Thursday, 8 September 2011

Old Habits Die Hard

When I was 15 I played a LOT of a Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay campaign.  It was tremendous fun.  I don’t think we knew what the real background of the WFRP world was, or much of the ‘canon’ but it was well reffed, with quite a few players and we played for a few years.  It was reffed by Peter Newman and I have extremely fond memories of it.
Here I am almost 20 years on <I weep at this>  and I was thinking that I fancy running some tabletop again and into the frame comes bouncing Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 3rd Edition (WFRP).  It’s created by Fantasy Flight Games (FFG) who I mentioned last month in this post.  I was quick to discover in my research that it has received quite a lot of praise and a fair amount of criticism also.  I was told by a few people who do use the sytem that it works well, which is encouraging.
It uses a lot of tokens and cards and components (something Fantasy Flight to nicely) to represent things you keep track of.  Some people accuse it of being a bit ‘boardgame-esque’.  Anyway I took a punt and bought it and very quickly fell for it.  It’s beautifully produced.  There are LOTS of extras for it, and it’s a really nice product.  I am yet to run the game (starting in a couple of weeks) but it seems like it will be a really good experience.  The idea of the cards is that it cuts down / out on the looking up of rules.  You have them there in front of you.  Even the dice are different and are pictorial, and supposed to make working out results dynamic and interesting.
Expansion packs cover a wide range of topics from Chaos Gods to disease and mutation to horses (!)  The artwork in them is fabulous and they are simply laid out and easy to read.  My only concern about them all really is the level of entry is quite high – you have to shell out quite a lot to have all the products you are bound to want, not to mention card sleeves and all that paraphernalia.
In total I think to have all the packs NOT including the published adventure material is well in excess of £200.  Which is a lot.  You don’t NEED a lot of it, but if you are like me you want it – which is the nature of a hobbyist I suppose.  And of course you don’t know what you’re missing until you have them.   IT’s important to stress again that you don’t need it.  The game (apparently) runs perfectly well without anything bar the base box set.
Nicely FFG have now released a component free version so you can be just pen and paper if you want, but for me that would take away some of the nice qualities of the game, some of the things that make it ‘different’.  You can also download quite a lot of the source books and guides in a PDF format, although it’s not included in the price, but it’s only circa $10 or less for E-copies of some things that.  There is also a dice rolling app on the iphone which is easy to use as well.  I thought it was a shame it wasn't free, but it's certainly cheaper than the dice sets at £7.99
There is a huge amount of source material available on the net and the Warhammer Online game means there is even more background readily available, I don’t really ever use pre-written campaigns but they are nicely done if you do with some nice props and things should that be your bag.  I’m looking forward to seeing how it runs – I am sure it will take a couple of sessions to be ‘smooth’ but in the meantime it’s an exciting system and I am really looking forward to taking it out for a spin.

Oh yes - where can you get it from I hear you cry?  Well, here is a good starter for 10...  (or should that be for one Sigmars Hammer and two boons?

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