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post #1 of 113 (permalink) Old 11-01-08, 04:56 PM Thread Starter
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Default Collective WIP introduction to Fantasy

Hi all,

One of things that pops up in this forum a lot is questions about getting in to Fantasy. As anyone that plays it will know it can be quite daunting when you first make the decision to start a Fantasy army, particularly if you are new to the hobby in general. So I would like to put together a guide that acts as an introduction Fantasy for new players.

Having said that, I don't pretend to know everything about the various armies in Fantasy so I thought I would start a collective WIP (work in progress) guide that is written by people that are enthusiastic and knowledgeable about their favourite army.

To make it easier to browse it would help if we can agree on a common format so that armies can be easily compared with one another. Hopefully if we can get some good intros written up we can add them to the stickied thread and encourage some new blood in to Fantasy.


So far this is the suggested format:

Fluff - A short intro about the army, some background history and any other non-play related interesting points.

This doesn't need to be too long, just a little bit about your chosen race/army like who it hates/is friends with, what drives it, how it began, etc.


Models - A breakdown of the range of models available, and how easy they are to paint and to model.

Important things might be how old the range is, whether they are all metal or mostly plastic, how easy they are to paint, possibility of conversions. Also try to give a guideline estimate of cost. So lots of metal only models would be an expensive army with limited conversion potential, for example.


Game Play - A guide to how the army plays and how flexible the army list is as a whole.

This could include what the general style of the army is (gun lines, cavalry, magic heavy, etc), how competitive it is considered to be at tournaments, is the army book flexible or is there only one viable style. Some writers have chosen to give an indepth breakdown of the unit choices from each section (Core, Special, etc). This is greatly appreciated but is not mandatory.


Money Saving - How to get more from your chosen army, for less money

This might include ways to maximise what can be produced from the model sprues, or alternative models for the expensive ones in the range. If possible links for more complex conversions will allow better understanding.


Summary - General conclusions about the army and any extra points that are useful.

This should cover any extra points like future release dates, general pros and cons that aren't covered elsewhere, popularity of the army, variations to the standard approach (i.e. themed armies) and any extras that crop up.


Where To Go Next - Any army specific resources

Links to army specific forums and web resources are particularly useful here.

If we submit the guides to this thread then we can debate points as necessary and once it all seems ok we can ask the Mods to move them to the stickied thread If you have any suggestions to make the format better then they are more than welcome.

Here's hoping we write some useful guides!

Edit:

Covered so far...

The Empire - Othiem
Dwarves - Othiem
Orcs and Goblins - squeek
Lizardmen - rVctn_Khaiyn (6th Edition now )
Dark Elves - Druchii in Space
Daemons of Chaos - MaidenManiac
Ogre Kingdoms - MaidenManiac
Tomb Kings - MaidenManiac
Warriors of Chaos - Vaz
Vampire Counts - MaidenManiac
Chaos Dwarfs - neilbatte
Dogs of War - neilbatte
High Elves - Ascendant Valor
Skaven - MaidenManiac
Wood Elves - Squeek
Beasts of Chaos - Ancient Tiel' a fier

In Progress

Brettonians - ?
New Lizardmen - ?

If anyone would prefer just to write a partial guide, maybe a single section this would still be a welcome addition, and would also be appreciated.

Last edited by squeek; 04-16-09 at 02:59 PM.
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The Empire


Fluff
The Empire began when Sigmar united the divided tribes of humans together under his common rule. During his reign, humans often fought along side the dwarves against the orcs and goblins trying to cross the mountains into their lands. This forged strong bonds between Empire and Dwarves, which the long memoried Dwarves still hold to, and have repaid by teaching the men of the Empire about cannons and black-powder weaponry. Sigmar was deified upon his death, and is now the center of the Empire's most prolific religion. Strictly though, the Empire is a polytheistic society, with several organizations such as the Knights of the Blazing Sun devoted to foreign gods.

