Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Age of Sigmar: The sales pitch from GW

More and more details are leaking. Heres the latest from a GW rep talking to an independent retailer:

Ok so I just spoke with our GW guy for about a half an hour about Age of Sigmar. Here are the details:

+All the rules are free, core, unit specific, everything- The core rules are very simple but the complexity comes with each unit getting its own individual "Warscroll." The warscrolls will detail what each unit can do, its stats, etc. All the warscrolls and the core rules will be made available for free download starting on July 4th.

+The game can be played with all existing models in the warhammer fantasy range. There is no strict force organization chart. You could make an unbound army but there are benefits for taking units of the same faction. There is increased synergy and interplay between units of the same faction (Chaos, Elves, etc).

+ There is a lot more synergy in general in the game. The Khorne banner guy you see in the pictures has the ability to plant his banner in the ground and create a warp rift where every Khorne unit within 12 inches of the banner gets all sorts of nasty benefits.

+The starter box is 100 bucks after discount at TJs. It comes with 47 new models, 96 page Age of Sigmar Book, dice, measuring sticks etc. It comes with two armies Warriors of Khorne and a new army (Stormcast Eternals). He said the pictures floating around don't really do them justice and that they were the best quality plasics he has ever seen (he got the chance to construct, paint, and play with them last week). That sounds like a sweet week at work! smile emoticon

+The Stormcast Eternals are warriors of the warhammer world that Sigmar saved before the destruction of the mortal realm. They are then reincarnated as demigods keeping some of their previous personality. Every time they die, he resurrects them and they lose a bit of their individuality of their first life. This will explain how we will see heroes and villains that were important figures in the Warhammer World before hand. Apparently the guy riding the drake is one of the previous characters but his identify isn't revealed yet.

+There will be a bunch of new armies coming from the 9 realms of the game world. Some of the realms are familiar (Death, Beasts, Chaos, Heavens, etc). Each realm will have familiar armies coming from it, as well as new ones (like the Stormcast Eternals). I am guessing my beloved Greenskins are in the Beasts realm!

+The white dwarf next week comes with a new Stormcast Eternal Mini.

+The game while having skirmish elements is not just a skirmish game. Large scale battles are completely doable and actually will have a lot more interplay and intricacies due to the layers of synergy with the individual warscrolls for all the units.

+Bases don't matter. Measuring is done model to model (center mass I imagine). Bases are purely for aesthetics.

+He made a comparison to X-Wing where the core rules are simple and fun but the unit specific rules are where the game really comes to life.

+Premeasuring is still alive and well.

+There are fluffy faction specific rules that make armies play how you would imagine. He used an example of how Khorne units have the ability to take a death blow. When a khorne model dies they can get a last gasp strike as they fall.

+He said the game plays faster than WHFB, is simple at its core, but complex once you start throwing in all the unit specific rules. He said it would be much easier for new players to get into the hobby and the themed armies have really cool things up their sleeves.
All in all I am really excited. Putting all the rules out there for free, making any regiment box in effect a starter box, and keeping large scale battles relevant are smart moves. I cannot wait. We will be having some Age of Sigmar stuff going on in the run up to the Launch Party. More details to follow! Everyone will be able to start playing AoS on the fourth of july without spending a penny.

I'm a sucker for a good sales pitch, but this is getting exciting. I am looking forward to the new edition. A lot of people are talking it down as a skirmish game, but I am not really reading that out of all the rumours. I still think we will be seeing a 100-200 model count armies at tournaments. There appears to be the potential for more depth than 8th edition.
It will also match the rapid launch pattern GW uses now, without having to stock outdated rule books.

The Damn broke. Age of Sigmar RULES leak


First impressions/thoughts:

I'm seeing a lot of common concepts (that also work well) like 2D6 charge included. I see alternating activation in combat phase, I see magic with no levels and 2D6 casting similar to 5th edition 40k. 

The rules appear to be the basic principles, with all details and special rules being on the warscrolls (available to download on 4th July and in unit boxed sets)

I don't see anything on how to select an army, but there is a bit of victory conditions and deployment.

I can see a lot of scope for scenarios, rules expansion, and flexibility here. I do get the feeling this will be the edition of combos and heroes.

In seeing this, I am feeling really positive about where this is going. It is not anywhere near as bad as I had anticipated. The above rules samples alone elude to as much game complexity as the existing 8th edition. My only concern is selecting an army.

I do find it interesting that Games Workshop has gone this way, as this format will allow them to rapidly balance forces, update rules and manage their game. Things that are totally foreign concepts to them. We have heard many times in the past that they are a model company not a game company, but this has the potential to be a tight set of rules.

