Saturday, August 14, 2010

Isle of Blood Starter Box

I was at my FLGS picking up some blood bowl star players I ordered and he had got his promo starter box for WHFB in. I stayed a little extra to have a look. Most of the models where primed on the sprue but the models do look pretty good. As I discussed in an earlier post I am tempted by this set since I have always really liked Skaven and back when the last starter set came out I was tempted to start a skaven army but I know now that Horde based armies just are not for me. I will never get them all built or painted.

I have never played a game of WHFB so I will discuss what I saw in terms of what I consider from a complete novice would want in a starter set. This is different from what any of my readers would probably want since they are just looking for a reasonable costed block of miniatures to get an army started. If you are going to by either Skaven or High Elves then this box gets you that without a problem. Add in a Battalion box to the High Elves and you are at about 1500 points. Split 2 sets between a friend and you are both really on your way and you both now have a mini rulebook which is pretty long.

But if you are a complete novice with no experience in the game I think this box will do a very poor job of getting you playing fun games. Do they provide all the information you need to learn to play your units? Sort of. You can find the stats in the stat blocks in the back of the rule book, you can read the unit fluff descriptions to figure out what most of the units are equipped with then go back to the various sections to find out what that means. It will not be always correct since they do not tell you the Skaven Pack Master has light armor or the weapons teams have light armor but for the main blocks they describe the armor as I said in fluffy unit descriptions. The weapons are sort of hidden in there also. Some magic items that the characters might have are hidden in the fluff also but I do not know if those are army book or main book items.

I did not see anything about any of the special rules that apply to the units which will cause a problem since certain of the units are just there to provide special rules based like the weapons teams. They provide no starter scenarios to easy you into playing the minis, no information about the points cost of the units or how to make sure the two armies are balanced for a battle. Should the Mage be a first level or second level. Does the Warlock Engineer magic access? They also do not note that according to the army book rules that you cannot use your Griffin riding hero until you get like 1400 points since he is like 350 points himself. Battle for Skull pass had some bad training scenarios compared to BofM (4th ed 40K starter) which provided like a mini campaign of skirmish battles to teach you the rules.

As a true starter set that 2 young adults (the future of the hobby) could take home and get started playing a fun game that day the box set fails miserably. The models maybe nice but it is going to take a while to get the together, a longer time to read the 200 page rulebook to have any notion of how to play, a fare amount of time to collate the unit information and frustration about not knowing anything about certain units without spending another 58 dollars for the army books. I do not see this box as going to help GW with their eroding player base. I can see why they cannot price it as a loss leader to bring in new people. Only people already deciding to get into the hobby with a strong desire will get fun games played with this box.

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