Warhammer Fantasy Battle (WHFB)
|Duo Maxwell (email@example.com)|
|WHFB isn't that bad of a system at heart, but the cost of the game, and the army
creation rules turn it into Magic: The Sucking, but without Magic's
relatively inexpensive starting costs.
|WHFB Costs to Start (in U.S. dollars)|
|WHFB Main Box Rules||70|
|WHFB Magic Set|
|Army Book of your choice||22.50 (half
cost 20, half 25) (Also required. No actual army lists in the main box)|
|Hobby Knife||3 (a cheap one)|
|Primer||3 (cheap brand - 6 for Armory, 10 for GW)|
|Superglue||2 (cheap brand)|
|TOTAL START-UP COSTS||150.50, give-or-take sales tax and buying better hobby goodies. (Without buying any minis!)|
Let's compare this to Chronopia:
|D20's||5 (let's say you buy a lot of dice...)|
|TOTAL START-UP COSTS||63 (plus miniatures)|
Not bad IMHO.
Realistically, though, we should compare it to Clan War, a more
well-designed system (Dragons can and will die to basic troopers).
|Main Rules||75 (Comes with plenty of generic starter
minis, to use with any army)|
|TOTAL START-UP COSTS||103 (already owning minis that can be used for almost all of the armies in
In start-up costs alone, it is a wonder anyone plays WHFB.
I managed to sell Magic cards, and buy other GW games with minis in
them (Warhammer Quest, HeroQuest) from discount stores to build a force,
and still spent nearly 150 dollars buying enough figs to run a 2000-point
army. With tons of points in characters.
What hobby requires 300 dollars minmum before you can even play? More
if you have a "Paint your minis or don't play!" group/store!
Geez, and someone said videogames were more expensive?
Quick price check then I will shut up.
|Sony Playstation||130 (everyone has at least 1 TV set, so
I'll leave that out.)|
|Time before you can start playing||10 minutes, with no requirements
for other people, or what you can use.|
No wonder the miniatures game hobby is so small. Most people run into
GW's stuff first (Many comic shops don't know, or in a local store's case,
don't want you to know about alternative games.) They get the sell, hear
how much it costs, then head elsewhere for a new videogame!
|I don't play with any of the GW figures. It seems so
unnecessary. At the South London Warlords convention recently, I picked up a 200-piece
Goblin army for £20. How so? 15mm or 10mm.
They don't have the oooh! factor of the larger scale, but
in terms of getting the army composition you want, I wanted chariots - they
were £1 each (how many of those can you buy for the cost of a GW one?) Big
units, no problem - when the figures are 10p each, even 40 Goblin rabble are
The company I bought from is PenDraken.
Make the hobby what you want. If you don't want to pay big money for
the figures - then don't. I know that Thane's Games is promoting the 15mm
scale. 10mm is even cheaper.
And the joy is that you need so much less space, and thus can leave
things up from week to week if necessary.
|Tyler West (firstname.lastname@example.org)|
|The only problem that I have with the game is the lack of specialisation in
some armies. With that, I mean that Undead shouldn't have missile troops. It
doesn't match them, as I see them just shambling forward, and just clobbering
the enemy with their sheer numbers.|
There should only be a few armies
proficient in magic, and spells should be toned down for those armies:
- Undead -
Only exist because of magic. Just raising-type spells because they don't specialize in killing
magic, rather specialize in raising-the-killed magic)
- High Elves - since they are the refined, wise, race
- Lizardmen - obviously because
they are the caretakers of the world
- Chaos - with gods backing their
I don't think that
Skaven should have magic, because they don't look intelligent enough. They
should maybe just master in the arts of poisoning. I think that Dwarven
runes should be made into Elven runes (which would do more "pacifist" type
things), and have more machines to replace the runes.
It is the difference in the armies that makes the game fun. When each army
has its own techniques and strategies, it makes for a more enjoyable game.
