Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Seems the right time for a comeback

Hello my friends how are you doing!
No I haven't been snubbing you, I've just been busy being lazy.
No I didn't forget about you, your starting to sound paranoid.
can I get a word in edgeways here!


Well it has been a fiendishly long time since my last post, and ohhhhhhhh so much has changed in the world. i guess i need to get the elephant in the room out of the way first, and i think we allll know what that is....

oh, and the company we love to hate discontinued a game I highly enjoy

I have heard many grumblings and much nerd rage spewing forth from the deepest depths of the internet (otherwise known as fan forums) and have been disappointed by the reaction overall. Though it was not unforeseen (it almost didn't beat the rage leading from warhammer 7th to the "kiddy's version" known as 8th edition) i have a secret for many of my fellow players out there.
Are you listening carefully, good.

you can still play 8th edition

no one is stopping you. many claim that it was the most balanced a warhammer game has ever been. I myself am going to continue to play it as it is a very good game. the difference is I also enjoy Age of Sigmar.

It doesn't seem to be a popular stance, but after a few games I concede that it is a fun game. It has received a huge amount of flak for 'replacing' warhammer but i feel it needs to be impartially rated without the side by side comparisons (which are getting old). So that's what i will do, after a game Vs Tim and Brad at the local Immortals club  i feel i can chat about it at last.

First up, and the biggest problem most have with the new game, choosing the army. The lack of a points system is a problem for many, fearing that without the sound logic of math total anarchy will ensue. As many of the loudest nay sayers are approaching from the tournament perspective i can completely understand. however, a quick glance at the rules quickly divulged that it is a game for the fluff gamers more than the 'competitive' crowd. it seems Games Workshop believes a smidgeon of logic is to be found in its player base which; upon reading the rage, it appears there is not.
however, myself and Tim do seem to posses this luxury in droves, and after discussing a possible wound cap settled on 7 warscrolls. this was not difficult. In the end the teams were...

'For the Empire!'

  • Lord on pegasus
  • heavens wizard
  • Priest on Alter
  • 4 Demigryph's
  • 16 Handgunners
  • 40 Halbardiers
  • Hellblaster with 3 crew
'Orcs orcs orcs'
  • Warboss on wyvern
  • Night goblin shaman
  • 12 Savage orcs with shivs
  • 10 Savage orcs with shields
  • 30 Goblin archers
  • 6 river trolls
  • giant

Set-up from the booklette was a breeze. a good balance between terrain and open space. we rolled for sides and pressed on

First things first we liked the randomized start. borrowing heavily from Lord of the Rings, it added a level of tension during the game that can only be applauded.

The new Command phase was interesting, and lent a tactical level that I didn't fully appreciate till late in the game. It turns out bravery is very, VERY important in this game, and being able to stop one unit a turn from losing men is paramount. The option of two abilities but only one choice per turn is something to be contemplated, giving you the option of going big or sticking it out. After nutting out the magic (we had a small misunderstanding in the first two rounds that may have swung the game a bit) we found that it was a good balance of not to strong yet not too weak. Goldilocks would be happy.

Movement still had some tactical potential. More akin to WarmaHordes and Mordheim than most entering the game are used to. Terrain, though dumbed down, was crucial (the re-rolls for the magic forest and the -1 to hit for ranged did factor into both sides strategies). I had no problem with it.

Shooting was obviously the first intro to the new weapon mechanics, and in all honesty I don't mind. Heck it made it a whole lot easier and faster than having to nut out every last variable under the sun which I am seeing all too much at the moment (while trying to write my own deep strategy skirmish game I hit the wall many times trying to make a system that favours neither attacker nor defender too much whilst not being too dense with needless rules). For this reason I appreciate the hit, wound, save, and damage stats. its simple to follow and easy to implement, making it far easier for newer players. It was a bold step, but I think it may pay off in the long run.

Combat was were some real deep strategy came in to play, and where we found some of the most tactical enjoyment fell. Many have complained on the interwebs that the game just turns into a massive brawl, but the fact that you fight one unit at a time is another difference to many mainstream games. Heres how it works
I have the turn, so I get to pick one unit/warscroll to activate. I now can move any troops in closer that might be able to reach the opponent, and fight and resolve the damage from those models. now, instead of those models engaged by them fighting (which was the norm) the opposition may pick ANY of their units engaged in combat to do the same with, continuing between us till everyone has fought. We were soon Oooing and Ahhing  about which unit was best for us to activate first each turn, and it proved crucial to two of the first three combats (my giant attacked first against Tims Demigryphs even though they had charged and completely brutalized them, all because he thought it would be smarter to start with the Halbardiers in the centre). This I love love LOVE about the new game, even though there is a sense of fun detachment there are still points that can engage me on a strategic level.

