New supplement for Warhammer Fantasy Battle is out and after talking to Peter we decided that Brighton Warlord will purchase a copy. I already managed to read it nearly completely (yes, I am a very fast reader 😉 )
Is 30 quid too much for 152 page hardback book in full colour? In my opinion definitely yes but then again, it is Games Workshop we are talking about so no surprise here. If I would be want to buy this book for myself personally, that price would put me off for sure.
I was quite concerned about the content of the book when I have seen that one of the authors is Matt Ward. Lets just say that I don’t hold writing skills of that gentleman in high esteem (especially after latest fail that Grey Knights codex was), both ruleswise and fluffwise. Other author of the book is Jeremy Vetock though so I thought that there is some hope 😉
Ok, so what do we get in the book? Basically it is a set of alternative rules for WHB, with use of powerful magic and monsters and game itself heavily concentrated on magical structures called fulcrums. You still use normal army building rules for Storm of Magic games, but add 25% for summoned monsters, pacts and potent magical items.
As the title of the supplement suggests, magic plays a massive role in the game here. For a start we roll 4D6 for each magic phase and there can be up to 24 dice used every turn! Also evey turn you swing an arrow on special table included in the book to see which colour of magic is ascendant, which in turn affects how easy you can cast spells etc. Quite interesting idea.
All wizards apart from their chose spells also know so called Cantrips (few very simple spells that are quite easy to cast such as Magic Duel or Unbind Monster). There are also Cataclysmic Spells for each of the magic lores that each wizard knows automatically. They are divided into three types (Presence, Equilibrum and Dominance) and you can cast them depending on how many magical Fulcrums you and your opponent control as each type has certain conditions attached to it. Spells are quite interesting and of course quite devastating as well (or being very potent help for your troops in case of augment spells). There is no irresistible force for Cataclysmic spells, however double 6 still means miscast so they will be harder to cast. There is one spell known to all wizards, called “Seven Secret Sigils of Summoning” that is just absolutely ridiculous- it basically allows you to summon between 150 and 300 points of troops from ANY army book and have them under your control. I do feel Matt Wards hand here 😉 Now I do understand that GW is about making money, but this is really, really stupid idea and the “fluff” explanation about wizards creating portals and sucking in armies to serve them is frankly completely retarded.I don’t see many people using that bit down the local club to be honest.
Another interesting thing to mention is that whilst Fulcrums make casting spells easier, miscasting them is much more dangerous as well, as you have to roll on separate miscast table (and then on a normal one after that!) with some very hillarious effects on it 😉 Dwarf players do not worry- Runesmiths count as Wizards whilst on top of Fulcrums and they are also allowed to use special Ancient Runes instead of having access to Cataclysmic spells.
Next thing in the book is Mythical Artefacts- extrmely powerful magical items (quite expensive as well) that you can buy with your extra 25% allowance. Again I think they are ridiculously overpowered and I am sure in local club games we will be skipping that bit alltogether. Matt Ward, was it you? 🙂
Finally we get to monsters. You can use up to 2 units of them (with big monsters counting as unit each) withing your 25% points allowance, more if you have a Grand Army. Monsters bought in that category cannot be joined or ridden by any characters however lots of them can buy extra upgrades, which are often not available to them in normal army books. We have a massive selection of big and small monsters available for us to choose from. Again fluff wise I think they should have been certain restrictions on who can use what- I really can’t see Wood Elves actually summoning and binding Plague Toads for example and Skaven army with Great Eagles would just look ridiculous. However with a bit of common sense you get nice selection of gribblies, some of them old, some of them new (my personal favourite is a Bonegrinder Giant). Not all of them are great and few I can’t see making appearances too often as they are overpriced for what they do. Others (Fenbeasts!) I can see being used much more. Of course this is another opportunity for GW to flog people some monsters that they would normally don’t buy for their armies, but hey, why not ? 🙂 For this occasion some really nice plastic sets were made and seeing them in the shop yesterday I have to say they are really impressive for most part.
Last main thing we can do with our 25% allowance is to get a pact with one of the three forces: Vampire Counts, Tomb Kings and Demons. Again whilst certain armies should have no problem entering such pact, can we really see High Elves entering pact with Demons of Chaos? Some fluffy restrictions would be nice, but again witha bit of common sense you should be ok (providing everybody in your gaming envirenment has a common sense- if you keep seeing High Elf player summoning hordes of Khorne then you know not play with that person again 😉 )
There are couple of extra scenarios (they sound fun) and extra rules for mystical terrain as you would expect 😉
I have yet to play it, but I think it can be roughly described as a WHB equivalent of Apocalypse in 40k.
Would I recommend the book? Its really not bad, although certain things that I mentioned were totally ridiculous and ruined otherwise good impression I had of this book. 6.5-7/10 that is my opinion so if you got spare 30 quid you might want to add another pretty book to your collection (or even better, order it from for example Malestrom and get it cheaper 😉 ) . It is definitely a good thing to have in a gaming club and with bit of tweaking and house rules it sounds like it can give you interesting game.