View Full Version : WotR or Fantasy?

25-05-2010, 15:48
So I've been playing SBG for a few years now and as it gets less and less support I've been thinking about switching to WotR, but now the new edition of Fantasy is coming out I'm considering starting that as well. Which system would be a better choice?

By the way, I play Dwarves and Mordor for LotR and the armies I'm interested in for Fantasy are O&G, Skaven and High Elves.

25-05-2010, 15:52
Hard to compare the two systems. Especially since 8th edition isnt even released yet to compare it to WotR.

But since you already have an SBG force, why not try WotR and see how you like it instead of relying on others to tell you which system is 'better'?

25-05-2010, 17:20
Agreed that since you already have a head start with SBG, it makes sense to invest a little more and try out WOTR, and if you like it keep on with it.

I used to think WHF was a slightly better system overall than WOTR for playing army-scale tabletop battles. Now I'm not so sure. And, in any case, 8th edition seems to be a MAJOR rejiggering of WHF, so current impressions of it by me or anyone else will be off anyway.

But erroneous or not, here's a quick comparison from someone who likes both systems but has lately come to prefer collecting and playing WOTR:

WHF positives:
- Better movement system (this is going to change radically in 8th ed. to become more like WOTR - too bad)
- More realistic combat system (win most often by breaking foe and making them run, not killing every single model in the unit)
- more mature ruleset, which means not as many gray areas for major rule dispute as WOTR, though disputes will still occasionally arise (too complicated a game with too many army special rules for them not to).
- for those who prefer the emphasis to be on units of foot soldiers or cavalry or monsters to win the game, instead of ultra-powerful heroes, WHF strikes the better balance (with the exception of Special Characters and things like major daemons).
- more "realistic" shooting rules (i.e., archer units, once engaged in melee, don't get to pause the melee, shoot their foes at point blank range again, resume melee, then shoot again, etc. as in WOTR)
- variety of armies of all different kinds, from Tolkienian ones (orcs, high elves, wood elves, dwarves) to Medieval ones (Empire, Bretonnians) to undead and daemonic and monstrous ones and what have you.

WOTR positives:
- Better magic system (though WHF 8th ed is revising it so it may improve)
- Uses Might - a cool concept that you know well, allowing heroes to do all manner of extraordinary things but only here and there, and it will run out if not carefully hoarded. Magnified in WOTR over SBG by adding Epic Actions too.
- Duels that matter enormously to the game (they exist in WHF but are not so central to determining events. Note that my friends and I use a house rule to limit Epic Strike in WOTR duels, which makes outcomes far less predictable and much more fun, in our opinion.)
- For those who prefer their wargames to depend as much on the activities of great heroes as on the marching troops filling out the armies, WOTR strikes a better balance.
- Playing in Tolkien's world with Tolkien's armies and narrative background.
- Extremely cool models (though this may be a bias from love of the Tolkien milieu; WHF has nice stuff too, though the models are more hit and miss for me). The scale of the models in WOTR is very slightly smaller, and perhaps as a result it is slightly cheaper to acquire masses of them than WHF models ($35 for 16 WHF dwarf warriors, $27.50 for 24 WOTR ones).

General Veers
25-05-2010, 17:40
I don't know what your definintion of "better" is but here's what I'd do in your position...

I'd make sure there were 2 or so other people interested and collecting for WotR. I'd test out the game, you don't need to buy anything beyond the rulebook to do this. The rulebook is very nice and well worth the money, IMO of course. Then I'd build out the Dwarfs or Mordor or both forces.

Since you apparently don't have WFB army now...All the while doing the above I would hawk ebay and trades (if I had other stuff I didn't want) for a WFB army. Pick one and focus on it. Take your time and collect/build it out slowly.

However, in my current situation I have armies for both. I haven't played WFB in about a year now. All my gaming friends want to play WotR now while waiting for Fantasy to be released. Most do not have high hopes for the new release and I think this is some sort of gamers "hedge" against the new WFB being slow out of the starting gate. Also, it's current version is not popular and the game scene for it is the weakest I've ever seen in 20+ years of playing WFB.

