Warhammer: The Old World’s Movement Rules Combine Fan-Favorite Edition & Specialist Games Rules

Games Workshop, via their Warhammer Community site, revealed the movement rules for Warhammer: The Old World, an upcoming miniature wargame which returns to the setting, flavor, and rules of the original Warhammer Fantasy Battles.

Unlike Warhammer 40,000, and the many wargames inspired by it, Warhammer: The Old World builds on the bones of historical wargaming: most soldiers move in ranked units, and one of your goals as a player is to prevent being flanked or ambushed.

The Warhammer Community update discussed formation, and the movement phase.


Image Credit: Warhammer Community

All units in the game battle in formation. These four formations dictate what they can do in battle, including movement and combat.

But what are these four formations?

Close Order units are arrayed in base-to-base contact, facing the same direction in order to fight in ranks. Where possible, there must be the same number of models in each rank, with more models in the rank than the file, which sometimes means leaving spaces in the back rank if necessary. They move and fight as a single entity – walking, wheeling, charging, and exposing their flanks and rears. The more full ranks you have, the greater your advantage in combat. 

When they need to move rapidly, your units can adopt a Marching Column, reforming into a shape that’s deeper than it is wide. A unit formed in this way may not charge and earns no rank bonus in combat, but it can move at triple speed.

Units with the Skirmisher special rule do not need to rank up at all. So long as each model is within an inch of at least one of its comrades, they can fan out. They tend to be highly manoeuvrable, harrying enemy units with missile fire and hit-and-fade flank charges. Open Order units still fight in ranks, meanwhile, but they’re faster, more agile, and handle tough terrain better. 

Warhammer Community

The Movement Phase

Image Credit: Warhammer Community

The movement phase is the second of the four phases of each turn. This phase can then be divided into another four parts.

  1. Declare Charges
  2. Charge Moves
  3. Compulsory Moves
  4. Remaining Moves

Declare Charges

In the first part of the phase, the active player states which unit they want to charge and their targets. Charging is the only way to enter combat. The target must be within line-of-sight of the attacker, and within their front arc. The attacking unit cannot be experiencing a number of states including fleeing, recently rallied, or already in combat. Pre-measuring distances is allowing.

The inactive player then declares Charge Reactions. Their units may Hold to brace themselves against the charge, Stand and Shoot if they have ranged weapons and are further away than the charging unit’s Movement characteristic, or Flee. Some units may Counter Charge.

Charge Moves

The second part of this phase is to establish the range of their charge, roll two dice, then pick the highest score from the two and add it to their Movement characteristic.

If the attacker is in range, the unit is moved into contact with the target’s base. If the roll fails, the charge failed, and units are stranded midway to their opponents.

Compulsory Moves

This part of the phase accommodates fleeing units that failed to rally during the last Strategy Phase. It also encompasses unique moves such as a Night Goblin’s Random Movement or characters who have failed a Stupidity test.

Remaining Moves

The final part of the phase covers movements which don’t result in combat.

The Mechanics of Movement

Image Credit: Warhammer Community

Movement is one of the primarily mechanics in a game of strategy. Rules cover turning units while moving, and what attacks or advanced actions they can take while advancing.

In general, units may Move or March, performing Manoeuvres on the way. In the first case, they move up to their Movement characteristic, and may then shoot later in the turn. In the latter case, they may double their pace but they sacrifice the ability to perform any manoeuvre more complex than a wheel, and their ability to shoot this turn, for speed.

While moving, a unit may Wheel, in which the unit pivots from one of the front corners of its leading edge, measuring distance from the outside model. You may also Turn all a unit’s models through 90 or 180 degrees, spending a quarter of your Movement for each 90 degrees, Move Backwards or Sideways at half pace, and Redress the Ranks or Reform.

Warhammer Community


With this update, the designers revealed the flavor and inspirations of Warhammer: The Old World. Rather than building on the final, eighth edition, the latest incarnation of Warhammer takes an older, and sometimes less expected, series of inspiration.

The phases and movement mirror fourth through sixth edition. These editions are generally the fan-favorites, an era which introduced and expanded many of the fan-favorite factions with a lean wargame. It mirrors that era, but with a variety of fixes to long-time issues (for example, rules that that allow less mobile armies the chance to still cover significant ground at a good clip, if at cost to attack and defense).

Many of the rules are reminiscent of the Warhammer Ancient Battles line, with the use of close and open order, courter charge as a reaction, and marching columns.

If this trend holds tree, Warhammer: The Old World will feel like a natural evolution from the wargames of the 1980s and 1990s, which were in turn only a change in focus and tone away from the earlier historical wargames. It feels, in a lot of ways, like it’s not only recapturing many players’ favorite era of the game, but refining, expanding, and evolving upon it.

Source: Warhammer Community

Featured Image: Warhammer Community

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