Monday, February 25, 2013

Fantasy Warlord - Old School Fantasy Wargaming

Fantasy Warlord is one of those oft neglected games that probably deserved accolades than it did when it was still in print.  I purchased a copy on Amazon a year or so ago for only a few bucks but I still haven't played it yet.

Created by Gary Chalk and Ian Bailey after they left Games Workshop due to creative differences.  They wanted to create a system that was less "commercial" as was the case with the direction they saw Warhammer Fantasy approaching with 3rd Edition (my personal favorites of the editions).  The creators also published a magazine called "Red Giant" (ha ha White Dwarf) but it only lasted two issues (if anyone has an issue or two they'd like to get rid of, let me know).  Although the system was not as commercial, it certainly had a specific world setting (Vortimax) for the game and the rules are written in a very world specific way making it difficult to separate the two.  I don't really mind fluff but I usually leave it by the wayside and use my own setting for fantasy wargaming.

Reading through the rules though, it is a pretty unique system for 1990 and for the present.  I like the Fog of War aspect to the game and also the command and control system.  Magic is pretty balanced and not too overpowered.  The only real problems that I have are the world specific army lists, lack of Undead army lists (which was supposed to be in an issue of Red Giant), and the alignment system.  Other than that it seems like a solid system.

The original miniatures were sculpted by one of my favorites, Bob Olley!  Some of them are still for sale over at Alternative Armies and SHQ miniatures.  You don't have to use the official ones though, I'm going to use a lot of my Dwarves by  Ghost Miniatures at Old Glory.  They've got a great old-school look and are great sculpts!

On top of the miniatures still being in print there is still a Yahoo! group that is still quite active.  And there was a website "Fantasy Warlord" but I haven't seen any signs on of it ever being active.  Board Game Geek has a page on it along with some fan made army lists.  Check it out if you get a chance, the book usually doesn't cost too much.

***Update!  I received word that the Fantasy Warlord site is still being worked on, so it's not dead! ***


  1. It was mentioned over on the Oldhammer forum too and I was tempted then. To be honest I'd buy it just for Gary Chalk's artwork alone!

    Red Giant sounds like an interesting read even if there's only a couple of issues.

  2. I love Gary Chalk's art! I did an illustration I posted a week ago and realized that it looks a lot like his style. Sometimes I'm influenced by other illustrators and I don't realize it until after I finish drawing it.

  3. Got it and played it a fair bit when it first came out, indeed I've been promising my friend a game for a year or two. I was so disappointed when it fell by the wayside there were siege and war machine rules promised.

    A chap over at the FW yahoo group has Ian Bailey's permission to reprint it, he just needs Gary Chalks permission now.

    Red Giant was great I got both as they came out and again was bitterly disappointed number 3 never surfaced. Some great AD&D stuff with a super little adventure involving a library. The start of a city campaign and a great scenario for FW involving mercenaries and treachery.

  4. Thanks for the info Erny! I hope they get permission! It'd be great to see how it can be expanded on.