Many people often ask me what I do to relax and get away from my stressful (yet enjoyable) freelance assignments for game design. The tax of having deadlines and word-counts can often have a toll on this self-diagnosed ADHD writer. But like all lucid, if not completely neurotic, gamers, I enjoy self-inflicting mental wounds on myself by learning new complex games for… well… enjoyment!
My wife thinks I am insane—not understanding how I can burn myself out on game design just to grab a case of Warhammer miniatures and run off to the local gaming store to release some tension. I suppose there is some logic to her concerns. I mean, after crunching numbers and making system continuity checks to ensure rules make sense, how can I run off to play a game with more rules and system constraints?
In this article, I will detail just that phenomenon using the new 8th edition release of the Warhammer Fantasy Battles game. For those who do not know, Warhammer is a game of strategic and tactical maneuvers, where you move various units across a large battlefield with the intent to overcome your enemy with your army’s various powers and abilities. As its core, the game is not unlike other tactic war games in that you have units that have specific uses; strengths and weaknesses. Some units are better at holding a line with their staunch defenses whereas another unit might have exceptional offensive capabilities. No matter the army you use, the fundamentals of warfare are there. Generally speaking (and I mean, extremely generally), an army’s general wants to overtake his opponent by brute force, coaxing his enemy into making a bad move, or a combination of both in order to secure the object. Objectives can be anything from securing a total victory, to holding a specific point or place of interested. It can also merely be holding your position and ensuring you are not overrun. Many of these principles are not too far from reality. Though the game is a much less complex system of conducting combat operations—the principles are there.
For those already in “the know” of Warhammer already, the 8th edition rules offer a pretty hefty change to the way battles are conducted. The phases of each turn have changed (simplified in my opinion) and Magic has been completely redesigned! No matter you thoughts on the new system, it is undeniable that the change is excited (if not frustrating) and that most will find enjoyment with the new rules. As well, the new Rulebook (which can substitute for an adequate weapon if mugged—due to its sheer size) provides TONS of juicy fluff and lore on the various races of the Warhammer world—something this Loremaster loves immensely!
So, whether you are a miniature war-gamer, fan of fiction, or merely like to paint little plastic and metal figures, Warhammer Fantasy offers something for everyone. I don’t work for Games Workshop nor do I have any reason to sell their products. This is a light, off the cuff, article meant to highlight one of the games I truly enjoy when straying away from the likes of Dungeons & Dragon ©.
Until next time, keep your ink well full and your mind open.