Editorial: Age of Sigmar – The Golden Opportunity


One Optimistic Gamer’s look at the current state of Age of Sigmar.

Why Age of Sigmar is Secretly Great


There is still a lot of lingering negativity around Age of Sigmar, much of it rightly so. However, I believe a lot of players out there are missing out on the fact that Age of Sigmar is the single greatest opportunity for gamers and hobbyists since Warhammer first launched in 1983.

Now Age of Sigmar is by no means flawless; the lack of points values is a major, MAJOR hindrance to organized or even remotely balanced play. Half the old fantasy models haven’t been updated, the other half have been squatted ad infinitum, and the background fiction is still in the throws of adolescence.

Tomb-Kings-3Sorry Tomb Kings

However….that leaves a vast, unexplored wilderness of a game just waiting for your personal touch as a hobbyist and a gamer. Barring competitive events – at least until an official points system is adopted – you can do almost anything with both your models and your battlefield. Every realm in the Age of Sigmar hosts mortal hosts of every color and creed. The remnants and survivors of the Warhammer world still exist- at least in rules form for many of your favorite characters (they may not be updated, and may be canonically dead, but you can still use them!) and if you’re not happy with your favorite character being dead, you can sure counts-as them into a character of your own invention.

It’s clear from the fiction of Age of Sigmar that structures, races, and even some characters like Malekith, Nagash, Tyrion, etc. survived the End Times, which makes Age of Sigmar a post-apocalyptic fantasy game. The possibility to make your own, personal army a bedraggled, worn-down, hard-bitten group of survivalists from the Old World is entirely possible… and wholly awesome.

Tyrion_2Guess who’s back

Old World Survivors

The story of a survivor is one of hope, loss, endurance, and defiance. At the End Times, few survived to see the new iteration of the world. Some that did became gods incarnate in the Age of Myth, and onwards into the Age of Sigmar. However, Gods are boring- what really matters is the lives of men, woman, and monsters who managed to crawl their way out of the wreckage of a world rent by Chaos. Half of the fun of Age of Sigmar is how much of it is left open to interpretation. Even if your favorite army was squatted (Bretonnians, Tomb Kings), if you have your old models, or can find them cheap on eBay, they’re still playable with the Warscroll rules downloadable from GW online. Making a motley band of hard-bitten Bretonnian survivors, still trying to uphold their chivalric honor while at the same time exploring a post-cataclysmic new world is a very compelling story indeed. With a little creativity you can imagine such a scenario for almost any force. The Empire’s best Engineering College minds who built a device that protected them from the fallout of Chaos, a tribe of Ogors (Ogres) who hid within the Great Maw, digging their way out into a new Realm ripe with opportunity, a tribe of Amazons from Lustria (remember them?) mysteriously reborn into the Realm of Ghur, the list goes on and the opportunities for conversions, character, and even basing schemes is almost endless.


New Powers Rising

Of course, with most of the Old World’s major players dead, retconned, or god-ified, there is a serious power vacuum in the Age of Sigmar. Mortals in every realm are beset by dangers on all sides, warlords vie for dominance, and bloodshed is a constant. So why not take advantage of it? With the rules available to you through downloadable warscrolls and the official rulebooks in Age of Sigmar, an intrepid player can literally carve out their own kingdom in any Realm, and create an army of mortal humans, aelfs, duardin or any other race – Much like the Border Princes of Warhammer Fantasy. Mercenaries, pirates, tribesmen, all are doable in Age of Sigmar because nothing has been set in stone yet. And that is the beauty of the setting.

Keeping the Tone

I think the biggest question so many players have had is: “what makes Age of Sigmar, well…Age of Sigmar?” Warhammer Fantasy’s world was defined by its relation to the real world, our Earth. Each location more or less matched up to a real continent or country, and took influences from this as well as from popular fiction – Lustria was South America and Lizardmen held a very Mayan/Aztec aesthetic, the Empire was Renaissance-era Germany, Chaos was Norway/Sweden Viking inspired, Vampire Counts occupied cliche-as-holy-hell Translyvania, etc. Likewise, Warhammer 40,000 is defined by its over-the-top Gothic architecture (Warhammer Fantasy shared this, but often to a lesser extent), abundant skulls in everything, and John Blanche inspired weirdness.

That is NOW, however. Back in the early days of both games in the mid-80s, much of their aesthetic was inspired by Heavy Metal album covers – epic scenes of warriors in battle on hellish landscapes with lightning in the air. Norse mythology, blood and death were common factors, and this…THIS, ladies and gentlemen and orcs, is what Age of Sigmar has gone back to. And, despite its more marketable kid-friendly nature (we KNOW you wanted your daemonettes to have six breasts, we get it), it is every bit as epic as its forebears. We’re living in the new Golden Age with this game, something that is lost on so many people – it’s whatever you want it to be, with an aesthetic that’s a little bit old Fantasy, a little bit Jason and the Argonauts, and a lot of Heavy Metal sword and sorcery awesomeness.

Duardin_1The next Manowar album cover? Nope, Duardin!


 tumblr_lskba1yt8a1r3tizlo1_1280Notice the similarities?

I’m not paid to pimp this game for Games Workshop, god knows they’ve rejected a job application from me more times than I can count. But I want to encourage people to not be so negative about this game, and give it a chance. For once, seeing a game in a vacuum, rather than comparing it to its former iteration, is the correct way to go.


  • Heinz Fiction

    I guess Age of Sigmar can only get better. Because it can’t get any worse, can it?

    • Aezeal

      I think the fluff is OK, still a bit limid but obviously expanding in great strides, the books are not worse than the old ones but in the world building happening now the boookseries where a single person get followed through his live are still lacking and those are often the better books . Old models are still useable and can be allied within grand alliances. My only problem is the lack of points but there are good comps.
      Models better than ever.

      • Commissar Molotov

        Models are “better than ever?” REALLY?

        • Zingbaby

          All the big model kits they released are pretty awesome, but I’m not a fan of the Sigmarines myself.

          • Commissar Molotov

            Not to mention the nekkid dwarves and Roidboys of Khorne…

          • BaronSnakPak

            What about the nekkid roidboys of Orcs from WHFB?


          • vlad78

            They still are much better than this.

          • BaronSnakPak

            To you, maybe. I don’t see an issue in the designs of either the bloodbound or the fyre dwarves.

            The only reason for existence for the Bloodbound is to wage war, it makes sense that they’re muscular. They wouldn’t be an effective melee army if they were a bunch of skinny/average dudes. The strong survive, the weak are made sacrifice. Their god is obsessed with blood and skulls, which is why they too are obsessed with blood and skulls.

            The dwarves aren’t even naked considering they have helmets, bracers, knee and shin armor, and belts with front and rear protective “flaps” (I don’t know the technical term).

            I respect your opinion, and it’s fine if you’re not a fan, but it’s not as if their designs are outrageous or over the top when compared to already existing WHFB minis.

          • vlad78

            I also respect your opinion but you can’t deny 2/3 of the new fyredwarves range is technically a failure (monopose failure). The orcs you showed have much better sculpted muscles and stances. The fyredwarves not only have strange bodies, but most of them look like they are just fat.

            About the bloodbounds, I have very mixed feelings. While some of them in the AOS box are alright, some are even nice, others are just ugly and use awkward weapons with awkward poses.

            Pls don’t drag me into a debate about AOS fluff given that it is imho the worse aspect of AOS.

          • BaronSnakPak

            I wasn’t directly referencing the AoS fluff, rather the consistency of Khorne being obsessed with death, blood, and skulls in every iteration of Warhammer.

            I can disagree about the fyredwarves though, because even if their muscles aren’t sharply defined, a good paint job can easily remedy that. I also don’t really see an issue with the posing (there are a few exceptions in every faction though) because they’re going for dynamic poses compared to the cookie cutter mono-pose minis for MANY of the WHFB troops:

            I do love the Wrathmongers.

          • vlad78

            But those models are 20 years old!! Btw GW golden age remains the end of the metal miniatures era, those had all of it, they were technically good and had a lot of character.

          • BaronSnakPak
          • Agent OfBolas

            They look perfect 🙂

            If you like ranked units, go play T9A http://www.the-ninth-age.com/index.php?simple-page/

          • BaronSnakPak

            They do look good, but my point was that the majority of WHFB minis were static, monopose figures, and at least AoS is trying to go for more dynamic posing with different looking troops in each unit.