This is why Lizardmen are so great to play against, because there are so many
strategies that they may use against you. When every army has the same
strategies available, then the opponent's next move is somewhat predictable.
|Now, I'm not a big fantasy player, having played ancients since WRG rules
version 3 - anybody remember them? And I still have stacks of old Hinchcliffe
Assyrians and Persians, but I digress.|
I find the rules reasonably quick to
pick up ("all right, 4 rolls to kill, but all using standard d6, no average dice,
no 20-sided monster dice, no percentage die - easy"). The system seems to work
reasonably well. Yes, every army that comes out out-guns the previous, but every
now and again GW will introduce some new units for your favourite army, and
if you use well-thought-out tactics you can beat them.
Someone pointed out that no-one fights campaigns with WHFB. The
major problem is that after every battle I've ever fought, I'm lucky if I've
got more than 10 figures left standing - win or lose! Not going to much of
a match for the next opponent!
Figures - expensive, yes, but look at the quality. I've just bought some
of the Brian Nelson-designed Orcs and they are just sensational - the detail
and characterisation on the models are second to none. I've looked at most
of the alternatives and they don't come close! It took me seven days to paint
the Orc Shaman to pick up all the detail. And - big selling point here - I can
walk down to my GW shop and buy over the counter, I don't have to wait for
a games convention, or take the mail-order route to buy figures I've never
seen in the flesh.
Leave GW alone and buy your stuff if you must, but don't moan about what
you don't want.
|Ray Ortiz (COPRIESTER@aol.com)|
I'm sorry, but this WFB debate really needs to be injected with a good
old-fashioned dose of common sense:
- Despite what the GW henchmen preach, there is nothing necessarily
brilliant or innovative about it's game design. Let's pull aside the
curtain, people. "The Wizard" is nothing but a man...
- A fantasy game that forces you buy a seperate expansion for MAGIC!?
(waitamminit - didn't I just give you 70 bucks?)
- The miniatures aren't as flawless as some proclaim. As a matter
of fact, they are often too caricaturish and cartoony. Take a look at your
battlefields, guys - they look like a Jim Henson movie!!! (By the way, what
the heck is in all those sacks and backpacks that everyone is carrying?
Honestly, this is killing me - I wouldn't mind being emailed with a plausable
answer of some kind)
- Even if you do love the minis (I've got a few myself), it's
no argument for defending the game - they are sold separately!
- And finally, for those of you that feel "trapped" after buying
in - please stop complaining. This whole thing is like some kind of
abusive, dysfunctional relationship. There is a simple, common-sense
solution. Take all the miniatures you bought already, and for (quite
literally) the price of a GW blister pack or two, pick up the rulebook to
another game. There's nothing stopping you.
|Daniel Carlson (email@example.com)|
| I got WHFB about two years ago, and after a bit of fiddling with the models
and realizing just how much cash I needed to sink into the thing to play a
decent game, I tossed it in the closet and got back to playing the Warhammer
Fantasy Role-Playing Game and 40K (which I was still using the old Rogue
Trader book for...).|
Over the past two years, I gradually bought a fig here
and an army book there, especially when I saw a sale at a shop or on-line.
Just recently, having assembled about 1000 pts of troops for three
different armies, I started to actually play the thing (I'd been using the
figs in my group's RPG campaigns in the meantime). I was a bit afraid that
it was going to be as bad as the moaning on this page suggests.
It's fun, it's fast moving, and it has a great look
on the tabletop. Of course, my group is playing games with armies that are
usually 750-1000 pts per side, we don't use special characters (we'd much
rather craft our own over the course of a campaign), we don't use flying
creatures (they seem way too unbalancing - what's the good of a cannon, if it gets annihilated
from the air on turn two of every game?), and we run all our games from the standpoint of running
a campaign (the campaign rules in the rulebook are a bit slim, but they can easily be fleshed out with a bit of common
sense and a look at the experience system in a GW skirmish game like Necromunda, Mordheim, or the old 1st
After this positive
experience, and after reading the comments on this page for a while,
I think I've put my finger on the
biggest problem with GW stuff (aside from the inexcusable prices, of
course) - their tournaments. GW, and most
players, it seems, approach the game from the standpoint that the
tournaments are every player's highest priority.
