Warhammer Fantasy Age of Sigmar reboot


Haha, I read that last night. Could be fun under the right circumstances - probably those involving alcohol, but might get old quickly otherwise.


Well maybe they’re more canny than we think. When we were kids we took this stuff seriously by seperating fiction from real life. Now in the age of the selfie there is no distinction between the fictional and the real; you’re playing yourself in an MMO, not a ‘mage’ with a fictional backstory, not roleplaying an archetype. Writing up rules for ironic gameplay might just be the thing for the kids.,


From what I’ve been reading, the tourney folks are in a tizzy. These rules are not flying with them at all, because there is no attempt at balance other than saying if your units outnumber your opponent’s by a third, he can opt to kill your general and win the game, and Hero units must be unique. There’s no restriction on what you bring. According to the rules, you could have one side with a king, a wizard, a knight riding a griffin, a dozen mounted lancers, 2 cannons, a siege tank, and a company of archers versus an army made up of nothing but ratmen carrying slings. That’s obviously an unfair fight, but the official rules are that you’re supposed to talk it out and balance as you go.

I’m probably a pretty good example of the kind of person they’d love to turn into a customer. I’ve always wanted to get into painting miniatures, I have disposable income, I like games, I’m a nerd, I’ve always enjoyed the WHFB/WH40K lore. The only thing holding me back before was how damned expensive and time consuming the hobby can be just to start out. These new rules don’t really change that. The Age of Sigmar starter box is $125, and I’d still have to buy the paints and other supplies. Apparently, miniature sets like a platoon of orc (sorry, Orruk) fighters can just be purchased and fight another small set since the rules scale down well, but that’s not really going to be very interesting. The whole point of Warhammer is to jam a huge and colorful army against another one.

Frankly the new rules seem baffling to me, but I’m sort of an outsider. Then again, it doesn’t seem very popular with their core audience either. I guess we’ll see if this ends up a success.

Edit: I totally understand that like D&D, GW felt they had to do something to make their core games appeal to a bigger, younger audience. They basically only sell minis to old fogeys like me while the youth know them more from their licensed video games. I think I agree that their rules needed streamlining, I just don’t think going to a 4-page sheet that amounts to flipping a coin to determine the winner is the answer.


Telefrog, I generally suggest people budget around $500 or so over a several month period to get into hobby gaming. Though with the starter set you could probably shave that down a bit if you can resist buying more models. Expect about $100 in paints, brushes, primers, sealers and general hobby supplies to get you going on the hobby side. Though after that initial buy in for hobby supplies I have found that I spend very little ongoing. Also if you plan to play at a club you will need a transportation solution. I am fond of Battlefoam, but there are a range of options at different prices. Until the models get painted you can probably pack them in egg foam or something in a shoebox.

If you have a good FLGS that has a good painter on staff I would definitely go sponge as much info as you can. I have loads of recommendations on paints and supplies if you are interested. Let me know.


Some of the changes sound smart. Stats on cards that come with the model or PDF on the internet is good. It lets them release new units, or revise new units without having to release a whole new book. And the books were silly expensive and slow to come out, and for some reason GW could never get off their ass and sell digital copies, so the only way to get a PDF was to pirate it.

I never played WFB much, just the 40k end, and the overemphasis on heroes in latter editions just got annoying. I’m not a fan of HeroHammer. The loss of regimental movement sounds terrible to me, though I can understand why they did it, in an attempt to simplify and appeal to more gamers. Slaanesh I won’t mourn the loss of, they were always a bit icky, though other factions aren’t exactly all that great either, like the S&M of 40k Dark Elves or the absurdity of the Sisters of Battle outfits. (No problem with an a girl faction, but did they have to be sexy nuns?) So them cleaning up that stuff is a good thing.

The Ork and Ogre rename seems kind of dumb, I’m not sure what it’s supposed to accomplish, other than annoy the fanbase, and confuse newcomers. Orcs/Orks these days are pretty common everywhere, doing a find/replace in your pdf and calling them something else is just a waste of time.

The balance stuff…whooo boy. That’s awful. It’s a great way to ensure that you’ll never want to play with a stranger, and that the first set of I don’t know how many games are always going to be lopsided, as no one will have any idea of what a balanced force to bring against someone else is. It also seems to screw over horde armies. Though maybe that’s intended since they don’t all move in blocks now.

