Saturday, 11 July 2015

Battle Report: Age of AoSBoot

Say, I hear there's this Age of Sigmar game that's caused a bit of a stir.

With deep breaths and a certain amount of trepidation, Kraken and I took to Skype - battle report and first impressions will follow...

Age of Sigmar
It's an Oldsmobile reference. Don Draper would love it.

Holy Sigmarite!
It's All-Skype Fight Night!

And it's our 400th post! We must have been saving it for something special.

I, Stylus, claim this Normal font to be my Realm for the duration of this battle report!

And I'm back in the darker black - Kraken in bold. 

Full disclosure: my feelings towards the Age of Sigmar have been ambivalent at best. While I never joined the online torch-and-pitchfork mob, I may have stood on the sidelines, nodding sagely about stupidly simplified rules and the poor demise of the Old World.

I've come around a bit since then, thanks to some reasoned blogs on the subject, and battle reports that relished in the fun to be had (rather than pick the most extreme aspect to *prove* that it's broken and unbalanced and Ruined Forever™). So thanks to you early pioneers, you convinced this old curmudgeon into giving it a try.

I was pretty sore about the death of a game I've played for years. I've worked a little as a critic over the years (theatre and PC games), and if there's one thing I've learned, it's that it's a lot easier to write caustic bile if you've experienced the source first hand. So I was going in with sharpened knives, surfing on an internet wave of hate. Raaaargh.


Bonesplittas Big Mob

  • BigTrotta, Savage Orc Warboss - General. Granite Choppa, Bone Shield, War Boar
  • PigWaaagh!, Savage Orc Shaman - Totemic Bone Staff, War Boar
  • 6 x Savage Orc Boar Boyz - Boss, Icon Bearer, Tribal Drummer, Flint Spear, Crude Shield
  • 15 x Savage Orcs - Boss, Icon Bearer, Skull Bashers, Big Stabba, Stone Choppa, Bone Shiv
  • 15 x Savage Orcs - Boss, Icon Bearer, Skull Bashers, Big Stabba, Stone Choppa, Crude Shield
  • 15 x Savage Orcs - Boss, Icon Bearer, Skull Bashers, Big Stabba, Feral Bow, Loadsa Arrers
- 53 models, 68 wounds

Not knowing a thing about this new composition or balance, I went with one of the army lists at the back of the warscroll pdf. And look - after all those years painting Savage Orcs (now 'Bonesplittas'), they finally get a themed list to themselves.

The warscroll choices were all made for me. For the Savage Orc equipment, I took one of each type; and for the Boar Boyz, I took Flint Spears (on the erroneous assumption they would be better than Stone Choppas). Both the Warboss and Shaman got War Boars as I reckoned I would need to give them some mobility (and because - hey, I have the models).

We agreed to have matching wound - initially 50, but bumped up to 68 when we realised that was as small as Kraken's Chaos list could get.

The Unavenged

  • Ayt'thed the Unavenged, Chaos Lord - General, Twin Runeaxes and Evil Chaos Dagger Thingy
  • Imiss Spellchoosing, Chaos Sorcerer Lord - Chaos Steed and Runestaff
  • 10 Chaos Warriors  - Icon, Champion, Hornblower, Hand Weapon and Runeshield
  • 10 Chaos Warriors  - Icon, Champion, Hornblower, Hand Weapon and Runeshield
  • 5 Chosen - Champion, Icon and Hornblower
  • 1 Chaos Chariot - Champion and Glaive
68 Wounds, 28 models

You know what? I know some of these equipment descriptors are wrong. I don't care. I read the warscrolls, I felt unmoved and uninterested in the stuff because there was no fluff. So I took all the free upgrades, made the bare minimum of choices for gear and got on with it. 

I was taking a Chaos Warband, from the list at the back of the warscrolls pdf. Seemed appropriate enough, and it's a small fraction of my available troops. Small indeed - CW are almost all multiple wound models now, which started to pique my interest. I really did get a small elite, roughly half what Stylus was bringing. This meant I was able to take a sudden death objective, and I decided on Surviving Six Rounds. 

