Saturday, July 16, 2016

Warhammer - Age of Sigmar - an opinion.

As is all too well known now, GW in their wisdom decided to take a whole new view to their popular fantasy battle game; Warhammer... and wholesale replaced it with an entirely new concept for the fantasy game, with Warhammer - Age of Sigmar!

This caused chaos quite literally in the hordes of fantasy players the world over... which caused varied reactions, and to the extremes of one player publicly burning his entire fantasy collection on Youtube! (Totally bonkers if you asked me - should have sold them!)

As for myself I looked on in a state of bemusement as the change didn't affect me in the slightest... I had drifted away from playing Warhammer and 40K many many years ago... being content to continue to play their Lord of the Rings/Hobbit SBG game, being a big Tolkien fan, and other non-GW games... recently seeing me take to Bolt Action with great enthusiasm...

And then things take a radical turn... I bought a pharmacy, and after our first year decided to add a Hobby Corner Department, initially supporting and stocking Warlord Games products including Bolt Action and Army Painter and sourcing Vallejo from another local distributor... a successful first months trading sees me decide to widen the Hobby selection, including Star Wars X-Wing and Armada, and becoming a GW stockist.

This later part resulted in a 1m display stand arriving and being packed with 40K and AoS product! Now I haven't actively played 40K in several years but I think I probably have a rough idea how it still plays... it wouldn't take me too long to get  up to speed with it again... but AoS???

I haven't actively played WFB in about 20 years... and last played WAB (based on WFB 5th?) about 10 years ago...

So I decided I had better see what all the fuss was about and try and learn the game so I can explain it to potential customers in store...

A local mate; Nic Jebson organised a demo game for me down at the local club; Kapiti Wargames Club... and I dug out a bunch of 20 year old  dwarf figures from my dusty collection and backed them up with a unit of Elven archers... to face Nic's Dark Elf Army.

We played a 'take anything you like' version of the game, just for me to see how it played...

There were two objective markers on the board which would give points per turn for having possession of it. There would also be points for killing the enemy Army General....

We arrayed our battlelines and set to.

On my left flank my elves made a dash into the woods to get near the left flank objective, but they were headed off by Nics executioners... My dwarven line advanced across the centre and dwarf missile troops held an area of ruins on my right flank, near the right flank objective.

Nic advanced his battle line towards mine, with a dragon mounted sorceress in the centre alongside a another draconic beastie and dark elf foot soldiers. On my right Nic started an outflanking move engaging my missile troops in the ruins...

The long and short of the battle was, the executioners did just that to my elves and remained holding that objective... my dwarven line largely held in the centre... the cavalry charge was broken against the ruins and once they had been dealt with it allowed me to start rolling the flank...  which I duly did.

This move also saw a General to General duel, with my stalwart dwarf lord emerging the victor... this put me ahead on points in the game and caused Nic to throw his last units into the fray, but to no avail... the game ending with Nic reduced to the Executioners holding their objective, the rest of the army destroyed...

Now I have to say, after all the negative press AoS got, I actually wanted to dislike the game... but that was not to be... I thoroughly enjoyed it!

I think because I haven't played WFB in may years I had an unbiased view going into the game, and no axe to grind... I also liked the removal of the blocky movement tray mounted units... having played LOTR SBG for several years I am used to and enjoy the skirmish look and play of it... it reminded me in some ways of a cross between LOTR SBG and Bolt Action, You still had units, but they were in 'skirmish order'. This allowed freedom of movement, and allowed the battle lines to blur and merge into a huge melee, which to my mind is probably a better representation of such warfare... it also allowed friendly adjacent units to support each other... something I always found difficulty with in WFB as adjacent units often had issues aiding their friends due to restrictive charges arcs , turning circles and other units getting in the way of the turning unit...

The game also involved rolling the proverbial buckets of dice, something I have always had fun with in gaming, no matter the game.

So I have to say, for me AoS gets a thumbs up, and there's no need to go burning your armies... I managed to play it with 20 year old dwarf figures!

The one thing I will agree on is the fact that the lack of points system and some of the 'humorous' rules were bad moves on GWs side. But it seems they are redressing this with the introduction of a points system... time will tell on the silly rules though! ;-) Still it adds to the 'fun' perhaps.

Age of Sigmar - give it a try!


  1. It is a good game and I see the connection it has with LotR. Lets hope the new Generals Handbook brings more players back to the game to help your sales.

  2. You outlined yourself why so many people who were/are WFB players don't like AoS. It is essentially a big skirmish game with little in the way of a big battle feel. Many of us have large armies we've lavished loads of time and care over, large chunks of which are more or less redundant in AoS.

    I have no problem with AoS in principle and I don't condemn people who do like it. The issue for many is that GW effectively* killed the game they love meaning they're sticking with earlier rules they like/writing their own and won't be buying GW product.

    * We've decided to keep playing with our fav edition and don't care!

  3. I think Missly has this bang on - AoS got flamed not because if what it was, but what it wasn't. Great to see you approach this with an open mind Scott and for a new gamer, whats not to like as a game system?

  4. AOS got me back into Fantasy gaming after an absence of 20 years , Tony

  5. Glad to hear you enjoyed it! You got you play Jebson too, you lucky sod! I disagree with other commenters that this game lacks the massed battle feel. My Undead army has over 100 models (ranked up, too!) at a 2,000 point level. And nothing has been made redundant. Tomb Kings won NICON, after all.

    AOS will be at Call to Arms in August - come by and check it out!

    1. Thanks Tim. I'll be at CTA so will check it out😊

  6. Yeah I can see that Millsy. Perhaps they should have introduced AoS, but kept WFB going, giving players choice... Two styles of playing the same game ... Mass battle & mass skirmish?


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