Is Fantasy better than 40k?

Posted by Ron

After starting the Fantasy discussion with my previous post on the call of Fantasy, I started wondering about something I've always heard but never experienced... is Fantasy better than 40k?

Now I know, the best game is the one you prefer to play and all that jazz, but I've often heard that Fantasy is what gamers graduate to from 40k. Almost like 40k is what gets you started and then Fantasy is what you play when you get serious about the hobby.

Now I've never played Fantasy and I've never even watched a game play out, but I can't help but to wonder if there is any truth to this. So I ask those of you who have played both, is one "better" than the other?
Have any of you out there "graduated" to Fantasy from 40k?

Is Fantasy (even with it's new edition) a better game than 40k in terms of overall balance, mechanics, rules and general playability?

I'm interested in seeing if this is true. If I were a betting man, I would bet that Fantasy has maybe a better (meaning tighter written, less bugs, etc.) set of rules than 40k but more involved and not just move and shoot like 40k can be sometimes.

It seems like Fantasy has a bit more strategy involved in it along with requiring some real planning if you want to have any chance of winning or just doing well and living past Turn 2. I could be wrong though, like I said, I've never played the game. All that being said, I've posted lots of questions here, if you're someone who has experience with this, please chime in and help clarify this for me.

Who knows, I may gradute one day.

- Ron


  1. WFB had a reputation of being better because the movement system rewarded players who could plan ahead & execute an attack that would take 3-4 turns to produce (winning) results.

    This movement system has been removed from WFB 8th, which IMHO, puts the game on the same tactical level as 40K.

  2. I disagree; the movement system still has more to it than 40k. A bad deployment in fantasy hurts a lot more than one in 40k. There's a bit more to remember in fantasy, which means more to forget as well.
    Having said that, i dont think one is better than the other.

  3. i belive its better as there is no majority race ie that 50% of people dont play empire. where in 40k this majority exists making people talor their lists to marine killers. In WFB there is less of this making games more fun and diverse as you cant really predict what army your going to face next.

    Also the magic/phyker system is better as you have more of a choice what to do and it plays a far more dominant role in WFB than in 40k unless you play eldar.

  4. Fantasy is a more tactical of a game in my experience, where as 40k is more of a strategic game. That is that I think, at least in my experience, that army choice and unit selection matter more in 40k and maneuvering and tactical finesse matter more in fantasy. Though this is not 100% correct, and everything also faces chance/statistics, I feel that this plays out a lot.

    For truly elevated levels of tactics and strategy though, I find you have to go to the specialist games range. Battlefleet Gothic is one of the most dependent games on what the player does. Forge World's Aeronautica is as well, and the epitome of tactical level playing as the game shifts more than anything else. Blood Bowl is extremely tactical. One die roll can END YOUR TURN. I don't play epic, but from what I gather it is even higher level strategy than 40k.

  5. I also think Fantasy has less of a meta-game.

    The issue I have with it is Characters. They dominate Fantasy far more than 40k. There are 1000 point characters that are impossible for a normal guy to kill. Where as in 40k even Mephiston can be cut down by ripper swarms.

  6. Not having played Fantasy I can't answer the question of course. However, I know people who play both and their opinions aren't jaded, as seems to be the case with many of these discussions.

    One friend, as you said, graduated from 40K to Fantasy a few years ago and since has only played a handful of 40K games because, as he feels, Fantasy is a better game.

    Another I know plays both competitively, hitting up the Indy scene. He only plays 40K to win prizes he can use to push ahead his Fantasy army because he thinks Fantasy is a superior game. The newest edition has annoyed him because he feels it's now "dumbed" down to being 40K.

    The others I know play both systems because they enjoy both systems for different reasons and do not feel one is better than the other, simply different. They all of course agree that Fantasy is a more complicated system but that complicated does not make a game better.

    Just some things I've learned in pondering the same question also. Really it seems to come down to the person, naturally I guess. As some people mature as a gamer they begin wanting more complexity in their gaming experience and are drawn to Fantasy, or even other gaming systems. Others are simply after a fun gaming experience with clean and simple rules (relatively speaking), IE: 40K.

  7. Fantasy? Tactical? If special rules/special characters spam constitutes 'tactics', then Tacitus is rolling in his grave right now.

