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Thread: Would Warmaster benefit from a 28mm update?

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    Banned Verm1s's Avatar
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    Would Warmaster benefit from a 28mm update?

    Given the popularity of Warlord Games' trio of Warmaster descendants, and the rumours about big shakeups in Warhammer, and mostly because I had this typed out before Darnok closed the topic... Do you think Warmaster would see a bit of revival and popularity if Warhammer players could try it, or another version/edition, with their existing armies? Previously-typed stuff follows:

    Quote Originally Posted by Just Tony View Post
    with Warmaster it was simply the same Fantasy game with Epic's ruleset. It was a poor translation and really didn't give you anything except tiny harder to paint models.
    With the rules of a different game I'm not sure it's the same game. Also, I've only played Epic: Armageddon, but I can't agree that even Epic in general was the same game; and I think the rules Warmaster did have were enough, without titans and SPGs and orbital strikes and so on. Like I mentioned in my previous post, it's a purpose built tactical mass battle game, rather than a skirmish game with an upped model count and a couple of tweaks. (or a translation of same) I know both it and Epic opened my eyes to that, even though I did get into the latter because of the titans.

    Also, IMO the smaller models for both are a bit easier to paint. You need to hold 'em a bit closer to your eyes, but there's less pressure to try for any level of fancy blended or highlighted effects, and the shading and blacklining from washes and inks work a bit better at those scales, IMO. And to borrow half a thought from Daniel36, it's a little more about the mass tabletop effect.

    It also sold like football bats.
    Well with an attitude like that... But I can imagine something like the reverse of the Inquisitor model effect, as GW fans with growing or already sizeable 28mm armies sneer at buying 'the same' models or an entire army in a different, 'odd' scale. So to bring this even tangentially towards the original topic, even though I'm just wishlisting: I wonder that if they were going to complete 8th ed and leave it alone for a while to try out a skirmish game - for which GW fans might use their existing minis - could they go in the other direction too and knock together an updated Warmaster book or supplement - for which GW fans might use their existing minis? Might even open the eyes of a few more Warhammer players, if they can get over the fact that their characters don't get 3-4 pages of magic gewgaws...

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    Re: Would Warmaster benefit from a 28mm update?

    A few things to address, it seems-
    1) Warmaster is nothing like epic. Other than being a GW game and using smaller models, there's pretty much no similarity. Ok- one more similarity- both are great systems that blow Fantasy and 40k out of the water in terms of game play quality.

    2) I don't see how size for painting is an issue. 90% of what I see nowadays is undercoated at best, regardless of scale.

    The main topic- 3) Warmaster wouldn't really work too well in 28mm. A 28mm Fantasy game on a 6x4 table would be like a 750-1000pt Warmaster game on a 1x1.5 table. There's just not the room to manoeuvre, no ability to hold back reserves or do anything different to what Fantasy is already about- stomping units forward until they hit and grind each other down. The archery drive-back mechanic could add some fun, but I don't think it'd be enough.

    4) I don't want GW to touch Warmaster or Epic. Make models for them yes, but don't try and make new rules or anything. Both games have excellent communities who are far better at managing the games and keeping the games fun, fair and- above all- balanced, than GW ever could. For years now GW has shown it has lost the plot when it comes to making proper games, and I shudder to imagine what they'd think of to 'improve' Warmaster or Epic.
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    Re: Would Warmaster benefit from a 28mm update?

    I've played some 28mm warmaster (i.e. two 20mm bases are one warmaster base), never felt right to me but then again (to give only the examples of what I've played) Hail Caeser does not feel right to me in 28mm whereas Black Powder does feel right to me in 15mm. However, if the historical community are perfectly happy doing the Warlord trio in 28mm then I could image many of them adopting fantasy (since many of them probably have given fantasy a go at some point in their life). If nothing else, the mechanism of warmaster has inspired those Warlord Games and Blitz/Cold/Future War Commander, so it would be difficult for the historical community to activity disown it.