If they don't, it appears to be far simpler for the community to balance/comp with individual warscrolls. Whether this will be comping individual scrolls or modifying them to suit. I can still see a whole slew of FAQ's when special rules on warscrolls contradict others, but I do notice they have included "the most important rule" line again...

On that note, watch out 40k, this system will be coming to you soon...

Oh noes...

The Game?
The End.

I'm guessing (hoping) if each unit comes with rules they will include a whole bunch of special rules which will make the game more interesting.

The few people that play Kings of War have just received a more complex rules set in second edition. Even those simple rules where longer than 4 pages...

Monday, 29 June 2015

Has the latest White Dwarf told us more than we know?

I've had a chance to read the latest White, and I must say it has some interesting tip bits in it that elude to grander things to come, at least, fluff wise...

Long may it do so in the future... Warhammer... what are they trying to tell us? Ghal Maraz does apear in the new Age of Sigmar logo...

The mightiest battles are mere skirmishes in the face of what will happen...
New enemies. Old Friends.
Warhammer is but a preface...

At the top of the column, but we already knew this...
The next two paragraphs are in reference to pictures, however they also elude of things to come. Will we see Vlad in AoS? Daemons is a no brainer.
Will we see Nagash again? I doubt they made such an amazing model just to scrap it 6 months later.

Well that settles it. Nagash will be in Age of Sigmar.

Although most of the WHFB material in White Dwarf reads an eulogy, there are several tip bits eluding to what may come in the next rendition of Fantasy. One thing is clear, nothing will remain the same, however many things will endure. 

There is also talk in Whote Dwarf that the Heroes of the End of Times are just mere shadows of the Heroes of the Age of Sigmar. Could AoS be Herohammer reborn? That could well be the angle for the skirmish game. GW would then be hoping to sell a few large kits and a hand full of infantry for an army. Is that really a profitable model? 

Friday, 26 June 2015

Latest Age of Sigmar rumours

Age of Sigmar is just around the corner and there is yet to be any solid information. Recently a list of the box contents was posted, and although it seams entirely plausible, there have been no real confirmations from any source. It is interesting to note that the contents are very similar to rumours that where circulating a few months ago when the whole consolidated factions rumour first broke.

1x Empire General on Griffin5x Knights of Sigmar10x State Troops with Spears10x State Troops with Muskets
1x Lord of Khorne on Daemonsteed5x Chaos Knights10x Chaos Warriors
-No small Rulebook-Full rules for all Models-Small Intro of the Fluff (Humans only)-5 Scenarios to introduce Players-Text is very child friendly written

It does seem odd to be getting an empire hero on Griffon when the key figure of this age, Sigmar is already modeled, but in saying that, its would be the big wow factor draw card to the box set. Another interesting point to note is the model count remains very similar to the last few editions. I would have expected less models if this was going to be a full skirmish games. Its not to say that it isn't indeed just that...

What is more concerning is the child friendly rule set. The dumbing down of the game is the last thing people want. Add to that the next rumour which will upset quite a few people...

Contained within this free download is the core ruleset needed in order to begin your own adventures within the Age of Sigmar. This four-page PDF is yours to keep, print out and play with, and when combined with a Warscroll Compendium or two-available below, also totally free- is everything you need to know. Grab it, read it, and begin playing right away!

The above rumour was apparently sourced from the German language Games Workshop webstore, and now has been removed. The highlights are my own. Whilst the first one, "free download" will be welcomed by many, the second one, "this four page PDF" will not be welcomed. In saying that, it does add to the rumours that Age of Sigmar will be a standalone introductory set with the full edition to follow several weeks later as a 3 book compendium like 40k received.

The other not so much rumour that has come to light is the icon on the Warhammer App for iPads and Android devices has changed from an Imperial Eagle. It is now cut in half with the right side being half the Imperial Eagle and the left side being the new blue/gold Age of Sigmar Hammer.

At any rate, we should have solid information by Tuesday/Wednesday next week when the White Dwarf leaks. Pre-orders are up next Saturday... This weekend sees a White Dwarf that reads like an eulogy to Warhammer...

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

The dam is about to break

Its almost over. The long wait to see what the new world will look like is just around the corner. This weekends White Dwarf will have some preamble to the upcoming Age of Sigmar release!

4th of July is going to go off with a big bang for WHFB fans

Looks to be an eulogy of sorts... good omen or bad portent...

Monday, 15 June 2015

9th edition closer look

So over the weekend we have seen the following crop up on a number of forums and blogs, claiming to be sourced from a North America 3rd party retailer/distributor

“Good afternoon,

Games Workshop is launching the Age of Sigmar – a completely new system – on July 11th. You can start promoting the Age of Sigmar in your store today!

