Warhammer Ancient Battles (often referred to as "WAB") is a tabletop wargame produced by Games Workshop's "Warhammer Historical" imprint. It is a rulebook for historical wargames, based on the popular Warhammer Fantasy Battle.
Playing the GameEdit
Games of Warhammer Ancient Battles replicate battles between armies of history. Players collect armies of miniatures, which are produced by a number of manufacturers. The game is played on a table laid out with model scenery to look like a battlefield, on which the regiments of miniatures are maneuvered. Large numbers of dice are rolled together at once to resolve combat, but using appropriate tactics makes a big difference towards winning the game.
Several of Games Workshop's staff had begun experimenting with using Warhammer rules to play historical games before Warhammer Ancient Battles was written, and Wargames Illustrated magazine included some articles they had written on the subject. This led to them developing Warhammer Ancient Battles as a spare-time project, and it was published under the name "Warhammer Historical Wargames".
Perhaps because of its well-known predecessor, Warhammer Ancient Battles proved popular among wargamers, and Games Workshop eventually brought the project back in-house, with Rob Broom running the "Warhammer Historical" department and promoting an increasing range of books.
The game rules were heavily based on the fifth edition of Warhammer, with magic dropped and more detail added for ancient weapons and formations. The two games have developed in different directions since. Warhammer Ancient Battles is still in its first edition, but modifications to the core rules have been included in some of the more recent supplements.
Following the success of Warhammer Ancient Battles Warhammer Historical branched out into other areas:
- Warhammer English Civil War
- Legends of the Old West
- Warmaster Ancients - the application of the epic scale rules for Warhammer Fantasy to non-fantasy armies
The core rulebook includes army lists for "Early Imperial Roman" and "Barbarian" armies. A range of supplementary books has been released to provide more army lists, each focusing on a particular period and place.
- Armies of Antiquity. Released soon after the rulebook, this was intended to help players get started, by providing a large number of basic summary army lists. Many of the lists have been superseded by later supplements.
- Chariot Wars. Covers armies of the ancient civilisations in the Near East, and Trojan War.
- Fall of the West. Covers Roman and Barbarian armies of the 4th-5th centuries.
- Shieldwall. Covers the British Isles, France and Scandinavia in the Dark Ages.
- El Cid. Covers the Spanish Reconquista in the 10th-13th centuries.
- Alexander the Great. The armies of Alexander the Great and his enemies.
- Armies of Chivalry. Designed to extend Warhammer Ancient Battles to a slightly later medieval period, this includes new rules as well as a set of summary army lists covering Europe in the 14th-16th centuries.
- Spartacus. This book is based around a campaign following Spartacus' slave revolt.
- Byzantium : Beyond the Golden Gate. Covers the Byzantine Empire from 6th-12th centuries.
- Hannibal and the Punic Wars. Covers the Punic Wars between Rome and Carthage in the 3rd-2nd centuries BC.
- Vlad the Impaler. Covers the general time and region of the Ottoman Turks.
- The Art of War. Details the armies of Chinese history and prehistory, as well as those of its neighbours at the time (such as the Hsiung-nu), up until the Three Kingdoms era.
- Age of Arthur. Will be released in January 2007. It will feature Armies from Anglo-Saxon England
- Siege and Conquest. To be released around the same time as "Divine Wind" (See below). This will feature sieges
- Divine Wind. Due in 2007, this book will feature armies from ancient and medieval Japan.
The game is supported by a high-traffic discussion group on Yahoo! Groups, the WABlist, and Warhammer Historical Forums (the former a non-Yahoo message board). In addition another group WABMedievalBattles focuses on the medieval period.
In the UK, the "Warhammer Players Society" organises a yearly "Grand Tournament", while Warhammer Historical run a yearly gaming weekend.