January 3, 2012

Army Diversity in Warhammer

I get really bored with some Warhammer Armies. I was wondering why recently especially when I consider how happy I am faction wise in Hordes and Warmachine. I have been playing for a long time, since the end of 3rd edition, and I have seen armies evolve and grow. However some haven't at all. When looking at exactly which ones I notice that those that got army book releases in 4th edition and to a lesser extent in 5th edition.

The best armies, at least with regards to background and troops choice, got early releases in 4th edition. Armies such as the Elves and Dwarves really benefitted. Dwarves have six different troop choices spread across core and special. These are Rangers, Longbeards, Clansmen, Hammerers, Slayers and Ironbreakers. High Elves have five but also three types of cavalry. These armies have a great depth in which there really is always something to add. Maybe the king of diversity is the Orcs and Goblins though this has varied with old troops vanishing and new ones replacing them. These armies are now getting even bigger. Consider the forthcoming Undead. They already benefit from three different core units, all varied and with different uses in the game. Two other infantry choices are present in special and rare. They now will have three cavalry choices and two new monstrous infantry choices with the new releases. Don't forget they too have a plethora of massive based models. The have plenty of characters also, I am thinking five different ones. Thats nice, really nice considering that some armies have two or three.

The worst offenders in diversity terms are Tomb Kings, Ogres, Lizardmen and Beastmen. When I look at these armies at least pre 8th edition I see lazy game design. Each race features one basic troop type as a core and then a more heavily armoured version as special such as Temple Guard, Ironguts, Tombguard and finally Besrigors. Most lists also include a smaller relation that generally sits in core too for example Skinks, Gnoblars and Ungors. Thats basically the entire army encapsulated within three choices. The variation comes from adding in monsters and some cavalry. It is really a ticking all the boxes situation. Do we have a monstrous infantry option? Do we have a heavy cavalry option? The army is boring because there is nothing to explore beyond the standard choices. I can understand that Games Workshop can't have an unlimited number of models and at some point they have to call a halt. However that has caused me in the past to drop an army very quickly. I have never been tempted by Lizardmen or Tombkings simply because the lists are boring.

One sad thing I have noted as the army books are being released is that the already diverse armies are getting more options while the poorer armies are not really. Basically everyone is getting monsters or warmachines of some type. Nobody is getting new infantry. The new monsters are great but the game is supposed to be about the infantry. Why can't we get more of that? Really how hard can it be to come up with a variant for Beastmen. They exist in the background already. A decent plastic kit could really give that army a massive boost. The same for the Tombkings. I don't understand why smaller human sized constructs were not considered as a rare or special choice. That would really have been excellent. Saurus's only come in two variants. Those with heavy armour and those without. It really shouldn't be too hard to change them up a little. Add a frenzied regiment with great weapons in there, even just a frenzied regiment would be fine. Something that really breeds life into the neglected armies. All we are getting is bigger monsters in most cases and well for me thats nothing I am that interested in seeing anymore. The models are cool, they really improve the look of the game but after plying for so long I am just a littl bored of the same options rehashed a little and rereleased to us. We now have some codified special rules it would be great to see them spread out a little more amongst the armies. Everyone should have scouts somewhere, what army can really go to battle withou them. Ambushers would be great to see more of. So please give me something really new!

5 comments:

  1. Nice analysis. Speaking as a Lizardman player I agree whole heartedly. I've just revived my Dogs of War for exactly this reason.

    Cheers,
    Millsy

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  2. One of the things that attracted me to beastmen when I started playing Warhammer was the Hordes of Chaos book which combined them with the Warriors and Demons. That was good diversity. The separation drove me away from beastmen. The ending of the marks also gave me a push. I have figured a way of using my beloved beastmen in a Warriors of Chaos army.

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  3. I assume it has something to do with targetting 12 year olds who are more likely to notice a big monster than a unit of infantry.

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  4. You make a good point with the fact that a book that has many varied choices will get even more while those with less get overlooked, I think that this kind of predicament stems from GW chasing the dollars with popular armys, while they ignore less popular ones that are less popular because they aren't as well supported. I enjoyed your article it seemed thoughtful, but I have a short attention span so more pictures and flashing things please.

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  5. Well the problem is that by supporting the more popular armes they then tend to force the others into a less attractive bracket. Thats a pity as those are the areas where Warhammer, both the game and the lore can really grow.

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