White Dwarf November 2013 – A Review

Last weekend I picked up a copy of the latest White Dwarf, my 3rd this year after Dark Angels and Apocalypse 40K. My first “fantasy-focused” White Dwarf too!

Given that November 2013 saw a “2nd-wave” for October’s Warhammer Fantasy Dark Elves release, I was wondering if they’d switch up the format a bit (no luck there!). I was also curious about the new multi-player expansion for Warhammer Fantasy: Triumph & Treachery.

#1 – New Warhammer Fantasy Dark Elves Releases

White Dwarf November 2013 New Releases

As always, the White Dwarf starts off with some 20-odd pages of new releases. The new Dark Elves are clearly the stars of the issue, though there is also the Black Legion Codex, the Triumph & Treachery Warhammer multi-player expansion, a new 40K Apocalypse book, and other titbits.

White Dwarf November 2013 Special Effects Paints

One of the more interesting new things are Games Workshop’s new “Special Effect Paints”, which promise to make it easy to paint blood, slime, corrosion, cracked earth, and a few other things. If they work as advertise, these could be fantastic additions to anyone’s hobby-accessories.

#2 – Triumph & Treachery Battle Report

white Dwarf November 2013 BAttle Report

The other “big news” is Games Workshop’s Triumph & Treachery, which allows Warhammer Fantasy Battles with up to 5 players. This month’s battle report duly shows off how this goes.

Warhammer Fantasy is a complex game, so how did they make it work for up to 5 players?

  • Players create armies with an extra 10% in points for Victory Tokens (used to both decide the winner at the end and for certain actions in  the game) or allied Mercenary units (from any army book). Players also get Treachery Cards that come with the expansions.
  • Player’s take turns in random order (by drawing cards it seems).
  • Player’s declare one of their opponent as the target each phase. They can only fight that one opponent (though you can choose different opponents in different phases).
  • Player’s spend Victory Tokens to bribe mercenaries (or players) and play Treachery Cards. New Victory Tokens are gained by killing units or completing mission-objectives.
  • The player with the most Victory Tokens at the end wins.

There are good ideas in this (as far as I can tell from the Battle Report). Victory Tokens, being both spend to gain advantages during the game and needed to win at the end, are a good example.

On the other hand, it does sound fiendishly complicated to keep track of all the melee, effects, Treachery Cards, etc. .through the multiple rounds of multiple players. People better know their Warhammer before they attempt Triumph & Treachery.

As far as I can tell, there are no “simplification” or “reductions” from regular Warhammer Fantasy to make multi-player Fantasy a faster beer-&-prezels-version for casual “group-of-friends” game-play.

#3 – Miniature Showcases

White Dwarf 2013 Miniature Showcases

The largest part, aside from new releases, are the various miniature showcases in the issue.

The is the Army of the Month, Parade Ground, Kit Bash, etc., etc.. . The ingenuity of the White Dwarf for coming up with different “sections” that all largely do the same thing is impressive.

#4 – Jervis Johnson

White Dwarf November 2013 Jervis Johnson

Jervis Johnson’s column has him talking about his love for templates.

The article is a bit silly, but I believe it touches on some good points (and I wish Jervis Johnson had taken those a bit further), especially where notes how:

  1.  the intuitiveness and immersion of throwing around templates for explosions and flamers is such a big factor in the “tactile” appeal of wargaming (made me think of Golem Arcana) and
  2. how this ‘tactile’ quality brought to a game by templates, despite it’s problems from a rules-making perspective (“how many models are under that template?”) trumps the advantages of cleaner, more abstract (more balanced, more competition-friendly) rules that work on calculated and randomly generated numbers alone.

#5 – Final Thoughts

Oh, and in the final pages, there’s a little interview with Dan Abnett on The Unremembered Empire and, as always, the Design Studio, which I always find to be among the best parts of the White Dwarf, as they give great insights into the details of new miniatures.

Overall, I got what I wanted from the White Dwarf. The November White Dwarf does give a good idea of what the Triumph & Treachery expansion is all about (I think it does it a lot better than the Apocalypse 40K issue) and it gives some good insights on the new Dark Elves miniatures.

On the other hand, there is very little “other things”, aside from 10 variants of miniature showcases. While these aren’t bad (they are gorgeous armies and miniatures, no doubt), a few more meaty articles in the mix would’ve made a better issue overall in my opinion.