            It gives the battlefields a better sense of movement and action, rather than blocks of dudes standing around in lines.

          • Agent OfBolas

            They were static because they were made to look good when ranked. I love how ranked units look.

            AoS … sorry, but I can think seriously of this game, it’s killed by Chaos models, those new are terrible (I’m chaos player) but the worse thing are the rules. They are simply dumb and illogical for me.

          • BaronSnakPak

            To each his own. I find the chaos minis to be amazing, and not “roided, over the top” like people say when compared to WHFB Marauders and Warriors.

            The rules are also love-hate with people. I like them because it’s faster paced and more fun now, in my opinion not everything needs to a be a 3 hour long event with checking multiple math charts and so on, and my gaming circle isn’t full of list abusers and win-at-all-costs type of people.

          • Hedwerx

            front and rear protective “flaps”

            They’re called pteruges/pteryges. Which is fun to say with a mouthfull of marshmallows.

          • Commissar Molotov

            “Fear mah prancy tippy-toes!”

          • Adam Murray

            There actually pretty cool on the table.

          • Brettila

            t least he has legs. The only prior Dwarves with legs were from LoTR.

          • Erik Setzer

            Eh… it’s a matter of opinion and perspective. I’ve not been a fan of much of the new stuff. Some of the Chaos models are too Rob Liefeld (who gets mocked for a reason), there’s that stupid idea of putting skulls inside the skin of every other Chaos model they release (which in same cases destroys an otherwise good model), the chains are a mess that they should stop trying until they figure out how to do them right on a computer, some models have harsh edges where there should be curves (especially creatures)… They have some nice models, but a lot of models with issues. Prior models were really nice, and yeah, there were some that had problems, but claiming the models are “better than ever” is silly. It’s an opinion based on aesthetic, and I suppose if you like cartoon/old comic book style with way too much stuff thrown onto some models to say “Look at all the detail!”, then sure, okay, you might like them better, but from a technical or skill point, they aren’t really better, and in some cases are worse because their attempts to cut corners are starting to affect quality.

        • BaronSnakPak

          It’s subjective. I’ve been a collector for 20 years and I think the AoS minis are the best that GW have produced yet.

          Different strokes.

        • kloosterboer

          Yes, REALLY.

        • Hamish

          Remember Molotov, The sculpters decided to sew together a packet of sausages and then send them off to the manufacturers when coming up with sculpts for the Smegmarites. If you have a problem with this you are WRONG WRONG WRONG.

          • Commissar Molotov

            I know we supposedly play with toy soldiers, but do they have to look so much like TOYS?

      • Grumpy Scot

        Models are better than ever? These releases are abysmal in comparison to even just the Wood Elves 8th Edition release.

      • Hamish

        I’d say that the fluff is better than ‘ok’, it’s flying high…shitting over everything I’ve ever loved about actual Warhammer.

    • Zingbaby

      Using some of the online comps the game itself is actually incredibly fun. I was not an entrenched die-hard WHFB guy but for me it’s MUCH better.

      What I don’t like are the Fluff and the Sigmarines.

      • If you believe the online interview with one of the studio guys, AoS actually *did* have a points system in place: then they abandoned it at the 11th hour because they knew the fans would complain and split hairs ….and eventually just come up with their own points system(ITC anyone?).
        So GW decided to skip the middle steps and put the ball in our court off the get go.

        • Shaman At Dawn

          I read somewhere recently that with the upcoming organized play system from GW, there will be a point system.

          • Adrien Fowl

            I hope we can get a point system as soon as possible.

          • Axis Mundi


            three to choose from, all much better than anything GW would have come up with, and updated regularly with feedback from tournaments. I started using the Pool system, and have recently moved to using SCGT. All my games (40+ now) have certainly felt very well balanced. Personally I hope GW don’t do their own system, and just let the competitive community carry on with their own comp.

          • Chris. K Cook

            Thanks for proving Imaginary Wars point.

          • Hamish

            I hope we can get an angry GW employee, a Kalashnikov, five hundred rounds of ammunition, and a murderous disposition. And one bad day.

          • That was kinda …lost in translation: it was later corrected that the organised play system would be run using points for participation (not a points system inside regular game play).

          • It looks like Warhammer World is using something similar to their school leagues at Warhammer World. It’s the “Clash of Empires” rule set if your aren’t already familiar with it

        • Erik Setzer

          I don’t believe that. Using that claim, why did they bother creating even an extremely basic framework for rules? They had to know fans wouldn’t like that, especially with how vague it is and how many questions there are. Should’ve scrapped the rules and let people make them up like they knew they would.

          But hey, why not take that a step further? A lot of people don’t like the models, why not cut the models out at the last moment? The fluff isn’t approved by everyone and a lot of people don’t like it, why are they releasing all these fluff books rather than telling people they can make up their own story for the setting?

          See how ridiculous that claim is? They made a choice and now seek to blame the customers rather than accept responsibility for their own decision.

          • Axis Mundi

            I really don’t recognize your critique of AoS. The game is fine as it is – in couple of weeks time there will be 150 people attending the largest Warhammer tournament in the world, and while they have created a lovely comp pack and scenarios, in terms of the core rules of the game the changes can be summarized as –

            1’s always fail
            Named effects don’t stack
            measure from bases

            That’s it – the rest of the game is as GW designed it.

            They obviously decided to leave points out, and GW staff at Warhammer world were quoted as saying they expected the community to make their own at the time of launch. Which they did, and it’s been quite successful.

          • Erik Setzer

            Well, see, you just named two new rules, and one key change to the rules, as well as a huge addition (comp system).

            Adepticon, going on right now, has a bunch of edits and additions to the rules:


            From GW’s own AoS FB page:

            “The core rules for Warhammer Age of Sigmar are just a framework for whatever stories you want to create.”

            If you feel just stating the game is what it is (even as GW sees it), is somehow a “critique,” then you’re saying there’s a problem with the game. So… are you okay with it being designed to just be something for people to make up their own rules, or do you think that’s a problem? And if so, why would you direct any negative feelings you might have about that toward me rather than the guys who made the game?

            My core point was just that leaving out one set of rules with the claim “well, they’d just complain about it” is a really stupid thing to say, and if you applied that logic across the whole mess, then there shouldn’t be any “official” rules, story, etc. Just figures, and let people make up their own rules, points, story, whatever entirely. (I wouldn’t advocate that, but I’m also not advocating leaving a game in a state that makes it more difficult to get games with strangers than it could have been, and then not taking responsibility for the decision.)

          • Axis Mundi

            I was just trying to illustrate that the comp required to make AoS more suitable for competitive play isn’t very complicated – those three new rules are extremely simple to explain and apply, mainly because they don’t change the core mechanics. The Adepticon comp is much more complicated, but that’s probably down to lack of interest in AoS in the US – in the UK there have been enough tourneys for people to accept that a lot of the things that were assumed to be terrible rules (Shooting into combat and rolling for initiative being prime examples) work fine once you are used to them, and changing those really can mess with the way the game feels like it should play.

            I’m not annoyed at GW for making such a simple game, or at you for making valid criticisms of it, just slightly frustrated that the same arguments are being made on both sides nine months later. I think AoS is exactly the game GW wanted to design and release, and they will continue to push this version for the time being. Given that they are replying to emails with advice to try out the comp systems, I also think they are very happy that people that want to play it competitively have come up with ways to do so.

          • You’re saying that my claim is ridiculous?

            Here’s my claim: GW held a seminar at the GAMA trade show; the seminar was on organised play and GW said they were instituting organised play for AoS and players would earn points for playing games; someone mis-reported that GW was instituting a points system into Age of Sigmar….

            There’s no customer blaming going on here, someone heard something wrong and then threw it on the internet AND THEN later that day it was corrected.

          • Erik Setzer

            I don’t really believe the interview that much if that’s the claim. I suppose I should, given that the company’s management has gotten obnoxiously stupid in trying to put up a barrier between themselves and their customer base. But to go on record saying “It’s your fault!” to the customers is even more incredibly stupid than other decisions they’ve made lately.

            Maybe that’s why they don’t talk to customers, because if it was a conversation they know they’d just spend half of it insulting the people whose money they want.

    • Kenneth Portner

      Because, you know, all the cool kids hate on AoS……

    • Andy Stewart

      How many games have you played?

