July 8, 2015

Thoughts on Age of Sigmar

I wanted to jot down some of my thought on Age of Sigmar. In case you've been living under a rock, Age of Sigmar is Games Workshop's new Fantasy game. It is replacing Warhammer Fantasy Battles and is essentially an extension of The End Times they recently did. It is not -- I repeat NOT -- Warhammer fantasy 9th Edition. This is a whole new beast. SO here's my deep thoughts on it.

First off, the rules for AoS are free. Yes you heard that right. Games Workshop is giving the rules away for free. Don't believe me? See for yourself! The rules are only 4 pages long. All the existing armies were given Warscrolls that are essentially their Army Books. New models will supposedly come with their rules. Yes, 4 pages of rules. Essentially, they blew up the Warhammer rules. This is why it isn't 9th edition.

Truly the End Times, eh?

I will say up front that I have not played an AoS game yet, I have only watched some battle reports that some people have already done with the new system. That being said, I have been keeping an open mind and not jumped on the doom and gloom bandwagon that so many seem to like to jump on whenever GW does... well, anything really.

We know that Fantasy has been a dog in terms of their sales in recent years. Many theories abound as to why ranging from no interest due to the high cost of starting an army to GW spends too much time on 40K. Apparently GW needed to find some way of making their IP workable again.

So far, from what I have seen, I am... disappoint. I am going to hold out on final judgement until I can get a few games under my belt, but much of what I loved about Fantasy is just gone. I would argue vehemently that Fantasy was the superior tactical game between it and 40K. 40K has always been who can bring the biggest stuff and roll the most dice. I started 40K in 4th edition and watched as each new edition dumbed down the rule set taking out tactical rules such as crossfire, etc. Fantasy, while there were changes between 6th edition when I started and 8th edition, it was at its heart still the same game. Just tweaked. AoS is a major dumbing down of the rule set.

Sobasically, every model has it's own roll to hit, and roll to wound based on the weapon they use. Then the hit model has an armor value that they roll. No need to check toughness and strength and all that. Rending modifies armor saves, and there's other modifiers that can come into play. Models have static magic spells they can use. No more schools of magic and selecting spells. There's no more tactical advantage to charging (although truthfully, they did away with a lot of the tactical advantage of charging already leaving only Combat Resolution) or flanking. They're basically all skirmishing at this point. It's Fantasy 40K in a lot of ways.

Some may see this as not so bad. And in some ways it isn't. It allows people to get into the game at a lower price point with fewer models. However, the rules also don't have army construction rules. No point values or anything else. Just instructions to work it out with your opponent. You can still play big battles. They just aren't the same. It's no longer a game of massed infantry in blocks marching across the battlefield. It's just another fantasy skirmish game, and one that doesn't have a lot of depth that I can see. It is, however, no longer the same game. It's a totally new beast.

By now, there are many Battle Reports out there on Age of Sigmar. Just go to Google (or your favorite search engine) and search Age of Sigmar Battle Report. I have mostly heard positive responses from people who have tried it, so I am cautiously optimistic.

I need to get some games in and really get a feel for it. I am definitely not getting rid of my 8th edition rule book and army books any time soon. It won't be long before Mantic releases the free rules for their 2nd Edition Kings of War and I will likely snag those and hopefully they will release rules to use existing GW armies in the game which is something they've talked about doing.

I have no issue with GW releasing a fantasy skirmish game. I am not happy about Fantasy Battles being buried. As I said, truly the End Times. I just wish that the skirmish game would have been some kind of companion game to Fantasy Battles or something like a Mordheim update.

So what are your thoughts?


  1. Oh AOS, the bane of the online community currently. It's like walking through a minefield!

    My thoughts are just that it is not done releasing yet. We've weeks and weeks and weeks of releases and fine tuning and all sorts of stuff. Too much anger over not having chocolate sprinkles, when the ice cream shop hasn't finished listing the other topping yet.

    1. Yes, tensions are high. That's why I'm reserving final judgement until I get to play it at least a few times. No idea when that will be.