    Personally, 6mm fantasy is my chosen scale. Just finishing up some armies, hoping to play some warmaster and warhammer (10 6mm men on one base equals one model in 28mm scale), not sure which will feel better.

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    Re: Would Warmaster benefit from a 28mm update?

    So basically you want Warmaster rules with Warhammer models? You already have people on board, I guess. I won't be one of them, as I'm satisfied with Fantasy as it is/was. You brought up a great example of why these things don't work. Inquisitor and the Epic level games just don't have the draw, and are essentially the same game played differently at different sizes. I just don't see it catching on.

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    Re: Would Warmaster benefit from a 28mm update?

    Inquisitor and Epic the same as 40K but with different models? No, they are completely different. Same with warmaster vs warhammer. Warmaster is very abstract. I often see people complain about warmaster, "terrible game if you can can't move and your opponent can move multiple times". This is because they are of a different scale and warmaster involves command and control. It would be like comparing a world war 2 first person shooter with a world war 2 real time strategy game.

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    Re: Would Warmaster benefit from a 28mm update?

    Quote Originally Posted by Just Tony View Post
    You brought up a great example of why these things don't work. Inquisitor and the Epic level games just don't have the draw
    Delving into GW archaeology and the accounts of 'those who were there', I gather Epic (in the form of Space Marine etc.) was once considered 'the third core game'. That doesn't sound like it didn't have no draw! Both still have a draw, but I have a feeling they suffered from a change in culture, in the interim since Epic 40K's poor reception, at GW and among GW fans: a retreat towards the biggest moneyspinners (not the only moneyspinners, just the biggest ones) with nominal, wait-til-they-hit-initial-targets support. (Apparently Inquisitor even surpassed that expectation) And, if I'm allowed a moment of pique, the expanded trend among GW fans to consider the core 2's dreadful, bastardised skirmish rules to be the best (even only) possibility for wargames rules, let alone mass battle rules.

    But, I've already mentioned another factor: the miniature scale (even Inq afficionados - the Inq28 players - would agree, I think) and explained why this could be less of a barrier. TL;DR: players with existing giant 28mm GW armies filled with big 28mm GW infantry blocks to play said GW mutant skirmish, might feel just a little less intimidated to try a GW game specifically originated to deal with giant 28mm GW armies filled with big 28mm GW infantry blocks, all with a nice big official GW logo on the front to ease any bewilderment and fear.

    Here's an example. I visit a historical gaming club that took up Warlord Game's Warmaster evolutions for a lot of their favoured periods. (Due in some small way to my waving Black Powder around) Specifically, they switched to Pike & Shotte for English Civil war games, 'cos they felt Warhammer Ancient Battles and it's ECW supplement were inadequate to the task. And it works fairly well when they decide to wheel out their enormous armies that'd rival many a GW fan's worst excesses in spending. They're not the only historical players to take the rulebooks up, either. What's there besides fanboys sticking their fingers in their ears, moaning 'sacrilege!', and weeping for their listbuilt characters, to say something similar couldn't interest a lot of GW's fantasy gamers?

    Couldn't do much worse than goofy stuff like Apocalypse and Storm of Magic, could it?

    And Epic: Armageddon is a wonderful game. You should give it a try sometime.

    and are essentially the same game played differently at different sizes. I just don't see it catching on.
    I still don't see where you're getting this from. As far as I can make out, the only thing that connects them and what I assume you mean is the background. (And only tangentially in the case of the shadowy underworld of inquisitorial investigation vs. pitched battles) If the rumoured Warhammer skirmish game is actually released, what'll you call that? Just the same as WHFB?

    Quote Originally Posted by Samsonov View Post
    Warmaster is very abstract.
    And Warhammer is very granular. But even that has some abstraction, like all wargames.

    I often see people complain about warmaster, "terrible game if you can can't move and your opponent can move multiple times".
    I'm going to admit I haven't played much Warmaster, but I very much enjoy the Warlord Games trio, even when my orders are fluffed and a unit or three stubbornly sit where they are. (beats piddling around with micromanagement) The hint that the entire army may not move sounds like a bit of an exaggeration though, and it ignores initiative moves and shooting. (no order needed) The WG games have further modifications too: free moves for certain formations, units, or special rules, depending on the specific game; and lesser commanders restricted to specific divisions of units.