    • Dwarl

      It can always get worse. No matter how bad something seems, it’ll always get worse.

  • Ira Clements

    I still see this game as GWs version of D&D 4e. They will prop it up and drag along for as long as possible. I give it 4 years. The only thing that will keep if afloat at all will be models alone likely. The “story” is awful. Interestingly I actually like the concept of the game it just feels so under developed. It could remain simple as is but there could be some added depth.

    • Matthew Wilkinson

      I dont think the story is awful at all.

      • Well, I do. Funny how that works. Now, we could attempt to discuss our reasons for our views on the matter and underline and pinpoint what is done well and what is done badly, but that’d probably be a tough thing to do in a comment section.

        • Hamish

          “Only faith and hatred sustains” – Victor Saltzpyre, Old World Witch Hunter. Sums up my feelings over AoS and my will to keep the Old World alive. Long live the Empire!

    • Except the difference between this and D&D4 is that Age of Sigmar is actually outselling its predecessor. Warhammer 8th Ed (and really, the last year or so of 7th Ed) was good mostly just at selling army books; the player base wasn’t growing, and they had bought nearly all they needed …and tended to supplement their collections by buying second hand or by purchasing resin Chinese knock offs.

      At least that’s what the landscape in my area is (this in an area that could usually pull in 50-60 people for a Warhammer weekend tournament).

      • Dwarl

        In my are, we’ve seen the complete oppisite. Our perviously seven player strong WHFB regulars, out of a twenty player regular GW store, have all stopped arriving, and six of the 40k players have also left, citing unease as a result of Age as their reason for going.

        Don’t use your personal area as fact, because regional areas differ immensely. As of thus far, there has been only one official Games Workshop financial report, and it put them off at a loss, noy gain.

        • But….but it’s a FACT in my area. 🙂

          Fair point that we’ve only seen one financial report (what page of the report lists the profitability of Age of Sigmar again?).

          However, my understanding is that Warhammer Fantasy had been a sucking chest wound for GW for a *while* with their investments into the system doing nothing more than hemorrhaging money for them. So when AoS replaced WFB and accomplished not only losing GW less money but was also trending towards growth, I imagine Workshop was pretty pleased with the game’s performance.

          Plus I think 9 months in–when all the initial investment dollars are first thrown in–is not really the best time to judge on net loss or gain.

          • Erik Setzer

            If you believe AoS is doing better than WFB, especially significantly better, it means 40K is suddenly tanking.

            Are we really going to believe 40K is suddenly tanking?

            If that’s true, GW has a serious problem. (Though they do seem to have recognized that lately, overall, without recognizing one of the core problems.)

          • I’m completely not picking up what you’re putting down: can you explain to me how in order for Age of Sigmar to count as doing okay, 40k must be tanking?

          • Nameless

            sales where down on the last financial report, and not by a small amount. now this could be for a number of reasons and could be unrelated to age of sigmar.

            however for aos to have sold better than fantasy had over the same period the previous year, 40k would have had to sell worse so that the total would be the reported lower.

          • @nameless: thanks; I see what you mean.

            I’m willing to admit I don’t have access to GW’s internals, so my hypothesizing could be / is very likely to be quite off.

            What percentage of GW’s total sales does 40k own? I’ve heard some say 60% and others say upwards of 85% …what’s your take?

            Anyways, what I’ve heard from guys who read into a lot of the numbers (and somewhat corroborated by a couple of the GW managers I know) is that in the year that led to the End Times, Warhammer Fantasy Battles accounted for less of GW’s sales than did their paint range.

            With that in mind, GW’s overall sales going downwards in a year means that of course 40k’s sales were dropping …but because the amount of money needed to show positive growth with AoS is actually really small, 40k wouldn’t require its sales to totally take a swan dive in order for the AoS numbers to be better than WFB.

            But again…who knows? GW keeps a lot of their internal numbers close to their chest.

          • Nameless

            I have heard plenty of numbers quoted both online and also by the manager of the local games workshop, and often times it would seem no more accurate than wild guess.

            End times part 1, 2 and 3 sold very well. we know this because the product sold out within an hour of its pre orders going up. This would suggest one of two things:

            a) games workshop is inept beyond belief and had only a very small amount of stock for their new releases.
            and/or b) there was still a sizable demand for warhammer fantasy.

            but if you consider the period of 8th edition of fantasy pre end times (~50 months June 2011-Sept 2015) there where 12 releases or 1 in every 4 months. Although Games workshop seems to disagree new releases drive sales, that’s why there is a new iPhone every year. So you would expect it to only make up only about a quarter to a third of their business.

            Now as said this doesn’t necessarily mean that Age of Sigmar is in anyway failing to sell, gw have had falling sales for a few years now. and to link back to new releases driving sales: there haven’t been that many 40k releases which could mean 40k sales are down.

      • David Clift

        Its a fair point-I have all the models i really want for Warhammer 8th and honestly don’t need to spend more.

  • Lestat

    Another article trying to tell us AoS is cool?

    • It’s not cool. And you definitely shouldn’t start playing the game.

      • Beyond Boredom

        I’m sure he can make his own mind up.

      • Lestat

        Thanks for the advice! I almost did 😉

  • Commissar Molotov

    Methinks he doth protest too much.

  • Moses Jones

    An argument can be be made that fantasy always had an open door into creativity, I have seen some pretty amazing armies with elaborate themes that stretched way beyond the confines of the story. Many of us also recognize It’s not a bad game and can see the tactics and the subtle genius of the rules system. But I for one am just not all that interested in a skirmish style game. Sure you could take 100 or more models in AOS, but by having to move one model at a time, and measure from each individual means that big massive games cannot take place without a huge time commitment. Some of us grew up watching old epic hollywood movies, with big massive legions of ranked troops maneuvering their way across a battlefield, and were drawn into warhammer because it drew on that aesthetic and mixed it with some fantasy awesomeness. I for one do not dislike AOS for what it is, I dislike it for what it cannot be.

  • zeek203

    *throes, not throws.

    • Hamish

      *hoes not broes

  • standardleft

    Meh I don’t need to be told to like it. I like the game more than I did Fantasy.

    Its a really good game, it can stand on its own legs.

    I imagine this article feels even more annoying to people who dislike the game.

  • Theik

    People who claim that Age of Sigmar was required to give the game the ability to be original with your armies must be the people who only play the original 18 space marine legions and cry that it is so hard to be creative.

    There was nothing limiting your army creativity in the old warhammer fantasy. There was nothing limiting you to just ignore force organization points if you wanted to do an all monster army. It’d be terribly unbalanced, but if your friends don’t care, who is going to complain?

    It got thrown out because it wasn’t copyright-able, plain and simple. Bretonians were french knights, a human cannon is too generic, tomb kings were just undead egyptians. This entire thing was a money grab by Games Workshop, they simply want a copyrightable IP to smack people around with in lawsuits to force them to stop making compatible miniatures.

    • Korvalus

      Unfortunately, that “it’s not canon, so it’s heresy” mentality has been in the community at large for a lon time ago. Yes, people wanted to have creativity, but there was always people that whined and bithed at the littlest deviation of the fluff. “The empire has no baronies!”, “No dwarf stronghold of the grey mountains have that wealth” or “Blood dragons are not that honourable” are things that I’ve heard and read more than once. I brushed them off, but other people may not if they receive the same frak.

      What the article says is that all the originality, storys and “regiments of reknown” handmade by you have a place because the vagueness where they can fit is canon. I said it once, but I believe that if the setting is so massive (8 worlds) and at the same time so unexplored is to invite players to create their own story.

    • I remember a Bretonnia-based army of Cathay being shown in an old WD from 10-15 years ago. Incredible work, with asian aesthetics all over. That army alone to this day makes me question why GW never bothered bringing an asian faction into the game, especially during the boom of anime and manga.

      • Drpx

        Closest we got was the Ogre Mongols.

    • Panos

      The creativity could have been resolved if we were allowed to use parts from other game miniatures to combine them. However GW was using the sledgehammer policy on this.

      • Hamish

        It’s not about the creativity. Its about your wallet. We both know this.

    • Countdiscount

      Money grab is misleading. Just look at all the China Cast, and other companies ripping of GW models. It’s not a money grab to try to protect the background and models you spent 30+ years developing just to have someone come in and profit off of copying your stuff. The more unique you make your IP, the harder it is for people to rip you off.

