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WFB 8th edition house rules

Today I’m going to run through the Beard Bunker’s house rules for the 8th edition of Warhammer Fantasy Battle. This might be a funny thing to do in the Age of Sigmarines, but there seem to be plenty of lingering souls with a fondness for square bases and regimental strategy.

I’ve been keeping a vague eye on AoS, but the setting still comes across to me like generic fantasy land, and the game’s depth seems, from my cursory understanding, to be like 40K in that synergistic list building is more important than battlefield manoeuvres. That might be unfair of me; anyone reading this is most welcome to correct me in the comments or link to videos that demonstrate otherwise. I fully accept my fallibility!

For now, though, regimental combat still gets my blood pumping. I’ll start with the house rules, then explain my thinking.

Warhammer 8th Edition according to the House of Beard

  • Infantry charge M+2D3 and advance/flee 2D6.
  • Cavalry/swift striders/M>7” charge M+2D6 and advance/flee 3D6.

Ranged damage
  • All blasts go down by a point of Strength, to a minimum of 2, or lose armour piercing, or decrease the difficulty of a stat test by 1 – whichever is applicable.

  • Steadfast models halve the Leadership penalty for break tests, rather than ignoring them.

Banished rules
  • No horde rule.
  • No magic trees.

Definitely less intimidating than a 4 page PDF... right?

What was I thinking?

Despite my love of Warhammer Fantasy, it has/had serious problems, many of which were exacerbated by 8th edition. Random charge distances fixed the problem of armies stopping 8½ inches away from each other, but at a cost: the enormous swing on a 2D6” roll often reduced strategic decisions and outmanoeuvring, since regiments could reach out and touch you from up to 16” away. Part of what makes a wargame interesting is limitation; the rigidity of the movement in Battlefleet Gothic is what makes it such a tactically satisfying game. Was 7th edition too restrictive? Probably. Did 8th edition over-compensate? In my view, yes.

8th edition also brought in the horde rule, which to my mind further blandified the gameplay. Hordes were so effective that everyone took them; the added damage output combined with the steadfast rule made them an obvious choice. But this meant that armies started to consist of two or three giant units, which whilst looking impressive were prohibitively expensive to buy, boring to paint, and boring to play with. Since people had a smaller number of bigger, cumbersome units, you were essentially playing a small game of 7th edition but where the combats lasted for aaaaaaages before one side finally collapsed. I often found I was much more tired after playing a game of 8e versus a game of 7e. It was a very grindy edition. The reduction in charge ranges, dropping the horde rule, and nerfing steadfast does, I think, help mitigate some of these issues.

I also nerfed blast weapons because it’s faffy rolling for partial hits, but the lack of partial hits made blasts appallingly overpowered.

Finally, I removed the magic trees because they were asinine.

Id be curious to hear other peoples 8e house rules; the magic phase is fun but not without its issues, and some ranged units seem to be pointless in a lot of contexts, but I dont have simple fixes for those as yet.


  1. It was always the House of Beard joke that the bravest people in the old world were fishermen and lumberjacks as only one forest, river or pond in six was normal. The others would kill you...

  2. We still play 8th as is but ignore all the 'mysterious' terrain rules.

  3. Why not just use 7th edition? Seems to be simpler than house ruling 8th...

    1. Because honestly there's a ton to like about 8th. Monsters work waaay better, magic is improved (mostly), the move away from heroes needing to be full of magic swords, the changes listed are quite small despite the amount of text needed to describe them and just reflect those parts of the game when we play that slow things down or are a little OP for us. As always your milage may vary :)

    2. I do occasionally contemplate the virtues of playing 7th edition instead :D

      That said, like Jeff says there were a ton of subtle tweaks in 8th that worked well, so 7th would probably need more house rules than the ones above.

  4. They’re all sensible changes, but I don‘t mind the hordes rule so much. I could only ever afford one in my High Elf army - Swordmasters. Most opponents simply outmanoeuvred them though.

    1. I didn't think I minded hordes, and then we did a weekend of gaming with smaller units, and the games were so much faster, but just as tactical - if not more. It came as a real surprise to me!

  5. The only issue i have is the reduction of charge movements, as it really really punishes armies with no way of killing enemies except from combat. Even my chosen with the blasted standard would get shredded by your or Jeff's gunlines eventually, and these rules mean i have to take another turn of shooting?

    So either i take more big fat units, which compounds the issues brought up with hordes, or i take lots of fast units, which kinda ruins the game for the other player as loads of chariots, knights, skullcrushers smash into you turn two. And yes, i'm aware that i'm upset because it's my army that suffers primarily, but let my khornate marauders have some looted handguns, and maybe i won't be complaining so much...

    Also, i've always thought a way to balance out the mega death spells like dwellers and what have you, would to be to allow magic res saves against damage caused, but that's just my opinion

    But yes, magic trees are a bit silly.

    1. Surely it's not any different to how Chaos were in 7e when they had a charge range of 8"?

    2. Yeah it is like it was back in 7th, and it getting shot off the board sucked then too!

      Seriously though, all joking aside, i get what you mean, and i get how aggravating a swing on a 2D6 can be, but i think having that potential adds a bit of excitement to the game.

      Of course i haven't played these rules yet, so i shan't cast too harsh of a judgement, and you never know, maybe i'll think they're the bee's knees.

    3. Also, shooting and magic are significantly more powerful in 8th than they were in 7th, so being in front of an 8th ed gunline compared to a 7th ed gunline is quite a bit more harrowing.

    4. Certainly Chaos suffer the most from shooting, what with their unusually small armies. That's why I think Chaos marauders are over-pointed.

      Against most armies, I've found shooting in 8th utterly ineffective, since the main point of shooting wasn't to kill people but to cause panic tests. That doesn't happen when units are so big they're almost never going to take panic checks.

  6. I left WFB at 6th or 7th edition, when you needed more and more point to play, and so much more figures. Still it was more fun in my memory than 40k, maybe because the armies we were playing in WFB were more balanced...
    What is the size of games your are playing now? Small 1500-2000 points? Or GW standard "we need you buy moar" 3000 points?

    1. We play a variety of sizes depending on our mood. Sometimes we play 1000 points, sometimes 2000, sometimes more. I like playing the game at different sizes :)

      I've no idea what size average Age of Sigmar games are, although AoS armies are a LOT smaller than 6th or 7th ed Fantasy armies.

  7. In our group we pretty much played 8th as is except for most of the terrain, we used terrain rules from earlier editions (difficult ground = half movement, Impassible, forests blocking line of sight, etc).

    But I believe we had the choice of mystical terrain and if it was taken d3 pieces of terrain were chosen to have an associated ability, just for fun sometimes.

    I think that was the strength of 8th, you could modify it quite a bit without losing what made the game work.

    More often than not in AoS we don't even bother with the terrain special rules... I may have to suggest we bring back the old d3 house-rule (or even try old terrain rules) for a little variety.

    1. Good point, it IS fun to have weird terrain on occasion, just not all the time :)


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