AoS: General’s Handbook – First Looks

general-handbook-straight

Come take a look inside the covers of this new game changer – It’s the Age of Sigmar General’s Handbook!

Rules packs and tournament play notations may be music to a lot of AoS player’s ears this summer.

It’s looking more and more like competitive play is about to come to Age of Sigmar in a BIG way. Now that the points costs are out for all the models, checkout how to actually build your armies as well.

We’ve got a glimpse of the points and army comp rules here. We also got a tease of the Command Traits and Artifacts as well. We also have the upcoming Season of War Retailer kit/Summer campaign ramping up too. This is basically the Age of Sigmar Launch we all wanted from last year. Let’s be fair, it had a shaky first year but it had to set a foundation for the game and get a LOT rules out quickly for existing models. This book already has hints of new units and is ready for the next step.

A summer campaign gives GW time to figure out whats next while maintaining a high level of community buzz. I know I’m actually looking forward to taking on AoS for the first time in while!

 

It’s Age of Sigmar’s Time to shine!

  • Koschei

    If I was someone who devoted time to hating Age of Sigmar, I’d be worried now!

    • crumbreaper

      I’ve got some of the miniatures for painting as I’m more 40k but I can see the arrival of this book prompting the grumblers I know to dig models out and try a game again.

    • Crevab

      Probably more smug, I’d guess

    • vlad78

      Not at all. GW will live and die by the fluff and AOS fluff is terrible. If you want AOS to take roots in enough places in order for GW to keep it after a while, it will need a major reworking. Points alone won’t make it and we know GW is utterly incapable to write balanced army lists because even if they do, the managment will tinker with them sooner or later in order to bolster sales and will not aim to give a better gaming experience to their customers.

      On the competitive side of things, AOS just can’t beat KOW.

      • Dan Wilson

        Points in aos are far more generalised, it will be difficult to tinker with them in a way that promotes one faction over another. And fluffwise they have audience interaction going for them, the outcome of this campaign based on customer input will be reflected in future books. KOW just does not appeal to me. The idea that regiments don’t lose models until the whole unit runs away/dies… it feels a bit like taking the appeal of Lego which is its constructibility, and gluing all the bricks together.

        • Oliver Grimwood

          I find KOW overly abstract. It’s a miniatures game in which the miniatures don’t really matter.

          • rtheom

            Thank you! That is exactly my problem with KOW. I think it would work great for an Epic scale game, but it really bugs me that I don’t remove models as things die, and they just sit as a block that either fights or poofs.

          • SupPupPup

            Thats’ really summed up my feeling on the game.

            (Not to detract from the system, I still enjoy KoW)

        • vlad78

          But it’s a huge gain of time and space and it gives totally different modelling opportunities.
          KOW games are 75% faster than GW games. And it allows the players to focus on the tactical aspects of the battle and not on the unpacking and packing side of things and it really helps keeping the miniatures in a good shape.

          Btw every units has special rules, therefore tinkering with points is just as easy as before.

          Bottom line, I do no trust GW to make of AOS a good game and to keep it that way.
          It’s no within GW Dna.

          • ZeeLobby

            They would def need to hire game designers to do so.

      • Randy Randalman

        lol @ KOW. That game is an absolute dog turd. And speaking of fluff…AoS is like Shakespeare by comparison.

        The worst fluff ever may be Wrath of Kings, however, though WarmaHordes fluff is written by a fanboy (in Matt Ward-ean fashion).

        Point being, there are tons of games that do well without fluff. 40k just happens to have a little something for everybody, though the rules have gotten far too wide. Plus, there were a lot of people chomping at the bit to give the game a try, but wanted structured list-building. Furthermore, the fluff in Godbeasts was FANTASTIC.

        AoS has a simple rules set, with very safe points structures. It won’t be possible to tinker with them as they all end in ‘0’, and are based on the size of a unit you can buy in boxed increments.

        GW has made a lot of changes in the last 12 months, so anything you think they’ve done in the past doesn’t really apply anymore.