      • Theik

        No, it’s really not. What recasters are doing is -already- illegal. That does not require a unique IP. Nor will a more unique IP stop recasters from recasting your models, it makes zero difference.

        • Countdiscount

          I’m not talking about re-casters. It protects against the companies releasing Gravity Guns rather than Grav Guns. The ones that make “upgrade” packs for Disease Warriors rather than Plague Marines. The more unique the IP, the better chance you have in court.

          • Theik

            It hasn’t worked for 40k. They have lost basically every court case. People are now openly labeling their models as “tau empire” models because previous cases have shown that GW does not stand a chance in court when they try to have these sites taken down.

          • Countdiscount

            Do you give up, or do you try to make your IP more unique so you start winning those court cases?

            That’s what they seem to be trying to do with AoS

          • Theik

            Yeah, I suppose you could argue that getting rid of all mundane normal fantasy is an attempt to force people to use their models, but really, if you’re going to be using other company’s models anyway, you won’t be playing at an official game’s workshop. Nothing is stopping these people from using a paint jar or something from any of the hundreds of models they already own and claiming it’s a stormcast.

            They effectively killed decades of lore people were invested in, simply to try and prevent people from using other company’s generic fantasy/medieval models…. when people can still do that anyway.

          • Countdiscount

            The generic IP wasn’t the reason they did away with Old Hammer though. The sales were the reason and this change to the aesthetics and names to make GW’s stuff more unique was their solution to ensure IP legal integrity going forward.

          • Theik

            I doubt this. Did you see the end time products? They were selling out so quickly that people were waiting in lines and the people in the back of the line couldn’t get the book because it was already sold out at my store. The next release, he simply went “how many people want it?” and then quickly pre-ordered them himself to save time.

            The sales were never bad because of a lack of interest, they were bad because a lack of commitment from GW. I got into the hobby only playing fantasy at first, and I found myself incredibly frustrated at how there would be 7 months of 40k releases, then 1 month of say… dark elves, then another 5 months of only 40k releases.

            The only thing I can come up with that they released in the 4+ years of me playing that wasn’t a rerelease of an army was the empire vs vampire counts campaign book, which sprung a few campaigns at my local GW and was the reason I have an Empire army now.

            If you pretty much just pretend it doesn’t exist, your fans are going to do the same.

      • vlad78

        Nuking your setting when you can’t write a new decent one it completely stupid. Recaster will copy your miniatures, no matter what.

      • Hamish

        But they didn’t protect it did they? They tossed their IP aside like I toss snails into my neighbours garden

    • BaronSnakPak

      “if you wanted to do an all monster army. It’d be terribly unbalanced, but if your friends don’t care, who is going to complain?”

      So if this wasn’t an issue then with WHFB, why is it an issue now with AoS?

      • Theik

        It’s not? One of the things one of my friends who likes Age of Sigmar (one of the few, mind you, the vast majority are not impressed in the slightest) claimed was “better” is that he can make an all-monster army.

        But you could do that just as easily in WHFB if you wanted to.

        • BaronSnakPak

          That was my point. People that defend WHFB by saying you could make unbalanced armies and it wasn’t an issue, are typically the ones complaining that making unbalanced armies in AoS is an issue.

          It’s a double standard.

          • Theik

            I don’t really think the complaint is that you can make unbalanced armies, it’s that the default IS unbalanced armies because outside of fan made stuff, it’s almost impossible to compare effective strength without making up your own point system.

    • vlad78

      Quoted for truth.

    • Drpx

      But they could have named them Brotoneeyans or the Muhmee Empyre and put them in the Realm of Croissants and Sand respectively. And cannons wouldn’t just be cannons, they’d be Stormspewer Deathbelchers.

  • Matthew Wilkinson

    Finally an article with some positivism.

    • 6Cobra

      ..And finally.. a comment with some positivism as well. Both are refreshing amid all the hate, so cheers to you for yours.

    • Thomas Gardiner

      Positivism is not the same as positivity. Positivism is an epistemological position stating that all authoritative knowledge is derived from reason, knowledge and empiricism.

      • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

        three cheers for Ep and Met!

    • Hamish

      Finally the propaganda machine has started up again… Long live the Empire!

  • Orangecoke

    I have to admit, AoS seems to be gathering a LOT of steam in my local area (Edmonton, Canada). I’m not sure what’s driving it, but it has taken on a lot of momentum in the last few months.

    • Hamish

      I’ll tell you what’s driving it, where all that steam is coming from. It’s the tears of old Warhammer fans being evaporated for use by ‘Workshop.

  • sjap98

    Great positive article! Well done!!!!

  • Thomas Gardiner

    I hate the cheesy, OTT, heavy metal aesthetic. As awesome as a Grand Magus album cover is, it’s not a good basis for an intersting fantasy world that you can get invested in. I like my fantasy worlds to have grit and grime and more depth than “good guys with massive muscles fighting bad guys with massive muscles for no other reason than one side is good guys and one side is bad guys.”

    And as far as the whole “they’ve left it open so it can be whatever you want it be!” That’s what I call narrative laziness and failure to commit to a convincing vision. It’s as lazy as the rules of the game.

  • Sarah Connor

    Ha. This article was one day too late.

    • BaronSnakPak

      But what does John think of it?

  • xxvaderxx

    I am using a product that has no official support. I am not interested in the myriad variations of comp that are bound to be out there.
    Simple fact is that AoS is not a game, not any more that playing to see who can shout the loudest. Until that changes i am not interested.

    • Countdiscount

      “AoS is not a game”… Learn the difference between your own preferences in game mechanics/play from empirical truth. Some of us like the AoS game very much.

      • xxvaderxx

        You are free to like and use the product all you like. Does not make it any more of a game thou.

        • kloosterboer

          Neither does saying “AOS is not a game” at the top of your voice make it any less of a game thou. Don’t be interested, it’s all good.

          • xxvaderxx

            You are right, it not being a game does it, not me saying it.

          • kloosterboer

            Again, you saying it’s not a game is not only ignorant, but also immature and immaterial. If you don’t care for it, that’s cool. Say so. I respect your opinion. I don’t respect you stating something as unequivocal fact.

          • xxvaderxx

            Google “game definition”
            a form of COMPETITIVE ACTIVITY or sport played according to rules.
            But you are free to be wrong all you want.

          • kloosterboer

            Shall we play a game?


            “a form of play or sport, especially a competitive one played according to rules and decided by skill, strength, or luck.”


            a (1) : activity engaged in for diversion or amusement; or, : a physical or mental competition conducted according to rules with the participants in direct opposition to each other; or, : the manner of playing in a contest; or, the set of rules governing a game

            For fun, let’s google ” Competitive”

            Again, Webster:

            “of or relating to a situation in which people or groups are trying to win a contest or be more successful than others ”

            Seriously. I respect your right to have an opinion. If you don’t like that game, that’s cool. But your opinion or misguided attempts to use google to prove your point don’t make it any more a factual certainty.

          • kloosterboer

            Shall we play a game?

            Google: “a form of play or sport, especially a competitive one played according to rules and decided by skill, strength, or luck.”

            Webster: “activity engaged in for diversion or amusement; or, : a physical or mental competition conducted according to rules with the participants in direct opposition to each other; the manner of playing in a contest; the set of rules governing a game”

            For fun, let’s google ” Competitive”. Webster: “of or relating to a situation in which people or groups are trying to win a contest or be more successful than others ”

            Seriously. I respect your right to have an opinion. If you don’t like that game, that’s cool. But your opinion or misguided attempts to use google to prove your point don’t make it any more a factual certainty.

  • Richy

    Interesting perspective in this article. As a fantasy player from 3rd edition onwards with hundreds of games across different editions under my belt, I have to say I find AOS easily playable and good fun, and its got a lot of traction locally, and is much easier to get into from a rules perspective. The new stardrake gets a lot of flak on these comments boards but it sold out immediately in my local store. It represents a colossal pain in the rear for competitive gaming due to the lack of an official points system, but the ‘lets try this cavalry force against this demon army’ flavour is what I used to do decades ago with my mates and still enjoy.

    It also encourages picking armies for flavour instead of value for points spent efficiency, which is getting back to the core of gameplay for those people who arent tournament players. I loved tomb kings but if un-optimised they were pretty poor WFB, and I hated having to optimise in order to be able to defeat another army.

