Rumor Mill: Big Shakeup to Warhammer Fantasy

Games Workshop’s rumor mill is running hot and heavy with speculation about the upcoming 9th edition. Much of it revolves around the losing of certain factions as well as the creation of new ones (sounds like there might be a “Space-Marine-Esque” one coming). Also, rumor has it that the world, itself, is exploding. Gone is the old map we’ve known for so long. Instead, each portion will be its own “bubble universe” that occasionally bash together and create a place where various factions can battle.

What’re your thoughts? I know these are rumors still, but they’re supposedly from fairly reliable sources.


From the post:

You better sit down – I’m serious. Warhammer Fantasy is changing in ways you won’t believe:

We’ve been saying for months that all the accurate rumormongers are pointing/hinting at a fundamental shakeup of the Warhammer Fantasy world. The End Times series is really only the bridge to get us there.

  • Veritas

    I can’t believe they’d essentially nuke everyone’s model collection into irrelevance. That’s beyond arrogant.

    • Yeah- this is bigger than the changes from 2nd to 3rd ed 40k, and that nuked a lot of our model collections (there are still people enraged about it).

      Back then, I thought the rumors had to be false because they were all so drastic. I mean were they really getting rid of Movement as a core stat?

      Ultimately, I don’t see why GW can’t support two games with compatible models.

      But WFB needs to be able to bring in new blood, and that’s a tall order when you need fifty models to play a smallish game.

    • 4tonmantis

      Arrogant and foolish.. which.. has been synonymous with Games Workshop for a looooong time.

  • jahatch28

    First off, I don’t think arrogance is something GW is worried about.. 2ndly, if they take a “Magic: the gathering” format of a core set of 6 armies with a handful of core units and every 6-12 months tweak those lists with new units, models, etc, it would create an interesting dynamic… I’m not saying I’m a fan of the idea, but it has worked for card games.. why can’t it work for miniatures? also, no one is stopping anyone from playing 8th edition, or playing this new “9th edition” with all available units and not just the ‘official’ time frame of the units… I suspect GW to support existing gamers and that this “end times upheaval” rumor may be just one part of what GW is doing with WFB but it would be a unique experiment in miniature gaming…

  • Killraven

    Honestly, without over-reacting, I seriously can’t see me, or my group, doing anything with 9E at all. From a miniatures point of view we’ve all but ignored End Times already, knowing that with an impending new edition around the corner, GW has never shown an inclination to supporting things like this in the long term and nobody wants to buy expensive miniatures until they can see a new edition or army book that ensures a few extra years of playability.

    Rumorwise, BubbleHammer sounds simply lame. I highly doubt I would embrace that sort of game universe from any new system, and it’s a sad thing to do with such a wonderfully developed system as WHFB.

    Yes, there are lots of people already saying “you don’t have to stop playing 8E”, but realistically? Sure, there are still people out there that play old editions of games, but for most of us part of the excitement of a system is always wondering what is coming out next, or what (good) ways things might change with a new edition. Once you take that away, what is left? I have little doubt that for me, and my group, that excitement (along with our gaming budgets) will shift completely to other new games. Just in the last few months, buoyed by rumors like this, we’ve invested heavily in SAGA and Bolt Action.

    Personally, I’d really rather keep playing good massed battles in WHFB, but am not sure that I’d manage, just by virtue of being so completely disgusted by GW if these changes actually happen. Some of it would almost be acceptable if they simply had the decency to provide 8E rulebooks for all armies before changing things so much.

    • I must say, I sort of like the idea of bubble-universes bumping together and creating conflict that way. I don’t know if I particularly like it for Warhammer, but if a new game system were to come out with that as the backstory for the universe, I’d think that might be pretty neat. It’d certainly give the game creators lots of leeway to create just whatever army they wanted to. Sure, not everyone likes games where sci-fi fights fantasy fights “historical” fights… I dunno… I dinosaurs or something, but depending on how it was done, I might find that fairly interesting.

      • surprize

        “…and so you see in this universe THAT’S why the bird-men are fighting dinosaurs with guns..” Seems legit.

        • Well, like I said, it’s not going to be interesting for everyone. A lot of gamers wouldn’t like so much “throw it all in the blender” formats, but if done right (and I do mean to stress that. It’d be very easy to be done poorly) it could be cool.

          • At very least, it represents a move away from the generic, which is something WFB has always had trouble with.

            The setting will start looking like something unique. And that’s a good distance from the -re-skinned Middle Earth that they started out with so long ago.

          • 4tonmantis

            That’s where this fails GW. I know a large portion of people who are vested in the games are there because they enjoy the settings. The price of the figures and the ridiculous unit sizes and restrictions and all the other ad nauseum that has been driving people off or forcing them to look for proxies from other sources.. I mean.. they’re literally kicking the barstool out from beneath themselves with the noose already set in place. To me.. this move comes across as GW is out of ideas and all they can think to do is turn WH into a kid’s toy box.

