Monday 10 November 2014

The End Times, Nostalgia and Oldhammer

I've been thinking a little bit about The End Times, the recent series of releases from Games Workshop for Warhammer Fantasy. I was really quite impressed with the return of Nagash and the boldness of so fundamentally changing the nature of the Warhammer World. From an academic point, I'm very impressed.

However, despite that, I'm not suddenly wanting to drop anything and buy a Fantasy army. Well, no more than the usual background levels of wanting to collect multiple armies for every system that exists, and I mostly have that under control now.

Why is that? I'm usually the world's biggest sucker for big changes in a system, and there would be a certain elegance to grabbing Nagash, a bunch of Tomb Kings and a Coven Throne and having great fun being a megalomaniac super-villain, complete with expendable minions and untrustworthy lieutenants.

My Fantasy interest has been low for a while - here's the current progress on my entire Fantasy army - what will become the champion of my first unit in a Warriors of Chaos army. He's been like that all year.

He even does have a back story - a decadent actor finds this creepy "costume", and discovers its a genuine suit of Chaos Armour that brings its own servants with it (founding the first unit of the army) and causing him to flee north to the wastes.

The early Realm of Chaos books had a lot of Chaos Champions making the journey north, primarily because the random tables allowed so many different races to become Champions that way. It was a common theme - from the Ignorant Armies anthology, and it even carries through to the relatively recent "Sigvald".

The Chaos Marauder tribes, as they stand now, are a development from the old "Norse", as Games Workshop moved further from the original historic ranges and towards its own developed IP. Interestingly, Glottkin's background has done the most to endear me to the Marauders by mentioning the northern Chaos worshipping farming communities which the Glott brothers originally come from, grounding them back a little further into low fantasy rather than high with a bit more plausibility.

Forest Goblin at Warhammerfest
From a staff member's collection

I have a massive Nostalgia (it deserves a capital) for Warhammer Fantasy 3rd Edition - the edition I never really got to play. I'd been collecting the books and planning an army for about two years when 4th edition came out and I used that as my entry into my first army. But I had that two years of daydreaming and planning still in my head.

One of my big inspirations was the Dark Elf army in a White Dwarf of the time - a Google search tells me it's probably White Dwarf 144. It gave the background of the leader being a minor noble with his retinue and raised troops, looking to advance himself politically. I had Mighty Empires - I absolutely wanted to run a grand and massive campaign, tracking every detail of every army, and to not go mad doing it.

The key to these pre-adolescent unachievable dreams (which I fully intend to fulfil at some point during a scheduled mid life crisis) was that the Warhammer World itself would remain broadly unchanged by the campaign, thus keeping it believable for me. I didn't want to see the Emperor wounded to near death at every Saturday night game only to come back fine the following week - I wanted to tell my own stories.

In some ways, I suspect this is why I've drifted to Warhammer 40,000. The Emperor is going absolutely nowhere, and the massive scale of the game means that I can easily have entire armies and planets wiped out in my games and it still remains believable as not changing the overall background - billions die every day.

Photo courtesy of thenickeninja - used with permission
Obviously, I'm not going to jump into getting an Oldhammer army straight away. It's a big investment of time and money, almost certainly involves metal models, and by my reckoning, I'd probably get a game in once every other year. Don't get me wrong, it is definitely a Thing I Want to Do, but that is not a now thing.

In particular, if I was going Oldhammer and had irresponsible amounts of time and money, I'd be going for an old school Orc and Goblin force, going to people like Otherworld and Foundry for a massive, eclectic and all metal force. Each regiment would then be a different Orc tribe, with massive differences in physiology and appearance.

I also saw the amazing Chaos Dwarf conversions by thenickeninja on his blog. These are apparently super easy, using Hammerer bodies, Chaos Warrior arms and heads. That tempts me to pick up the Tamurkhan book to allow me a small Chaos Dwarf force with my Warriors of Chaos force.

These are massive projects which are running around my head, and I just don't have the time or money to do them at the moment. What I am likely to do is start up a little projects page on the blog, covering both my existing projects and potential future projects. This means I'd be able to get all my links and inspiration photos in an easy to find place for me later, and also let people see the sort of things I'm thinking about.

So really, what it comes down to is that my main interest isn't really in special characters in Warhammer Fantasy because I want to be telling my own stories with the army, and the special characters are often in too "serious" battles which decide the fates of countries, and that breaks the narrative of the game for me.

Longer term, the Orcs and Goblins are still tempting, but for now, Warriors of Chaos and perhaps some plastic kit-bashed Chaos Dwarves are the order of the day. The WoC are very much on a "one in, one out" policy, so there won't be any new purchases in the army until the models I already own are painted.


  1. An oldhammer army is not nesseceraly something expensive, there was a challenge launched to build some for as cheap as possible and you'd be surprised to see the wonders !
    Even buying old lead oin ebay can be cheaper than buying FW kits and armies (thinking about 30k space amrines and admech) In the end, Oldhammer is just about using th eold books to play a game where your only concern is the game and your partner and where you don't have to focus on new updates, supplements and all. If you do want them, you can , it's pretty much getting rid of lots of limitations just to ensure the guys on the other side has as much fun as you do !

    1. I think any new army is a big investment - even for small skirmish games, it can cost a fair chunk of money, and while Oldhammer isn't the priciest, I think the fairest thing to say is that the scale I would like to play it on is going to turn out to be a teensy bit expensive.

      The issue is that I kind of want to recreate the games I didn't have the skill, patience or money to set up in my youth - and that's not going to be a quick win. ;-)