A steely wall of choice troops against a mass of screaming savages. If only I could have given my troops rifles, we could say it was Rurrouk's Drift. 


We eschewed scenery rules, as we felt we'd have enough to manage in a new system without extra rules. 

I denied a flank to some extent - I stuck my characters in a corner, where I hoped anyone coming to get them might fall foul of my general's ludicrous 'summon more chaos warriors' ability. Good luck getting through 400 free Gorebeast Chariots, Savage Orcs. 

The rest of the team made a thin black line stretching out to the centre, with the Chosen at its core. 

The Game

Unavenged - Turn 1

I win the first roll for deciding turns, and decide to bat the ball back into Kraken's court (figuring I'd rather he moved into range of my missile weapons).

No Movement Tray Required

Hah! Backfire. I stayed put. For a win, the orcs had to wipe me out, so I was in no hurry to get stuck in. I stayed put, throwing out chaos spells in the all-new Hero Phase. My general failed to text his mates and bring them, and the Sorcerer was too far to do anything offensive. So he buffed himself and the Lord with Foresight and Daemonic Power respectively, allowing me to reroll a lot of ones if either of them saw any fighting in the next turn or two. 

Bonesplittas - Turn 1

So that didn't work - now everyone advance!

In the Hero Phase, I'm still out of Foot of Gork range, so cast Mystic Shield on the Boar Boyz, and my Warboss puts More Choppin' on the Stone Choppa Savage Orcs.

In the Movement Phase, I occupy the hill with the Feral Bow Savage Orcs, and run everyone else forward (my Stone Choppas are so eager, they are already up to the halfway line!). The Boar Boyz incline slightly to the left, to go the long way around the tower, and my two characters hang back behind the central unit.

Nothing to shoot and no combat, so that's the first turn done.

Bonesplittas - Turn 2

I win the initiative roll, so I get two turns in a row - nice!

I'm still out of casting range, so I repeat my last turn's actions: Mystic Shield on the Boar Boyz, and More Choppin' on the Stone Choppas.

In the Movement phase, I advance the Feral Bows off the hill, and run the Crude Shields forward. The Stone Choppas and Boar Boyz advance into charge range and the characters remain at the back.

In the Shooting Phase, the Feral Bows kill a single Chaos Warrior (which isn't such small potatoes, as they now have two wounds each).

The Charging Phase turns out to be a bust - despite yelling 'Waaagh!' (as loud as you possibly can, whilst still not trying to wake a sleeping infant in the next room), both Boar Boyz and Stone Choppas fall short by an inch, and so stay put.

So no Combat Phase, and the Chaos Warriors breeze through their Battleshock test.

Unavenged - Turn 2

I get to summon some free Slaves to Darkness! A very restrained unit of 5 Chosen pop up on my left flank, blocking the Savage Orcs with Sword/Board. 

"Where did DEY come from?"

The orcs are all up in my grill now, so I decide on a bit of countercharging. After moving my units up, I only manage to get the Chosen in against the twin-weapon Savage Orcs in the centre, but I've got both Chaos Warrior units in reserve. The Chariot charges alone against the Boarboys. 

And then resolution - I come a bit unstuck here, because there's now no such thing as initiative. I pick a unit, fight with it, Stylus then does the same and so on until we run out. So the tactics for the phase revolve around choosing which enemies you want to try and kill off before they hit back. 

Decisions, decisions

The Chariot is a tame beast, whiffing its attacks but taking little damage in return. Because I took it first, the Savage Orcs go before the Chosen and totally wipe them out! Not only can a pack of frenzied Savage Orcs churn out a gazillion attacks, but the Big Stabba turns out to be the bazooka these tribal scum desperately bought off the Russians to deal with my helicopters tanks armour, accounting for nine wounds all by itself. Eek.

Big Stabba Make-a Da Kebab-a

The other Chosen do much better, though - they hack their foes to bits for very little in revenge. Three Savage Orcs survive the resulting Battleshock, and my characters are ready to join in shortly. Perhaps I'll get my next turn in straight away! 

Bonesplittas - Turn 3

Big Stabbas baby! And they were scarcely any use at all in 8th Ed - I'm glad I modelled up three of them anyway.

