Wednesday, August 5, 2015

An Initial Game of Age of Sigmar

I played my first game of Age of Sigmar.  When the rules were release I poured over them as well as the war-scrolls, but I wanted to reserve any real judgement until I played a game.  Upon an initial assessment, this game is fun.

If you haven't looked at the rules they are free and can be found here.

I played in a 2v2 with three other people who I had never met.  There were 100 wounds per side, and everyone just brought what was fun.  There were monsters, war machines, large blocks of cheap infantry, and everything else in-between.  All of us were looking up rules throughout the game, but we were all still learning.  I think that once people know all of their rules the game is going to move very quickly.

One thing that adds an interesting layer of depth is the nuances of wound removal.  The defending player choses which models to remove rather than removing them from the front or the back.  This means that you can make charge distances more difficult when out of combat, or in combat you can potentially force your opponent out of combat.  There were a couple of situations where a large group of skaven were in combat against multiple units of Stormcast Eternals.  The first unit of Stormcast would hit and the skaven player would remove the models closest to the second group of Stormcast.  This meant that the second Stormcast ended up outside of 3" and were unable to attack.  The Skaven player still got to attack the first unit, but now the fight was a bit more evenly matched.

Another interesting aspect is the order of combat.  One person picks a unit and attack then the opponent picks a unit (not necessarily one involved with the first unit) and attacks.  This goes back and forth until all units have attacked.  What this means is you want to attack with a unit that is at full strength.  There were many times that one of us would say, "Well that unit has already been hit, so I'm going to save attacking with them for last."  If you know you can wipe out a unit, or your unit is going to be wiped out, then you can prioritize your combat to do the most damage and/or prevent the most casualties.

I am holding judgement on randomized turn order.  Melee heavy armies don't seem to care too much because most units don't gain any benefit when they charge.  On the other hand shooting and magic heavy army gain quite a bit when they have two turns in a row.  Whole units could be removed, or multiple units could be summoned.  Either way, I need to try out more games before I get a good feel of the magnitude of difference it can make.

Our actual game went back and forth.  After Skaven got two turns in a row (with tons of shooting) we were at a serious advantage.  There were several units of Stormcast that were simply wiped out before they could get into combat.  Things turned around a couple of turns later and eventually all of the forces of chaos were wiped off the table.

The best part about all of this is after the game was over we all spent about 15-20 minutes sitting around talking about, "How did you feel about the game?  Were things fair?  Did the armies feel balanced?"  In all of my years of wargaming I have never had an experience like this.  Even though no one knew each other we all wanted to make sure that everyone had fun playing.

In it's current form this isn't going to be a tournament game, and it doesn't need to be.  Lots of people have fun playing games for the sake of playing games.  Not every game needs to structured for a tournament.  Old fantasy players might have a few more gripes about the changes, but the sky is not falling.  Age of Sigmar is a fun game.


  1. Cool, glad to hear it . I like the fact ypu canick models you like the look of any just play them, so you can build a warband of things you like rather than massive blocks of infanrty. Makes the game much more accessible for new players too

    1. One of the biggest reasons I never got into fantasy is that I couldn't fathom painting blocks of 100's of models. Instead I started a guard army....

  2. I really like AoS as a board game. I play it with my wife and son. Thing is as a magic the gathering player and 40k player I am constantly looking for synergy (I think 8th WHFB was more knowing how to counter different units which is why I didn't like it as much). There is this friend of mine who is an Eldar player (the guy who often brings the D spam) so in AoS he plays Undead with Nagash and summons a few hundred wounds each game. Nagash is clearly OP in AoS! I got a few revenge games in as payback the other night. I want to like AoS as I love skirmish and have a bunch of 8th edition models… but the simplicity of the rules is hard for me to resist abusing… such blatantly powerful combos…

    For example my Eldar buddy D weapons my Daemons to death all the time. So when we play AoS and he plays Death faction (he brings Nagash to that jerk!) I simply smile…

    I place Belakor, Fateweaver, LoC (my warlord) on the board like 24″ away from nagash or however close I can get them. I now go first. I also get a Sudden Death mission since my buddy has 100 wounds to my less than 40. I like assassinate, he often picks Nagash.

    I curse Nagash with belakor just in case something goes wrong. I use LoC command ability for +1 to cast then begin to summon first Balewind Vortex for more +1 to cast then summon more LoC Then I can nuke for double range where it can’t be unbound so 36″. I generally like to summon 10-30 LoC because it’s really really hard to fail these casts… all while putting a vortex under all of them (I converted like 20 of them). After using their Infinite Gateway spell thing for each LoC that is usually like 40-80 mortal wounds on Nagash and I win the game before move phase.

