the game is broken. If not for the efforts of the WFB community itself and not the publisher of the game, the game would almost be unplayable in a competitive sense.

I think my favorite story I have ever heard of the current state of WFB was recanted on the Gamer's Lounge Podcast (a great little gaming podcast BTW). They told a tale of a recent large tournament held in England. And this gamming group brought a brand new player into WFB for this tournament. The guy had never seen nor touched Warhammer before. They gave him a Chaos Deamons army to play in this tournament, a notably broken army in the current edition of the game. They gave this player a weekend boot camp, told him the basic rules, and which units in his army charged and which units shoot. This greenhorn, brand new player to the game, had never been in any kind of tournament whatsoever, took 8th in a field of over 60 players. 8th! That is how broken the game is right now.

Now, think about that in terms of 40K. Do you genuinely believe that if you or your gaming group were to bring in a new player, give him a point-and-click hard as nails army, say leafblower for example, and throw him into Adepticon after only a weekend to teach him the game, do you think that this new player would come anywhere near the top 25 players there? Or top 50 for that matter. Hell no, those guys would eat him alive. And this is why I believe the game of 40K to be much more balanced then some claim. Is there codex creep? Yes, of course, why else are Space Wolves and Blood Angles so much better then their Codex Brothers? Are there weaker armies that suffer in 5th Edition? Of course, my beloved Necrons are screaming for a new Codex. But overall, I really feel that in any given game, where each general is of relatively equal skill, any army can beat any army.

So why in the hell would a competitive player like myself even consider such a gross lack of judgment as to even consider such a fundamentally broken game as WFB? Well, this week some of the preview copies of the new rule set have filtered down to the masses lucky enough to have a GW store near them. And all of the WFB experts who have had the chance to read over these rules are calling it AWESOME. This version of the game is not so much a fix and repair of 7th Edition, but a complete and total revamp of the entire WFB system.

This intrigues me. Form the early sounds of things, it fixes a lot of the broken holes in the game, helps to balance the game without updating the army books (a complete bizarre practice I might add) and is so fundamentally different from 7th, that old cheesey tactics simply will not work in 8th anymore.

I am sure it has its holes and flaws. But come time for the new box set to release, if all that we are being told is true. I think I might give Fantasy a shot.

Someone, anyone educated in WFB that can talk me out of this, please do. My wife will thank you!

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