A Warlock’s place in the new world- an Age of Sigmar review
Hey all, This is both a review and an attempt at light hearted fun-poking at the WHFB of the future. Everything is pretty much made in jest and ultimately, it’s up to you to decide whether you want to play this or not. The silliness of the Old World still remains, that much is certain.
The “Age of Sigmar: Whole lotta hammers” is upon us. The rules are indeed free, so I feel happy at not forking out ~$90-120 for a book/ pamphlet. Yes, I understand everyone and their hamster is reviewing this, but eh. I’m
cautiously optimistic ambivalent about this considering the warscrolls use the old faction names while the ‘webstore’ uses both old and new faction names. I don’t think the ‘Mummy’ faction is IP copyrightable, at least unless GW can buy Brendan Fraser.
Now, let’s get onto the massive four pages of rules:
First off, the pamphlet talks about terrain, and the purpose of the arcane artifact known as a D6. Terrain comes in six flavours: Damned, Arcane, Inspiring, Deadly, Mystical and Sinister. Each terrain piece (quantity depends on 2D6, GW loves superfluous dice rolls) placed per 2′ square must have a randomly allocated or manually chosen rule from the terrain table. If I had miniature shrubberies, they’d be under sinister terrain.
After the realm in which you are going to fight in has been randomly decided, the terrain is randomly quantified, then randomly allocated by players who then randomly decide who’s dividing the battlefield into halves by rolling another D6. The pamphlet shows examples: by the long edge, the short edge, or weird L shapes because diagonals are just too hard to deal with/explain after the scotch has hit the bloodstream.
Deployment begins with the player who decided how the board was divided (or you could like, roll another D6 to decide) then each player alternates placement within respective deployment zones until:
a) There are no more units to place
b) You run out of room
You need to count the number of models you have in your army, so you can feel the cold dread in the realisation that they will all need painting. Well, not really, but victory conditions are determined by this.
Victory: terms and conditions apply
First off, generalship. Your general can be anyone in your army, so goblin #2568b can be your inspiring leader if you feel the Orc warboss onna wyvern doesn’t treat his employees right.
Okay, here’s where it feels like AoS appeals to people half my age and I’m 23. A Major Victory is achieved through tabling the other guy. Yes, tabling. If you cannot be tabled or table your opponent in the allotted amount of turns, you can only claim a Minor Victory if you have more models left on the board.
This is determined by the formula:
[(Total Models in Army – Models removed from play)/Total Models in Army] x 100.
If your percentage of models removed is less than your opponents, you experience a Minor Victory. Models on the board who arrived via summoning/reincarnation/reinforcements, etc do not count towards the total amount of models in the army. If you rely heavily on spam-summoning undead/daemons/insert new AoS thing then…I got nothing.
However! If you’re outnumbered by one third or more, then you can declare SUDDEN DEATH!
The outnumbered player can choose one objective from the aptly named Sudden Death Table and this is essentially a mission of “I wanna kill that dude/unit before I’m tabled” or “I want X unit to survive the game” and so on. Essentially nothing new but now it’s an official set of rules which surprisingly doesn’t involve the rolling of a D6.
If the Sudden Death condition is achieved, the player who did so can immediately claim a major victory.
There is also a new Triumphs section, which describes more events which depend on whether or not your army had a major victory in it’s last battle. Roll a D6! Obtain result! There are three outcomes to this- One dice result can be manually changed to any other result, once during the game; One unit can reroll all ‘to hit’ rolls in one combat phase; Your general gets +1 Wounds.
Battle Rounds: The successor to Phases.
The ‘I go, you go’ still exists but is meshed with the LOTR strategy battle game’s alternating turn sequence. Each phase must be rolled for (re-rolling in even of a tie) to see who goes first for each phase. Player 1 can be first for the hero phase, but second in the movement phase, etc.
There are six phases in the Age of Sigmar: Hammertime. These are:
The Hero phase: The Old magic phase coupled with heroic abilities
- Wizards can cast spells
- Some units have abilities that can be activated in your, or your opponent’s hero phase. Refer to product disclosure warscroll for more complete information.
- The player whose turn it is gets to use all their hero abilities first, and if an ability states usage in every hero phase, this means your opponent’s as well.
The Movement phase
- An interesting thing here is that any model within 3″ of an enemy model cannot move, unless to RUN AWAY!
