Friday, September 28, 2012

Inflation: Warhammer Style

First off, I don't want to make this a rant about the prices and break my promise on bashing GW.  I will get to the details on that later.  I wanted to talk about model inflation that we as war gamers experience from edition to edition when it comes to how our models stack up.   I was inspired by a few posts done a few months back that discussed the inflation that their armies have experienced from circa 1999 to now.  We can thank the blogger, The Army Collector, for the inspiration here.  Let me explain what I mean by Model Inflation and then proceed with an example.  It was something that interested me given my professional experience being in the financial world. 

What is Model Inflation:

The best and most plainly spoken definition that I have ever heard for Inflation is that "Your money buys less now than before."  This can be on the supply side of the price i.e. drought, production failures, etc., as well as on the demand side usually in the form the fact that there is more currency and thus more people who want to buy the item.  We usually see demand side inflation when a central bank "prints more money" for the economy.  Despite my academic credentials in Finance, it took me years after school to see this and understand this.  There is also Deflation which is the opposite event.  A rare event, however, it is known to happen even in our time.  The Housing market has experienced deflation in the United States over the past five years for example on the supply side, as well as a central bank reducing the amount of currency in an economy on the demand side.

For the usual gamer we experience price hikes, which we all are painfully aware of, however there is a bit of inflation that existing models experience over the years in that the models are worth less in points over the editions than when they were originally bought. Usually from the switchover from edition to edition your models have smaller point costs.  This usually has been a rather silent cost that no one really complains about on places like Warseer or B.O.L.S. yet can be just as expensive as the usual price hikes.  What I have bought in the 4th edition to play Warhammer, cannot be as extensive of an army in today's edition.(or as many people like to say "in today's money")  This is what I call model inflation.  Allow me to provide an example.

Applied Model Inflation:

Now I have a very good example to see the difference in my Dwarf army book from back in the 4th.(pictured above)  In the book there was a scenario called "Battle at The East Gate of Karak Eight Peaks."  It was a scenario for everyone to get a flavor for the game and the army.  In short, there was two forces lead by General level characters that totaled up to 3000 pts.  A force being besieged and one force relieving the besieged force, opposed by Orc and Goblin forces that are separated based on the four sides of the table that totaled 3000 as well.  The scenario is that the relieving Dwarf Force is being ambushed by the Orcs and Goblins.  The scenario is based on if the Dwarves can break out of the ambush and if not can the besieged Dwarf force get there in time to relieve the relief force. 

Included in the chapter is a suggested army list for the scenario.  A very useful piece of information to determine how GW was making you calculate your armies.  With that force I took the list and tried to match it to the best of my ability with what I could be able to make with the 6.5th edition army book for Dwarves that is still the current army book. (Pictured Below)
I had a few problems with matching exactly list for list.  Unfortunately there were more toys and choices that Dwarves had back then and that made a difference in my calculation.  A Dwarf character was able to take something called the Master Rune of Death, (I don't know why they did not bring it back as a Killing Blow rule!) Runesmith's could take more toys back in the 4th, and Hammerers could elect to not take Great Weapons.  For that I could not make as accurate of an army list as I had wished.  However I believe that I did get close to it.  What I have as follows is a table of the base points for each unit and the differences:

Dwarf Inflation Sheet
Unit 4ed Points Amendments 8ed Points % Reduced
King Belegar's Force
Dwarf Lord 505 266 0.53
Longbeards 227 165 0.73
Thunderers 260 244 0.94
Crossbows 278 212 0.76
Total Force 1270 887 0.70
Lord Duregar's Force
Dwarf Lord 410 326 0.80
Army Battle Standard 206 125 0.61
Runesmith 246 145 0.59
Dragon Slayer 115
Slayers 368 114 0.62
Hammerers 222 20 154 0.64
Warriors 271 200 0.74
Total Force 1723 1179 0.68
Total Army 2993 3013 2066 0.69

The total army back then was 2993 but I had to add 20 pts. for the Hammerers to have Great Weapons to bring it up to 3013.  I also gave the top Dwarf Lord a Master Rune of Kragg the Grim in exchange for the Master Rune of Death.  The total army in today's edition is 2066, over 30% reduction of points.  Needless to say there are great differences in what kind of army that I could put together now as opposed to back then using the same models.  I would also point out that this army would be illegal at this point level.  Given the 8th edition rules, you would need to play a larger game to fit the characters in. 

The biggest difference is in the magic items.  We are spending over 1300 points on characters alone in this list, and that is not counting champions which were part of the character allotment back then.  The majority of those points were spent on magic items and not on the character themselves.  If you ever wonder why they called 4th edition hero-hammer, this may answer it for you.  I also calculated how many models in this army which is quite striking as well.  There were 43 in each contingent for a total of 86 models for this army. 

Now it may be just me but an army of 86 feels rather small to me now as it did back then.  Also the units were very small as well.  The Slayers (including Dragon Slayer), Hammerers, and Longbeards were 10 models each.  The missile troops were 16 each, and the warriors came up to 20.  Ironically there were no musicians however everyone had a standard.  Given the lack of troops in the 4th edition list, I was rather glad for the inflation when I came back in the 6th edition.  They actually felt like actual armies rather than just your character and a few beer buddies and hangers on. 

Honestly I could see doing a 3K game using this scenario very easily and I wished I that I was able to find a willing Orc and Goblin opponent to play this with.  However the army that I would be using for this would be more like 140 models or so easily and using two lords.  I would not specifically say that we are going to get significantly more inflation down the line in this magnitude.  Magic items would be what I would be looking at if that happens again.  Given that I am only really interested in playing with 6th edition rules, I really don't care how much inflation happens in subsequent edition. 

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