Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Age of Sigmar: First Impressions Part 1

Looks epic!
Before even delving into the rules/changes, I am not enamored with the direction Games Workshop has taken the Warhammer Fantasy world.  I and others in the community felt the impending reset coming almost a year in advance and feared for the investment we had made in our armies.  I stopped working on Dwarfs as it became clear that a reset was coming.  Thus far the new rules are less than inspiring.

Add to this that I have watched what happens to Games Workshop ranges and systems when the company ceases supporting the models/game - it becomes incredibly niche and unplayed.  It is next to impossible to get a new player interested in a game that has near zero company support (see Epic, Battlefleet Gothic, Necromunda, Aeronautica Imperialis, Warmaster, etc).

All of this makes me incredibly skeptical of this direction.

Page 1 of AOS rules
First off, a good call was to make the rules short and free,  but it ends there.  Below are just my thoughts on game setup, having not even looked at the rules for models interacting!

At left I have highlighted my first "Oh, no!" moment. This means that armies will fundamentally not be balanced, but rather based on a person's collection (I intend to show 2 or 3 Dwarf "lists" in a future blog).  To me this means that cool models are going to be more prevalent (good thing) and then models that leverage the rules as much as possible (potentially bad).  Neat themed armies may play great against each other, but power-gamers are not going to be fun to play against (even more).

The next interesting rules is that bases are not part of a model.  I am not sure what the intent of that rule is.  Bases help to make play more uniform and avoid ambiguity like modeled flames, banners, or magic being part of the model.  I am ambivalent towards the rule and will reserve judgement until a dragon starts attacking my Dwarfs with its spread-out wings when its base is a good 6" away.

Page 2 of AOS rules
The ability to first field as many models as I can until they fill my deployment zone and then have more in reserve really trips me up.  It creates the potential for on-going abuse, especially when paired with the Sudden Death Victories rules.  I can already see a game where a player minimizes the number of models deployed, thus keeping their army small and triggering Sudden Death Victories early, but summons, reinforces, reincarnates, etc very capable units to achieve the Sudden Death Victory condition.  All of these concerns from half-a-page of rules!

Before I even delve into the actual rules of the game, I am very concerned about how armies are gathered and games setup.  This does not bode well for the next 2.1 pages of rules.

*Images are either from Games Workshop's site or their freely available rules.  The author does not claim any ownership over the content of those images.