    What they did to the lore of the old world was really bad, I though the writing was pretty awful after the Nagash episode, but I remind myself to keep that separate from my evaluation of AOS as a game by its own merits.

    From a business perspective, there is simply no way GW are going to ditch it, they have categorically made a long term commitment and investment to it, and enough people are buying it that the only real prospect of it failing it if the whole company folds, and while the environment is tougher for them the company is still reasonably profitable in a rough economic period so I think thats’ unlikely as well in the short term.

    • Kenneth Portner

      Contrary to the conventional wisdom that AoS is only for kids, I think it works well for mature players as well. Mature players are able to come to an agreement regarding forces for a game that will be fun for both players without the need for precise point systems.

      • Richy

        Agree entirely! I’d love to see the demographics of WHF/AOS players and also forum commentators such is the volume of scorn and vitriol displayed about various 40k/AOS posts, or even on the upcoming Warhammer Total War forums. I have to hope that its quite a narrow age/occupational group because I wouldn’t like to think that the general population is as angry as this.

      • hywelphillips

        That’s exactly our experience too. We’ve played more AoS games in the last six months that games of Warhammer Fantasy in the six last years. Our comp rules are so easy that it takes us five minutes’ chat after each weekend session to come up with the scenarios and rules for the next.

        Currently we’ve got a Dark Elf force sweeping through the Empire, and the Empire is reluctantly calling in favours from the local Dwarves and even the Vampire Lord who lives in the castle on the hill to try to stop the onslaught. Next battle: big city fight. Two emails to agree objectives (every building, but only units which can physically fit and are part of your initial force can claim) and comp (16 warscrolls each, each of minimum size, max one named character, Nagash is banned) and we’re done.

        It’s just MUCH quicker and more fun to write these scenarios with the AoS ruleset than it was with W8th, and frankly we’re enjoying it a lot more than 40K too at this point.

  • “the lack of points values is a major, MAJOR hindrance to organized or even remotely balanced play. ”

    Refresh my memory, which 40k armies never show up at tournaments? The answer to that shows that points already don’t work. If they did, every codex would viable right now.

    Right now Age of Sigmar is a game trying to tell the flat-earth establishment that the world is indeed round. There’s so much hate because it’s challenging us to think differently.

    • Thomas Gardiner

      All your example proves is that GW are incapable of writing a good game, points or no points.

      • surfpenguin

        Why don’t you show us the game you wrote if you’re if you’re such an expert?

        • Thomas Gardiner

          Yes, because you can’t critique something unless you’re a master of it yourself. Hence, all criticism of art, politics, music, literature, film etc. is basically worthless.

          Such logic.

          • kloosterboer

            I think what surfpenguin might have meant was, how is your opinion about GW’s inability to write a good game any more valid than those who think otherwise? GW has written lots of games, with lots of editions. Are you saying they’ve never written a good set of rules?

          • Thomas Gardiner

            Perhaps he should have said that instead of coming out with a standoffish comment devoid of logic then? And yes, they have written good rules. I loved 4th and, to a lesser extent, 5th (until stuff like Grey Knights came out). I also loved, for its sins, 8th WHFB. And many of their board games are great.

            But right now, they seem incapable of writing good rules, either bloating them to unnecessary proportions (40k) or just lazily shrugging and saying “you figure it out because we can’t be bothered” (AoS).

      • There’s actually a difference between being “incapable of writing a good game” and “incapable of writing a game Thomas Gardiner would enjoy”

        Remember, only the Sith deal in absolutes 🙂

        Play safe!

        • Thomas Gardiner

          Always preferred the Sith way. Freedom, knowledge and infinite power is way better than hanging out with Jar-Jar and sitting in on Galactic Senate hearings on regressive trade taxes.

          Also, the Jedi are hypocrites: “Don’t deal in absolutes! Btw, THE SITH ARE ALL ABSOLUTELY EVIL AND YOU SHOULD ABSOLUTELY NEVER FALL IN LOVE WITH NATALIE PORTMAN.”

    • Grumpy Scot

      That’s pretty pretentious of you. 😛

    • hywelphillips

      I agree. The trouble with points is that any sufficiently complex system will have rock-paper-scissors style countering going on, and the resulting points issues are impossible to disentangle from the local metagame.

      What missions do you run? How many points total? What armies are you likely to face? A unit which is very expensive because of very high armour piercing vs vehicles doesn’t do you any good if all you face is foot troops. Points systems simply cannot cover enough possibilities to make them anything other than a crude guide, which then leads people to explore the spam-heavy lists where something is relatively undercosted for their standard local metagame.

      A concrete example: in our early AoS battles, the Empire gunline battalion was nigh-on unkillable by my friend’s Dark Elves. Until he figured out a way to counter it (powered up hydras and big boss on a dragon supported by multiple sorceresses to mystic shield them up).

      So I had to find a counter to that (Wizards. Which were of little use against his earlier army choices, but which suddenly became very relevant when I needed to be able to inflict mortal wounds instead of massed rending -1 gun fire).

      How would you even begin to cost out the fact that those wizards were next to useless against the cavalry-heavy version of his army, but invaluable against the large monster version?

      There is no such thing as the “correct” number of points for any unit.

      • Charles Covar

        I love getting to counter deploy. Keeps me on my toes.

      • Kenneth Portner

        Exactly. Just played AoS today with a friend-the Ritual scenario. Bretonnians with Stormcast support vs Chaos warriors and Khorne Bloodbound. Game lasted six turns and went down to the wire. There were plenty of tactical decisions to be made. For forces we just said 100 wounds and picked what we thought interesting/fun. Was it exactly equal? Probably not. Was it close enough to give a game that wasn’t a blowout? Absolutely. I’m convinced that people who say AoS is terrible either just want a game of ranked up troops with rigid geometry – in which case of course they won’t like AoS ( which, by the way, doesn’t mean it’s a terrible game) or that they’ve never played it or tried it with a preconceived negative iimpression formed by the howling masses of ” AoS sux!” crowd.

        • Nameless

          Fantasy settings have always held more appeal for me than Sci-fi.I have played a fair amount of Warhammer Fantasy over the years and gotten a lot of enjoyment out of the game, and of course am sad to see the loss of a setting I was/am quite invested in (owning several novels, old army books that had more of the lore than the newer current ones not to mention the time taken to assemble and paint several armies).

          however that means that I should want to enjoy Age of Sigmar. If I want to continue to play I have to adapt to the new game, in the same way as I would a new edition. I have played several games, watched over a dozen more, looked up battle reports, watched tactics videos.

          But I’m not who this game is aimed at.

          the more I try to embrace the game, the less able I am to enjoy it. I am glad that others do have fun playing AoS, I am glad you have had a close fought battle – but again my own experiences are that the games last only 2-3 turns and are totally one sided.

    • Hamish

      Age of Smegma is trying to tell the flat-earth establishment that their beloved Earth doesn’t and shouldn’t exist anymore. The round Earth establishment jumped ship with the flying monkeys and the Tomb Kings months ago…

  • Ben_S

    I like the freedom, but I can get that from other games, like Dragon Rampant. It hardly redeems the flaws in AoS.

    • Kenneth Portner

      One man’s flaws are another man’s virtues. I’m not
      trying to convince you to like it. Just that the over the top declarations of how bad it sucks are completely subjective and shouldn’t deter people from trying it with and open mind (unless you just don’t like looser games and want ranked units, with relatively restricted movement, and more complex rules).

      • Ben_S

        Is saying that the game has flaws an over the top declaration that it sucks?

        I don’t demand either ranked units or complex rules – look at Dragon Rampant and you’ll see it has neither.

  • As a metal fan, I love the cheesy over the top heavy metal art. And direction. 😉

    • Thomas Gardiner

      Metal fan here. Hate it.

      A piece of cool album art is not something to form the basis for a whole IP.

      • We’ll just have to disagree. I have waited over two decades for a game to be set like this.