When Kraken pointed out I was using the wrong proxy, the Sorcerer model found a horse from nowhere - now that's magic!

My Shaman can finally unleash Foot of Gork and uses it to smash three wounds off the Chaos Chariot (sadly no re-stomp). My Warboss keeps More Choppin' on the Stone Choppas, even as the trample over the remains of the Chosen to get into some more fighting.

In the Movement Phase, the Stone Choppas shuffle a bit to get within minimum charge distance (3" - so it is still possible to fail a charge with a double-1), the Feral Bows stay put on the hill, the Shaman stays central and the Warboss gallops off to face the Sorcerer.

In a new tactic for Age of Sigmar, my battered unit of Crude Shield Savage Orcs decides not to grind out the remainder of the fight with the New Chosen, but instead disengages and pulls back towards the Feral Bows (so if they want to finish them off, they'll have to face a full-strength unit on the counter).

In Shooting, the volley of Loadsa Arrerrs (a kind of rapid-fire, if you don't move) shoots at the Chaos Lord, but only manages to pip off one wound.

My victorious Stone Choppas easily make their charge into the swamp, to take on the Chaos Warriors.

The hand-to-hand fighting gets bogged down in the swamp.

Combat looks to be more interesting: because I'm fielding a 'Bonesplittas Big Mob' list, each unit gets one round of Frenzy (additional attacks per weapon), once per game, on their first charge. They also get a boosted warpaint save against mortal and ordinary wounds (finally, I'm getting rewarded for my themey list!

My Stone Choppas are armed with Stone Choppas and Bone Shivs, which means I get to throw in 52 attacks, with each roll of a 6 meaning more attacks (because of the general's 'More Choppin' rule) - and that's not even counting the Big Stabba.

I wish you wouldn't. 

(the 'More Choppin' rule suggests that, when you roll your additional attacks, if you roll another six, you get another attack - quite a few times I was cascading hits as my orcs were going crazy)

Anyway, when the dust had settled, half the Chaos Warriors were dead (they are quite durable, for all my attacks, and the Big Stabba wiffed this time - probably unwieldy from all the bits of Chosen stuck to it).

The Chaos Chariot goes next, and takes out another Boar Boy. I still can't make much headway against the thing (the War Boars themselves are the hard-hitters, although the cavalry are much more durable).

Finally, the depleted Chaos Warriors strike back, and take out a couple of Stone Choppas, although my warpaint holds me up quite well.

We all get through the Battleshock Phase without much (or any loss) - a shame, as that round was probably my best chance to battleshock some models off the Chaos Warriors.

Unavenged - Turn 3

As they tramp off the hill, a Savage Orc pauses to shake his fist at the Chaos commanders.
My Lord has already run out of extra mates, so he takes what he has and leaps into action against the bashed up Savage Orc unit. So do the Chosen and the Sorcerer, partly because I want to get the job done and partly to break through the weak spot in the Orc lines and then run away through it. 

My unengaged Warriors make a nice charge on the Orc General - I feel confident there. Lone characters still seem vulnerable to a good ganging up, and as they can't hide in units any more, it's all the easier to take advantage of. 

What now can save his bacon?

Thirteen hits land on the Orc Boss! So I whiff the damage rolls, obviously, and cause a meagre no wounds at the end of it. Bloody warpaint. 

The chariot continues to tie up the boar boys. It isn't really hurting anyone, but they aren't hurting it either. And that's exactly what I want - his fastest unit snarled up and unable to hunt me down. And also stuck at the far end of the line from my cowardly heroes!

The other Warrior unit is slowly turning the green tide back. As their frenzy slowly runs out, the orcs aren't really whittling me down as fast as I feared. And I'm making gains in return, losing another one or two warriors for three or four orcs. I forget the details. 

Between them, my Chosen and Heroes easily duff up the remaining savages. But because Stylus gets his attacks in before me, all his guys gang up on the Chaos Lord. There's a nasty moment when the Big Stabba nearly skewers me, but my armour saves hold good for once. 

