Today I’m going to run through the Beard Bunker’s house rules for the 8th edition of Warhammer Fantasy Battle. This might be a funny thing to do in the Age of Sigmarines, but there seem to be plenty of lingering souls with a fondness for square bases and regimental strategy.
I’ve been keeping a vague eye on AoS, but the setting still comes across to me like generic fantasy land, and the game’s depth seems, from my cursory understanding, to be like 40K in that synergistic list building is more important than battlefield manoeuvres. That might be unfair of me; anyone reading this is most welcome to correct me in the comments or link to videos that demonstrate otherwise. I fully accept my fallibility!
For now, though, regimental combat still gets my blood pumping. I’ll start with the house rules, then explain my thinking.
Warhammer 8th Edition according to the House of Beard
- Infantry charge M+2D3 and advance/flee 2D6.
- Cavalry/swift striders/M>7” charge M+2D6 and advance/flee 3D6.
- All blasts go down by a point of Strength, to a minimum of 2, or lose armour piercing, or decrease the difficulty of a stat test by 1 – whichever is applicable.
- Steadfast models halve the Leadership penalty for break tests, rather than ignoring them.
- No horde rule.
- No magic trees.
|Definitely less intimidating than a 4 page PDF... right?|
What was I thinking?
Despite my love of Warhammer Fantasy, it has/had serious problems, many of which were exacerbated by 8th edition. Random charge distances fixed the problem of armies stopping 8½ inches away from each other, but at a cost: the enormous swing on a 2D6” roll often reduced strategic decisions and outmanoeuvring, since regiments could reach out and touch you from up to 16” away. Part of what makes a wargame interesting is limitation; the rigidity of the movement in Battlefleet Gothic is what makes it such a tactically satisfying game. Was 7th edition too restrictive? Probably. Did 8th edition over-compensate? In my view, yes.
8th edition also brought in the horde rule, which to my mind further blandified the gameplay. Hordes were so effective that everyone took them; the added damage output combined with the steadfast rule made them an obvious choice. But this meant that armies started to consist of two or three giant units, which whilst looking impressive were prohibitively expensive to buy, boring to paint, and boring to play with. Since people had a smaller number of bigger, cumbersome units, you were essentially playing a small game of 7th edition but where the combats lasted for aaaaaaages before one side finally collapsed. I often found I was much more tired after playing a game of 8e versus a game of 7e. It was a very grindy edition. The reduction in charge ranges, dropping the horde rule, and nerfing steadfast does, I think, help mitigate some of these issues.
I also nerfed blast weapons because it’s faffy rolling for partial hits, but the lack of partial hits made blasts appallingly overpowered.
Finally, I removed the magic trees because they were asinine.