        • Oliver Grimwood

          I rather like the AoS fluff. The Chaos characterisations a particulary good, certainly in comparison with the WFB they’re certainly less one dimensional for a start. Not yet as deep as WFB (it’s only been a year) however technically WFB is AoS fluff so it’s all good.

  • Don Lindsey

    AoS has been building for a while now where I’m at, don’t understand why everyone keeps talking about the shaky first year…the game is a blast…

    • Shiwan8

      Because as it is it’s a game of “who has the most disposable income to throw at GW to get most models to deploy” instead of fantasy tactics and strategy.

      • Axis Mundi

        New book fixes that – though if you chose to not play “like that”, AoS wasn’t broken in the first place.

        • Shiwan8

          There are no factors in the game at the moment that without a huge amount of mathhammering could result on a balanced game except by pure accident.

          • Axis Mundi

            Read through the book this morning – you POV will be out of date in just three weeks. Enjoy it while it lasts.

          • ZeeLobby

            But when GW releases RoboMcStompyKnight for for the Storm cast,d o you think they’ll really update the handbook taking that addition into consideration for the faction?

            I have no doubt that GW can rebalance a game once. But to actually keep it balanced over the course of a year of releases… I’ll need to see balance updates before I really care.

          • Axis Mundi

            I think they’ll update the book regularly – and if their current policy of involving the community works (ie makes money) they’ll be more likely to produce a game with balance.

            But, and it’s a huge but, they are more interested in what’s cool, and what’s fun, over what’s balanced – and they probably always will be.

            So there’s no escaping RoboMcStompyKinght I’m afraid!

          • Shiwan8

            We will see. Knowing GW their quality control will just create a different kind of non-game.

          • Frank Krifka

            had plenty of balanced games myself. All without mathhammer. it’s not as if reading the table at deployment is that hard

          • Shiwan8

            Table? There are no proper rules for terrain and there are plenty of factors of which any one is enough to throw the balance badly off. You got lucky, that is all.

          • Frank Krifka

            Considering I’ve probably played 20-30 games of AoS so far (beyond the few initial games which I think more of as playtesting than actual playing) plus a couple of local tournaments, then that’s a hell of a lucky streak.

            Truthfully Shi, you sound like the slow kid in math class who can’t solve the problem on the board. You cry that it’s unsolvable, and then when somebody does know the answer, you grumble they “just guessed right”. It doesn’t matter if it’s Eldar: Craftworlds or vanilla AoS; you just don’t seem to be able to get it.

            Maybe you should pick up a game that’s more your speed? I here candyland is pretty balanced and theres not a pointy-eared space elf in sight…..

          • Shiwan8

            Do you claim that the rules do not let the player to deploy as many and what ever units he/she wishes to deploy? I mean, if you do not you must understand that your experience is pretty much meaningless since the rules explicitly give the opponent the right to just put so much power on the table that the opposing side just can not win. If you do claim that the rules do not give that right to the player then please do present proof.

            At this point the most likely scenario is that you do not understand the concept of balance and/or do not understand when the balance is or is not achieved. Or maybe you do and you are the only one in the world that has managed to implement that to AoS. Anyway, I’d like to see the formula that ensures reasonably closely balanced matches in AoS since you seem to think that you have such a thing.

            I understand that you are angry because someone points out the obvious flaw that makes a thing essentially worthless in something you think is awesome. I get that. What I do not get is that since really stupid people can not play 40k for obvious reasons and you seem to play it, how is it possible that despite having at least some level of consciousness and intelligence you still think that your lack of proof is well masked by your futile insults? Or do I think too highly of you and is that the reason you play AoS?

          • Frank Krifka

            Ha you’re a riot Shi…

            i have yet to see a player drop a unit on the table that there is no counter for. The only exception to this that I’ve seen is when I had a player drop skaarbrand, Archaon and Gorrdrakk all in the same game. Truthfully Even that I could have handled, if it wasn’t in a tournament where warscrolls were already chosen. But again, with alternating drops I have enough in my collection were I’m not at all worried about what will show up across from me. Monsters? Fine. Close combat beatsicks? Fine, mortal wound throwing war machines? Sure. Really at this point it;s only when players drop multiples of one thing that things get bit tricky.