Bonesplittas - Turn 4

Time to throw in the reserves. My Warboss put More Choppin' onto the Feral Bows and my Shaman stomped Foot of Gork onto the Chaos Chariot That Would Not Die - leaving it on its last wound.

Having cut a hole in the encircling Chaos Warriors, my Warboss decides to get out of trouble and rides free. My Feral Bows advance towards them, but crucially, stay with range of the Chaos Lord. The Shaman rides off to charge the Chariot.

In the Shooting Phase, the Feral Bows - despite heading for the Chaos Warriors, turn and unleash their arrows against the Chaos Lord. With my 8th Ed brain, this seemed stupid - however, thinking about it, a pack of screaming savages running around in a mob shooting anything they see does seem more in the spirit of the fluff.

I like it too - even a massed rank of archers would be able to turn and shoot sideways, really. Or even backwards - turning through 180 degrees isn't that hard, I tried it myself earlier and managed to do it quite quickly. And a big whooping pack of orc braves certainly ought to be able to shoot in all directions. 

Even better, the More Choppin' rule is not restricted to combat - I can gain additional attacks from 6s rolled to hit with missiles. Which means a couple more Feral Bows get to fire twice as they get all excited at the prospect of killing the enemy general. Dakka dakka dakka!

In a very familiar way (although usually it's elves), the Chaos Lord takes seven wounds and falls to a hail of arrows (some things never change).

Yeah, come back 8th Ed, I really miss Starfire Wood Elves. 

Buoyed by success, the Feral Bows charge into the Chaos Warriors, and the Shaman charges into the Chariot.

With only Bone Shivs to fight with (I traded their rending Stone Choppa for better shooting accuracy of Loadsa Arrers), the Feral Bows aren't quite as formidable in combat. But they are frenzied, still have the More Choppin' rule, and have a Big Stabba to help them out, so account for three Chaos Warriors. The Warriors strike back hard, knocking out five Feral Bows.

The Chaos Chariot strikes next, taking a wound off the Shaman, The Boar Boyz do nothing against it. The Shaman strikes back, but missed with his Totemic Bone Staff, then his War Boar fights, but fails against its armour.

(note: Characters' War Boars don't have the Tusker Charge rule that Boar Boyz do - that's fair enough. But the Shaman War Boar wounds on a 2+ - that must be a typo, only Manglers and Wyverns can wound that easily. Mind you, I'm not complaining. Must be a special magic boar.)

TV Trope: Evil Albino
In the swamp battle, the Stone Choppas make their numbers tell, hacking down all but two of the Chaos Warriors, and taking four casualties in return.

I'm doing pretty well in all contests, until the Battleshock Phase - I roll a six for the Stone Choppas and another six for the Feral Bows. Suddenly my two combat units are dramatically reduced in size, because half of them decided to run away! Cowardly gitz.

Unavenged - Turn 4

Whole lotta melee going on.

The combats rumble on. I send the Chosen after the orc archers, but run very unsportingly away with my Sorcerer. At least, I don't advance him at all, he's staying out of trouble. 

Between the Chaos Warriors and the Chosen, the savage archers are in trouble. Especially as the Chosen's special rule is that they can inspire nearby units to fight harder (reroll failed damage) if they land any wounds, which they certainly do. 

Using the Chosen first means the archers take out as many Warriors as they can before I can strike again, though. That's okay, it's not many - until Battleshock deprives me of another. 

The chariot finally falls, crushed by weight of numbers. It's taken a pair of boarboyz with it, which is pretty lame. But it kept them busy for so long, they aren't going to do much to help the orc efforts now.

The other Warriors slowly chip away at their opponents. There aren't many left, but I don't have many either. I think there's only three warriors facing down a handful of orcs by this point, but we make it through the battleshock unaffected. All our free banners, on both sides - it means our Bravery scores are both equal. Quite why orc banners give you two extra points compared to my measly one is beyond me, but I'm sure the fluff covers OH NO WAIT THERE ISN'T ANY. 

It's because my Orc banners are right there on the table. Yours are in Sweden being proxied by Lord of the Rings Easterlings with a little pennant.

Unavenged - Turn 5

Make way - pig coming through!

