Warlord Second Edition from Reaper Miniatures
by Kevin Rigdon (@pralix1138)
System: Warlord Second Edition. Publisher: Reaper Miniatures. Year Released: 2009. Game Type: Tabletop Miniatures Skirmish.
You’ve heard about the Bones release from Reaper (which, by the way, has started shipping out-look for yours soon). But did you know that Reaper not only produces some of the gaming industry’s most sought after miniatures, they produce a solid, skirmish level, tabletop miniatures game?
Warlord: Second Edition uses a streamlined ruleset that Reaper calls R.A.G.E. (Reaper Adventure Game Engine). The engine is compact, and easy to learn. The core rules section of the Warlord main rulebook take up a scant eighteen pages, but don’t let that fool you. What makes this game shine, from a rules perspective, is the introduction of Special Abilities. Each soldier type, each sergeant, captain, caster, warlord, and monster, have Special Abilities that make them unique, and each interacts with the Core Rules in a particular way. So, tactically, you can build your army around synergistic Special Abilities. For example, if you’re playing the Egyptian themed Nefsokar, you can build an entire force with Damage Reduction which allows your troops to negate damage every turn. Or maybe you want to run a Vampire army of the Necropolis with soldiers and heroes that can feed on those they’ve slain to heal themselves.
The Special Abilities are integral to this game, as are the different types of Actions each model can take. Because it is a skirmish style game, the units do not have to be uniform like some bigger, mass battle miniatures games. You don’t have to field a single type of model per unit. If you want archers, footmen, and cavalry all in the same unit, you can do it. They can all move, shoot, and fight in different directions, but many do provide benefits for working closely together. This provides you, the player, with some interesting tactical strategies to explore.
Both magic and shooting are smooth and quick. Magic, if timed right, can be devastating, but the shooting is hardly ever so. The designers seem to have taken great pains to make sure that your army would not be mowed down before they make it across the table. There’s a slight problem here, in my opinion. Archers are expensive, and more often than not, their output does not seem to be worth the cost in actual damage. Having said that, however, there are Special Abilities that some of the archers have that can be quite terrifying, and so your opponent will have to deal with them.
Efficient rules are great and all that, but if a game world doesn’t pique your interest, if you don’t dig the various armies, then chances are you won’t be buying in. Warlord serves up a mixed bag here. On the one hand, there are two rulebooks available containing a total of eighteen different armies. That’s correct. No longer do you have to spend $80 on a rulebook and then $40 on your specific army book. In Warlord there are ten different factions in the main book: the devout Crusaders, demonic Darkspawn, stout Dwarves, magical Elves, Mercenaries, vampiric Necropolis, Nefsokar, Overlords, Reptus, and Reven for orc fans. All stats, Special Abilities, Heros, and Warlords are included as are the Faction Doctrines. These nifty additions are based on which Warlord you choose to lead your army, and will give your whole army a boost.
That’s just the main book. In 2010, Reaper released Warlord Second Edition: Savage North, with an additional eight Factions: Bloodstone Gnomes, dark elves of Darkreach, frost giants of Icingstead, black orcs of Kargir, lycanthropic Koborlas (yep, you can run an army of werewolves), Kragmarr Dwarves, Sisterhood of the Blade, and wood elves of Tembrithil. Each book contains the full rules and all the Special Abilities which means that you only need to buy one book.
But this is also where the game is a bit lacking. Because there are so many army lists in each book (which is a huge plus), there isn’t a lot of background information on them. After a few tantalizing details of introduction to each Faction, you get the army lists. This doesn’t detract from the game unless you like to know the complete history of your chosen Faction. I happen to like all the extra bits, but the older I get, the less time I have to read all that stuff, so this isn’t a big drawback for me.
Outside the rules themselves, and the various factions, another big draw to tabletop miniatures games are the miniatures themselves. Here again, Reaper does not disappoint. There are dozens of miniatures from each Faction, but you don’t have have to use just the Warlord miniatures. You can select from their Dark Heaven Legends to fill out your army as well. And with the advent of the new Bones line Reaper will be incorporating the Warlord line into plastics, so that means cheaper armies, which means you can buy more of them.
Reaper also has a pretty snazzy army builder as well. Just head over to www.reapergames.com and check it out. You can build your army list and print it out, along with all the Special Abilities your army uses, Equipment, and Spells. The only things the army builder doesn’t have are the Faction Doctrines.
To sum up: if you’re wanting a fast paced tabletop miniatures game with lots of variety, fantastic miniatures, comparatively low entry cost, and you can live without knowing every little detail about your Faction, then consider giving Warlord a look.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars
For more information on the game, go to www.reapermini.com