Wednesday, 22 June 2011

General Ramblings: Relearning WHFB

Hi again!

I’m gonna start this one of with some sentimental drivel – er-hurm, I mean back story. So feel free to skip the first couple of paragraphs.

Oh, and I won’t be making any ridiculously pedantic rules readings at all. Sorry.

My very first encounter with miniature wargaming was when I was twelve. My family went on a trip to London, and while my parents walked around a shopping mall with my then six-month-old sister, they let me and my brother hang in this cool little store named Games Workshop. To twelve-year-old me, it was awesome.

I came away from that visit with a box of Beastmen (my brother got Dark Elves) that look incredibly outdated by now:

Yes, I tried to paint it. Yes I've got better at it since. No, I refuse to learn photography.

For a couple of years, that was it: a box of models I only barely attempted to paint, and some fond memories. Oh, and a somewhat unbalanced rules set to play out battles with lego. But that’s another story.

And then a buddy of mine found a place in Stockholm that carried Games Workshop products. He got himself a starter box (with Orcs and Empire; this was in mid-early sixth edition). I eventually got me some Dwarfs, and then some Chaos, and then some Tomb Kings. My brother continued with his pointy-eared whimps in different versions, and another couple of buddies started their own armies.

We played a lot. On tiny surfaces, with unpainted armies and limited grasp of the rules, but still. To begin with, we sort of frowned on 40k. And then we didn’t.

40k took over. It’s a long story, but the end result is that I today own three more or less finished 40k armies, and am just about halfway through my first all-painted Fantasy one.

I’ve played a bit in between. I got maybe five games into the entirety of seventh edition, and am now sniffing at the ten game mark of eighth.

Which brings me to my point.

I am relearning Fantasy. Not only have I not played enough to be familiar with this, my first wargaming crush; the bastards went and changed the rules… (OK, so I think eighth is good, but still).

This means a lot of things:

First, I need to learn the big rules. How to move. How to shoot. What has changed with the special rules. Basically the unavoidable framework you expect anyone playing the game to know off the top of their heads.

Secondly, I need to learn the little rules. The ones that got me the nickname “Doctor 40k”. What happens when you flee a building? What point does random movement towards an enemy aim for? When can you perform a Swift Reform? All those little things most will keep looking up, I want to know, if not verbatim, then at least well enough to answer the question. Preferably, I want to know where in the book the rule is.

Thirdly, since my club is – to a large part – also relearning Fantasy, I need to hammer certain truths home. An augment spell can be a Remains in Play spell; the two are not mutually exclusive. You need to stay at least 1” away from that building unless you’re garrisoning it. No, Large Targets are no longer easier to hit. You wheel around a corner of the unit, not its middle.

And a distant fourth: I need to learn how to actually play the game. You know, winning, and all that. (Not playing the Watchtower for once would be nice, too…).

This, all of it, can only be done one way: by playing the game. Unfortunately, it also meant that a 2000 points game generally takes about four hours, so the opportunities to play are that much further apart.

And I still make mistakes. Not just tactical blunders; those I’ll probably never stop making. Rules mistakes. Usually not big ones, but still.

I’ll see what I can do to keep you posted.

For now, may you never face a Black Dragon in a dark alley, and may your village never be raided by greenskins.

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