Warhammer Fantasy Battle 8th Edition doesn’t suck as much as I thought at first
So over the weekend I hung out with some people who called into question my geek credibility. Their logic was, sure, Dave’s into Star Trek, Star Wars, comic books, video games, anything science fiction, zombies, ninjas, pirates, and cowboys, but he doesn’t have huge coke bottle glasses (the cake, I mean logo, is a lie), bathe regularly, and can actually have a normal conversation without geeking out totally. I, of course, took rapid offense to this assertation and decided the best way to re-establish my position in the nerd world by ranting about the geekiest hobby I have: Warhammer.
For those of you not familiar, is a miniature war game that was invented over 30 years ago in England. It features orks, dragons, elves, zombies, ogres, humans, vampires, lizard men, evil sorcerers, good sorcerers, and a race of half man/half rats called Skaven. It is played with little toy soldiers (hence forth referred to as miniatures, thank you very much) that each player has to buy, assemble, and paint in order to present a coherent army of 80-300 miniatures. Tape measures and dice are used to determine how the battle goes. It is absolutely as geeky as humanly possible, and I love it to the point that I travel across the country to play in tournaments (for the record, I am currently ranked 13th in the country). Next trip will be San Antonio, TX in November for the Alamo Grand Tournament.
Anyway, if you are a lay person that is as far as you really need to read, as I am going to get into it deeply in the next few paragraphs. Unless you are some kind of sociologist trying to write a paper on sub cultures (the Jane Goodall of nerds) you can probably skip to the last paragraph, where I plan to bitch about my dating life some more.
So the big news from last year was the release of 8th edition, and to be honest I was pretty bitter about it. It seemed to eliminate the maneuver as a major factor in game winning, and relied on magic and army composition. Premeasuring meant there was no advantage to being accurate in your guesses. The MSU build seemed dead, which tended to make for really fun, interesting games, and the magic phase so grossly overpowered (especially with the original rules for the Power Scroll) that you could win a game with a single roll of the dice. Steadfast seemed to eliminate the need to turn flanks, and everyone was going straight for huge, gross horde formation builds.
Some of that still seems valid. Magic is grossly overpowered, and a big horde deathstar is something to be avoided like the plague. However, I have discovered in recent months that you can still use maneuver to force your opponent into untenable situations. Furthermore, when someone shows up with 3-4 huge deployables I have learned that you can spend most of the game avoiding whatever is bad with redirection and pick off the easy meat. Since the break between a win and a draw is now only 100 points if you pay attention all you need to do is score one unit and keep him from scoring a bunch of yours. It is a different kind of maneuver game, but maneuver nonetheless.
The one thing I am really starting to see is a major difference between players who were considered good in 7th ed and what can best be described as the new breed of players in 8th. If you didn’t learn maneuver back when it really meant something you will naturally just want to do the huge blocks and have done with it.
I do still miss a lot of 7th ed. The random nature of spells and other stuff can have a good player lose to a lucky bad player. However, I am finding more to like about 8th than I first thought I would. Also, with the massive army creep going on across the board, when you beat someone using a softer list you end up feeling really good about it. Also, I am finding really cool synchronicities in a well balanced army that is missing from the huge formation builds.
Anyway, I said I was going to bitch about my dating life, but upon reflection it’s not that bad. The one girl I am seeing seems inclined to give me a let’s be friends speech, but if you can sniff it coming you can be mentally prepared. Also, she is pretty cool, and I don’t know if I would mind just being friends. Of course if she starts dating someone else I will probably have some kind of meltdown, as if there is one thing I hate it’s being the eunuch man-friend to someone who wants to bitch at me about how her BF is a jerk and/or loser (somehow they all seem to want to tell me what a great guy I am and how I will meet someone, but when faced with the possibility of having to actually date me they don’t want to “ruin the friendship”. Why, then, is it every annoyingly happy couple wants to tell you how they started off as friends? Seems like most girls want that on some level. I think it’s the hypocrisy that gets me more than anything). I think I am going out with another girl tomorrow night who I happen to know carries a sonic screwdriver in her purse. Sounds potentially awesome (Talk Nerdy To Me image courtesy of the nerd t-shirt category). Wish me luck on that one.