The Chaos Sorcerer now starts to actively shuffle away. There's a boarboss heading his way, after all - so I fling an arcane bolt at him, which dents him a bit. I'm still a decent way off, though. 

Elsewhere, the warriors in the middle of the swamp are finally destroyed, run through with the Big Stabba. The other warriors are down to two, there are three free Chosen remaining; they kill off the rest of the archers, but they aren't looking like they'll be more than a speed bump to the returning orc cavalry. 

Bonesplittas - Turn 5

Stop that Sorcerer, he's running away with my victory!

In he right-hand corner: a Chaos Chicken.

In fact, if I don't pay attention to my diminishing troops, I may not be able to kill off the handful of Chaos Warriors either. At least the New Chosen don't need to be killed, since summoned troops don't count for Endure, but they haven't done me any favours by wiping out my missile troops (as I could have tried disengaging and shooting at the cowardly Sorcerer)

I don't remember doing much in the Hero Phase - my spells are out of range and there's not much left for my Warboss to command. Straight to Move Phase: my Stone Choppas trudge out of the swamp, and the Shaman and the Boar Boyz start sprinting across the length of the field.

The only combat is a bit of a push between the Stone Choppas and the Chaos Warriors. But if I can win the roll-off for the next turn, I might be able to grab victory here.

Unavenged - Turn 6

I get the next turn once again, and use it to throw as many more delays at the orcs as I can. The Free Chosen charge the Warboss, which is great - he's wounded from that spell, and if I kill him, there's nothing that can reach my retreating Sorcerer. Ha. 

But my army is in sorry, sorry shape. The remaining warriors, all two of them, limp into a line to face the rest of the orcs. 

The Chosen, in the event, scuff the orc boss up a bit more, losing one of their own in the process. That's all I need, though, I reckon I'm home free. Until Stylus reveals his plans for a last minute save...

Bonesplittas - Turn 6

The only thing that can catch the Sorcerer, is my Warboss. But if he disengages from the Chosen, then he can't declare a charge.

It's not looking good for victory, but I haz da kunnin' plan...

Or whatever the Orruck word for 'Hail Mary' is...

My Shaman has ridden into spellcasting range: if I can throw Foot of Gork on the remaining Chosen, and wipe them out in the Hero Phase, then my Warboss won't need to disengage. He will be free to move towards the Sorcerer in the Move Phase, and have a decent chance of catching him in the Charge Phase.

The Foot of Gork casts! It lands one wound! It stomps again. Only one wound! Not enough to kill the unit, damnit! And that's the game.

For some consolation carnage, I pile the Shaman into the Chosen, and the Boar Boys into the Chaos Warriors. The remaining Chaos infantry are wiped out fairly efficiently, but it matters not for the victory - the dastardly Chaos Sorcerer got through.

Waaagh! ya gonna do about it?

The Results

Chaos Sorcerer survives - Mortals win 'Endure' Sudden Death victory

Locker Room Chat

Wow. Honestly wow. That was easily as fun and exciting as any game of 8th Edition I've played. We had thrills and spills, lots of carnage, some cinematic moments and a close finish.

The Pros

  • It's simple, and in a good way.
    I thought I would miss the complexity of WFB, but there were no mid-game pauses to flick through the rulebook or look up a chart. The information was right in front of us, so we could concentrate on playing the game. And it was a game to be played - it's not just a meat grinder of rolling dice - there are choices to be made and tactics to be utilised.
  • Easy to pick up
    I would have no qualms about teaching this game to someone (and that includes myself). There is so much handholding involved in introducing someone to WFB, and it can take several battles before they have the confidence to pick it up and make their own decisions. This could be taught in a single game, and that may be GW's big hope for its sustainability.
  • Every model matters.
    You're no longer filling up the board with regiment bricks, this feels skirmish-level. And when you've taken the time to paint every model, that's nice. I don't know how the all the characters will perform, but in this game they definitely felt like support units (as leaders should be), rather than HeroHammer killing machines.
  • Every unit is good.
    This may be temporary, but there is a 'meta amnesty' where no-one knows what the best units or the lethal combinations are. Previously, it was a Universal Truth that the best Savage Orcs were Big 'Uns with two hand weapons and a Shaman with Lucky Shrunken Head. Now, I can take the previously sub-optimal Arrer Boyz and Boar Boyz, just because I like them (and they worked out pretty well!)
  • It felt 'real'.
    As real as a nonsense game of toy soldiers can be, but there was a definite 'story'. The Savage Orcs weren't advancing forward in solid units, oblivious to all around them - they were barrelling all over the battlefield, wreaking havoc. Kind of how you'd imagine them to be.

