Goatboy: Diving Into Age of Sigmar

aos-40k-combo

Goatboy here with my first article coming to you after LVO. Here’s why I’m taking a 40K break and diving into Age of Sigmar.

Most likely I didn’t win anything and spent my time watching buddies play the AOS tournament.  Right now I am planning on playing more AoS as right now 40k is feeling really a bit too much as of late.  There seems to be way to much bloat in how the armies are built and played that it becomes to daunting to seriously compete.  This leads me to finding another competitive game and thus into the weird bubble universes of Age of Sigmar.

What does this mean for my weekly articles?  Most likely they will still randomly roll around into the reals of competitive 40k, rules nonsense, hobby stuff, and then AoS things.  I am sure it will come back to 40k pretty heavily as we get into each new release but as a whole right now I just think 40k is too much of a dumpster fire to really take seriously for the competitive scene.  There is way too much rules bloat to fully keep up with.  I think the rules as a whole are pretty good – with just some changes needed to either remove a specific army type (Death stars) and some kind of tweaking/reworking of the psychic phase.  When you play for fun and not for skulls the game works pretty well.  Heck I had a great game a few days ago where I specifically tailored the list to just be an old school 40k smash fest.  Had a great time without the stress that competitive 40k can bring sometimes.

marine-stormcast-horz

Why the Switch?

Let’s get into the reasons why a lot of the bigger names in the competitive 40k scene are switching to AoS.  Everyday I talk to a few more that get interested in the game and as we grab more players I think will continue to see it get bigger.  It does help that GW is putting a ton of resources in making it a competitive experience.  The rule set helps this a lot as while it is simple – it lends itself to a crap ton of smart game play decisions that the “better” player will usually come out ahead.  That is what I think is a big missing piece of out 40k right now as a lot of these small decision interactions are no longer there.  We all know specific lists have insane strengths versus just about anything that a lot of times the army can just play itself.  Hopefully 8th brings some of this back but will have to wait and see.

The big reason I like AoS is that it is extremely easy to build an army in the game.  The alliance system – while initially annoying – really helps in creating lists.  You have a ton of freedom in building your armies – and while yes you want some allegiance break down depending on your list – most of the time you can just as easily pick the best things within your alliance.  So from a unit choice standpoint you have a ton of cool options.  From there the points are so easy to calculate.  There are no “upgrade” costs so a unit is just a simple basic X amount.  To increase the size of the unit you pay that initial cost again to add as many as you initially had.  So let’s say a 10 man unit costs 140 points – to get it bigger you just pay another 140 points to make it 280 pts.  It’s very simple and easy to quickly calculate your army points total.  Any hero upgrades and abilities are already figured into their costs so you just pick the one that matches your army.  The game also has some locked in rules like alway needing 3 Battleline units (Troops) so while you could take some Battalions you always need to have some basic troops to create an army.

The only additional point costs you get is when you take Battalions (formations).  This way they can easily balance powerful Battalions by generating a point cost for the extra rules they grant.  There isn’t anything “free” in the game.  Heck summoning pools are things you have to pay for in your initial army – so again there isn’t any free units.  So much of 40k is ruined by opponents getting 400-800 free points over your initial starting size of 1850.  This sideboard of summoning is also cool as your armies normally get a sideboard you can use to change out your army and bring in pieces to help deal with some of the rough stuff out there.

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Have I Mentioned the Rules?

From there the rules themselves are very simple and intuitive.  Your questions are easily answered in the 4 pages of rules and the 3 or so pages of clarifications for the General Hand book.  In face the General’s Handbook is also a great thing.  Here you have a yearly book that will update and live with the game.  This living rulebook is a great way to ensure you keep the game fresh, units from getting over powered, and your game able to not get stagnant.  Could you imagine if 40k had a yearly “competitive” season that would remove formations for the year or quickly bring things back as needed.  Or a yearly book that just put in all the extra rules and printed things so everyone has access to them?

Speaking about the rules – the removal of random army generation is one of the best things to come about.  Here you have locked in spells and sometimes an additional one based on the Allegiance you are in.  There is no more random rolling for your “warlord” trait/gift/etc – you get to pick what you want.  Your opponent knows exactly what you are throwing down on the table before you start the game.  I remember a game that I had a great chance of winning until my opponent rolled one warlord trait.  This also cuts down on set up time as well.

aos-GrandAlliancebooks

The biggest rules thing I like is the back and forth of the assault phase.  The controlling player who assault gets to pick the first unit that assaults.  Then your opponent gets to pick an engaged unit and so forth.  This back and forth is amazing as it lends itself to a lot of smart game play.  Do you pick this unit to attack first so you can damage your opponents rough unit – or do you wait and move past it in hopes to get the jump on another part of the assault.  Do you hit guys and remove them but then that allows our opponent to have his units within 3 move into range to hit your guys?  Do you not go for an all out assault? Bubble wraps are so important to the game as you try and wrangle, control, and limit your opponents damage output.

Speaking of damage – the game is so bloody that everyone has fun as so much is dying all over the table top.  We find the game is really decided on turn 3 and is so aggressive.  There are so many dead models all over the table that it is no wonder the Alliance of the Dead isn’t just making Zombies everywhere.  The mortal wound mechanic is also a great equalizer as it just ignores all saves.  You take a wound and only a few units have a special save to try and ignore it.  Most of the time those saves are not too crazy so throwing out a good deal of Mortal wounds is a great answer to tough as nails units.

nagash-horz

One way or another, everyone ends up working for me!

I also find the rolling for priority each and every turn is a great way to bring a sense of excitement to the game.  You always have to think on your feet as your plans can easily fall apart when your opponent rolls 2 turns in a row.  Lucky for use they nerfed Fate Weaver and removed his ability to control the player turn roll.  There isn’t a moment in this game where movement isn’t something that is extremely important.  The return of game where your every phase generates a ton of strategy is something refreshing to work with.  The movement is always a locked in trait and this helps make the game competitive.  The game is already full of dice so removing some of the “random” nature ensures the players actually have and can utilize choices.

Overall I am excited to play something different, hoping we see some things go into 40k, and ready to paint up some evil Tzeentch guys. That is the army I plan on having ready for AoS – the Tzeentch Allegiance. Tzaangors, Shamans, and Lords of Change are in my future.  I can only hope my spells kick a ton of butt, my bird dudes go all round the table, and my Great Bows of Fate turn all my enemies into Farmers.

~If you are a longtime 40K player, you should give Age of Sigmar a try.  Who knows, yo might like it…

  • Hendrik Booraem VI

    Thumbs down. An article that says “I, a competitive player, can no longer win at WH40K because competitive players are too much tools. Therefore Age of Sigmar is better.”

    Have some (goat) cheese to go with that whine, bucko.

    • Rainthezangoose

      smells like paid age of sigmarine propaganda to me.

      • Nyyppä

        Paid or not, the content holds true.

        • ZeeLobby

          Not really though. It’s not really what Goatboy said at all, lol. As a fellow competitive player I’ve felt the same way he does for almost a year now. You can definitely take army X with units A, B and C and win more, but that doesn’t mean you’re any better at the game, that list is just broken.

          • Hedwerx

            I’m on the Eldar Facebook page. The showcased armies were Wraithknight+Jetbikes+Wraithguard+Warp Spiders+Hornets and/or Warp Hunters…
            With some slight variation in the filler troops.
            Except one guy who actually had a fluffy multi-aspect army. (Though he still had a Wraithknight, a load of Jetbikes, and leant a little more towards Warp Spiders than the other Aspects)

          • ZeeLobby

            Yeah, and in 6th it was 6/7 wave serpents. I really want them to fix these kind of shenanigans. And I’m not a hater on spam. If you love one unit, take as many as you want, but it just should’t be game breaking… In some case this might require unit limitations, or additional cost for every unit above and beyond the base. Both of which of course would reduce sales, so I doubt we’ll ever see them, but who knows. Maybe?