    That's the thing. I'm not wishlisting about a straight port of Warmaster, measuring in inches rather than cm. I am interested in the idea of GW breaking the habit of a lifetime and introducing an optional something for Warhammer armies that dumps some of the granularity in favour of mass battles, and the fact that they've already got a decent home-grown example in their archives that they could draw some ideas from.

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    Re: Would Warmaster benefit from a 28mm update?

    Quote Originally Posted by Samsonov View Post
    Inquisitor and Epic the same as 40K but with different models? No, they are completely different. Same with warmaster vs warhammer. Warmaster is very abstract. I often see people complain about warmaster, "terrible game if you can can't move and your opponent can move multiple times". This is because they are of a different scale and warmaster involves command and control. It would be like comparing a world war 2 first person shooter with a world war 2 real time strategy game.
    Okay, I didn't word this well enough. I didn't mean the game mechanics were identical. You'd have to be full-on special needs to think that. No, what I mean is that with Epic, it gave you a game to play that had a grander scale, and unit types that were simply unfeasible or awkwardly out of place in the standard 40K game. Warmaster, on the other hand, didn't give you ANYTHING different than fantasy as an added draw. It was basically WFB theme with Epic rules, and practically no new units. Now had dragons and the like been eliminated from Fantasy, then Warmaster would offer something different enough to justify an entirely new system of play and change in size. As it stands, there isn't anything to draw anyone to Warmaster in any sort of way unless someone REALLY loved the gaming system. Given how every store in my area was clearancing that crap out the same year it premiered I really doubt the community as a whole would be up for that.

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    Re: Would Warmaster benefit from a 28mm update?

    Okay, that is a fair point about warmaster not appearing to offer anything else different. I remember myself and a friend looking at a warmaster battle report in white dwarf and he points out that there were less models in each army than in a typical game of warhammer, i.e. less individual 10mm men than individual 28mm men in a typical warhammer battle report. (This was empire vs chaos where they had a 28mm great unclean one, I'd be very interested to know if my friend's observation was true. If so, terrible way to advertise the game). Alas, to truly see what makes warmaster special requires for it to be played. Which, conveniently, it certainly was played a lot, or at least warmaster historicals was.

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    Re: Would Warmaster benefit from a 28mm update?

    Had it been played a lot, it would still be around. GW isn't in the habit of throwing away games that sell well. If a game is relegated to the slow death of Specialist Games, there is a reason. I always thought BFG was doing really well, but it seemed to stagnate, Warmaster and Inquisitor failed, and suddenly price hikes galore happened, which ground BFG to a halt. Honestly, I think GW's problem is in trying to reinvent the wheel when they should get their core games down pat, and work on growing the community through advertising and then add units to the game. After the base is stable, then throw resources into something like Warmaster, but then add something more to the dynamic. Warmaster should REALLY give you an epic feeling. Picture the imagery of the battle of Helm's Deep. Regiments so deep and numerous that it looked like a field of crops. THAT is what Warmaster should bring. Then introduce monsters that are the size of the current monsters in Warhammer compared to the Warmaster scaled monsters. THEN it'd be worth playing/promoting.

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    Chapter Master mdauben's Avatar
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    Re: Would Warmaster benefit from a 28mm update?

    Quote Originally Posted by Verm1s View Post
    With the rules of a different game I'm not sure it's the same game. Also, I've only played Epic: Armageddon, but I can't agree that even Epic in general was the same game; and I think the rules Warmaster did have were enough, without titans and SPGs and orbital strikes and so on.
    I agree. IMO Warmaster was nothing like Epic. IIRC Epic: Armageddon was widely critisised, while Warmaster was praised by almost everyone who actually played it. I think the fact that the Warmaster rules spawed a number of supplements and mods (both professional and fan made) for other genres (ancients, ACW, WWII, Cold War, SciFi, etc.) just further demonstrates what a solid game system it is.