  8. It is more maneuvering based and your choices have more consequence. But then there are the characters, yes.

    But I would say that I'd almost rather have people play uber characters than face a million IG leafblower lists.

  9. Fantasy's movement system is much more complex and involved than 40K's is- whether or not this is a good thing depends on whether you think that aspect of the game is fun or not. And, as a whole, Fantasy's rules are more complex than 40K's are- but this doesn't make it a better, or even more strategic, game.

    40K was certainly more balanced before 8th Edition was released- it was hard to look at the codices and claim that it was anything like possible for Dwarves or TK to field an army that could hope to beat Daemons or DE. With 8th and the changes therein, the balance has turned a lot, but I still think that many of the books simply struggle to compete. 40K also has its lame ducks, but with only a small number of exceptions, every codex can field what is not just a competitive force, but what can be accurately called a strong one.

    40K games are also much more "involved" in terms of unit actions, although again this is something that has changed somewhat with 8th. In 40K, it is the exception, rather than the rule, when some of your models do not get to participate in shooting or close combat, whereas in Fantasy this is the norm. Fantasy also has traditionally involved more dancing about and positioning charges, countercharges, redirects, etc, all of which is very interesting and tactical, but tends to mean that there are several turns where very little "action" occurs.

    40K also has Fantasy beat in a number of ways in terms of quality of rules. 40K's missions are, as a whole, much more interesting than Fantasy's, which, with only a few exceptions- although certainly good ones- are just "get the mostest VPs and win." Fantasy also lags in terms of complexity of deployment- 40K has long had reserves, deep strike, and has added outflank and a variety of other unique deployment methods to its arsenal, whereas Fantasy has Scouts (==Infiltrate, and still fairly rare in most armies) and has only recently started picking up on other ideas.

    None of this is to say that either game is "better" than the other, it's mostly a matter of preference. As of 5th/8th, both of them are fairly well-designed games with at least reasonable play balance and interesting choices to be made both in army design and during the game. They have different sorts of mindsets and skills behind them and they play very differently, despite having superficially similar game rules and statlines for troops.

    The "40K graduating to Fantasy" cliche is, I think, because Fantasy has so much smaller of a population than its sci-fi counterpart. People get into 40K for one reason or another and become interested in other GW games, eventually "graduating" (or more properly "discovering") to other game systems. You might draw the same inferences if you saw that many players seem to graduate to BFG, or Necromunda, or Blood Bowl- but the reality is it's just a matter of exposure, I think.

    Fantasy is a game akin, in some respects, to chess. You set up your pieces and try and manipulate charges, reactions, distances, etc, to your advantage. 40K, in comparison, is more like an RTS- you need to be prepared with the right weapons/tools and a solid and adaptable plan; your options are usually much broader- that Lascannon can shoot just about anything on the board, so you have to figure out which the _right_ target is. Unit movement is more fluid, but that only magnifies the discrepancy when things come down to a matter of inches when pinning a Power Fist in place during a charge or creating buffers against melta weapons.

  10. @ Anonymous said...
    Fantasy? Tactical? If special rules/special characters spam constitutes 'tactics', then Tacitus is rolling in his grave right now.

    i hardly see thats the case in wfb yes some ICs are over 1000 playing chaos this is a big propblem for me as only 25% of your point pool can be spent on lored and heroes so now you cannont have your 1000 point hero in a 1500 point game.
    Also i bet most deathstar units (you may have more than 1 in your army) + IC in 40k are at least 25% of you overall point total btw i'm including the deathstar's transport ie termies and landraider.

  11. I find the background stories in 40K to be much more interesting and developed, it's easier to identify with. That makes modeling and playing easier and more fun. But I do think that playing a game on another burnt out city table top gets old. I recently played a small game of fantasy and my buddy set out a nice, LOTR looking village, that in itself made me totally happy.
    Santa Cruz Warhammer

  12. Personally, I find I enjoy the idea and models of Fantasy more than the actual game. For 40k, I enjoy the game more than the models. But really, I think it comes down to why you play the game. I paint models to paint models. I play the game to dump a bucket full of dice, which happens way more with my 40k Orks than it ever did when I played fantasy.