          • Hedwerx

            I’ve got nothing against someone deciding they love one unit for whatever reason, but when every army at an event is a cookie cutter copy of every other army it gets pretty dull.

          • ZeeLobby

            yeah, I only went to 2 events this past year out of my normal 5/6. And the spread was just godawful, lol.

          • Shawn

            Agree Zee. However, if they don’t limit the spamming synergy, I’d elect for them to take out the spam altogether and shove death stars out the window while they’re at it.

          • Red_Five_Standing_By

            That happens in every game.

          • ZeeLobby

            Except it really doesn’t. This might be a false assumption you’ve convinced yourself of to justify what you see, but this is not true of every game. In WMH I have 6 lists, all very different, that I’ve done well competitively. Likewise for infinity. The meta on those games is rounded enough that I’m never sure what will be across the table. My last 40K tournament I knew the two Eldar players I’d face would have jetbikes and spiders, and lo and behold…

          • Red_Five_Standing_By

            Except it is true. For Warmachine, there are clearly superior units for each warcaster. The new edition rounded out a lot of Warmachine’s problems but there are still better and worse units for any given army.

            I am not saying other games are as bad as 40k but don’t kid yourself into thinking it is not a problem endemic to all games.

          • ZeeLobby

            Well what your reaching for is perfect balance. And of course that doesn’t exist. I still say there’s maybe only 5 units in Circle I would never considering using, as opposed to 3/4ths of my Dark Eldar book. So yes. If you want me to agree that some units will be better that’s true, but in one game I can choose between 15+ while in the other there’s 3/4.

            The frustrating thing in 40K is that there is no “caster” or gear I can equip a truly bad unit with to make them usable, mostly because the point costs for either the unit or the gear are so poorly managed.

            C’mon red,.You’re a thinker and you can see this.

          • Red_Five_Standing_By

            I like perfect balance, not going to lie.

            Like I said, 40k’s ratio of good to bad is way off.

          • ZeeLobby

            Yeah. I mean I’d love it as well, other games really strive to get there, or at least get to the point where any faction has the opportunity to compete. If 40K could just get to that point I’d be happy. The problem is that the armies that have amazing A, B and C’s should be countered by something. We saw this with GSC countering Eldar, and it’s a great thing. Every faction doesn’t need a counter, but we need more than one, or it’s just GSC and Eldar at the top.

          • Red_Five_Standing_By

            ideally, I think every army should have tools in its arsenal to counter every other army. To help ensure armies are differentiated and interesting, certain counters may be more expensive in any given army (like a melee unit in Tau would cost a lot more than a good melee unit in a Khorne army).

            That is not always 100% possible or viable but I think it would be nice to attempt.

            I think that is what the intention behind the Ally system in 40k was supposed to accomplish, only one faction gets all the tools and the others are left to languish.

          • ZeeLobby

            Yeah. In many ways that’s one of the things I like most about WMH. Mercenaries and Minions allow most factions to have access to similar tools. They might not be exactly equal, and some factions will have tools better than those available in those ally factions, but it’s a better system imo.

            I guess the concern I have with AoS alliances is that it does still seem like some alliances have way more options than others.

          • Red_Five_Standing_By

            That is an issue but the way you fight it is to incentivize players to play within an army by making the bonuses for it greater than the generic bonuses you can use for playing an “alliance army’, which is what GW has done.

            EDIT: I also really love the mercs and minions model. It is simple and elegant.

          • ZeeLobby

            How does AoS penalize alliances? (legit q)

          • Red_Five_Standing_By

            Each army with a “Codex” has its own Battle Trait (special rule for the army), Command Trait table (Warlord ability) and artifact table (special magic weapon). These are usually very specialized for the specific army and really enhance it.

            If you go with a generic Alliance army, then you get to use the generic Alliance Battle trait, Command Trait and artifact tables. They are ok but are very generalist, so they may not be as applicable or as good for you army/build.

            Like the generic Battle Trait for Order basically allows you to re-roll Battleshock tests for units that are within 12” of a hero. It is a nice ability but I usually play with a Lord Celestant on Dracoth, whose command ability (an ability the model/unit can activate once per turn) allows him and all Stormcast models within 24” to completely ignore Battleshock tests until the start of my next turn. I usually do not run enough Heroes in my Stormcast army (as they are pricey, low model count army) to really make the Order ability awesome considering my General’s Command Ability.

          • ZeeLobby

            Ah, nice. And you get to choose one of those from each table? Or do you have to roll?

          • Shawn

            ^ This would be awesome. Well said, Red.

          • Nyyppä

            The idea is to be able to use any unit. 40k does not allow the use of way over half of the units in it.

          • Nyyppä

            I think that was the point. The emphasis is way too far on the broken list side with little to no influence by actual tactics on the table (beyond the basics).

          • ZeeLobby

            OH! I thought he was saying that in reference to Hendrik’s comment. And that you were referencing that as well. My bad. Yeah. I totally agree.

      • Farseerer

        There are many possible reasons for Phantosmia, I suggest you visit your family doctor to rule out anything serious.

    • Grimbuddha

      He never said AoS was better, just that 40k is too heavy for his current tastes and AoS is momentarily more enjoyable to him. He also never compained about losing, just that it’s taxing to remain competitive in the current 40k environment. Some people do play for enjoyment.

    • That’s funny. I read it as an indictment of the state of the game, not the players. That might be because I actually read the article though. Here are some highlights on how he feels about the current state of 40k.

      “There seems to be way to much bloat in how the armies are built and played that it becomes to daunting to seriously compete.”

      “So much of 40k is ruined by opponents getting 400-800 free points over your initial starting size of 1850.”

      “…right now I just think 40k is too much of a dumpster fire to really take seriously for the competitive scene.”

      “We all know specific lists have insane strengths versus just about anything that a lot of times the army can just play itself.”

      These same points have been made over and over, not just by “power gamers,” but by anyone who enjoys the competitive aspect of gaming to any degree.

      He also said

      “When you play for fun and not for skulls the game works pretty well. Heck I had a great game a few days ago where I specifically tailored the list to just be an old school 40k smash fest. Had a great time without the stress that competitive 40k can bring sometimes.”

      In other words, the game is good for the casual play which it was designed for. His jump to another casual game might be baffling, but he hasn’t said anything about 40k that anyone but the die hards haven’t already accepted. He certainly never said that he was leaving because competitive players are tools.

      • Karru

        It’s one of the strong suits of AoS that you can play it casually and still play against competitive players. It’s the same situation as was with 5th edition 40k mostly. I could bring my standard 40k list against a highly competitive list and still pull off a win.

        I don’t get what OP meant with his comment. As you said, it is quite likely that he didn’t really read the article.

        • ZeeLobby

          May just be one of those who flocked to AoS to escape competition. Which is totally fine, but they tend to assume that once you’ve used that word, you’re the devil!

        • Jared Swenson

          I played in the LVO, and I had a few losses, and I didn’t have a competitive list really. I tend to veer away from that. but I never once felt in either of the games that i had absolutely no chance of winning at least up until the end. With 40k i often play games where I know there’s nothing i can do to tip the game by turn 2, especially when running a non-competitive list. I don’t know why it is different with AoS, but I do enjoy that aspect of it.

          • Karru

            It’s easy to explain why it is so different with AoS. AoS has a fixed scaling. All armies are playing at the exact same scale and the design choices are consistent.

            40k doesn’t have this. The current top tier armies are playing Apocalypse Lite with their Super Heavies, Gargantuans, D-weapons, powerful formations/detachments and have extremely powerful weaponry on mass. Meanwhile armies like Orks or Tyranids are playing regular 40k with their standard weaponry which has problems taking down AV13 vehicles normally. In a standard game it wouldn’t be a problem, but when that AV13 vehicle is an Imperial Knight with more firepower than half your army has, it quickly becomes one.

            Formations are another thing. Orks and the like have formations that cost 1000+pts just for a single core choice that usually just includes very niche selection of units. Taking it in a “normal” game would be near suicidal because you are lacking in most basic weaponry like AT. Meanwhile armies like Eldar or Space Marines have no reason NOT to take theirs because they are extremely similar to CAD and what they would take normally in a standard game that it would be stupid not to. They get free rules on top of their regular units so why not?