            Truthfully, I understand balance just fine. I think you just don’t understand AoS. You keep going on and on about “show me how it’s balanced”, “show me how it works”, really just boils down to “I don’t understand how to play this game”. The fact that I understand seems to drive you crazy since you’ve basically accused me of either being stupid, or lying.

            Frankly Shi, as the saying goes, if your not smart enough to get something simple as alternating drops, then frankly i don’t think any amount of explaining is going to bring your IQ up high enough to get it.

          • Shiwan8

            Ah. So you seem to think that your style of playing the game is how one should play the game. I personally think that one should play the game by the rules. Anyway, you do not see a problem in a situation where one side has a unit of goblins and the other brought 20 models of Nagash. Totally balanced? Right’o. I respect your right to have an opinion but I’d suggest that maybe you should polish your mathhammer a bit.

            You do not drive me crazy, you living in denial is pretty funny actually. Alternating deployment would work if there were limits of some sort on what and how many units one could deploy. Even if it’s 1:1 you deploying 20 units of stormcasts and the opponent deploying equal units of goblins is still stacked in your favor. I get that you do not get it, but I think you would benefit from looking in to it.

      • kloosterboer

        I disagree completely, but this is a battle we’ve fought before.

        • Shiwan8

          And as long as 1000$ wins every game against 500$ in AoS you are wrong.

          • kloosterboer

            Schwaneee! Good to see you, man. As always, I love hearing your opinion…as does everyone, I’m sure.

            Is there another game that $500 wins against $1000?

            While you scratch your head on that one, the rest of us will go right on enjoying Age of Sigmar.

            Next time you’re in the US, stop in for a beer and a game. I’ll even play you dollar for dollar.

            Beer’s on me.

          • Shiwan8

            Any game that has some other restriction for the number of assets in the players disposal. 40k, for example, is not a less dollars vs. more dollars game like AoS, it’s “pick the right faction and win” game at the moment. Not saying 40k is great, it’s not, but at least balance can be achieved. There are plenty of others out there, few of which you can find links for from the top of this site.

          • Skathrex

            I have to say, I feel like 30k is a “more money > less money” game.
            There are also Points, which is true. But 500$ at 1500 Points is almost always gonna loose against 1000$ at 1500 Points (the higher the Points go, the clearer it gets).
            But I know what you mean in AoS. Then again you just have the wrong mindset for the game. Yes a 20 Nagash army against 20 Goblin army will always win, but nobody plays like that.

          • Shiwan8

            30k is not like that. To make the comparison fair try to do your math at 500 points. More money lets you play bigger games with more variation but more money does not let you automatically win every game like in AoS.

            Nagash spam is an extreme example. Put that game in a tournament environment without house rules and you’ll see just how many will play like that. As a clue: Every single participant will try to win like that.

          • Skathrex

            Ohh 30k is exactly like that, because of how expensive it is. Sure at 500 Points its more difficult but at the higher Point costs it starts to increase. You can spend your money on Calth boxes to play or you can go full on FW Spree, gues who wins.

            And there you have it at your second point. Its not a tournament system. Its a beer and pretzels system. Or to put it this way. If everyone brings 20 Nagash its a perfectly balanced system. If everyone brings CSM, 40k too is a balanced system.

          • Shiwan8

            Like I said, make a fair comparison. If you do it’s nothing like you claim it is. Now you claim that if one gamer has one unit and the points allow the opponent to have 10 times that then it’s not fair. That’s how it works in AoS. In 30k you agree upon the points and no-one will agree to a bigger game than what they can play. In AoS agreement is not needed, the gamer is perfectly within his/her rights when 10 Nagash-models are deployed against min squad of goblins and the gobbo player has exactly no say in it.

            It’s a game system. Tournament or not. It is not defined by what would happen in a tournament but rather what can happen in any match.

  • I really wish the release date would hurry up and get here. This book looks amazing

  • Jice

    I didn’t devote time to hating the game, I just wasn’t going to devote any time to an uncompleted bad one. I’m all for the idea that GW finally makes a game that’s comparable to the calibre of the current market. It’s a big market now and there are plenty of other options if AoS isn’t worth the time or effort to someone not already invested in it.

