The next edition of Age of Sigmar is just within reach and we got our hands on it early and have been dissecting every last page of this book for the benefit of you, the reader. All this week we will have some deep dives into every part of the game and today we’re going big picture. Our Mortal Realms correspondents are here to discuss in broad strokes what we like and don’t like.
As part of our coverage we’d like to extend a “thank you” to Games Workshop for sending us copies of Dominion for review purposes.
Today’s Round Table:
- Alice “RagnarokAngel” Lirette
- Kevin “Fowler” Fowler
- Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones
- Mike “Ellarr” Chadderton
- Zach “Bair” Bair
- Raf “captainraffi” Cordero
- Liam Jordan
Your First Impression
RagnarokAngel: This rocks. Next.
Raf: Path to Glory was my entry to Age of Sigmar years ago and I’ve been hooked. Love the new take on it and hope it expands.
Liam Jordan: I’ll be in my bunk
Fowler: This is the good stuff, folks. Some of the changes may seem a bit awkward at first glance, but it all seems natural after a few days with them.
RagnarokAngel: Games Workshop has held true to their word. This really is the most clear ruleset they’ve done. It’s not perfect of course, and they probably shouldn’t have opened with that line. That’s asking for trouble.
That said, the layout is very slick, everything is broken down into numbered sections for easy reference, which makes it really easy to point people to a specific rule than having to say “page 47, 3rd paragraph” now you can simply say “12.1.3”. As for the rules themselves, everything about this is just…great. I have almost no complaints about every change they’ve made and I can’t wait to talk about them in more detail. I hate to gush so much and seem like a fangirl but I love these rules.
Fowler: Monsters rule, ok? Well, at the very least it seems like they are getting a welcome nudge. Big stuff should be scary, right? Of course we need points to pull it all together but I am quite optimistic that this is a good thing for our very large Sons.
Ellarr: Echoing Alice regarding clarity (for the most part), but I wanted to draw particular attention to the foot notes on the margins. They’ve managed to anticipate the common questions players may have upon reading a section, and added a little note to answer them right then and there. As for the best bits? I love the reactive stuff like Heroic Actions, Monstrous Rampages and Command Abilities like Rally and Redeploy. I am much more engaged with my opponent’s turn now, as I have far more control over what’s happening than I ever had prior. In addition, changes to scoring makes games feel closer for longer, which I consider a substantial positive change, as nobody enjoys feeling like they’re getting stomped.
Bair: Hero Hammer. I’m gonna say it a bunch cause I’m so fucking pumped for hero hammer. With the amount of command points generated, Totems and Priests having larger roles, and the amount of Command Abilities to interrupt with, this is hero hammer and I am here for it every day of the week. Monsters and Heroes are going to kick serious ass this edition (please don’t come back and quote me if this ends up being not the case in 6 months thanks).
Raf: Another echo for the rules clarity. The AoS team channel has been on fire ever since we received the rules and the ability to quickly answer questions with rules numbers or reference back and forth has greatly increased our ability to communicate. That’s a fantastic early sign for how much easier it will be to talk and play the game.
Liam Jordan: Rules Clarity is great, it feel a more complete, in depth game. More Uniformity over Core Battalions and a new style of scenario which feels like a hybrid of the dynamic 40k scenarios with AoS twist is great.
RagnarokAngel: I feel like a lot of people are gonna say double turns, and while it doesn’t bother me it’s still going to maintain a barrier to entry for those who see it as make or break. Oh well, they tried.
Fowler: Maybe I am a masochist, but I legitimately love the double turn. I do worry about it dissuading new players. This is especially as there seem to be a lot of 40k players who are directly applying their feelings about 1st turn advantage. Just try Sigmar. The first time you get a double turn (or more importantly, SURVIVE one) your soul will mosh.
Ellarr: I don’t like the awkward space the coherency and unit size changes have left larger and/or elite units. Without an FAQ, many 32mm (and larger) based infantry units that lack reach will take a huge blow to viability, as you’re forced to rank up aggressive units and lose what makes them great, or reduce them to small enough quantities that they become far less effective a hammer. Big stuff like Ogors, Troggs and heavy cav like Gore Gruntas are hit particularly hard, as they were clearly never designed to be deployed in ranks. It would have been nice for a rule to allow a second rank to fight if it’s in base to base with the front rank, but as of time of print it’s yet to reveal itself.
Bair: Hordes have taken a couple hits (as far as we know so far pre-General’s Handbook) it seems with how units are taken and how unit coherency works. It’s a bit messy for elongated bases too, I’m not stoked to have units of cavalry charge at me with some models completely sideways. It looks dumb.
Raf: It feels like a lot of things that made the Gargants special got rolled into core rules, which is a specific Bad for me, someone who spent a lot of cash on big stompy monsters. However, it’s inevitable that our armies will receive updates and new rules so I hope this dodesn’t age well.
Liam Jordan: My biggest issue currently is the coherency rule change for models in a unit happening at 5 instead of 6. Also, haven’t really seen how anything translates into AoS3 yet, but I’m hopeful it’ll all go smoothly.