            AoS doesn’t have this, at least not yet. Their design choices have stayed consistent, so no army currently suffers from a scaling issue.

      • ZeeLobby

        Psh. Reading. This is BOLS SON!

        • Kenneth Eubanks

          This is perfectly said.

          • ZeeLobby

            😀

    • Farseerer

      I really struggle to see how on earth you got those points from what Goatboy wrote.

      What’s the point scrolling straight down to the comments and disagreeing if you haven’t even taken the time to read what was written in the first place?

  • Kk

    Nice article! I’m really tempted to start AoS as well.

    Side Note: Getting negative comments for saying you’re excited by a a game borders on the absurd.

    • Red_Five_Standing_By

      AoS is a lot of fun. I like its simplicity compared to 40k. Even though “Formations” exist in the game, they are much more tame by comparison.

      • ZeeLobby

        Well, and they cost something, which is a HUGE plus.

        • Red_Five_Standing_By

          Oh my god yesssss. This so much.

          I stare at my Space marine formations and grown.

          40k has basically become Apocalypse. Which is not awful for casual play but anything structured or with strangers and the game breaks easily unless everyone is on the same wave length,

        • Chris Hilliard

          My only problem is that the Seraphon almost need Battalions. Its a nice bit of fluff for the Order star-magic army to benefit from being in constellations, but it can hurt you when opponents demand “No Formations!” To many people have been soured on them by 40K .

  • Karru

    As a long time player of 40k and a fan of Fantasy, AoS will have to wait until they fix my biggest issue with the game. The game still lacks a lot of character with the armies. The lack of upgrades really hinders my interest towards the game. As someone who enjoys making all of my units unique, AoS would be the exact opposite of what I like. I like to make balanced armies with lots of different units, but with some units repeating. For example, my Space Marines usually field 2 Squads of Tactical Marines. Both are units of 10 but the other has Lascannon and a Plasma Gun while the other is in a Rhino and has Melta, Multi-melta and a Veteran Sergeant with a Power Fist.

    There is nothing I can do in AoS that would come close to this. If I want to take a units of Spearmen, I take a unit of Spearmen. Only “difference” I can difference wise is the size. I can’t give them special banners or upgrades, I cannot make their leader any special and I can’t “specialise” them at all.

    It is a pity since the rules themselves do look fun. It’s the same problem I had with games like Infinity and Warmachine. The game lacks character in such a manner that I can’t just be bothered. I do hope they fix it some day.

    • Desmond Burke

      You actually can do this. Lots of Warscrolls have different options for units to be equipped different ways, even with different banners. I personally love that I don’t have to fiddle with points any longer.

      • Karru

        Well, mostly what I’ve seen the “changes” I can do are just picking between different weapons. Do I take Swords with this units or Axes for example. I haven’t run into any other “upgrades” outside Chaos with their Marks.

        For me its not the point fiddling, it’s just the fact that I can ACTUALLY make my units unique. I can make them look and behave in a more unique fashion.

        With AoS, it’s mostly just math. I just calculate the averages in terms of damage dealt with all the options available and just use that.

        • Desmond Burke

          I don’t see much difference, given your example above. They are both Tactical Squads with different load outs. You can do the same thing with Stormcast Paladins: Retributors have hammers and hit hard (great for dealing mortal wounds and vs Monsters), Decimators have Axes and are great vs Hordes, and Protectors are great for shielding units. They are all made from the same kit, but all have different Warscrolls for the job they do.

          • Karru

            Well, you could view it like this. If I take a unit of Retributors and so does my opponent, they are both the exact same thing and very common. Meanwhile, the chances that my opponent would run around with a 10-man Tactical Squad with Lascannon and a Plasma gun is minimal.

            Also, AoS works in “absolutes” when it comes to these things. For example the units you said are all different choices but come from the same kit. I cannot mix and match those. If I take Retributors, I only have models with Lighting Hammers. I can take 2 Starsoul Maces for every 5 models, which would be stupid not to since they are way better weapons than the ones they are carrying.

            In 40k, I can mix and match equipment. I also have to think before I take something. For example, those Starsoul Maces are a must. There is literally no reason not to take them. In 40k when I’m taking Assault Terminators for example, I have the option to take Thunder Hammers and Storm Shields. Of course I have to pay 10pts for each one.

          • ZeeLobby

            Yeah. I got you. It’s just the result of a simplified ruleset. In 40K taking different loadouts for different encounters just makes sense.

          • euansmith

            … but poor balance over one zillion codices 😉

          • Bakvrad

            Aos works like Codex necron then
            No options 😀
            But it’s not that simple. Liberators for example can take either hammers or blade, as a pair or with shields and the greathammer or greatswords.
            Likewise their archer variant has different options too
            You can also check tzeentch acolytes, nightgoblins and plague monks if you want options
            While the imperium and their Chaos variants have freakin load out for weapon options, most xenos don’t.
            Fantasy never had so much options for the units. Either total swap or their normal weapon. Now they have specialist weapons like in 40k, so that’s a plus I guess

          • Karru

            Well, in Fantasy you could take Magic Banners or Runes in the case of Dwarfs that would make your unit different from other units. This was a way to make them stand out from other similar unit in a nice way.

            As for Xenos, Necrons have options when it comes to their other units outside Warriors. Eldar has loads with their Exarchs and Guardians can take different weapon platforms. Tau suits alone have more options than your average Guard army.

            Also, there is still the “issue” of “not really a choice”. Since they are all at a fixed price, I have no reason not to take something. I do realise that I didn’t mention this part at all in my original comment. In 40k or Fantasy, I had to think before I took something. Could I take shields with my unit? Could I maybe take more models instead? Things like this are fun for me, but I do understand that for others it’s not something they enjoy.

          • Munn

            it’s the same in 40k, a grav cannon is so much better than any other heavy wrapons variant it’s sillu to bring them, even accounting for the points difference. There are badically on 3 weapons in the SM codex; Melta guns, Flamers, and grav cannons. That’s pretty much the same amount of options most units have.

          • Red_Five_Standing_By

            Ewww, melta guns. They never work for me.

          • Karru

            Maybe for you, but for me there are more. I don’t like Grav and I only have one unit equipped with it. My Centurions are equipped with Lascannons and Missiles, my Sternguard have Plasma Guns and Meltas, my Terminators have Assault Cannons and Cyclones just to name a few of my loadouts.

            You want to call that purposefully downgrading myself? Sure, but it still doesn’t change the fact that they are actually options. I have to pay the points to bring them, I have to take something away in order to have them. In AoS, I am not losing anything if I take them its the opposite. For some armies like some of the Undead units, I am giving up thematic rules if I do so why would I do that?

          • grim

            you realize one a issue in 40K is melta spam or loading out units in one way etc. So what you actually seek is lack of options but access to only the best ones.

          • Karru

            Yes, in competitive crowd and that is not how I play nor who I play against. You also do realise that the same can be said about AoS, right? The most effective combos have already been calculated for each faction and are being used over and over again. How is that different?

          • grim

            Not really the balance gap is pretty different in regards to 40K. you can still counter combos in AOS. War convocation on the other hand…

          • Karru

            You seemed to miss my point. I’m looking for actual choices for unit upgrades and this exists in 40k. It does not exist in AoS as everything is fixed for them as well as free. Some units have “special weapons” available to them, but most of the time they are just superior in every single way to the normal weapons they can carry so choosing not to take them would be the same as paying points for something like a Power Fist and not using it.

            You also seemed to imply that 40k has “only one loadout for each unit”, because all others are usually sub-optimal. This is true, but it only matters in competitive crowd. In a casual crowd, I can equip my guys however I wish and enjoy playing.