  • Hedwerx


  • Hedwerx

  • SlainNorse

    I respectfully disagree with this article. In my opinion it is the background and the Lore of the new game that makes it a no deal for me and the small gaming group I belong to.
    Perhaps I am an old geezer holding on to the game I knew but to be perfectly honest it feels like the story behind the new game lacks something… lacks heart maybe?
    I happen to believe that if GW wanted a skirmish game in a fantasy setting it could have easily have been done within the frame of the Warhammer World. (Advance time-frame a century from original Storm of Chaos, create a narrative of the bruised nations of the world wanting to halt chaos incursions or something such, have them make landfall on Northern Wastes in attempt to close Chaos Gate, create wacky chaos realmd skirmish game with lifeline back to Warhammer World which would allow for reinforcements and more importantly allowed cross between WFB players and the Skirmish game).
    Anyway, I personally belive that AoS will be GW’s Windows Vista.

    • Thomas Gardiner

      AoS is basically Batman vs Superman.


      All noise and pointless artifice, no heart.

      • kloosterboer

        Critics hated Batman vs Superman. Audience enjoyed it. ( 29% approval by critics, 71% by audience)

        Just sayin’.

        • Lestat

          In 3 or 4 years we’ll see. I’ve never seen an Stormcast miniature outside a GW Shop in Barcelona. Just saying.

    • I feel they’re trying to attach too much story too quickly…it isn’t being laid out as organically as Warhammer’s and 40k’s back stories were developed.

      Mind you, those were developed in the eighties and early nineties, when life moved at a slower pace due to there being no internet. I’m not sure any company now can let their games’ back stories and settings “develop in their own good time anymore.”

      • Erik Setzer

        The pace is part of the problem. They’re trying to rush “the story” ahead before they’ve even established it, and at times it’s already feeling contradictory.

        It doesn’t help that they’ve already told us there’s no stakes. Chaos “won” but couldn’t “win it all,” and for some reason, while they had *just* destroyed an entire world in a book released two months earlier, we’re told now that they can never get their act together enough to accomplish such an act, which allowed Sigmar to wait hundreds of years and then strike back when he was ready. And despite Chaos being in control for hundreds of years, there’s so many people still around they can fill armies to drive back Chaos. It’s all up from here. There’s no stakes. No way to lose.

        At some point they’ll need to stop rushing new books out and do a retcon job on par with the changes to 40K fluff from RT to 2nd edition. It could turn out quite well, but it needs some major fixes, and the more they keep trying to rush it forward, the worse that situation’s going to get.

  • Wonderdog

    Ignoring the actual gameplay rules for a moment:-

    What if GW released a living document with all the points values for every army, for free, online. Regularly updated to balance the metagame, rather than tying the points values to army books that can go a long time between updates.

    Would that be too simple a solution?

    • ALikdoril

      Sounds good to me. Then again I’m not a game designer. But I think that would be cool.

  • Ian Hawkins

    I’m a great fan of the AoS background. It threw out the stale pseudo historical setting and brought out something that resonates with the mythical stories of ancient Greece or Scandanavia. There is no map that shows the world adds to the world rather than detracting from it, a running narrative of exploration and reveal of new races to me is exciting..

    I’m sure I’ll be labelled a GW fan boy for these comments but the simple truth is I walked away fro GW over 10 years ago and AoS brought me back. I still play numerous other game systems, some are better than others but all fill an interest. AoS is just warhammer fantasy stripped to its bare bones with a few new features sprinkled in and the option of bolt on rules which can change the dynamic of thr game considerably. Take the same armies and scenarios and play it repeatedly with the different time of war rules, you’ll get a different game every time.

    GW has made their fantasy game accessible for the new player, more playable with its faster game play, more interactive turns and better game flow. A large skirmish game that can be played in an hour and a half is perfect for my needs.

    For all the calls of I can’t play ranked mass battles anymore, of course you can. Nothing in the rules prevents you from doing this, just use movement trays as you did before and just as WHFB, when combat hits you just pile in just as you lapped round previously.

    • Thomas Gardiner

      They threw out the “stale, pseudo-historical setting” and replaced it with… A setting based on pseudo-Norse mythology.

      Yeah, that’s much better.

    • Theik

      I don’t really get the “world map detracts from narrative”. Have you ever looked at tabletop roleplaying games? They all have incredibly huge, vast landscapes full of lore and world maps. Very few of the successful ones go “here’s the rules, make up the rest of the setting yourself”.

      • kloosterboer

        And yet, the early days of RPG’s were exactly that. “Here’s the rules, make up the rest of the setting yourself.”

        What we’re seeing is the history and background unfolding with each new release, rather than being handed all the history at one time.

        • Commissar Molotov

          “Unfolding” like a long roll of single-ply toilet paper.

          • kloosterboer

            That would be ” Unrolling”.

          • Commissar Molotov

            But we’re agreed that it’s only fit for butt-wiping, apparently.

          • kloosterboer

            Not at all. You used the toilet paper analogy. I just corrected your choice of verb.

  • Erik Setzer


    It’s hard to really trudge through this article when I see things like misspelling “Ogors” (I know, it’s hard to remember what goofy stupid alternate spelling GW came up with for races to try to trademark generic fantasy races, but if you’re going to write an article about this, keep up).

    But then you throw in all this junk about people surviving from the Old World.

    Well, first of all, they weren’t going to survive in some pocket of the world, because it got completely eradicated. Heck, they tried to create a little pocket universe to try to salvage something, and even that got destroyed.

    If someone somehow survived, there’s still the issue of THOUSANDS OF YEARS having passed. That’s covered in the very first book. It took thousands of years for these new races to pop up, create civilizations, grow together, backstab each other, and then fall to Chaos, who ruled over things for another few hundred years before Sigmar finally got his army built and started striking back. Even Elves would have a hard time living that long… if they hadn’t already been devoured by Slaanesh.

    Now, you could go with someone being dumped into the warp and then dropped back out like a Chaos version of the Cardiff Rift, but that’s still shaky given that it’d be someone being protect from Chaos by Chaos (and while you could argue that might happen in other cases where the Chaos gods are fighting each other and saving someone to use against another god, that wasn’t the case in the End Times).

    So we can surmise here that you haven’t even read the fluff, but write a whole article gushing about it?

    And then you skip the fact that 40K itself was also creating an entirely new universe? What, that new universe being created somehow had less potential than Asgard and the Nine Realms… wait, shoot, I mean Azyrheim and the eight Mortal Realms?

    Look, if you like the game, that’s cool. That’s your choice.

    But don’t try to sell it with arguments based on your own lack of knowledge of the game’s fluff, especially claiming that people somehow don’t recognize this is a “Golden Age.” I’m not going to say it’s complete garbage like some might, but going to the extreme opposite end of the spectrum is just as irresponsible and ignores that your opinion might vary from a LOT of other people.

    Especially when your opinion is so horribly uninformed.

    • standardleft

      The article is a bit much, but Ill give GW a bit of magical realism.

      If a God wants you to live through the destruction of your world, I imagine its possible in the AoS universe.

      Its not unlikely that Sigmar wanted to keep some of his old subjects around, for old time sake.

      • Erik Setzer

        Nope. Sigmar went into the rift with Archaon, got knocked out for a long time. He wasn’t in a position to save anyone. Actual gods were being destroyed themselves. The End Times were pretty good at destroying pretty much everything.

        It’s not helping anything that they never chose to reveal why Nagash, Tyrion, Teclis, Malekith, Alarielle, Arkhan, Neferata, and Mannfred survived. Also not helping that Malekith is supposed to be the same guy but changed his name. You could possibly argue that being Incarnates gave them insane powers… but then what’s the deal with the Mortarchs? They weren’t even close to gods, and got completely obliterated. Worse, Mannfred’s pretty much responsible for the good guys losing in the End Times, so there’s no way Nagash would want to bring him back. Basically, they released a model kit, then wrote some fluff, but wanted to keep the kit around, and are just acting like the former story didn’t happen while saying it did… and it’s a contradictory mess that they need to explain, but won’t.

        The fluff could be so much better if they’d just slow down and explain how we got from End Times to Age of Sigmar, rather than saying “thousands of years passed with some really vague history happening, and now we’re here.”

        • standardleft

          I thought Gods weren’t tied to worlds, So when the Chaos Gods moved, as did all the other gods.

          I think the problem might be reading all that End Times rubbish. It went completely against the perpetual crisis point of Fantasy.

          Forget about what happened and take AoS afresh, without fantasies’ baggage colouring your view.

          • Erik Setzer

            They keep making references to the World-That-Was and what happened, so AoS itself is still tied to the WFB background.