    Also, IMO the smaller models for both are a bit easier to paint.
    Definitely a different technique, IMO, but I know I can paint 10mm and 15mm much faster than I can 28mm to an acceptable gaming standard. If you want a Golden Daemon level paintjob it can be challenging, of course, but only a tiny fraction of players are capable or interested in doing 10mm armies to that level.

    Well with an attitude like that...
    It was actually quite popular with my old gaming group, and a number of us had multiple WM armies (Empire, Chaos, and Lizardmen myself and I was thinking of adding Undead). I do understand that overall it was not as popular as some of the more successful Specialist games, though I don't think that has anything to do with the quality of the game.

    I wonder that if they were going to complete 8th ed and leave it alone for a while to try out a skirmish game - for which GW fans might use their existing minis - could they go in the other direction too and knock together an updated Warmaster book or supplement - for which GW fans might use their existing minis? Might even open the eyes of a few more Warhammer players, if they can get over the fact that their characters don't get 3-4 pages of magic gewgaws...
    I think all you would need to do is whip up some movement trays to play WM in 28mm, and perhaps tweak the movement rates and weapon ranges. Not really a big deal, IMO. You probably would suffer from crowding more than with 10mm WM.

    Quote Originally Posted by Just Tony View Post
    Inquisitor and the Epic level games just don't have the draw, and are essentially the same game played differently at different sizes. I just don't see it catching on.
    Only in the most general of terms. WM plays much differently than WFB and is IMO a much more tactically oriented game. It also gives you the ability to play truly massive armies that just don't work in WFB.

    Quote Originally Posted by Just Tony View Post
    Had it been played a lot, it would still be around. GW isn't in the habit of throwing away games that sell well. If a game is relegated to the slow death of Specialist Games, there is a reason.
    The "failure" of Specialist Games has more to do with GW effectivly abandoning them that any short comings in the games themselves. Many people argued that the best GW game systems were in the Specialst group. When they were properly supported in LGSs they did well enough (at least in my experience of several stores that had strong player support for BFG, WM, BB, etc.).

    Honestly, I think GW's problem is in trying to reinvent the wheel when they should get their core games down pat, and work on growing the community through advertising and then add units to the game.
    IF they don't have their "core games" down pat after 30 years, they never will.

    After the base is stable, then throw resources into something like Warmaster, but then add something more to the dynamic. Warmaster should REALLY give you an epic feeling. Picture the imagery of the battle of Helm's Deep. Regiments so deep and numerous that it looked like a field of crops. THAT is what Warmaster should bring. Then introduce monsters that are the size of the current monsters in Warhammer compared to the Warmaster scaled monsters. THEN it'd be worth playing/promoting.
    WM will handle games that size already. Just because they didn't bother to play really big games in WD batreps doesn't mean they would not work. The old Warmaster magazine used to routinely publish scenarios that involved huge armies. Now, huge monsters I'm not so sure about. Having something that could take out entire units just by stepping on them starts to take away from the tactical nature of the game. At least IMO.
    Last edited by mdauben; 02-06-2014 at 18:55.

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    Re: Would Warmaster benefit from a 28mm update?

    I can see the argument that Warmaster didn't offer enough "extra" to really draw fantasy players in, other than a much better ruleset. I actually think its launch was about a year too early from that perspective. 6th edition Warhammer took out half the monsters and big warmachines that had been all over the place in 5th edition, and the chance for 6th ed players to mess around with dragons and so forth (at a fraction of the price per dragon than in WFB, too) might have worked. Of course now all that stuff has been added back into the core game anyway.

    Would 28mm Warmaster work? Yes, I think so. In fact I'd much rather play it than WFB, the way things are. It would certainly be an option for big "Apocalypse"-style battles, although I'm not sure GW would ever actually go for it.

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    Re: Would Warmaster benefit from a 28mm update?

