Ulthuan

Ulthuan, Home of the Asur
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 04, 2011 6:20 pm 
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Greetings!

Since I have started playing Warhammer I remember players discussing how ancient history influences Warhammer world. For some there are obvious inspirations. For example, Lizardmen are Aztecs, Tomb Kings are Egyptians etc. In the case of High Elves Roman and Greek influence seems to be quite strong too.

The more I read about Ancient Warfare the more I wanted to recreate these epic battles on the battlefield. I could go into historical systems (and eventually I did) but then it was also an interesting thing to find out if tactics employed by Alexander the Great or Hannibal could be somehow transferred into Warhammer. Even in their simplified form.

This idea appeared in a very interesting topic by Seredain: viewtopic.php?f=67&t=33584&start=150

It seems that he is following Alexander the Great with his Cavalry Prince. Milliardo picked up this first and some interesting insight on different aspects of Warhammer mixing with Ancient History inspiration were presented.

To encourage further exchange of ideas, thoughts and your own point of view, we decided to start a new topic. I highly recommend reading what Milliardo and Seredain have already said in the other thread first, as they have very interesting insight into the game, history and their own, unique approach.

Feel free to write about how history influences your army lists, background, tectics etc. If you have some particular book in mind which impressed you greatly and you would like to recommend to others then this is also a place to share it :)

At the moment I am mostly inspired by Successors Wars where combined arms tactics was at its peak, huge armies marched to war constantly and brilliant generals were forced to use everything they got to win the day. Looking forward to hear about your favourite part of history and the way it transfers into Warhammer World! :)

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 04, 2011 11:47 pm 
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I always thought that the Asur of Ulthuan was more like the Atlantians of Atlantis.

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 04, 2011 11:56 pm 
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I have it on good authority that High Elves are the British Empire with fantasy influence.

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 05, 2011 2:11 am 
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Like our rules, interpretation can be ambiguous, and in looking for historical sources, sometimes deliberately so, at least on part of the player.

This has been covered any number of times in any number of threads in any number of websites; but, historically, Ulthuan is Atlantis with a melange of classical Mediterranean and Middle East cultures as the base, and the British Empire as the reference point. The fantasy part borrows heavily from Michael Moorcock's Melniboné, partially from Tolkien, any number of things from D&D (whose sources come from everywhere) like Tyrion and Teclis (Dragonlance). Our history tends to get some minor adjustments every edition, but essentially it owes a great deal to the pop-culture prevalent during the 1970s in the UK.

Then you have twelve provinces and any number of surviving colonies, who might have distinctive regional variations.

Now personally, I tend to view High Elven culture through the prism of medieval Japan and Regency England as basis, or at least those parts that my primary military force infringes, while incorporating all the above mentioned elements as part of an integrated culture.

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 05, 2011 8:15 am 
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Greetings!

Ah yes! The old debate who HE really are :) Well, I find it encouraging that everybody has her/his own opinion on that. Even if the first idea of HE was based on particular Empire/Nation/Period of History etc., there is nothing wrong to have another point of view on that matter.

However, in this topic I am more interested on your opinions on something slightly different and perhaps I haven't stated that properly in my first post.

Obviously many of you have some interest in ancient history (or any other period for that matter). Do you, like Seradain, build your army around cavalry prince, very much like in the case of Alexander the Great and his Companions? Or maybe, like Milliardo, you try to grasp a broader picture of philosophy and culture and apply it to your army creation? How does it influence your tactics? Maybe you refuse to use that much cavalry, as you want to field infantry based armies of ancient Greece or stalwart legions of Rome? Or even war machines and missile units, which were perceived as cowardly by Spartans (a little simplification I guess :)).

I also mentioned that it would be good to share some ideas based on particular books you found particularly inspiring. I am myself biased towards ancient history. Musashi, on the other hand is clearly influenced by his interest in medieval Japan. I just find it a very interesting and additional dimension to the hobby and I am very curious what inspires you.

Cheers!

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 05, 2011 10:02 am 
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It is a fascinating subject and there may well be a successful precedent which can help HE in this game system.
These are just names but kind of reflect roles in my army:

Spears are my Old Guard.
Of Napoleon's expeditionary army.Though historically they were elites, the name implies a contract of service to a city and a defensive posture as well as a tradition of songs sung by various regiments across the battlefield.
At present I have 2 units of 30 spears called Prima and Draco.

