Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Warhammer Army Lists Done Old School

£17.50 army list books? Get stuffed. In Warhammer 1st edition days this was yer army list and served dual purpose as mail order form as well.

Note that S is probably one less than you are expecting (add 1 to get the figures used in 2nd edition onwards), T is bizarrely alphabetic despite being on exactly the same scale as S - C is third letter, add 1 = a modern 4. Also Warhammer did not shy away from fractional M scores in those days. In WFB1 and WFB2 Wizards came in four levels. Constitution was just a spell point system, spells costing Constitution as cast.

On the subject of Warhammer, I noticed this in WD95 (November 1987). There was a serious amount of butthurt on the Stourbridge club's boards back when WFB8 was announced as being only 4 years after WFB7 and this was generally felt to be not playing fair. However, back when WFB3 was released...

That's right three versions in five years in the eighties although Boardgamegeek tells me that WFB1 was 1983, WFB2 was 1984 which makes it three versions in four years, and two in two back at the start. Admittedly Boardgamegeek also tells me that Tony Ackland did WFB1's cover illo and that's bollocks since it was Blanche.

See, they were total money-grubbing bastards even back then.


  1. I was quite surprised to see that they now put the stats for units up on their website. You don't get everything, most notably the points value and what any special rules actually do, but it was still a shock to see it there, just like the old adverts in White Dwarf, which came with the army list entry for the unit advertised.

  2. I love the Forces of Fantasy set for it's WFB1 army lists and random rules 'clarifications'.

    What amazes me is how similar WFB8 is to WFB1 - other than the S and T 'bonus' to the statline, it's like only a couple of house rules and a different magic system have been added in the last 25+ years.

    I think this has a consequences for the idea of a British OSR - it's not like WoTCs D&D which bears little resemblance to the original game, GWs Warhammer is still very recognisably GWs Warhammer.

  3. I didn't know the stats were up on their website. Will have to have a look-see at that.

    Mechanically 8 is similar to 2 (the oldest version I have playing knowledge of - I have WFB1 but have never really sat down and read it much) but the scale and focus of the game has changed as it has aged. Mostly it gets about bigger and bigger armies, for example archers now fire in two ranks, and 10-wide units can melee attack in two ranks, four for spears. Before my eye op I had completed two 25-strong Night Goblin archer units and half of the painting involved in a 50-strong Night Goblin spear unit. Those sort of sizes were unthinkable in WFB2 days, now they seem normal. A friend fields a 40-strong block of Dark Elves yet when I started expensive troops like this were fielded in 12 or 20 at a push.

    The big change in Warhammer for me was post WFB3 when they added the chance for routing units to be cut down immediately. Apart from magic and the power creep of heroes that's about it as regards changes from my WFB2 days - the rest is just tuning and tweaking.

  4. I'd say that one big change somewhere between 2 and 8 - and I'm currently playing 8 - is that you used to be able to split the missile fire of a unit. You can't do this anymore, so if your 25 Night Goblin archers want to cut down that lone Dragon Slayer coming to mess up your battle line, all 25 need to shoot at him.