Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Warhammer: Age of Sigmar. My review.

I will start this review by saying that I have played Warhammer Fantasy Battles, 8th edition. So some backstory incoming. I didn't play it much, but I have. I started a small Dwarf army several years ago because I am a big fan of Dwarfs and their fluff in Warhammer. However quickly realizing the sizeable force I would need for a game and lack of fantasy players in my area, my Dwarf army never grew beyond a side project. Which I thought was a shame because I really liked my Engineer's Guild themed conversions.

Fast forward to several years later and my 40k gaming partner and I started expressing an interest in giving WHFB 8e a go. He bought and built up a Warriors of Chaos force and I expanded on my Dwarfs. We then played maybe 2 games of 8th edition. We found it... ok. I think we were able to pick it up because we were both experienced 40k players, but it was different enough. However we soon went back to 40k and put our collections away.

Fast forward to last week, and Age of Sigmar rumors were starting to leak and filter in en masse. At first many were thinking it was just going to be 9th edition. Which didn't get me excited. I would be giving it a shot just so my Dwarfs could see the game board again, but nothing excited me. Then the rumors started piling in on what this new game, Age of Sigmar, actually is.

This is something that genuinely excited me. I always wanted to get into a skirmish scale game for Warhammer fantasy, and this seemed to be it. The fact that the core rules fit in 4 pages attributed to the possibility of a fast paced skirmish fantasy game like I hoped it would be. The warscrolls were inspiring, joke rules aside (which I see as the final farewell to the old armies they were meant to be, and the designers' own sense of humor).

Right off the bat, I could see other's reviews and playtests of it. The glaring issue was coming up with balanced forces for both sides. So in our first game, I thought of an idea for balancing forces.
  • 50 wounds to each side.
  • Up to 50% of your wounds may be allocated to warscrolls with the Hero keyword.
  • A minimum of 25% of the wounds must be allocated to Core units as labeled in their last army book.
  • A maximum of 50% of the wounds may be allocated to Special units as labeled in their last army book.
  • A maximum of 25% of the wounds may be allocated to Rare units as labeled in their last army book.
I wanted to start with limiting wounds because I felt it was a better solution than limiting models. And going with 8th edition style army list composition prevents spamming and taking nothing but powerful units. Others are developing systems for calculating points costs and I may try that at a later date.
I know it wasn't required to rebase my stuff, but I'm really liking round bases. My Dwarfs look great on them.
So my gaming buddy and I built our lists and give the game a go. We wanted to keep the rules as-is for our first game, and decide if we wanted to houserule anything wonky later.

The game went great! I really enjoyed how easy it was to pick up and get used to. Combat goes by much faster with standardized to-hit and to-wound rolling. Some say that has become boring, but when you memorize your warscrolls it goes by so quick you don't even notice. And when you get heroes involved in things, they add some more complexity to it. Even the rules that seemed like they would be weird or distracting didn't come into play at all. I felt our forces were pretty evenly matched. He had a lower model count so he got a Sudden Death objective, which almost cost me the game, but when we got into combat with some of our units we realized the advantage of having a higher model count still, so I think the sudden death objective helped to even thigns out. I just got lucky in surviving it and the battle turned in my favor.

I really look forward to playing more games in the future.  My brother Jarom got the Orcs and Goblins Warscoll Compendium so I hope to catch a game with him on a later date.

On a final note, Dwarfs are just as good at dispelling magic as ever. As soon as my Runelord got in range of his Chaos Sorcerer, he couldn't even get a spell in edgewise.


  1. Nice write up, it's not the end of the world after all, huh?

    I think by the simple act of just DOING IT, you discovered the real gem of the game instead of assuming and postulating, good on you for getting figs on the table and test driving the rules, more people need to do that. You've done more than me actually!

    Those Dwarves look pretty swanky on those round bases too!

    1. Hey Mik, welcome to my new blog! Yeah it's a fun game. Like I said, when you and your opponent can agree on an even force, or come up with a method for it, you can have a good time. Even if it's just a wound limit it may be better than nothing, but it sounds like you and your friend can make it work.