Archer units take the name of birds such as Hawk and Eagle company.

Sea Guard obviously take the name of their ship.
I draw inspiration from Ian M.Banks for ship names to reflect how High Elves,in my version, sometimes see their vessels also as metaphors in life.
A ship might be named anything from "Starfinder" to "Between Night and The colour of Ithilmar"

White Lions are The Highlanders.
Taken from the Charge tactic which changed little from Roman to Jacobean times.
I use my lions in a role clearly defined from the outset.Usually charging the big nasty thing bearing down on my lines.Often this will be suicide(I've only recently realised that white lions need to be used in 8th ed.MSU units of 7-14 or huge blocks of 30+).
Their stoicism is a national stereotype.I think there is something in it.
I see chracian families as crofters with common law hunting rights.

Phoenix Guard are The Immortals.
There have been a few in history with that moniker including Persian Heavy Infantry of 400BC, specifically numbering 10,000 and wearing scale armour.
I'm thinking of changing this name because I always seem to fail ward saves at crucial moments...Thermopylae over and over again.

I don't use swordmasters.They don't get a name except in funeral songs

Dragon Princes are bound to a particular lord or lady so will take their family name.
I do have one unit called The Company of Long Dead Heroes.
They don't know they're dead,can't remember anything and represent the forlorn charge against war machines and gunlines.This sort of neatly absolves a High Elf General of his knowing sacrifice of others.

Units of Reavers will have different animal names, similar to archers.

Shadow warriors don't go in for that sort of thing...sounds too much like fun

I try to give characters names so that I might remember a particular item combo or a status

Elvis is my mounted Death prince

Crystal Ken is a lvl2 with Annulian

Eric is a generic BSB

My Archmage is simply known as Herself.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 05, 2011 12:31 pm 
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I think I'm in agreement with Musashi - the High Elf race in Warhammer is an amalgamation of so many different cultures, all of which are arguable and true to some degree. I can certainly see British influences with their seaborne imperialism and their redcoat stoicism in battle. A lot of their artwork, particularly in banners, feels very Japanese, with its garish colors and their runes are very much like kanji, as are the concept of the swordmasters and shadow warriors. I think this is sometimes why Games Workshop hasn't released a Nippon or Cathay army yet... they would probably be too similar to High Elves, mixed with either Empire or Bretonnia.

I think this is one of the strongest appeals of playing the High Elves, in that no matter what your particular bias may be, you can often times find aspects of it in the High Elf race, or simply inject it yourself without it causing mass chaos to the existing background. Because they're elves and not humans, they can hold so many different aspects of humanity in place at once in perfect harmony without it seeming weird. You can have great big fur-clad axemen, as well as effete, poncy merchants in the same country, and ally them together perfectly. You can have heavily armored knights riding right alongside chariots in the same battleline, and there's room for both contradictory technologies at once.

Sometimes, I feel at odds because you can look at the Empire (Landsknecht) or the Bretonnians (Arthurian/Medieval Western Europe) and their theme is so strong and unifying in concept that you can pick up any book on their real historical counterparts and find information on color schemes, motivations, technology, infrastructure and logistics... its all right there, written out as plain as day, and its all very clear, and you can drop it right into Warhammer and it makes sense. While these armies do have a lot of fantasy as well, its a bit harder to fit in new things however, as their image is so clear cut... far from impossible of course, because their is still depth and originality to their concepts, but its still kept me from pursuing these other armies very far.

The High Elves by contrast are an army that grows with me. I've been playing them since I was 10, well over 15 years ago, and no matter what age I'm at, I find something about them that appeals heavily to me. As I became more interested in history, it added another level of motivation to my studies, as while I searched, I could occasionally find small sources of apparent inspiration for the High Elves... some debatable and vague, some as clear as day.

That is why the only thing I'll argue with anybody (or rather just ignore - I'm getting tired of arguing the older I get), are the concepts that High Elves 'aren't' something, or they're 'just' this, or 'more' of this and 'less' of this. They're everything and yet nothing at all, and there's room for everyone's interpretation, because they're a multifaceted and varied race, even if you want to emphasize their homogeneous looking troops and the disciplined uniformity that it conveys. It's as valid as making an army collected from all over that has no real unifying color scheme.

