Few days ago, Daniel has commented my post from August 2015, that describes my impressions after first game of Warhammer: Age of Sigmar. The comment is long and comprehensive. Daniel points out, what in his opinion, is exactly Age of Sigmar and why it shouldn’t be compared to previous editions of Warhammer Fantasy Battle.
First, I’ve started to respond to the comment under my original post, but when I’ve realised it’s going to be also quite long text, I made a decision not to put it in comment section of the blog, but publish it as regular, separate post.
Few conclusions have not changed, few I describe in details and most of all I make reference to comment of Daniel. Original post, and Daniel’s comment is here.
First of all, I’d like to thank Daniel for such long elaborate comment. It’s so awesome that actually someone took a moment to read my AoS post and counterpoint my impressions. I will try to refer to all points included in Daniel’s comment.
The thing is – my review was meant to be only first impression thoughts (like it’s stated in the title). It was not meant to be deep analysis supported with many games and months of trials. No, me and my friend wanted to comepre it with the game of WHFB 8th edition we had just few minutes before. Nothing more, nothing less. To get quick, simple intuitive felling of the new Games Workshop product.
That’s why I compare these two game systems. But as you can find it my original post – I agree with Daniel, for me it’s completely different game. I’m aware of that! I gave it a try because I owe all necessary models, all rules were free and it was easy to start.
I know I had negative attitude from the day one. And I also have explained this why is that. It’s simple – GW destroyed amazing, deeply developed world which meant a lot to me. I don’t buy this new Realms ‘Hard Fantasy’ type of fluff. Sorry, old Warhammer world were super unique with countless of possibilities to arrange the game. And GW trashed it with no regrets. I understand why that happened. It’s all business – like you mentioned – WHFB was dying and something has to be done to revive it. At this point – there was no risk – Games Workshop could afford to smash everything and start all over again with some new fantasy fluff.
I loved WFB world and (I’m acting like spoiled child here when someone is taking my beloved toy away) I hate GW decision. AoS fluff is not even slightly attractive to me. All these rules, I complain in my post – is just rules. I only have written my INITIAL impressions, but what matters the most in the miniature games – models and the background.
We can all agree – GW fantasy models are super cool. Lots of details and the sculpts sometimes are just brilliant (maybe new Stormcast Eternals or Khorne Bloodbound are not entirely my cup of tea, but I can admit – GW, whatever model they release is a masterpiece. Years of experience, I guess).
…but models are not all – they need to be put in the certain background, or like, it’s called – the fluff. All my negativity came from true End Times. The end. The story has come to conclusion and the world was no more. It was no restart and back to starting point, like it was during Storm of Chaos campaign. It was serious, real (in terms of mini wargaming, of course:) disaster with all its repercussions. Everything was gone. And new story and adventure began. Believe me, for me it was too much. Thanks, but no thanks.
So, therefore, I think my approach to AoS should be quite understandable. I know I’ve focused on minus side of the game – but, well I cannot help it. I do not like AoS as general. While rules will always be the rules – the fluff does not appeal to me. End of the story.
Let’s jump to Daniel’s points. I’d like to refer to some of ‘the accusations’.
4 page rules
I can understand – GW has released new Battle Tomes and that’s great – adding to Age of Sigmar some depth that was lacking at the beginning. But, correct me if I’m wrong – official GW ‘propaganda’ was: ! All rules are free. Just grab it from the website! You don’t need more. Sorry, but it didn’t worked at all. Lot’s of players just felt abandoned by developer. They were anticipating more complex game – they want continuity. And well, they just got – some ‘excuse of the rules’ refereed to some few pages plus warscrolls.
It was revolution, don’t you think? Daniel and lot’s of other players like him might like it, but there were probably thousands of players who were just pissed off! And they lost the trust in GW and their strategy. They do not want to follow their offer in this range any more. They do not want revolution – just evolution. You know, in Poland – major WHFB forum is blooming – gamers are playing different editions. From Oldhammer to 9th Age. And AoS is on the margin. In August, when I was writing this post, I thought many people will convert into AoS, but no! It happened otherwise – only handful of players went full Age of Sigmar. And it’s really makes me sad – because HQ in Nottingham messed up here a little. Bringing absolutely new game, which is so completely different than WHFB, they divided the community,where there are many groups playing all types of Warhammers. Well, I prefer WHFB more than AoS, and some, like Daniel prefer AoS. Is it possible for us to find common ground? Play against each other? If yes, what would you like to play? We play my WHFB or yours AoS? Or maybe both games? Before AoS there were at least Old World and no matter the edition we played, the game looked similar. Now – the community is broken down – WHFB, AoS, 9th Age, Kings of War.
