Age of Sigmar: One Year Out

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A little over a year ago Warhammer Age of Sigmar was released upon the world. Here’s how it looks one year out.

There was a lot of turmoil within the community when the game first launched, and since then we have had a ton of releases and some pretty big shake ups to the game. So how does Age of Sigmar look one year out?

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First I am going to take a quick look back at the game’s release last July. In the lead up to the release date there were a ton of rumors swirling around, many of which turned out to be true, and many that weren’t. I honestly did not think they were going to make the switch from square to rounds, and was quite surprised when I saw the first images of the new models. My gut reaction was a bit of shock, but I liked the look of the starter set. Over here in America the weekend the free rules were released was the 4th of July holiday weekend. I was at a family gathering and was feverishly downloading all of the PDFs over in a corner and pouring over the Tomb Kings warscrolls. It was a bit surprising, but I had faith in GW to know what they were doing. That issue of White Dwarf weekly with the free Liberator was awesome, and I promptly painted up mine and was instantly hooked on the Stormcast.

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This of course, was not the reaction a large chunk of people had. Anyone who was around back then remembers the intense amount of hate flung around the community. If you were an AoS supporter then you knew to expect to get jumped on in forums for expressing any support for GW. It was pretty vicious and exhausting. This led to the great forums exodus. A large amount of the AoS players started leaving the different forums and set up Facebook groups and flocking to Twitter. I wrote an article on this back then called Positivity in the Age of Rage. I basically looked around the web at all of the places you could find safe and positive places to discuss AoS or read/listen to great content on it. To be an AoS supporter back then kind of meant being a standard bearer for the hobby, you had to rally people around you and project as much positivity out there as you could. I feel like this led to a pretty tight and supportive AoS community from the get go. Everyone who wanted to play the game sought each other out online. There was also a general switch of attitude due to the lack of points. This was one of the largest points (pun intended) of contention amongst those who disliked AoS. A lot of the more WAAC (Win at any cost) players left for other systems, leaving a core group of narrative and fluffy players to dominate AoS. Now, by no means were they the only type of player, I just think they were the type of player who suddenly found themselves in the majority, or at least as the most outspoken supporter of the game.

 

aos-first-gameMy first game of AoS from over a year ago

There was also a bunch of great support from the tournament scene who started implementing their own points system, starting with Clash Comp and culminating in the SCGT system which ultimately led to the General’s Handbook. I played games in pretty much every way you could think of. I used wound counts, just took what was cool, used SDK, Clash, SCGT, all of them, and they were all great. I don’t think I had one bad game of AoS. The community really took a sense of ownership with the game and tried its best to make it as great of a game as they could. Of course player numbers dropped a bit during those first few months, but now the community is well on its way to being back to the size during 8th edition, if not already there.

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Games Workshop has released so much material for the game, ranging from new armies, to books, to Apps and novels, that it was almost hard to keep up. The background lore, which was originally a little thin, continued to evolve and expand. Today I would say the background for AoS is pretty deep, while still maintaining a sense of mystery about a lot of it. I really like this method of expanding the Realm’s history since we get to be along for the ride. Just in the past year we have had releases for Stormcast Eternals, Bloodbound, Seraphon, Everchosen, Fyreslayers, Stormcast Extremis, Ironjawz, Flesh-Eater Courts, Sylvaneth, Bonesplitterz, Beastclaw Raiders, the four Grand Alliance books, four campaign books and a main big book, a summer campaign, two scenery books, and of course the General’s Handbook. That’s 11 Battletomes, plus all of the other releases. When was the last time we had 11 armies released in one year. That’s just a staggering amount of stuff, all in the first year of a brand new game’s life too. We did lose two armies in the form of the Tomb Kings and the Brettonians, but even though their model support is gone, GW is still supporting them in game. It sucks that you can’t buy the models anymore, but for existing players, or players particularly determined to scour eBay, it’s awesome that they still support them with rules and even points. AoS is truly all about inclusion and allowing everyone to play.

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The Stormcast, Fyreslayers, and Ironjawz are the brand new army releases, though you could argue that Fyreslayers are just reimagined Dwarf Slayers. The Stormcast though are brand new, nothing like them before. Some people dislike them, but I personally really like them, not just their look either. Their background is really interesting, and what may seem a little shallow at first glance is actually pretty deep, especially once you start reading the novels. The idea of immortal warriors who lose a piece of themselves each time they die and are reborn is pretty unique with tons of room for further exploration going forward. There is still so much we can learn about them. Speaking of the novels,

Black Library has done a great job of adding more depth to the setting and further fleshing it out. There are hits and misses, just like with any novel series, but for the most part I have enjoyed them a lot.

Games Workshop hasn’t just had great releases, but have pretty fundamentally changed the way they interact with their fan base. We have seen their triumphant return to social media with a Facebook page for each of their game systems including AoS and a great community team behind them. They reached out to pillars of the tournament scene with Dan, Wayne, Ben, and Russ and invited them all in to contribute to the General’s Handbook, which is something I never thought I would have seen. Lately Warhammer TV has really kicked it into gear too with their biggest accomplishment being the live streaming from the Warlords Matched Play event. This was great to watch and the commentary from Eddie and Rob was thoroughly entertaining and I definitely look forward to more event coverage like that. They have also been churning out FAQs super fast, and having the community supply all of the questions on Facebook for them. They have honestly done so much that it’s hard for me to even remember all of it and I’m sure I have left something out.

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I think everyone would agree that the crowning jewel for AoS this year is the General’s Handbook, a $25 addition to the game that provides you the rules for Open Play, Narrative Play, and Matched Play complete with points for everything, including discontinued model ranges! With this they won back a lot of people who left AoS a year ago and piqued the interest of people who were skeptical but never played. Since it’s release I would say that the AoS community has started to grow even faster. This summer was pretty hectic with the summer campaign which will directly influence the story line going forward, and a boat load of releases in the month of July alone. I would have to say my favorite release was the Bonesplitterz Battletome, a reimagining of the Savage Orruks within the Mortal Realms which creates a brand new and extremely engaging backstory for them. I almost forgot about Warhammer Quest: The Silver Tower, another fantastic addition to the AoS universe. This also helped to pull a lot of people into the game, acting as a sort of gateway.

