Wargame Spotlight: 'Warhammer'

"Warhammer:  The Game of Fantasy Battles"

There are plenty of fun and engaging tabletop games around, but it's  not always easy to find people to play the one's you want. If you'd rather pick  up a game with a thriving and active community, or you're just looking for a  great fantasy tabletop game, look no further than "Warhammer: The Game of  Fantasy Battles." "Warhammer" offers one of the most complete tabletop gaming  experiences you'll encounter within the industry: 15 armies to choose from,  exceptionally modeled miniatures, and a large array of lore and gaming  materials to inform your experience.

The game:

"Warhammer: The Game of Fantasy Battles" was first launched in 1983  and, after over thirty years of existence, is currently on its eighth version.  Instead of strictly refining the rules for "Warhammer," its developer, Games  Workshop, has tweaked them incrementally in response to the changing market.  Regardless of how the game evolves, there are a few basic principles that govern  how "Warhammer" is played.

The first major concept newcomers should familiarize themselves with is  that units move in formation, not individually. Whether they're wheeling  around, running, or attacking, a unit moves as a block and the facing of the  formation is important. There are a few types of units that move individually,  but these are relatively rare.

The basic phases are as follows: movement, shooting, and assault. Each  player uses their entire turn to move every unit in their force, choose targets  to shoot if able, and then proceed to either enter close combat or resolve an  ongoing bout. While this structure is simple, it does entail some potentially  hefty in-game wait times while your opponent goes through all of their options.

All dice rolls are made with six-sided dice and follow specific charts  or special rules depending on the circumstances. For example, players consult the  ballistic skills chart to determine whether or not a unit hits an enemy with a  ranged weapon. It's important to note that each unit can experience a plethora  of psychological states, such as rage and panic, that may impact how they play  on the field.

The story:

If your love for fantasy extends no further than "The Lord of the  Rings," you'll have a basic grasp of how the world of "Warhammer" works. "Warhammer"  uses many concepts found in "The Lord of the Rings" and "Dungeons and Dragons."  You'll find Orks, Elves, dragons, and a whole lot more like Vampire Counts and  Lizardmen. There isn't an underpinning main story through "Warhammer," so players  can pick and choose their favorite pieces of lore to inform their games.

Ages before "Warhammer" takes place, a race of aliens known as the Old  Ones land on the planet and foster numerous species in an attempt to uplift them.  The Old Ones used gates at the north and south ends of the planet to come and  go as they please; these gates linked to protected passages within the realm of  Chaos, a nebulous realm of emotional energy made manifest. Somehow, the gates  collapsed which cut the fledgling races off from their mentors and unleashed the  powers of Chaos upon the world.

The world of "Warhammer" is gritty, brutish, and desperate. Mankind is  surrounded by hostile races, and often its own worst enemy. War is rampant, and  strife is ubiquitous. With 15 races to choose from, and sub-factions within  each, there's a great deal of lore surrounding "Warhammer." If you're entirely  new to the story, your best bet is to pick whatever army looks or sounds cool,  and start reading about it.

Where to find it:

Unlike many tabletop games, "Warhammer" is very widespread. If there  aren't any official Games Workshop stores in your area, your local tabletop  store will most likely carry it. If all else fails, Games Workshop sells its  entire "Warhammer" range online. Do note that due to Games Workshop policy,  online retailers rarely carry Games Workshop products.

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