Saturday, September 24, 2011

Back to the Future

Since I expounded a few posts ago as to why I am not playing the new edition of WFB, (see here) I thought that it would be a good idea to expound on what edition makes me stay in the past and not to move on.  This is actually a very important excercise that I think that us dis-affected veterans of GW should do in my opinion.  It provides a basis for defending your argument against those who claim one thing or another as to why you just don't want to move on.  Shocking that we need to do this, I know, but sometimes you have to in order to get some peace when you are playing another game. 

Suprisingly I had a minor amount of peer pressure at the start of the edition when I told them to count me out of playing in this edition.  Most of my group didn't care one way or another other than to say sorry to see me go, but I did have one or two people who couldn't understand why.  This was the greatest edition since sliced bread for them, so why was I not towing the line?  It got a little out of hand, but we are back on good terms as far as I know.   

Before I get into saying which editions that I like I feel that I should explain what I like about the editions as I see them in general separately first.  Of course I can't really really do them justice in one post so please forgive if I omit one thing or another as I am trying to be brief.  Some of the editions that I will be talking about will not exactly be an edition that I have any first hand experience with.  I will note them once again just to make note, but I will try not to talk in any real detail of them.  Lets start first cronologically I guess with the 3rd edition. 

The Mysterious Edition

I have no real experience with this edition personally, however the good news is that I do have the 3rd edition book and I did read through part of it.  Perhaps it is something that I should read more of given the recent penchant for disaffected gamers to return to this edition.  From what I have read of this edition it seems to be a very interesting edition.  It is a very intricate edition, which does turn off a lot of players.  However if they want simplicity, then that begs the question "Why are they playing this edition, when the 8th is easiest WFB edition that I have ever seen or read?" 

The problem that I see with this edition is also what I like about this edition.  The rules seem to be rather clunky and that makes me apprehensive when it comes to investing the time to learn the rules.  I also dont care for a GM every time that I play a game.  While they did not spell it out, I get the feeling that you may need one in order to play it properly.  I really do hope that I am wrong on this.  Nevertheless I still want to try this edition out at some time.  I call it the Mysterious Edition mainly because I just have no idea, nor a frame of reference as to what the game is like. 

My First Edition

The 4th edition is where I cut my teeth on Warhammer Fantasy, and wargaming in general, hence the header.  It turned out that a friend of mine brought along his free magazine that he got from "Battle Masters" on a trip that I was taking with him and his family.  We read through the mag and I was instantly enamoured.  That summer I started playing the game with him and a few friends.  Since half of my friends stayed at my school and the other half went to a special academic program that I was not elligible for (It was IB and I needed to have Foreign Language classes by then, which I did not have) this was my only real outlet to get my friends together.  I remember it fondly to say the least. 

I would have to say that I would definately have started the edition in the 4th, but I am not so sure that I would have been mature enough to play in the 3rd, even when I started when I did playing in the 4th.  In retrospect I am sure that many people are like me now with the difference between the 3rd and the 4th.  I can tell that it is a slimmed down version of the earlier editions, but it begs the question for me "did streamlining the 4th really make for a better game?"  I simply do not have the experience between the two editions to make that distinction.

Nostalgia is not clouding my eyes on this edition however.  I also can see why people call this edition "Herohammer."  In the Dwarf book they have a scenario between OnG and Dwarves, where the sampler army lists have the Dwarves with over 1200 points in characters alone in a combined 3K list.  Now I know that a ratio of that in an army list at the time may be considered to be light, but looking back that seems to be very shocking.  Even then I thought that it was rather high to have that much invested in characters.(I guess that I was a prolific teen when it came to matters of the pressboard)  I still have to call it a good edition even though my preference is for the later editions as noted.  It still had the variability that I can see in the 3rd but was more controlled with the armybooks. 

The Lost Edition

The 5th edition I have almost no experience with nor any real authority to speak since this was about the time that I left gaming all together.  From what I have read based on other accounts it seems to me that it is more like edition 4.5 to me.  I have no idea what the differences are so I am at a loss to say anything good or bad about them. 

The Crown Jewel Edition

This is the edition that I would consider to be my go-to edition if I had one.  It still had most of the gaming mechanics from back in the 4th, and the noticable fixes were good ones in my mind.  Here you were required to have atleast some basic units in your army, the characters were not nearly as tooled up as before, and flying made sense to name a few.  There were issues of manuaverability with Infantry, and the fact that there is no way to turn a flank like in the 7th, (a great fix in my mind) but those were minor annoyances at most to me.

 I can see and have experienced plenty of abuses of this edition so I know that it can get OTT, however for friendly games with people who want to project more of what their army should be as opposed to an OTT army, I have to say that it can't be beat.  The perfect world is this edition married with WAB.  The Honeymoon would be very ugly I am sure. 

