Warhammer: The Old World Takes a Gun to a Sword Fight with Shooting Phase 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. Another change of pace is that ranged weapons are rarer, but decimating.

This Warhammer Community update discussed ranged combat. You can find our overview of the movement phase and formations here.

Image Credit: Warhammer Community

Rules Overview

Like every phase, the Shooting Phase breaks down into four steps.

  1. Declare Targets
  2. Roll to Hit
  3. Roll to Wound
  4. Remove Casualties

Everyone and everything shoots in this phase, whether they’re lowly peasant bowmen and barbarian javelineers, a macabre Khemrian screaming skull catapult, or a High Elven mage manifesting a Fiery Convocation.

Warhammer Community

Each unit which can make a ranged attack must declare its target. It can only make this attack if it hasn’t marched or charged, and isn’t fleeting or in combat. The unit must have light of sight to its target. Squads of models can’t split fire. Most units can only shoot one, regardless of how many attacks they are otherwise allowed on a turn, and only the front rank may fire unless the unit is stationed on a hill or have the special rule Volley Fire.

Once the target is chosen, roll to hit against the model’s Ballistic Skill. This score runs from 1 to 10. Above a score of six, the model earns rerolls on missed shots. This is counteracted by negative modifiers such as long range, receiving a charge, the target’s cover, or if your model has moved. Rolling a one always misses, and negative modifiers stack past 6+.

Rolling to wound is done by comparing the attack’s Strength against the target’s Toughness. There are caps on Toughness. For example, a bow rated Strength 3 cannot harm a beast of Toughness 9.

The targeted units can make a saving throw on their armor (roll six or above on light armor, and five or above on heavy armor, which can be further improved with a shield, a barded mount, and certain spells or magical items). Ward Save cannot be modified by AP and a separate roll made after the armor roll has failed.

Finally, remove causalities and take panic tests. Remove one model for every Wound caused, unless the target has more than one Wound. Panic tests apply if the shooting has killed more than a quarter of the models in a unit.

Some special weapons will apply unique rules.

There are plenty of weird and wonderful shooting units in Warhammer: The Old World, and a plethora of special rules to go with them. Big beasties have Breath Weapons, some skirmish cavalry can Fire & Flee, while Dwarfen Irondrakes have cinderblast bombs that can Quick Shot. Wouldn’t you like to know…

As for magic, there are two categories of spells to be fired off in the Shooting Phase – Magic Missiles and Magical Vortexes. Human wizards using Battle Magic can, for instance, blast off a quick fireball, while those blessed by the Dark Gods may use the Lore of Daemonology to conjure a Vortex of Chaos.

Warhammer Community


Warhammer: The Old World is a return to form in many ways. This sees the long-awaited return of the Ballistic Skill, but also the to-wound chart. Monsters can no longer be picked off by a field of chaff; they live up to their reputation, and are a fearsome thing which can only be slain by a hero (or more monsters!).

Image Credit: Warhammer Community

This rules update may be relatively small, but it gives us the clearest look into what to expect from Warhammer: The Old World. While it greatly resembles earlier fan-favorite editions, there is a great deal of tinkering to remove old oversights and prevent cheese. One of the best signs is that rerolls on missed shots are harder than the initial roll.

These are all great signs that Warhammer: The Old World will not only preserve what made people love the game, but is actively making something new and refined.

All of these rules together, particularly the return of ballistic skill, mean that it’s possible older editions of the roleplaying game may be broadly compatible with the miniature game again. It remains to be seen how the math works out, but it’s possible your Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 2e characters can cross back and forth once again.

Lastly, Games Workshop no longer credits model designers, painters, and some writers by name. This is unacceptable. As the creative force that keeps the company running, the creators responsible deserve full, clear, and public credit.

Source: Warhammer Community

Featured Image: Warhammer Community

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