Thursday, October 16, 2014

Planning a Chaos army (one year later progress reports)

A goal without a plan is just a wish

When I decided to go back in time to my Warhammer days, the choice of a Chaos army was obvious. It was THE army I wanted as a child, and I spent more time reading and re-reading Realm of Chaos than anything else related to Warhammer. 

I like to plan. Not in every details, mind you, but I like to have a good idea of where I'm going. I think it's a side effect of my youth, when I used to do the opposite! 

 I had two main goals for this project; first to build a gameable Chaos army of minimum 3000pts, and the second to paint and assemble a variety of Chaos troops and Monsters so that I could play some Warbands using the Realm of Chaos rules. I would love one day to be able to start a Warband campaign, and own everything the dice could come up with! Well, that's somewhat of a dream. Back to reality.

So first thing first, building my army.

However, the same questions which haunted me as a child quickly reared their ugly heads; what type of army? Which god(s) to represent? What colour scheme? and, a new question, an army for which edition? I don't know about you, but I can spend hours and hours agonizing about these choices, usually while trying to go to sleep!

Lets start with the beginning shall we? Which Chaos god? I like the 4 Chaos gods, always did, but I think that, like most Chaos Lords, I do have my favourites. In order of preference, I'd say my favourites are Slaanesh/Nurgle (ex-aequo), Khorne and Tzeencht. To be honest if I could I'd build an army of each! But that might be costly and somewhat time-consuming! So after some thought I came up with an idea; to first build a Chaos undivided army. Other than the fact that Chaos undivided has a charm of its own, it allows for more creativity and artistic license, I find. An army of Chaos is not limited by the traditional colours connected to the Chaos Gods. My cunning plan was to then paint contingent of the 4 chaos gods which could just be added to my "basic" chaos army to create variety.  

Plans, no matter how cunning they appear at the time, are meant to be changed, however, and this one is no exception! After a lot of thinking in the last year, I decided to collect and paint two armies of Chaos; one dark and brooding undivided force with a strong Nurgle flavour and a Khorne contingent, and one colourful, diverse, and gloriously pastel Slaanesh and Tzeentch force. I just couldn't match those two styles in one army. The first army will get the Chaos Dwarfs, the other the Dark Elves, etc. Added bonus; it will allow me to play RoC games. Now of course I won't do all this in one go, and after I finish my first Chaos army I intend to move on to greenskins before coming back to the pastel fields of Slaanesh & friends.

How to make a 12 year old boy dream big...
So the first army I wanted was to be a dark, old school (as in Warhammer armies/WHFRP) looking Chaos army. A undivided core surrounded by Nurgle and Khorne followers. I figured my warriors would be clad in blackened armour, and that I would mostly avoid garish colours. I needed a colour to bind everything together, and I settled on various bright greens.

In my youth, I would carefully create a 3000pts army on paper and then slowly try (pitifully) to build that precise force. Lets just say I've wisen up since then! I want to have a diverse force, bigger than 3000pts, so I can pick and choose before a game and keep things interesting. There is also the matter than I want to make my army playable not only for the 3rd edition, but also in more recent editions, mainly the 6th (which I prefer when I just want to play a quick pick-up game without a GM). The more recent editions usually require bigger units, so I will need to take that into account, amongst other things. But one detail is of the utmost importance; what matters is the look of my force, to enjoy painting it and to have fun. I'm certainly not into combos and creating the most powerful army!

So I came up with a "mandatory nucleus", i.e. a core of troops I cannot do without and that I have to build before going into all the extra fluff, and believe me there's a lot of possible extra fluff in a Chaos army! So here is that core :

- 1 mounted Chaos Lord
- 2 Sorcerers, with chaos familiars (hey, you either do Old School right or you don't do it at all!)
- 6 Trolls
- 15 undivided Chaos Warriors
- 10 "chosen" Chaos Warriors (i.e. either Khorne or Nurgle warriors)
- 20 Beastmen
- 6-10 Chaos Knights
- 20 Chaos Dwarfs
- 2 Chaos Spawn

I figured this was a nice core, easily adaptable to many editions or other rulesets (the heresy!). It gave me something to strive to, both in terms of painting and collecting. Otherwise it can be easy to get lost in the myriads of options available, and it can also be easy to spend your money all over the place, and ending up not having enough of this or that troop when you're ready to paint them.

So I planned that core a year ago, and one Jabberwock excepted, I've stayed fairly loyal to the plan :

- 1 mounted Chaos Lord
- 2 Sorcerers, with chaos familiars (hey, you either do Old School right or you don't do it at all!)
- 6 Trolls (almost done...need two more)

- 15 undivided Chaos Warriors
- 10 "chosen" Chaos Warriors (i.e. Warriors from a specific god)
- 20 Beastmen
- 6-10 Chaos Knights
- 20 Chaos Dwarfs
- 2 Chaos Spawn (1 down, 1 to go)

I'm currently working on the unit of Chosens and the 2 sorcerers are almost complete. So yeah, all in all I've been fairly organized and rigorous for a Chaos follower! Once this is done, I'd like to add a few monsters and some Khorne and Nurgle "specialties" (Juggernauts, Nurglings, etc.).


  1. Good progress.
    I was a fan of Chaos from way back as well... kept buying and buying without a plan, whatever looked gross or fearsome or strange. So arriving here and now with a vast disorganized horde (because I didn't play the game, just liked the minis)... and trying to sort them into an actual functional army... filling in the holes (for whatever reason I never bought mounted figures back then).
    I'm still obsessing over the baggage train though... which threatens to take up waaaay to much space on the table.

  2. Yes, it sounds a lot like me!

    Must say I never gave much thought to my Chaos baggage train...maybe one day!

  3. Hi Iannick,

    Steady progress as usual. I have come to learn this is your true mark of fabric, if not a mark of Chaos ;-)
    I am more and mor etempted to join you in this orgy of old metal (and I have already purchase a few things on ebay), but I am still really not sure what to do, this all Oldhammer thing seems too boundaryless and foggy to me.
    I might write within a short while to ask for a few tips. If I don't... Then I am still itching the top of my head, clueless.

    See you.


    1. Hi Nico,

      You're more than welcomed to join me in this trip down memory lane.What army are you looking at? My main goal really is to collect enough troops to be able to play both 3rd and 6th edition battles, and maybe try another ruleset like Kings of War or Armies of Arcana. Send me an email, or we can talk about it on the 28th. Cheers