Having discussed the binding of these books let's turn our attention to their contents. After all, that's what this is all about, chronicling the journey of Warhammer Fantasy Battles from its inception to its discontinuance. As they're both relatively slim and self-contained we'll start rooting through volumes one and two, the first two editions and supporting material.
Volume 1- Forehammer begins with endpages by Josh Kirby from Terry Pratchett's Bromeliad trilogy. For no other reason than I had these posters, love them and associate them with my experience of fantasy from the 80s and 90s.
Volume 1 contains the three books from the Warhammer box, with glorious black and white art by Tony Ackland. At this stage 'Fantasy Battles' isn't quite right because what you've got is rules for fighting combat on the tabletop with miniatures but we're talking very small and character-driven skirmishes. This is essentially a tabletop RPG, which absolutely floats my boat having just written The Woods for exactly that kind of gaming. Interestingly that's now going in a mass-battle direction, perhaps echoing the rise of Warhammer...
Next up we've got the three books from Forces of Fantasy, plus the book of Battalions which pops up later. This supplement expands the magic, bestiary, items and scope of the original rules.
Whilst there are plenty of creatures there's really no definite setting provided anywhere here. The Redwake River Valley scenario in the rulebooks is as close as we get to a world for the game (and features as the cover of this volume).
More lush black and white art from Tony Ackland.
Then we come to the Citadel Compendiums. These are included here as their size makes them compatible with the first edition books whilst they are shorter than the second edition books. There's not too much difference between the two and the content of the Compendiums is suitable for both editions.
A bit more of a glimpse of the developing Warhammer world is given to us in the form of Kremlo the Slann and the Shrine of Rigg scenarios. Vikings in the lush jungles was very much in vogue!
To accompany the Shrine of Rigg we have a look at mixing science fiction into the fantasy world, a precursor to Rogue Trader where ancient cultures rub up against strange technologies.
Everyone's favourite fantasy setting (maybe) gets some love with a Minas Tirith siege which must have been enormous by the standards of the era.
The Book of Battalions contains the first Regiments of Renown to be seen in Warhammer, some of them continuing long into the game's future.
And another Paul Kirby image (Strata) to round off.
Each core volume has a synopsis of the To Hit and To Wound charts, shooting modifiers, combat resolution (when it came in) and saving throws. Because there are subtle changes, and not so subtle changes in the first few volumes!
Volume 2- Plothammer uses the endpages I salvaged from my 3rd Ed hardback (signed by Bryan Ansell and Kev Adams) and amalgamated with bits of the Armies endpages.
The second edition rules were also in a 3-book format.
And Norse and Slann returned once more in the Magnificent Sven scenario.
The reason for calling this edition 'Plothammer' was twofold. Firstly it follows the example of first edition in its focus on roleplay rather than pitched battles. Secondly there was a wealth of narrative scenarios produced for it. At a time when the Warhammer world was beginning to mesh together in coherency it was shaped by the publication of some important pieces of Oldhammer history.
Orc's Drift has a character you might expect going by the names of its authors.
Terror of the Lichemaster introduced the infamous Heinrich Kemler (one M) who became a key character in the events of the Warhammer world right up until its end.
And, of course, McDeath with its literary references and terrible puns.
Next we have the Citadel Journals, included in this volume because it most closely matches their size, although the Journals required trimming to adequately match the rest of the text block. Fortunately they have wide margins.
The second Journal was a gift from the most-excellent Zhu and it only seemed right to keep his epistle in the canon. Especially as it is scribed on the reverse of a print of Tony Yates' artwork!
These shall not be cut out!
The wonderful and sadly unfinished saga of Kaleb Daark.
Thanks to BOYL the Arcane Armorials competitions sport entries by Tony Ackland...
...and Tony Yates. Sadly I was unable to get Wayne England's entry for the T-Shirt competition.
Excellent dioramas in true 80s style. Bet these aren't at Warhammer World.
And rounded off with another reference sheet. In these two editions there's no combat resolution modifiers, all the bonuses are applied in To Hit modifiers. Many of the Shooting Modifiers and Saving Throws, however, are largely unchanged all the way through the editions.
Next up, Volume 3- Oldhammer. Where it really begins.... ;)