Then there is the involvement from the community. There have been a ton of great podcasts popping up since AoS came out like The Mortal Realms, Bravery One, Scrubby and Wells, Age of Sigbrah, and Tales of Sigmar just to name a few. In fact I will be on Tales of Sigmar in their next episode where I will go into a bit more detail on a few of these points I have been talking about. I also talk a lot about the Tomb Kings and the Endless Deserts, so be sure to download it and listen! There have of course been the staples such as Garagehammer, FaceHammer, The Black Sun, and Heelanhammer who continue to pump out great content, and the triumphant return of Ben Curry to Bad Dice and every form of social media known to man. You can now read, watch, and listen to Bad Dice all at once if you want. There has also been a bunch of great new websites, fan projects (like my Endless Deserts and Alexander Nygard’s End Times Battletome) and blogging. Speaking of Ben Curry again, he has started a new AoS centric forum called The Grand Alliance Community and it really is fantastic. Besides being a forum just for AoS, it’s also super modern and very user friendly. Can someone give Ben a trophy for being a champion of the community already? There is also The Stronghold, an AoS forum for destruction players. I’m sure I’m missing some great ones in this list, so please let me know in the comments.

As we move into year two of AoS I only expect bigger and better things. It’s hard to predict what’s to come, but I’m sure we’ll most likely see some of the new Aelves, perhaps from Ulgu. I’m personally really interested to see how they keep reimagining existing factions and putting a new spin on them. Moonclan Grots are an obvious favorite, but I’m also interested to see what they do with Free Peoples, Gutbusters, Deathrattle, and a bunch more of them. We also have the continuing campaign book storyline to look forward to with the results from the Summer of War campaign integrated into it.

AoS Campaign Map Week 2 ending

I think we are in a hobby golden age, both on the gaming side of things and the painting/building side with AoS. Reports talk about how sales of AoS have already surpassed 8th edition sales and I don’t think it will be slowing any time soon. It may have started off a bit shaky, but Age of Sigmar is definitely on solid ground now. GW has heard all of our feedback and adapted the game to fit what their customer base is asking for, which is pretty astounding when you think about it. The community is as vibrant and active as I have ever seen it and the tournament scene is really starting to boom again. To call the first year of Age of Sigmar as success is a bit of an understatement I think. Though it had its detractors I think it has overcome them. Many of the people who were vocally angry about AoS have either come back into the fold or are happy enough to play their own game system without bashing on another one. Age of Sigmar is here to stay and I think the future is bright. I’m looking forward to 30 years or more of AoS just like we had 30 years of Warhammer Fantasy Battles. When I’m 59 and looking back on this game that I love it will be awesome to see how far it will have come during that time.

What are your thoughts on the first year of AoS and what the future may hold? Let me know in the comments below.

Until next time,

Tyler M.

Tyler is a life long painter and hobbyist and took home his first Golden Demon award at the 2012 Chicago Games Day with a follow up at the 2013 North American Games Day. More of his work can be found at his blog, Mengel Miniatures.

  • Ghosy01 .

    i disagree that we are in the hobby golden age , age of sigmar was saved by a 25 dollar book , plain and simple now the game is actually enjoyable i cant say the same for the background which most people still dislike, i feel like gw should concentrate on rules and models for this one their books are just not that interesting age if sigmar still has a long way to go to become established

    • Bulvi Nightbane

      I respect your opinion, but please do not make assumptions for “most people” when there are a great many who would disagree with you. My gaming group includes 46 people, only 4 of whom do not play Age of Sigmar (and 2 of those just because they spend all their money on 40k). None of us hate or dislike the fluff. Some like it more than others sure (I love it so far personally), but we are excited to see it expand and grow. Remember that it took decades for Warhammer Fantasy fluff to develop to where it was. As for the game, we had no issues with it at start, and we certainly don’t feel like the General’s Handbook “saved” the game (we do love the multiplayer rules though). When we learned that points were coming out, we started recording our battles and armies to see how accurate we had been. When the book dropped we discovered that our most unbalanced battle had only been a difference of 200pts and the underdog had won. We also discovered that the points are far from infallible as we played several games with them where a player beat an opponent who had several thousand more. My group also doesn’t feel like Age of Sigmar is a skirmish game either, in our experience the bigger the game the better. But those are just our opinions. We would not presume to speak for others beyond ourselves and I would appreciate it if you would not either. Thank you.

      • Hawt Dawg

        Bulvi for BoLS CEO!

        • Bulvi Nightbane

          Lol, thanks.

          • Hawt Dawg

            You have an old beef?

          • Bulvi Nightbane

            Not that I am aware of.

          • Hawt Dawg

            They fear your ascendancy…

      • vlad78

        I’m one of the many people who still feel the background is the worse thing GW has ever produced which is enough to condemn that game in my eyes. ;p
        And I hate this recycled He-Man aesthetic and dropping ranks and files in a fantasy game which wants to be more than just a small skirmish game is just heresy or it is like abandoning any pretense to simulate anything related to a wargame (even a fantasy one, historically people had reasons to gather together in units).

        And no it didn’t take decades to take WFB where it was. The main stories were fleshed out a few years after they created the game, end of the 80s, the old world was almost complete, in the 90s they just added a few things here and there and never changed anything worth reading afterward.

        • Muninwing

          i side with you. it’s really just so incomplete… and not in the “mysterious intentional” way that can be very effective.

          and so much of the GW fluff is sooooo over the top that it belongs in a mountain dew commercial. not subtle. not evocative. just tell you how you should feel about how awesome it is, instead of hiring a qualified writer to show you…

          i’ll admit that i will have to give the game another try. early on it was such a stupid mess that any other company would have been in danger of bankruptcy over a mistake that big. but they saved it, sources claim. i’m not a big fan of skirmish-style games (i’d rather the old units, kinda why i started WHF in the first place), but i’d try it anyway if the fluff wasn’t still discouraging me.

          really that just means they haven’t had their time yet — they have not discovered the writer who will make it sing. and the BL novelists aren’t going to do that with QC on their writing being so hit or miss.

    • Cergorach

      A lot of people had quite a lot of fun without the pointsmanual… Just thank GW on your knees that they thought that catering to the purely pointscost minded…

      • Karru

        You mean the pick-up gamers? I’ve had this argument before, but here is the summed up version. When it comes to the game being played, points give you a nice “standard” which to use and follow. It is 1000x easier to just roll up to a club and say “Hey, who wants to play a 2000pts game of AoS?” than just go “Who wants to play a game of AoS?” and then spend the next 10-60 minutes going trough the scenario or what is allowed and what is not allowed and find out if the opponent wants to play the game or abuse it.

