Monday, August 15, 2016

The Fantasy Crossroads

Hello all,

So today we are going to talk Fantasy. While my wargaming all started with sci-fi, my real love is fantasy. My whole gaming life really started with D&D. Swords, wizards, magic, and monsters...yeah, that is my first love. I didn't dip my toes though into fantasy wargaming until '94ish? In college, wargaming meant either 40K Rogue Trader, or Battletech. Both excellent and fun games. Warhammer Fantasy battles did exist, but there wasn't a player base around me. Also, being a college student with a tight budget, buying blocks of models didn't appeal to me. However, after college, a few of my buddies did get into it...and of course wanted to draw me in as well. Somewhere in another post I talk about that, but the point is, once I did get into WFB, I was hooked.

Flash forward some twenty years. I own several WFB armies. Heck, I even own a Kings of War army by Mantic. But am I doing anything with them? Nope. Why is that? Well, mostly its because AoS (Age of Sigmar) blew the crap out of the local WFB scene. Basically, fantasy is on complete life support in my area. So here I sit, with a whole office filled with fantasy armies, but no clear direction in which to take them.

There are three paths in front of me, and I can't figure out which one to take. And yes, I do kind of need to take one of them. I simply don't have the time to walk multiple paths, and I need to do something with my models.

Path number one, Kings of War. I really enjoy KoW. It is a good solid game. I think all of my armies have corresponding forces in KoW. Seems like a no brainer. The problem is, it has gotten no traction at all where I'm at. I've tried to get something going, but it looks like the people have all moved on. I think its biggest problem is that it just doesn't have the variety that WFB had in terms of rules. Sure, I could field my Phoenix Guard and Swordmaster models in a KoW army...but in KoW, they are the same unit with the same rules. People get hung up on that loss and can't seem to get around it. So as much as I want to do KoW, I can't seem to find people willing to play it.

Path number two is 9th Age. There is a small group currently trying to attract people to it. So far the reviews from local players is fairly positive. So why am I not jumping on that wagon? Well, mostly because I have to learn a whole system that is as complicated as WFB, but with all new terms. Granted, the two won't be all that different when it comes down to it. But it seems daunting to try to wrap my brain around similar rules with all new terminology. And, lets face it, I'm going to find rule changes from WFB that I don't like or agree with. And since the game is player made, that makes it harder to accept that if GW had made the exact same change. Odd I know. This path just seems like too much work. Probably isn't...just need to convince my head of that.

The last path is Age of Sigmar. That path seems to go down into some fiery depths fairly quickly. What hurts this one the most is that it is GW's game. It is the herald that killed WFB. So you can see, it is hard to embrace the enemy. However, there are people around that are playing it. Also, the fact that it is a skirmish game means I don't need to lug around as many minis. So I can get into it as small or large as I want. Also, the General's Handbook has finally given it point values. Not that I'm looking for a competitive game here, but instead a fun beer and pretzels game. The points just give it structure.

So there I sit. One path I really want to take, but it has no traffic. The one to the left looks like a lot of work, and the one to the right eats away at my soul. I suppose the smart thing would be to try and find more KoW players. If not that, as much as I hate to admit it, AoS is next in line. I get the flavor of WFB, I just need to forget the silly nonsense that is the fluff of AoS and ignore the round bases. Or, I could find someone to teach me 9th Age so I can ignore the new terms or at least link them up correctly through actual play instead of reading.

Feel free to comment with your own opinions and to present possible trails I haven't considered. Until next time folks...

1 comment:

  1. Hey Brother G, this is Andrewgeddon from the Ordo forums. I read through your blog post and I thought I would comment on my perspective. I have not played AoS, so I can't really comment on that, but I have played (and enjoyed) Kings of War, and transitioned from 8th to 9th Age.

    KoW is a great game; like you, I wasn't really interested in "re-learning" 9th Age and was happier to play a different, though somewhat similar, ruleset. I think the biggest mistake people make is comparing KoW to WHFB; similar concepts, but in the end, I think people come out of it feeling like they are playing "Warhammer Light," which I think is somewhat true, but not fair to KoW. Like you said though, it just didn't seem to pick up traction. The 3 other people I played with just went to radio silence, and other people went to X-Wing or Infinity. After fighting tooth-and-nail to find people to play Mordheim for so long, I didn't feel like doing it again with a different game system.

    I had no intention of trying out 9th Age; I didn't want to learn the differences, I just wanted to keep playing 8th. I wanted to be excited about building armies again (army building for KoW was a bit dull for myself, but that's just my opinion), but I didn't want to relearn any rules. Finally the excitement that this was NOT a GW game, and I wasn't going to fork over $100 of dollars in books won out and I decided to give it a try, and haven't looked back. Having only breezed through the rulebook a handful of times, I was pretty much able to jump right into the game. Aside from carefully reading through the Magic and Missions / Deployment sections, I think anyone who played 8th could jump in with a person who has played a few games of 9th and be just fine. Rules differences come up, to be sure, but they are usually fairly minor and almost always an improvement, IMHO. I haven't had an issue come up where not knowing a rule drastically changed the outcome of a game. Most of all though, why I love 9th is that it's got me excited for Fantasy games again. I don't need to worry about GW making units crappy or overpowered to sell models, or that they're going to blow up my world and make me play a skirmish game.

    Like I said, I can't comment on Age of Sigmar. I think that a lot of the models are really gorgeous, and that fantasy minis on round bases is very cool. My biggest issue is that I don't want to get tied to another ruleset that revolves around me buying multiple books to run an army, ala formations / alliances / Battletombs /etc. I was actually going to try the game out with a buddy of mine, but when I found out I had to buy like 4 books to have access to all the different formations, I kinda gave up; it's my main motivation for selling off my 40K, too many books, too much bookkeeping.

    Hopefully this post is somewhat helpful. I tried my best to be present my opinion somewhat objectively, even though I'm clearly in the 9th Age camp.