As for my army and its influences, I have many and I could list them for days, but I've settled on a few unifying, but often contradictory themes.

As for background, my army is an isolated Kingdom called Tor Skylla (Skyllians) separate from the Phoenix King's rule. The name itself comes from the Greek monster Skylla from The Odyssey. It's set high in the mountains within heavily fortified, yet hidden, rings of fortifications, towers, tree forts set in massive pine trees, and spells of illusion - in that, I've tried to capture a little of Switzerland, with its easily defensible ground, which gives my force an excuse for existing despite its small size. In addition, there's the constant threat of being overwhelmed by many enemies, and in that, I think it hearkens to Tibet.

In my plans for Skyllian fortifications, the base of the fortifications are square, upswept affairs, similar to a Tibetan monastery or castle, or Japanese for that matter, usually build around large bells or bonfires, which serve for communication - similar to the Great Wall of China or in Return of the King. The super structures placed on top of these stone bases, again, similar to Japanese castles, are almost like Viking stave churches, with tall, steep, A-frames scaled wood tiled roofs, with crossed dragons at their apex. The buildings themselves however, differ from stave churches in that they are often made of marbled stone, with long, ionic columns topped with Greek designs, such as repeating waves, repeating swastikas (old meaning, not new), a series of dags representing mountains, or a checkered pattern, as well as those familiar High Elf patterns presented in the books. Black and White, with accents of red, the colors of the army, are consistent throughout the architecture.

The army itself is consistent with an outsider or fringe element. Skyllians, being originally a trading colony with the dwarfs, prior to the War of the Beard, come from many regions, but chiefly from Chrace, so the lion is a common motif and White Lions are probably the second most populous troop type after Seaguard. Spearmen however do not exist in my army whatsoever, due to the fact that battles often take place on uneven ground, mountain passes, and water ways where there isn't always room for a conventional battle-line and the Spearmen could easily be left out of the battle and unable to contribute - defensive warfare is king here. These Seaguard were formed separately from Lothern Seaguard however, in a form of convergent evolution, and so are simply called Cityguard instead. These troops are intensely hardy compared to normal elves, as they are used to cold, mountain climes and come from Chracian stock.

As an aside, most all my troops wear some form of battle makeup, similar to Japanese samurai or Egyptian royalty, or ancient Mediterranean cultures, or even the band KISS. This makeup is usually derived from native berries and pine pitch, and serves the purpose of not only protecting the vulnerable parts of the face from the biting cold, but also serves to give the warrior a fierce, stoic, or serene expression in the face of battle. The White Lions from my force typically wear solely black battle makeup, in stylized imitation of lions, while the Citizenguard wear more individualized forms, such as 'Eye of Horus' or Isha in this case, or other strange patterns. The army typically wears black leather robes, contrasted against white silk undergarments with red accents, so these facial markings are a point of contrast and an area for real individualization. Yes, I said KISS.

In addition to the Cityguard, who are formed of the citizenry as per Greek Hoplites, the army also goes to battle with many Archer formations. These troops are made up of not only the young, but also women, significant others, and the old or infirm, as well as off-duty Citizenguard - there are so few elves in my city that no one is left unarmed, and it is commonplace for elves of my city to carry bows and short swords at all times. These troops perform the duties of auxiliaries as well as camp cooks, doctors, fletchers, blacksmiths, etc. I'm also constructing a Wood Elf army, so I always have plenty of unhooded Glade Guard heads, and so they're a simple conversion of High Elf Archer bodies combined with Glade Guard head and a head feather of some type. This makes their clothing look much larger, so that they can double as male or female elves in leather, sleeveless great coats - the distinction between genders is all in what sort and quantity of makeup they wear, and gives them an almost middle-eastern, Ottoman Turks appearance.