RagnarokAngel: The coherency rules have been in the wild for a while and it’s as bad as they say. Especially for 32 mm and mounted units. I get what they were trying to do but it doesn’t seem to work in practice. It’ll likely need an errata but is otherwise the only major blemish on a stellar ruleset.
Fowler: Unless there are a lot of Warscroll changes, some units are getting a rather unpleasant double whammy of coherency and smaller max unit sizes.
Ellarr: The section of the book that had me scratching my head most was by far the core battalions section. Due to a combination of unnecessary warcry style icons, unusual layout and uncharacteristically obtuse wording, this feels like a section of list building that will frequently confuse players as they get used to the new system.
Seriously though – why add optional components to some battalions if the battalion bestows no benefits to the units inside it, and the battalion itself isn’t a one drop deploy? Currently it offers no benefit and makes the whole section feel unpolished.
RagnarokAngel: Hard to give a full picture until the army FAQs hit but going back to the ruleset being much clearer it’s feeling like this is a more dynamic game with less downtime and will just in general be more fun to play. I want to play this so bad.
Ellarr: Ultimately we’re missing a huge part of the puzzle here without the GHB and FAQs, but based off what we have – MSU meta is here baby! A more cramped and intimate board combined with coherency changes means more simultaneous combats, more interesting movement choices and armies that go wide and shallow rather than elite and deep. Heroic recovery means foot heroes are likely to stick around a lot longer, and smaller squads means you’re more likely to throw them into the thick of it which I personally love.
Scoring involves (outside of the area control objectives in the battlepack) one major objective and five round-by-round mini missions that players choose to further enhance their game plan. Right now these choices are shallow, but leave room for expansion in the GHB and potentially even faction specific choices. Lots of space to expand out that will have huge ramifications for event packs.
Bair: As said it’s going to matter a lot on how points change. Will Monsters go up more than other units because of what they can do now? Maybe. Maybe not. But the bigger change is going to be minimum unit sizes. Do Ogor Gluttons stay at min size 3 and so only go up to 9? Or does this change?
Liam Jordan: As others have said – missing a chunk of stuff in the GHB and points, but the 3 basic matched play scenarios are pretty cool so looking forward to getting my teeth stuck into it once the books become available.
Fowler: I am relatively new to competitive AoS, but I appreciate the reorganization of the rules, and the split into easily referenced sections.
Path to Glory
RagnarokAngel: By Nagash I love this. I felt like Crusade started out kinda bland but has slowly improved as more Codexes come out. I think this starts out better than vanilla Crusade. In addition to advancing your warband you also have a “stronghold” you can improve. The implementation is abstract enough to not be overwhelming to people who want to focus on war but for players who want to go full RP there’s enough fluff here to dig your teeth into. And it’s only going to get better.
TheChirurgeon: I don’t really have thoughts about the rest but I do have thoughts about Age of Sigmar’s personal campaign system. This feels like a great extension on what GW created with Crusade in 40k’s 9th edition rules The territory mechanics feel like a perfect extension on the army building rules – having a stronghold and territories that you control and build on is both a great callback to the old school WHFB campaign rules and also a great extension to the prospect of just building your army. It’s something I wish they’d implement in 40k since it has great narrative game implications – fighting over territories can lead to cool thematic battles and custom terrain pieces that really make games memorable.
This is the kind of thing that also lends itself really well to making display boards for over time – if you can make an appropriately thematic and modular display board for your army, it can serve as a stronghold in campaign games. As a Crusade GM I’m already thinking about some of the cool opportunities this creates for Age of Sigmar games and thinking about 1. How I can make something for my Blightkings that incorporates a grove of gnarlmaws, and 2. How I can repurposes this content for my 40k Crusade campaigns. Absolute home run here.
Raf: I’ve played through a number of Warcry campaigns and the influence of that campaign system on Path to Glory’s “Quests” is clear. In many ways, the core PTG rules feel closer to Warcry than Crusade in the sense that there is a lot less stuff to track for individual units and models. I expect to see stuff like that in Battletomes and future books, but for now this is a great way to build out your force which has always the focus of PTG. I’m pumped
Bair: I’m here for this. Like I said before: Hero Hammer. And how do you get badass heroes? Path to Glory campaigns. Cannot wait to have stupid shit happen in this system thay my local group will whinge at, celebrate, and remember.
Fowler: The unpleasantness sundered a pretty vibrant Warcry campaign at my club, and I think a lot of what had folks excited translates directly into PtG. Crusade absolutely energized people to play 40k and I think new PtG will do the same for Sigmar.
RagnarokAngel: Hell yes, I’ve had almost no negative thoughts reading through this book. Just good vibes. Things are looking bright for Age of Sigmar
Raf: Hell yes.
Fowler: Say the line, Bair!
Fowler: 3.0 is arriving right as my store is opening up for games again. This ruleset is fun, Path to Glory seems very promising, and I am excited to slam some ghosts into various factions.
And that’s it for the round table! Expect a veritable deluge of Age of Sigmar content over the coming weeks. It’s never been a brighter time in the Mortal Realms and the Mortal Realms correspondents will all be there to report in on it! What are your takes so far? Let us know below or at firstname.lastname@example.org.