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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Kirby's thoughts of Fantasy [8th]: Part 1


Well a couple of you know I’ve been reading the Fantasy, High Elf and Dark Elf rules today during my painting time. I’ve always been an avid lover of fantasy books (Tolkien, Jordan, Erikson, etc.) but have always preferred sci-fi games (Starcraft, 40k, DoW, etc.) though I do love me some realistic or fantasy games, too (Guild Wars, Warcraft, Total War/AoE series, Dragon Age, etc.). So let’s get cracking on what I think of this monstrosity of a book. Remember, I’ve never played fantasy so have no carry over confusion from previous books and no idea how it has changed the field of play.

First thing that jumps out as unusual is combat. You charge during the movement phase (literally charge) and charge ranges are generally rather large (average infantry charge an average of 11”). Whilst there is a huge degree of randomness to this process, screening and combat seem very important concepts to me initially. Next up is movement. Whilst no where near as varied and distance eating as 40k, Fantasy seems to be much more than the colonial style pitched battle I thought it was and heavily focused on getting facings and flanks correct. I think players who cannot do this will have a very hard time as it seems a lot harder to recover due to the limited movement capabilities of most units within the wheeling system.

Next thing is Magic. This is the main reason I’m thinking of getting into fantasy. Magic is awesome. I loved Magic: The Gathering when I was kid and love RPGs where you can really develop and devote yourself to magic. This obviously leads me to certain armies (I’m told HE, DE, Lizardmen, Tzneetch Daemons are all good at magic, but I like me some Elves) hence looking at DE & HE. The first thing that jumps out to me about Magic is it is very, very random and whilst I haven’t pawed over every rule (I imagine the ‘magically good’ races have more buffs than what I’ve skimmed through) you’ve got to manage a lot of information to get your magic phase right. Not only are your power dice based off a random formula but you only ever get to pick your class (aka lore) of magic. Spells are randomly assigned each game. You then have to know how many power dice you have, dispel dice your opponents have, wizard levels, what spells and think of how you want to cast them. Even as the defending player you need to figure out which spells you want to try and block. Then there’s the whole kafuffle of pooping a giant brick in miscasting, etc. Add in the fact that a failed cast = no more casting for that Wizard and you can sink 500+ points into magic and get jack diddly from it. So, an awesome aspect of the game that you need to be competent in I think just to counter opponents magic but has a lot of variable rolls which can lead to your undoing as an offensive threat (including buffs & de-buffs). Whilst this is mildly disappointing for me as I will likely be investing those 500+ points because I like magic…, it’s a nice in-depth system.

Combat also seems to be designed like 40k 5th edition and attempts to be a quick all or nothing affair though any bogged down combats can get very bogged down. This may have been the way before but not sure. Ranks seem pretty important in affecting this due to the Steadfast rule and modifiers to the difference which generally means small squads get wiped.

Anyway that’s where I’m up to in the rulebook so far. This is by no means me getting into fantasy unless I get a cheap army… (Vinsanity and BroLo mates, I look at ye for HE & DE) and 40k will still be my primary system but I thought I’d go for a more laid back gaming system for when I need a break (okay fine it’s hard to paint for 10 hours straight, don’t judge me!). I’ll put a couple more of these articles up as I read through the rules and generate my thoughts and might write some articles on the armies I’m interested in akin to Armies in 5th for 40k as even though I’m not going for uber-competitive (500pt+ IN MAGIC), the internet is still full of fail (*looks at BoLS*) and contradicts itself. I swear I saw a post that said on one hand, one book was great with the new rules but they sucked…I mean what?

So to those of you who play Fantasy, are my initial thoughts accurate? Was 8th a good change? And whoever wrote the book (can’t be bothered checking), needs to re-learn how to write a rulebook. This isn’t me and you having a beer and chatting, this is an official (and expensive) rule book for a world-wide game of plastic addicts and we don’t care what you think. Just lay down the law. And learn to edit.

11 pinkments:

Chumbalaya said...

I like 8th ed so far. You are pretty bang on. Movement is a bit tricky to get the hang of, but fairly simple all told. Magic can be very potent, but you can find yourself at the mercy of the dice unless you can add in some straight modifiers to PD or DD or spell generation. Combat is delightfully brutal, probably the best change of the new rules.

Island of Blood is gonna have HE in it and they'll be just fine in 8th. Do it fgt.

Kirby said...

when's it come out? As I'd like to hold a rulebook without having to fend off thousands of drooling children and one that I don't have to do pushups to actually carry.

Good to know my logical and analytical side of my brain works not just on 40k...now if only I could figure out anarchy...

Ishamael said...

Funnily enough, I read far more fantasy than sci-fi, and yet I play more science fiction games and whatnot. I do have a dwarf army, and I'm waiting for the Island to come out so I can get a nifty mini-book so I can highlight rules in. I at least plan on playing them, regardless of how far behind the curve they are.

I'm re-reading the WoT series while waiting for November. :3

Kirby said...

I thought it was in August!?!??! You've made my life miserable. A 'friend' of mine here worked on the release for Book 12(a) in Australia so he might have more info (he's a douche though ^^). Ya I re-read it for the 100th? time but stopped at book 5 as got Steven Eriksons latest book (missus' belated B-day pressie) so been reading that lately.

Ishamael said...

November 2nd is the date for Towers. :< Got it from a community site I peruse.

Have you seen the cover for the e-book version of Lord of Chaos? It's awesome.

http://dragonmount.com/

The_King_Elessar said...

Island is 'supposed' to come out in Sept.

This is nice. Play HE, then I can get all racist with me DE. Yeah. lol :p

That said - I really love the way matt Ward has written the book. It feels almost conversational - and that makes me smile. On the INside.

nolan_024 said...

Magic can make or break. Get off an augmented Purple Sun of Xereus,or something similar, and it can be game-changing. First turn, I accepted the probable miscast, and threw all my PD at it with a Lvl.2 HE mage. Not only did it go off, but I didn't miscast!

Yeah, I killed 30 Dwarves with one spell. My friend called it there, as he had multiple Chariots and Dragon Princes bearing down on him. Oh, and Teclis hadn't even casted yet :)

Other games, I've had magic fizzle for me, and work for my opponent. It definitely is mercurial, but the right spells can swing the game in a single phase.

Junx said...

Magic is a lot better in this edition, more potential for damage actually. In previous editions, it did didly squat, but this edition, the potential for damage is a lot!!

In any case, your assumptions thus far are about right, although if you want a more "laid back" affair than 5th, you might be wrong on that.

I play both and I find Fantasy a lot more taxing, especially since the game is liable to change more with all the wheeling and movment.

Kirby said...

Mmmm magic *drools.*

In regards to laid back I won't be going for fully optimised. I want to enjoy my games but I won't spend the...er minutes...I do with 40k army lists :P.

September eh TKE?

Borkai said...

Kirb! another guildwars player :) such a nice game 8 skills limit, easy level up and access to items, no housrs wasted farming. Playable with two types of NPCs.

Regarding fantasy, I think I am being drawn back in after not playing it since 1st edition along with rogue trader (oldest 40K).

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