Next are the White Lions, who in my army represent the Viking element. Not much in the way of explanation is needed, as they so clearly represent this idea in my army - they are invariably the least customized or converted troops in my whole High Elf army, and yet are still some of my favorite, as I love the duality in the elf nature that they represent. I'm something of a Viking apologist, blaming their raids and slave-taking on the fact that Christian peoples would not trade with them and the 'Little Ice Age' forced them in their actions... of course, they did so with bloody, gleeful savagery, and this is the hitch that keeps me from adopting Viking practices myself, but with High Elves, I can represent the positive aspects and subvert the negative - rather than raiding churches (F@CK YOUR MONASTERIESSSS... HUR HUR *cough*), or taking slaves, they work the forests, build longships, Russian-inspired log fortifications, etc

I'm going to stop here as I feel I've gotten my point across - the fact is that each element of my army and collection has an added element of depth provided to it by history and further research. Even if this approach to history and army collecting is admittedly cherry picked and scattered, with each year I make further connections to my army and my knowledge base grows. Some of the most peculiar journeys have had to do with the white lions... from them, I've reconnected to hunting and fishing, and am more interested in woodcraft. In that sense, Warhammer becomes fuel for other forms of learning.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 05, 2011 12:48 pm 
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Like many here, I was fascinated by Greek Hoplite armies at an early age, my first proper army for ancients. I've never liked Macedonians, though I concede the image of Alexander leading his cavalry across the Granicus is way cool. The older I get though, the more I identify with Rome, I guess because I'm British and we were part of the Empire.

So I've used lots of Roman elements in my army [oval shields, standards, unit types]. I've mixed this with the GW High Elf flavour [wings, moons, conical helmets] and come up with a spin on the army I'm very happy with.

I agree very strongly with much of what Milliardo is saying. So many guys on here have a strong feel for the army but the takes are many and varied. I've known I was a High Elf player for 20 years but it's only in the last 3 that I've raised an army and fielded it.

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 05, 2011 1:11 pm 
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It's an endless discussion how "historical" the WH-world is. There are unmistakably strong historical influences, as well als a an obvious "medievalish-D&D"-ish and "semi-Tokienesque" generic fantasy influences from the seventies, when Citadel was more of a hobby project than a commecial company. However, the most overestimated factor in the discussion is, in my opinion, the forethought.

The WH-world as it was devised back then: for me it looks as if a bunch of history/fantasy buffs quickly created a map roughly based on Europe/the Real World, to create a basis for roleplaying and battlefighting which was devised to include generic historical and fantasy concept such as: high-horsed knights (Bretonnia), high-horsed -nights-cum-halberds-cum-inquisition-cum-tech-cum-cannon-cum-halfling- cum Emperor - cum-Hansa (Empire), Orcs and Goblins (in a far less serious way as portrayed in Tolkien) Elves in various forms, Dwarves, Norse, Japs/Chinese, Undead and 1001 nightly Arabs - and some spare territory for all kinds of strange creatures. That was where it started. Chaos, Lizards, Chaos Dwarves and Tomb Kings have simply been built upon that. Somewhere along the way some concepts were lost (such as Imperial Dwarves in Empire armies and the obscure Zoats) some were changed (The oppressive and arrogant Bretonnians to High Knights of Goodness - and back again), but most grew into consistent concepts. Within those boundaries - or outside of it - GW wants to have the freedom to change these concepts if that would be commercially viable, and moreover, I think that they get sich of the criticism: "That isn't realistic cuz' in the sixteen-fifties....". Hence the answer "it's just fantasy, not history". Some models (especially the 5th Ed. Bretonnians and Brets of eralier editions) are so true to history that they are used by historical players as well. However, they want to have the freedom to exaggerate, spoof or leave history altogether. And rightly so.

However, everybody is free to make his or her army as "historic" as he wants and especially the new plastic ECW and 100- and 30-year war models of Perry and Warlord games may offer cheap options for a more hstorical approach for Empire. Moreover, then you can decide to buy Warhammer Ancient Battles of other historical game systems to have you units crossover into historical wargaming. Because if you really want to be Alexander, Historical Wargaming is your thing.

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 05, 2011 4:09 pm 
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Musashi wrote:
The fantasy part borrows heavily from Michael Moorcock's Melniboné,

I never realized how much until I read some Moorcock a couple of years back. Though given the old 'Eternal Champion' range maybe I should have.

Aerendar Valandil wrote:
The WH-world as it was devised back then: for me it looks as if a bunch of history/fantasy buffs quickly created a map roughly based on Europe/the Real World, to create a basis for roleplaying and battlefighting

I think so!

Aerendar Valandil wrote:
Imperial Dwarves

These were great!

Aerendar Valandil wrote:
Hence the answer "it's just fantasy, not history".

