Some thoughts on Age of Sigmar (and a Grenadier Troll)

Lots of people seem to be trying the new GW Age of Sigmar game. I decided to let the dust settle and see how people found it before making any comment. Many of the reviews I’ve read are from people willing to cast aside their old GW prejudices with a genuine want to enjoy and engage with AOS.  A new game that players can get in on from day one – a fresh start so to speak.

I’ve found that both positive and refreshing, two words often missing from the closed ranks of gamers, some of whom are all too fearful and suspicious of change within their favourite rulesets or game worlds.
Admittedly these suspicions have sometimes proven correct when armies that people have invested serious money and time in have been rendered obsolete or unplayable by simple codex changes between Editions but at least AOS is a clean broom at this point.

I couldn’t comment on how AOS plays as I’ve only given the rules a cursory glance but the reviews by people who have all mention either a lack of balance between opponents, low complexity or a sense of ‘can you remind me again why we started playing this?’

Whereas they all seem to agree that the game is lacking depth, hardly surprising from a 4 page ruleset, the real worry for GW should be the apathy some players have felt towards it MID GAME.
As a company they rely heavily on player’s enthusiasm for their game worlds and systems, encouraging them to come and play regularly in their stores and pushing new models for players to add to their forces.
This becomes an impossible task if players can’t even get half way through a game without caring anymore. I’m sure GW have plans to rectify the short comings of the rules with additional updates. Keeping players interested in the system as a whole will be the real test. Time will tell.

As far as the models go I certainly wasn’t the first out of trap to notice that the majority of these models are basically Space Marines without Bolters. I found that disappointing but not unexpected. Everyone else seems to really like them.

What is a shame, although again not in the least bit surprising, is that with the arrival of AOS Warhammer Fantasy Battle has finally expired. The spasms of it’s 8th Edition death throes were seemingly it’s last.
I’m sure most gamers have a soft spot for whichever Edition of WFB they first played when they entered the hobby, even if they haven’t actually played it since those days. But hey, 33 years and 8 Editions was a bloody good production run and I don’t think it’ll sink into obscurity any time soon. If something as wearing to play as 3rd Edition can create a movement as well populated as Oldhammer I can only assume the later, less clunky versions will still have active fan bases for years to come too.

For now I’m giving Age of Sigmar a miss. The starter set seems reasonably priced to begin a new game and start afresh, something that GW haven’t attempted for many years now, but the game system seems seriously flawed. The models alone could warrant the £75 price tag but despite the large number of miniatures in the set I’m not keen on any of them.

As much as I’d love to be counted in I can’t bring myself to overlook any of this to take the plunge. Sorry GW I’m out.

Anyway, as the title implies I’ve also finally gotten around to painting the third troll in my collection to finish ‘The Triumvirate’. He’s painted up to match the other two trolls I’ve done and will eventually form a unit in the Nick Lund Orc army that’s planned as my main project for next year.

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3 thoughts on “Some thoughts on Age of Sigmar (and a Grenadier Troll)

  1. Azazel

    Nice work on the troll. He’s come up very well – the old sculpt really stands out on the new style base with such a modern painting (and basing) style.

    As for AoS – I’ve been tossing up writing s little about it myself – I’m certainly willing to give it a go, and from the couple of YouTube reports I’ve watched, it looks like it could be a bit of quick, easy and simple fun – nothing wronmg with that. And I have to admit that I like the Sigmarines – they look perfect for use as KoW Basileans in some form, and I’ve always had a soft sport for much of the overdone chaos and Khorne stuff GW has created. I’ve got a pair of boxes winging their way to me still. Hopefully they’ll be here before August.

    My main concern (and it’s a big one) is the lack of any kind of balanced points or other method of creating equal armies. I’m all for friendly games with Marouda and my friends who come over, but even then I don’t want to be horribly outmatched, and I certainly don’t want to outmatch her. Because a Goblin ≠ a High Elf Swordmaster and I have both on my shelf and want to use them all.

    Should I end up playing around with it, some rules – like measure from the model and not the base will simply be ignored wholesale from the get-go – but even that description shows what I think of AoS – I’m happy to play it if we can balance it, but won’t take it in any way seriously. Not that games are SRS BZNS anyway, but this seems to be on a par with Munchkin in terms of taking it seriously. It’s certainly not going to be on a par with a WHFB or KoW or SAGA…

    I might use this response as a kernel of a post of my own. But later. AoS needs to take a back seat to showing off more models for the time being… 🙂

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    1. Somet Post author

      Thanks, I often think back to the goblin green drybrushed plain sand bases I was doing (and pretty much everyone else was too) 25yrs ago and wonder why I was so blinkered into using them. There’s no real difference in the technique to my modern ones, just a clearer understanding nowadays of what paint schemes look better, a mix of particle sizes in my sand and the judicious use of static grass.

      Although I haven’t had chance to read Age of Sigmar or any of the Warscrolls yet but I’m away on holiday next week so will hopefully have a bit of time to get round to it. I’ve only got them downloaded on my phone at the moment which isn’t the easiest way to read PDFs but time permitting I’ll give it all a read to see how playable it is and check out YouTube too.

      If the reviews and game reports are true (no reason to think they’re not) then balance does seem to have been bypassed somewhat with the main proviso seemingly being a ‘play nicely or I’ll take my ball home’ policy.

      However we all know that human nature means that if someone can field 100 Khorne Bloodthirsters of Insensate Rage then someone will be a big enough douche to do it, and will probably make excuses to leave early if someone challenges them with 101 similarly powerful Daemons.

      I couldn’t see a problem playing with friends or reasonable opponents, and as you say exactly balanced sides aren’t necessary, history is littered with uneven battles. All it takes in most games is a few bad dice rolls for the player with the initial upper hand to clutch defeat from the jaws of victory anyway.

      Anyway, I’m looking forward to seeing what you’ve been painting recently, do show!

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      1. Azazel

        Yeah, I can’t see the game working at all for pick up games or anything even vaguely competitive. It’s Unbound, all the time with no way to even make it optional. Even so, I have concerns even with playing friendly games with friendly friends with forces outside of the box set scenarios. We can make our own scenarios, of course – but I’m looking at the game in much more of a lightweight way, because 4 pages. Hopefully they’ll introduce some balancing mechanism at some point in the near future and we can all take a deep breath.

        I wrote up my own thoughts on it all:
        https://azazelx.wordpress.com/2015/07/22/the-one-about-the-age-of-sigmar-2/

        My bases are very similar to how my marines were done in the late RT era. I did have a lot of stuff on dark green flocked bases with black rims for most of 40k second and third, but kept the brown stuff for things like Necromunda – because it’s not so verdant down in the Underhive!

        Still, Better looking than the goblin green!

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