Something different today for my blog, a bit of an experiment if you will. One of my long-time gaming partners asked if he could write a post on my blog explaining his current frustrations with Games Workshop. I agreed to let him have a go, I got a lot more than expected, this is part one of a three part discussion/rant that I'll be posting over the next few days, over to Mike......
Sometime in late 1997 I walked into Games workshop and purchased my first Warhammer fantasy model. It was a £5 Undead Skeleton Chariot; an average model but I was chuffed with it. Collecting GW minis seemed fun and affordable to me and I was soon able to get enough models to play a fantasy game at the minimum recommended 1000pts level. Several more armies and regular gaming followed. We lost our gaming area for a while (When I went off to uni as I was the only one with a big table - Keith), and it wasn’t until somewhere in the mid/late 2000’s (6th and 7th ed. by then) that the old minis were brought out again. At that stage I realised that I no longer seemed to have enough, or the correct models to play larger games in the new editions. Despite having a job, I was also reluctant to purchase the models I needed to play those battles.
What had changed? One reason was the cost of minis (more on that later), but first a more general observation.
Some of the old chaos warriors that were popular in our gaming group back in the day.
Sample war band from 5th ed. Codex
Chaos Hero with a shield on a chaos steed with the potion of strength and helm of many eyes
6 Chaos knights with lances, hand weapons and chaos armour including a standard
12 Chaos Warriors with hand weapons, heavy armour and shields
The same war band selected from the 7th ed. Codex
Chaos Hero with a shield on a Chaos steed plus a maximum magic item allowance
6 Chaos Knights with lances, hand weapons and chaos armour + full command
12 Chaos warriors with additional great weapons and shields + full command
Right - I’ve gone to town a little with this 7th ed. list by adding full command groups and some slightly more expensive extras; however there’s still a deficit of more than 200 pts.
One sensible way to address the balance is to add some marauders. A basic marauder (which in 7th ed. was 1/3 of the points cost of the 5th edition selection). Give a 30 man marauder unit shields and flails + full command and phew we’re there! Okay, okay I could have thrown in a unit of warriors instead, but there’s noting like variety and besides, I wanted to make a point!
Mike concentrating on a game of Axis & Allies
I don’t think many enthusiasts want to go back to the old rules of 5th edition. However I have to say that as a teenager it was essential to my staying in the hobby that I could acquire armies relatively quickly at a ‘minimum’ 1000pts level within 2-3 months. Moreover I could do this using money from my paper round. I wonder how many young potential gamers can do that today? And I haven’t even begun to discuss a more pressing issue – the ever increasing cost of the miniatures…. Part 2 to follow.
Mike does have a point about decreasing points costs for minis, I remember back when I started 40K a space marine tactical squad was twice what it was now and a 1K army was a leader and three squads. But the question is whether this matters? Some might say an army with two units and a hero isn't really an army at all and that even at 1000pts you'd hope to field more than that. Having said that chaos is a bit of an extreme example with very expensive elite troops, but I do think Mike is right about the overall trend. So again does it matter? We'd be interested to hear peoples thoughts.