Thursday, 24 October 2013

80s Combat Cards!

Inspired by Orlygg's recent article about Citadel Combat Cards, I decided to add my own thoughts about these great little GW products. For a long time I only owned the Chaos, Goblinoids and Dwarfs decks, but this year I decided to acquire the rest. So after some months of Evilbay scouring, I managed to buy the Warriors, Monsters and Space War decks for reasonable to moderate prices.

My original three decks at the top, with my recent acquisitions below.
I've spent many long moments looking over the beautiful images on these cards, and since I started buying some of the old school miniatures, I've also painted some to match the ones on the cards. I know some people might wonder, what's the point of copying them? Why not just paint them your own way? Well personally, I really like the way most of these models have been painted, and it's just my homage to these legendary miniatures. But also, while my painting standard is reasonably good, I quite often struggle to think up colour schemes for some models. So rather than just leaving a model on the painting desk for months (or years!) I just paint my own version of the scheme that's already been created. Two of these are shown below:

Jakun of the Claw

Ulrich Elfeater

But there is one other thing I'd like to cover while on the topic of Combat Cards. I also have a pack of some later cards released, I think, in about 1999...

I think they made decks for several races, but I only picked up the Chaos Warriors set. Incidentally, I never had to buy these, I got them for free! Many years ago, my local GW was having a clear-out and they had a whole box of these decks that they were giving away. Obviously they hadn't really sold many, and from the look of the actual cards, it's not hard to see why:

Unlike the unique models and multiple stats on the 80s cards, these look, well, relatively bland by comparison. The models are just some of the generic chaos models from the period where all creativity and colour was removed, and there's only one stat that doesn't even have a name! The "Top Trumps" rules were abandoned and some rules involving creating "warbands" consisting of several cards of the same border colour were introduced. All in all, much less exciting. I don't think there were any other attempts to make combat cards after these, probably owing to the failure of these ones to sell.

So anyone else got any of these later cards? Were there any other attempts by GW to make combat cards that I don't know of? Anyone else managed to complete their sets of 80s cards? Or did you have them all when they were sold in GW shops?


  1. There was another second attempt between this two; I have a set of Epic top trump cards from the early nineties; they were also of the top trump variety!!

    I also have the 40k version of the 1999 sets; they were an abortion. Why GW thought it would be a good idea to abandon the proven top trumps formula and introduce some wanky warband idea boggles the mind!

    1. Ah yes, the Epic ones, of course! They seem to be quite rare though, but perhaps I'll track them down one day.
      I don't know why they ditched the top trumps rules for whatever new rules were meant to be. But possibly because it was the start of the GW mindset of wanting to do things their own way, whether it was a good idea or not! :/ Even so, I don't know why they couldn't have come up with something just a little bit more inspired than that!

  2. I love your idea of painting your minis in the style of these cards. Its been done by other painters in the past because a lovely miniature is a lovely miniature, after all, and some of the models on the CC are the best ever painted. They are so full of unique character they are a joy to watch. I only own one set, the Monsters, but you have inspired me to get the others.

    1. Thanks! I've still got some more minis to do that I plan on painting like the ones on the combat cards (chaos mainly). If you want to get the other decks, there's currently loads of them on ebay now, for anything between a couple of quid and a tenner. Seems like a good time to complete the set!

  3. Yeah! They were beautiful! I used to spend hours lovingly staring at the beakie marines on the Space War deck! In fact I think it is childhood memories of these cards that got me into retro gaming! I think my favourite were the Legion of the Damned troopers! Or Morgan Blackblood; the blood angel champion in black armour with a red trim that clearly became the inspiration for the Death Company of later years!
    Oh things were so good back then; why did GW have to be taken over by chumps!!