Thursday, December 15, 2011

How-to: Starting Mordheim in 2012!


If you couldn't tell, I'm a huge fan of GW's original fantasy skirmish game, set amidst the burnt out mega-city of Mordheim. Support for the game was discontinued in 2004, but the ruleset lives today (for free!,) as do most of the miniatures, making it one of, if not the most budget-friendly Games Workshop games. Unfortunately, due to re-boxing on some of the original Mordheim components, it can be hard to track down what you need to start playing. Hopefully I can help to clear up some of your confusion in getting started. (Note: Many of the image links have broken since 2012 -- sorry)

The original rules for Mordheim are available in two forms: with pictures and without. The original Mordheim rulebook, with all rules -- and no official GW pictures -- is available for download at the Games Workshop website. If you're not concerned with cost, the Mordheim rulebook is available on eBay quite often; The rules themselves you can net for as low as $11 US, or you can grab the whole starter box for around $80-120.

White Dwarf started the publication known as Town Cryer, a rules supplement and general hobby mag for Mordheim around the time of launch. There's only six or so White Dwarfs with Town Cryer in them -- the other Town Cryers are for the most part independent mini-magazines. You can find these on eBay occasionally for as low as $3 each. Or you can search out "The Best of Town Cryer," a compilation of reprints, which includes rules for Orcs, Dwarves, and multiplayer brawls. I found the "Best of" for around $15. I imagine with patience one could probably do a bit better.

Other supplements exist too, like Empire in Flames (a continuation of the game outside the rubble of Mordheim,) and the Annual 2002. All extras are just that -- extra. You don't need Town Cryer, Empire in Flames or Annual 2002 to play, but they do expand your options for army choices, exploration charts, and terrain effects in-game. Znijurru and I only play with the basic rules-set so far, though I have thought about trying out Beastmen, as I have a small battalion box collecting dust. The standard rules work fine and are clear enough for regular, casual play.

Human mercenaries - Reiklanders, Marienburgers and Middenheimers

These guys were originally released in a ten-model box for Mordheim that has since been discontinued. It's not really worth searching for the box on eBay -- it's far inferior to its current incarnation, the Empire Free Company box.

This box gets you 20 humans for $35 USD, which is enough to cap out your entire army, and then some -- humans cap out at 15 members of the warband. Inside includes options for bows, knives, crossbows, swords, and some other melee implements. Plenty of variation.

Do you want to spruce things up? The Empire State Troops and Empire Handgunners box sets (both around $25) have 10 models -- a good size for a starting warband -- and plenty of powerful weapon options your heroes will want later on. The empire also has a large assortment of Generals and Captains that would make great leaders for your warband. Most Mordheim Captains, Youngbloods, and Champions are still available for purchase on the GW website (under Specialist Games of course.)

Cult of the Possessed

This is probably the most difficult warband to work with in terms of compatible models. You have some choices from amongst the Chaos Warriors and Chaos Daemons range, as well as the ability to take a limited quantity of Beastmen. What you'll really want to start off with, though, is probably the original box set, still in print, for about $42.

Not only do these guys look like genuine Warhammer Cultists, but they also include one of the coolest mutant sculpts ever. There are some great variant Mordheim Cultists out there if you scour eBay regularly... but overall, I think Possessed is an army that is hard to play with GW models outside of the Mordheim range. If you disagree, show me some options! :D

Witch Hunters

Here's another army with the original starter box still in print. The Witch Hunter box can be a real kick in the nads, though -- only seven characters and one attack dog, for the regular price of $42.

Additional character models can be supplanted from the Empire heroes range, and plastic Zealots can bolster your ranks quite quickly. Most metal characters are also still available for purchase from GW specialist games as well. Your tricky part here will be finding additional attack dogs, of which you can have up to five. You'll have to ebay the blisters, as there's no non-mutated dogs available in the Warhammer line that I know of.

Sisters of Sigmar

I'll start off by saying that Sisters are probably one of the most abundant factions on eBay, with a large variety of blisters and pre-owned boxes available. The original box and a few blisters are still available -- the box set available for (you guessed it) $42.

Sisters, like their Warhammer 40k counterparts, got little to no love during the rise and fall of Mordheim. They have a limited supply of Mordheim variants, no Warhammer Fantasy counterparts, and to make matters worse, their best character is no longer in print.

Bertha Bestraufrung, end boss of Sigmar.
Bertha is a powerhouse for Sisters, and commands regular prices of $20-50 on eBay. Ouch!

The Undead

This is probably the main reason why I was excited about writing an article about Mordheim today. Fantasy Undead have gotten so much love recently... and I imagine some of you will want to start an undead army with these awesome, cheap new models. But first... let's analyze the typical boxed set.

The Undead boxed set comes with four brilliantly sculpted Mordheim Zombies, and if you can tell, they look like they were bodies taken from the other Mordheim armies, which just rules. This box is also a whole TWO dollars cheaper at $40. You also get two dregs -- you'll want three eventually, and the third may pose a bit of a challenge to find (or it poses a great conversion opportunity!) The vampire and necromancer are questionable. I'll leave it to your own taste on those models.

Recently GW has released a few vampire counts that would work wonders for much less than you'd typically pay for their metal blisters. Take this necromancer for example. I'd be willing to bet you'd rather use this guy than the Mordheim variant.

There are also a huge assortment of vampires to use as well, some in Finecast. I've had my eyes on the Winged Vampire Lord and the female Vampire Lord with sword as well. You may see an undead warband from me in the future!