I would take issue with the 'just'. I think GW have lifted stuff rather too obviously in places. However, John Blanche wrote an article in White Dwarf where he mentioned that they are not just using stock historical and fantasy concepts they are combining and redifining them and making something new.

For a long time I struggled to take the Warhammer World seriously. Now though, with the quality of much of the artwork and models, together with some very good background in places it lives and breathes more for me.

Aerendar Valandil wrote:
Because if you really want to be Alexander, Historical Wargaming is your thing.

This is an interesting assertion. I played historical wargames for years and one of the reasons I gave them up for Warhammer was that in the end I was more interested in the general concepts and the legends that grew up than in the minutiae of weapons and formations.

One of the driving forces behind the growth of early-ish historical wargaming was the success of the Wargames Research Group (whose Ancient rules became a standard for many years). Their creed was 'Research'. They placed a premium on going back to primary sources to find out as closely as possible the mechanics of ancient warfare.

This was very laudable and in my view improved ancient wargaming no end but in the final analysis had to stay true to history. So you might get as 'true' a picture as possible of the army of Alexander but the mythic and legendary elements that surround him are not reflected so much perhaps. Where a game like Warhammer excels in my view, is allowing players to give free rein to these elements and yet use historical elements too.

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 05, 2011 5:05 pm 
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SpellArcher wrote:
For a long time I struggled to take the Warhammer World seriously. Now though, with the quality of much of the artwork and models, together with some very good background in places it lives and breathes more for me.


I still have problems with it. It has some very nice concepts, but it has too much comic relief in it, especially the ogres. I actually liked some of the darker concepts, such as the walking Slann with their lobotomized human slaves. But it works fine for the game.

SpellArcher wrote:
Aerendar Valandil wrote:
Because if you really want to be Alexander, Historical Wargaming is your thing.


This is an interesting assertion. I played historical wargames for years and one of the reasons I gave them up for Warhammer was that in the end I was more interested in the general concepts and the legends that grew up than in the minutiae of weapons and formations.


What I meant to say is that it is difficult to fit in Alexander into WH-fantasy. I do, as a tactical concept - refused left, central phalanx, reinforced right, take the initiative. However, that works only to a certain extent. Moreover, I want players to know that there is more in this world than GW alone. Not necessarily as a replacement, but as additional options to meet certain needs, instead of perhaps fitting round pegs in square holes.

SpellArcher wrote:
One of the driving forces behind the growth of early-ish historical wargaming was the success of the Wargames Research Group (whose Ancient rules became a standard for many years). Their creed was 'Research'. They placed a premium on going back to primary sources to find out as closely as possible the mechanics of ancient warfare.

This was very laudable and in my view improved ancient wargaming no end but in the final analysis had to stay true to history. So you might get as 'true' a picture as possible of the army of Alexander but the mythic and legendary elements that surround him are not reflected so much perhaps. Where a game like Warhammer excels in my view, is allowing players to give free rein to these elements and yet use historical elements too.


I have played WRG a long time ago as well - Napoleonics. I found it fine back then, what I found charming about WHF is that it can be played in an evening, which was impossible with the WRG Naps. However, there are different schools among Historical wargamers as well. Many now, and I daresay most I know of, like quicker, tenser games and prefer for example WHAB or Flames of War over the tedious administrative effort WRG-gaming was


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 05, 2011 6:35 pm 
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If form follows function, anyone who'd go for their optimized build would paint their army in Wehrmacht colours; Greek city-state isn't really suitable, whereas Macedonian under Alexander would be because of the wide range of troops he (was forced to) utilized, where the arm of decision was supposedly heavy cavalry, but the infantry was capable of a heavy punch and yet flexible enough to adapt to changing tactical situations. Macedonian Successor don't seem inspiring enough, and Roman Legions tend to be not varied enough in units. Late Romans are wussies, but Byzantines during their heyday become interesting again.

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 05, 2011 8:10 pm 
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SpellArcher wrote:
One of the driving forces behind the growth of early-ish historical wargaming was the success of the Wargames Research Group (whose Ancient rules became a standard for many years). Their creed was 'Research'. They placed a premium on going back to primary sources to find out as closely as possible the mechanics of ancient warfare.

