OK we all know that the 80’s have been cool for like ever, well except the 90’s when they were the height of bad taste. Recently I’ve begun to see an increase in 90’s nostalgia. Kids wearing Nirvana Tee-shirts, high top trainers, leggings with over detailed prints and lumberjack shirts are to be seen. Even in gaming there appears to be a bit of reverence for 2nd ed 40K going on.
Where is the love for Warhammer 4th edition? Perhaps it isn’t Oldhammer enough, is it Midhammer?
When 4th came out in 92 I must admit I was excited. My third edition armies to date where on the small side, I couldn’t field a, “legal”, Orc army without using the card counters from Forenrond’s last stand to fill in for my Stikkas. My wolf boys were also counters. My Wood elf army relied on counters also for a fair section of its force.
My friends Chaos consisted of a few RoC warbands and Chaos warriors/Knights, not very rounded. Already much of my empire force relied upon the Perries new Empire range and the later 3rd ed Marauder empire stuff too. A box full of miniatures then was the main draw of the new system to me.
Opening that box was as exciting as opening hero quest for the first time. My younger brother and I invested in the new set agreeing to split the models, high elves for him, his first army, goblins for me. At last I would have my unit of Stikkas. The card scenery was also a bonus, I actually saw the last pack of townscape card buildings being sold in my local GW, when I asked for a pack myself I was told that was it, they never returned. I’d drawn a few buildings in felt tip and even made one of the great modelling workshop town houses from WD so the addition of the house and tower was greatly appreciated.
The rule books in three parts, rules, bestiary and army lists were new, colourful (well except the lists) and enticing. How could we not read them. We played them, never meaning to, they played well. I bemoaned the loss of shield walls, free hacks, advance and trailing forces but liked the march move (we were already doing it) and bloodier combat. I believe I may even have mentioned dumbing down, I continued to play 3rd with friends but 4th only with my brother, though elements of 3rd crept in. We even wrote magic lists for the forces based more on the heroquest magic than 3rd ed magic.
The release of the first army books (Empire and High elf) was closely followed by dedicated ranges for each race, at the time we thought this was great.
The battle Magic came along and yes we ate that up too. After all GW had been preparing the way for some time in WD with tales of colour magic, colour wizards appearing in AHQ, rules for Dwarven rune weapons and armour for 3rd, indeed the last ever 3rd ed battle report included trial rules for Amethyst wizards and rune weapons. It was full of colour, cards, magic weapons (3rd ed ones for all but chaos warbands were limited and old and stale) and awesomeness. So yes for a few years I loved 4th edition. Then University, girls (finally!), beer and first job happened, I stopped playing so much, missed 5th entirely and when I picked up again in the late 90’s went straight back to third. Indeed I never stopped collecting, but it was always 80’s stuff. But that’s all a different story. Here’s to the 90’s and Warhammer 4th. Total power!