- Running towards the enemy involves yet another D6 roll, where the result is added to the Movement characteristic. Likewise, flying units cannot land/end their movement within 3″ of an enemy model, as we really need to complicate basic movement rather than integrate any form of tactical maneuvers *coughwheelingandflankingcough*
The Shooting phase
- HAMMERTIME! I know the sigmarite prosecutors can make like Marvel’s Thor and throw them hammers ala hammer bro at the enemy (possibly the warhammer equivalent of a plumber in red)
- Essentially nominate a unit. This unit shoots at nominated target. ROLL MOAR D6’s, then resolve wounds and saves with EVEN MOAR D6’s!
The Charging phase
- Separated from the movement phase because it’s not your fault, it’s just Charging needs some time away from Movement.
- Any unit which hasn’t run away can run towards the enemy if they are within 12″ of a unit they can charge.
- HERE’S THE DUMB PART: Any model who wishes to hit the enemy model must end its movement/charge within 1/2 an inch of the enemy model. BECAUSE BASES DON’T MATTER NO MORE *Runs off sobbing*. This is dumb, as basing models is a thing, and base overlap is acceptable in the “Age of Sigmar: Those nails had it coming”. This can destroy based minis and most likely will be house ruled into base-base contact. As it has been, is now and ever shall be. 40k has stupid rules and skirmish formation movement, but no base overlap. Now, imagine the mess of Mr. Bloodthirster on 100x150mm base: Unless he coerces his targets to hop onto his base, he can’t get into 1/2 ” range.
- Just…just friggin’ house rule this back to base-contact. You’ll suffer less angst.
The Combat phase
- If you play RAW, and can get everyone to within half an inch of each other, kudos! You must be a pro at gorkamorka trukk loading!
- The player whose turn it is, picks a unit to attack with, then attacks a nominated unit within half an inch. Roll D6’s. Determine outcome. Roll more D6’s. Determine more outcomes. This is the shooting phase, but close up (so hammers hitting nails or something). Did I mention rolling D6’s?
The Battleshock Phase
- Each player must determine if their troops are going to flee or not.
Models slain +D6. For every point that this exceeds the highest Bravery score of the unit, one model must flee and is removed from play (he has a note excusing him from slaying evil today)
- Add 1 to the Bravery for every 10 dudes in the unit when the test is taken, so hordes are still valid, but this seems like it won’t scale up.
I’m going to assume everyone reading knows how ‘To hit’, ‘To wound’ and ‘Saving throw’ rolls are made? If not, roll D6’s!!!!! the aim of the game is to get equal or higher than the required score. Boom, two sentences to explain a page. Damage 1 means 1 attack does one wound, Damage 3 means 1 attack does 3 wounds. Feeling the need to bring along a 240pg notepad to pick up games yet?
Lastly: The Most Important Rule still exists. This rule clearly states: If you and your opponent can’t decide on things, roll a D6 (you’ll be doing this a lot in the new age) and let the decision of the better dice roller stand, for better or worse, in sickness and in health, for as long as the game shall continue. Or in summary, this rule states: “Just don’t be a jerk, ok? Is only toy soldiers”.
All in all, I have accepted that I am not GW’s target audience with this game and that it is to gain new, fresh blood into the GW hobby. Given that the Australian prices haven’t changed, well, I can only wish GW luck in their endeavour (the new paints are $9 a pot up from $6 and the new gold spray is $48. $48 AUD is the retail price of a box of plaguebearers/ork boys/cadians, etc).
It’s bittersweet that WHFB has passed, tis a game though and all things must end.
In full disclosure, I won’t be continuing on unless something makes me feel really enthusiastic about the AoS. I was psyched for this. Was. There is a slim hope that we may see WHFB’s rules in some form for massed battles, but it feels unlikely. In 6-12 months, who knows. The fluff sounds interesting with the realms (which seem to have existed concurrently with the Old World) at the very least, but again feels ripped from MTG.
This one will more than likely head back to 6th edition WHFB, or 8th with Legion of Chaos rules. If anyone does want to give the AoS a go, have fun and enjoy it! I look forward to seeing batreps in the blogroll. Oh and can someone paint a stormcast eternal in non-golden armour please? GW OZ is out of that white dwarf so I can’t paint it myself :/ I have a hunch they’d look epic in silver with emerald green instead of blue.