Attributes of T9A
Fantasy Battles: The Ninth age (T9A) was founded by leading Warhammer Fantasy tournament players after Games Workshop ceased to continue Warhammer Fantasy in its previous form. It is a complex Fantasy Tabletop game in a fictive fantasy world, fully developed by volunteer contributors from the community. Each player leads an army of a certain realm or faction of this world in a battle against another players’ army. Rules are for free and can be downloaded (see Links & Resources). Each player needs some dice and miniatures in the 28-32 mm scale, from companies of his/her own choice, to represent the army. T9A uses square bases with a certain size which is mentioned in the rules for each unit entry.
The armies are mustered before the game by the players under certain conditions, especially an agreed maximum point size. This maximum point size (standard 4500 points per army) represent the power of an army. You can “buy” units, heroes, monsters, etc. from the army book of the chosen faction. The point cost reflect the game impact of the according unit, monster, war machine or hero. This way the players shall have roughly equal chances in the game (external balance).
The armybooks, for example Highborn Elves, Warriors of the dark gods and certainly Infernal Dwarves are intended to reflect the character of the faction ruleswise, too. Priorities of a faction can for example be in magic, long range shooting, close combat, durability, mobility, and so on. In addition the army books shall allow many various army builds which are roughly equally powerful (internal balance). Players have much influence and many decisions to make in this game, both when creating an army list and also during the game itself. The thinking behind, and the testing of army lists and the long term construction of an army hobbywise can be a very rewarding process.
T9A uses six-sided dice. An archer for example can need a 4 or more to hit his target. Sometimes more dice are used at once and sometimes it can also be better to get a low result with the dice (such as for Discipline tests). A core element of the game is the movement of the units/models. This decides each side’s advantages and disadvantages for later combats, or is critical for fulfilling other game objectives. The game is turn based, this means first player A acts with his army, then player B, etc. Usually capped at 6 turns.
Aside from eliminating enemy troops, the fulfilling of mission objectives is very important. This can for example be the control of a certain terrain feature like a hill or the movement of as many units as possible to the other side of the table. The deployment of the armies at the beginning of the game also varies. There are six standard deployment variants and six different objectives which are determined randomly in the standard rules.
A standard T9A game can often last for 3 hours or longer, although experienced players certainly can play a little bit faster. Playing time can be influenced through the maximum army point size.
There were some rule changes in the past. Most of the big changes are over now and the basic rules are frozen now with Version 2.0, which is also called “Gold”. Nevertheless, T9A is a dynamic rules system and necessary changes are made from time to time. This is especially true for points cost but also for the wording of some rules. Rules should be as precise as possible to eliminate loopholes, and internal and external balance are always under supervision. Some people don’t like this because they can’t play exactly the same list for years on end, but on the other hand the game stays alive and interesting.
T9A has its own world of classic mediaeval Fantasy. At first it was important to have the rules as a base, now more and more work is being done to create an atmospheric background (“fluff”) for the world. You can see the high level of the art and fluff texts in the Full Rulebook and the first “Legendary army books”, meaning fully illustrated armybooks complete with background stories and appealing layouts. The slim version of the books only contain the rules. There are also some very interesting projects to supplement the main army books with Auxiliary army books such as viking �.sklanders and steppe nomad Makhar Confederacy which should interest hobby and fluff players (and also many homebrew ones, which are not at all official). Although only 16 factions are officially tournament valid at the moment, many tournaments still allow Auxiliary armies since they are designed to not be too powerful.
There is also a free online magazine in pdf form which is called The 9th scroll. There you can find community news, hobby stuff, background stories, game reports and similar content, all gathered in a publication done to a professional level.