Sunday, August 8, 2010

Warhammer Fantasy 8th Edition: My Observations (Part 1)

Backtrack several months ago, before the announcement of 8th...

I was growing disenchanted with 7th Edition WHFB, and my friends and I had always looked at 40K from afar, but our collective disenchantment with WHFB drove us closer and closer to Orks in Space. Before I knew it I had 1500 points of Imperial Guard!

...and before my hobby spending could recover 8th Edition was announced!

My friends and I kicked of the launch of Warhammer 8th edition with a hell of a Warhammer Weekend! We had nearly twelve straight hours of gaming the first day, and another eight the second. We plodded through the rule book, trying to forget what we had just learned in 7th (being relatively new hobbyists). Between the three of us we knocked out five games using all of the randomization rules. Since then, I have personally played four more games, brining my total 8th Edition games to 6, only one of which was a 2500 point list.

How can I best sum up my 8th Edition experiences?

1. Fast - Once the new rules are learned of course
2. Wacky - Especially if Random Terrain/Random Battles are rolled for!
3. Replayability is High! - Random Terrain/Random Battles are great!
4. Plays well from 1000 to 2500 - 40K is fun at a range of points levels, so is WHFB!
5. Inspiring - The BRB is full of inspiring content from terrain to campaign ideas!
6. Full Color Rule Book - Nice touch!
7. Thoughtful Rule Writing - Arguments have been slashed by 90%!!!
8. Pre-measuring - Why hasn't this always been a part of the game?!?!
9. and most importantly Cinema!

What do I mean by Cinema?

A unit of four Dark Elf Crossbowmen found themselves lacking courage after being charged by armor clad Knights of the Empire. In flight they found themselves in front of a curious "Sinister Statue". Having somehow escaped the Knight's speedy mounts the Crossbowmen rallied.

One of the Elves caught the faintest glow out of the corner of his eye as he turned towards the statue. To the elves' horror the "Sinister Statue" stirred as white hot beams lanced out at them! D6 STR 4 hits yielded 4 wounds. The Knights in the distance saw the abrupt flash as a smell of seared flesh wafted passed them.

What a moment! All because of a simple piece of terrain! Honestly my favorite addition to 8th is the superb cinema of the game. My games have seen huge swings of momentum leading to nail biting finishes!

Our first attempt at the Watchtower Scenario saw 30 Chaos Warrior entrench themselves in the tower on turn 3. A beleaguered Empire force, weary from fighting off units of Chaos Knights and insane Marauders, found themselves dominating the field but not the objective!

If any army of the Old World can pound a garrisoned structure into submission it's the black powder armed soldiers of the Empire. The Greatcannon's crew charged powder and rammed ball as a unit of 5 Outriders closed in. The air filled with the the smell of sulfur and saltpeter. FIRE! Reload! FIRE! Reload! Turn 3, Turn 4. The hearty soldiers of the Empire were running out of time! In the Watchtower scenario the game ends on a dice roll, in short you add the turn number to a roll of a D6 beginning with turn 4. If the total is less than 10 the battle continues another turn, if the total is more the battle ends immediately!

At the end of turn 4 the die was cast, a 5! Praise Sigmar! The guns reloaded. FIRE! Chaos Warriors were blasted through the windows of the tower.

At the end of turn 5 the die was cast again, a 4! Turn 6! For Nuln! FIRE! The guns roared. Chaos Armor can hardly stop blessed cannon fire!

At the end of turn 6 the die was cast again, a 2! Turn 7! For Karl Franz! FIRE! The garrison of Chaos Warriors was dwindling! They couldn't take much more!

At the end of turn 7 the die was cast again, a 1! Turn 8! FIRE! After suffering severe casualties through a storm of cannon-fire and handgun shot the Warriors of Chaos felt their courage waining. The Warriors broke for the cover of the forest behind the tower! The nearby State troops readily claimed the Watchtower objective.

At the end of turn 8 the die was cast, a 4! The battle was over. The smoke of the Empire's guns cleared. The men of the Empire had driven back the forces of Chaos one more time.

My friends and I have talked about this battle several times like it was the hit movie of the summer! What excitement!

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