26 June 2010

This month's White Dwarf showcases the new 8th Edition rules for Warhammer Fantasy Battles. I've read through the articles and had a brief look through Hobbytown's preview copy of the main rulebook. The book certainly looks nice, but I could've done without the 300 pages of hobby and background stuff if it meant keeping the price tag a little more reasonable.

It seems that in this edition Games Workshop is pushing for armies composed of two or three hordes (30+ models with a 10-man frontage) supported by smaller elite and artillery units. The advantage of a horde is that an extra rank gets to fight during combat and if I understand it correctly, the unit gets a morale advantage so long as it outnumbers the enemy. If that sort of army has the advantage over previous builds, then my Skaven might be well and truly obsolete. I painted my 25-man Skaven units independent of each other, so their paint schemes don't match up with each other. To upgrade them to units of 30-40 models I'd have to acquire a pile of the old Skaven Clanrat models and match them up into my existing units. My Clanrat Slaves could be pushed together into a super-unit, though, as I painted both units the same way. The hardest part may be finding the older models at a reasonable price, as there aren't a whole lot of them up on eBay these days. I don't know that I'd ever want to paint up a couple hundred of the newer models just to keep my army up to speed. With the removal of the Dogs of War Giant and the 8th Edition update to unit sizes my army has really been gutted.

My main focus right now is on my Empire army. The 1000-point list I've been painting up fits within the current army composition rules, which run on percentages rather than having a specific number of slots for each troop type. You have to have at least a General and three other units. You must have at least 25% Troops, up to 50% of your army can be composed of Special choices, and each of the other troop types (Rare, Lords, Heroes) can take up to 25% of your points. There are some rules about duplication as well. Most of the sample lists in the White Dwarf article were at pretty big point levels, probably because of the emphasis on large blocks of infantry. The problem I see with that is that tables aren't getting any larger. The battle report in the magazine was at 3500 points, and the armies had to deploy diagonally across the table just to fit everything on the table. After that there wasn't much room for the lines to do anything but rush each other. It's the same complaint I've seen about 40k lately, ever since Apocalypse pushed people to get all of their figures out on the table. It seems to me that you could get a much more satisfying game by either increasing the table size (not feasible in many situations) or playing with a smaller number of points.

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