Sunday, 31 August 2014

The End Times: Bretonnia ain't goin' nowhere

(Those seeking spoilers are not getting them from this post. Okay, maybe one, a little one. I'll be doing a full review of the Nagash books when I've finished them, this is just based on reading the first 80-odd pages of Book One and how I think what's been written affects my most favourite army ever, ever, ever: Bretonnia.)

I'm not one to give credence to the doom and gloom rumours of armies getting “Squatted”. Frankly, the Squats were a long time ago and they were, sorry if this offends, a crap idea. Space Dwarfs on motorbikes were never going to age well, it was very Eighties and one of those mistakes companies make when they think they'll be out of business this time next year. They got dropped more than twenty years ago and its time to get over it. Whilst we're on the subject: Black Templars players (and I am a Black Templars player!) gained more than they lost from being folded into Codex: Space Marines.

Still, the continuing false rumours of a Bretonnia release and the dropping of kit after kit from the webstore have made it hard to keep the faith. May the Lady forgive me, I did start to waver.

Then I opened the Nagash book.

Oh, its grim for Bretonnia just like any other Forces Of Order race right now but I've watched enough wrestling, seen enough faces pounded into the canvas to know where this is going. In this book and probably the next the good guys will get hammered relentlessly but come Wrestlemania (or, y'know, Middenheim or wherever this ends up) the good guys will strike back with faith, steel and gunpowder (less of the last one with Bretonnia but you get my point).

So, yeah, its grim: a major character has been taken off the board; four duchies are in ruins and another one seems to have been eaten by daemons; and La Maisontaal Abbey was destroyed but, frankly, that's just what happens to La Masiontaal Abbey. By this stage La Maisontaal being burnt to the ground is almost a running joke, what you put in an army book's timeline when you want them to have done something in Bretonnia.

But then...

Okay, NO SPECIFIC SPOILERS but the counter-attack is already underway. The book opens with a forty page prologue describing where all the races and nations of Warhammer are at the beginning of the End Times (or is the end of the beginning?). Most of the good guys get a ray of hope, something that they (and their fans) can cling to in the hard times ahead and Bretonnia's is a whopper!

My point is: this is not how GW addresses a concept they're going to junk. They have two strategies they've used in the past. Either they ignore the idea until it fades away (Squats and a lot of Rogue Trader-era background) or they completely, utterly nuke it in a brief piece of background. 80 pages in and this book has the highest mortality rate of any Warhammer supplement I've ever read: background characters and playable special characters with models have been done in, whole cities and small nations have been wiped out including one or two places that did once constituted the basis of an army.

Really, not everyone is going to be happy with who bites the dust including some much-missed old armies but as for Bretonnia (yes, I'm selfish!) they get such a build-up, such a huge revelation-ish (not entirely a surprise but still nice), such advancement from where they were left in Warhammer Armies: Wood Elves and such a huge part in the opening chapter with the whole La Maisontaal affair (and a couple of accompanying scenarios in the rules book) that I cannot believe GW has any plans to drop them.

In fact, I lead myself to hope this means something is coming in the not too distant future. After all: why write whole scenarios requiring a Bretonnia army and not have a Bretonnia army available? Right now the whole metal and finecast range are out of production and there are no knightly character models. 

Like I said, every good guy gets a ray of hope to see them through. 

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