What is the Age of Sigmar?
  • The Age of Sigmar is a brand new system that continues the End Times story
  • This system is a great way for new customers to start collecting fantasy miniatures
  • Existing customers will be able to use their current miniature collections and add to them with the Age of Sigmar
 It is a continuation of the story line, but not going back to the old world. 100% of the models available now will continue to be supported. The audience for this launch is not the dwindling number of Fantasy players, but for EVERYONE including the veterans but with the idea that this isn’t “just” 9th edition which will just loose them more players but a whole new mechanic to draw people in.

They are actually doing trade shows and cons this year to drive interest in the game.

This is a continuation of the story of End Times but NOT the old world. If a model is currently for sale by GW it will be usable in some way.

I don’t have confirmation of the horrible “reality bubbles” rumor, but he (HIS GW REP) is going to ask about it.

I’ll be getting significantly more info the week of the 29th, with the idea of doing a build up event the week of the 4th.”

Up until now, I have been very reservist about blogging on the topic of 9th edition. There is just so much wild speculation and nonsense being spread, and more than one nay sayer preaching the ah, err, end of times. I have not wanted the hobby killers to destroy my buzz atm, only recently shaking off ETChammer (its not real Hammer!) and managing to buy, build and paint an entire army for my last (sad to say) 8th edition event.

So what does this post all mean? Well at least, what does it mean to me...

There are a few key catch phrases that jump to attention, but are still very ambiguous at best to the exact meaning.

A completely new system! This is the one that has the biggest shock factor IMO. Most veterans where guessing that 9th would be an 8.5 of sorts, fine tuning 8th edition and ironing out some of the rough edges. Nobody who enjoyed playing the game has much though of a need for any radical over hall. But here we have it an apparent letter indicating exactly that. To the extent, the general fan base is none the wiser. It could mean the addition of a skirmish game to the system, or a complete re-write of the rules. 

I tend to lean towards additional layers to some degree. We have seen the two game system rule sets being pushed closer and closer together for a few editions now (more 40k getting written closer to the WHFB), and I find it hard to believe that GW would reinvent the wheel for one of its systems, which IMO would only make it more difficult to transition between the two systems.

New customers! This is almost admitting they have an issue! The lifeblood of any game system is attracting new blood into the hobby. A generalization I have heard (and repeated) many times on observing the tournament scene (yes I know, a small proportion of the community) is that 40k is a younger crowd, or WHFB is a more mature crowd. 

Existing customers will be able to use their current miniature collections! Well only a fool would throw away the 10+ years of model development at a whim. As a company that prides itself in reminding us customers that it is a miniatures company, that makes some rules for fun, they where never going to get rid of their range wholesale in one large move.

100% of the models available now! Note, there is no suggestion they will be available indefinitely. I would hazard a guess to say if there is a model you want to own, plan on purchasing it sooner rather than later. Many sources have suggested WHFB will take on a new aesthetic and the old range will be discontinued in die time.

The dwindling number of Fantasy players! Well this does not sound at all like GW corporate. Admission of inner workings? More likely the message is from a third party distributor that isnt directly under the umbrella of GW HQ. From this my assumption is the message is not GW authored, rather a distributor who has received a verbal memo distributing information to its client list unofficially.

Trade shows and cons this year! This is big. Bigger than the other news IMO. GW have not attended 3rd party shows in a very long time. At the same time they have not held a regular tournament format in a very long time. One hopes one will follow the other. 

End Times but NOT the old world! Well we all should have figured this out by now. The planet WHFB was on had been destroyed, that realm is gone. A new (copy-writable) world will be created, continuing on from the old and including several of the old characters (maybe with new names?) will replace the existing. 

So the internet is a rage with the death knells of WHFB as we know it. But just to be devils advocate, the rage is coming from the existing crop of fans. Reading in between the lines we have heard a lot about how WHFB is not the money spinner GW wants it to be in its current guise. Maybe its time to look at the state of things and realise that the game we love is not attractive to new players, and it needs to change if it is to survive. Sure I have very little issue with the system, but that's not to say a potential new player does not. GW are taking a swing at trying to make the game a) attractive to a new clientele whilst b) maintaining its profitability. Without fresh blood WHFB will die, so us poor veterans, loyalists and all will need to adapt or die. Sad but true

It will be interesting to see how they achieve this whilst still trying to sell large volumes of product. If it was left to me I would do the following:

Reduced pricing! The big attraction for me is large formations and grand scale. This is how I want the game to play. Reduced pricing makes this more affordable in its current state. More players buying large armies will increase their gross income by reducing the margin by a small degree. But the most important thing is the customer base will grow making it viable!