I hope situation will calm down, and some solution will be found, for the sake of the game.
Narrative part of the game
This is always the major argument I hear from people defending AoS. It’s all about narrative. And that’s cool! This the most importation part for me in any miniature games I play as well. But, I completely do not understand people’s accusations, that WHFB has no narrative side. It has – you just need to give it in proper way. When you look at my blog, you might see EVERY battle I’ve played with my Skaven army has background story. I’ve named all my characters. Grey Seer Quicksqueek after loosing so many battles, killed by Bretonnian Knight, will never lead the army again. I fell sorry for that old chap, but it’s just the way it is. I had many great battles with it – my opponent never tried to beat me at all cost, deploying the super competitive army list against me. Having nice game with cool narration was number one priority and winning the battle was just the icing on the cake.
So, when someone says, AoS is finally what I ever dreamt of… I finally can play narrative. I can mix units, armies. It gives me freedom. I can only respond like that: Sorry, you had wrong attitude playing WHFB (or you were playing with wrong people). My next Skaven army will be mixture of Clan Pestilens and Nurgle daemons. It’s going to cool as hell – and I bet there will be NO ONE that will complain that my army list is illegal. In fact, I’m sure there will be plenty of gamers in the area that is going to play against Papa Nurgle Vermin Horde with pleasure. It’s just the matter of right approach. And I don’t need Age of Sigmar for that.
Like Daniel wrote, I’m old school player. I need points to play, but they are just starting point. Every game should start with some agreement – the points system is not perfect, I know that. I know some armies are way more weaker than some. It’s hard to balance the game with so many stats, units and rules. But it’s a start. I wrote, that, it’s important for when I play complete stranger to have points. I do not know my opponent – and with point system we agree on some terms. Without points we need to agree on so many things – scenario, choose models, all this stuff. And if I need quick game – points help me to get it without any fuss.
Besides, I believe there are also AoS players that need points or other balancing system. After all there are quite few home made balancing rules, am I right? Some don’t need it, but some do. One more source of conflict in divided gaming community. I mean, it’s good to have points system to play – but if you don’t want it – just do not use it. In Age of Sigmar is opposite. Solution far from perfect, if you ask me.
Here, I have to agree. WHFB has become too competitive. I hate that – I always will put beauty of the battle and game over the too competitive games and players. When I was younger I was trying to win every game by any cost, always tweaking my army list to maximum, playing only models that gave me advantage on the battlefield. I was ruthless – beating newcomers to the ground. Oh gosh, how annoying opponent I was. Eventually I understood, that my attitude is so wrong as wrong only can be. I was killing the game and fun in it. And discouraging others from playing WHFB. Shame on me.
Years later, finally I learnt to play wargames proper way – building my armies with more easy approach. Play cool models, cool rules and paint, paint and paint some more. So, there I was – want to play Warhammer in such competitive environment. Lucky for me, there were dozens of people who felt exactly like me. We could play great epic battles without unnecessary emotions. Just to have fun (well, cry too – when for example, my Grey Seer was killed once again- this time hit by Dwarf Cannonball;). We were together developing the scenario, background and great story to tell. And I don’t believe AoS was solution for that problem. There always will be players, who have one purpose in life – to win.To be the best. In WHFB, WH40k or AoS. It’s just the way it is. I’m glad AoS released this positive feelings about the game in some players. Will of bringing life again to rules and stats, seeing the model like it was true warrior in the heat of the battle and not only WS3 S3 T3 W1 A1 Imperial State Troop. Will of telling the story. However, I’m super sad – that it came with cost of destroying old Warhammer fluff. There was not need for that, IMHO. It was only the matter of good will.
Army List, Wounds Pool and Tactica
Well, Daniel accused me of negative attitude and to shallow analysis of the game. I claimed, the balance is gone, rules are broken and the battlefield filled with square based miniatures dead not look cool. Well, Daniel, I repeat once again – this was my first impression of the game. It was not meant to be review per se. So, there’s no review of battleplans, no switching bases for rounds. And most of all – no tactics. Just simple – let’s try the rules and see what will happen.
Also, I and Jasiek did not intend to looking for small or big game. We just used the same models from the game of Warhammer FB we had a moment before. 1250 points Skaven vs Wood Elves.
It is just an opinion of Fantasy player, who is very, very sceptic about all these drastic changes made in his beloved game.
As Old School player, this change is unbearable. Honestly, I do not like AoS revolution – I prefer to stick with Oldhammer (I believe right now all Warhammer editions became obsolete, we are allowed to call them that) and do not engage too much in new game. Lucky for me, there are plenty of players still playing WHFB, so I’m not forced to do anything against my will.