Overall, I didn’t play WFB before, but this Sigmar thing is something that most definitely is not appealing to me at all.


I read through some of the rules and I really appreciate the approach they’ve taken to streamline them (even though I know that’s a dirty word). I’m sad they got rid of tight formations/flanking/rank bonuses/etc, but IMHO that would probably be worth it in exchange for a bit of simplification and flexibility and not selling ridiculous $40 faction rulebooks. The complete lack of any attempt at balance tips me against it though–especially because by distributing the rules like this it would be so easy to rebalance it (heck, you could do it every month, have a “Microsoft patch Tuesday” or something).

Do agree that the Ork/Ogre rename is just plain dumb.


It’s been awhile, but back in my day (listen up youngsters) Gav Thrope was a prime offender. He had his pet factions/ lore and could never be bothered it seems to balance anything. He would do things like take a SM Dreadnaught, give it better weapons, make it into a hybrid vehicle/infantry unit with the best rules of both, and then under cost it even when next to said Dreadnaught. On the other side to the equation you had folks like Andy Chambers that had really neat design ideas both mechanically and thematically, but they were over shadowed by the out of whack balance of the other releases. I was happy to see Chambers get to stretch his legs outside of GW (which always seemed light on design, but heavy on marketing) with Starship Troopers and Dust Warfare, but sad that neither game could survive on shelves next to the behemoths.


I’m also disappointed that Dust Warfare never gained any traction. I enjoyed the game of it that I played. I think the models were pretty meh though and too few factions at launch kinda hurt it too I suspect.


Despite being obsessed with the lore and Black Library I only ever played 40k Edition 1 a few times, and never WHFB. The End Times was great and the AoS lore is an interesting way to follow on from that.

As for the game, from what Im seeing on 1d4chan and GW forums, there has been much wailing and gnashing of teeth about the move to 4 pages and rules, and pay to win strategy regarding the use of peoples old armies.

They should bring back Dark Future, the lore for that was awesome, especially the Kim Newman stuff and Mad Max is fashionable again.


I don’t think any of the GW game writers were ever any good- the games they made after GW all strike me as a bit reluctant to incorporate improvements in the past 15 years of board games.

AoS looks like one of the most low-effort things i’ve ever seen. Almost every decision made with the ruleset can quite succintly be put into someone who doesn’t care about making a game any more. Even the core rules are not very well thought out, and shunting things off to the unit cards is probably the opposite of what they should have done- it’s a good idea in the abstract but now it’s an excuse to remove every common rule in the game, making it hard to memorize it all and understand.

Anyway, i’ll talk more later.


I like the idea of moving the dynamic rules to the unit cards (Warscrolls) that come with figures and keeping the core rules simple. These just seem too simple. Like, we-no-longer-give-a-shit simple.


I went over to Dakka Dakka (my tabletop forum of choice when I was more involved in the hobby) and the majority of posts on AoS are generally positive, with most the love going to people who prefer RP/story style battles. I didn’t venture into the tournament forums as that was never my playstyle. But I have to say that i’m actually kind of intrigued and will be checking out the rules. I don’t have a ton of fantasy based minis left, but it could be fun to check out. And I did always want a dwarf army…


I’ve been playing Fantasy and 40K off and on for over 25 years. I totally quit the game this last year - too much rule bloat, the games took forever to set up and break down. It lost it’s luster.

Played a game of AoS with some of my fantasy armies. Loved it. You need to house rule it a bit (make sure the armies are even, eliminate the ‘joke’ rules) but other than that it was quick, tactile and fun. No idea about long term depth or that yet though. The end of big armies squaring off in rank and file does make me sad, but no one wants to play those games anymore.


I haven’t seen how they implemented things, I would hope they do something like Magic, where things have keywords (with the rules written on them anyway just to make it easy to remember what they do), so things have Trample, Frenzy, etc, along with a basic unit stat-line. I agree it’s possible they could screw it up, and do something like Warmachine, where everybody has a unique rule that’s a pain to memorize, and leads to, “Ah-ha! You forgot about my super ability numer #937, you lose, Hahahah!”