            AoS still has “the most optimal choices”. Every game has, since some people have way too much time and do that kinda thing. They may be counterable but that still doesn’t change the fact that they exist. Also, as I mentioned before the “upgrade” system in AoS punishes you if you don’t take all of your upgrades. This means that there is only one real way to kit your units.

          • grim

            Come on man you can’t play devil’s advocate here. You know there are a lot of units that from a competitive perspective you should only play one or two ways.

          • Karru

            Did I ever say something otherwise? My problem isn’t with the competitive side of things where there are clearly the best or good choices and bad choices.

            My problem is that even in casual play there is really no “choices” to be made. Again, why would I NOT take something that I am getting for free? I am paying points for it, since most likely the standard price of the unit has those special equipment calculated into its point cost.

            Also, to point this out once more, there are no ways to make singular units unique. If I am facing against another player or see another player playing the same army as I do, the chances are that our units are completely identical. If I take a unit of 5 Retributors with 2 Starsoul Maces and a Prime, the chances of someone else using this exact same loadout is around 99.9%.

            Meanwhile, in 40k I have yet to see another player field similar squads that I do when it comes to most of the “common” units. I haven’t seen anyone else field Lascannon/Plasma Gun combo with their Tac Squad yet for example. This makes the unit feel more unique.

    • BaronSnakPak

      You actually can take banners and musicians. Where the “special” upgrades come into play is the battalions, you pay points for formations (something 40k should take notes on) that give new abilities to units.

      • Karru

        Those are automatically included. They don’t lose anything if you include them, they only gain something so why wouldn’t you take them?

        • BaronSnakPak

          Your words: “Only thing can do difference wise is the size. I can’t give them special banners or upgrades, I cannot make their leader any special and I can’t “specialise” them at all.”

          My emphasis wasn’t about the banners and instruments, the specializing is in the battalions. You want to take X,Y, and Z units? Cool, pay their points. You want to take X,Y, and Z and give them additional abilities? Pay their points AND the battalion points.

          AoS focuses less on unit composition, and more on army composition and the synergies/combos you build around.

          • Karru

            It’s the focus on army composition instead of unit composition that is the problem. I can create a narrative for my entire army but that’s not as fun for me as it is in 40k. I can create stories for EACH of my units and I can represent them with different upgrades and their loadouts. AoS doesn’t have this side really.

            Like I said, it’s the same situation as is with Warmachine for example. The army works as a whole and your choices have to be made based on that. I can’t individualise units, mostly because there isn’t even an option for it, but also because that’s not how the game is supposed to work.

            I love the synergy and combo system that AoS has. I also enjoy the freedom that it has in terms of army building. It’s just the fact that your army feels like a massive blob on the battlefield with very little individuality. It’s like playing MTG. You have your deck that you made, you are now playing it but nothing really stands out. You didn’t “make” the card you play, it’s just a card.

            Let’s take another game that I greatly enjoy, Flames of War. While having “restrictive” army building system, the individuality of the units is massive. Taking a Tank Platoon can offer you many options. You can give your Commander different tank than rest of his unit. You can give your units different weapons depending on what you need. Of course you have to pay the points for everything, making it a choice. You just can’t go for the “best” ones, because they are usually more expensive and you are taking those points from somewhere else.

            Making a modified Path to Glory campaign would fix all my problems. It would be the perfect way to make an army. You start with a grey blob which slowly gains more colour as the campaign continues. Only problem here is that getting people to play with me in a regular basis is impossible.

    • grim

      how is there a lack of upgrades you can literally do anything with your army and units. You can include artifacts and more command abilities in pitched battles… All the armies have unique abilities lol.

      • Karru

        It’s seems that once again I am bad at explaining my point.

        I see that you deleted the last part of your comment, something that shows up in my e-mail, but I am not influenced by salty gamers. Trust me, I have done my research on AoS to the point where I made 10 different Nurgle Warband lists and massive plans for making one. Chaos Warriors, Warshrine, Nurgle Lords, Nurgle Daemons and so on.

        The synergy between units and the massive freedom of choice is amongst the good things about AoS. The artefacts are only available to your Heroes and Command Abilities are available to your General. AoS is in very similar position to games like Warmachine and Infinity, even if it is in larger scale. All my choices come basically pre-made. It’s like getting ice cream and you only have pre-packaged ice cream to choose. 40k and old Fantasy were like walking into an ice cream shop and having the ability to make your own ice cream. I do love ice cream, but if I was given an option between the two I prefer to make my own.

        Same thing with miniature gaming. I have a nicely sized Khador army and a small team of PanOceania troopers, but both games never caught my interest like 40k did. The fact that whenever I get a new kit to build, I can go through the book and look at all the options I can take for it, think some tactics and scenarios where I could use it and kit him out accordingly. All of this I enjoy about the hobby. I care less about the game and more about the hobby aspect, but when both are connected it’s heaven to me.

        AoS doesn’t have this in a same way. I know that if I started AoS, I’d go big. At least 2000pts for starters, because I am not looking for another skirmish game. This is where most of the problems start to pile up. My Nurgle Warband started to include just copies of the same unit because there was no reason to take different weapons if they had any. Everything is fixed. I have the options to take a Standard Bearer, a Mark of Nurgle and a Musician. I am not giving anything away, I am not paying extra for them, I am not hindering their combat abilities and they fit the theme so why would I not take them?

        This is the problem for me. I don’t make any “real” choices because there aren’t that many and even then they aren’t that big of a deal. This reduces the individuality of units for me and makes it harder for me to keep up the narrative.

        Going back to my Tactical Squads. I currently have 4 of them total. The two that I mentioned and one which has 6 men in it with Grav-gun, a Combi-grav and are riding a Razorback as well as a 10-man squad with Flamer and a Heavy Bolter as well as a Sergeant with a Power Sword.

        All of them are completely different from each other and fill different battlefield roles. They are also choices, because they cost different amounts of points. I hope this might have explained it a bit better.

        • grim

          You seem like the kind of player that needs to read that you have the options available and need to pay for them. AOS gives you loads of options and they’re free. Now you might not be able to kit out some units with the best flavor to the max but overall thats a good thing especially for balance and play. Things change you’re living in the past.

          • Karru

            I wouldn’t call it “living in the past”. I just prefer the ability to make unique units and thus make them stand out in the battlefield, both looks and rules-wise.

          • grim

            Nowhere in the AOS rules does it say you can o ly run a unit one way. Typically it’s based on what you get in the box lol

          • Karru

            Well, actually it does technically. Most units have very specific weapons which they can never exchange for any other weapon, they have rules that usually tell you what they do and all their special equipment, if they have any, is free.

            Also, 40k rules also don’t say that “you can only run a unit one way”.

  • Grimbuddha

    I actually played my first game this weekend and had a blast. I found it really refreshing to be able to spend 20 minutes learning the core rules, but then to slowly discover the tactical flexibility my unit abilities allowed as the game unfolded, and how I can make better plays next time. I played with a friend that I’ve played 40k and fantasy with for the last 20 or so years, but we both have kids and taxing jobs that make our hobbies difficult to keep up with. I can’t remember a game of Warhammer we’ve played against each other that was as fun since high school, and there was almost no flipping through books trying to figure out rules conundrums. I’ll definitely be spending more time with this game.

    • Desmond Burke

      This is what I love about AoS best. Every game is that exciting!

    • Farseerer

      Who did you play as? I’m excited to give it a go but I can’t decide on a faction.

      • Grimbuddha

        I got the Tzeentch book, because I have the Silver Tower box, and will probably build that out, but I played as Grots this weekend. Mostly squig riders and lots of fanatic spam. I got totally tabled by a Nurgle daemon army, but it was great! Giants are actually useful now, and still fall on units, which is my favorite part about them. I may invest in some Ironjaws, since I really need to throw some stopping power in.

  • Defenestratus

    Stop trying to compete and 40k feels alot less bloated.

    • Some people like that aspect to games. I like the challenge that comes from testing myself against my opponent. The test isn’t whether I can beat my opponent, it’s whether I can play the best game I can. My opponent helps me with this. I like a good beer and pretzels game, but I like a good challenge more. Win or lose, playing well against a skilled opponent is a very gratifying experience. It’s almost addictive.

