Thursday, 23 July 2015

The Pro's and Con's of Age of Sigmar

So I have been spending more than enough time mulling over the new Age of Sigmar. It has a lot going for it, but in saying that, it also has a lot not in its favour.

I have attempted to make a list of my personal pro's and cons as I weigh up investing in this new game, or look else where.

I post this in the hope it may help some other people decide, or even help me decide.

So first up, the models:

Very technically good sculpts are dynamic and simple to assemble
New ideas refresh the stale WHFB setting
High Fantasy setting as opposed to Low Fantasy enabling much more scope in design
Scale - larger models allow for easier painting and application of advanced techniques
Round bases allow better positioning of models and conversions
New Aesthetic and new Sigmar faction (my personal taste is it has grown on me)

Scale - new larger scale will make existing models look small by comparison
New models look to be more expensive per unit
Square bases and round bases mixed together look odd - will need to re-base old range eventually

Next up is the rules:

Simplified ruleset - no longer 150 pages to sift through for rules
Individual warscrolls - everything you need to use a unit in one place
Everything has new rules which should help make all things on a level playing field
More versatile formations - without ranks you can create squares, arrows, shield walls etc
Unrestricted movement means more terrain and more terrain influence

No points - the obvious one
No balancing system - balancing dosn't have to be just points. Think rare/core %
The dumbing down of the rules. There's simple, then there's dumb.
No more ranking of troops. It was and is a draw card for some.
Less tactical movement - charges in any direction and no facings hurt the game
No interaction between models - I don't care if you are the best swordsman in the world, I still hit you on 3's...

And last but not least, community:

Opportunity to grow the fantasy community
New players
Several of my 40k friends have been eyeing up AoS
Grumpy existing community - Much rage, many quit

Grumpy existing community - Much rage, many quit
Tournament scene is getting massive shake-up 
Most likely less players initially, time will tell us if player numbers increase.

This is just a brief list that I have come up with, and no doubt there are many more reasons to add.

In the end, my conclusions are the model range and scope of the "hobby" side has dramatically increased in its attraction. There is much more freedom and less requirement to paint up 40 or 50 executioners or Savage Orcs just to field a functional list. I find there are far more positives on in the hobby side of things than negatives, and am looking forward to an opportunity to model themed tables to suit the new expanded universe

On the rules front however, I am sadly disappointed. I like a challenging game and regularly play tournament games. I find to enjoy these games I need a structure to build under and have always shy'ed away from systems based on ambiguity (like panel/peer comp). The simplicity of the rules is a great concept, but the execution has a lot to be desired. The lack of model interaction is a real downside, and the absence of strategic moving is a major change. Sure there are some tactics that can be employed in the movement phase, but its reduced to gimick's like dragging neighboring units into combats and shield walls, the former more a result of poor rules writing. Its just too hard to organize a simple game let alone a tournament.

However there are many people/communities (including myself) that are revising the current rule set to make it more viable as a game.

But the community is the hardest one to judge. The NZ WHFB tournament scene has reacted poorly to the new game system, and it dose not yet seem to have made any inroads. In saying that, we are yet to see if new players will be attracted. 

So I am currently 50/50 about this game. Its a wait and see kinda deal atm.


  1. Just to put a word in on the simple rules front the Kings of War rules are 27 pages long and included army building rules, the rules are basically a simplified version of WHFB but still have the possibility for great tactical depth. In 27 pages Mantic gave us a ruleset that was simile to learn with great tactical potential. In 4 pages GW gave us a rules set that a 5 year old could lean and play and therein lies the issue, i am, not 5 and i dont like games that 5 years would like.

    1. There are many many games which have only a few pages of rules. Xwing is one that comes to mind.
      Its not the simplicity that's the issue, its some of the dumbing down. KoW is unfortunately just as guilty.
      I'm am also not at all sold on Kings of Wars rules. It almost takes some of the worst aspects out of AoS and WHFB and makes a game of them. It wasn't much of a change over 1st edition.
      It still has no customization, there is no interaction between models like one of the problems with AoS, and it has crap models... that's a huge killer for most.
      The only thing it retains from WHFB is pretty much ranks/formations, but even they dont matter in KoW as you dont take casualties etc yet still need to paint all those models...

    2. Kings of war is EXACTLY the same game style only it has the almost unrealistically restrictive at that scale formation rules. AoS has similiar rules to dlearly LoTR for formatons allowing you to make realistic formations. As for unit facings well thats something formations worry about. 40k has no unit facings. The vast majority of rules come on warscrolls. KoW has the exact same lack of interaction problem and its stupid too..units bounce off each other like bumper cars. Did i mention all the KoW units are the same. Basilean paladins vs elven honour guard....thats cool whoever strikes first will win as they are identical. Also did i mention KoW has no unit interaction. Hitting on 3 or 4 is the rule.

      KoW players STOP saying KoW is better then AoS....AoS even at launch would pown KoW if it had points costs. Thats the real reason people say KoW is better...but as someone whos played games for 23 years i will say AoS has great potential...FAR more then KoW..but there should have been a 9th ed made with fluid formations. Those rigid formations were more suitable for warmaster or other 15-6 mm fantasy wargames

    3. Its a matter of taste and could put similar arguments forward for why KOW is so much better than Aos. At the end of the day it's subjective and doesn't matter as AOS is fully dead in my area

    4. AoS has had almost zero reception in NZ. Granted we are a country of only 4.5m, but before the largest game systems where pretty much GW 40 followed by WHFB.
      Most of the tournament scene here looks to be converting to KoW.
      Hell, even I am coming around...

  2. "Round bases allow better positioning of models and conversions" Technically any conversion = bending the rules. Bases do not matter; measure from the model. Therefore if you convert the model to change its dimensions it is equivalent to bending the rules. I.e. equivalent to using that peg on a 60x40 base instead of a 50x50. At Panzer Neil asked if anyone would be interested in an AOS tournament. Not one hand was raised... RIP AOS tournament play.

    1. Its already becoming general consensus you measure from the bases. As far as tournaments go, I would not have raised my hand either at that point. No player packs to make informed decision on, nor any tournament based rules. The beginning of 8th was similar.