    So try to think not it as ‘haters gonna hate’ but that ‘customers wont buy till it’s worth it.’ This book might make it worth it, and I hope it does, I’m certainly a fan of how the points work in it, even though they added the pokemon Zero to the end of everything for no reason. And paying for thing in exactly the amount you get in a box is what I’ve been saying they should have been doing all along.

    Nickel and Dime-ing points was always something I hated about list building when I used to play WH and 40K. Needing computer programs and Apps just to make a list because there was too much damn stuff to fiddle with. With this AoS book I could make a 100[0] point list in my head and buy the 5-6 boxes of models and have exactly what I’d need. Not have to worry about fidgeting with a plasma pistol here, or a trooper there, and that’s exactly how models should be sold. Needing to buy an extra box just to account for every possibility if you don’t want to magnetise sucks.

    Having to buy 2 boxes for a legal unit has always been a sore spot with me too, ever since Warmachine/Hordes started selling full units in one box. Seemed a much simpler system for buying in.

    • ZeeLobby

      Yeah. Well GW just released this more affordable and approachable game called Age of Sigmar… which actually costs as much as the game it replaced… so… yeah…

      • crcovar

        That’s only the case if you are too closed minded to even consider something other than pitched battles.

        • ZeeLobby

          Small games are short and boring with the limited ruleset. They’re also awfully imbalanced. But that’s AoS as a whole.

      • SupPupPup

        Its worked out quite a bit cheaper for me.

  • Thunder

    And so the AoS rules end up costing money after all.

    • OldHat

      Nope. Rules are still free. This is just an expansion of the game with a lot more depth, hence it costing money. Like most other books it has released thus far.

      • Axis Mundi

        £15 for a lot of interesting/useful content – are we really complaining? Oops, wasn’t replying to OldHat – I obviously agree with you.

        • OldHat

          This is BoLS and it is AoS. So yes.

          • Axis Mundi

            😉

      • crcovar

        Perhaps he is complaining about the rules being printed in the back of the book? I know I’ve paid money for the rules several times. The starter box, in the White Dwarf, the campaign books, battletomes, path to glory, and the Grand alliance books.

        Or maybe he’s just being a poor troll.

    • ZeeLobby

      LoL. Yup. And that low barrier game isn’t really low barrier anymore either…

      • OldHat

        It still is. Only if you WANT the extras do you need to spend. You can still just play AoS like everyone else has for a year. AND we don’t know that they won’t update the pdf sheets on the site with points. Hope they do. If not, a single book isn’t that bad anyhow.

        • ZeeLobby

          I hope they do too. Cause as is, anyone looking to play matched play pickup games IS going to need those things. I see this as the primary goal of adding a points system in the first place, to promote pickup games with minimal hassle. You wouldn’t want to go to these games without your tools.

          I think it’s fair to say we play a different game. You’ve played AoS for a year because you enjoy the lack of structured play, I do not. It’s just disappointing for those who like that structured play that prices increase substantially in order to play that way. For them the barrier of entry has only increased in price over the past year.

          • OldHat

            Substantially? The price of one video game for all the factions points, 3 new ways to play, and all that. Yea, not substantially, but a marginal price for so much. And it’s not even mandatory for beginners, just people who want the structure. I see so much negative spin here, but the “barrier” isn’t that high for a miniature game and most of it is optional.

          • ZeeLobby

            Models alone make it more than other miniature games, but ignoring that, it has grown from free rules to points rules, faction specific items/abilities and purchasing formations youd want to play. I just don’t know how positive spin can seem to ignore it. Let’s not pretend nothing happened, or that it is close to what it was originally portrayed to be.

          • OldHat

            You are being 100% black & white though. You can’t seem to realize that the original intent hasn’t vanished just because this book exists. The default, really, is AoS as it stands. You know who will use the Matched Play? Competitive players and folks who crave the structure. That is not everyone, by a long shot. It absolutely isn’t approaching any level of WHFB in size, either. You are only obligated to get what you feel like playing within whatever parameters you choose. AoS has a lot of avenues to play within, which is just fantastic for everyone. Want to go fluffy? Play without points, set up narratives. Want competitive? Get the Handbook and go for it. Want structure? Set limits based on wounds like players did before or if you want, spend the cash to get the Handbook and go that route. Plenty of options, not all of them requiring any more investment than originally touted.

