Warhammer Fantasy Battle (WHFB)

4th edition rulebook cover


Bob Brodeur (brodeurr@umkc.edu)

I have been playing Warhammer since the very first edition with the Zygerot of Doom (back when Toughness was A - E not 1 -10!). And I own a dog-eared copy of every edition and most of the supplements along the way.

I like the second boxed (high elves and goblins) set the best, although the magic system in the new boxed set has some good points - especially limiting spellcasting to each player's own turn. With house rules and some limits, it can be a lot of fun.

I never dream of attending tournaments (although we enforce tournament rules in the basement) and always (for 15 years) use non-GW figs when possible. There was a period when they made the best figs available. Now they are over the top in terms of size and expense, and the rank and file are down-right boring. For example, compare the original WE wardancers with the new version. Thank the lord I have 20 different castings of the original line...

Nowadays I just don't play anymore. How many times can I line up my figs and go through that turn sequence? They made some interesting attempts at scenarios and campainging, especially with the first boxed set (carboard amazons and slaan), but they never caught on.

Now I play Battlelust, using Old Glory, Rafm, Ral Partha, and a few GW figs. Battlelust is the most under-appreciated, great game on the fantasy market. I highly recommed it. It is a great historical or fantasy skirmish set, and based on far and away the best roleplaying rules available - Harnmaster 1st ed.

George Chambers (bong_67@yahoo.com)

For those players of Warhammer Fantasy Battle feeling the financial pinch, or for those thinking of taking the game up -


Play Warhammer Historical instead. The rules are a slight improvement on the fantasy rules, are well produced, and reasonably priced. As they are more or less the Fantasy Battle rules without magic, new players could purchase these and buy Warhammer Magic later if they like. (Or better still, have all the fun of playing Warhammer games with historical armies which can be made cheaply by using non-GW figures.)

Todd Klimpel (klimpeltck@coastalnet.com)

As I see it, WFB is just a game. Enjoy it or don't play it!

I've been playing it for almost 10 years, and I can say that it has only gotten better. Yeah, the costs continue to rise and I think that is a problem, but the rules changes have shifted the game in the right direction.

As far as power gamers go, I am by far one of these and I have noticed a shift away from powerful characters, wizards and monsters at tournaments. Normal troop types are on the rise and the game has taken on a new tone.

I've got to say that the "generalness" of the rules have allowed players to alter the rules to fit their groups' playing preferences and this is a good thing. The tournament rules included in the battle book are meant to even the field when playing new opponents.

Go with it, enjoy the game and...well, good luck saving your money!

James Young (james.young@3do.com)

Well, I've been playing WHFB since 1989 and gone through its various versions. The latest version seems to me to be the best of the bunch, simply because the game plays a lot faster and magic has been toned down a bit.

Granted, the "special" characters are still too powerful - however, in our gaming group we play with generic characters and use the tournament rules. So far, the games we've had have been great and no complaints thus far.

As for the prices of the figs, well, what can one say? No one is pointing a gun to your head to buy them. If your group allows it, use non-GW figs. Recently, GW has begun selling plastic regiments for Empire, Undead and Goblins. These plastic sets are a pretty decent deal and a lot cheaper than the metal figs.

While some of us may gripe and groan about GW and its prices or system, there is simply no way avoiding the fact that WHFB is the most popular and most gamed fantasy system around.

David Culpin (david.culpin@natpower.com)

I have the "old rules " and the "new rulebook" for Warhammer plus the pre-Brettonian/Lizardmen supplements. I have about seven armies, though I tend to combine some troop types.

I finished buying things from Games Workshop ages ago - I never buy their magazine now. The whole game is an appalling mess and virtually unplayable. They have sacrificed the game for blatant commercialism. A wargamer in Manchester, for example, may have a completely different approach to playing the game than someone in London. It has got out of control. Games Workshop bring out new rules, models, like they are going out of fashion, making the game more complicated and more unplayable. How can you play in competition (not that I would) unless you have all the supplements?

Games Workshop creates layer upon layer and expects a gullible public to keep up with it all. They market their product towards the Kiddywinks who probably take an interest for a time then get bored and give up on it.

It is not for wargame enthusiasts. There are alternatives, and I hope gamers come up with something viable to replace Warhammer as a recognized ruleset (such as DBM and the like). It is sad, because Games Workshop has done a great service to wargaming as a whole. But as with all good things it has mushroomed, and literally it is collapsing under its own weight of over-marketing.

Warhammer R.I.P, I'm afraid.