This means that you will naturally tend toward power-gaming (everyone's
gotta have an unstoppable horde, even if it's
a one-trick pony...people just find a gimmick and max it out). The
tournament fixation also means players feel
it is neccessary to keep up with every new rules and model release from
GW, so they don't fall behind the other
power gamers who flock to tournaments. Competition becomes the center
of the hobby instead of having some fun with little knights and orcs.
So my basic conclusion is that folks would be a lot better off
approaching the game from a narrative standpoint instead
of a cut-throat competitive one. Use campaign rules. Use smaller
armies. Knock together an experience system and some linked scenarios.
It's a lot of fun if you can just leave the 'tournament mindset' out of it.
|Ragnar Arneson (firstname.lastname@example.org)|
|Some of those last comments seem to spring from unfamiliarity with the game
and the concepts it's representing. Point by point:
- Numbers certainly do help in the middle of the fray. Even if
your unit is killing lots of the enemy, if you look up and you just see more
and more coming, it will affect your morale. As for not attacking a unit
of superior numbers in the first place - please. The virtue of a strong
offense in winning the battle and preserving your own troops has been
demonstrated historically. And when you're talking about a fantasy world,
where one side frequently has small units of elite troops, obviously they
will be willing (and have) to attack larger units.
- Untrue. Most armies can rally their units quite well. The
test is normally significantly better than 50/50. I agree that it's
unrealistic for one figure charging into the back of the fleeing troops to
scatter them, but that's a separate issue. I fight against Lizardmen
regularly, and they are famed among Warhammer players for their almost
The Feigned Flight tactic can be used, but is risky. The rules allow
a unit to flee in response to a charge, and it can then attempt to rally as
normal. This can be well worth it, if you thereby prevent a dangerous enemy
unit from closing and set it up to be counter-charged by your own troops.
The Mongol tactic you describe actually does exist in the game, though
unfortunately it's restricted to the light, harassing cavalry of one
particular army (Wood Elves).
- Point System.
- While it does encourage lots of work in designing the
army force, that's simply part of the game. But it's not the only part of
determining victory. Even leaving out the option of specific victory
conditions for various scenarios, the normal Victory Point rules give points
for destroyed and fleeing units, captured standards, the death or rout of
the enemy commander, and conquering and occupying table quarters. Believe
me, that last facet gives tactical commanders a definite advantage.
To summarize, the charges leveled are inaccurate. However, there are flaws with the game:
- The scale is odd
- The limitation of some tactics, formations, and maneuvers to certain units only
(like the Feigned Flight move) is unrealistic
- Individual special characters can still easily be too powerful (though better than 4th edition)
- The miniatures are too expensive (with the possible exception of the new boxed regiments)
However, it is a fun fantasy wargame, the miniatures are very nice,
and when played in the proper spirit with reasonable people, it's a damn fun
way to blow some time and money.
If you can't afford the miniatures retail, find another way to
get them. I have three Warhammer armies and am building a 40K army. I've
made less retail purchases than I could count on one hand (excepting paint
and brushes). If you buy from online dealers (from whom you can usually get
a 30-35% discount), and/or buy secondhand from fellow gamers (Bartertown
is excellent), you can buy miniatures at much more reasonable prices.
you don't like something, don't put up with it. Work around it.
|Jeff Scarisbrick-Wright (J.T.Scarisbrick-Wright@Durham.ac.uk)|
|I have to agree with some of the comments below: If you don't like it, don't
do it. Bitching about it all just creates a reputation for gamers as
However, there are some problems. (I'll skip over the expense. GW
is successful, they know people will pay what they ask, so who can blame them
for lining the coffers a bit.)
