Greetings wargamers and hobbyists, and welcome to my library. Some of these books used to be worth something. Maybe a few still are...
A few weeks ago, while playing what has turned out to be my very last game of Warhammer 40,000 using the 6th edition big rulebook, one of my club mates (who I am guessing prefers the functionality of the compact version of the rules rather than the version that is so thick that even Luis Suarez can't bite through it) joked about what I was going to do with my now worthless door stop of a 6th edition rulebook? This is a question I have heard repeated many times over the last few months, as 7th edition approached out of the ever shifting haze of rumours, and after it finally landed.
Over the last couple of weeks it has got me thinking about all those old rulebooks and what happens to them, about the ones that end up propping up coffee tables, the ones that go on eBay for a hundredth of what we paid for them, and of those that simply end up as landfill. Oh, and of course the ones that end up at the backs of shelves and cupboards and in lofts the world over, bemoaning their all too short time in the limelight. What ever will become of those I wonder...?
Well I am on my 4th edition of Warhammer Fantasy and 6th edition of Warhammer 40,000 (why the disparity in the number of editions of each game I wonder?), and I still have most of the rulebooks, Codices and Army Books I have accumulated in that time. Yes, on the face of it, versions of the rules that are a decade or two out of date are not all that useful, but earlier this year I found myself fishing out all the versions of the Warhammer Fantasy rulebooks I could find, because I wanted to gather together as many different scenarios I could to use in campaign games at our club, with suitable tweaks to make them 8th compatible of course.
As I looked through those older publications, I came across more and more things of interest, like a Warhammer 'Tournament Scenario', two or three versions of campaign rules and magic item tables, sections on making your own scenery (which of course we almost never see in Games Workshop publications these days), and even rules for different kinds of in-game weather effects in the old Dark Shadows campaign booklet. That is of course without counting all the maps that came with issues of White Dwarf over the years, and all the great material in publications such as the Storm of Chaos campaign book.
I found it interesting to look at how the the hobby has changed over the years, how different styles of models and paint schemes have come and gone, how incarnations of a well known special character have evolved across the editions, and also which things haven't changed all that much. These days we have maps that depict the length and breadth of the Warhammer World, and the points of origin of the Ogres of the Mountains of Mourn, the Great Wall of Cathay and the domains of the Dragon Emperor, and the locations of all the Temple Cities of Lustria, whereas once we had just maps of the Old World, with just hints of what lay beyond the western oceans and the Worlds Edge Mountains.
Though the rules within any given tome that is no longer the current rules set may have limited worth, that doesn't mean that all those wonderful old rulebooks are entirely devoid of worth. There are some gems to be had if you just take the time to look. How about some easily updated siege rules? Or some skirmish game rules for those dramatic inter-battle encounters? Or even just some inspiration for a one off scenario - it's all there somewhere...
Oh, and an old BRB is pretty good at holding doors open too.
Thanks for reading.