25-05-2010, 17:41
fantasy also has a more diverse army choices
undead vampires and tomb kings

the best thing about WotR and SBG is the turn system (back and forth) and Might

Avatar of the Eldar
25-05-2010, 18:27
Like General Veers I'm a long time WFB player who has grown disenchanted with 7th ed. and I'm very enthusiastic about WotR. Just so you know my biases.

I'd agree with most of what Veers and Bufordbugman have written and would highlight the following:

- Wait for 8th ed. of WFB to come out before you decide. It's going to get a big make over so it will be important to really understand what you're getting into.

- WotR is the obvious path of least resistance for you for three reasons: 1) you have some models, 2) you're familiar with some relevant rules mechanics (Might) and 3) it's one set of very streamlined rules in ONE BOOK. As opposed to WFB with it's massive, sometimes fiddly ruleset and a not insigificant number of army-specific rules across many army books.

- Veers makes a good point about making sure you've got some WotR players in your area or some you can get to adopt with you.

- If you have or can form a group of dependable opponents, I'd say go with WotR for now, build out an army or two at at least 1500 pts and master that system.

- You can go down a parallel path with WFB by buying the new rule book in July and get familiar with those rules while you plan a longer term army commitment.

- Conversly, if it turns out your prospects of WotR opponents are slim, you have to be realistic and go with WFB as there's usually a guaranteed player base for that system. But you'll need to wait until July.

In closing, start with WotR, get comfortable with that, then explore branching out into WFB.

25-05-2010, 19:25
Thanks for the replies. I'll probably buy the Fantasy starter box (High Elves vs Skaven if I'm not mistaken) and the WotR rulebook and go from there. As for opponents, there are a few SBG players in my area that will probably play WotR if I start, and there are loads of Fantasy players at my local GW.

Avatar of the Eldar
25-05-2010, 21:29
Keep in mind that the WFB starter box is not due out until September or so.

25-05-2010, 21:53
The movement system in WOTR is great, definitely one of the best features of the system and achieves pretty much the same outcomes as much more fiddly systems, like eg 'Fields of Glory'. The sole query we had about it around here, how to treat 180degree 'about faces' was sorted by the FAQ. Before the FAQ, we always just resolved that one by mutual agreement before the game. We've never had a single conflict over movement interpretation apart from that and it is always very simple to check each others' moves, if necessary, due to the way they are defined.

26-05-2010, 04:10
As someone who has played both, I would say this:

1 - WotR is a much better game if you are playing with reasonable opponents. Without that, it can devolve into a cheesefest to some extent, or if you eliminate the counsellor might loop, it just devolves into a handful of dominant strategies that you see play out over and over again. However, if you have people who don't want to take fire-breathing jerk lists, and like themes and variation, it's one of the best games around.

One of the ways we have right now to solve this is that both people show their list before they play, and both have to say "yes" to their opponents list before we throw down. If someone says no, you have to negotiate until they say yes. So obviously, two cantankerous jerks will never play (I believe this to be a benefit of the system, not a flaw), but what it really means is one guy is not bringing the counsellor might loop or 8 ringwraiths while the other guy is having fun with hobbits. Lists tend to converge to a reasonable middle ground and then the game happens.

Basically, if you have fun people to play with, it's amazing.

2 - I am very much not a fantasy fan. I feel like you get all of the bad of WotR (basically, the game is totally unbalanced and devolves rapidly in the hands of jerks), but conversely, none of the good. There is variety, but there is a ton of complexity purely for the sake of complexity, and there is very little that adds tactical depth rather than more "gotcha!" tricks. Fantasy is, all too often, currently an imbalanced game of building army lists. I hate being able to predict with about 95% accuracy who will win games before they set up, but I can.

Wait for 8th ed if you are considering playing, and make sure the nonsense with the game gets fixed.