          • surprize

            I wasn’t knocking it. I’m a guy who enjoys playing mass battle roman legions against normans. And let me tell you, in the world of historical wargames that’s way more out there for most people in that sub-community than birdmen vs dinosaurs.

      • Killraven


  • 4tonmantis

    lol rumors posted as news now.. might as well just stay on BoW and BoLS. eesh.

    Since it’s here and I’m here:
    I like the original idea.. that WFB is a planet in W40k.. that was kinda neat. This bubble thing reeks of Yu-Gi-Oh/Pokemon type pandering.
    Remember that the new management is probably putting a lot of pressure on the franchise to shake things up and see what falls out and what sticks. I wish they would remember Storm of Magic and all the other failed BS in the pass and just stick to a good solid clean game and take their products back to their roots. I mean that in a genuine rules and all type of approach too.. not just what they tried with Orks with a half-assed attempt to play on nostalgia.. but a full overhaul with changes BACK in the directions that worked.
    I guess ultimately that’s the problem though.. they keep trying new stuff to see what will work rather than learning from all their efforts over the years and finding the things that worked out of all of that.

    • 4tonmantis

      *in the past.
      Ugh.. new site with annoying layout and we still don’t have an edit button.

    • Soulfinger

      Yeah, but rumors get more replies than news. I heard a rumor that George R. R. Martin is doing the same with his world, because in both cases the established IP has no worth whatsoever. They may tweak things, but dismantling their game world doesn’t add value nor does it resolve any issues — “Phew! It’s bubble universes now, which finally allows me to play Lizardmen versus Empire with non-GW minis. Hooray!” I also heard a rumor that the new Ford runs on farts and sauerkraut, that Justin Bieber wrote Beat It, and that the new WHFB faction will be designed by the Corpsehammer guy. All from equally reliable sources.

      • “News” doesn’t just have to mean a repeat of the official PR releases of companies.

        Inside information leaks can also be news. And that’s more or less what this is claiming to be- inside information from an anonymous source.

        Often, anon sources are publicly challenged, and that’s also news. If GW says this story isn’t true, then that should be reported.

        • 4tonmantis

          “A reliable source” is still unconfirmed. Nobody said PR press releases.. but without some sort of proof this is not news.. it’s hearsay. Since it deals with something that could be viewed as a negative impact on their product lines they could also claim it is libel or some other sort of damaging false reporting. There’s a reason news agencies try their best to avoid reporting things that are not substantiated.

          • I’m just complaining that there doesn’t seem to be anything in between.

            We have PR and we have rumors, and that’s it, and the limitation bothers me.

          • 4tonmantis

            The only in between thing I could think of would be previews or an article similar to Ronnie from Mantic’s interview about 2015. If GW weren’t so tight-lipped about everything it would ease up a lot of the problems they have. Instead, they keep bottled up and alienate everyone with communications in much the same way that they do with their business, legal, and social practices. Most other miniature companies have previews of upcoming models, discussions in forums about the direction they’re going, places for fan lists, fiction, and art.. Hell there are a collection of mostly european miniature companies that chat with one another and work together in many ways (Heresy, Hasselfree, etc). You have companies stepping up like Reaper on Torn Armor or the company that stepped up for the Rangers Salamander KS to help with their infantry (can’t remember who). Contrast that with GW trying to shutter BoW or going after people because they make shoulder pads while deactivating their social media. They have some nice looking models but GW fails pretty much everywhere that counts.

      • 4tonmantis

        I agree.. though I can’t say that re-structuring the concept of GW’s products is outside of what I would accept as the realm of possibilities. They are known for sweeping changes that people generally regard as drastic. Remember we’re talking about the company that made it more difficult for retailers to sell their products, went after fans for making fan-art, and attempted to trademark and take ownership of both everyday words and historical events. Let’s not pretend we’re dealing with the staff of CERN 😛

  • surprize

    It sort of feels as if they are maybe effectively canning Warhammer and bringing out a brand new model line and game. Then hanging it on the “Warhammer” brand as that might still have some selling power in its own right. Seems like an OK idea really I guess. Game is stale.

    I think the problem is that they possibly underestimate the ingenuity of gamers. At my club there is a couple of guys who play Saga with “Anglo-elves” against “Welsh Spartans” as they have some Elf and Spartan models in 28mm and don’t want to buy any more figures. The point being that if people will use Crusader figures to represent Bretonians (and thus not be able to play official WH events anyway) it really isn’t much of a leap to use anything plausible to represent anything. So completely changing all your ranges to 3 headed fishmen and Cat people in armour isn’t going to stop people proxying models to play the game.