      • stinkoman

        i find the test in 40k (if you are trying to compete) as to who can have the best luck with rolls. seriously, there is way to much randomness on a D6 that it can throw off your well planed tactics.

        • ZeeLobby

          Well, that and they throw rolls upon rolls ontop of rolls.

          • luke snell

            seriously, the re-rolling seems to be on the point of abusive it seems. i know it is ended for max competitiveness, but watching the live streams of the LVO champs was probably the biggest deterrent ever to want to try and get stuck into 40K.

          • ZeeLobby

            I mean it used to be that twin linked weaponry was a rarity, and psyker powers that provided rerolls were only in Eldar. The game would benefit greatly from reduced psychic phase and reduced proliferation of refillable special weapons.

      • John Henry III

        There is nothing akin to “testing yourself against opponents” when you bring 5 wraithknights against a Guard army

        • Which is why I don’t play 40k as a competitive game. There are far better games for that. The ability of 40k to serve as a framework for that challenge between players is lacking.

          • John Henry III

            Yeah to play 40k you need some sort of Gentlemen’s agreement between the players to determine what strength of lists to bring. Otherwise the rules are so imbalanced its set up and then shake hands cause the Eldar won turn 1.

          • ZeeLobby

            Yeah, sadly that required agreement kills it for my group. We play once a week, after work, with time limitations, so we spend a lot of time righting lists in our free time and such. It was fun to come up with cool ideas and twists before a game night, and trying them out against a random opponent. We’ve tried doing that recently and it usually just ends in one side forfeiting by turn 3, when there’s clearly no way to win.

    • ZeeLobby

      So not competing = ignore half the rules? Even when playing narrative game the rules feel clunky at times.

      • euansmith

        Yeah, I really want Warcscrolls for my 40k minis. Redskullz has created his Inquisitor style game Age of Munda which is pretty darn cool for micro skirmishes; but I’d like to be able to get pick up games at Company level.

      • benn grimm

        Yeah, like, who needs rules when you’re having fun? It’s a super cool fun new way to play; you play by the half of the rules you like, I’ll play by the ones I like; it’ll be chaotic, make no sense and be about as worthwhile as playing monopoly with action dolls for opponents, but hey, it’s all about the fun man! 😉

        • ZeeLobby

          LoL. And you KNOW they don’t really think or play that way either. It’s just sensationalist statements.

    • Farseerer

      Ideally, you should have the option to be competitive without the proverbial S*** hitting the fan rules bloat wise. Competitive games can be fun too.

    • Red_Five_Standing_By

      Even when you aren’t competing, 40k is still massively bloated.

    • Nyyppä

      The bloat is not the problem. Total lack of balance is. That soes not change by making softer lists.

  • Thorolf

    I cant wait until you try Runewars. Would love to know your thoughts.

    Im feeling the same way about 40k and Runewars has struck the same chord with me that I think Sigmar has struck with you. Runewars I think builds on these advantages in several ways with stuff like iniative based actions, active morale and dynamic dice – and it’s rank and file.

    Coming out soonih i think, March maybe, be sure to try it out if you get the chance.

    • Desmond Burke

      I keep looking at this game trying to be open minded about it. It looks very similar to XWing, which is a fun game…but I get bored of it after a week or two 🙂

    • Red_Five_Standing_By

      Rune Wars looks fun but the market is so crowded right now. Unless they pull in a lot of X-Wingers, I don’t see it becoming massive.

  • Nyyppä

    Well, it’s hard to argue against this. GW has really dropped the ball with 40k and AoS has yet to show any glaring problems.

    • Red_Five_Standing_By

      And any major problem they have, has thus far been fixed/corrected.

      • Nyyppä

        There are some minor ones though.

  • nurglitch

    You call it bloat, I call it content. Maybe if you had tried avoiding copy-pasta when writing lists you would have enjoyed it more.

    • Munn

      You also lose more. Unless you’re ‘avoiding copy pasta’ is putting wulfen in a Mastodon or some other super extreme thing.

      • nurglitch

        Learn to play better?

        • Karru

          It’s very dependant on the crowd what lists you can use. Using a “standard” mixed lists and playing armies from the low tier in a crowd that only plays with the strongest and you can guarantee your loss. The power gap is so big that even the greatest strategist player cannot pull off a win in that situation.

          You can play a standard mixed list with the top dogs and do OK in that type of crowd, but that’s about it.

        • LunaWolf

          If EVERYONE followed your advice of avoiding copypasta, then maybe learning to play would work. But the fact is, half the players you see DO copy lists that practically play themselves. I’ve win multiple large tournaments in my life and there’s no way in hell I could beat 5 Tides and a Surge with Eldar support using any list that comes close to being interesting, and if I do build a list that can beat it the game doesn’t tend to be fun anyway.

        • ZeeLobby

          can we just give up on the L2P response. It makes sense when a game is balanced. Otherwise it’s just trolling.

    • Unfortunately if you are playing the game like it is a sport where you want to win then you have to copy paste because there are only ever a couple units worth a damn in the codex, and thats what you spam.

      • Red_Five_Standing_By

        Unless you are Eldar where every unit is a cut above the competition…

        • Reven

          Never seen that many Storm Guardians running around

    • stinkoman

      Agreed. Content is better for the casual player though. competitive players need streamlined rules IMO. just like PVP Vs PVE video games. you have to normalize the PVP to make it fair and competitive.

  • I agree but I came to your conclusion back at the mid point of 5th edition. Looking back, and comparing 40k to the other competitive games on the market, I feel 40k has *never* been a competitive game and has always leaned heavily on being a narrative game or a “for fun dont take this too seriously” game.

    AOS is also a lot of fun but does have a few problems from the competitive standpoint.

    For one the points aren’t really very well balanced. They are tighter than 40k, but thats not saying much. There are still some undercosted combos that power play picked up on week one of the GHB being released.

    My hope for that is they actually fix points every year like the rumor.

    Two – there are obvious ways to min/max an AOS list. You pointed one of those ways out in your article. Max out on how many mortal wounds you dish out.

    Other then that though yeah AOS is a ton of fun. I actually find I enjoy it more than I enjoyed WHFB with the exception of the release of the initial 6th edition. The models are great, the narrative is actually something I like (viking saga stuff), and the support for the game outstanding.

    • ZeeLobby

      GW games have definitely never been balanced for competition, but there were some editions that were better than others.

      And yeah. 6th edition fantasy was definitely my favorite, followed maybe by 5th.

  • grim

    Competitive AOS is the future :)! Welcome.

    • Hendrik Booraem VI

      Hah! Give the competitive gamers five years and AOS will be just as “broken” as WH40K. Netlists and meta will force everybody to play the same way, it is inevitable.

      • grim

        So how can you blame the game company for players always abusing the system? The underlying problems with any competitive game. Look at magic the gathering… What gamers fail to realize its up to you and your group who and how you play. Psychotic to feel like you “have to” do anything when enjoying a miniature game or yourself for that matter…

  • DDisforDangerous

    I think implementing a few things is going to hurt backwards compatibility (like making formations cost points; sounds brilliant idea but how you’re going to add it without making all the old ones obsolete). I’m very interested to know how willing GW is to throw things out.

    • Red_Five_Standing_By

      Formations are going to be thrown out. They are not core to the game. Its like Theme Forces for Warmachine.

  • Xodis

    Totally agree, 40K is off the rails for my tastes and AoS certainly has filled that void. Being able to play (and actually be a threat) with any miniatures I want on the table has a certain freedom that 40K cant keep up with.

    I personally hope 40K gets better with the new edition, as I said before the amount of diversity in armies and units is amazing, and I love how we keep getting more…..there just needs to be a power level that is maintained closer than what 40K currently is.

    • euansmith

      Or some solid advice from GW on how exactly one is supposed to play the game. The design studio appears to be having a ball.