        • euansmith

          I agree that points help pick-up gamers, just like they help tournament gamers and narrative gamers. If the points are actually balanced is a huge bonus.

          • Muninwing

            i’d love to see 40k get a balanced points system. i don’t think it would be too hard either… though i’m betting that a lot of the top-tier army players would be furious with the changes that would be necessary.

            if anything would help GW take the #1 slot back form Asmodee/FFG, it would be making 40k balanced, and the resulting increase in quality of the game. but that’s just my opinion.

          • euansmith

            No, that’s my opinion! What are you dong with my opinion?! Guards! Guards!

      • Muninwing

        “a lot of people had fun” with playing with lawn darts too, up until they got pierced from above.

        some great pickup games could be had without a balancing metric. but one cheez player could completely suck the fun out of the experience pretty easily.

        a local store owner explained to me why he refused to promote the game. he had thought the lack of any balancing was — as i do — a sign of an unfinished product, not a feature or a new innovation. so he fought a battle vs an O&G player. that guy brought over 100 goblins of various sorts, black orcs, a whole range of stuff. He, on the other hand, brought Nagash and two zombie dragons (with riders that had magic, since they were free upgrades). the game was over by the end of turn 2 — based on their victory conditions, it was functionally impossible for the O&G player to win before the Undead player had taken their second turn.

        you don’t need to use every system all the time. but having one in an arena that is traditionally about some form of head-to-head struggle and that gives both players a shot at achieving their goals? kinda a huge oversight.

        • Cergorach

          Disruptive players need to change or need to exit by the door. That’s not an issue with rules but of mentality and most people that I have spoken with that did have fun with it are folks that don’t sufferer the cheezer or the rules lawyer anymore.

          • Muninwing

            yes. disruptive players are by definition disrespectful, and not to be tolerated.

            but they are used a strawman, so legitimate issues can be ignored…

    • wibbling

      You didn’t need points. Points do not make a game equal. You speak for yourself over the background.

      • Gridloc

        If points are done right, they do exactly that… make the game equal.. kinda of the point of points.

        • ZeeLobby

          Whatever path GW takes, wibbling will be right behind them. If it had points, it would have been the “best points system ever invented”.

          • Muninwing

            and FFG is gonna pay for the revisions…

      • Muninwing

        points are a guide. they aren’t necessary for two people to have fun, or for two experienced players to work something out.

        but they do tone down cheez. and they give a functional idea of vague equality that can help the game be more playable.

        if you’re just looking to have fun, then what do you care? adjust every rule as you see fit, or throw them out. but if you are looking to compete with someone, to have fun challenging your tactical mind, then some sense of actual achievability needs to be implicit or explicit on both sides of the field.

        without it where it needs to be, the experience is unsatisfying.

  • Drew

    I can’t disagree enough with you about the absence of points leading to a WAAC exodus and a dominance by narrative/fluffy players. In my area, the lack of points meant that all the “biologically 30-40 but mind of a prepubescent anklebiter” players shanghaied the game with Nagash and double mortarch, Archaon and the Glottkin superfriends, or three High Elf dragons and a dread saurian builds (an infinite number of such not fun at all to play against lists exist)- or even LESS fluffy ones- that drove US away.

    It was only the release of the General’s Handbook that saved the game for us and brought us back around to what is fundamentally a very good game (even if it’s not Warhammer, which we still miss).

    • Karru

      Indeed, people like to say that the lack of points was an extremely good thing and that it caused many WAAC players to leave. This was definitely not the case it was the exact opposite. GW managed to make the first Pay-to-Win Miniatures Game in existence with AoS. The one that had more models, especially in the case of an Undead player, won. It didn’t matter if there were the Sudden Death rules, they were useless when the opponent just swarmed you. General’s Handbook fixed this.

      • Hawt Dawg

        The general consensus around the web disagree with both of you.

        • Charon

          The general consensus in your personal echo chamber disagrees with them”

          Fixed it for you.

          • Hawt Dawg

            Stop playing a hero, especially against a person don’t even play AoS.

            Try again. Hard. And with effort.

          • euansmith

            The Path of Glory is like a finger pointed at the Moon.

          • Lord Solar Mac

            Your ability to bring humor when everyone is bashing everyone, is awesome! Thanks for keeping it light bro! Cheers

          • Grasshopper

            I’m quite new around here but one of the first things I noticed in the comment sections of Bols is the general good attitude by Mr. euansmith here. Thanks for being a decent person. The internet needs this.

          • Matthew Pomeroy

            HE is a madman!! he will kill us all!! 😀

          • Your name has me imagining Solar Macarius played by Max from Its Always Sunny in Philadelphia and now that’s all I can think about

          • ZeeLobby

            Here here!

          • Hawt Dawg

            I hate Jackie Chan!

          • Horus84cmd

            Racist – “they” don’t all look alike you know. This is jackie chan, they look nothing alike

            http://jeremymangerchine.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/mr-miyagi-resized-600.png

          • Hawt Dawg

            Lulz!

          • euansmith
          • wibbling

            Err, isn’t that Pat Morita?

            And yes, i get it.

          • Horus84cmd

            Yeah the one and only master to the Karate Kid – not that imposter from the awful remake with Fresh Prince Jr

          • Muninwing

            does it really count if they tell you how you’re supposed to feel instead of creating writing that causes you to feel that way?

            lazy writing is OTT and x-treme.

          • Hawt Dawg

            And you write that with a broken shift key?

            I need a new pair of underwear because clearly, you are the master.

          • Muninwing

            lame.

            now it’s grammar-nazi time, for when you have nothing left of value to say?

          • Hawt Dawg

            Clearly if you have to ask you ain’t the master.

            You look like a lazy young man with too much basement time when you can’t be bothered to press down a simple shift key.

            At ease soldier!

          • wibbling

            He’s right. It’s ok to disgree with it. Doing so does not diminish you ut it doesn’t change the facts.

          • Hawt Dawg

            Good to see the whole family gathered here.

            Welcome Charon’s big brother

          • Hawt Dawg

            Facts… I read your post while listening to Cry me a river. That song makes more sense now.

        • Karru

          The system made many leave, but it also made those who were bitter about the change want to ruin the fun for everyone so they broke the system. Sure these weren’t exactly the most common form of players, but they still existed and didn’t go extinct.