    Quote Originally Posted by mdauben View Post
    I agree. IMO Warmaster was nothing like Epic. IIRC Epic: Armageddon was widely critisised, while Warmaster was praised by almost everyone who actually played it.
    I thought it was Epic 40k that was seen as the red headed step child of the GW bunch (pre-Dreadfleet) after SM2, where as E:A was considered a return to form.

    Quote Originally Posted by mdauben View Post
    Definitely a different technique, IMO, but I know I can paint 10mm and 15mm much faster than I can 28mm to an acceptable gaming standard. If you want a Golden Daemon level paintjob it can be challenging, of course, but only a tiny fraction of players are capable or interested in doing 10mm armies to that level.
    Oh yes. Getting them to look good on the table takes a lot less time, but - at least the 6mm Epic troops I am painting at the moment are - but I find they take a similar amount of effort/concentration. I've not yet started any of the 10mm stuff I have horded, but I expect them to be similar.

    Quote Originally Posted by mdauben View Post
    It also gives you the ability to play truly massive armies that just don't work in WFB.
    Exactly the reason I moved down to 10mm scale - GW are trying to constantly increase the size of the game whilst keeping the table size the same. Large battles just don't either fit at all on 6ft by 4ft in 28mm, or are just an exercise in pushing blocks towards each other, with little or no maneuvering.

    Quote Originally Posted by mdauben View Post
    The "failure" of Specialist Games has more to do with GW effectivly abandoning them that any short comings in the games themselves. Many people argued that the best GW game systems were in the Specialst group. When they were properly supported in LGSs they did well enough (at least in my experience of several stores that had strong player support for BFG, WM, BB, etc.).


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    Re: Would Warmaster benefit from a 28mm update?

    Quote Originally Posted by Samsonov View Post
    I've played some 28mm warmaster (i.e. two 20mm bases are one warmaster base), never felt right to me but then again (to give only the examples of what I've played) Hail Caeser does not feel right to me in 28mm whereas Black Powder does feel right to me in 15mm. However, if the historical community are perfectly happy doing the Warlord trio in 28mm then I could image many of them adopting fantasy (since many of them probably have given fantasy a go at some point in their life). If nothing else, the mechanism of warmaster has inspired those Warlord Games and Blitz/Cold/Future War Commander, so it would be difficult for the historical community to activity disown it.

    Personally, 6mm fantasy is my chosen scale. Just finishing up some armies, hoping to play some warmaster and warhammer (10 6mm men on one base equals one model in 28mm scale), not sure which will feel better.
    Isn't Hail Caesar essentially a 'scale-agnostic' Warmaster?

    For what it's worth, I don't think you're alone in thinking Black Powder is better at 15mm - I've heard the same said of all Warlord's games. My take on the subject is that they'd be fine at 28mm if you were Rick Priestley (i.e. had a metric ****-ton of models and a shed to play in), the rest of us have to scale down.
    Last edited by theshoveller; 10-06-2014 at 11:14.

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    Re: Would Warmaster benefit from a 28mm update?

    Quote Originally Posted by Samsonov View Post
    I remember myself and a friend looking at a warmaster battle report in white dwarf and he points out that there were less models in each army than in a typical game of warhammer, i.e. less individual 10mm men than individual 28mm men in a typical warhammer battle report. (This was empire vs chaos where they had a 28mm great unclean one, I'd be very interested to know if my friend's observation was true. If so, terrible way to advertise the game).
    Exactly what I thought! Even worse were the pitiful terrain setups. You could show entire towns, massive forests, hills, monuments and so on. They chose to show a flat table with a bit of lichen and a couple of other uninteresting setups. Resin castles looked ok but added nothing to the game. Massive armies and a scratch-built fortress to showcase the siege rules would have been nice At the time, I'd hoped they'd learned a lesson from the rubbish Epic 40k battle reports that were as small as 40k armies and showcase photos of single 6mm tanks and infantry stands rather than legions.

    Quote Originally Posted by shelfunit. View Post
    Exactly the reason I moved down to 10mm scale - GW are trying to constantly increase the size of the game whilst keeping the table size the same. Large battles just don't either fit at all on 6ft by 4ft in 28mm, or are just an exercise in pushing blocks towards each other, with little or no maneuvering.
    Out of interest, what rules are you using? Warmaster or something else? Threads like this remind me that I need to actually read my copy of Mayhem, for example.