      • benn grimm

        ‘Appears’ is the important word there…

        • ZeeLobby

          Exactly. The idea of propoganda is not lost on them. They wouldn’t get paid if they went around telling everyone their game played like crap.

  • ZeeLobby

    OK. Legit question time. Is AoS actually balanced? Or has it just been the lack of uber-competitive players that gives it that gloss?

    • Desmond Burke

      It’s pretty well balanced, and great for competetive or narrative play. It does need a tweak or two, but with the faster than light updates to the FAQ as well as the General’s Handbook (which will be redone every year) it’s a really solid game. I’m loving it, my other games are all collecting dust 🙂

      • ZeeLobby

        What current tweaks would you recommend?

        • Desmond Burke

          Summoning/Rezzing. It’s a bit hardline right now, where you need to pay points to summon a unit. That is fine. What needs to be addressed is Warscrolls with rules that allow them to come back from the dead. Things like Flamespyre Phoenix, where if it is killed it comes back on a 4+…if you have the points in your pool. Who is going to put aside 200+ points on the chance on an average roll it will come back? There are a few units that have this rule.

          There are also some factions that could use updated/new Allegiance abilities. This isn’t such a big deal.

          More Battleline choices. I think this is ok, but feel the pinch when playing Ironjawz and I have no way to generate Mortal Wounds and have no shooting. If someone can chaff me up and shoot, I’m in trouble…but I think that’s perhaps the tradeout for playing the Pain Train 🙂

          There is a feedback thread here with some great ideas in it http://www.tga.community/forums/topic/5475-tga-official-generals-handbook-2-feedback/

          • ZeeLobby

            Awesome. thanks! I’ll def take a look.

          • euansmith

            What a tip top answer. Bravo!

        • thereturnofsuppuppers

          fyreslayers are a bit overcosted, and some of the battleline restrictions are a bit too err restrictive.

        • Red_Five_Standing_By

          Summoning is always going to be the big issue with AoS.

          You can’t allow people to get a horde of units for free. That unbalances the game.

          AoS’ fix is to allow you to set aside any number of points you can use to summon anything you are normally allowed to summon. This is great because it allows you to bring a swiss army knife to the game (i.e. you will always have the tool that is needed for any situation), provided you own the model(s) you want to summon.

          The problem is that Summoners are usually weak and die quickly. If the summoner dies, then you lose out on your summoner AND all those points you set aside.

          Not good.

          There are a lot of ways to “fix this”.

          I could see “free” coming back if you had a small number of minimum-sized choices.

          I could see the requirement of the Summoner being lessened if you had to pre-pick units.

          There are a lot of ways solve this problem and none of them really feel right both from a fluff and game viewpoint.

    • Xodis

      Is it perfectly balanced? No
      Is it balanced more than 40K? Yes but that doesnt say much.
      How well balanced is it? Its balanced well enough that only a few units/combos really stand out but if you know its coming you can effectively call an audible and work around it.

      • ZeeLobby

        What about like faction balance? I mean here I spent thousands of dollars on my DE, and they went from fun competitive with multiple builds to pure pants. If I’m going to invest in a new GW system, and convince my group to as well, there needs to be some stability as far as factions go. If one or two factions just dominates as usual in GW games, no one is going to be interested.

        • Karru

          From what I’ve gathered, armies that don’t have their own faction books yet suffer from just lack of “unique” mostly. Armies that do have their own books have more options available to them, but that’s about it.

          • Karru

            To put it in 40k terms, it’s kinda like you only have access to Warlord Traits from the core book and the relics available for you came from a pool available to everyone within your faction.

          • ZeeLobby

            I got you. Thanks!

        • Xodis

          As far as factions go I have not seen any faction get “left behind” 40K style. As a 40K CSM player I know exactly what you are asking, unfortunately until DElves get introduced into current lore they feel pretty bland since they dont have the new models that take advantage of the current ruleset. I have not played any DElf players so I cant give you anything more than a vague understanding. I HAVE played Empire and Regular Elves and they held their own pretty well.

          • ZeeLobby

            Awesome. Thanks. Will start pondering…hmmmm…

          • Desmond Burke

            DE can be insane. You can put together armies that pile in and attack multiple times in a round of combat and it’s just brutal/Fun mechanic. The trade off is that DE mostly wear doilies for armor.

          • euansmith

            Yeah, but they are black lace doilies… with skull patterns on them. 😉

        • Desmond Burke

          I think every army has a chance. There is no ‘Absolute Pants’ at all. This is one of the great things about the Alliances, is you can pick and choose things that will boost your overall army. I have a friend that plays High Elves and Fyreslayers, no battalions, no synergy…and his army is really good!

          • ZeeLobby

            Yeah. I’m just not a huge fan of blending factions in general. I guess my mind could change however it’s handled in AoS if it works though. I’ve just been damaged by 40K and it’s inclusion of a character here, or vehicle there, to take an army and put them over the top.

          • Desmond Burke

            This really doesn’t happen…perhaps with the exception of Sayl the Faithless and the Mournghul. I still think it’s funny that I bought Sayl when it came out at Games Day and now it’s the hotness in Chaos 🙂

          • ZeeLobby

            Haha, I mean the model is pretty sweet.

          • Red_Five_Standing_By

            The Alliance system is basically a simplified version of the Ally rules in 40k.

    • grim

      very well balanced. There is abuse in the competitive setting but they have FAQ’d some of the abuse already. Sayl the faithless is the current offender

      • ZeeLobby

        Do you think it’s consistent, the FAQing? Does it seem like they have a good pulse on the community and results? One of my biggest issues with the 40K FAQs is that sometimes they make total sense, and other times you’re like w-t-f are they talking about. Or they’ll rule one thing one way in one FAQ, and rule the other way in another.

        • Desmond Burke

          I think they do a really good job of this. They even reversed a ruling that was WTF recently 🙂

        • grim

          i think the FAQ they just put out was good. And they have been working on another generals handbook due out this summer. The game will only get better. Just watch Warhammer live to get an idea of the game and the pace. Its great for tournament play. I personally think AOS ( the game ) is one of the best things to happen to GW. The fluff meh. However this is my unpopular opinion and I was an exclusive 40K player for over 15 years. Never liked the old world or that game.

          • ZeeLobby

            Yeah. I dunno if that channel does it any favors. They seem to enjoy the fact that many games end with the results of a scrum in the middle, another aspect of the game I’m hesitant to embrace. Fluff wise I just really wish then left Sigmarines out of it and started with humanity’s survivors.

          • grim

            warhammer Tv is one of the best things to happen to warhammer in general in many years… As for the games well what would you expect from khorne bloodbound or iornjawz?! Not exactly shooty armies. Have you seen highelves, free peoples or a lot of skaven lists have a lot of ranged. Understand the game is a year old and factions still need to be released.

          • ZeeLobby

            Yeah. That might be it. A lot of the newer factions are melee oriented. The ability to draw units into a melee combat is also a mechanic I’d prefer didn’t exist. I understand there’s tactics behind it, but if there’s an objective, or it makes sense to stay at range, then there should be a way to keep units comfortably disengaged from a melee. Or it should be a difficult maneuver to suck them in. Maybe it was just how it was demonstrated to me, but it seems like a powerful move which results in bigger scrums.

          • luke snell

            some of this too is based on a players style; with so much reliance on movement and objective capturing in the game- at least in matched play- it shouldn’t end up as a big ball of dice rolling in the middle. granted, as was said, so armies are well, that’s what they were made to do! and some are definitely not made for that, so you have to plan around it. the game really has a ton of upswing potential that is worth serious consideration.

      • HiveFleet Charybdis

        I think they do – the main thing AoS has that 40k hasn’t is a controlled ruleset. As in GW themselves know all the rules and can therefore in general put out FAQs quickly. With 40k that’s not the case. I would like to see GW get 40k under the same level of control. Fingers crossed they can do it.

    • its somewhat balanced. Compared to competitive games like warmachine, i’d say no its not balanced. Compared with 40k its greatly balanced.