Rules! Seriously nobody for a minute can disagree that rules do not sell models. And this is the problem. Most people given the option will want a fair, balanced, unambiguous and tight rule set that is simple to learn but provides a lot of depth. Its not difficult to put the resources into achieving this, and will produce a solid player base willing to invest in more war dollies! At the moment GW produces a new model and makes rules for them that are under-costed/broken to sell the model. This looses them customers in the long run for short term gain.

Support! We customers want an engaging, regular and rapid game support. GW nail the customer support for the models part of their product, but neglect the all important rules section. The customer wants a clear answer to rules question in the game and not the complete absent narrative the company produces. Its not hard GW. And it looses you customers! Bloody hell there are people out there that will do it for free for you!

Bring back official tournaments/games days/conventions/social media! Why don't you love us anymore GW! Engaging with your customer base is so simple these days. Sell out tournaments for your games only promotes your company. Attending conventions lets you reach potential customers that otherwise would not be engaged. Social media is a thing, and no matter how vial you may think it is, the effort is appreciated far more than total black out. Insular self promotion is not a good way to engage with the changing landscape.

If you have managed to make it this far, sorry for the rant. Its over now, you don't need to read anymore. 

See you all in 9th.

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

The riders of Icehorn Peak

Moonstruck baby!

Wellspring mortals...

WTF is that you ask. Well its the Dwellers Bellow annual Warhammer event. Limited to 90 places and hosted in the Ibis hotel in Melbourne this sold out event has everything a travelling Warlord could ever want: Alcohol, food and accommodation all at the venue!

Morbidex Twiceborn is coming Moonstruck, and hes go friends!

Although far from finished*, hes tabletop ready. I still have a bit of work to do around the tentacles, tounge, rust, horns, sores and face.

The rest of the Grand Census of Icehorn Peak

The army I am taking this year is the following: (Chaos Legions List, 2600 points, Comp 3)

Orghotts Daemonspew (General) 
Bloab Rotspawned
Morbidex Twiceborn
The Tallyman's Blades (23 Plaguebearers, full command)
The Rotting Chanson (23 Plaguebearers, full command)
The Bounderbeast (1 Beast of Nurgle) 
The Slimebringer (1 Beast of Nurgle)
Slithertongue, Shrine of the driblets (1 Chaos Warshrine, Mark of Tzeentch) 
Bubo, Maggoth beast of the Eternal Lagoon (1 Skull Plague Cannon of Khorne Nurgle) 
The Repugnauts of Brass Keep (4 Skull Plague Crushers of Khorne Nurgle, Standard, Ensorcelled Weapons)

Ok so I copped out a little with the mark of Tzeentch on the Warshrine, but really felt the 3+ ward save would be more suitable than -1 to hit in combat for it. Bubo and the Repugnauts are now reformed psychopaths that now see the error of their ways. Pappa Nurgle is pleased. I only chose the Skullcrushers for this list because under the tournament pack, units with a rank and a banner can claim table quarters/center to gain up to an additional 5 tournament points a round (the tournament is being run on a win/loss/draw 5/10/15 format). Skirmishers and fast cavalry cannot claim quarters, otherwise I would be running 2 units of plague drones instead!

My first opponent is a Dark Elf sycophant with the following list: (Dark Elves, 2600 points, Comp 2)

Supreme Sorceress: Black Amulet; Tome of Furion; Level 4 Wizard; Lore of Dark Magic; Black Dragon 
Dreadlord: Cloak of Twilight; The Other Trickster's Shard; Heavy Armour; Lance; Sea Dragon Cloak; Shield; Dark Pegasus
Death Hag: Sword of Anti-heroes; Cauldron of Blood; Battle Standard Bearer 
Sorceress: Dispel Scroll; Level 2 Wizard; Lore of Shadow 
25 Witch Elves: Hag; Musician; Standard Bearer (Razor Standard) 
12 Darkshards: Shield; Musician; Standard Bearer (Banner of Eternal Flame)  
5 Dark Riders: Repeater Crossbow; Shield; Musician; Standard Bearer  
20 Har Ganeth Executioners: Draich-master; Musician; Standard Bearer 
Reaper Bolt Thrower  
Reaper Bolt Thrower 
Bloodwrack Shrine 

Well its a nasty combination of big fast tough gribbly monsters. Ugh. Not a huge amount of shooting but two big nasty blocks of squishy elves. There is a lot of pain to be delivered here! I'm thinking (like a good little disciple of Nurgle) push it forward and infect all the squishys! and prey to Ku'gath that I can tank all the attacks...

So Moonstruck is likely to be my final 8th edition tournament, and I couldn't think of a better way to see it out! Really looking forward to this event, and its been really refreshing painting all the brighter colours of Nurgle! It has really got my 9th edition WHFB buzz going and round bases or not, I am very excited to see what the new edition brings.