Ask The Readers: Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 3rd Edition anyone?

wfrp-preview1_lrg When the first details about the 3rd edition of Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay were leaked to the internet I wasn’t that happy. Action and ability cards? Custom dice? Dice pool system? This was not the game I’ve played and loved for my whole roleplaying career! I wrote a couple of posts (here, here, here and here) where I voiced my disapproval of FFG’s decision to radically changed my favorite game.

But over the time my anger and disappointment waned and I started reading reviews and playtest reports. While I still think that some aspects of WHFRP 3rd Edition are overly gimmicky, it seems to be a pretty solid roleplaying game. After listening to the latest episode of RPG Circus which featured Mark’s review of the game, I am actually considering buying and playing it.

What I want to ask my readers is if someone has played the new Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay game, yet? What are your experiences? Do you think I should give it a try? And what problems have you encountered during your first games? As always, every comment is highly appreciated.

Michael Wolf is a German games designer and enthusiast best known for his English language role-playing games blog, Stargazer's World, and for creating the free rules-light medieval fantasy adventure game Warrior, Rogue & Mage. He has also worked as an English translator on the German-language Dungeonslayers role-playing game and was part of its editorial team. In addition to his work on Warrior, Rogue & Mage and Dungeonslayers, he has created several self-published games and also performed layout services and published other independent role-playing games such as A Wanderer's Romance, Badass, and the Wyrm System derivative Resolute, Adventurer & Genius, all released through his imprint Stargazer Games. Professionally, he works as a video technician and information technologies specialist. Stargazer's World was started by Michael in August 2008.

10 thoughts on “Ask The Readers: Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 3rd Edition anyone?”

  1. Not yet – but during my holiday I have made up my mind to buy it. As soon as Dragonworld has those books back in stock, I am going to order them. 😉

  2. I've played in a demo game at a local con here in New Zealand. Have to say that I wasn't impressed. Now, that's not to say it was bad, rather the extras (cards, chits, etc.) seemed more of a hindrance to play as opposed to adding to it.

    I did like some of the innovation – the initiative system is neat, changing stance is interesting – but even this didn't make up for what I have to call 'the boardgame feel'. Of course, we are talking about a product from Fantasy Flight Games here, and they are good at boardgames, both in mechanics and (most definitely) in presentation – but excelling in these doesn't automatically qualify you for top-notch RPG design.

    In a lot of ways WHFRP 3rd edition feels more like Arkham Horror or Descent than a traditional RPG. Again, is this bad? Not as such I suppose, but I feel this approach takes away from the roleplaying and firmly puts into the gaming side of our hobby.

    Basically, I didn't like it. 2nd edition was a lot gritter and easier to explain and play. 3rd is either no much removed or (dare I say it) not different enough to make it stand out as a new type of gaming.

  3. I got it dead-cheap (€ 40) and barely used (meaning everything was already out of shrink wraps and paper frames) last week. Given the price-tag, I could not withstand the curiosity and bought it.

    It's a tremendous box with a huge and overwhelming amount of stuff in it. Do definitely not get the additional stuff before you have tried it. I guess there is enough in it to dabble with for half a year, or even longer when you are into playing other systems as well.

    To be honest…it is so different to stuff that I am gming at the moment (wfrp2, pathfinder, 4e) that I put it on top of the geek shelf and can't be bothered to look at it again until I have the time (probably not before mid-September, though holiday season is more likely) – except for looting paper-stand-ups and the location-card-rules for my ongoing wfrp2 game.

    Since all my player's are d&d aficionados who can only be lured by wfrp2 fluff or savage worlds rules simplicity I do not see an upcoming wfrp3 campaign on the horizon.

    …maybe as a wfrp2.5, if high-level pathfinder (mechanically) keeps on being as frustrating as it has been for the last couple of sessions (sorry to abuse this thread to say again, that we are really fed up with high level pathfinder). Though it is more likely that we keep on playing 4e with an occasional wfrp2 game.

    Happy gaming,


  4. I’ve never really been into Warhammer Fantasy RPG. So I am not their target audience. I played some in high school and while I love the setting I’ve never played it extensively and I have never played the miniatures game (can hear the geek police taking points away from my geek credentials).

    I am leery of all the other trinkets… I believe this may be one way RPGs go in the future. But it’s not for me for ME personally but I think they may draw in a different crowd to the hobby, expand the base and I am all for that!

  5. We play WFR3 since the pre-release demos in the stores. So we played: A day late…, the (GM-)demanding adventure in the rule book and some of our own stuff. Now we prepare Gathering Storm.

    To be honest, the game has some faults, BUT on the other side: We have a lot of fun with the often inspiring, creative and intuitive game. In my opinion it's neither a board game nor a pseudo – computer game. It is a classic ROLE playing game with some board game gimmicks (as you say:-). In this way I disagree with the opinion of Marcus. It's not like Arkham Horror – at least in our group.

    The custom dice have interesting side effects. In combination with the cards and rules you get the crunch (e.g. weapon damage) and since the demo sometimes we trade "story ideas" based on the interpretation of the dice outcome.