          • Hawt Dawg

            That I can agree with.

          • Yep pretty much.

          • crcovar

            They were certainly easier to spot when you removed the curtain of “points” they were hiding behind that’s for sure.

          • Muninwing

            how did they “break the system” is what i want to know…

            especially since there wasn’t much system to break?

            hmm… maybe the streamlined rules weren’t good at adapting, as happens when you simplify situations that were more complicated for a reason?

        • Muninwing

          the general consensus around the louder parts of the web include chemtrails and vaccines causing cancer, so….

          • Hawt Dawg

            Let. It. Go.

            AoS is here to stay.

          • euansmith

            Do you wanna build a Realm Gate?
            It doesn’t have to be a Realm Gate…

          • Hawt Dawg

            True, but these gates all leads to Khorne and his insatiable hatred.

          • Muninwing

            … so any opinion less than blind acceptance is invalid?

            yes. the real reason why so many older WHF players were so angry. those who gravitated did so with such gusto and such condescension that those who felt like their opinions not being taken into account got more vocal to make up for being ignored.

          • Hawt Dawg

            No, but we read you guys the first time. And were? Don’t you mean are? I know you hate it. Tens of thousands of similar posts has made it perfectly clear. It’s almost like you took the mantra “and none can stand against them” to pave the way.

            And I don’t even play AoS.

          • Muninwing

            oh no, the opinion police are coming to enforce the status quo… and nobody has any valid complaints for something they support…

            i don’t hate it. i’m disappointed, i think that they’ve done wonders slogging through an avoidably terrible debut. they’ve even fixed some of the bigger issues, and more importantly they’ve been willing to try to fix them.

            i don’t want 40k to go the same way, if GW was encouraged by the changes.

            i have actually lost respect for the implications of their release — mostly that they just believed their squandered good (that took years to build) and the quality of the models would triumph.

            i think that the fluff still has far to go, and violates some basic rules of good writing in many cases.

            i think that it’s wrong for people to reactionarily hate on the game. but it’s just as wrong to offer blind undying support and refuse to acknowledge the gaping flaws in the system.

            ultimately, i think that everything else is irrelevant if you like the new form. it then works for you. maybe you don’t like complexity (though the warscroll model isn’t actually less complex, it’s just organized differently… and might actually be more complex, given the number of individual scrolls needed). maybe you cannot be bothered to learn a more advanced or complicated system. maybe you like skirmish sized games.

            i completely understand why force-sized game fans are not into squad-sized games. and vice versa. diversity in the market gives everyone a niche… but GW shifted from owning their niche to competing for someone else’s niche, all while burning customers. that’s a terrible business form regardless of what either you or i think of the system.

          • Hawt Dawg

            Disappointed like in: I need to tell you about my disappointment in every GW thread I see…

            Or

            Disappointed like in: Whining about GW enpowers me and my fellow haters!

            Either way, I have seen you in various incarnations since GW became trademarked.

      • ZeeLobby

        Agreed. It was really just a poor decision.

        • wibbling

          You complain bitterly, spitefully about anything Workshop does yet you still buy their products. Why are you so angry and full of bile? If you don’t buy their kit, why comment on every single article?

          It’s the age of crowd funding. If you think you could do better, then do so. Publish the rules and prototypes and get funding.

          Except… you just whine.

          • Karru

            Wait. So ZeeLobby comments that GW removing Fantasy as a game and replacing it with AoS (which is not a bad game itself, but it is not Fantasy) and saying it was a poor decision to release only 4 pages of rules that has more holes in it than a man getting removed from the pole after a firing squad and that is what makes him bitter and spiteful?

            You do realise that criticising GW is something that is allowed and you can even say encouraged so they can improve the experience for everyone?

            I have been a customer for GW for over 7 years now and no other company or game has managed to top that yet. It seems that the major difference between you and me regarding our personalities as customer is that to you GW is absolutely perfect and that there is nothing they can do wrong. Got it.

          • ZeeLobby

            wibbling just loves me.

          • bobrunnicles

            “more holes in it than a man getting removed from the pole after a firing squad”
            Okay I’m using that other places than just this one – ROFLMAO!

          • ZeeLobby

            Oh I do enjoy your spiteful responses!

          • Muninwing

            i will agree that the two are not the same.

            i have wondered if they would have gotten such verbally violent armchair warriors (and that one guy who posted his army being lit on fire in youtube) if they had been clear.

            “WHF isn’t selling. we are retiring it. we are starting a new game in its place” — it would have been an honest statement, simple, and clear-cut. then they could have moved forward.

            instead, we got the “9th ed is coming!” rumors for months, then the “9th ed AND a new skirmish game!” rumors… and all the people who had stopped playing 8th for its various failures (and the various failures it had continued from 7th) suddenly perked up and started hoping that they would have an opportunity to get back into the game.

            some of them did. they found AoS to be a fitting substitute. but many did not.

            had they been clear, it would not have been such a shock.

          • euansmith

            Here, here! Clear communication would have maybe eased the transition. However, that was back in the Age of Strife, when the Antipope Kirbirius defiled the Golden Throne.

          • Hawt Dawg

            Horus offspring indeed!

          • ZeeLobby

            I can not agree with this more. GW’s lack of transparency hurts them more than anything else. I mean they don’t have to put out release schedules months in advance, but I, and many in our group, figured that 9th edition would be a fix to 8th edition. When I heard round bases and skirmishing, I had assumed that it would be a new play-type for the game at least, and at most, might be the standard play-type for the new but not-all-too-different setting.

            What we got was a completely different game, with different rules, and different fluff, with JUST enough tie-ins to WHFB to ping every heartstring of those who had the game ripped out from under them…

            I honestly would have preferred a brand new IP having absolutely nothing to do with the Fantasy world we grew up with. It’s like they added it to convince people over, but it really just showed the glaring differences between the two.

          • Hawt Dawg

            Agreed! Leave that part to me.

      • wibbling

        No, it didnt. There was a vocal, irrelevant minority who do everything they can to treat the game as a giant ego boost. To that, they set about ignoring the other player completely and set about ‘winning’, regardless.

        To say they are better (ego again) they rely upon points as a measure of ‘balance’ while doing everything possible to abuse that system to advantage.