In its current incarnation, the Empire consists of several loosely connected provinces, each run by an Elector Count. The emperor was chosen from among these counts. However in recent times, the emperor has always been chosen from the Reikland, the most prosperous of provinces.

The Empire is threatened by enemies on all sides, with warriors of chaos invading from the north, orcs and goblins attempting to cross the mountains from the east, vampire counts causing ruckus from the fallen province of Sylvania, Skaven mobs pushing up from beneath their cities, beastmen who permiate the dark forests of the land, and dark elf raiders on their western coasts. The Empire maintains strong ties with the Dwarves who guard the mountains to their east, and the Bretonians, who they consider slightly barbaric, who guard them from the south.


Models
GW has stated the Empire is the first army they want to move to an all plastic line, and it shows. The plastic lord/bsb kit has tons of variation, as does the plastic wizard kit which allows you to make two wizards reflecting any of the eight lores.. They only have a single rank and file unit that is still in metals. The kits are great, with tons of extra bits for use in other conversions and spicing up your models, and no major difficulties in assembling. The most persistent complaint about Empire plastics is that they are in fact TOO detailed and can be quite involved to paint properly.

The general look of the Empire is a break from more traditional fantasy humans. In dress they look more like Renaissance Germans, with puffy shirts and feathers in their hats. The variety of provinces gives a good basis for lots of different paint schemes. The addition of knightly orders which may each have their own color scheme as well can make Empire armies look very colorful and visually distinct on the field.


Gameplay
At the end of the day, despite any gear and special rules a unit might have, your average Empire unit has a lackluster human stat line. Where the Empire shines is the diversity of the list. While it is possible to create an Empire list focusing on hordes of troops, heavy cav, gunline, or even a maxed out magic list, the Empire does best when using it's variety of units in support of each other.

To reflect this, the Empire has a unique system called "detachments." Blocks of rank and file troops my take up to two smaller support units. These units can allow a non-ranged block of troops to stand and shoot, countercharge oncoming units guaranteeing a flank charge, and provide cover from charges, since the detachments may flee through normal blocks without causing panic.

Warrior Priests add an interesting angle into the Empire magic phase. They are melee heros with access to some very powerful bound spells. Where neither a warrior priest or an Empire wizard could get spells through a reasonable enemy magic defense, in combination the two can effectively draw out enemy dispell dice and scrolls to get spells through.

Second only to the dwarves, the Empire warmachine list is diverse as well, with cannon, stone throwers, and three of their own unique warmachines.


Money Saving
The Empire steam tank is possibly the single most expensive GW model, coming in at $65 for single one. http://www.warhammer-empire.com/work...uild_stank.php goes through some advice to build your own.


Summary
The Empire is a great for a player who enjoys using all of their forces together in support of one another, and is not focuses on a few powerful units that can dominate a game. Price wise the Empire is reasonable. They are a horde army and state troops can get expensive, but the advantages of the wide variety of plastics keep the price in check. Power wise the Empire is also reasonable. They are strong enough to give competitive games against the newer armies, but not so over the top that playing against OK and the like provides no challenge. With their insane level of diversity, the Empire offer something to every player.

Last edited by Othiem; 11-01-08 at 11:15 PM.
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That looks great Othiem, do you think the format suggested is appropriate? Any ideas to make it better?
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Dwarves


Fluff
The Dwarves are an ancient race with long memories. They fought against the coming of chaos before men were even organized into tribes. Although allied with the High Elves for a time, the Dark Elves engineered a war between Dwarves and Elves which resulted in a pyrrhic victory for the Dwarves. This was followed by a giant earthquake which devestated the Dwarven mountain holds, unleashing hordes of goblins and skaven into Dwarf lands. The dwarves make a point of holding grudges against all who have wronged them, writing these down in books to be repaid at a later date.

They maintain strong ties to the men of the Empire who helped them in the past, even though men barely remember this. They stand in conflict with Orcs, Goblins, and Skaven who have taken over much of their historical lands. And they maintain an uneasy truce with the elves, who they will not forgive for the war between the two races.


