Thursday, January 8, 2015

WFB Rumors: End of Times and 9th Edition

Well the word is out on 9th edition: summary

To me it sounds like a cool idea. I mean I can't speak for everyone. I can really understand someone looking at all these models they have and getting pretty upset that the miniatures they bought might not work the same. But let me wander down this path a bit. My brother and I got into the game a really long time ago (has it been thirty years). We didn't have a ton of money, but we started collecting. A lot of our gamer friends started collecting as well. Some of the earliest kits just didn't work and as time went on we had our struggles with collecting and staying current. Here is a brief list of a few of the biggest gripes from our standpoint.

First off is units that just disappeared. Chaos dwarves with crossbows and Chaos Thugs with long bows disappeared. In the early days chaos was human, beastmen, and dwarf. Or at least you could have dwarven allies. Undead was a single faction. Collecting undead was super cool because they owned quite literally the best plastic kit ever. It had infantry, archers, and a chariot in the box. A few heroes, some dry brushing, and add on some cool kits like the Screaming Skull Catapult and you had a super cool army. Fielding a block of thirty metal ghouls or fifty zombies was insane. Another telling and virtually annoying move was increasing unit files from four models to five. I mean seriously - twelve man cavalry units were massive. And blocks of sixteen infantry were impressive. What happened there was you needed to add just a few models to your blocks. But the new miniatures were not the same as the old miniatures. Rather than buy the ancient metal models at a premium when all you needed were a couple extra my brother simply walked away for a while. He had lots of Empire models disappear or just change in general. Knights of the White Wolf ring any bells. I mean seriously- those eight knights with great weapons looked so cool.

I went through my own changes. Trying to buy three armies to make up individual lists for the chaos army I inherited was crazy. I know had to deal with warriors of chaos (mortal followers), beasts of chaos (all the beastmen), and daemons of chaos (um, wait - daemons weren't in the chaos army?). I collected for a while, tried converting stuff this way or that, and eventually many years later sold off the entire batch on eBay (minus two figures).

But the thing is I still collected. I switched gears to taking my next army to the five model wide formations and bought a few things. The dwarfs were looking great. I even dropped a pretty penny on this Bell of Lost Souls Skaven army that was mindblowingly cool. I was stacking lots of 40k miniatures at the same time as well. Eventually I discovered buying and selling on eBay to supplement my hobby. Unlike that guy during this time that was just getting into the game buying new kits at his favorite local game store, for me I was more interesting in buying pre-painted stuff at discount prices. I ended up selling an expertly painted wood elf army, all the skaven, and even sold my massive dwarf force for $350 to one of my buddies just to keep in the family. I had a new daemon army I was building. And oh my god, what a daemon army.

The big thing here though is despite my love for the current stuff with Games Workshop, I was spending cash on it. People who complain about the change in the system have to realize they spent cash once and wanted to use that army forever. Technically there is nothing wrong with that. It is like the guys who still play second edition D&D or 3.5ed. You can play 3rd edition Warhammer with you models from the 80's. I promise it is possible. Let me introduce you to Oldhammer. Folks love this stuff. There is no real reason to change what you are doing if you like doing it. I mean if my gaming group had just decided that we wanted to play 8th edition with four models per rank, it is entirely okay. The rules are exactly the same. We aren't in love with the idea of tournaments anyway, so it isn't that big of a deal.

I kind of like the idea of a huge shift in the new intellectual property for Warhammer. People are bitching about the idea of the "little bubbles of reality" mentioned in one of the rumor comments. It is like the idea is foreign. They are incensed with the concept of the destruction of the Old World map. But no one considers that this human army in Lustria or fighting dark elves would require a lot of support to make it all the way to the fight. They don't want to deal with the real world constraints that affected large armies in the real world because it is a fantasy game. Feeding the troops, taking care of the horses, travelling long distances separated from your family to die in droves against a powerful monster or terrible wizard. I mean jeez have you seen what Plaguebearers look like or how big the new Hydra kit is. No one is going to leave their life as a peasant to take up arms half way around the world to fight something like that.