Now I may have the nostalgia bug on this edition but in my mind it had a lot more going for it than not. I also liked the Generals Compendium which took the game to a new level so that is another plus. Which is proabably the reason why I liked the 4th as well in that it had Mighty Empires prominent in the game.  It also has going for it that I came back to the game during this edition.  I guess that the reason why I cam back is that the edition made a lot of sense to me when I read through some of the online army lists for the Bretonnians, Wood Elves, etc.  Even thought I did not have an army book, I read some of the online PDF's and could tell from them that the game has evolved.  Also other factors like good looking plastics brought me back, as well as eventually a good group of relatively balanced army book where nothing was too hard or too soft, atleast in my opinion. 

The Knockoff Edition

Essentially this edition was edition 6.5.  While I did like a lot of the changes that they made to this edition from the 6th, I could take or leave most of the changes in this edition.  The neutered panic, (which also happened with the 6th, but not nearly as much as here) played around with the magic phase, and basically made units more survivable in close combat for the most part.  I'm sure that I have missed something but it boils down to these three items for the most part.  I would have to say that magic was done well, and the close combat rules are great, but it really bothered me that panic was a bit of a non-event in this edition.  So much that it soured the edition a tad, and some of the new rules led to suprisingly confusion and arguments over some of the new rules.  The core rules are great rulesets and I like them a lot, just not as much as the 6th.

I do have to make the notable mention as well that the armybooks (more like fanboy's wet dreams on paper) were abysmal.  When I read The Empire book I had to ask my self "What the hell was GW doing," and that was based on the robo-donkey, and the ICBM's that was in the new book.  This was the start and I was already apprehensive of what they were doing.  That and the OnG book made me take a second look, when they added that WAAGH rule, and nerfed animosity that has never changed since atleast the 4th.  The High Elves sent me over the top when it came out, because that was the writing on the wall.  When they had common elite troops now with multple attacks, it was the beginning of the end and about the time that I started to collect OOP models that I liked for life after GW.  The major problem with this is that the core rules were not built for this kind of combat from rank and file.

Add the major problem of the 7th edition army books, with the annoyances of the core rules, I tend to not want to play the 7th.  It just seems to me too much of a hassle to offer playing it.  I have offered in the past to play with 6th edition books with 7th edition core rules, which I did like and would be interested in playing again, but I don't want to confuse people or be considered an opportunist for what people may think are obscelete books for the 7th. 

And The Winner Is...

If you have read this far, then I am sure that you can tell that I liked the 6th above all.  After that it is a hard choice, between 7th and 4th editions, with 7th ahead due to its core rules that I approve of more.  3rd edition would be next in line mainly because of my lack of experience but interest, and finally the 5th purely due to my lack of experience with it and it being a 4th edition knock off.  To put in order:


I really do want to play a few games of the 3rd to see if I would bump it up a place or two.


  1. Hey T

    Great to see other outposts of nostalgia out here on the web. I'd be interested to see what support you get for older versions of warhammer where you are. I think that you're right in that the 6th edition was the 'tightest' ruleset - it had enough narrative opportunity and drama to allow stories to be told, but was still well written enough to satisfy the tournament lawyers.

    3rd edition is my hands down winner - it was awfully written and very confusing, but the narrative opportunity and responsibility given to the players is very liberating for me (and extremely frightening for rules lawyers...). I really like the fact that they have tried to think of so much and have just done enough to suggest that anything is possible, without tying it down to words - very much a 'spirit of the law' sort of game.

    The main thing that is wrong with the later editions is the army books - the ruleset is usually quite well thought out, but the army books have so many overpowering special rules and an escalation problem worse than the cold war, that the situation becomes untenable very quickly.

    I would heartily recommend 3rd to you, but failing that, 6th is the one.

    Oh - and lets see some pictures of these classic figures of yours!


  2. Thanks Gaj for the comment. I will keep you posted of my sojourn from Games Workshop. I have not done much on getting people to play previous editions, but I can do that now that I am less busy. 3rd is something that I do want to do after I read the book once again. Speaking of older figures, take a look at the next post or two.

  3. Hi

    As an old fart that cut his gaming teeth on 3rd ed I would heartily recommend it to you. As Gaj says it was very complex, a joy for rules lawyers however it felt like a true strategy war game. Also I'm suffering from a bad case of nostalgia and loved the old models and the fluff.

    My preferred edition is 6th (like you) as although there were a few niggly rules glitches they were nothing that couldn't be overcome by sporting players (don't get me started on tourneys) and returned to the spirit of the earlier editions (3rd?). I've read through your other post regarding 8th and unfortunately (for GW) I would agree in that the game is turning in to 40kB rather than WFB. The simplification and and increase in speed of play, true line of sight and a gazillion attacks in combat, not to mention completely random charges has ruined this for me.

    Like yourself I'm moving over to Ancients and also FoW for my gaming fix (although I still play 40K for the fun of it).

    Keep up the good gaming blog work.