This was very laudable and in my view improved ancient wargaming no end but in the final analysis had to stay true to history. So you might get as 'true' a picture as possible of the army of Alexander but the mythic and legendary elements that surround him are not reflected so much perhaps. Where a game like Warhammer excels in my view, is allowing players to give free rein to these elements and yet use historical elements too.

That's a nice way of putting it, SA. Pretty much perfectly explains why I enjoy Warhammer. The fact that High Elves, in particular, can build such tactical armies with plenty of classical echoes makes them, for me, much more fun to play. I'll tell you one thing- learning about ancient tactics, armies and battles allows you a much more vivid imagination and gives an excellent extra kick when you're manoeuvreing your elven forces, readying the charge and unleashing hell. :)

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 06, 2011 1:47 am 
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Aerendar Valandil wrote:
Moreover, I want players to know that there is more in this world than GW alone

Fair play!

Aerendar Valandil wrote:
I have played WRG a long time ago as well - Napoleonics. I found it fine back then, what I found charming about WHF is that it can be played in an evening, which was impossible with the WRG Naps. However, there are different schools among Historical wargamers as well. Many now, and I daresay most I know of, like quicker, tenser games and prefer for example WHAB or Flames of War over the tedious administrative effort WRG-gaming was

Many felt that WRG 6th Ancients was superb, to the extent that it is still played 30 years after writing! I agree with your point that it was a bit laboured. Loved 7th though, an excellent blend of realism and playability IMHO. I'm interested in WAB, seems like my suspicion that it shares some of WFB's 'flavour over strict accuracy' ethos was right?

Seredain wrote:
That's a nice way of putting it, SA

Thank you!

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 06, 2011 9:22 am 
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Quote:
I'm interested in WAB, seems like my suspicion that it shares some of WFB's 'flavour over strict accuracy' ethos was right?


Yes. Very much so. It's primarily about a nice game with nice models and althought the inspiration is of course history of course, they're not beyond adding some mystics or heroics. For example: the Age of Arthur supplement (the Dark Age British variant) is partially about the same period as Fall of the West, but tends slightly more to individual heroics; in Chariot Wars (Early Middle East/Anatolia) there is a Trojan list with space for great heroes; and in several supplements some troops are downtoned or upgraded to make armies more characterful. However, in the end the place of warrior heroes is less significant, but as generals are vulnerable and like in earlier editions of WHFB the loss of the general may incite general flight, they are important and the choice to send them into the fray (which may or may not turn the tide) is a choice indeed. However, what I like the most about WAB is that it is about S3, T3, average to low Ld troops against S3, T3 average Ld troops with only a few pips of armour, resulting in tense, often drawn battles. I must sadly admit that the 2.0 version is actually quite bad, and the earlier editions are better. They are basically 4th Ed fantasy rules with a few tweaks and without the magic and the monsters and the top-heaviness in special rules.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 07, 2011 2:24 am 
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I hath perceived High Elves to be similar to the Achaemenid Persian Empire in the way they fight and dispose their armies. However I shall say that I do have a bias as I hath collected and played Persians in the past. In battle the Persians would employ large blocks of infantry supported by archers enough to make the sky dark with arrows. And these would have both light and heavy cavalry to protect the flanks and also chariots to break and discomfort their foe. Skirmishers were oft times employed to harrass the enemy formations and to draw them out so that they would break ranks. Then the mass of Persian infantry would fall upon them and and crush them utterly.
This why I do like core troops and am not content until my army shall be a mass of glinting spears with many archers at the ready. In Persia Elites were not intended to strike first, but would hold until the core troops had plastered well the foe and then they would attack and bring down any that did still resist.

I hath played by the DBA ruleset and I do possess the Russian Zvezda 'Age of Battles' set and I doth like these rules well.
By good fortune I hath observed games of Warhammer Ancient Battles, but did not have to opportunity to play.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 07, 2011 10:11 am 
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If I look at the models they look more Byzantine to me than (Achaemenid) Persian - or Sassanian for that matter. It's a very specialized army with a very organized and uniform look, a lot of scale mail and - and that is crucial - armored infantry, and no allies. Perhaps with exception of the Immortals Persians infantry was not the best, and it was certainly not the disciplined wall of spears some other, more organized armies could muster - such as the byzantines/late romans. In addition. And we even have Varangian Guard!