The Cons

  • It's not Warhammer Fantasy Battle
    That seems obvious, as it's a wholly new game, not a successor. But the comparisons are inevitable. WFB still feels more dramatic - big units as two opposing armies prepare to break each other. It's the difference between the opening battle of Gladiator, and that skirmish with the chariots in the area. Both hugely enjoyable scenes, but only one was epic.
  • Does it scale?
    We played 68 wounds apiece, and that felt about right. Pushing to a battle beyond 100 wounds might get unwieldy. I don't think I would enjoy hauling units bigger than 20 models around the table without a movement tray.
  • The fluff
    Maybe the new fluff will grow on me, but I liked the old fluff. The fluff of the army books. The fluff of The Empire Within. A lot of work had gone into that fluff and it was a fluffing shame to see it go.
  • You are dependent upon sportsmanship
    More than any other version, there are no checks on good behaviour. If Kraken had wanted to be That Guy, he could have summoned 100 Chosen and won the game in Turn 2. There are no restrictions and even comp and house rules have their limits (we're using wounds as a ready reckoner, but that doesn't guarantee anything - indeed, it meant we were playing a Sudden Death scenario).
    On the other hand, no points and no force charts mean there is no hiding place for cheesy list ("but the rules say I'm allowed two Skullcannons!"). It doesn't take long to decide what's fair, certainly quicker than forever tinkering to squeeze the most out of your 2400pt allowance

And finally, it was fun. Not enforced fun, or 'this is new and a novelty' fun - we had a good battle and enjoyable game.

This won't be the end of WFB for me, and I'm not about to rip off all my square bases and exchange them for rounds. But I am very much up for playing more Age of Sigmar, could easily see myself putting together a small force of new models. So maybe GW are onto something here.

Kraken's Two Centacles

I was wrong. The haters are wrong. Games Workshop are wrong about some things too, but the new system isn't one. 

Seriously, if you're holding a grudge against GW for axing a beloved game, well, fair enough. You only had Inquisitor, Mordheim, Necromunda, Gorkamorka, Warhammer Quest, Epic, Battlefleet Gothic, Dark Future and Chainsaw Warrior to warn you that it might happen, so I can sympathise with the shock. 

Yes, I do miss the fluff. Luckily, 8th Ed still exists so long as you've a rulebook and a willing accomplice or two. Ragequitting is childish and stupid - if you like the game, keep playing it. I do and I will. 

AoS seems simple, fun and engaging to me, at least in the jolly sporting version we just played. I'd agree with pretty much everything Stylus says in his points above, with two exceptions:

  • I think it will scale. I wasn't the one pushing the tin soldiers, of course, this was a Skype match and Stylus was the physical host. I played 40k back in the day (3rd Ed, mostly), and shunting big armies back never seemed like a chore. Bluntly, I've never had much luck with movement trays though. Stuff falls off, magnets stick to each other and take chains of models off in casualty phases, stuff doesn't fit on properly in the first place. The new system feels like you can be a little more slapdash about pushing stuff about and it won't really make any odds. 
  • You were always heavily dependent on Sportsmanship in earlier versions. Always. I never felt points systems really redressed the imbalance between one guy taking some internet-learned killfest rulebreaker list and the other guy loyally recreating (eg) a fluffy Marauder Horde even though the Meta forbids it. The rules were mostly to blame, with some army books being a lot stronger than others. I suspect this new system merely makes obnoxious players much easier to spot and avoid. The main difference is there's now a very strong onus on the players to make sure they have fun together, rather than hiding behind the rules and saying 'well, I'm allowed to do this so tough if you think it's unfair'. Yeah, people will still do that. People are dicks. The people who go to play 'professional' tournament Warhammer with a netlist and a sense of smug privilege, for example. 

