Tuesday 19 July 2011

Storm of Magic: Magic the Gathering for Morons

Storm of Magic has arrived. You know that already, because you're interested in Warhammer. And, being interested in Warhammer, you are acquianted with one of those GW enthusiasts. You know, the deranged preachers so excited by the whole thing, that they have basically ejaculated the barking madness of SoM straight into your unsuspecting face.

I know some people like that, so, whether I liked it or not, I came to learn about the subtle nuances of SoM:

It's a spinner.

It's about as subtle as a brick going through a window. It's like Games Workshop saying to me, "ooh - watch out now, you don't want to be working carelessly with those D8s. Have you ever stood on one of those little buggers? We chose the spinner so that you wouldn't hurt yourself on that nasty, pointy D8. Don't laugh, son - this is no joking matter. Remember when Seb had that nasty fall back in '92? That was a D8. Poor bastard stood right on it. It made the sole of his foot go all red and everything. It took him several minutes to recover. Bad business, that was. Bad business...so don't be messing about with them D8s, okay?"

Lets see if we can think of any other games that have spinners.

Well, obviously, there's Twister:

...and The Game of Life:

I couldn't think of any others, so I consulted the oracle. This revealed other high quality offerings, like The Happy Little Train Game:

 And its spinner:

Is this your market, Games Workshop? Perhaps, for Warhammer 9, we can implement a system where we can sell army-themed straws (The shaft of Teclis, anybody? Only £6.99). Then, using the True Line of Sight rules, players can line their straws up to 'take a shot', where they can try to shoot frozen peas magic missiles at each others figures. Of course, we'd need safety goggles techmarine visors (£6.99), to make sure that little Johnny doesn't experience a miscast.

The thing is, I actually quite like the idea of Storm of Magic. I love the notion of ultra powerful wizards using the very elements and foundations of the world to battle against each other in epic, continent altering contests of will. Sorcerers who summon any creature from anywhere and bind it to their will, obliging it to do as its told. Creatures with whom unmentionable pacts must be made in order to glean some extra influence over unknowable elements and probabilities. All of that is pure fantasy and makes for a great game...of cards.

I refer to Magic the Gathering. It's a collectible card game that is, well, representative of wizards having a magical duel. The key difference between MtG and Warhammer for me is that MtG is about the wizard - the player's persona, if you will. Whereas Warhammer - well, certainly from 3rd edition onwards, is really about the army. Sure, most players will inject their persona into one of the characters, but the army as a whole has a part in telling the story.

Interestingly enough, from what I can gather, a lot of people are concerned about the extreme power of the spells available in Storm of Magic. They are right to be concerned, but in a gesture of objectivity and fairness, I can admit that sometimes Warhammer 3 had some of that crazy shit too. Take Wind of Death. It is a spell that simply causes 1 strength 3 hit on every living thing on the table with no armour saves. Casting cost? 25 Magic points. Not childs play, but accessible.

But, if you consider that Warhammer 3 was also meant to include a games master, at least there was some sort of mechanism to include a spell like that in an objective fashion and narrative. I think it would be a great way to start a game - before deployment, resolve the spell - then deploy the surviving elements of both armies, together with the now severely depleted necromancer, and start turn 1. See how easy that was to narrate?

Just another reason why I refer to Warhammer 3 as Warhammer for Adults. Because spinners are for children. 


  1. Not sure if I agree on all points, but understand your feelings nonetheless. I just see 8th and 3rd as two different games :)

    Though if GW ever brings out a game with in it an item called:"The shaft of Teclis" it could also be an 18+ version for warhammer :D

  2. @Loganworld: It ain't called Warhammer for Adults for nothing :P