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 07, 2011 11:49 am 
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Aerendar Valandil wrote:
However, what I like the most about WAB is that it is about S3, T3, average to low Ld troops against S3, T3 average Ld troops with only a few pips of armour, resulting in tense, often drawn battles. I must sadly admit that the 2.0 version is actually quite bad, and the earlier editions are better.

This power creep is one of my main dislikes about GW games. I couldn't believe that Ld9 was pretty much average when I went back to 40K a few years ago. I also think the damage done to the Warhammer ruleset by upgraded elites in the 7th edition books was considerable.

Thanks for the heads-up about the WAB rules. A local bookshop has a copy of the first edition, so if I can find £20 sometime I may buy it.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 07, 2011 1:53 pm 
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Power creep is the consequence of pushing a specific model range, whereas refining the general rules set to allow certain results under specific conditions would have been the healthier one.

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 08, 2011 9:52 am 
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Aerendar Valandil wrote:
If I look at the models they look more Byzantine to me than (Achaemenid) Persian - or Sassanian for that matter. It's a very specialized army with a very organized and uniform look, a lot of scale mail and - and that is crucial - armored infantry, and no allies. Perhaps with exception of the Immortals Persians infantry was not the best, and it was certainly not the disciplined wall of spears some other, more organized armies could muster - such as the byzantines/late romans. In addition. And we even have Varangian Guard!


On reflection I must agree with thee my Lord. Because I hath played Persians I do tend to play my High Elves the same, but as thou hath said the armies of Byzantium are the better match.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 10, 2011 1:26 pm 
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How could I forget about Byzantium? :) When I read rules for Warhammer Historical and then was lucky to get a new copy of Beyond the Golden Gate supplement, I really wanted to use some their ideas in WHFB. I think it would be great fun to mix Ellyrians with Silver Helms or Spearelves with Archers. I am not sure if it were efficient but it didn't really matter. And having already Verengian Guard in our list just fit the whole picture nicely.

It was obviously an idealistic picture of very well equipped, disciplined and well trained troops led by generals who properly studied strategy and tactics. After reading Strategikon and other military texts by Byzantines I could not help but treat reading army books other than HE as "getting to know your enemy" approach in a more methodical manner. The conquest of North Africa by Belisarius with his small cavalry force inspired some thoughts about all cavalry force too. That is still a period of history which remains inspirational for me. That is actually the whole point. One can play games historical games but at the same time it is good to see if particular approach can work in Fantasy too.

That is why I was so impressed by Seredain topic. He showed a nice example of how to apply force concentration idea in our games. He then created a successful army, which also seemed to defy some principles of 8th edition. While it simply benefited from new rules just in a different way.

I mentioned earlier that I am currently more inspired by Successors. What I like about that period of history is that the armies were incredibly varied and the skills of the commanders was high. They were good students of Alexander after all. The difference though was that they were not matched against Persians but against each others. HE army does not have elephants but other units can be comperable. Very good heavy cavalry, spearelves as pikemen (mainly due to their additional attacks in comparison to other spearmen), elite infantry could be treated as something akin to Silver Shields or Hypaspists, there are chariots and war machines too. Of course it is not about recreating historic battles in their fantasy version. But then some ideas can be used. Why not destroy your opponent heavy and fast cavalry first and then swarm upon his horde infantry (battle of Gabiene anyone?). Or maybe block his cavalry with something he fears to charge (White Lions maybe) and to join the clash with the rest of the army (battle of Ipsos).

It is still Fantasy, with magic items, spells and monsters. I just like when there are even more aspects of the hobby intermixing with each other.

So thanks everybody for posting your very interesting thoughts so far. I hope you will add some more :)

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 11, 2011 2:37 pm 
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Swordmaster of Hoeth wrote:
The conquest of North Africa by Belisarius

Reconquest?

:)

We're talking about Rome here! As far as I can see the 'Byzantine' bit was thought up by west Europeans trying to question it's legitimacy...

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 11, 2011 3:24 pm 
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You are obviously right, SpellArcher :) I hoped somebody would correct me in that matter. :)

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 11, 2011 3:29 pm 
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You're too kind!

Sorry, I get a bit worked up about it.

