I started Warhammer with 3rd edition. It wasn't the first wargame I played, nor the first fantasy wargame I played, but it was the one that really caught hold with my friends and I. Later on, when I went to college, I ran into others who were still playing it, even after 4th edition was out.
In a decade or two of hindsight, and with quite a few additional revisions of WFB, plus many other games behind me, is that it was one of my favorite editions of the game, with quite a bit of additional detail that could both enhance or bog down gameplay. But I could name far more things that I miss from 3rd edition that disappeared from subsequent editions than I could name the negatives.
So last night, in a fit of late night foot cramp induced insomnia I read through most of the important bits of the 3rd edition rulebook, and skimmed a couple of the army lists from Warhammer Armies. So here is an old-timers rambling impressions of a fresh look at an old favorite.
One of the first things I noticed was how much the first 20 pages or so drew me in AGAIN and made me want to play. Especially the battle shots of the game involving some crazy array of goblins, skeletons, giants, gargoyles, and other insanity...
I'm also inspired to step up my terrain making some more, too. I definitely want some trees like that, too!
On to the actual rules, a lot of it is as I remembered, but there were a lot of gaps! One of my big complaints about 8th edition is how carefree & forgiving maneuver, charging and position on the battlefield are. I've always appreciated the old Unformed rules, but I'm not certain I remembered how risky & unforgiving charging & post-combat follow-ups were! But that's a good thing. I think my memories had glossed over the details of fighting over individual unit standards, and how valuable unit leaders were.
I would have to read through the magic section, though. I remember unrestrained magic being a problem. I also remember magic items being a bit of an issue, too. I think we all would stack up our heroes with items, similar to what is done in more recent editions. But looking through the scenarios & campaign packs, that's not how they appear to have played at GW.
Honestly, I'm not sure how we managed to regularly play such big games. I know they took longer than the hour or two that people like to rush through with their modern wargames. Taking this fresh look at the rules, I can see where it might be more appropriate for smaller games.
One of the other things I enjoyed about looking through the book was the art. Wow... the art. The insanity. The many takes on Heinrick Kemmler. The Blanche. The Miller. Great stuff!
A nice trip down memory lane. I can definitely see the appeal of Ol' 3rd to the Oldhammer crowd. Maybe I should give it a shot at some point? (Provided I ever get back to playing ANY games...)