  13. i think playing fantasy is heavier in game than 40k (with units bigger than 40k) but Fantasy is better in strategy, more miniatures, visual is great like a film of cinema, for yours eyes and for friend's eyes.
    Party with 1000 or 2000 points is another problems, you can read it in previously posts.
    (sorry for my poor english, i'm french :p )
    bye and see you later
    good game !

  14. The fluff in 40k is far superior, the Fantasy stuff with a few exceptions is pretty clichéd. I think both games have fantastic models. As for the rules, I like 40k's simplicity but Fantasy adds a bit more character. The Magic phase alone is a lot of fun.

  15. Wow, excellent stuff guys.

    Nice way of putting it AbusePuppy, "discovered" is a much better way of saying it I think.

  16. I wouldn't say one was better than the other. I've played Fantasy - admittedly not in several years - but it's the science fiction element that has me addicted to 40K.

    I don't play Fantasy as my gaming time is sparse these days. When I do play, I prefer 40K.

    As an aside, I've always heard that you graduate from Fantasy TO 40K!

  17. I think Fantasy is far more predictable. If you see my two Hydras standing next to Blackguard and Cold one Knights you have a pretty good idea of what I am going to do. We try to force charges and control movements, but you know I will just fling magic and push forward regardless if I field Dark Elves or Warriors of Chaos.

    On the opposite my Eldar move 24" over all obstacles and I can make a ton of spur of moment decisions. My Blood Angels drop from the sky and can come at you 100 different ways.

    After playing both systems competitively for years I would say the tactics remain in unpredictable moves and complex decisions that change drastically each turn. 40k has more of this per turn than Fantasy does in every aspect of the game.

    IG Leafblower lists make the game suck, but so did Vampire magic spam or Daemon power lists.

  18. I wouldn't outright say one is better than the other, but I would say it's worth trying both. Variety, I hear, is the spice of life; and having more than one tiny man game option helps keep the hobby fresh for me.

  19. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  20. Different isn't better, it's just different.

    That being said, 40k has always lived in the shadow of it's older brother, so the stigma has persisted, I guess.

    Despite all my recent 'meh' about Fantasy, I think I might end up trying it. Not because it's better, but because it's different.

  21. I think that aside from the tactics and relative strengths of the armies, there is another element to this. Imagination. I think that it is much easier to immerse yourself in a game of 40k due to the massive amount of this type of thing in pop culture.

    We see film about tough guys fighting monsters with guns all the time. In my opinion this is why most people first army is SM.

    The more easily you can relate to what's happening on the battlefield the more you can immerse yourself in the game and just have fun.

    I think that actually what happens is that most people, and I am a prime example of this, start with SM, move to another 40K army, Join a gaming club, then move to fantasy.

    In this respect I think 40K is better as it draws massive numbers of people into the hobby which is good for us all.

  22. The new edition of Fantasy is 40k.

    They dumbed it down be multiple degrees.

  23. Some comments have been removed from this thread.

    Repost of Muskie's previous comment minus some language:

    Well lucky for y'all I'm here. I've played both and I've been playing both since well 1993 or so. That said I basically am a 40K guy and took about an 11 year break from Fantasy.

    First things first, when I started, Fantasy was the game, 40K was in first edition and was fringe. The big impressive armies were the Fantasy ones. Now 40K is more popular for whatever reason (plastic space marines).

    Now second thing, Space Marines are good. Any idiot can do well with 3+ armour save, special rules up the wazoo and WS 4 BS 4 etc...

    4th Edition Fantasy came with High Elves and Goblins spearmen and bowmen. Goblins are WS 2 LD 5 if they are Night Goblins. Winning games with WS 2 LD 5 troops is hard.

    Now with all the armies and plastic model kits you can totally do an elite fantasy army, Chaos Warriors are the most elite. They are better than Space Marines stat line wise. That said Chaos Warriors aren't considered the best army, people actually win a lot of games with Skaven or Undead and Skeltons are almost as bad as goblins comparing spearmen to spearmen.

    That is the thing with Fantasy, we played our Campaign today and we had two Battle Royals (WFB Pg406) with five players each and ten pieces of terrain on an 8*4 foot table. Every single model was painted, the Ogre army that showed up was damn nice. No duplicate armies at either table.