Warmachine managed to have more common rules than AoS, and I don’t think it’s that bad. AoS has several different rules for the same kind of shields, for example. Everything new GW has done with rules has been a clone of another minis game but missing the point entirely(new 40k “overwatch” being a bad clone of Flames of War’s defensive fire is notable). I don’t think AoS’s target audience is people who want to read every single thing on the battlescroll.


As a youth (well, young adult), I was MASSIVELY into GW miniatures games. I once flew to Nottingham to attend the GW 40K Grand Tournament (didn’t win it); I was a good enough painter that I won a Golden Demon back when there was only one Games Day in the US; and I did some freelance writing/reviewing for them - minor stuff, but my name was in a few of their book’s “authors” lists back in the mid-90s.

I say this not (just) to brag, but to establish my GW miniatures-nerd bona fides.

Back in the GW heyday (1990s), there were some big names associated with GW… assuming that you were into tabletop gaming to start with. Rick Priestly, Jervis Johnson, Andy Chambers (now with Blizzard), Bryan Ansell, and John Blanche were all rock stars. I agree that the new company doesn’t seem to have any “heroes” outside of their Black Library authors.

First, WHFB was never as big here in the US as it was (is?) in Europe, where WH40K was the second-rater. We Americans love our competitions, and winning-is-everything attitudes. Despite building a game around their miniatures, I don’t think that the competition aspect of the hobby was ever foremost in their minds or hearts.

I personally loved the competition part of the hobby, but even as a red-blooded American, how my army looked was always more important than how well it played. I may have been a rarity though.

Anecdote time, partially because it illustrates the differing mind-sets of US and European players, and partially because I love the story:

GW developed the (really good) game Space Hulk, in which creatures that are suspiciously similar to the xenomorphs from the “Alien” films attack space marines. In the game if an alien got into close-combat with a marine, chances were that the marine was going to die; there wasn’t much chance that they could ever break away. The marines were armed with guns but also flame-throwers which were area-of-effect weapons.

During play-test, they gave the game to a few US players to try out. Almost immediately, the Americans started to position their flame-thrower troops in the second row, which struck the Brits and being silly given the relative range of the weapons. But what happened was that the US marine players would use their first-row guy as a sacrificial piece to “stop up” the charge of the genestealers… then they would hose down the entire area with the fiery wrath of the Emperor’s promethium.

The Brits were flabbergasted - why would you sacrifice one of your precious few marines like that? No one in their weeks of previous playtesting had done something so stupid, but it was a standard tactic with all the Americans in all the disparate groups.

The US playtesters were likewise confused - why wouldn’t you? The armored marine had a great chance a living through the flame-thrower burst while the aliens did not, and if the aliens had gotten that close you were going to lose that guy anyway. The flame-throwers were a great second-line point-defense.

Eventually, the friendly-fire concept was allowed and this became a staple of the game, though I think they had to re-jigger the “cost” of the flame throwers to take this kind of thing into account.


I don’t recall the marine in the inferno having that great of a chance to survive. Though honestly putting the flamer upfront is dumb for other reasons, like being unable to shoot doors open on the move, which can be critical in the beginning for opening fire lanes and whatnot.


It’s possible that one of the reactions to the play-test was to make the flamer deadlier to marines too. Can’t recall.


You know, that is really interesting to me as an attorney. One of the (generalized, admittedly) things you notice as an attorney is that European legal documents tend to be much lighter and less detailed than American legal documents. Overstating for effect, but in the U.S., you might have a 30 page contract describing a manufacturer/distributor relationship, covering everything that the attorneys can possibly imagine as a risk. Then you get a document for such a relationship for a European venture (from a European firm) and the document will be like 3 pages long.

To U.S. attorneys, European legal agreements often feel like they were sketched out on the back of a napkin, and the European notion of “We’ll figure out any differences in good faith, we don’t need to document every possibility,” drives us nuts (because what happens if you don’t agree on the stuff you left out).

Maybe there is a similar logic in the difference between attitudes toward game balance and the need for complex points systems for army selection. :-)


Could this not be because of different legal frameworks that make over-speccing unnecessary in Europe (due to contract law being subject to many more limits)? Just asking, I have no real knowledge of this…