:)

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 15, 2011 10:02 pm 
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To me they are the Byzantine Empire in many ways. Formerly a great world spanning empire (To the Romans the Mediterranean was the whole World more or less), that is past its glory days, clearly on the decline, but still capable of a few Justinian like rulers. The armies seem similar to me as well. The Hellenistic core units, the Byzantine cavalry being Reavers, the Dragon Prince's being cataphracts... The White Lions are Varangian Guard, the eagle ships are clearly depicted as Biremes and Triremes... They are just missing greek fire really. Maybe not their society, but their military really strikes me as Byzantine.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 16, 2011 10:45 am 
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GW said as much in a WD at the tail-end of 3rd edition.

ZehKaiser wrote:
that is past its glory days, clearly on the decline, but still capable of a few Justinian like rulers.

I always remember a quote about the Western Empire:

"A similar decline in the East proceeded more slowly and was halted and then reversed by the Emperors Zeno and Anastasius."

The thing is, the Eastern Empire lasted from about 300 to 1453! Sure it was much reduced by then but it achieved some great military and political successes, of which the reconquests under Justinian were just one. It's true that it didn't expand it's borders greatly in that time but the Empire as a whole hadn't since maybe about AD50?

That touches on the amazing job done by the Western armies holding back innumerable enemies until the 5th century too.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 16, 2011 11:18 am 
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I doubt that Justinian could ascend to the Phoenix Throne.

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 19, 2011 5:20 pm 
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Persian. The Persian army relied on hordes (not in gaming terms) of light infantry to pin down the foe, where cavalry or chariots could flank them and deliver the killing blow (again, not in gaming terms). This, me thinks, is how most High Elf players game.

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 19, 2011 7:04 pm 
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Interesting topic - I have also noticed that Warhammer is deeply influenced by history, partly because its such a rich resource of ideas, names and background, but also because most fantasy writers, upon which Warhammer is based, take much of their ideas and inspiritation from history (eg: Tolkein was deeply into Celtic and Slavic history and folklore). Ian Livingston & Steve Jackson who founded Gamesworkshop wrote those great old fantasy dice-roleplaying books of the 1980s such as "Forest of Doom", "House of Hell" - the damn butler always got me ;), "Island of the Lizard King" and so on which I used to read as a kid, also took a lot of his fantasy ideas from historical backgrounds too.

I like basing my armies on historical nations in unusual ways. For example most people when associating Dwarfs and History would go celtic because thats what GW have done with braveheart style tatoo. Instead I went Roman. Red blue and purple against engraved chainmail is a very good look which has worked well for my Dwarfs, and the regal Thane and Kingly command structure & ordered ranks of disciplined highly trained warriors fits the Roman theme perfectly.

My next painting/conversion project im planning is a 'Japan-style Empire army', as i've just returned from Kyoto on holiday. If you have ever seen 'The Last Samurai' you will know the look i'm going for - units of massed infantry each with a small banner led by Samuri armoured characters with face masks I think would look awesome. I'll use some converted chaos helmets to give the horned Samurai death masks on the cavalry they used to trike fear into the enemy, convert a stone lion-dog as some sort of monstrous mount, and maybe make some Kami-haunted (like in Ghiblis Princess Mononoke) shinto temple monks as fanatics :D

For some historical fantasy ideas with a touch of comedy, I suggest you all watch Time Bandits - its full of ideas you could create in Warhammer including a fat giant with an ogres boat on his head! :lol:


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 20, 2011 2:27 am 
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Yea for me the High Elves are the Byzantine Greeks. Maybe that is because consider myself a Byzantine Historian, but all the traits are there; ancient culture & highly developed culture, the er.. byzantine court politics, strong maritime presence, Thematic/Provincial armies, the units types are even close-ish and I see parallels of the Byzantine Civil wars in the HE-DE split. And like the Byzantines the High Elves are fighting a 'long defeat', being pushed on all sides by their enemies and even their allies aren't really allies. I just hope that Tyrion isn't Constantine Dragas... :(

Also Archer really is right and it is an important historical distinction. To themselves, right up to the very end and even a little afterward, the 'Byzantines' weren't Byzantines they were Romans, capital 'r'. Historically there never was a 'Byzantine Empire' it was the Eastern Roman Empire. Granted by the times of the Palaiologian Emperors exactly how 'Roman' it actually was is debatable, but to themselves and indeed to everyone including their enemies they were Romans. Mehmed II even had himself declared the Roman Emperor after he took Constantinople.

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