      There are still obvious takes and monsters are cheaper overall than they should be which encourages people to take them (and often as many as possible).

      • ZeeLobby

        Yeah. I guess that’s my other hesitation. GW clearly knows how to tailor rules to drive sales. I don’t want to feel like I have to buy the latest upgrade to stay in line… I also understand what you’re saying about internal balance. It stinks when half your book seems weak compared to the other half. Hmm.

        • Desmond Burke

          To put in another perspective, Tomb Kings just won the UK Masters and they are an out of print army.

          • ZeeLobby

            Yeah. I guess I just wish there were more stats. I don’t know if we’re out of the fluke-zone yet. And while the top 10 players at a tournament are uber-competitive, it’ll soon be 50, 100, etc. Once that happens, will the field still look as balanced? I guess that’s tough to predict.

          • Desmond Burke

            It already is that big in the UK. Look at South Coast GT, Facehammer, Warlords, etc. Ben Curry from Bad Dice podcast keeps track of lists and sites.

          • ZeeLobby

            Oh. I mean there’s been events, but not nearly to the scale of 40K or even old fantasy at least here in the US. The scene has to usually have an age and size before trends can be observable

          • Desmond Burke

            Right, but the UK has a huge AoS tournament scene. Sometimes it feels like they have a GT every weekend 🙂 In the US, it’s a bit tougher we are a bit more spread out and have more mileage to cover 🙂

            I don’t have any data to parse myself, though it’s probably not a bad idea. To see some, check out http://www.tga.community/forums/forum/18-events/ or from the AoS ITC here https://www.frontlinegaming.org/aos-itc-2016-calendar/

            I spend some time waiting while I work, so peruse a lot of AoS info 🙂

          • Red_Five_Standing_By

            The problem with the US is that we are really spread out. We may have 300 million people but we also live in the 4th largest country in the world. Meanwhile the UK has a large and incredibly dense population spread over the size of a single US state.

            it is crazy to think about but the UK has 65 million people in it. That’s 20% of the US’s population. The UK has an average density of 662 people/sq. mi, where as the US has just 90! Even if we eliminate Alaska and its population, the US only rises to 103 people per sq. mi!

            So, yeah, the density definitely helps the UK a lot.

          • Hedwerx

            I’m from the UK, gotta say most of the population here is pretty dense.

          • Red_Five_Standing_By

            As an American, I always find it crazy how densely the UK (and Europe more generally) packs its people compared to the US – and yet you guys maintain vast swathes of undeveloped or rural land

      • Desmond Burke

        Just saying, Warmachine is not balanced. They just had to rewrite and entire faction 🙂

        I don’t think it’s that unbalanced, Monsters aren’t that great IMO. No matter what, people are going to do the math and find ‘better’ takes but I don’t think there are obvious ones and certainly very few lame ducks.

        Unfortunately what is great is Sayl the Faithless and the Mourngul, both out of Forge World. Sayl isn’t even that bad IMO, he can be singled out and destroyed like any other hero.

        • ZeeLobby

          Er… While they did rewrite an entire faction, the other factions (10+) play pretty well together, which is something I’ve never seen GW pull off successfully. It sounds like all of the changes made to Skorne were pretty well received by the entire community as well. While it’s not perfectly balanced, it is definitely a standard at the far end of the balance spectrum.

          That said, I get the rest of your statement.

        • Right I know warmachine is not totally balanced. I played it for a little bit. But compared to GW games it is.

          Monsters are undercost by about 10-20%, admittedly so by the authors of the comp to encourage people to take them.

          Having wrote azyr comp, and run them through the formulas, I can confirm most of the monsters are undercost like that. All of the other fan comp authors also see that and have posted that.

          Does that break the game? No. Does it make it an unbalanced mess of a game? No.

          But it does make those choices mathematically more attractive.

          When you have things like the all stormfiend build that pumps out 30 or so mortal wounds a turn, or the orc formation, or things like the ogres pumping out wounds like candy, there are certainly things that competitive players gravitate quickly toward.

          Now is that as bad as WHFB used to be? We would have to find a way to quantify that with numbers, but emotionally it feels about the same to me as WHFB used to be at the competitive level.

          • Desmond Burke

            Excellent point regarding the Mortal Wounds Ogre Critters can dump out, I had forgotten about them. I do think they are balanced in a way, as it’s really hard to capture objectives with a pure Beastclaw army. Looking at all those Hard to kill monsters and their Mortal Wound output can be daunting, but not impossible to face you just need to beat them at the scenario instead of playing the kill game. Use controlling the board to your benefit.

            It’s also much easier to wrangle that pesky Skryre Battalion army now for the same reasons especially since the Battalion costs 200 points before you take a single unit and Kairos can no longer manipulate the initiative roll. Skryre doesn’t compete very well in half of the scenarios, and can be easily countered with a balanced army and a smart opponent.

            In my experience, balance isn’t 100% in points alone. How the army plays is a huge factor. I do think it needs a few tweaks, but overall imo it is the most balanced GW has done to date and as well done as the first 2 iterations of Warmahordes (which I played) or even Malifaux which is also a tight game.

    • thereturnofsuppuppers

      Seems ok.

    • At LVO 2017, they had an 80+ person AoS tournament. I had never seen so many folks playing it in a single setting, so that was fairly impressive. Then I noticed a couple of the USA “ringer – top 40K players” were playing in it, so I had a chat with them about why they switched.

      Two main points came up. First they loved the newness and energy of the new system. That sense of discovery with each month and being part of something new and growing compared with the very mature 40K with heavy burden of legacy material i carries to each new edition.

      Next they said they were have a lot more fun with the new system. It was balanced, had plenty of tactical depth to it, and over the 2 day tourney with 80+ players, a judge was never called to resolve a rules dispute – not once. Something unheard of in 40K events.

      As I walked around I did an informal poll of each major game system’s average player age. Age of Sigmar by far had a younger crowd, including several young teens.

      Regardless of what you think of the system, it looks to be doing a good job of bring fresh blood into tabletop gaming – and that is a very good thing.

      • ZeeLobby

        Sweet. Thanks for the response! I have mixed opinions on the system. And for every positive reaction, I’ve seen negative as well, both online and in real games. Novelty can be a big decider though, and often overrides biases or issues. It sounds like many people were just desperate to get away from a dismal 40K competitive environment, but weren’t ready to give GW up. Makes sense. We’ll see where it is several years from now.

      • grim

        “and over the 2 day tourney with 80+ players, a judge was never called to resolve a rules dispute – not once. Something unheard of in 40K events.” thats so amazing to hear!

  • LunaWolf

    I enjoy the fact that it feels like both players are PLAYING in an AoS game. Even if your list and generalship are both outclassed, you’re still going to kill a bunch of stuff and have an interesting time. Pieplated off the table by turn 2 just isn’t a thing that exists, and that’s a huge plus for me.

    • Desmond Burke

      This. I feel like almost every game I’ve played is a nailbiter.

    • ZeeLobby

      It’s a sad day when you put down your models just to quickly pick them up.

      • Desmond Burke

        I once lost a game of WFB almost before it started, the scenario was Blood and Glory. My opponent hit my army with Slugtongue, and caused me to lose 2 banners. Then in my first magic phase of the game, I lost my Sorcerer Lord on Disc due to miscast and instantly lost the game haha.

        I guess I’m only sad to put down my models and remove them if I don’t stand a chance. Stupid Leafblowers 🙂

        • ZeeLobby

          Oh. No doubt. I’ve sniped my Vampire Counts opponents general turn 1. It was still super rare though, and we could have kept playing. It’s not like 40K now where you literally pick up half your army from one shooting phase.

          • Desmond Burke

            The Leafblower lives on in infamy and style 🙂

        • Hedwerx

          4th ed Warhammer. Guy I’m playing has worked out a Skaven army that consisted of a Warlord and Seer leading a unit of 60 something Stormvermin. With some magic items and a banner that made the the unit immune to Magic, H2H, and Shooting…
          After explaining his list to me, he was weirdly surprised to find I couldn’t be bothered to set my army up.
          Then after a short argument about how a fun game doesn’t involve one side watching their army get slowly destroyed, while unable to do anything in return. He was slightly more surprised to watch a Marauder Vampire lord fly past his head at about 60mph, and less than politely asked to get out my house.