    At my table was Chaos Daemons (Nurgle ie ME), Ogres, Undead (Vampires), Beastmen, and Lizardmen. Quick which is the best army? If you said Ogres you were probably correct, but the Ogres didn't win. They probably should have but after six hard fought turns it came down to a fifty fifty roll and the Undead Player was declared victorious.

    Fantasy at least 8th Edition has a lot of different armies being run right now and who knows which one is best. Well any army list I pick is obviously flawed, but I'm going over points next game as I now have gold in the campaign...

    That said I'd rather being playing goblins than my more elite Nurgle Daemon army.

    Fantasy is very much a beer and pretzels game. 40K is a game where one player can win before any models even hit the table top the way some of you Americans play. Whereas Fantasy at say 1500 points right now is very much up for grabs. That said some things like War Hydras, Doom Wheels, and Salamanders seem to be better then their points and Nurgle Daemons don't seem so hot, I'd rather have any other daemon type at CORE, Special, or RARE.

    So as far as being more tactical, it depends on who is playing and how are they playing. As far as being more fun again, it depends who plays and how they play. As for which game is better, I'm still going with Warhammer 40,000 you can just do more with the rule set, such as Kill Team.

    Warhammer 40,000 used to be a squad level game, but now it has gone too far with heroes and non-squad level elements IMHO. Fantasy is a game where you still basically line up on either side and try to kill or route the enemy. Missions are all well and fine, but WFB in my opinion is two armies meet, one army comes out on top. Warhammer 40K with the right missions and terrain is a lot more than just showing up to kill...

    Fantasy has the variety in terms of armies right now for sure, but 40K has the popularity and due to the bigger player base and what have you has more armies and more players you can potentially play against.

    Try both and paint your damn army. ;-)

  24. Hmm...

    I'm just amazed. I'm not sure what was edited in my post but it reads fine. Ron is a good guy, Zak is a good guy. I ramble some times.

    I have nothing against Americans or Space Marines. I was a bit tired but I was also trying and failing to express an opinion clearly. I didn't deserve the abuse I got.

    I normally wouldn't have noticed or commented but it just keeps happening. It must be me.

    Both are just games. Play them, play with the people you enjoy playing with, in the manner you enjoy playing. I prefer to play with painted armies on nice terrain. It isn't always possible, but that is the goal people in the hobby generally strive for.

    I'm not a trouble causer. I apologized for whatever I said that Ron decided to edit out, I'm still in the dark exactly what it is. Like I said I put in the smiley. I was just trying to encourage people to paint through the medium of humour.

    I paint my models, it takes a lot of time and effort, and personal lives definitely get in the way. I did a grad degree and I think I painted two models in that time.

    Life sucks, I don't need people making my life worse, especially in little hobby circles online. I encourage people to try the new Fantasy game, I did. It is hard to win if you are a beginner. It isn't 40K you'll have to try some different tactics, some different methods of maneuvering your figures.

    I stated I thought 40K was the more versatile rule set due to scaling decently from Killteam to Apocolypse, decently not perfectly.

    We've been playing 1500 points in fantasy in the campaign it is an alright number but I think my personal armies would be better at 2000 points.


    I still don't know what I do to get into these situations, I try to be polite and reasonable, but I also like to crack jokes. I just don't have time for Internet drama and I don't want to associate with people who are abusive and just plain not nice.

  25. I play both games and I enjoy both games. ATM I think Warhammer Fantasy has a better rule set (just my opinion) but like I said I enjoy both games.

    Just to clarify a few things in 8th Edition Fantasy Lords/Heroes do not rule by any means. You can take your 100 point hero if you like and go up against my 50 strong Night Goblin horde. Characters are not instant win any longer and if they try to do much without support units they will die.

    As for which is more tactical, I think they are both very tactical, but the tactics are very, very different. The one thing I notice is that in 40K I always feel like I could still pull out a win, while in fantasy at times I know the game is over after turn 2-3, like I said this is just my experience.

    My suggestion is borrow an army and give Fantasy a try and see how you like it. I like having a variety of games to play because then none ever become stale for me. I am taking a break from 40k atm, but I know that it will start creeping back into my gaming before too long.


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