    One time when playing around I used Fateweavers Gift of Change on Nagash and changed the d6 result to 1 million. This is before we house ruled result changes have to be within possible parameters. I admit I was bitter because we were arguing whether his seer council runes of fate shenanigans got re rolls for my invisibility (he won this argument by saying re rolls aren’t modifiers). The thing is I know that if I don’t do that then on his first turn he will summon 300 wounds worth of models, and Nagash beats everyone else at a summoning battle. He also owns far more models than me.

    AoS feels to me like playing Magic the Gathering modern format except you have access to your whole library at all times. You start the game with the win condition in your hand. So does your opponent. You can either combo off right away or try to slow play for more of a game, then when you start to lose go ahead and combo off… but then that isn’t really a game either.

    It will be nice when some WHF tourneys put together some tournament rules- then we will play by those. Everything else is just experimenting by mutually handicapping each other until we can have a fair game. Every race has insanely brutal combos to pull off just by staring at the warscrolls for a few minutes.

  3. So... Those beautiful miniatures are not really needed. You ahve just to choose one deadly combo and declare it, and in your opponent has not a more powerful combo you have won.
    How this could be.... funny?

  4. I think the problem is this game is designed for fun and casual play. When you rules lawyer and find unstoppable combos, then you are not playing casually or for fun. You are taking a game with very loose rules and weaponizing the RAW. This is fine and dandy if you like to play that way. I prefer a more fun and balanced gaming experience personally. Just my 2 cents.

    1. As long as everyone is having a conversation about the competitive level of the game; I think that anything can be OK. When playing 40k I know that certain groups of people are more competitive than others, so I build my lists accordingly.

  5. Yeah I like playing a friendly game of AoS with my wife and kids just fine and its great for that. My buddies and I do $20 buy in game night be it poker, risk, 40k, WHFB 8th (I always skipped 8th just not my thing I like skirmishy games that aren't as clunky). AoS will not make it into those game nights unfortunately.

  6. I gave AoS a try with a Tzeentch shooty list and got beat down by the new marines. Granted I played against tactics as I wanted to test the game rules out, so had I made tactial retreats while shooting the 4" moving eternals I would have done much better.

    I was shocked how little damage shooting does against stuff with multiple wounds and a decent save. Mortal wounds were gross when dropped in mass. The lord of change in the cohort formation casting 3 spells a turn was a powerhouse. You could drop the shield, gateway and a summon spell every turn with super high success chance. Flamers were also solid with their 3 shots that do d3 damage. When those attacks got past saves they would decimate what they shot at.

    I think the core rules are fine even as loose as they are. however, summoning is broken and makes the game pay-to-win. There is nothing stopping me from buying 45 lords of change, 45 balewind vortex, fielding 10 of them and summoning the other 35 LoCs turn 1. You then fly them into position and all cast the vortex. You can then drop a gateway and arcane bolt at 36" every turn all while immune to assault. Or I just take Nagesh, have him vortex, and then summon 8 units every turn.

    The game has alot of potential but requires a ton of house rules to even it out and I hate doing that as it requires trying to remember all the rules and makes it hard to play with new peeps. So I'll stick to 40k till they age of sigmar that as well :P

    1. The best, and easiest fix I have seen for summoning is simply saying that summoned units cannot summon other units.

      Also I seem to remember reading, though I can't remember if this was a house rule, that summoned units cannot act the turn that they arrive.

    2. Those house rules seemed great as well, but upon practice in a big game I still found myself facing a 500 zombie wall that I could not cross. Then my big units got tar pitted and shot to death by his chimeras (there is no penalty for mixing death and chaos right?). Even if I had flyers jump across and charge his commander the zombies would have been in my face the next turn. Whats crazy is when you pick your commander to be something like a lord of change, summon pink horrors, the commander dies, following turn you just summon a lord of change back etc.

      Also a huuuuuge thing in this game is lucky dice on the turn order. I made a really fun Nurgle team based on self healing and tanking (most people actually enjoyed playing me!) but so many times the turn order went First turn me then opponent first opponent first. That was a huge blow because I was taking big chunks of damage and losing monsters before I could get a chance to respond/heal them.

    3. Agreed, turn order looks to be very important.

      On the flip side two turns in a row of healing could potentially negate all of the damage someone had done.

    4. Good luck actually rolling the successful casts for 45 loc's etc, etc. It's not all that easy imo to successfully roll 9's+ (iirc) for summoning other greater daemons

    5. Good luck actually rolling the successful casts for 45 loc's etc, etc. It's not all that easy imo to successfully roll 9's+ (iirc) for summoning other greater daemons