Tuesday, April 24, 2012

A quick primer on Mordheim

So you want to play Mordheim? Here's a little guide to get you started.

...but what is Mordheim?

Mordheim is a table-top skirmish game by Games Workshop. It is modeled on their Warhammer wargame, and is set in the same universe, using the same miniatures, but rather than focusing on large armies clashing against each other, it revolves around small warbands of 3 to 15 members. It is also campaign-based, with warbands growing and evolving over time through earning rewards and gaining experience.

These skirmishes take place in the shattered remnants of Mordheim, a once prosperous city in the heart of the Empire, that was destroyed violently when a twin-tailed comet fell from the sky and landed right in the middle of it. As a result of this apocalyptic disaster, shards of precious Wyrdstone are scattered throughout the ruins. Wyrdstone is essentially raw magic trapped in a solid form, and is highly valued for its mystical properties.

Soon, the city is filled with religious fanatics drawn to the site of what they consider to be a sign from their vengeful god, fortune hunters seeking the wealth the wyrdstone will bring them, and dark cults who worship the raw chaos that permeates the city in the wake of this disaster.

What do I need to play?

The Rules:

Mordheim is sadly no longer in print, but Games Workshop has very kindly put up all of the core rules on their Specialist Games website for free download. www.mordheimer.com is another source, and they also have a lot of the expansion content that is otherwise no longer available, as well as a wide variety of fan-made material.

Friends to play with:

Mordheim as a campaign works best when you have a nice variety of opponents to face off against. The more friends you can get on board for the long haul, the more rewarding the experience will be.


Games Workshop does still sell a few of the official miniatures for it through their online store, but they're not strictly necessary. Being set in the Warhammer universe, they have many suitable models in their current fantasy range, and you could easily make most warbands using their range of plastic regiments.


A variety of ruined buildings to represent the blasted landscape. Ladders and bridges are useful too. Finally, you want some small walls, barricades and other bits of clutter for your vulnerable warriors to seek cover behind.

 Elladan over at www.elladan.de has this awesome step-by-step guide of how he made some ruins. It's pretty advanced and detailed, and it's World War 2, rather than fantasy europe, but it's pretty good for inspiration, and really just looks amazing.

Other Equipment:

• A table, a nice big one, at least 3' x 4' to get good play area.
• Some standard six-sided dice. You'll need at least 2, but the more you have the better. It's also quite useful to have different colours, and something to roll them into so that you don't have dice flying all over the table and knocking over your carefully painted figures or getting lost in the deep recesses of a ruined building somewhere.
• Something to measure range and movement. A ruler marked in inches will do, but a tape measure is best.
• (Optional, but totally recommended) a laser pointer to check line-of-site.

Warband Roster:

You need something to keep track of your warband's stats and progress. The official roster is available for download over here. I'm not a big fan of theirs though, so I designed and refined my own which we've been using for many years. That one is available here.

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