        Without points, they have to talk to the other player, to acknowledge the needs and thoughts of the other. To balance they must accept someone else is playing. ‘Competitive’ players don’t seem interested in doing that. Increasingl, when such people on here say ‘balanced’ and ‘competetive’ or ‘fair’ all they want is an unfair advantage where they can win. Because that’s all that matters to them.

        • Karru

          It seems that you have way more time than you know that to do with it. You see, points aren’t exactly meant to be something that you made them out to be. They are something called a “standard”. I’m sure you have heard of this. It is not the case of “having to talk to people” or “needing to acknowledge them”. It’s the case of I’d like to play a quick game of AoS, but I don’t have the time to go trough an entire scenario, what is acceptable and the narrative for it. In my club, I could already tell that AoS as it was released would’ve never worked. We are far too busy with life and have only a 2-4 hours max to play the game once a week. In time we could’ve gotten a nice standard for us that wouldn’t required for us to spend possibly hours to go over things, but how about if a new player or a visiting player comes in? We still only have 2-4 hours to play and now we need to explain everything to him and try to squeeze that game in.

          Points aren’t meant to make you feel superior, they are a standard that help people that have limited time and would rather spent that time painting and assembling stuff and then just roll some dice without having to go trough planning an entire books worth of rules, story and scenario for a game that lasts for an hour or two.

        • Muninwing

          you must have been picked on my an alpha nerd in middle school. because your assumptive accusations and angry rants here are completely blame-gaming.

          i’m a pretty non-competitive guy. when i play, i play to win… against myself. i try to get better. i have fun with playing the game, and i’m not going to rules-lawyer… i’ll even self-handicap to see if i can win a game at a disadvantage.

          no WAAC in my body.

          but a lack of points was stupid. it gave zero frame of reference, removed strategy, and caused confusion as to exactly how or what the game was supposed to be.

          • Hawt Dawg

            No WAAC in your body, or a shift key on your keyboard.

            Your life must be hell on earth.

          • Muninwing

            double lame. ad hominem AND grammar-nazi.

            let’s stick to the issues, unless this pathetic excuse for a comment is proof that you have nothing of worth to say…

          • Hawt Dawg

            Well since you fail to read anything you reply to, why bother?

            Destroy them son!

      • Muninwing

        i’m not WAAC at all. but no points in a new game was stupid.

        i like tactical games. i play because they are fun, but i also like to play with a little competition. i want a challenge. so if there’s no points, then i can’t frame my success or defeat in reasons past “i was outnumbered” or “they had a dragon” — there’s no functional information about my own play style.

  • Simon Chatterley

    I’m all for people loving their hobby but this reads like a North Korean review of the “Why we North Koreans are so Awesome Day*” festival.

    *I made that up because I can’t remember what the National Day is called but I think it’s basically the same as what I said.

    • Karru

      That’s what my problem was with most people that “praised” the game. They behaved just like those that “hated” the game. If you posted something negative, like about the Nagash Cheesing or something like that, you were nothing more than a WAAC player who should just burn their army and leave people to enjoy their game.

      Both sides of the spectrum were annoying to argue with. If you wanted to point out flaws in the 4 pages of rules, you were the “problem” and if you said anything positive, you were the “problem” again.

      • Dwarl

        I wish we could upvote comments multiple times, because this comment perfectly captures how I feel about the whole Age of Sigmar “debate”.

        • Karru

          Indeed, I mean I didn’t hate the game, I hated GW for removing Fantasy. The game itself is great even if it was flawed.

      • Muninwing

        my issue was that it got a lot of avoidable hate.

        i have this friend who just got married. someone asked why she would marry a gigantic man-child like her husband (who does little past smoke pot, run a slam poetry night, and try to write articles for online humor sites… which is less glamorous than it sounds when you’re in your mid-30s). her reply was “happiness is overrated.”

        now, half of us were expecting that he would leave her at the altar or some other jerktastic move. but (aside from some avoidable stupid problems), their wedding achieved its goal. meaning she got what she asked for, but not what anyone with actual self-respect or a sense of their own worth would actually want.

        this is kinda how i feel about the debut of AoS.

        it was incomplete. the accompanying fluff was laughably bad. the omission of points was either a poorly-done risk, the debut of a half-done system that had not been playtested, or an arrogant assumption that their longtime fans would eat any crap sandwich that had their logo on it.

        criticizing that? yeah. go nuts. they screwed up. AoS was the Cadillac Cimarron of miniatures games, the Pinto of toy soldiers. for that reason, and a couple others.

        if you invested in a rank-and-file game and they replaced it with a skirmish game? yeah, be mad at investing your money and time and now having something you cannot play and being able to play a kind of game you have no interest in. and since ebay got flooded, fat chance of unloading them on someone else.

        but the polarized “AoS cured my child’s cancer!’ and “GW hired (insert your pick of terrible people in the news… Fogle, Cosby, Turner, whatever other completely inappropriate childish joke at other people’s expense you can dream of) to write AoS” debate?

        completely useless.

        i shelved my models. i might try again once they fix it. losing 1st place to FFG/Asmodee might make them try to court me as a customer again, which would mean me as a player. but AoS just isn’t my thing. i don’t think badly of anyone who likes it. but i’d like my opinion heard, my buying power considered. because most business decisions are made to retain customers, not to alienate them like GW did.

    • taithays

      Is it because there is nothing negative in this review ?

      • Simon Chatterley

        Yes indeed. The game is still not perfect. We aren’t in the promised land yet.

        When I read this review all I could see in my head was the North Korean news lady telling me the Great Leader had just played a round of golf and scored a hole in one all 18 holes with a big cheesy grin on here face.

        As some of the other posters alude to, when it comes to AoS we are seemingly unable to give a fair structured review. It’s either “The awesomest thing the worlds ever seen” or “the ginger step child of Satan himself”.

        I’d quite like to read an impartial one year later review.

        • taithays

          What I read is just a review trying to see things on the bright side. I don’t mind as I know that all reviews are subjectives. And it is not a bad thing to have a review that tries to point at all the good things GW has done last year. And I don’t see where this review says that AoS is perfect. It is not because it doesn’t say it that it states it. I think your comparison with North Korea is a bit far fetched :). It is a game and an impartial review can only say that AoS is not for all players. For some people the General Handbook was a necessity, for me it wasn’t. So what would be an impartial review ? Saying that it was or that it wasn’t ?

          • To be fair, the author of this article rates every single AoS release with either 4/5 or 5/5. I don’t know about you, but it screams of an uncritical spirit to me.

