Monday, 20 February 2012

Ye Olde Skool Warhammer

 It's funny how your mind wanders as you get older! With all this Warhammer 40,000 25th Anniversary stuff I decided to paint up a platoon of Imperial Army (as they were called in the G.O.D) most of which had been sat unpainted from 1987. Of course this lead me to think about battles long past and when I was in sixth form and Maggie was in power, the many games of Warhammer Fanatasy Battle I played and, most importantly, what fun was had (see mind wanders from 40k to fantasy...).

A beer or two later and I was considering why Warhammer II seemed to provide a level of enjoyment that I've not really experienced since with the game. I'm not saying that I have not had some fun with Warhammer VII and it might be rose-tinted glasses but it didn't have the fun and flexibility of the second edition.

I'm not sure why this is, possibly because the game needed to be tightened up for tournament players and beardy win at all costs types but I think the newer editions have lost the heart that the first two or three editions had. Second edition was the time of scenario packs like Bloodbath at Orcs Drift and The Tragedy of McDeath not the countless rehashed army books we get these days. It also had a pretty good magic system.

So is there any point to this reminiscing of the G.O.D.? Well yes I think so. I'm going to start working on and off to rebuild my Goblinoid army, repainting some of it to a C21st standard with a view to introducing Saul to the joys of Olde Skool Warhammer during the weeks between the end of his GCSE's and we find out whether he is going to Sixth Form or applying to McDonald's. Hopefully he'll find it as much fun as I did at his age...

I have dug out my old Warhammer II box and it all seems to be there (including some house rules combining the hit and wound rolls) and a quick surf of the internet has provided downloads of PDFs to upload in the iPad which has saved me scanning it for ease of reference and cunning plotting whilst SWMBO watches Downton Abbey or CSI: Whatever in the evenings. I'm not sure where Orc's Drift or McDeath have been stored but I'm sure they are somewhere along with the Ravening Hordes army book (yes, in the G.O.D. we had one army book covering all the armies - and ones you don't get these days!)

Should be fun bringing Gorbage the Goblin and his army out of retirement and showing these modern day plastic stunties a thing or two, in fact he and his chariot probably deserves a fresh lick of paint...

Update: whilst I'll post photos of repainted units here I'll detail most of the progress and any other ramblings not befitting this page on my shiny new Ye Olde Skool Warhammer blog...


  1. Hi!

    Cant wait to see how you get on with some old school Warhammer! Its interesting that so many folks are looking at the older editions of Warhammer these days!

    Im even going to have a bash at painting up a couple of forces in 15mm scale!

    All the best!

  2. I had a copy of the Warhammer boxed set way back when. I think it's still around somewhere in the loft. When I was in the sixth form back in the mid 80's we played loads of Squad Leader, with a bit of Battlecars as light relief. Good times!

    1. Apparently 2nd edition is worth about £100... ;-)

  3. "Hopefully he'll find it as much fun as I did at his age..."

    Hmmmm - playing Olde Skoole Warhammer; waiting for exam results; going to 6th form; or applying to McDonalds? ;)

  4. Hi Steve

    I dragged out Warhammer 1 last year and forced my gaming buddies to play using our WAB Vikings. The hilarious thing was finding references to rules in Forces of Fantasy that didn't actually exist.
    It was fun but I couldn't convince the others to keep on with it.

    Have you seen the chap on Lead Adventure Forum re-fighting Orcs Drift with original figures? Very impressive, it'll get you going on this project.


    1. Warhammer 1 was very clunky and had some "problems" which they ironed out for 2. I'm sure it could be abused but I don't recall any major problems (except my opponent moaning about the dwarf movement distance). There are Norse in the Battle Bestiary!

      Hadn't seen the LAF Orcs Drift thing I'll look it up. Cheers.

  5. I never really had the chance to play Warhammer II. Warhammer III was my introduction to the joys of fantasy wargaming so I'm very eager to hear more about any future Warhammer II games with Saul.

  6. Nostalgia does make for a fun trip. Like Lead legion, I didn't know about Warhammer until Warhammer 3rd ed (the big warhammer hardback rules and 'Warhammer Armies" big hardback army lists all in one book. I still have those Warhammer books. And same for me, some of my best and most memorable games were in that system. I think it comes down to how the players approach the game. For whatever reason it seems more people approach the game today as a competitive game, trying to find the loopholes or most broken builds, but it doesn't need to be that way, and I'm sure many play the new 8th with the same fun spirit that my friends and I did with 3rd.

    Considering how exploitable some rules were in 3rd that I can remember, such as an all dragon-riding high elf army, or assassins with parasitic crossbows with hail of doom arrows, I think it must come down to the spirit the game is entered into, rather than the rules, for the most part. But I do miss some of the fun options from the old editions, like skirmishing giant spiders & scorpions, mercenaries being bought off to run away, summoning demons and more. Does look like I missed some fun stuff of 2nd edition though. Hope to see more of what you do with it!

  7. Of all the flavors of Warhammer that have emerged over the years, this one's my personal favorite. The art and the layout wasn't the best, but it triumphs over all the others in two ways: One, it explains how the allmighty 'points values' are NOT a good way to create a fair game, not only explaining how the points system works but how to break it, and second it contains everything you need to play, including army lists, in one box!

  8. I had lots of fun with this lot plus 'SEIGE'. Must admit I lost interest after this edition, which has probably saved me stacks of cash!

  9. I can also remember the G.O.D with second edition Warhammer, my huge Orc army is still lodged somewhere in the attic awaiting the day when they can once again see the light of day and tread on a green bed sheet (with books underneath) and march around simple single tree woods.

    Oh, and don't forget ALL THOSE DICE!

    I once built copies of all the Battle at Orcs Drift buildings - Long gone now, but they were fun.


  10. I'd get him to apply for Sixth form AND McDonalds. I've had to work with education since I was 16 and I don't regret it, I can comfortably say that I have work lined up for when I leave uni as a result of it.

    School only teaches so much ;)

    Anyway! Warhammer! Yes, I like the idea of the older versions, but see no reason why that feel cannot be placed into an easier to play, modern version of the game.

  11. Ah yes I remember it all very well, with fond memories... but I lost interest in WFB with the constant rules revision and army list changes...

  12. Very fine post, Steve. I absolutely agree with you when you say that the first and second editions were full of "heart". There is an element of nostalgia looking back, but there's also a huge focus in the second edition rules on world-building and developing your own campaigns. We played the heck out of it when it came out. I also think the cross-over which GW was looking to develop in the mid-late 1980s with WFRP was really interesting. It was a fine time, although I think where 8th Edition is heading, and specifically with some of the campaign books printed and being planned, is firmly a step back in the right direction.