The main problem that people have is the
wizards, the magic, the super-heroes, the all-powerfull White Dragons, etc.
To these people I say this...
Buy Warhammer Ancient Battles.
Not only does
it do away with all the above, you also can use
whatever size/scale/colour/fragrance of army you like without penalty. The
army lists are summarised in the quite cheap supplement, and the forthcoming
Legion promises to convert these basic lists into nice complete lists
(like the Early Imperial Roman and Barbarian ones that are included in the
If you want to stick with the more visually exciting models, go for
fantasy. Above all, enjoy it and stop whining.
|I would like to skip all of the business about how expensive Warhammer is.
I donít feel the need to buy an entirely new set of paints each time some
new line of figurines come out, but for those of you who have sold your soul
to the company store, itís your business and your money.
What I want to focus on is the rules.
I have played a lot of miniature wargames since I started in this
hobby (back around 1978), mostly ancients and medieval. I have found that
there is not too much new under the sun in terms of rule mechanics (the
Piquet system looks interesting, but I have yet to try it). Many aspects
of the Warhammer Fantasy Battle rules are familiar to me. There are,
however, some really odd quirks in the rule mechanics that do not make any
First, I feel that the morale system is somewhat counterintuitive.
The number of ranks that an opponent has at the end of a fight is way
overemphasized. In fact, I have never seen this before in any other rules.
For example: in a recent game, my unit of lizardmen gave my opponentís chaos
beastmen twice the casualties than they received, but were still forced to
flee because the beastmen had more ranks than my lizardmen did. This made
no sense to me at all. Morale tests are based on how your unit of troops
is doing, not necessarily on how your opponentís unit is doing. If your unit
gets beaten up, your unit runs; if your opponentís unit gets beaten up, then
his unit runs. The number of ranks that your unit has can bolster your own
morale, but I canít see what effect it really has on your opponent. If your
opponentís unit outnumbered your unit, your unit would not have attacked in
the first place.
Second, this game gives no real chance for a fleeing unit to rally.
In the same example, while my lizardmen were fleeing, my opponent sent a
single beastmen shaman (a shabeast?) over and automatically wiped out
my entire unit because he was attacking me from the rear. If I were to play
a historical game with say, the Mongols versus a medieval Polish army, the
Mongol tactic of feinting a retreat would never work under this rule system.
Third, a major hang-up that people seem to have is with the point
system. Point systems are fine for tournaments and allow for balance
of play, but it seems like most people I know waste more time building up
that "perfect" army rather than actually playing the game. I find it very
odd that despite all of these supplemental books that Games Workshop puts
out with elaborate histories and detailed backgrounds on each army, I have
never heard of anyone running a Warhammer campaign. Also, I donít think that
using the points is a very realistic way of determining who wins a battle.
I have seen this method in other rules, but it never seems satisfying when
actually used. Victories are then based more on attrition rather than on
I realize that these are fantasy rules, but I think it is necessary
to ground them in some sort of basis in reality.
|Jonas Myhre Andreassen (Kickanass@hotmail.com)|
|When I first saw the game, I had no idea that it would require so much time
and money. What you need to play it, is simply:
- 1 or 2 Armybooks (Unfortunately I have bought the whole range)
- The basic set (Ehr, you need it..)
- The magic set (If you do not buy it, you will play
a rather boring game...)
- And lots of figures (After you have bought a lot of overpriced figures,
you better think like this - "Am I stupid, or did I just spend 2000 $ on silly
plastic and metal things ?!?")
- And the guts to look at your dog with cold easy eyes when it eats your
Lord of Change (Happened to me, and the worst thing was that I had been
painting it for a year and a few months, and it all was mangled by ugly
So if you want to play Warhammer a lot, you have to pay Warhammer