          • Frank Krifka

            Well yes and no. Don’t forget that most of us have plenty of miniatures that we can either proxy or play “as is” to create a force from the generals handbook. I haven’t seen anything yet that absolutely mandates a large purchase in order to remain competitive. So at least in that respect, I don’t think the barrier to entry has gone up that much at all.

            Secondly I have been playing AoS for the last year and have found it to be fairly balanced; most of the time. I have been on both sides of unbalanced games and it was pretty obvious at the start that the game was unbalanced, and as it typically runs with unbalanced games in AoS it didn’t last very long (very much unlike 8th were you knew you were going to win or lose at deployment and then spent 3-4 hours finding out you were right).

            One of the things I’m looking forward to in the generals handbook if a guide to build armies from this point going forward. Up until now there wasn’t much reason to build any sort of “mono-force” other than little more synergy. Now there’s a tangible benefit to building a focused force and structure within that will help clarify what I need to build/buy next to build a particular force. I appreciate that far more than chasing some phantom of “balance”.

          • Antoine Henry

            Well making it not free and its “civilians” that made the rules for the point system..not them 😀

      • Shawn

        Still, at about $20 USD, that book IS a steal. Hell of a lot better than paying $50 USD for a codex that is 2/3rds fluff and pictures and 1/3 rules.

        • ZeeLobby

          The pricing has gotten better for sure, but I almost feel as if the quantity has increased.

          • OldHat

            It hasn’t. Play what you want. They just provide rules that accommodate a variety of levels and styles of play.

  • nuggy

    That price tag is fantastic though! I were a bit on the fence about getting this one for myself as points and all that is easy to look up online but with all those different campaign rules in there its a bloody steal!

  • Drahazar

    Still dose not fix the core rules which are crap

    • Countdiscount

      Incorrect

      • Shiwan8

        Proof?

        • kloosterboer

          Yours?

          • Shiwan8

            The burden is not mine. Even if it was the rules would be the proof.

          • kloosterboer

            Your opinion, shared by others, is that the rules are not very good ( or crap, if you prefer). That is your truth.

            My opinion, shared by others, is that the rules are quite good ( or excellent, we prefer). This is our truth.

            There is no burden here, merely a difference of opinion, not a difference of fact.

          • Shiwan8

            What is your definition of “good”? Mine is “reasonably fluid and balanced”.

          • kloosterboer

            Remarkable! So is mine.

            And yet, we’ve come to 2 different opinions, haven’t we?

          • Shiwan8

            Logically impossible. Do you not understand the concept of balance or is your definition something different?

          • Pete Croucher

            You two are adorable 😀

          • Shiwan8

            I love it how people who do not have the capacity to understand the simplest of things think it’s cute when 2 people who actually do have that capacity have a conversation. It’s like 3 year olds claiming it’s cute when couple of science professionals have a civil debate.

          • Pete Croucher

            Dude, you just claimed an opinion was “logically impossible”. Totes adorbs, yo.

            For what it’s worth, I’ve found Age of Sigmar to flow reasonably well, and working around the battle plans has led to some great fun fights. It requires talking through with your opponent before either of you turn up, but it is worth it.

          • Shiwan8

            Nope. I claimed that the basis for that opinion is logically impossible. It’s like saying that women must always be under the rule of men and at the same time claiming to be a feminist.

            I’m not saying that it does not flow well. The rules as is just do not support balance unless the players go through the arduous process of creating such a state by themselves. It can be balanced, sure, but in it’s base state it is not unless by accident.

    • Drahazar

      4 game stores in three different states. Dragons lair in bossier Louisiana everyone left to 9th age no AoS players. Jerseys in Yorktown and worlds best in Hampton players all left to kings of war and 9th age and less than five players at armada games Tampa less than 10 at critical hit games and a few are moving to kings of war two other going to 9th age.