So, with that said, SBG is probably GW's most balanced current game, and after that, the others are all various degrees of bad right now. WotR is the best of the group if you have reasonable opponents, and 40k is probably the best if you don't, but either way, I'd consider WotR strongly (as you already have the models) if you have good people to play with, and if you don't, I'd consider games other than GW's (like Warmachine/Hordes or Flames of War) for your next move, as they are currently superior games, in my view, if you are playing pickup games.

31-05-2010, 15:55
Since you have SBG, start with WoTR. My WOTR army is almost done. (few sprues left)
My Dark Elves (fantasy) still await my touch. ^^
But start with WoTR, simpler, smoother and you have a nice fig base. After 8th ed of WH:F has been out a while you may still give it a try. They're all completely different, great and lore-rich.

01-06-2010, 19:43
Boy I couldn't agree with Reinholt more on this one. His assessment of Fantasy is dead on. I have a history with Fantasy and have really enjoyed the game in the past, but 7e is ugly... real ugly. Here's hoping 8e is much better...

IMO, many of bufordbugman's assertions are off base. Fantasy is COMPLETELY about the big monsters/characters and not the ranked infantry. Rumor is that 8e will change that. The ruleset for Fantasy is "mature" only in the sense that it's long in the tooth and has gone through too many revisions that have left strange artifacts and mechanics in the game to keep the old guard (like myself) happy from edition to edition. It has become a cumbersome system that is needlessly complicated... at best.

The best way I've heard Fantasy gameplay summarized is when someone on Bell of Lost Souls said it felt like, "the fun is always just out of reach." That's very apt... Too little player interaction, too much time spent on mundane aspects of play, too many archaic design decisions.

Regardless, WotR is very much worth your time. Especially if you had enough interest to collect some LotR stuff for SBG. It's a great big world to explore and the game is just more damned fun to play than (current) Fantasy.

01-06-2010, 21:13
IMO, many of bufordbugman's assertions are off base. Fantasy is COMPLETELY about the big monsters/characters and not the ranked infantry. Rumor is that 8e will change that. The ruleset for Fantasy is "mature" only in the sense that it's long in the tooth and has gone through too many revisions that have left strange artifacts and mechanics in the game to keep the old guard (like myself) happy from edition to edition.

Well, of course my assertions are off base. Look at my name, for crying out loud!

But I will defend the claim that WHF is (usually) less hero-centered than WOTR. Unless you are talking about killer expensive Special Characters, in most most WHF armies heroes don't dominate the action the way they do in WOTR. In both games they can contribute to the combat prowess of their units, but only in WOTR are they soley responsible for whether units get to move twice or not; only in WOTR can your leaders pop around 18" at a time, either to save themselves or to get right where they need to be to devastate their foe; only in WOTR is there such a thing as Might and Heroic actions and Epic actions which often determine whether whole formations live or die. The typical WHF leader doesn't come close to this kind of influence. And the points reflect this. (WOTR epic heroes tend to cost more compared to units of troops than WHF lords/heroes do.)

Note I say "typical" WHF leader. Sure, you can do up a Vampire Lord be Mr. All-Killer or put dudes on dragons or bring a Greater Demon. These guys will cost an obscene % of your total list and dictate the game. But I don't play lists like this, nor face many foes who rely on such crazy characters. Perhaps it's just an accident of the armies I collect and play (Dwarfs, Woodies, Orcs & Goblins). For me, in WHF my selection and tactical use of infantry and cav and shooter units has far more impact on game play than my heroes. In WOTR, by contrast, I or my foe will often bring guys like Aragorn or Theoden or Gandalf, and the game often comes down to how they get used. Not complaining - Aragorn should massively affect results! - just noting the difference for me.

But I suppose folks' experience will vary depending on the kinds of lists they bring or face.

As for mature/archaic rules... I like most of them! The movement rules seems a perfect case in point. What many may consider overly complex actually works very smoothly - wheeling, adding ranks, turning to the side or back all makes good sense to me, has a realistic feel, and is not hard to execute once you learn it. All IMO, of course. This stuff is subjective.

07-06-2010, 05:19
I've played several games of fantasy, and simply own the rule book for War of the Rings. I know my choice -- 1,000 points of WoTR, as fast as I can paint it!