Thursday, May 24, 2012

Eulogy of Warhammer Ancient Battle.

It is with great sadness that Games Workshop has announced that Warhammer Ancient Battles has passed into the realm of used book stores.  Warhammer Ancient Battle was originally published in 1998 as a stand alone game using most of the rules from Warhammer Fantasy Battle.  The original creators of the game was the Jervis Johnson, Rick Priestley, Michael and Allen Perry.  While very similar to Warhammer Fantasy in game mechanics it had its own flavour and made it a more enjoyable experience by using experimental rules that actually worked well for the game.  I was once told that it was sort of a pet project of the four creators.  It had no miniature support yet sold well enough to last for 14 years and only needed one new edition and a retouch in between.  Not to mention a series of supplements for the various periods that were not covered in the basic rulebook.  It was killed in an apparent car accident when the driver drove Warhammer Ancient Battles off of the cliff.  Ironically everyone else survived. 

Warhammer Ancient Battle is preceeded in death by several less than stellar game systems and several that paved the way for Warhammer Ancient Battles to become the rules that it is.  While the original creators are still alive and kicking, most of them have left Games Workshop, to lead other pursuits.  Warhammer Ancient Battle will be missed by the many fans of the game.  Most hurt will be the gamers that have been waiting on their particular supplement of choice to be created as promised.  Those who are happy with what they have should play the game with honor.  I know that I will.


  1. Indeed the last version of WAB, WAB2 in a hard cover book eliminated most of the fantasy elements giving a game that took out most of the 'super' character abilities.
    Whilst GW have rejected attempts from 3rd parties (yes we did ask them) to license the game out, the rules are still out there and I am sure WAB2 will continue to be played.

  2. I've been a fan boy of WAB for many years - I even helped play test the 2.0 rules. To see what GW and Forgeworld did with this saddens me. I understand business decisions, but I can't help feeling like I lost an old friend.

    The only bright spot is that this opens the door for more players to play War and Conquest (Rob Broom's rules) and Clash of Empires. I've played Hail Caesar and it was allot of fun, but I don't think it lends itself to tournament play too well.

    Best wishes and may you always roll sixes - unless you're going for a leadership roll ;)

  3. Vendi Vidi Vici: How bizarre it is that GW refuses to let a third party try to do something that has popularity as WAB. What is in the water in Nottingham?

  4. LIW: Thank you for the wishes. I really do want to try out War and Conquest and Clash of Empires at some point in the future.

  5. I am generally stunned that anyone is disappointed in the standard behavior of GW...they constantly raise prices without offering a fair return of quality...White Dwarf get larger and more expensive, but instead of sophisticated modelling and painting articles of the past, we get the garish Paint Splatter articles of today, reliant on the newest and sub-standard verion of GW paints. The Citadel Fine Cast scam has seen most models accelerate in price past the old sturdy pewter versions for pennies of soft rubbery plastic unfit to be referred to as resin and impossible to repair without heroic skills. While Priestley and the Perry's have all wisely moved on, Jervis sticks around lending his name and sadly, his reputation to what is left of a once worthwhile endeavor. Yes, it is a real shame that GW did not choose to maintain WAB. But certainly not a surprise. I have rid my own Lead Mountain of GW products and almost never purchase White Dwarf anymore. I NEVER recommend GW paint products to anyone, for any reason because there are so many better products on the market like Vallejo, Reaper, P3 and Foundry to name the better choices; but oh by the way, Anita's, Apple Barrel, American Crafts, Deco-Art and others are dirt cheap at lots of stores with craft departments and do a better job for pennies than do the latest GW products. I could and perhaps should go on and on, but why? To merely confirm what we all know? GW is a blight on the industry and long has been, not because of their genres, rules or fluff, I quite like many of them...No, solidly it is because of the man-made policies of destruction and profiteering that have now made GW infamous...well infamous to those who aren't blind to the basic thievery GW has engaged in for years now.

    1. I suppose that you are right that no one should be surprised by the lack good sense of the customers wants from GW. They are very much like the US Auto market. Fifty years ago, one in two cars in the driveway were GM cars. Now one in two are Toyota cars. Customers go to where what they want is going to be produced. I have one genre that I do buy products for,40K, and that is not as extensive as I used to be.