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Warhammer: The Game of Fantasy Battles, formerly Warhammer Fantasy Battle and often abbreviated to Warhammer, is a tabletop wargame created by Games Workshop and the origin of the Warhammer Fantasy setting.

The game is played with 'regiments' of fantasy miniatures. It uses stock fantasy races such as humans, elves, dwarfs, undead, orcs, goblins, vampires, as well as some more unusual types such as lizardmen and skaven etc. Each race has its own unique strengths and flaws; Wood Elves, for example, have some of the most powerful archers in the game but have poor overall defense.

Since first appearing in 1983, Warhammer has been periodically updated and re-released with changes to the gaming system and army lists. The current official version is the seventh edition, released on 9 September 2006.


[edit] Playing Warhammer

Warhammer is a tabletop wargame where two or more players compete against each other with "armies" of 25mm - 28mm scale miniatures. The rules of the game have been published in a series of books, which describe how to move miniatures around the game surface and simulate combat in a balanced and fair manner. Games may be played on any appropriate surface, although the standard is a 6 ft by 4 ft tabletop decorated with model scenery in scale with the miniatures. Any individual or group of miniatures in the game is called a "unit", whether represented by a single model, or group of similar troops.

The current core game rules are supplied in a single book, with supplemental Warhammer Armies texts giving guidelines and background for army-specific rules. Movement about the playing surface is generally measured in inches and combat between troops or units given a random element with the use of six-sided dice. Army supplements also assign points values to each unit and option in the game, giving players the ability to play on even terms. An average game will have armies of 750 to 3,000 points, although smaller and larger values are quite possible. there are also different rules for games of 500 points called 'border patrol'

Game play follows a turn structure in which one player completes all movement for troops, then simulates casting spells (when spell-using units are available), uses all ranged or missile weapons in the army such as bows and handguns, then any units touching fight in melee or close-combat. After finishing, the second player does the same. This repeats for a number of equal turns, generally six, although occasionally to a time limit or until no units are left on the playing surface. The winner is often determined by victory points; earning a number equal to remaining points value of their own surviving units and the value of enemy units killed. Special factors, or "objectives" can add or subtract from this total based on pre-defined goals.

Dice rolls generally use traditional six-sided dice (D6), with a high result being desirable (in most cases). For example; an archer unit may be given a statistic that allows it to hit on the roll of a four or more. Various factors can change this number, reducing or raising the number needed. Mitigation of random results is a large part of the game, as well as traditional battlefield tactics. In some cases, other types of die are needed; this can be a D3 (simulated with a normal die, 1 and 2 counting as a result of 1 and so on), or it can be a 6-sided 'scatter' dice used to generate random directions, often used alongside an 'artillery' dice, used mainly for cannon, stone-throwers, and unusual variant artillery.

[edit] Collecting

Whilst any fantasy miniatures can be used to play Warhammer, Games Workshop insist on players using their official figures in competitions, though in conversions (combining pieces for a better model) there are very few strict rules as long as the model is mostly Citadel.[citation needed]

Warhammer players commonly collect and paint one army (or more) of their choice. Armies can be built up from the available "army boxes" or "battalion sets" or slowly collected, one miniature or unit at a time, to build up a reasonable sized fighting force. Others simply collect the miniatures because they like the way they look. There is also an interesting amount of rare, old, Out Of Print Warhammer miniatures that are traded on online auction sites such as eBay.

An average Warhammer army will cost around £250 at full retail value, although purchasing online or finding used miniatures can decrease this cost. Different forces will incur different costs as well, depending on the points cost of the miniatures in the game. A box of 12 Chaos warriors may cost £18 and will be around 360 points, while a box of 20 Skaven clanrats costs the same in currency, but is worth roughly 100 points in the game.

[edit] The Miniatures

The games uses models on the 25mm scale. This is defined as being the height of a normal human. Larger creatures such as dragons can be up to 10 cm long.

Games Workshop models come unpainted and unassembled. The game encourages players to paint their armies for greater enjoyment of the game. Official tournaments require a player have a fully painted army to be able to participate and additional incentives in the form of the Golden Demon competitions.

[edit] The Warhammer World

Warhammer is just one of many games set in a rich fictional universe. Warhammer is notable for its "dark and gritty" background world, which features a culture similar in appearance to Renaissance Germany crossed with Tolkien's Middle-earth.