            Plus, Sigmar built a space station around the former Warhammer world’s core. (And I still have a bit of a pet theory that the “realms” are actually chunks of the world that got protected when winds of magic were bound to them.)

          • Minitrol

            I keep thinking of it like the Deathgate cycle but without any mago-techno-babble that makes the whole thing have a coherent feel

          • Theik

            Say what you will, but the end times were interesting. It’s already “rubbish”.

        • That’s kind of how I feel: ultimately I’m ALL for Age of Sigmar, however I feel it’s one thing to aggressively push model production and have new things out every week and another thing to push the writers to release fiction (and by extent, back story / universe building) with a new ‘thing’ every week.

        • Hamish

          “The End Times were pretty good at destroying pretty much everything.” – including my desire to play Warhammer unfortunately

    • Minitrol

      Upvoting purely for the Torchwood reference.

      • Erik Setzer

        I’m glad someone got it. I was hoping in a community of fellow nerds that no one would say “What the heck is he talking about?”

    • Raspoutine

      Thank you good sir ! Well said.

  • Dave Grimes

    whatever about AOS , i despise heavy metal. has to be one of the
    most annoying cliche’s of fantasy fans is that we all are supposed to
    like heavy metal. (even tho my older brothers bolt thrower album is how i
    first discovered games workshop!) ill be happy once they start giving
    us something else other then those awful sigmarines. i think they are silly looking looking miniatures devoid of any character. holding out hope for
    new elves/orcs/beastmen even tho im sure ill be disappointmed. i was
    always too thick to properly play warhammer, i just liked the
    fluff/background, painting the miniatures etc.. AoS looks simplistic
    enough that myself and my friends can have a game some night for the
    laugh if i can convince them to play it with me. no way im shelling out
    for the boxed game with those horrible miniatures in it tho.

    • Thomas Gardiner

      Personally love metal, but I’ve never been into that whole OTT, uber-cheesy aesthetic. Looks like the cover to a crap Conan novel from the 70s.

      FWIW, I took Industrial and Techno music as the inspiration for my Dark Eldar =P


        …there are no crap conan novels!

  • minowaman

    40k has been around near 30 years. That’s how long you have been able to paint your space marines gold. Why is everybody acting like this game is new?

    • standardleft

      I guess its the positivity.

    • Bran D

      We’re not acting like it’s new. We’re acting like it’s a fun game. We also aren’t focusing on “Sigmarines are obviously just golden Space Marines” because we know doing so is a silly “argument” to what AoS actually is.

      • Personally, I’m really digging how all the (presumably) 40k players here are incapable of “doing something for fun” and each time someone tries to explain that idea, the 40k players get angrier and more incapable of understanding that notion. LOVE IT!

      • minowaman

        Well i would love to focus on the rules, but I. Don’t think that bone has enough meat on it to bother.

        • Bran D

          The basic rules are just enough and the Times of War and other battle plans make it more interesting. There is a lot more involving AoS besides the 4 pages…if you want to go that in depth.

  • lantern G

    stop whinging and either play with your 8th ed books and square bases, or appreciate AoS in a positive way. Games are more fun (some people here don’t really understand what that entails but hey moving on), I don’t have to rush through hundreds of beautiful models to get a decent sized painted army and I love the ongoing story.

    All in all if you’re a huge Old world fantasy player I simply do not understand how AOS is stopping you carry on playing with what you’ve collected over the years, you have the books and the models. Yes fair enough a lot of stuff has been discontinued but I’m sure you still have a fair collection.

    • Commissar Molotov

      Oh, I “appreciate” what AoS brings to the table…

      • lantern G

        my point was why can’t people play both? warhammer fantasy battle still exists on our shelves, we have our rule books and models. go play the game rather than complain if it bothers you so much, you don’t have to be one of the sods that turn to Kings of war out of spite.

      • Hedwerx

        I can’t see why you used a photo of some Mantic minis in a post about AoS.

      • gordon ashacker

        It may have been a faded masterpiece, but it was a masterpiece, none the less……

    • durendin

      Oh, I stopped whinging. However I also stopped buying.

      Games Workshop couldn’t care less about the former but will notice the later.

      • Countdiscount

        People stopped buying Fantasy a long time ago, and GW cared so much….. so goodbye Old World.

        • durendin

          Completely wrong.

          Fantasy was selling – but not at the rate Games Workshop liked. However chucking the baby out with the bathwater has backfired. Age of Sigmar was stillborn and based on the 2015 financial figures hasn’t been the cash cow they hoped yet they keep chucking good money after bad in a fools hope that we’ll all suddenly come to our senses and buy products like money is going out of fashion.

          Yeah, good luck with that GW.

          The irony is that with the recent release of Vermintide and the upcoming Warhammer – Total War the Old World could have been re-marketed to a new customer base. Imagine their surprise to find a pre-school version of 40K without guns.

          • Countdiscount

            Completely wrong? Nearly every point you’re making here is a supposition? How do you know AoS has backfired? What statement have you seen that separates AoS profits from the rest of GW’s profits so you can pin GW’s decline on AoS? How much was Old Hammer selling before compared to AoS now? How do you know GW didn’t expect a long haul introducing AoS, rather than the quick “cash cow” you imagine?

            “Preschool version of 40k”, lol…Stop talking from your broken heart.

          • gordon ashacker

            The 6 month financial report from GW, ending Nov 2015, showed a decline of 15% in core profitabilty of this company. “Core” was defined as books, models and modelling supplies from their main three games…… Here is the link: http://www.iii.co.uk/news-opinion/richard-beddard/games-workshop%3A-denial

          • gordon ashacker

            This is actually a remarkable decline, given that WFB accounted for about 15% of total sales. That would seem to indicate AoS sales are very, very low……

          • Richy

            Almost impossible to say, profitability can vary hugely without any change in sales. Also the more profitable you are the more tax you pay so companies highly incentivised to declare low profits through offshore interest, stock valuations etc. I don’t think you can directly link the figures as there is so much else in there, and big releases in 40k or the lack thereof are likely to have a big impact on the bottom line too.

          • kloosterboer

            Profits fell 15%, not sales, which remained flat. So they’re selling as much as the had year/ year, but made less. The retail channel, which consists of their retail stores, record the loss:

            “, it’s easy to pick out a culprit from the line-up. Games Workshop’s trade channel made an operating profit of £5.8m and its mail order channel made a profit of £6.2m, but its retail channel made a loss of £2.5m, more than double the loss it made for the same period the previous year.”


            yep they only made less profit due to investment costs of opening 25 stores and closing 13 in that period. retailers made less sales, but overall and on constant currency gw’s stores and direct order were up enough to cover that.

          • gordon ashacker

            You guys have to be kidding! More stores, the biggest new game system release in twenty years, and sales are flat, with profits dwindling. I guarantee GW hoped for much better results than that! Sticking with WFB would have done as well or better! The jury verdict is in: AoS flopped…….

          • gordon ashacker

            Ironically, the only thing that became more profitable was licencing to other companies, such as getting Sega to pay to use the WFB Old World setting in Total Warhammer. Obviously, nobody is going to pay to use the AoS setting……

      • kloosterboer

        Well, I started buying and playing again. So I guess we cancel each other out.

  • durendin

    Some folks happily get with it without considering the story and the “hows and whys” of their gaming. It’s all about either the strategy or the tactics; a WW2 game for them the Germans are the quality, Russians are the quantity and background material matters not.

    Age of Sigmar has pretty much won the Shark Jumping trophy when it comes to screwing up a storyline. Couple this with the embarrasing renaming of common fantasy tropes into trademarkable mis-spelt non-words. Simply put, the background material is clown shoes and I can’t get into it, or rather I can’t get into my wallet on its behalf.

    I might splash out on a premium miniature for the lulz and joy of it but am I going to invest time and money building an army of half naked pyromaniac dwarfs? Unlikely.

    • Hamish

      Agreed it’s not what AoS is, it’s what loss AoS has heralded

  • Fungrim

    Great to see some positivity on here.

    Just want to add, that playing AoS to me doesn’t feel all that dissimilar to playing oldhammer. If anything, the simplicity makes it much more fluid and enjoyable. The points thing is only an issue if you’re not using a comp, and even oldhammer used comps!

    In terms of old armies being nerfed, yeah, that is undeniably sad. Can only hope they’re part of the longer term new release programme

  • durendin

    Age of Sigmar is utterly baffling and brilliant.