    Also, without being too harsh to GW, its fine to want to protect your IP, but first its necessary to come up with a single original idea since 1980 that can then be protected. Maybe the new range will have really, really distinctive shoulder pads.

    • 4tonmantis

      I can’t think of anything in GW that isn’t IP lifted out of something else.

      • n815e

        Show me a game company that is doing anything different from this.

        • KelRiever

          I think everything is derrivative if you look long enough, but I also think it is clear some companies are not directly attempting to rip. Some of GW stuff is actually original, but more of a derrivateive of their own old stuff!

          And not being a direct derrivative can totally hurt. Players themselves don’t look for original concepts, they look for a lot of tried and true and ‘looks like’

          Dark Age is a game where post apoc isn’t original, but the look of the miniatures is, to me, certainly original enough. It was based off Brom Art but that really was a purposeful agreement with the artist at the time and it has moved on from there.

          I’d also say that Warmachine did it for a while, even though the quality of their sculpts, many of them, leave a lot to be desired.

          So they’re out there, though I am naming only two. You can argue anything is derrivative but I think it is pretty clear some stuff is more directly related than others and if isn’t that original, people aren’t going to say it is.

        • 4tonmantis

          You can’t be naive enough to miss that their entire concept is based on creating a genericized universe that allows for all the major tropes of pop culture to fight. Everything from Tolkien to 80s action movies, WWII, Anime, the crusades, Conan, Heavy Metal magazine and art, etc etc etc.. At least with games like Infinity or Privateer Press’ or surprisingly even Mantic.. you get a cohesive setting where the models have variety and might be derivative but it is deliberate and ordered. GW just threw a bunch of pop culture stuff onto a wall, called it a business model and have been scrambling to figure out how to make it work since the 80s. WHFB at least has some interesting ideas (Skaven and Lizardmen) and yeah.. their product lines have evolved over time but the original concepts on all of that are literally them regurgitating things that were successful.

          • 4tonmantis

            I’m approaching this from their ORIGINAL idea.. that WHFB was set in the 40k universe. They retconned this a while back but from the sounds of this rumor they may re-adopt that storyline.. who knows.

          • Yeah- I thought that as well. If WFB moves into a “warp” type of location, it seems pretty likely they’ll move back towards implying that the Old World is somewhere in the 40k universe.

  • KelRiever

    How can people look forward to a 9th edition really whether the rumors are true or not?

    There is a presumption that if a company comes out with a new edition of something, it should be better. While there are personal opinions about which edition is best, and the occasional perceived failures (like 4th ed D&D), I don’t think most any company I can imagine except for Games Workshop has a track record of mostly making a game worse with each edition, or at least not noticeably better.

    There is, therefore, nothing that can be hyped. When it comes out, it’ll likely be whatever. I expect even less rules, yet somehow even larger and more expensive rulebooks, an increase in the number of models needed, a performance inflation meaning any old figures won’t be able to hold a candle versus newly released figures so you’ll have to buy them even if an army continues to exist in the new edition, and even moar bigger saturday morning cartoon figures. Because, well, clearly Games Workshop has been misunderstood, and if only they keep doing more of what they are already doing, it’ll get gooder at one point.

    You know, sort of like how Pre-Painted Plastic Confrontation and AT-43 totally saved Rackham. And how Dust totally took over the miniature game industry with plastic. And how Fine Cast was revolutionary. And so on… know, just buy it first, then it will be better and if it isn’t that’s the gamer’s fault, but they can solve their wrongness with buying even more stuff…

  • neldoreth

    Some very good things rumoured here, and some great implications as a result:

    1) New units every six months with the rules included. That is just awesome. I don’t have to wait four years for a new army book! They can develop multiple armies at once so that everyone can collect new stuff!

    2) It will be terrible to not be able to use old Warhammer figs, but now I can use all my old Warhammer stuff with Mantic’s Kings of War rule set to get my old-school fantasy fix in 🙂 Honestly, I’ve abandoned WFB years ago because of all the bloat and the extensive and diverse complex rules… This could be a great new start!

    I may not buy into it, but I’m looking forward to seeing a drastic and potentially refreshing change!

  • Prophet89

    Doom, gloom and idiotic business practices aside this is gonna be great for Independent retailers. They will make a buck off the Panic GW is starting.

  • Now, I’ve long taken the stand that most GW rumors are true (and I was still caught off guard by that preamble to investors).

    This isn’t completely confirmed, but a new photo featuring large skaven minis has some of them on round bases. Combined with the rumors, it lends some extra credibility.

    • 4tonmantis

      Warmachines can be on round bases since they never have to rank up with anything (as far as I know). Why they “would” be on bases is weird though. Guess I better order an Island of Blood box before it’s too late :/

      • I wonder if they’ll be ranking up like they do in the LotR game.

        The large bases might still just be for things that don’t rank up (of the three large things in the picture, only two are on round bases).