Saturday, 21 November 2015

The 9th Age: We Played a Game!

As many of you know I have been fully supportive of the progression to the Ninth Age for Warhammer Fantasy. Well with the rules out in Beta, it was time to give it a go. It took a lil for my mate and I to be able to juggle the time to get the game in, especially as we knew it would take longer to play then normal, but tonight we finally managed to do so.

And it was interesting.

Firstly, we both took the list writing part in a different direction, and this yielded some interesting results for us both. We wrote 2100pt lists, which was a weird number, but worked for this playtest.
My mate (who played Ogres 'Khan') took the style list that he was used to playing in 8th edition, ad re-worked it into Ninth, making changes here and there. The biggest of these changes was he took the Mark of Rage (Khorne) all across the board on his Ogres (this was awesome!). He was really happy with what he was still able to fit in at that points level and with the change of armybook.
I wanted to try out a wide range of new and different things (I was played my Dwarven 'Holds'). Keeping my units smaller to be able to fit in more of this and that, I was able to learn the new units and some of the new army rules. And although the list was not competitive, I was not disappointed with the result (even though I lost the game in the long run).

The game took us longer then expected/planned. Now this was to be expected, being the fact that we were learning as we went and there were all these new rules and changes. For me personally, I think I got quite frustrated with the pace of the game. I realised that although my mindset was that this is a game I know, I have to look at it as learning a completely different game, because in a way it is. Its something new and something fresh.

Overall, the game was a bloodbath with very little left on the table (this is what happens when you put an almost full combat built dwarf list against an ogre list), and it was glorious (the Dark Gods would have been gleeful). Although it took a while to play, we both really enjoyed it, and most importantly, the rule set felt natural in its progression.

It is still in Beta, and I do believe there is still room for improvement, in both the rules and points cost, and a few areas of balancing that needs to still happen, but all in all I am quite impressed and more than ready to give it another round.

Later in the week I will do a section purely on my beloved Dwarfs, and on their rulebook for the Ninth Age. I do not know yet if this will be in written or video format, but we will find out!

Thanks again for reading!

Monday, 2 November 2015

Hard Choices: Letting go of the Despair

'In the burning embers of a world almost lost, a land lain asunder by the fires of chaos, in the end of the end, the darkest of days, when all hope had been lost, rose a warrior from the darkness, and in the grim steel of his resolve, took the step towards the resurrection of all that was lost'.

Since I have known about the release of the 9th Age, a player/community based continuation of Warhammer Fantasy, developed and updated by the teams behind ETC and Swedish Comp, I have fully supported the idea. Age of Sigmar and Kings of War both failed to grab my attention, whereas the 9th Age still held the flavour and complexity that I enjoyed from WHFB.

The only concern that I had, which I knew many players had about it, was how well a community based game that did not have a gaming company who produced models to back it and drive it, was going to be a sustainable gaming system that would not only hold the interest of players, but flourish and grow. But as time went on and I followed updates from the 9th Age team, and read blogs of other supporters of the community built game, this concern grew less and less, and my love of the idea for a game that was all about us as gamers grew.

Grimm Burlocksson leading the Dwarven Throng at the Battle of Panzershriek 2015

And then today happened. A day of mixed feelings of despair and dread.

The 9th Age Ruleset and Army books were released into Beta, not yet confirmed rulesets, but a good idea of what we are to expect. So I sat down to look at what had been produced for my favourite army, my Dwarfs, which was the army that drew me into this game so many years ago, and I have loved and 'mained' ever since.

At first, I was quite mixed in my feelings towards what I saw. The huge change and drops I saw the runes available suprised me. Many of the were the same or similar, but with less versatility. In particular, I was a bit distraught in the drop to 3 runic banners the dwarfs could take, all adaptations of what the 8th edition Dwarf rulebook had. Now all 3 of these are standards that I would happily use, but not the ones I would most commonly use. I also started to worry that some of the feel and fluff was forgotten about for Dwarfs when I noticed that you could take magical standards from the common magic items section of the main ruleset. I also felt a little worried when I noticed that Dwarfs only had +1 to dispel as opposed to their current +2. However, I pushed this aside and carried on reading.

In the next areas, covering unit entries and capabilities, my hopes started to rise. Points costs of units seemed to be very similar, or in the aspects of units that were previously overpriced, had been dropped. The new version of Slayers gained a much needed (however still only token) 6+ ward save, and the new Hammerers went from having a 5+ armour save to a 4+, which made so much more sense with the fluff around the unit (Games Workshop let us down in this area). The cost of warmachines and copters had also dropped, making taking some of those once more expensive warmachines (ie, flame cannon) more viable.

A Dwarf Slayer preparing to fulfil his oath against The Glottkin

The I decided to look more indepth at the new version of the Gyrocopter, the SteamCopter. And my heart dropped lower then ever. It was not long ago I really found a love for this flier, and had invested a lot of money and time to be able to run 5 in a list. But reading the new rules, I realised that this dream had come to an end. The SteamCopter are a base of 80pts for a single model. This is fine. You may now take them in a unit up to a max of 3 at 70pts per model extra. This is kind of cool. However, the Steamcopter is not armed with a steam gun using a flame template anymore as standard kit out, and you may only upgrade a gyrocopter to do so (which is a free upgrade) if the gyropcopter is running as a solo model and not in a unit. Okay so that's fine. However, you no longer have the ability to run up to 6 of them, and now follow the standard 3 Special Choices cap. This was where my dreams of running a flier list was dashed.

At this point I had seen enough, and needed to walk away and think for a while. As I was doing a load of dishes, I was listening to a youtube video from a guy whose name I cannot remember, but he was talking about whether the game was dead or not, and what the term dead meant in context with this game. And it was then that it all suddenly dawned on me....

3 of my completed Gyrocopters ready to rain fire 

It's a new day. It's a new dawn. It's a new challenge. It is the same as when changing book editions and the things we once loved not being as good as things that were once worse. A time to come up with new plans and ideas, new strategies and synergies. A time for revival in the game. And yes, maybe your Gyrocopters too have been made less effective, but now those Slayers you have had sitting there collecting dust have just become that much better. It is a time not to despair over what we see and read, over changes in rules that we may or may not like, but a time to find new rules and concepts that we do like, and to use them to the best advantages we can for our forces.

It is a time to find new excitement and thrill in the game that we all love and play.....