Models
How much you enjoy painting a dwarf army depends on one thing: how do you feel about beards? The defining characteristic of all dwarf models, some love them, some hate them. A dwarf army has the potential to look fairly boring, being just variation on several short guys in shiny armor with beards. However, since dwarves are known not for fighting in a standing army with identical uniforms and equipment, but instead going to war with their own armor and family heirlooms, there is a great deal of potential for adding diversity to blocks of troops though conversions and a variety of color schemes.

While dwarven core troops are all in plastic, their elite infantry units are still metals. Also several of their war machines are still in metal as well. This can potentially drive up the cost of a heavy infantry dwarf army. But since dwarves share visual similarities between each other, conversions from standard plastic core dwarf warriors into elite hammerer and ironbreaker units are not too difficult.

A nice plastic lord/bsb kit exists, however all other characters are still in metal.

The ragtag nature of dwarven troops and technolgy, and usefulness of the core dwarf warrior body in modeling almost any dwarf makes them a very customizable army for somebody who is good with a razor blade.


Gameplay
Dwarves are some of the toughest troops in the whole of warhammer. The bog standard dwarf warrior is beat out only by a chaos warrior, and comes in at a much lower point cost. With leadership 9 across the board as well, dwarf warriors form a highly reliable wall of steel, even when far from the support of their general and bsb. Their warmachine crews, who benefit from stubborness, are capable of fighting off light cavalry assaults.

Where the dwarves differ from every other army is their lack of movement. With no cavalry and only a single rare flyer unit, your entire army is stuck at movement 3". This is somewhat offset since dwarves are allowed to march a full 6" even when in proximity of the enemy, making them immune to marchblocking. That said, the dwarven movement phase is still quite involved, focusing less on trying to get the charge, and more on controlling which one of your units the enemy will charge. This can cause difficulties for elite blocks of troops and expensive dwarven lords, as most enemies will try to avoid these blocks.

The other area in which Dwarves are unique is their use of runes. Instead of a list of magical items, dwarves have access to a massive variety of runes. Each piece of a character's equipment may be inscribed with up to 3 of these runes, resulting in an amazing amount of customizability. Dwarven warmachines and magical banners may also be runed.

Dwarves are the only race in warhammer to wholesale reject the notion of magic. They make up for this by getting extra dispell dice for free, and a variety of powerful anti-magic runes.

Dwarves are the strongest shooting army in the game, with rune enhanced warmachines and the most accurate handguns. Players looking to play a gunline list traditionally look to the dwarves. Often such pure shooting armies are frowned upon as being less fun to play for both parties, and on the dwarf end a gunline will quickly fold if your opponent does make it across the field. That being said, a strong shooting phase is vital to any Dwarf list. A dwarf army needs to drive the enemy into CC with their slower moving troops, or they run the risk of being run in circles all game.

Dwarfs offer a variety of elite CC troops to support their core warriors. Ironbreakers, slayers, hammerers, and miners all play very differently roles, and allow you to customize a CC based force.


Money Saving
Cheap flying machine:
Get your hands on one of the new plastic Defkoptas from the AoBR set. Whittle out the built in orc body, glue in a dwarf warrior. I tried to use some green stuff to give him goggles. Cut out the rockets and replace with something cylindrical for use as a steam gun, for example one of the big straws you get with boba tea.

Cheap longbeards:
Never ever buy the metal longbeards. Make a point of not paining any of your dwarf warriors beards white, then paint your whole longbeard unit with white beards. You can also make them look wealthier by comparison, giving the standard warriors more bronze trimming, and saving gold for the longbeards.

Summary
The dwarves are a fairly limited army, who basically do not participate in either the movement or magic phases of the game. In the shooting and CC phase though, they are one of the most varied and customizable armies, with both diverse troop types and runes to personalize units.

