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Mordheim 20 years later

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“A beginning is the time for taking the
most delicate care that the balances
are correct.”
‐ Frank Herbert, Dune

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It was the Year 1998...
‐ The world was gripped by Y2K paranoia
• All over the world, people were convinced the
apocalypse...

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The Rules
‐ How to innovate and pay homage at the same time
• Had tie into Warhammer 5th edition rules
• Important not to ...

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Mordheim 20 years later

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This is the presentation I gave at Ropecon 2019 on the history of the game, its influence on Modern gaming, and its continuing support by the gaming community despite the fact that there has been no official support for it in 10 years. I explore the design decisions that led to the continued longevity of the game system and its support by a passionate fanbase.

This is the presentation I gave at Ropecon 2019 on the history of the game, its influence on Modern gaming, and its continuing support by the gaming community despite the fact that there has been no official support for it in 10 years. I explore the design decisions that led to the continued longevity of the game system and its support by a passionate fanbase.

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Mordheim 20 years later

  1. 1. “A beginning is the time for taking the most delicate care that the balances are correct.” ‐ Frank Herbert, Dune
  2. 2. It was the Year 1998... ‐ The world was gripped by Y2K paranoia • All over the world, people were convinced the apocalypse was NOW • At GW, we decided to make it happen! • We’d been looking for a fantasy Skirmish setting for a long time
  3. 3. The Rules ‐ How to innovate and pay homage at the same time • Had tie into Warhammer 5th edition rules • Important not to deter Necromunda players • Blend dice and storytelling
  4. 4. Philosophy ‐ We went back to grimdark, low fantasy • Mainly human warbands • Magic is rare and dangerous • Even supernatural elements are almost believable (ie. the Undead have Zombies, not Skeletons) • Develop with the community
  5. 5. Warbands ‐ Being thematically correct was everything • Low magic, high grit • Each faction had a reason to be in Mordheim • Armour and blackpowder weapons are expensive!
  6. 6. Innovation ‐ Innovation within skirmish game space • Risk/reward gameplay: Diving charges, jumps • Knocked down/stunned rules tied to miniatures (think Little Wars!) • Vertical gameplay • Fast post-battle sequence
  7. 7. Easter Eggs ‐ The team had a mission to fill the game with surprises • Spider-man, Highlander and many others • Tons of inside jokes from the Studio • Put fish everywhere
  8. 8. Playtesting ‐ First GW game where external playtesting was official • Playtesting group grew out of the newsgroup community • International playtesting via miracle of Internet
  9. 9. MORDHEIM ART
  10. 10. The Mordheim factor ‐ The final hurrah of the artisan illustrator • Everything was hand-made • Mordheim had a plan as a whole, rather than lots of individual illustrations • Distinctive look that has stood the test of time • Only project where John Blanche was given a free hand
  11. 11. The Final Art
  12. 12. Inspiration
  13. 13. The Production ‐ Production got gripped by Mordheim bug • Human mercenaries sprue is one of the longest-serving plastic kits of all time • Cheaper box price (40 pounds vs 50) • Plan to make the game as high value for money as possible
  14. 14. Legacy and Influence ‐ Mordheim has lived on for 20 years and flourished • Mordheim was always a community-first game (Town Cryer, Fanatic, Compendiums) • The fanbase has kept the game alive and flourishing. • Mordheim created a new game genre, the ruined city fantasy skirmish (Frostgrave is the best-known homage game)
  15. 15. Inspiring people
  16. 16. Inspiring people
  17. 17. 20 Years Later ‐ The game is going stronger than ever! • PC game with well over 400 000 copies sold • Mobile game with 500 000 downloads • Thriving communities online with tens of thousands of enthusiasts • Reddit, Facebook, forums, Youtube
  18. 18. Finally...
  19. 19. And the final secret is... ‐ There were TWO creatures who came with the comet • Shadowlord, the Avatar of Chaos • Child of Light, the Avatar of Sigmar • So the Sisters were in the right, after all!

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