More Fantasy in Fantasy…
I have the impression – Daniel is more fantasy player than me. For me WHFB was always about men fighting other men (change men to Dwarfs/Goblins/Elves/Skeletons – the point is – they are core ordinary troops). Dragons, giants, and all other fantastic creatures were just addition to the army list. My idea of army building is – I choose core troops as base, general and add to it some super extra stuff like Doomwheel, or Hellpit Abomination. Well, for me it’s absolutely not a problem. In fact, this was the proper way for me. I prefer that way. Taking off the restrictions for many players, were blessing – all army made of Giants or Trolls or whatever you might even imagine – cool.
It’s not for me, I’m afraid. I always preferred to see Clanrats fighting Empire Halberdiers. That is the essence of this game. And I did not see any reason to change it or taking off all army list restrictions.
Of course, it is the question taste. Some will like the open idea of AoS -fantasy models, round bases and skirmish mode – and some like me prefer core troops fighting in blocks formation.
And I don’t think the entry level cost has changed because of that significantly. Take a look at the prices of latest releases – Archaon – £100, Varanguard Knights ( 3 models!) – £60.
Prices are going sky high these days! For £161.15 I have pretty cool Skaven army 1250 points.
40 Clanrats – £41
20 Stormvermin – £30.75
20 Plague Monks – £20.50
3 Stormfiends – £38.50
1 Ratling Gun – £8.70
1 Grey Seer – £13.50
1 Plague Priest – £8.20
Around 1250 points. Instead of one monster and three Chaos Knights I get almost 100 models! Talking about cost of entry level, please;). And I have nice army – lots of troops that will bring me way more fun than Archaon and his three boys.
Well, that’s it – I have not planned to write this, but.. honestly…Daniel put lots of effort to give so awesome comment. He can’t persuade me to change my opinion on Age of Sigmar, and probably, I can’t persuade him – but… the discussion made all the community alive. It may sound silly – making all this plastic toys stuff so serious, but after all this is our passion we are talking about, so we are passionate about it, right? 🙂
If any of you have anything to add – go ahead, be my guest. I will gladly hear what you feel about AoS and Games Workshop policy concerning Fantasy.
Meantime, I’ve move to Georgetown, Penang in Malaysia. I hope I will finish Blood Angels this week and will move to next project, which is… well, this is about to be decided.
Until next time!
Good article. I have not played AoS yet. But I do make a few observations
1. In South Australia all WHFB tournaments seem to have been replaced by Mantic Kings of War tournaments (ie NOT AoS tournments!).
2. I agree about the narrative side of WHFB – not every battle had to be a tournament style pitched battle! You could easily have 1000 points of Empire Militia who just had to hold out against 3000 points of Orcs until the help arrives to win (for example) – just imagination.
3. I HATE the new fluff. I too LOVED the Old World and still do. And, I will still be collecting and painting armies for the Old Warhammer background.
LikeLiked by 2 people
exactly. I remember old White Dwarfs scenarios with many ideas for battles – defending stronghold, ambushes, reserves. All you can imagine.
in old Undead Army Book from 4th edition, there’s superb scenario. Dieter Helsnich’s army against Empire. Empire army has half of Undead’s army trying to survive and waiting for Midenheim’s reinforcements. great army lists too. it’s exactly what Warhammer should be. some day I’ll collect the models to play that battle… some day 🙂
LikeLiked by 2 people
I love that Dieter Helsnicht scenario – it would be great to see that played out one day 😉
I started writing a detailed reply myself, but then I realised that Daniel seems not to be a fellow blogger, but simply a passionate fan of AoS who has decided to tell you just how WRONG you are, while giving a bunch of workarounds, excuses (“AoS is not competitive so why bother? It is designed to be an narrative experience.”) and points that are simply wrong – particularly in terms of a lack of narrative in games like WHFB – which applies equally to any number of other games with a points system as well, if you think about it – from FoW to 40k to SAGA.
More power to Daniel if he wants to play with “Skinks & Goblins & Dwarfs & Wood Elves” in one small skirmish force, and call it “imaginative” and “narrative”, but I’ll personally stick to narrative that makes some sense in my games instead of using the wonder of a child’s imagination where anything can happen. I think I’ve got a Skeletor figure around here somewhere – Bone Giant, perhaps? 😉
LikeLiked by 1 person
All games can be narrative or competitive. There can be ‘cheesy’ or fun army list. It’s all matter of player’s approach. About ‘no limits’ issue in AoS – I had the same as you, Azazel – I can’t imagine Goblins allied with Elves. No matter what. No limits- of course, but let’s stick to the some sensible story. That’s why we have thing called ‘fluff’. Both, in WHFB and in AoS.