A few things I really like in the new rules:

  • No more armour-then-ward-save rubbish. 40K only lets you use your best save, rather than sequential ones. I strongly feel this would have helped 8th Ed get round some of its issues with the undying hero characters I loved to field (Archaon, I'm looking at you). Similarly, AoS only has one type with a very rare second chance, as well as Mortal Wounds that ignore almost all saves altogether. 
  • Everything stays in play until killed. Yes, panic adds a level of realism and detail to a game that I think there's a place for. No, I never ever enjoyed seeing a core unit taken out of a game before it had done anything due to an unlucky roll. Battleshock is an odd mechanic, especially given you can do better than your opponent in a combat and still take extra damage. But it's not as depressing as Panic and Break tests can be. 
  • The Magic system. And I never thought I'd say that! I love the detail and spells of 8th. That is a very magic heavy game, though, and your wizards are often one of the biggest movers and shakers in a game, swinging combats or wiping out enemies. Now they still make big differences, but not ones that make the game feel like it's about some wizards fighting for dominance on a dance floor of lesser players. 

A few things I don't like:

  • The fluff is gone, and I will mourn it forever. The End Times were stupid and childish, an attempt at a last hurrah that felt more like a big kid knocking down your sandcastle. Even more so with the total table-wipe approach to balance and playtesting, in an already skewed game. GW are baldly mercantile in their approach to games, which is fair enough. This was the most blatant they've been in a long time, and it actually depressed me a lot more (in retrospect) than having a new and surprisingly entertaining game to play instead. Which I got for free and which works perfectly well with my existing collection of models. Stop whining, internet. 
  • Battleshock - it's weird to win a combat and still lose men due to, what, evaporation? Combat fatigue? Succumbing to non-fatal wounds? Just feels wrong, whatever. 
  • Measuring from parts of the model - doesn't really make any difference, I think, especially as it affects both armies equally. But it's vague and prone to misinterpretation, which is exactly what the deliberately stubborn nerdtrolls out there like to abuse. 

TL;DR - I really enjoyed Age of Sigmar. I would play it again. And if you liked 8th Ed, I would recommend that you give it a try. It isn't better, but it's definitely not worse, it's just different. No bad thing, in my book.


  1. I only just realised - no Animosity! My Orruks are a well-drilled machine.

    (except for that Battleshock Phase when they all ran away, the yellow-bellied greenskins...)

  2. Nice report. The irony is that if WFB is gone you guys are partly at fault. Your models are 100 years old. How can GW support a game if people never buy new models?

    1. Thanks Ken, glad you enjoyed the report.

      That's a fair comment about a flaw in the WFB sales model: long years of collecting has resulted in some considerable armies and a big leadpile. With all that, it's harder to justify buying the latest release from a different army when you know it's going to need at least a few additional regiments, character packs (and the army book!) to have a half-decent game. Conversely Age of Sigmar has inspired me to buy a box of random models I like and just get painting.

      And in fairness to the other authors of this blog, they at least do buy new models - I'm probably the worst culprit for hoarding old lead. :-)

    2. Yeah, I'm already looking at the new stuff and trying not to slaver.

      Funny, though - most of my Chaos army was bought over the last three years. Okay, I skimped and padded it out with cheap vikings, but I did buy a reasonable amount fresh. Made no difference though!

      Personally, I'm glad that I'm officially some species of Oldhammerer now. I always felt like I thought like those guys with their 'love the game not the merchants' mentality, but felt like they looked down on me for playing the modern version. Not any more!

  3. Nice report - reads like a very fun game and it was good to see that sportsmanship was displayed in the deploying of a unit of 5 chosen rather than the RAW allowed infinite. I actually like the battleshock test - I feel that it gives a decent feel of units melting under pressure without the previous editions pass and nothing, fail and you are often effectively out of the game.

    1. Thanks, if all the AoS games are this fun, I won't have many complaints. I take your point about Battleshock - I'll have to start thinking of it as a cumulative fatigue/morale depletion, rather than an instant crumble/instability (8th Ed mindset :-)