Earlier this year I wrote an article introducing you to Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay, Fantasy Flight Games’ third edition of the grim and perilous roleplaying game set in the Games Workshop world of Warhammer.

There are some new releases by the busy goblins at FFG that make some changes to how you can play this excellent fantasy roleplaying game. Let’s have a good look at the new Guides and Vaults!

Many players have been a bit confused by these new releases, since they effectively re-release a lot of the information that has already been covered in the Core Set and subsequent supplements. The bottom line is, if you already have the core set and the supplements that cover corruption and mutation (WInds of Magic) and disease (Signs of Faith), you don’t need to buy the Gamemaster’s Guide and Vault and the Player’s Guide and Vault. Everyone will most likely want to get the Creature Guide and Vault however.

But if you’re an avid WFRP player like me, you’ll definitely want to get them all—and here’s why.

Each of these new releases consists of a Guide—a hardcover book—and a corresponding Vault—a box containing cards and components. The reason FFG has created this new format for the WFRP rules is that they have received feedback from some customers who want to play WFRP in a more ‘traditional’ fashion. This new third edition of WFRP relies heavily on the use of cards and counters to track actions and effects, and some players found these difficult to work with. Personally, it took my players a few sessions to get used to the new system, but we’re now running very smooth games and everyone enjoys this revolutionary and convenient way of keeping track of information.

In order to appeal to all types of gamers however, these new hardback releases allow you to play the game without the use of cards. All the actions and effects are now listed in the hardcover Guide books. You can access this information, and list it on a character sheet, in the same way you do in any traditional roleplaying game.

If you’d prefer to play with the components, the Vaults make them available in a separate box. In each of the Vaults you’ll find the relevant cards, counters, tracking meters and character and creature stand-ups—plus some of the special WFRP dice (also available separately).

So there are now several ways to start playing WFRP. You can either buy the Core Set, which has everything you need, rules and components (save the corruption, mutation and disease rules and components given in the Magic and Faith expansions), or you can buy just the Gamemasters, Players, and Creatures Guide hardbacks and play in a ‘traditional’ way, or you can buy the Guides and their matching Vaults for the entire experience with cards and components.

It’s still worth getting the Magic and Faith expansions in any case, as they have lots of excellent background material on their subjects, as well as information on the Chaos gods Tzeentch and Nurgle.

For everyone, the Creature Guide is an essential buy, as it covers dozens of new enemies and adversaries for your games. If you’re playing with components, you’ll want to grab the matching Vault as well. This also includes creature cards, with an illustration of the monster on one side and relevant stats on the other, and group cards, a quick and easy way to set up encounters with groups of creatures.

So, why would I get the lot? Well, I enjoy playing WFRP with the components the way it was first designed, because I think after the initial period of adjustment, it’s a lot faster and more convenient way of playing. But it is a bit more difficult for players to peruse their options when they are taking their experience advances, as there’s only one set of cards in the core set. It can also be slower to go through a deck of cards, when you’re looking up some action or effect options, than checking a table. So for the sake of convenient reference, these new Guides are a must.

In fact, my players will also be buying a Player’s Guide each so they can have a personal reference for the rules and their character advancement options.

The Creature Guide and Vault is a no-brainer, since it completely expands the creature options, and the creature cards especially will be a great addition to the game. The Gamemaster and Player Vaults are less essential since I already own the core set and all the expansions, but they offer an extra set of these components, which can be handy. It’s also very important to note that the rules have been reorganised and rewritten and include more examples of play and explanations of mechanics, so there’s something useful even for experienced WFRP gamers.

I hope this clears up some of the confusion about the new Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay releases. If you have any further questions, feel free to post a comment below and I’ll do my best to help!

(Don’t forget to check out FFG’s new downloadable content—including an expanded character sheet—for WFRP.