    Just Tony - I do agree that Warmaster didn't add enough. Scale and rules-set preferences aside, it really did feel like collecting the same army in a different scale. I didn't mind the number of units that had to be removed from armies because of the scale (fanatics just being models within Night Goblin units and so on), but adding a few more 10mm-only monsters, machines and units would have been an incentive.

    That, and a lack of plastic kits for the core units, but that's another story.

    On to the original topic though, I would like a Warmaster style mass-battle set of rules for Warhammer. If it could work for GW and do good for Warhammer in general, I'd love to see it. However, I'm not that worried. There are already other rules around that work, along with fan "fantasy conversions" of Hail Caesar. One from GW would just be a bonus.
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    Re: Would Warmaster benefit from a 28mm update?

    Just Tony - I do agree that Warmaster didn't add enough. Scale and rules-set preferences aside, it really did feel like collecting the same army in a different scale. I didn't mind the number of units that had to be removed from armies because of the scale (fanatics just being models within Night Goblin units and so on), but adding a few more 10mm-only monsters, machines and units would have been an incentive.
    They did add Araby, but that was too late for anyone to notice. Scale wise they also made the monsters much bigger than their Fantasy equivalents.
    Personally though, I think adding bigger monsters would have had to have been done very carefully- the game relies on movement through orders, which is affected by stand loss, and single unit models can't lose a stand. There's also the 'instant heal' after each turn- if you do 3 hits on a 4 hit stand in your shooting phase it's completely fine by the start of your combat phase. Monsters do have the 'wounded' mechanic* but it's easy to have that get pushed too far and be insufficient as a way to deal with the big beasts (double stegadon lizardman lists are pretty much the cheese of Warmaster).
    It would be all too easy to have really big monsters in Warmaster become the equivalent of a Revenant Titan in 6th edition 40k (ie. why did I bother deploying the rest of my army, and why are you bothering to open your army cases?).

    (*which is strangely inconsistent- sometimes you must score over half the hits, sometimes you can score under, to get the 'wounded' status)
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    Re: Would Warmaster benefit from a 28mm update?

    Quote Originally Posted by theshoveller View Post
    Isn't Hail Caesar essentially a 'scale-agnostic' Warmaster?
    I've only flicked through the Hail Caesar rulebook, some time ago, bought I thought it explained that each units (10 28mm men) was a specific formation in the roman army? So for organised military forces at least there is a scale whereas it is never stated how many men a warmaster base represents.

    In relation to the wider point about monsters unbalancing warmaster, here would be a good situation for a warmaster storm of magic expansion.

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    Chapter Master shelfunit.'s Avatar
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    Re: Would Warmaster benefit from a 28mm update?

    Quote Originally Posted by zoggin-eck View Post
    Out of interest, what rules are you using? Warmaster or something else? Threads like this remind me that I need to actually read my copy of Mayhem, for example.
    Right now, none - I'm waiting until I finish my Epic stuff before moving onto the 10mm pile, but eventually it'll be either Warmaster, Mayhem or even possibly a modified Warhammer 3rd ed (or whatever is out in a couple of years when I can get a force ready). I suffer from the "love the background, despise the company" affliction, so whichever set needs to fill the Warhammer-y feel - I think Verm1s is doing things to that end on a couple of armies (or is it just skaven?).
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    Re: Would Warmaster benefit from a 28mm update?

    War of the Ring appeared to me like warmaster rules applied to 28mm scale, but for LotR Strategy Battle Game.

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    Re: Would Warmaster benefit from a 28mm update?

    Well, I like my 28mm Citadel miniatures, and I like the Warmaster rulebook. So I play Warmaster in the 28mm scale. You can follow my progress in my blog http://www.toco.be/blog . Basically we're using 6 cavalry models, or 3 rows of 5 infantry models, and 1 row of 9 ranged models.
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