          • taithays

            I am not saying that the author is impartial, I am saying that it is possible that someone really only thinks positive things about AoS and what GW has done these last twelve months :). But I don’t know the author so I can’t speak for him/her and he/she might, as you say, lack critical view.

          • Hawt Dawg

            Sounds like any given Warmachine article.

          • An_Enemy

            It’s not that he loves everything AoS it’s just that everything AoS is so good!

            /drools Kool aid

        • It’s possible to get an impartial review of AoS, but I’m not sure it’s possible to get one from a gamer (rather than some kind of professional writer who is practiced in writing reviews). We all bring subjective experiences and individual tastes to the table when we play a game, and the reason for the polarized reaction has a lot to do with the community as a whole, complex feelings about GW and what we look for out of games, etc.

          In the end, you get what you pay for, passionate people writing articles for free on platforms like BoLS just aren’t going to provide you with content that borders on journalism

          • Crevab

            I dunno, journalism’s made great strides in lowering itself to that level of content

          • Haha, touche

      • Hawt Dawg

        Review?

  • Hawt Dawg

    Great article and I suspect quite close to the truth. I would never play a game of R&F because the stamina isn’t there to either paint that many similar models, nor is the interest. While I am more interested in Konflikt 47, none of my Warmahordes players will test it, but I might get the other group of 40K players to jump on AoS. If there is a Dwarf supplement and some new models, as well as a Nurgle book of some kind, I know at least two who will be on board.

    I could easily pick a few forces myself in AoS if there is any local interest.

  • Its a sign of the times.

    When I got into warhammer in the 90s, painting a lot of rank and file was par for the course. A lot of rank and file is what drew me to the game. I want battles with armies.

    Probably about mid 2000s is when I noticed people griping about having to do that.

    People today would much rather have a handful of super hero models duking it out then having to paint a bunch of generic guys.

    Thats just how it is.

    My only real problem with AOS is the lack of balance in their “points”. There are a lot of holes in their current system. For once I’d like to see points actually balance the game. The fan comps did a better job (not perfect) of this. The SCGT comp that the current points are composed from were very flawed in terms of balance.

    • euansmith

      I’m liking the look of the new Khorne Bloodbath game; four minis to paint 😉

    • ZeeLobby

      Yeah. When I heard of Generals Handbook I just assumed it was a semi-bandaid. So it’s not that shocking when I found out it was. I also think there’s still a serious rank and file crew out there. I just don’t think it’s as large as GW wanted it to grow. There’s always been this comparison between 40K and fantasy. Instead of GW saying, OK, fantasy can be a smaller side game we offer, they decided that if it wasn’t selling as well as 40K, theyd need to blow it up. The thing is I don’t see AoS ever reaching the popularity of WFB, especially if 40K is brought down to the same mechanics.

      • Ragnar Black

        If 40k will be same mechanics it will be really a struggle.

        • ZeeLobby

          I mean we’ve already heard rumors of flat to hit, to wound rolls, to remove that “complicated” lookup table. I’m sure they’ll use AoS’s apparent “great sales” to justify doing the same to the currently lagging 40K.

    • Supposedly GW is planning to rebalance the game with a new general’s handbook every year (which is supposedly why their warscrolls don’t have points) so who knows, that may be the plan long term

      • Maybe but when they put out points etc that are as flawed as the ghb I don’t have much hope that the next generation of points will be any better.

  • Barabas Dantioch

    I’m just going to quote the recent year-end report from Kevin Rountree, the simple fact that AoS is outselling its previous incarnation seems to suggest that the community isn’t just enjoying the rules, they are actively buying models to build new armies for the game.

    “We started the financial year off with a huge product launch; Warhammer: Age of Sigmar, one of the biggest changes we’ve ever made to one of our core universes […] we finished the year with sales of Warhammer: Age of Sigmar at a higher rate than Warhammer has enjoyed for several years.”

    • Ragnar Black

      The question is, if that is because of the AoS or because of the possible end of the stuff – that models are selling. I am still buying the old things that I am interested in as from my perspective there is not fantasy miniature company with nice miniatures up to same scale. That can substitute the GW.

    • Theik

      This is a logical fallacy of sorts.

      Previously, we made next to no fantasy content, except for a book rerelease once every 4-5 months.

      Now we suddenly flood the market in new fantasy releases.

      Which one of these two scenarios is going to sell more? Hint, it’s not the one where people are worried about starting a new army because the army book hasn’t been updated in 7 years and there are persistent rumors that they are getting squatted soon, which was the case for -3- of the armies during the fantasy era.

    • Dog Welder

      As a retailer who carries GW’s products I can tell you this: Age of Sigmar is dead and buried at my store. All of my Fantasy players have moved on to X-Wing, Armada, Infinity, Shadows of Brimstone, and/or Imperial Assault. And now the new Warmachine/Hordes system is picking up. I could sell Fantasy previously, but AoS killed all of that. It’s gathering dust of my shelves right now, and I’ve told GW that I’m not bringing any more new releases in because it’s just throwing good money after bad. If people want the new stuff, I’m more than happy to order it for them, but I haven’t had any takers.

      • Muninwing

        you’re not alone. three stores within a half-hour of my house all report the same thing.

        one gutted their old WHF section and put in a wall for graphic novels.

        another has a 6th ed WHF league that started up in response.

        i do hear that it’s hit-or-miss depending on what the players did at release. but it also might not have the staying power… the store with the league actually tried to start an AoS league at first, but people dropped like flies after about a month, having tired of the game that fast.

  • Karru

    Without the General’s Handbook, the game was a disaster. It was bland and was a Pay-to-Win Game. With the Grand Alliances and General’s Handbook the game is getting a lot better, even though the fluff is still basically Magic: The Gathering without the interesting bits. My biggest problem right now with AoS is the insane focus on non-human factions. I really don’t count the Sigmarines as humans, since they are basically demi-gods. There is also the problem with insane amounts of details for even the most basic units which causes problems when the game is played with 10-20 model units and there isn’t usually just 1-3 of those running around.

    I’m going to give the game a go around December when I start another project in the form of Nurgle Mortals. I will try it out, but as far as the rules go, I can already tell it’s going to be one of those game that will be a nice game, but won’t win the “top” spot on my favourite list.

    • ZeeLobby

      That’s my issue with the fluff summed up perfectly.