A Dwarf army runs the range from dirt cheap to one of the most expensive in the game. High point cost plastic core troops and warmachines maxed out with expensive runes can quickly take a low model count of plastics to the 1500 point and beyond. However as one looks to expand, the large variety of metals which should be fielded in large blocks get expensive fast.

For an in-depth discussion of Dwarves, see http://www.bugmansbrewer.com.

Their toughness and reliability make dwarves a very forgiving army that's good for a beginner, yet they can expand into a strong and diverse CC force for a more experienced player. For those who enjoy showing up to the LGS with their beard and a case of beer, the dwarves are the only logical choice.

Last edited by Othiem; 11-01-08 at 11:50 PM.
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Originally Posted by squeek View Post
That looks great Othiem, do you think the format suggested is appropriate? Any ideas to make it better?
Thanks sqeek, and I think it's a pretty good format, covering all the reasons people normally pick an army. If there was one thing I would add, it would be a section on money saving ideas for that army. Things like replacing dark riders with glade guards, or making jezzails out of state troop rifles and clan rats for example. That way the modeling section is more devoted to the standard details of painting and building the army, but the saving section is for those who are willing to go an extra step to cut costs, which may at times be prohibitive.
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As someone who knows nothing about the FB system or much about the races, I think the format is a good one. It helps to keep the summary easy to navigate. Kudos to squeek for starting the thread, and Othiem for contributing!
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Orcs and Goblins


Fluff

Orcs are a brutal warlike race that are driven by their need for war, so much so that they are just as likely to fight each other as they are to fight other races. Orcs and Goblins are known collectively as Greenskins and are a collection of subspecies that range from the fearsomely brutal Black Orc to the diminutive Snotling that is often kept as a pet by larger Greenskins.

Orcs and Goblins gather together in warbands that are lead by the most powerful Greenskin amongst them, until their leadership is successfully challenged by an even larger Greenskin. Most warbands are nomadic and wander to and fro destroying whatever they come across. However, when a warlord is sufficiently powerful and is able to gather enough Greenskins to their call, a Waaagh! is called. A Waaagh! is an enormous tide of Greenskins that surges across the land rampaging through any settlements it finds until it is eventually defeated. Other races rightly fear the Waaagh! and there are numerous occaisions throughout the history of the Old World when the might of the Greenskins has made itself felt on the other races.


Models

A large part of the core Orc and Goblin range is made up of multipart plastic models and there is a good deal of customisation possible because of this, however there is still a significant number of models only available in metal which can make certain army builds expensive Particularly since any Orc and Goblin army is likely to contain a lot more models than other armies, due to the relative cheapness of Orc and Goblin models in terms of points.

There is a lot of modelling potential with an Orc and Goblin army, the rag tag look of Orcs and Goblins greatly encourages conversions, anything from minor weapon swaps to large scale Greenstuff work is possible and is easy to blend in with the rest of the Orc and Goblin rabble. Orcs and Goblins can be tedious to paint and convert as most units are at least 20 models strong, however the paint schemes on most of the range can be kept relatively simple and it is not too difficult to produce a good looking unit.

The average Orc and Goblin army is likely to relatively cheap model for model due to the large number of plastic box sets available, but the low point cost of Orc and Goblin models will mean that more models are required for the same number of points as an equivalent army.


Gameplay

The base stats of the majority of the Orc and Goblin range are usually relatively poor, however this is compensated for by the cheap points cost. The overriding concern for an Orc and Goblin general is psychology. The leadership of the majority of the range is between 5 and 7 so tests are more likely to be failed than passed. This is further exacerbated by the race specific rule, Animosity. All Greenskins apart from Black Orcs are required to test for Animosity at the beginning of each turn; this often results in units doing things they aren't supposed to be doing.

An Orc and Goblin general needs a good sense of humour as even the best tactics and army list can be thwarted by the erratic nature of Orcs and Goblins. However it is still quite possible to dominate a game and utterly destroy your opponent, just don't expect your army to go along with your plans!

