I finally caved in and bought the Warhammer Fantasy rulebook last night from a frighteningly enthusiastic staff member at the local Games Workshop. And for the size of the book alone this thing is epic. Skimming through it I'd guess at about 1/3 rules, 1/3 storyline and 1/3 hobby/painting, so it's got a bit of everything for everyone.
I've now set myself a week to decide which army to play, after that I'm just going to have to bite the bullet and go for it. For now I'm trying to choose between Dark Elves, Chaos Warriors or Chaos Beastmen.
As we stand the Elves are in the lead slightly. Massed ranks of spears is exactly the type of awesome I'm interested in, and the presence of some worthwhile shooting ability is something I'd like too (what's not to like about repeater crossbows?). There are a few bits of Dark Elf storyline that I'm not 100% convinced by, but I expect a large amount of that is just down to unfamiliarity. And hey, any army that rides into battle on the backs of dinosaurs is pretty cool in my books.
So, hopefully by this time next week I'll have figured out what I'm doing with this and picked up my army book and battalion box to get started with. Which will mean I'll have a third army to paint. Ah well.