      • Muninwing

        they wanted to go for a dynamic new innovative setting… so they copied from a few dynamic new innovative settings and added their old names into it to make it seem even better.

        it’s just as much M:tG (which needs zero fluff to play) as it is Planescape.

        and while i’ll admit that it could have been really interesting with better fluff writers, it just doesn’t have anything innovative to distinguish itself from its sources. it’s so woefully incomplete that a new reader has no ability to glimpse the greater vision… because there isn’t one….

    • In fairness to the AoS fans, if you were gaming with people you know and they got a feel for what was and wasn’t balanced it wasn’t really “pay to win” so much as it was structureless, allowing people the freedom to do what they want with it. People who’s reaction to that freedom was to abuse it could be dealt with socially, simply don’t play them, and the problem resolves itself pretty quickly. That definitely seemed to be how the AoS community developed in my area, and the result was largely the “that guy” players switching to infinity and malifaux and other systems like guild ball

      • Muninwing

        if your options are limited, or if your area is super competitive, it’s an easily-abused system that invited problems.

        the goal is to play and have fun, but that means trying to make sure that your opponent has fun too. removing rules and safeguards that are created as oversight to try to guard that ability doesn’t actually offer any real freedom you didn’t already have — it just made it harder to abuse.

        then again, this is the main argument against Libertarianism too…

        • Absolutely, but that’s not the experience of AoS fans, that’s why they’re so flabbergasted by people hating the game

  • Anti-Gravity

    It’s still WHFB for me! AoS has been pretty sweet model-wise, but the lore is still pre-AoS in my tiny brain, because I think the old setting was vastly superior.

    The rules are always changing for every game system, so my butt isn’t particularly hurt about that aspect of the game. 😀

    I love you all, be safe boyos!

    • I still can’t wrap my brain around the AoS world as an actual setting for stories about people rather than backdrops in a god of war type game, and that’s mostly on GW for how they’re presented things. There needs to be more AoS literature about the daily experience of people and mortals living in the new realms, their culture, how they farm and blacksmith and all the rest in worlds that have lakes of fire and forests of flesh eating trees and geography utterly unbound by physics

      If anyone is aware of any ground level/blood and mud type stories in AoS I’d love to hear about them as I want to give the setting more of a shot than I have (my fledgling AoS project is 100% fluff based in the old world)

      • Tyler Mengel

        Warbeast and Bladestrom are both really good AoS novels. They both have normal tribes of humans in them too that gives them a bit more context of what people are fighting for. Warbeast has quite a few callbacks to the Old World as well.

        • *shrug* I’m not very invested either way but it’s more of a commitment to a notion of balance than GW has ever had with 40K

        • Thanks, I’ll check them out. Admittedly the tribe thing strikes me as not super up my alley, I never really liked the barbarian elements in WHFB, I was more into the city underbelly, corruption and chaos in human society, mordheim, and the vampire counts medieval castle etc sort of setting.

      • Muninwing

        yes.

        because people get really into their hobbies. and the kinds of people who get into wargaming are going to be intellectually curious.

        how do you farm in a plane of existence?

        or…

        what were the nations that existed before the floodgates opened and let all these random refugees from the conquered planes in?

        or

        what did the appearance of the Stormcast do to the city-level (or city-state level) politics of various regions? were they seen as saviors, or interlopers, or a hostile occupying force? did the people react differently than the nobility (who had more to lose)?

        without even remotely defining so much of their setting, such questions are pointless and unanswerable. not because there are problems with the questions, but because the setting cannot stand on its own merit.

        • Exactly, I’m more interested in politics and intrigue and human experiences than flashy clashes of titans. Judging by the success of Game of Thrones this isn’t an isolated interest. Then again, maybe most people are watching for the sporadic nudity

  • silashand

    This reads like a paid advertisement. Fair enough if you like it (and apparently the GC fixed a lot of things), but lay off the Kool Aid a bit…

    • ZeeLobby

      BoLS has been paid advertising for a while now. It’s how we get “upcoming releases”, “recently released” and “released this past week” for every GW release. All of which read like the worst era of WD sales catalogs.

    • Just like all the “reviews” of AoS content by the same author do. I’m glad he’s enthusiastic and doubt he’s getting paid for the positive vibes, but it smells of a bias regardless.

      • Every BoLS article is horrendously biased, we’re talking about fans writing content for free about their subjective hobby

      • Tyler Mengel

        Thanks, it always amuses me that people think Warhammer bloggers get paid. No, I work 45+ hours a week, with around 10 hours of commuting, and still find the time to post 3 articles a week to my own website and all the time needed to read everything and keep up to date on what’s going on. It’s all out of passion for the hobby and the game. Why else would I be doing this for free on top of my actual job?

      • RS TROUT

        BOLS has a hard on for anything geedubs puts out and even though the release is horrible, it will be reported as wonderful and a 4/5.

  • zemlod

    I miss the Old World with its fluff and lore. Admittedly, I come from the Fantasy Roleplaying Game, not the tabletop, but it’s still one of my favourite settings (besides the old World of Darkness and Planescape…). So, I actually don’t care if AoS is decent rules wise or not (which it may well be), but I still want “my” Old World back.

    I find it so much more relatable to worry about the fate of Klaus Wurstman, third pikeman from the left in the town militia of Bogenhafen than about an Eternal Starburst Stormslinger or a Bloodchoking Ragewrath or Goregargling Tripestrangler…

    • usGrant7977

      Old School WoD forever!

    • Raven Jax

      Completely agree with this. I’m someone who loves fluff and story telling. But GW destroyed a universe that was along the lines of GOT or LOTR.

      I’m a writer, and I understand how hard writing can be. I understand how much work the GW people must put into the fluff sometimes for AoS, and I try not to criticize. But: Much of the current AoS fluff reads like it was written by a hyperactive five-year-old. “And then he took a really big hammer, and then there was a really big monster, and then they went pow, pow, pow, and the monster died and Mr. McAwesome walked away!”

      • Hawt Dawg

        Sounds like Warmachine right there.

      • Muninwing

        yes.

        i legitimately think that releasing AoS in its original half-done form was a panic-move, not a business strategy.

    • Ragnar Black

      And with the removal of the license from FFG, lets give an good bay to the possibility to have at least some boardgame in the Old World.