    I’m struggling to come up with a comparison. Imagine if someone on the board of Fantasy Flight convinced the company to give up the Star Wars licence and do some contrived and generic game like Snakes and Ladders in its place, the aim of which was to increase sales? It’s almost the perfect industrial sabotage.

    I have no idea who came up with the concept of Age of Sigmar for Games Workshop but I bet they sold their stock options beforehand.

  • Dan Lewis

    The market seems to have a less optimistic view of Games Workshop and, by extension, AoS – http://www.lse.co.uk/shareprice.asp?shareprice=gaw

    Anyone can say AoS is tanking / booming in their area but we’re only going to be able to infer actual success from reports to the market. A steady 3 month decline (admittedly after an entirely expected Christmas spike) would not give shareholders a warm, fuzzy feeling inside.

    It is going to be interesting to see how the Total War franchise lands. It could have opened up WhFB to a whole new audience but it will be interesting to see if it has a knock-on impact on AoS sales.

    • Nameless

      in all fairness, Games workshop have ups and downs all the time. just take a look at the 5 year records and it doesn’t look like as much of a trend although they do seem to have the lowest value per share since Jan 2012.

    • kloosterboer

      Also by extension, 40K is failing as well.

  • Secundum

    Age of Sigmar was given a chance-it failed. It is now our duty and privilege to destroy any chance it has of succeeding.

    • Shawn

      Or, our duty to give it new life and a chance of succeeding.

    • ALikdoril



      ……..from sheer spite? duty and privelege….wtf?! what are you going to do, try and spoil peoples games or troll net forums? you’re clearly a real community player. id also love to see why its ‘failed’ as certainly doesnt seem the case looking at a growing player base and thriving hobby community that the game has reinvigorated in the uk at least.

      • Secundum

        The sales figures disagree with you. And maybe in your area it’s thriving – but you’re clearly one of those who assumes what’s happening in your area is the norm.


          not really – the last half year sales figures show a drop in sales from retail, which gw have actively pulled away from for some time- but a corresponding rise in trade (own stores) and direct sales(mail order)that show a constant currency levelling of sales figures. yeah profit was down 15% that period, but there are costs involved in opening 25 new stores!
          no matter what those figures say, they dont specify product lines AT ALL so citing them as a particular products failure (or success) is folly.
          and no i dont assume, thanks- i travel all over the uk with work, and ive seen a heck of a lot more hobby/armybuilding keen and games of aos than has happened with whfb for many years. that and just look at the forums, other wargames- all aos, and its the similar elsewhere online. people enjoy this game, stop trying to p#ss al over their fun.

        • kloosterboer

          Or, you’re one of those who assumes what’s happening in your area is the norm.

          • Secundum

            Not really. In my area AoS is COMPLETELY dead-the norm is played a small amount.

          • kloosterboer

            Okay, noone’s playing it in your area. That HARDLY defines whether or not AOS is being played anywhere. And, I’m not sure what sales figures you’re referring to here, unless again they are localized and anecdotal.

          • Secundum

            …..Go read some financial newspapers. I mean, really. The London Evening Standards financial section had a lovely article on how badly AoS was doing a couple of months back.

          • kloosterboer

            First, I shouldn’t have to make your point for you. But here goes. Since you didn’t reference it, I can only assume you’re talking about this, from January 8 of this year.


            It mentions nothing about Age of Sigmar. Among the sparse financial data, it does offer ” A range of new armies failed to inspire customers this year.”, which is non specific, and would also include all the 40k releases, including the much anticipated Betrayal at Calth, which was obviously timed as a release to make a splash in December sales.

            “.. full-year profits were “unlikely” to exceed £16 million because of lower December sales ”

            This next article does have more relevant financial data, from January 13 of this year:


            (To summariize) Profits fell 15%, not sales, which remained flat. So they’re selling as much as the had year/ year, but made less. The retail channel, which consists of their retail stores, record the loss:

            “, it’s easy to pick out a culprit from the line-up. Games Workshop’s trade channel made an operating profit of £5.8m and its mail order channel made a profit of £6.2m, but its retail channel made a loss of £2.5m, more than double the loss it made for the same period the previous year.”‘

            I mean, really.

          • Secundum

            I wasn’t talking about that, no. But that’s just another nail in the coffin, since pretty much all the ‘new armies’ were AoS related.

          • kloosterboer

            ” New armies ” also include Admech and Harlequins. Stormcast was the only new army for AOS released in 2015.

  • benn grimm

    I find it quite amusing (and heart -warming) the lengths some people will go to put a positive spin on something. Its just as derivative as WFB was, more so in many ways, as it’s a derivative of derivatives, kind of like the result of a game designed via chinese whispers.

    Things weren’t better in the mid 80s, they were chaotic and ugly, and not in a good way. Since then they spent years and mountains of money developing that IP to a point where it had real value which was unique to the setting. Then Kirby n chums managed to mess it all up and they threw it all in the bin. Well, not quite all.

    The best thing about AoS is that they didn’t just get rid of the whole WFB line overnight, even though that’s probably what they should’ve done. As it stands, i still get to buy cool looking monsters to convert for 40k for a while yet. The new stuff kinda sucks so far, but I’m sure they’ll come up with something good at some point, they are somewhat known for it.

    • Hamish

      “I find it quite amusing (and heart -warming) the lengths some people will go to put a positive spin on something.” To be fair mate, lubricant makes it hurt less. That’s why they do it.

  • TweetleBeetle

    I played in the team tournament, and the solo tournament. The game plays a lot like…dare I say…Warmahordes. Solos, casters, and buff guys supporting lame units, setting up perfectly timed charges (or “feat” turns) to get objectives. Assassination is secondary.

    As the game continues to develop, it will get better.

  • Tirelion

    If they are smart AoS will end up being GWs “New Coke”. (The older folks will understand)

    • ALikdoril

      I don’t know, Something like that could happen and I would like a return to the old world seeing as i just started getting into it with vermintide. But at the same time they could just scrap the whole thing.

  • Chris. K Cook

    Nice to see someone admit that the old WFB wasn’t generic and that AoS is a Kitchen Sink mess.

  • gordon ashacker

    Who wouldn’t want to collect and paint such a beautifully varied army as Eternals?https://www.games-workshop.com/en-CA/blog/blog.jsp

    • gordon ashacker

      Variety is their middle name……

    • gordon ashacker

      Who could say that all Eternals look alike?????

      • Hamish

        Behind their masks are the deformed faces of proper Warhammer fans. Trapped in horror forever.

  • SacTownBrian

    Thanks for this op-ed. It was an enjoyable read. I share your view of the excitement that can be derived by the launch of a new game. I’ve certainly been at the beginning of many starting with Battletech way back in 1988.

  • Moose


  • Great Article and I love the positivity about AoS. I’ve found the game to be a lot of fun! You are right on so many points about the new lore being “ours” to create (even though this was also simple with the Border Princes in the Old World). I actually plan on using my old set of Mighty Empires tiles to great my own “realm” for a home brew campaign. That plus the Throne of Skulls “comp” rules should keep it interesting. AoS has completely gotten me back into some form of Warhammer Fantasy

  • I have no issue with Age of Sigmar, so long as they still occasionally release something that can be repurposed for Mordheim. But the pick-and-mix approach to collecting is exactly how they should be looking at things. I’d like to see a side game in the 40K universe with a similar ruleset, to be honest. The fluff I can understand being divisive, but at the end of the day it does the trick, it gets people interested in what’s new and it sells models. And from talking to local staff, who have been good at being straight with me about what’s coming up, it’s been selling well. A lot better than WHFB had been. And even if you just want to play WHFB, the rules for that still exist and you now have a much more active release schedule for new models you can choose to use for it or not to use for it.

  • GIGroundNPound

    Great Article! I personally really enjoy the new fluff as the “good guys” have essentially “had enough” and are on the offensive. That being said it was painful to read (and purchase) the End Times books with “the bad guys” essentially truly winning and Fantasy going away. I think the main issue for me in regards to gameplay is that it is “clunky” when you are trying to move around so many models (50 Halberdiers for instance). This and a lack of a universally understood method of playing/making an army is slightly irritating but it is more of an inconvenience than a hinderance (in my opinion). HOWEVER, I think that there is indeed potential and if (BIG if) the game is refined it could turn into something truly great…just my thoughts.