I love the reality bubbles. It is like Dr. Who or Star Trek. You know each episode is just a set they put up for the episode right. I mean we kind of live in our own reality bubbles don't we. I know that if I walk south long enough I will end up in Mexico. But I can't say I've ever actually done it. I kind of believe that the glowing orb that fills the night sky is a large body of minerals caught in an orbit around the planet, but I can only speculate to the veracity of this information. I mean I haven't quite ever made it there. So I ask you, what is the difference? I seriously liked the way 4th edition D&D blended the Feywild and the Shadowlands into any campaign world. But you have to realize with D&D cosmology we always understood there were other prime material worlds (Greyhawk, Faerun, Quindia, Eberron, Krynn, Athas). I mean how is this any different. People don't seem to have an issue with the armies of the 40k universe living on different planets which are too numerous to mention. Individual worlds with their own atmosphere and constraints. My god for game terms it does sound like a reality bubble.

But we are back to the actual game and moving forward. I mean we can play 8th edition or 3rd edition when it comes to Warhammer. What if the new game is pretty cool. What if they just keep releasing models and armies? The other thing I've noticed is that people are comparing the new edition to Magic the Gathering. You know people are still collecting the new sets. It outlasted a lot of other games that sprung up before it, in direct competition, and doesn't look to be ending any time soon. The alluded to reference is Games Workshop is going to step up its production and do limited runs of hardbacks and models with the rules included. To be honest I don't buy models for ever army that is released. I usually just stick to the ones I play. If they want my money for 40k then Eldar, Space Marine, Chaos, or Daemon is a good suggestion. I don't freak out when they make models for the Dark Eldar, Necrons, Tau, or Orks. But if I get a new release once and a while I might consider buying something. The cycle of releases when you have to do a book and models for WFB is spaced out really far. I currently have dwarfs, chaos daemons, and high elves. Let me reiterate that point. I currently have over 3000pts of high elves, daemons, and dwarfs. They probably can't sell me any more. I mean seriously. I have a lot of models.

But Warhammer is a hobby. I can field miniatures in any edition right now. I can even field armies for King of War or we can run a Lord of the Rings game with a beefed up scale. It is an elf with a bow or a dwarf with hammer and shield. It isn't completely strange. For the people out there who are lamenting the big Lizardman army they have sitting on the shelf my advice is don't sweat it. Keep them, finishing painting them, grab an 8th edition game like you used to. If you play a few games of the new system and discover that your old book doesn't scale with the new stuff it is okay. Games Workshop isn't going to take the models, the rules, or the books away. If you look at the prices for early citadel figures the fact that models are going out of production actually increases the value for collectors. Unlike Magic the Gathering, miniature gaming does have a huge retro community. On the other hand, if you know anything about Games Workshop you'll know they often return again and again to earlier ideas. A good example is the chaos chariots from Storm of Magic. They had these really cool chariot models in the daemon list. They disappeared for a while and then came back an edition later with new ways to build them and actual kits for the models. The first run was all kit bashed.

But as a community we are ever resilient. Even the original Bell of Lost Souls rumor article only has several hundred responses to the news. It is a good day for people discussing the future, but the sky isn't quite falling for gamers like me. I am actually looking forward to it. The new models and rules from the End of Times books have been amazing. The Glotkin, Maggoth Lord, Gutrot Spume are all amazing models. They might not fit in your dwarf army, but you can't deny how dramatically cool they are as toy soldier. My brother like I mentioned had walked away for a long time. I am so excited he started building a Nurgle chaos list in the last two weeks. In my world it did bring an old player back. My buddy that plays undead just picked up a Tomb Kings boxed set to work up some undead archers and chariots back into his Vampire list. He got started again with that huge Nagash model.

For me I just rebased some models on round bases to squares in order to make a list for a Warhammer Fantasy tournament. You can imagine how unhappy I am going to be with the idea that I need to rebase about 300 models. I'll try to post some pics in June because I know exactly how I am going to do it. We have a laser cutter/etcher at 757 Makerspace. My plan is just cut 20mm rounds out of wood or plastic and trim the edges of my old models so they fit on the new discs and are the proper size. Maybe work a little washer or magnet into my design so they can snap to the movement trays.

I hope everyone enjoys the time we have left with the old edition. I hope the new edition is awesome.

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