Last of all is, in my opinion, the most brutal part of the game, Battleshock. strategies from the start of the turn can pay off in spades here as bravery decimated both sides, making the choice of command abilities (and the units special abilities) crucial. The fact that I had not grasped this aspect as quickly as Tim meant that I suffered some heavy early losses, which ended up losing me the game.

so far I quite like the game, but i should address the few problems that could arise with the system

  • lack of unit sizes
there is some real potential to abuse this fact alot, however the fact that only those in a (generally) pretty limited range get to attack does neuter death stars to a degree as they will suffer just as much potential wounds from the battleshock phase as those they attacked.

  • lack of unit cap
Again, there is potential for people to abuse the rules as written. Since it is designed for the casual rather than tournament market i can understand the approach, and feel that if your opponent cant apply some common sense then they soon will not have anyone to play against.

  • shooting into/ from combat
its definitely different, but since most shooting units are dire in combat compared to the dedicated melee troops I didn't mind in the slightest. It didn't break the game, so don't actually feel a ruling needs to be made on it.
  • mixed bases
I have heard alot about the 'measure from the model' rule and how it can be abused. They fail to note the fact that it says to measure from the centre of the base to the centre of the opponents. This can be just as easily made to 'measure to the base' as we were playing during the game as it was what we were used to. Again (and im feeling like a broken record here), its a common sense approach needed.

  • interactive special rules
There a bit of fun, get over it.

I am not throwing away my toys at this stage. I quite liked the rules as viewed in a vacum, and will continue to play it alongside Warhammer as I have continued to do with Mordheim in the past. I can see the potential for scaling up and would be interested to see if they come out with a more kings of war rule set to appease people wishing to do colossal battles. we can only wait and see...


  1. You are the first person i have seen to play a game of AOS and like it, congratulations?

    So speaking about the Munckin rules i see no mention of them being a joke anywhere in the AOS rules. It seems to me if you want those bonuses then you really do have to talk to you models. If not your opponent could call you on it. From a RAW perspective those bonuses are conditional and if you dont meet the conditions you dont get the bonuses

  2. and we had great fun with said 'munchkin' rules, yelling waaagh and, in the second game vs Dwarves, quaffing with fake beards and grumbling to our troops. it might seem weird but its different. i think the reason people dislike it is because even if they say they are being impartial, they still compare it to the predecessor.

    1. There is no way to not compare it to 8th edition (and all the editions past) this game replaced the WHFB we loved and so there was always going to be some dissatisfaction withe the game, the Munkcin rules dont help as they add insult to injury. I have also head that those rules are GWs way of trying to push people away from the old models and instead use only the new AOS models.

      Also did you notice that models can fire their missle weapons even if they in combat? Looking at the rules for shooting the only units that cant shoot are the ones that have either retreated or run. For a game with 4 pages of core rules GW didnt do any proof reading

    2. If you want to see more people who have successfully played AOS and enjoyed it, come up sometime! Have a group who play regularly. I'd advocate giving it a go before writing it off.

      The 'Munchkin' rules... a bit of fun for legacy lists. They haven't appeared in the proper releases.

      Shooting rules work fine.

  3. So in other words change heaps of the rules (as in you had pre game armies instead of making it up as you dpeloy as per rules, and not measuring from models), do GW's job of balancing the game yourself (by using said pre game handicaps and pre arranged forces) THEN the game can maybe start being enjoyable? If so then that's fine I guess.

    I watched a few games being played (as per rules too) and rolling 3+ and 4+ while your models mosh into the center isn't my idea of a wargame. Add in summoning (something you failed to mention) and the game just keep getting worse.

    I think you will find this game WILL get old fast as each game will be the same. Rush into combat after placing your mystery armies, move to the closest enemy every phase and reduce battle shock. Every game I have seen is how this game works. Summoning merely delays the game as well.

    Overall, a lazy game has been made. I am sure you will still enjoy using these warscrolls as the old Warhammer models are phased out for the bigger (probably more expensive) AoS kits that are going to replace them. The warscrolls you have for your armies now will never change.

    This game may Subjectively be good, but it is Objectively bad.

    But this game is replacing Warhammer. There will be no Mass Fantasy battle from GW (Hence why KoW has exploded in players lately).

    I have played munchkin a lot and none of that game requires odd acting or talking to your miniatures. Unlike AoS the rules are pretty solid and make for a random but balanced game. Probably why Munchkin is popular actually. They have the balance of fun and skill. AoS has neither of the 2.

    AoS could have potential if it was similar to the many historical games out there without a points system but those wargames are balanced through scenarios and more importantly sensible armies matched to the time. A game like AoS needs points to balance the hundreds of different troops, weapons, skills and spells each player has unlimited access to.

    Anyway every game I have seen turns into a mess of models. Especially because models must charge the closest MODEL (not unit) when they are in combat, so as the mosh of models gets bigger the center of the tables gets crazy. Not my cup of tea.

    1. Six months and over 40 games in, still going strong! If only people objectively played it instead of subjectively assuming it's going to be bad.