Monday, 9 April 2012

Warhammer Fantasy: My Reactions to the New Empire

And howdy.

The Empire just saw its new Army Book released. I have an Empire army. Who better to comment on this release? Well...

I'll do what I do, and give my impressions. I'll leave the deep, strategic analysis to those better suited or more eager for the task.

First impression: Army Book Creep is dead.

Seriously. The Empire has never struck me as one of the absolute top contenders in Fantasy. They haven't been among the Bad, but not really among the Badass, either. They've had a few things that have made them strong in 8th Edition (the Steamtank, the Mortar, the Great Cannon, and free access to Battle Magic, extra dispel dice from Warrior Priests - which was huge and needed a nerf) but most of what they've been able to do, someone else has done better.

And this book is one of those rare cases of almost nothing being made better, but almost everything being made more expensive. Just to give a sense of this, my 2000 point army from last book, unchanged except for one magic item dissapearing, went up to 2140 points. Not exactly a massive increase at 7%, but seeing as the only thing that's been made better is the Captain and the Armour of Meteoric Iron, and both the Mortar and the Arch Lector have been made considerably worse... The Steam Tank has... changed. I don't know whether for better or for worse, yet, but it did go from T10 to T6.

But I'm not surprised, really.

Okay, I am, a little, that the State Troopers increased in points. I would have expected the Spearmen to get cheaper, rather than the rest getting more expensive. But what're you gonna do?

The point is, in general, the empire follows the path set by the other 8th Edition Army Books. And, in a sense, this is good, as it indicates that GW has a plan, and is sticking to it.

On the other hand, it means that every army that comes out has that sense of 'Huh. That's a  kick to the nethers' attached to it. And quite frankly, it mean that the armies that need to be updated aren't necessarily the ones that should be. As the level of badassery is streamlined for each new army released, the gap to Army Books such as Wood Elves and Bretonnia is lessened. On the other hand, the might exhibited by the truly strong armies becomes more pronounced, meaning they should be updated, to bring the extremes into line.

So, for balance, The Empire stands up well (it would seem) to the other 8th Edition Army Books, but suffers greatly against some of the 7th Edition ones.

As for the new shiny stuff...

Well, that Griffon is massive, and who doesn't love Steampunk Lascannons?

But honestly, I'm not sure if this will do anything to my collection other than adding an incentive to get that General of the Empire I've been meaning to finish, finished, to replace my Arch Lector.

Which means GW might have failed in what appears their prime directive: to monopolize as much of my hard-earned cash as possible.

All in all, a strong release on its own and in its recent context, but rather meh if you look wider.

Which is all for today.


1 comment:

  1. I've been toying with getting some Stirlanders for a while (I played 3rd-6th edition but haven't played since then), and generally everything I've heard about the new book is great. But I'm really not sure about this OTT steampunk aesthetic - and I like steampunk. I thought the war altar was "a bit much" and it seems like the approach in this book is "war altar was great, let's do more like that - but bigger!" My grumblings aside, love your coverage of the new book - thanks very much :)