Robert Laplante (rlaplante@videotron.ca)

I stopped playing this game two years ago, because there was too much magic. (I like tactics and maneuvering, not playing cards.) With my friends, we had lot of fun because we didn't use so much big monsters or magic in our games. But when you play in a tournament, or with other players who use all the army lists without restriction, it's not very interesting. Because many players are "power players," and buy only the best regiment with the hardest troops, many less powerful troop types are not used anymore or are useless on the battlefield.

C. W. Kartchner (cwkartchner@syntertec.com)

WHFB seemed to be the logical step after playing 40k for 4 years (and loving every minute of it). I even managed to cajol my best 40k buddy in into buying WHFB so we could swap pieces (I kept the Brettonians, he kept the lizardmen).

What resulted was a character-intense, magic-intense experience with hapless normal troopers getting slaughtered left and right and his Slann mage-priest dominating the whole game. Needless to say, I now have a musuem-quality medievel army gathering dust somewhere (I forget where).

Any game that allows Magic and characters to dominate to that level is downright silly. I am severely disappointed in what is considered to be the prime fantasy game out there. Help anyone?

Loren Ching (dink@msw0.attnet.or.jp)

What is the game about? Is Warhammer Fantasy Battle 5th edition (A.K.A. WHFB 5th ed. - throughout I will be reffering to WHFB 5th ed. as WHFB) about magic, strategy or both?

Both (even though the wizards and magic are starting to take over). Dwarves can't use magic supposedly - but what's this! - they somehow [without using magic] can make MAGIC [again I say magic] runes and the Anvil of Doom can use magic. What's up with this!?.

This game is very strategic and fun. There is however, one problem (actually there are probably more) - the magic. What is this supposed to be, WH (warhammer), a game of strategy, or MAGIC: The Gathering, a game of wizards, encantresses, spells, deamons, and other unGodly things? This game is using way too many wizards and magic.

Now let's talk about Games Workshop. Are they a caring loving company that is devoted to its customers and making quality miniatures, or are they a company that makes quality miniatures and sells them at obscene prices (how much plastic is in a plastic dwarf miniature - a dime's worth?), and just keeps raising them? I will take door number two. In the '96 price guide, a dwarf organ costs US$12.99 and in the '97 price guide it costs US$13.99 (note: the expensive things' prices rose - dragons, war machines etc.). Now let's see, that's a...forget it, you can check the percentage the price rose...the point is the prices are steadily rising. I personally have decided to stop buying new miniatures from GW (inless there is a certain game that has been dicontinued or an old miniature out of production). If you want miniatures, you should trade, sell, and buy used miniatures. I would suggest doing this because it is a lot cheaper (if you can get a good deal) than buying them from GW (in a sense you're still buying from GW, just at a cheaper price). If you want new miniatures you should buy them at discount stores online.

WHFB is an awesome, fun game. My friend has played one game, and because he liked it so much, he decided to sell all of his Magic: the Gathering cards. That right there should tell you how good the game is. You should buy discounted or used miniatures, and stop reading this and go have a game!

James Robinson (jrobinson@ejhs.k12.vt.us)

Warhammer Fantasy is a much better system than Warhammer 40,000. In Warhammer 40,000, I've found that it takes about 10 minutes to move a 10- or 20-member squad arround the map. It is heavy-weapon- and character-oriented compared to Warhammer Fantasy.

In Warhammer Fantasy, I've had a Vampire Lord (375 points + magical items) get smashed up by a squad of Bretonian Knights (about 196 points). This loss wasn't due to any fault of my own - the Knights Teleported, a spell which I coulnd't dispell. But in Warhammer 40,000, the game deteriorates into a mosh pit of terminators and space maries vs. a few simple goffs (space orks) who are pathetic little creatures in comparision.

I've played Warhammer 40,000 (Orks and Marines) for 4 years, and have just started playing Warhammer Fantasy (Undead). Over all, I really like Warhammer Fantasy. The miniature range is nicer, but as with all Games Workshop games, the prices only go one way...UP!

James Leach (JamesLeach@aol.com)

WFB was at its best with the third edition and the Army List. Fourth addition is too hero- and wizard-oriented. The third addition was a good tactical game, as well as a fantasy game for the clashes of armies. Since the fourth edition came out, I have stopped playing the game practically.

Too many rewrites. Too much money just for getting a set of rules. I have already gone through this with Task Force Games' Star Fleet Battles. I wish game companies would make a set of rules and stick to them, like FASA's Battletech.

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Last Updates
23 September 1999page split off
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