The new Warhammer: The Old World seems to be making a big splash. I've only been keeping up with it a little bit, and while there seems to be quite a bit to like about it, I'm not really sold on it.
Instead of getting into some of the heated social media discussions, I'm just going to put my general opinions here. By opinions I possibly mean the grumblings of an old nerd. ;)
Like I said, it seems like there's definitely some things I like about it.
- GW going back to a "ranks & flanks" battle game.
- Incorporating some old mechanics that I missed from later editions.
- Bringing back players who won't play non-current editions of the game. (I have never understood why players would stop playing a game that they enjoy just because it's not being sold new anymore!)
- Putting old models into production again. I already have two of the Marauder giant, but I love the idea that more people can get their hands on such a classic!
- Exploring a different time period of the in-game history.
- I actually like the idea of scaling up bases to 25mm, even if I have a ton of old 20mm based figures. Plenty of easy ways to deal with this since it's ranked units. This probably would have been difficult to do previously, but this "reboot" was a great opportunity to make it happen.
However, there are some things I'm definitely not crazy about.
- The format of the game/rules. I think it originally went downhill after 3rd ed. where you bought a rulebook and an armies book and you had everything you needed to play, and could spend the rest of your cash on shiny, shiny miniatures. Those days are long gone and the new edition seems to be continuing the later trend of a constant stream of army books in order to "keep up." So far there is a $70 core book, plus two $50 books for the basic lists. So that's $170 for 3 books just to get started. Then the stream of additional army/faction books, two of which are already out now (bringing the actual starting rules-only investment to $224) with more to come.
- Or $156 for all digital. I actually buy more digital books than physical books these days But they better have a decent price break.
- Figure prices are insane, especially given that they've already been sculpted & molded long ago. I hope the artists are getting a fat commission! :D
- "Legacy Factions." 🙄
- As long a history as I had playing Warhammer (3rd ed. through 8th ed.) it was ultimately never a great "wargame." It always seemed stuck somewhere between a battle game and a skirmish game, but didn't do either thing well. I feel Warmaster was a much better large battle game, and Mordheim was a great skirmish game. Still are. I'd play either of those any day! And there are also other games on the market, made by (*gasp*) other publishers that also do what Warhammer does... but better. It's a golden age of wargaming, with a ton of options available. It will take more than nostalgia to get me to invest in WFB again, and from what I've read/seen I'm not sure there's enough here to bring me back.
- Competitive play. Highly competitive play and an obsession with tournaments, winning at all costs, and *shudder" "the meta" seemed to dominate from at least 6th ed. onward. I've had my fill of that. Narrative play, campaigns, and "fun" scenarios were almost completely missing. This is something I've rediscovered in newer solo games, retro wargames, and a possible re-entry into RPGs with my kid. This may not be part of the game as sold, but I expect this to continue, especially since it's the focus the big post-WFB/AOS successor games took (9th Age, Mantic, Kings of War...)
I think the only way I would buy into the new game would be if I could get a bootleg PDF to "try before I buy" the physical game and find at least one, if not more, players interested in non-tournament gaming. The idea of picking up some old figures I missed back in the day seems appealing, but based on the prices I've seen so far, that's not terribly likely either.
This is 2024. There are a lot of options for both games and figures.