These guys probably benefit the most from the current edition of Warhammer, as Island of Blood Skaven are not only dirt cheap, but also entirely usable for Warhammer! The Skaven boxed set is still available, but it has also been re-boxed into the current Fantasy Skaven Nightrunners boxed set, which nets you 10 more models for $35. A pretty decent choice for starting Mordheim and getting most of your models out of the way.

The Island of Blood pretty much presents you with a complete army, start to finish, if you aren't picky. You get two Rat Ogres (you'll only need one -- take your pick,) a Warlock, a Chieftain, and plenty of rats with axes, spears, maces, swords, knives, and flails. What you won't get in IoB? Guys with Fighting Claws or Slings, both of which can be found in the Nightrunner box. There are so many variant plastic, finecast and metal models for Skaven in Mordheim that it'd be a rough job to list them all, so feel free to pour over the current line and find what you like for yourself.

After getting your miniatures, you'll undoubtedly enjoy making them feel more a part of a smaller game by adding personalized accessories. The Mordheim Accessory sprue comes in the original Mordheim boxed sets, or can be bought off of the specialist games section for about $10. Pricey, but the options on the sprue are great, and can really bring your warband to life.

Something else to be excited about! The era of 1998's cardstock terrain is gone, even if I am a big fan of cardstock buildings. Plastic has finally caught up, and there are a lot of current fantasy terrain pieces being pushed that work excellently for Mordheim!

Released for Storm of Magic, this ruined tower makes a great centerpiece. It's ruined, has multiple open floors and height for shooting at your enemies. The other pieces from Storm of Magic -- like the Eternity Stair -- may be able to find a home amidst your Mordheim ruins as well.

The recent release of the Garden of Morr has me excited as well. Graveyards have always had a place in Mordheim, and this kit is expandable to give plenty of room for your Mordheim explorers to battle in.

So, what's better than graveyards, ruined towers, gothic stairwells, the standard arcane ruins and temple of chaos in your Mordheim games? The latest release, Skullvane Manse. Supposedly this was released for Storm of Magic -- if it was, then it's just a coincidence that this thing looks downright amazing for Mordheim. The price is a bit steep at $75... but... I really want to play with this thing on my board!

There's also the option of creating your terrain the cheapest and oldest of ways -- insulation foam, plasticard, posterboard, and whatever else you can find! I have a large sheet of 1" pink insulation foam that I will eventually be attempting to make things out of. When I do, I'll be sure to chronicle it here!

I hope this whole thing helps you to maybe consider (or reconsider) the idea of joining Mordheim in 2012! The game is as fun as ever, and in the current economic climate, is a much better solution than Warhammer Fantasy or 40k (unless maybe you're just playing Kill Teams!) I leave you with this awesome picture of a Mordheim battle.

Until next time!
- Radical Edward


  1. Thanks man! I've been slacking off since I got a full-time job again, but winter is typically my hobby season, so I figured I'd start posting again :)

  2. That last picture is sick ... I agree with you about money issues im just playing necromunda and kill team at the moment really :(

  3. for the possessed the chaos sorcerer with horns would be a good magister, chaos spawn for greatly superior possessed, marauders combined with the mutations upgrade sprue for mutants, darksouls can be made from empire flagellants (painted properly of course) the only hard one is the brethren which i personally would just use the free company for and upgrade them in some chaos ways such as mutant heads, capes, icons and dark painting styles.
    The flagellants box will of course also make empire flagellants for the witch hunters and once again I would use the free company box for zealots. The empire warrior priests are far superior to the mordheim one and the witch hunters are still available as a random blister from games workshop, warhounds are quite difficult to come across but I don't use them so that doesn't bother me.
    The mercenary captains are still available but they are firstly crap models for the most part and secondly you get a random model from games workshop so you can't guarantee getting a good one. A far better option (if you have some minor converting skill) is to get the Mannann's blades command group from forge world - the captain with sword and shield looks good for reikland, the musician can easily be turned into a man with two weapons for marienburg and the standard bearer can with a little patience (cutting off the banner top and bottom and adding either a axe or hammer head to the top)be turned into a man with a great weapons foe middenheim. The rest of the mercenary warbands can be made from free company boxes.
    The sister of sigmar are a pain in the arse and not that good anyway but if you really wanted to do them I would suggest getting the starter pack two or three times and go nuts with conversions.
    For the undead I personally prefer one of the slightly older blood dragon vampires as they mostly come with heavy Armour, sword, shield and helmet and look far better to the von carstein's. I don't mind the mordheim necromancer myself but the warhammer one is better (as is the empire wizard kit which would make both a necromancer and a wizard for hire). Dregs are a pain - if you can't find the real models I would once again use the empire free company. I don't really like the mordheim zombies so for all 3 types of henchmen (ghoul, zombie, dire wolf) I would use the games workshop boxes.
    The skaven are one of the easiest to do. Any warhammer assassin makes a adept ( i would likely use the one with weeping blades and throwing stars myself), for the sorcerer you can use grey seers or warlock engineers, ikit klaw or simply a skaven with a concerted staff. Black skaven, and night runners can be made quite easily from gutter runner blister packs, verminkin can be made from clanrats but personally I would use the night runners box and try to get some spears, swords and shields for them (e-bay most likely). The giant rats and rat ogre are simply the rat ogre box which contains both as well as three pack masters with whips and swords.
    Orc, beastmen, dark elf, high elf and dwarf warbands are so easy from the warhammer range their is little point in me pointing specific models out.
    The chaos dwarf warband is a bit harder but you can get almost everything you need from either forge world or e-bay. the only other thing is slaves which I would once again use the all filling free company for.

    I'm quite glad to find that their are still mordheim players out there and somewhere for me to share my modelling and conversion experience with.