    • Muninwing

      i’m actually more interested in having enough of a setting to be able to hear the story of the Starburst Stormslinger Guardian Ultra…

      including how he started out as Lucky Klaus, third pikeman from the right for the Nuln Free Corps, who was able to push on past a grievous wound in the battle of Eben’s Field while repelling the Rot-Hoof Throng of Beastmen that had been terrorizing the region.

      and knowing that his unit was the one leant out to the Middenheim Regulars when the Dwarven Holds of the Wester-range called on an ancient contract of mutual protection after they broke into a massive underground crypt and thousands of gibbering horrors attempted to overrun their home.

      and understanding that he probably would never get on a boat and sail to Lustria, but it was stories of the Lustrian jungles that caused him to join up with the Free Corps originally, with the hope to travel.

      and remembering that the reason he was able to be reforged into a divine war machine was because of that time he was older, and called into service once again as the hordes of goblins burned the farms around Nuln to the ground… and he and similar aged veterans were tasked with guarding the supply-lines, but were ambushed by trolls… and Klaus bravely fought a rear-action distraction so that his compatriots were able to escape and warn the Elector-Count of the closing jaws of the trap, which foiled their stratagem and allowed for the war to continue until the green tide had spent itself beating against the walls of fair Nuln…

      i find the idea of including the Stormcast (minus the silly names) actually rather interesting. i did think it more interesting the first few times i saw it, i’ll admit… but it’s another example of bad execution of what should have been a great idea.

  • Painjunky

    AoS not only killed off fantasy in my area it also led to people abandoning all GW games.

    40k still hasn’t recovered locally. People are waiting to see what happens with 8th ed I think while playing other games.

    I see this trend is not exclusive to my area by the 27% drop in profits of mini sales last financial year.

    • Bulvi Nightbane

      I feel like your area over reacted a little bit. Just a thought.

      • Crevab

        And no one in your 40-or-so group had a single gripe when GW killed the old world and replaced it with a different style of fantasy and play?

      • Dog Welder

        The same thing happened in my area. Fantasy/Aos died, and 40k has taken a huge hit at my store. The players largely moved on to FFG’s games, Infinity and Shadows of Brimstone.

      • Muninwing

        yes and no…

        if the disaster was as bad as some people made it out to be…

        then rabble rousers (coughcoughrobbaer) write articles about how the exact changes are inevitable to 40k…

        why would you want to invest any more?

    • Theik

      Same here, I pretty much stopped caring about 40k altogether because I played 40k as “something to do inbetween fantasy releases”.

      Fantasy is dead, so 40k I barely touch either.

  • Shinnentai

    Weirdly it was AoS that finally got me playing 8th Ed WFB. I’d always intended to get back into fantasy but never got round to it until I got worried about the lines getting discontinued. Either that or I’m just a contrarian ^^.

  • durendin

    The game might be an enjoyable small scale skirmish with wonky rules but the background material is firmly in the realm of (IP friendly) Clown Shoes.

    GW can sigh relief that no-one will bother (or sink low enough) to infringe it.

    • euansmith

      Give it 30 years, and AoS might end up as convoluted and baroque as 40k.

      • usGrant7977

        Bwahahahaha….aha, ha ha ah-hahahaha BWAHAHAHAHA…..ah man, you should writes for The Daily Show.

      • durendin

        They’ve done their wet-dream of adding Space Marines to Fantasy so technically AoS is 40K 2.0 already!

    • Bulvi Nightbane

      I feel like part of the problem is the assumption that it is a skirmish game. AOS is not. It is a game for any scale. My own feeling from my now significant experience with it is that AoS gets exponentially better the larger the game is. More realistic and intricate tactics are possible, even the most unimaginative players won’t end up with just a single brawl in the middle like some complain about. Also, the big scary powerful units like Nagash and Archaon are not nearly as OP in large games.

  • John Robert Hurley

    Former WHFB player. Tried to give AoS a go, but moved on to other stuff. Mass exodus of players who gave up on GW didn’t leave fluffy players behind — left nobody behind. None of my local game stores carry or support AoS. My group largely started playing X-Wing and play 9th Age rules for their WHFB models.

  • Discoqing

    GW is a great model making company.

  • Raven Jax

    There have definitely been some substantial improvements to AoS over the past year, no denying that.

    This is only my experience in a single store, so take it with a grain of salt, but:

    My local GW store has two tables. Before the summer campaign they always both had 40K games. During the summer campaign, you would constantly find one game of AoS going, with the other table being 40K. Now that the campaign is over, both tables have reverted to being 40K.

    AoS is a fun game, but the questions is why is it different? What does it offer me? Superb fantasy models? Definitely. Is the fantasy story good? Not really when compared to Magic: The Gathering. Are the rules simple, fun and easy to learn? Maybe, but are they simpler than X-Wing?

    New players seem to be choosing 40K or X-Wing. Enfranchised players don’t seem to quite like AoS enough to chose it over 40K. AoS is cool, but my time and money are finite and I just haven’t seen enough to invest more of each in AoS over 40K.

  • Crevab

    It takes all kinds I guess, but I just can’t reconcile the author’s relentless positivity with “army’s model line no longer exists”

    Not even a tad disappointed?

    • Tyler Mengel

      Of course I’m a bit disappointed. Personally though, I have a pretty complete Tomb Kings collection, and it gives TK players unlimited freedom with creativity since there is no official GW storyline for them to stick to anymore. Plus, other companies are stepping up to the plate to make Tomb Kingesque models for new players.

      For an example of what can be done with TK now just check out my own website, The Endless Deserts http://theendlessdeserts.blogspot.com/

  • Gridloc

    AoS is one of those love to hate and hate to love games. Long time fantasy player, was hard to see years of stories gone, and this replace it. I was definitely on the band wagon for not liking the game out of spite alone. I have a few friends who love the game, and when General handbook came out, i once again gave it a shot.

    Now its a bit better, but the game still lacks a bunch. It is simple and easy to pick up. To many this is fine, i come from a view of playing multiple other games, so maybe seeing what other companies have done to create a more fleshed out game has created a more bias view on rules. This is not to say that AoS should change, just that its difficult to really find joy when you see weaknesses exploited so easily and little response from game company to resolve. The models remain amazing and eager to see AoS 2.0 or revised GH (heard they may do a yearly update). For low key, fun games definitely still good to play, along with the usual amazing ability to customize your list due to such a open fluff.

    It has come a long way in a year, so have high hopes that it will continue to grow into a well developed game while still having the other versions to play for those who just want more outline rules and not the fine tuned ones tournament players crave.