A common theme amongst Orc and Goblin armies is large blocks of cheap infantry led by more reliable characters. The army can be supported by surprisingly reliable Spear Chukkas and Doom Divers, and flanked by a range of cavalry from fast moving Goblin Wolf Riders to powerful Orc Boar Boys.

Orc and Goblin magic is powerful but dangerous. Split in to two halves, the Orc Big Waaagh! and Goblin Little Waaagh!, there are a range of support spells and offensive spells, most of which are reasonably useful spells. The problem with Orc and Goblin magic is that the Waaagh! miscast table is potentially very dangerous to your own army with the possibility of exploding shamans a real threat. However this doesn't prevent magic heavy Orc and Goblin armies from being effective. Due to the nature of Orc and Goblin armies the decision to take Shamans over Bosses is not simple as the leadership of Shamans is not as good and they are fragile characters.


Money Saving

Orcs and Goblins are generally cheap compared to other army ranges however some models (particularly metals) can be expensive; even some of the plastic models can benefit from a few alterations to minimise the cost. Orc Arrer Boys are currently only available direct in metal, however the 6th Edition box set contained plastic Orc Arrer Boys that are often for sale cheaply on internet auction sites, and it is fairly simple to add a bow to the plastic Orc Warrior models.

Savage Orcs, particularly when mounted on boars can be prohibitively expensive, however with a bit of creativity it is possible to model and paint regular Orcs as Savage Orcs allowing a much cheaper plastic Savage Orc. With Greenstuff it is quite possible to cover up armour and model extremely good Savage Orcs, but the addition of feathers, making the weapons more rugged, and more wild poses all help to give the Savage look.

The Orc Warboss box comes with enough parts to create one mounted and one unmounted Orc warboss however with an extra plastic Boar and the plastic mounted legs from the Orc Warrior Command sprue it is possible to have both Orcs mounted.

Summary

An Orc and Goblin army allows for a lot of diversity, indeed it is quite possible to take all Goblin or all Night Goblin themed lists, however these lists tend to magnify the problems of the Orc and Goblin army as they are particularly prone to mass routs due to their low leadership.

The Orc and Goblin range is let down somewhat by Savage Orcs and all Boar Boys only being available in metal, making hard hitting units an expensive choice. However plastic Savage Orcs are rumoured to be on the list of new models coming in the future. This is also offset by the Night Goblins available in the starter set. These are extremely cheap and allow a good (if relatively cowardly) core to start an Orc and Goblin Warband.

There are a number of Orc and Goblin sites that are useful to a budding warlord, two particularly useful sites are Avian's We Iz Orcs, an indepth rundown of all the sections of the Orc and Goblin armybook by an avid Orc and Goblin player; and Da Warpath, an Orc and Goblin fansite that is home to some particularly inventive modellers and painters, though rather small the site has some eye opening posts.

If you don't mind losing as often as you win, but having fun along the way then Orcs and Goblins are an enjoyable army that allows for a lot of flexibility with approach to gaming, painting and modelling.

Last edited by squeek; 11-01-08 at 10:27 PM.
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Originally Posted by Othiem View Post
Thanks sqeek, and I think it's a pretty good format, covering all the reasons people normally pick an army. If there was one thing I would add, it would be a section on money saving ideas for that army. Things like replacing dark riders with glade guards, or making jezzails out of state troop rifles and clan rats for example. That way the modeling section is more devoted to the standard details of painting and building the army, but the saving section is for those who are willing to go an extra step to cut costs, which may at times be prohibitive.
Good idea, I will add it to the list and we can edit it in to our posts.
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Originally Posted by squeek View Post
Good idea, I will add it to the list and we can edit it in to our posts.
Oh another thought, links to popular web sites devoted solely to that race, ie druchii.net for the DEs and bugmansbrewery.com for the Dwarves. Liked your O&G writeup as well.

Last edited by Othiem; 11-01-08 at 10:04 PM.
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Another good idea, I will add it to the summary section as some armies are more widely covered than others.
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