So... did anyone? I remember it being released and of course there was plenty of coverage in Cry Havoc but I don't recall whether it gained any popularity. I certainly don't remember seeing any painted armies back in the day. I got the impression that most people stuck with Confrontation.
I finally got the box last year, so I just gave it one try. My Wolfen army is the only one that is numerous enough for a for a big game, although you can paly it with about 1000 points as well. It is quite complicated and I didn't use the 2.0 rules from the Cry Havoc, but I will definitely give it another try. But sure, most people stuck with Confrontation, that's my impression as well. Rag'Narok wasn't played much around here.
It's a shame as the armies shown in Cry Havoc look fantastic en masse. I've been browsing through my old mags recently (all bought on Ebay a few years ago!) and the scenarios have really got my interest picqued. I could field an allied Lions and Griffins force but that would be a lot of painting. I imagine that could have been one of the factors that may have put people off back in the day considering how detailed most of the models are.
I plan on giving it ago in the next few months with the Dirz and Griffin armies I have. Only a 1000 pts but more than enough. Having been through the rule book a few times, it seems complex, but actually has a lot of highlights that will make it rather run.
I've played several games of the original rules. In general, the game had some very weak points. Combats could get bogged down quite easily and many models just we not worth their points. My opponents who were used to Games Workshop games complained about line of sight not being worth anything.
I've thought long and hard about how to make Ragnarok rules work better, but I keep coming up short. I like toe depth of characteristics that make Confrontation models all unique, but I have a very difficult time getting this flavor yet speeding up the game play.
The one thing I did really like about Ragnarok was the Orders system. I've always wanted a game that made you plan and commit to your moved beforehand. This seems to really bring out the Strategic depth.
The group of guys that I played with in Saskatoon, Canada were not interested in being forced to play a different system and style. We looked forward to new releases and probably had every model for our respective armies and had started purchasing allies or an alternate army to what we had started with. That flies in the face of Rackham's business model for Ragnarok. They were convinced by some consumer poll that more people would buy more stuff except that they didn't have enough time to paint. So they thought let's take painting out of the equation.
We also hated the plastic models, with some exceptions. The bigger models, monsters and cav were acceptable, but the regular troopers were very very average. The plastic figs from Reaper are several grades better than Rackham's.
We had some battle royales on a Saturday night, 1500 puts of light versus 1500 of evil. I found those to be a lot of fun.
I bought Rag'Narok way back when, but primarily for the setting book. I never saw anyone play it but I've always wanted to try. I've got enough figures to have a go but I'm thinking I'll probably just print up a bunch of counters to have a practice game or two with... to see if I think I like it enough to go whole hog on getting out figures and terrain and roping someone into playing it with me.
IMO one of the things that worked against Rackham was having such refined figures and such nice photos of such nice paint jobs. It made the whole thing seem beyond the reach of the average hobbyist... my table was never going to look like that. The stuff I see in White Dwarf is generally much more attainable... heck, half the time I think I can paint better. GW figures are chunky/clunky and generally a bit more forgiving.