    The management effort is pretty high for the players (cool down for the actions using counter, stance meter, stress and fatigue counter, changing card sides based on current stance, roll a lot of differnt dice: ~ 5 to 10 for basic career characters, wound and critical cards, insanity cards etc.)
    In our experience you get the concept quick within a half hour playing the game. First, it's a little bit odd for experienced role players, but soon we liked the often intuitive game play. During play we do not use any rule book! (counter/card management vs written lists, rule books)

    In my opinion is the D&D4 power managment far better (At-will, encounter, daily), but the WFR3 solution is okay.
    Marcus is right, the old WFR versions are a lot grittier (deadlier) than the current game incarnation, but with increased damage, more criticals you can change this 😉
    The paper stand-ups and the indie-gaming inspired abstract movement and distance system is a lot easier than the detailed movement rules for other 'tabletop' rpg – like D&D4/3.X). I prefer no minis for RPG, but this is fair a compromise with the mini fans.

    Based on the ambivalent community acceptance and the high production quality of the game components I suspect there will be a lot less fan support like adventures, fan rules for the WFR3 game. Does someone want to create custom action /talents/spell cards?

    The Adventurer Kit is helpful, if you not want to share cards within the group. (Power gamer/figher like Double Stike). I think there is only one in the basic box.

    WFR3 is an underestimated very accessible new ROLE playing game. I prefer the game system over the older versions. As far a I can see, was the old background material darker and better. 😉

    BTW: Very cool site…

  6. It's a terrible game.

    Damage is static…you do the same damage on every hit (few excetions). No advanced careers…you don't advance up, you advance sideways. You just bounce from one basic career to another basic career. You only go to rank 3 ! thats it you are done.

    Horribly incomplete…only 3 schools of magic, no disease, no corruption (of course you can buy another overpriced box set to get some of this lol), VERY limited careers.

    Players use the same action cards over and over and over….!

    High Elf swordmasters, wayfinders, wardancers (all NOT included in the basic $100 set) are basic careers. They are no better than a commoner in this regard, they just have some fancy cards.

    The game is a complete mess on a gaming table…lose a card and you are screwed! No info in the books on any abilities or anything! Look to spend over $300 just to get a 1/4 of what you would get from just the basic core book from wfrp v.1 or 2. No setting info beyond Reikwald whatsoever.

    Success rates for begining characters are off the chart. They can literally wipe the floor with a troll right out the gate unless you as a GM "cheat/houserule" the system. Not very dark/gritty at all.

    This game is so overpriced and so incomplete, if you played it once a week you will be out of material in 3-4 months. Players would have no where to advance.

    Don't feed FFG greedy wallets by buying into this shameful bastardization of a great game by buying into this terrible marketing scheme.

    You have been warned

  7. I don't know if you're still collecting opinion on this, but I've GM'd 3 sessions of this game now, and I find it really good. Complaints about the lack of completeness of the basic set aside (I agree with them), it's a really unique and exciting game.

    The main difference from WFRP 2 (which I've also played) is that your PCs can do something, battles are over in minutes rather than hours, and though it retains the sense of danger and grittiness, it has dropped the general tone of incompetence and boredom that pervaded the second edition. You actually play a person who can DO something.

    The action cards, the method for handling recharging, and the combat rules are fast, effective and good. But the real key is the dice, which give you a series of role-playing hooks that I've never seen in any other system.

    It's also quite the opposite of a boardgame/RPG hybrid – it's less focussed on battle mats and miniatures than a lot of other games – more abstract and imaginative in every sense.

    So far I strongly recommend this game. I should note it's easy to play too – I've had to explain everything and translate teh cards to Japanese (we're playing in Japanese) and everyone still seems to be functioning fine.

    1. Thanks for your comment. I had the chance to play WFRP 3rd Edition at Gen Con this year and I really enjoyed the system. It takes a while to get used to the dice mechanic but it definitely feels and plays like a RPG and not a boardgame.

  8. I just got the box + extra dice + adventurer’s toolkit the other day. Haven’t really had a chance to open it up yet.

    Before buying the whole thing (cost me about 130 bucks at a brick and mortar store I support), I read a bunch of reviews and forum threads online. Great components, great art, great system.

    And the problems: That it cost 100 bucks, that it wasn’t stuck in 1980, and that the producers were “greedy”. Hell, I spend far more than that on two ps3 games I beat in a few weeks. 90% of gamers do.

    So what the hell? No wonder the rpg hobby is dying a slow death when grognards screw over the game companies, badmouth new games, and generally whine like little girls (see Magnus’ anticapitalist rant).

    It’d be like PC or console gamers refusing anything built after 1990, or refusing to buy the new products of their favorite game companies since “they’re not exactly like TSRs Dark Sun Shattered Lands!!!!11111”

    White Wolf is in a coma. 4e is stumbling. And smaller companies are flickering out one by one. If the industry dies, blame the whiny pathetic grognards. You killed it.

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