Monday, October 19, 2015

On Warhammer Fantasy Battles

Since I went to Austin and played in the 2013 WargamesCon Fantasy tournament, I haven't played a game of Warhammer Fantasy Battles.

It used to be my favorite game.

I had plans to finally paint up my Night Goblin army.

Then, I couldn't find anyone to play.

7th Edition wasn't the most popular edition of Warhammer but it became increasingly hard to find gamers in my area to play and it was even harder to argue that it was a balanced game, or even a good game. The flavor of Warhammer was still at it's core but there were so many rules hangups that favored too few armies that it became a game of asterisks. Oh, we'll you're playing Wood Elves,* you weren't going to win so good job with your loss.

Then came Age of Sigmar.

I want to play a fantasy game but AoS isn't the game. It has a tiny bit of the familiarity of Warhammer Fantasy, but it's a different beast and that's not the kind of beast I want to hitch my wagon. I've purchased the first book and box set and I just can't get into it... It's just too far from the mini game I want to play. I have six Warhammer fantasy armies and I don't want to put any of them on the table under the AoS rules.

What bothers me so much? Don't I want to have fun? Yes, I want to have fun, but I also think a game needs good structure. I don't need a tournament level of structure, but I don't want dancing, mustaches, and wearing hoodies. I want to play war with my dolls and maintain a bit of civility.

While a few people have enjoyed "advancing the story" of Warhammer - myself included - the structure of the Old World is fractured and the flavor of AoS isn't exactly how I wanted things to play out. However, I think I'm most disappointed with the scale of AoS being a skirmish game and not the grand army level of game I enjoyed before. Too few troops, not enough ranks, not enough pawns to be pushed about the board by their commanding toy officers.

You can write me off as an old gamer grumbling about the new game, but I was a big supporter of WHFB when it wasn't a very good game and pushed our local scene with tournaments, leagues and painting contests for more than a decade. Now I don't want to. Is it because I changed or is it because the game changed? I think it's just not the game I want to play.

So, I picked up Kings of War.

I literally bought it tonight after returning home from vacation. It's a bit slimmer than I thought it would be but on first glance, I like what I see. I know you can get the rules online for free, but I one of the things I enjoy about mini gaming is having a rule book. It's one step closer to a video game with having rules on my phone, laptop or tablet- which if fine for a video game- but just not proper for a table top game.

I recently read that one of the Warhammer Fantasy tournament circuits (I'm not a part of this group) has voted to move from 7th Edition to Kings of War instead of AoS. That's quite a recommendation and I look forward to calling up my old Fantasy-playing friends and seeing if they fancy a game.