A nostalgia project for Warhammer Fantasy Battles 4th edition
Every wargamer had to start somewhere.
For most people in our cyrcle of friends, it all began in a little shop in Esch-sur-Alzette… the Fantasy Bazaar (insert nostalgic glow here).
Run and managed by a group of likeminded fantasy- and scifi-interested people, this quaint little gaming shop was (to my knowledge) the only place in fair Luxembourg. Here people could buy role-playing games, wargames and other fantasy and sci-fi related merchandise. (or just oogle at them longingly)
Mind, we are talking early nineties: the internet? never heard of … magazines? hard to come by… mail order? you might as well rely on a carrier pigeon…
For many a young person of either gender (and back then it were mostly boys), this shop was the gateway to a whole new world.
Enter: yours truly… having left primary school and enrolled high school just recently, being influenced by devilish fantasy and SF movies, tempted by novels and your occasional comic (Manga where rather rare those days), I discovered the Fantasy Bazaar through friends and mouth to mouth publicity.
I still remember the huge Battle Tech-table or the awesome fantasy castle-diorama in the window. The shelves staked with books, game systems utterly unknown to me at the time, the display of Magic (TM)-Cards and the trays with dice in all shapes and colours.
So… we are in 1993/1994. Games Workshop recently published the 4th edition of their Warhammer Fantasy Wargame (1992). A game created by people whose names that still inspire awe. Chief among them Priestley and Stillman. It was the time, people refer today as not really oldhammer, but not quite yet herohammer.
The box-shaped gate to a new world
Each to our own, we found our way to the Fantasy Bazaar and acquired the german version of the game. (I still have to figure out, if it was the first time warhammer got a german translation.) For me, who only was about to learn english in school, this was my door to the Warhammer universe.
Oh, dear reader… how I wish you could have seen the majesty of that box : the monopose highelves and goblins, the cardboard standees, the pristine white dice, the rulebook and bestiary (by God, I devoured the later and its artwork)…
Don’t forget, we are talking of the days before 3D printing, resin, digitally designed miniatures. Shops had only a limited stock and ordering something took ages. And (at least for me and my limited monthly allowance) miniatures cost a fortune. The content of that box was heaven for the aspiring fantasy wargamer.
In those days, I started collecting greenskins and the multitude of goblins from that box, where the core of my not so mighty and not so victorious “horde of Loosa, chief of the Redeye-clan”. Sadly, the main bulk of that army, as did many of the elven warriors, were lost over the years.
The forgotten game supplement
One of the supplements was a scenario intended to be played with the box content : “die Schlacht um den Maugthrond Pass” / the battle of Maugthrond Pass (try to pronounce that correctly).
It told the story of an infamous Greenskin Waagh led by Grom the Paunch, mightiest of all goblin warchiefs, onto the island realm of Ulthuan, home to the noble High Elves. As with scenarios in most game systems, it offers details on setup, army composition, objectives and so on.
Weeeerrrrllll… back in the nineties, me and my friends we could not be bothered with such nonsense and we just played the game, trying to crush our opponents.
Hence, as far as I recall, I never fought through the scenario, nor did I use the glorious cardboard standees.
Fast forward to 2022.
Almost thirty years later, at the verge of turning 40, seeing the world burn due to climate, energy and political crisis, I find myself holding those first wargaming books of mine in my hands. I am instantly hit by a wave of nostalgia. At the same time, an idea starts growing in the back of my mind.
So Eric and I are collecting Greenskins and Elves respectively, which we use mostly in our Kings of War (fantasy) games. Being fed up with the daily humdrum, living in a mad world and in dire need of escapism, why not play that scenario properly and maybe in a later instance replay it with MOAR WARRIORS and MOAR ACTION ?
Tadaaa: a nostalgia project is born 🙂
Rest assured, this will be not one of those fantastic old-/herohammer/the old world- projects. You find plenty of those by very talented people on the internet. Also… we lack the talent and ambition to do so 😉
What lies ahead of us?
– Despite the fact, that our respective miniature collections are abundant, we still lack some crucial miniatures, the special characters introduced in the scenario. These are not the nineties: 3D printing comes to the rescue.
Aside from that, suitable miniatures need to be selected, to stand in for the original ones.
– Terrain needs to gathered. Though our respective collections of terrain and scatter grew considerably over the years, we want to select the different pieces with care and if need be, create new ones… also pondering about trivialities like that, is the proper excuse for a fine glass of brandy.
– Gaming aids must be dug out from the depth of cellars and boxes. Warhammer did rely on templates for artillery and spells. Magic items were available in card form… they are somewhere, buried deep beneath old books and the ever growing pile of shame (aka unpainted miniatures).
– Rules must be read. The curse of playing many different games is, that you tend to mix up rules from different systems. And since I last played Warhammer around 2010-ish, I have to reread the rulebook. Though as far as I recall, the 4th edition rules were rather straight forward.
– Playlists must be compiled. You cannot have a proper battle without an appropriate score or musical theme ;).
– My very own next major miniproject in this enterprise is to finally add an elf lord on Griffon to my army. I am aware that a common trope is the association between elves and dragons. But forgive this nineties kid for having a soft spot for the griffon.
Luckily I was able to lay my hands on some miniatures (still in their sprues) from the 8th Warhammer edition box set. It contained a small elven and skaven host, including some monsters and special characters. Lo and behold, there was my high elf on Griffon. Unassembled, unpainted, just waiting to become Eltharion.
Old shores await us…