Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Present and Future of Warhammer Fantasy Battle

There was a great deal of discussion last night at my FLGS regarding the state and future of Warhammer Fantasy Battle and Games Workshops handling of that game.

Currently WHFB is in it's 8th edition which was just released late last year.  Since that time we've all been trying to get to grips with the radical changes in the game.  Some of the changes we love, some of them we hate.  We don't all always agree on what changes are good or bad but for the most part I think our group is on the same page.  I plan on writing an article about the rules changes at some point, but beyond even the systems problems themselves lies a greater problem.

Army books.  The army books provide the special rules, statistics and points costs for the units that make up that force and it is a necessary part of WHFB.

The problem manifests itself in that GW is very slow about updating these books.  In fact several army books are two editions old, written for a game system that is completely different than what is available today.  To make matters worse, since the release of 8th edition, not a single army book has been released.  We expect to get the first, Orcs & Goblins, sometime in the next month or so.  This has been a cause of serious frustration and it's unlikely to end anytime soon.

In years past GW was pretty good about cycling through the different game systems for updates.  So one month might see the release of book for their Lord of the Rings system, the next 40k and then next Fantasy and so on.  But in the past few years GW has focused more and more on 40k.  Worse still, even in 40k there are armies without an updated book for it's current edition (5th), such as Necrons, because GW tends to focus on the most popular army in that game, Space Marines.  Since WHFB 8th editions release there has been three releases, all for 40k, and two of them Space Marine related.

Couple this with some of the more drastic (and largely disliked) rules changes in 8th edition and even the most stoic WHFB supporters are jumping ship.  The group responsible for Podhammer, a famous (infamous?) podcast dedicated to WHFB, has moved to other games.

This was a topic of discussion for us as well.  Personally I have mixed feeling about WHFB.  On the one hand I have loved the game for many years.  But I've grown tired of the treadmill also.  Yet right now, the treadmill is nowhere to be found, at least in terms of army book releases.  It's almost worse!  At some point though you have to make the decision, keep on with the status quo and be at the mercy of the publisher.  Or finally say enough and find a spot that works for your group.  I'm hoping that my group does one of two things.  Either give up on WHFB as a game system (note not the Warhammer universe) and replace it with a gamer-friendly system such as Armies of Arcana or go back to an edition of WHFB that we all like and already have books for such as 6th or 7th.

Time will tell.

1 comment:

Cristin said...

Indeed time will tell...

And no I have no idea what you're talking about but I still understood what you were saying.