Warhammer 4th Edition Fantasy – A critical look

I have been playing this game now for well over a year and I am in place to make a few critical judgments about it now.  It is a good game and has offered up some fun, nostalgic game play for the group.  But is it really any good?

I am fickle

If you look at my past history with games you can see I am fickle.  I change games often (on average) and never really stay with something too long.  But Warhammer has been on the table for well over a year so it is certainly a good game.  It plays to my nostalgia of the game I played in the 1980’s and has a certain feel to it.  So certainly I like the game but there are things about it that make me feel it could have been done better.

Product schedule

I have found that the hard copy product support for this game has been particularly slow and poor.  The original book came out in Australia 18 to 24 months ago and we are still waiting on the GM screen to hit the shelf here?  It is meant to be this month that it reaches shelves but it has been available in electronic form for ages.  But who uses PDF screens?  What has come out has been good quality, but there is so little of it on shelves.  I spend so much time going through my book during a game, I am in DIRE need of a useful screen.

Advantage

I am always waxing and waning with my support of advantage in this game.  I get the purpose of it, and I like the concept that a combat has surges of advantage that can swing a battle.  But the whole system leaves me a little flat.  You gain advantage when you win an opposed test.  In this game, it is possible for you to have suffered a fumble in an exchange and yet still win an opposed test.  You may have just thrown away your weapon, but you gain advantage?  Also, you need not have even rolled under your skill target number and you gain advantage?

Advantage is also a HUGE bonus and is unlimited as to how much you can get.  I know there is an optional rule, but I feel limiting things is not in the spirit of the game.  I think the advantage bonus is just too large and causes players to lose heart if they are looking at an opponent with advantage.

Inconsistent rulings

It is an attribute/skill system.  But the way those skills are handled all depend on their nature.  Regular skills give you a big bonus in success levels when rolling a critical, but in combat they do not.  The modifiers in combat are all over the place and serve largely just to slow combat down as you look for the modifier in the book.  You know, because the screen is not out yet.

Magic sucks

I have now had two players with magic using characters.  Number of spells cast in all games to now?  None.  Nada! Zip.  The magic system is over complicated and overly specific.  Winds of magic and colours of magic all have a wonderful flavour but if you can’t cast a spell?  I want there to be magic in my games but so far the only ones using it have been NPC’s.  Those NPC’s haven’t been following the magic rules either, because there are too many of them.

They are my critical ramblings

I have played a lot of this game because I loved First Edition in the day.  This brings the feel of that game in a much softer way to a modern market.  Most of my players have some background with Warhammer.  Some of them know so much of the lore it scares me.  But I plod on with plots and stories that interest me and allow me to learn how they will interact with them.  Do not get me wrong, this is a solid game.  The above points that I make are me being critical.  They are the things that make me want to change the system.  In some places I have – just in silent ways to suit my game.  If you like Warhammer of any type, give it a go.  Make sure you go into it with open eyes though – there is no such thing as a perfect game.  Keep rolling!

3 Comments


    1. In reality, it is that characters have a lot more wounds. Fate points do a lot more for the character and a new mechanic (Resolve/Resilience) also adds to the ability of the player to prolong the characters life. First edition was so much more terrifying as a player.

      Reply

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