Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Warhammer Armies 3rd ed.: A review

This is my first post of 2016, although to be honest it was left in a draft stage for a couple of weeks since December, waiting for the last review after the xmas break.
I hope to be able to post some miniatures painted by the end of the month!

Along with my copy of the Warhammer Fantasy 3rd ed. rulebook I managed to grab as well the great Warhammer Armies, which is a compendium of all the possible armies you could use with 3rd ed.

For the same reasons I did a review of the rulebook, I wanted to make another of the Armies book, basically, because I did not find any overview when I looked for information a while ago.
Disclaimer: This is not a comprehensive review and it contains only my opinion. It might also contain errors or missing information, this is only intended as a brief overview of the book for players who know 4th or 5th edition for example.

The book

The copy I have is a hardcover version, not sure if they ever published a softcover one.
It is roughly half of the size of the rulebook, as it has around 170 pages.
The book is decorated with black and white art, and some coloured pages here and there with a strong  feeling of the 80s.

Introduction

Contents of the Introduction
This section is covered in just one single page, with some basic recommendations. They suggest using the lists 'as is' only for 'purist' or tournament-like games, and having some degree of flexibility.
There is also the mention of extra armies not covered by the book that might be covered in a White Dwarf in the future.

Special Rules

Contents of the Special Rules
These section adds or modifies some rules from the rulebook.
For example the points for elite troops are reduced to encourage their usage, so it is not something that the 'new GW' has invented :)
Some new rules are added for new kind of troops, such as the Wardancers and War Altars.

Magic


Contents of Magic
The magic section includes an important clarification on the number of wizards that can be used by each army, to try and make the game a bit more balanced.
Also the cost in magic points of many spells were adjusted, and they are listed here.

Magic Items Charts


Contents of Magic Items Charts
All the magical equipment for all armies is listed in this section, where many new objects have been added and the old ones have been adjusted.
Again you can see an effort in balancing the point costs and taking more steps into the tournament-like or balanced game, the same thing that was applied in the Magic section.

War Machines

Contents of War Machines
This section covers special war machines specific for some armies and their rules.
For example for the Goblobber it explains how it differs from the generic stone thrower.

Bestiary

Contents of Bestiary
This section provides the rules for new creatures that have been added since the publication of the rules.
Keep in mind that the original Bestiary already had over 70 pages, and this adds another 8. The variety and complexity of creatures that you can use in Warhammer Fantasy 3rd is astonishing.
We see the black orcs for the first time here as well as the famous Rat Ogres, that were subject to chaos mutations.

The lists

Contents of the Lists

At last we arrive to the main section of the book, the lists.

It begins with a checklist that you can follow to select your army, which may sound familiar to many Warhammer players but it is slightly different than 4th ed for example. Then there is a very useful example of how to create an army, just to show how to use the book and the previous checklist.
It is worth noting that 3,000 points is the number selected as a 'standard army', which should match the 1,500-2,000 of later editions.
You can see below the composition of the 2,998 points Wood Elf example Army.

Wood Elf example army
Each army list is always divided in the following sections:
  • Introduction with a brief overview of the background of the army
  • Army stats, base size specification, alignment and psychology rules (when applicable)
  • Army Selection limits (such as how many character models you may have)
  • Character Models rules for heroes and wizards, as well as army limits
  • Rank & File (troop rules, cost and composition)
  • Skirmishers (lists who can skirmish and how)
  • Baggage: rules for baggage train
  • Allies: how many points and who can ally with the army
  • Mercenaries: how many points and who can you hire for the army
  • Hosts: lists the hosts that can be bind to the army
The armies listed in the book are:
  • Dark Elves
  • Wood Elves
  • High Elves
  • The Empire
  • Bretonnia (this time with a cannon!)
  • Chaos
    • mixing Chaos Warriors, Marauders and Beastmen but no Daemons
  • Skaven
    • All skavens are subject to mutations, like normal chaos armies
    • Skaven Armies can have up to 6 wizards!
    • We can see photos of Pete Taylor's 3,000 point skaven army in colour
    • Rank & File list
      • Clanrats
        • 0-20 Stormvermin
        • 50-300 Warriors
        • 0-20 Black Skaven
        • 20-500 Skavenslaves
      • Clan Eshin
        • 0-10 Night Runners
        • 0-20 Gutter Runners
      • Clan Pestilens
        • 0-6 Plague Censer Bearers
        • 0-20 Plague Monks
      • Clan Moulder
        • 0-8 Beastmasters
      • Clan Skryre
        • 0-6 Poisoned Wind Gobladiers
        • 0-8 Warpfire-thrower Teams
        • 0-4 Jezzailachis
    • May ally with: Chaos, Orcs and Goblins, Dark Elves
    • No mercenaries allowed
  • Orcs & Goblins
  • Dwarfs (yes, including wizards)
  • Slann
    • Including human slaves as well as the aztec look n' feel that they lost in 5th ed.
  • Undead
Players from recent editions might miss some armies, such as dogs of war, ogres or kislev, that in 3rd ed. are only available as allies or mercenaries. In wikipedia there is an article about the discontinued armies.

After covering the armies, the mercenaries and allies section is listed. As mentioned before, each army may have mercenaries and allies, and in each army section it is listed whom you may ally with.
The first section explains the basic rules to follow when choosing mercenaries or allies for your army, with focus on the loyalty and how to treat it for routing and leadership tests.

Contents of the Mercenaries & Allies
The allies listed are:
  • Chaos with very cool looking chaos goblins, and yes, chaos dwarfs, with the excellent chaos dwarf berserker illustration
  • Dwarf
  • Dark Elf
  • High Elf
  • Wood Elf
  • Fimir
  • Old World: Kislev, Bretonnia and Empire all mixed together
  • Orc and Goblin
  • Pygmy: as far as I know, this army has not been mentioned after this edition, along with Fimir and Zoat.
  • Skaven
    • only as allies, not as mercenaries, you can hire
    • 1 commander
    • 0-1 Clan Eshin Assasin
    • 0-1 Clan Skryre Seer
    • 10-50 Clanrat Warriors
    • 0-10 Clan Eshin Guter Runners
    • 0-3 Clan Pestilens Plague Censer Bearers
    • 0-10 Clan Pestilens Plague Monks
    • 0-4 Clan Skryre Warp Firethrower team
  • Undead
  • Halfling
  • Zoat
After the allies section, the mercenaries are listed.
There are several differences, for example, the loyalty rules are not the same when you use them as mercenaries or allies. Also the selection of troops is different, there are some troops you can have as allies but they are not available to hire as mercenaries.
The mercenaries are:
  • Dwarfs
  • Giants
  • Ogres
  • Half Orcs: this one also disappeared after 3rd ed.
  • Hobgoblin
  • Nippon: also disappeared
  • Orc
  • Norse
  • Old World: not the same as the allies, for mercenaries they are Estalia, Tilea, Empire and Kislev.

My opinion

The book is brilliant.
There is plenty of illustrations, bestiary and descriptions for lots of troops that I have only seen in this book, some I have mentioned above.
The colour artwork is also exceptional and have inspired many armies. You can also notice that some of the additions to armies in the latest editions of Warhammer were inspired by this book, as it contains a wide variety of troops.
Some illustrations are the stuff of legends, such as the "Gaze into the eye of the Warp and Despair" Skaven Standard that appears in every 3rd ed. army inspired by Andy Chambers... and will also appear in my army, eventually!
To sum up, a must have for any lover of oldhammer.

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