The geography of the world strongly resembles that of Earth. This is said to be due to the actions of an ancient spacefaring race known as the Old Ones. This mysterious and powerful race visited the Warhammer World in the distant past. Establishing an outpost they set about manipulating the geography and biosphere of the planet. Assisted by their Slann servants, they moved the planet's orbit closer to its sun, and arranged the continents to fit their standard geomantic template.

The Old Ones were subsequently expelled from their colony in the aftermath of the collapse of their polar "Warp Gates". Before leaving however, they had established the Lizardman empire, and had conducted numerous genetic experiments, which had led to the races of elves, dwarfs, men, ogres and halflings.

The elves and dwarfs eventually founded empires of their own, and were initially allies. This alliance broke down, leading to the War of the Beard between the two powers. The early elven empire later splintered, with a sect of elves secretly corrupted by Chaos taking over the northern lands of Naggaroth, while elves staying behind during the waning of elvish influence in the Old World established a realm within the forest of Athel Loren and became known as Wood Elves.

The men were the slowest to develop, but eventually formed several strong realms, able to resist both the forces of chaos and the older powers. Chief amongst these are The Empire, Bretonnia, and Cathay. Khemri, a former empire of men to the south of the Old World, has since fallen to the undead. Its long-dead armies now march to war under command of the Tomb Kings.

The forces of evil are often depicted as not a localised threat, but a general menace. The Skaven exist in an "Under Empire" in extensive tunnels beneath the other races, while the Orcs & Goblins are nomadic, and regularly attack without warning. Chaos and the Undead also routinely infiltrate the other nations, especially The Empire.

[edit] The Armies

Main article: Races and nations of Warhammer Fantasy There are a number of playable armies for Warhammer, which are representative of one or other of the factions or races that are present in the Warhammer world setting. Over the various editions of the game the armies have been presented in collective books like Warhammer Armies for the 3rd edition or from the 5th edition onwards in individual books each one covering a separate army.

In the 7th (current) edition of the game the following armies have valid army books:

Beasts of Chaos, Bretonnia, Dark Elves, Dwarfs, The Empire, High Elves, Hordes of Chaos, Lizardmen, Ogre Kingdoms, Orcs & Goblins, Skaven, Tomb Kings, Vampire Counts, Wood Elves

The following are considered legal armies but they only have army lists downloaded from the Games Workshop website:

Dogs of War, Chaos Dwarfs, Kislev

[edit] Spin-offs and Derivative Games

The Warhammer Fantasy Battle setting led to Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay in 1986.

A science fiction based wargame using similar rules was developed as Warhammer 40,000.

The first edition of Blood Bowl essentially uses the same basic system to simulate a fantasy football game. Subsequent editions have used different systems.

Warhammer Fantasy Battle has been adapted as computer games: the 1995 Warhammer: Shadow of the Horned Rat, its 1998 sequel Warhammer: Dark Omen and Warhammer: Mark of Chaos.

[edit] References

^ Priestley, Rick; Tuomas Pirinen (2002). Warhammer. Games Workshop. ISBN 1-84154-051-X.

^ Cavatore, Alessio (2006). Warhammer. Games Workshop. ISBN 1-84154-759-X.

Dever, Joe (July 1983). "Open Box: Warhammer" (review). White Dwarf (Issue 43): 12. ISSN 0265-8712.

Alcock, Robert (June 1985). "Open Box: Warhammer (2nd Edition)" (review). White Dwarf (Issue 66): 7. ISSN 0265-8712.

Priestley, Rick (1988). Warhammer Siege. Games Workshop. ISBN 1-869893-44-1.

Priestley, Rick; Bill King, Andy Chambers (1992a). Warhammer Rule Book. Games Workshop. from Warhammer (4th edition) boxed set.

Priestley, Rick; Andy Chambers (1992b). Warhammer Battle Bestiary. Games Workshop. from Warhammer(4th edition) boxed set.

Priestley, Rick (1996a). Warhammer Battle Book. Games Workshop. ISBN 1-869893-97-2. from Warhammer(5th edition) boxed set.

Priestley, Rick (1996b). Warhammer Rulebook. Games Workshop. ISBN 1-872372-04-X. from Warhammer(5th edition) boxed set.

Pirinen, Tuomas; Nigel Stillman (1998). Warhammer Siege. Games Workshop. ISBN 1-872372-51-1.

(2002) Warhammer Skirmish. Games Workshop.

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