  • Seienchin

    Well AOS is a fun game but throwing the dice for the initiative is in my opinion a really big fun killer.
    Furthermore the amount of special rules for every unit is riddiculous. The rules arent complicated and verbose but the individual unit sheets are riddiculous.
    Spending 30 minutes of reading and understanding units can be just as much of a fun killer for casuals as having to read rules for 30 minutes 😉

    • Desmond Burke

      In my opinion that’s the single greatest rule, I love that you have to play cagey to prepare for a potential win/loss of the initiative. It keeps me on the edge of my seat!

      Reading through tons of Warscrolls can be daunting, but I do like they are all in one place. I suggest trying to play smaller games with more unit redundancy. You’ll pick up the special rules fast 🙂

      • luke snell

        yup, the 50/50 initiative turn mechanic adds so much essential flavor and variability to the game! some may not like not having control over every aspect of the game, but this is where one’s game-man ship and strategy gets called into order. not to mention I think it captures battlefield momentum swings pretty narratively.

        • Red_Five_Standing_By

          It is like a Daily Double in Jeopardy. It is a mechanic used to make the game a bit more swingy.

    • Its reactionary where you have to have the ability to react to the unforseen, vs dictation where you have few things you have to react to and can script the game how you want every time.

      • Nameless

        I would argue that the opposite was true, there are less opportunities to react too when one player gets a back to back goes and the other player can’t respond.

        Compared to the other Games Workshop game where rolling for initiative is a thing anyway. in Hobbit/LotR each side alternates movement, then shooting then there is one round of combat. the player going second in a turn has the option to react making counter charges before models are removed as casualties. in addition each sides heroes have the chance to act out of turn by expending a limited resource.

        • I would prefer destroying the IGO UGO format entirely to be honest. I prefer alternate activation. It is more engaging to me.

          • Red_Five_Standing_By

            Alternate FTW!

  • Commissar Molotov

    “Where everybody skirmishes and the Toughness doesn’t matter!”

  • thereturnofsuppuppers

    Its alright. Pretty interesting the perspective shift it gives you.

    Going back to matrices and codex’s of 40k is a bit of a chore now.

    • ZeeLobby

      Yeah. I got stuck between WMH and 40K. I went to WMH, which felt like a chore, but was worth it for game play. Just not a fan of the fluff. And now when I try to go back to 40K, it just seems like even more of a chore. Will see how 8th shakes out, but if it changes very little, I may stick with just my one overly complex game, lol.

      • thereturnofsuppuppers

        I tried WMH, I quite liked the game, but the people who play it in my area aren’t particularly fun.

        I guess I’m used to beer and pretzels, with lots of laughter and soft RP.

        To be completely hyperbolic, I don’t think I ever saw anyone smile when playing. A bit too serious for me.

        I’m moving soon, so hopefully I can find a better group.

        • ZeeLobby

          Yeah. Group matters a lot. Likewise we had a pretty competitive 40K scene around us, and they honestly weren’t that fun to play with. I mean when you’re slow playing someone at a small FLGS it’s pretty sad. There were also some “fluff” players who took nasty lists and dominated people. While it was satisfying to crush them and then have them call me out for being a WAAC player when they’re running tons of cheese, none of it was all that enjoyable.

          I find that if you can find a WMH group that doesn’t focus on timed event play, it’s usually a much more enjoyable scene. Timed players can definitely be more intense, but they kind of have to. The ones I’ve met are still really nice, they just focus hardcore when gaming, haha.

          • thereturnofsuppuppers

            Yeah they were great people, played lots of board games with them, just got a bit too focused on the game.

            Similar to intense MTG players.

          • ZeeLobby

            Haha. Yeah. The only MTG I play is EDH, and we avoid all the OP generals.

          • thereturnofsuppuppers

            I love playing themed decks, with consistent artwork that try’s to tell a narrative or play a theme over the match.

            Its really difficult to find players with the same mindset these days.

          • ZeeLobby

            Yeah. I mean that’s kinda what got me into EDH. Since you can recast your general repeatedly, you can build decks around themes. So I have my kung-fu deck which focuses on buffing my commander, and then I have my goblin King deck, which has purely goblin and goblin combos, etc. Def way more fun.

      • I played WM/H for a bit, but as my primary focus turned to narrative play years ago, and my WM/H community is 110% all about competition, I binned my models.

        • ZeeLobby

          Yeah, it stinks that WMH’s competitive rules just tend to attract competitive players. Having played some narrative games with the ruleset, it’s a blast. That’s why my dream is for GW to make their games rules better.

        • Koonitz

          That’s what I found, as well. I never got into WM/H, myself (hate the aesthetic and was never a big fan of steampunk as a general rule). Every single player I interacted with, both online, and local, was a former 40k gamer that had this hard-on for hating GW/40k because of what it became, and belittling those who still played.

          To the point where, once, I straight up walked out of my FLGS (after complaining to the staff), when I got talked down to by a couple WM/H players. They later said they were just doing it in jest, but I made it clear my reaction, and complaint, stood all the same.

          I cannot say much for those players, outside of the context of WM/H, as I never interacted with them beyond that. I’m not a fan of the game, but I HATE the players.

          • Page 5 was constantly waived in our face.

          • Koonitz

            “Play like you have a pair.” is one of their favourite lines. It’s also my go-to line to rebuke them on why I don’t play WM/H.

  • Simon Chatterley

    The only game recently where I have appreciated lots of small decisions making big differences is Malifaux. As a competitive player I find the ruleset robust and whilst there are stacks of power choices you can win with guile and good play.

    • ZeeLobby

      Yeah, I’ve heard good things about Malifaux. My friends just aren’t into the setting.

      • Simon Chatterley

        I quite like the setting now. It’s moved on from the pure steampunk it initially felt like and has a nice mix of tropes that whilst not individually new do mash into something quite different and fun. You want Cowboys vs Zombies vs Mad monsters from another realm vs Steam Construct? Check ++, it has it all.

        I dipped my toe in a few years ago and now have a bigger collection of models than I do for 40k.

        Which is good because it’s ace

    • thereturnofsuppuppers

      Yeah Malifaux is a great game.

      I just can’t get past some of the model design decisions kind of skeez me out.

    • Desmond Burke

      Malifaux is a great game for all the reasons above, and I was playing pretty much Malifaux only for a year and a half. I think AoS has borrowed a lot from this style of play. If you are using Matched Play and the General’s Handbook scenarios I think you’ll really enjoy your games. I know I do, I’ve been playing AoS since May or so pretty exclusively.

  • benn grimm

    Lol. Well AoS fans, enjoy the spam…

  • EnTyme

    I for one can’t wait to see how Goatboy manages to squeeze an Imperial Knight into a Sylvaneth list.
    Seriously, though, welcome to the other side.

  • Moose

    ” When you play for fun and not for skulls the game works pretty well.”

    Translation:-
    When played as intended, it works.

    • Nyyppä

      That’s where you are both wrong.

  • Calgar

    The random generation of stuff is my absolutely least favorite thing in 40k, and should be completely done away with. Why should I go to battle with units that I have no idea what they are capable of until the fighting starts?

  • Stuckinabox

    Oh great, now we’re gonna get to see cheesy as hell ApS list so come from Goatboy. I think of all articles on the site, it’s his that are the worst power creep lists I’ve seen. He is the type of player that has killed 40k, and mown he’s complying where his stupid net lists have led the game, maybe don’t take 3 heldrakes next time? Leave the 7 wave serpents out of your next list

    • Nyyppä

      Blame the game, not the gamer. All he is doing is using the rules. If GW allows lists like his it’s not Goatboy’s fault.

      • ZeeLobby

        And AoS definitely has some of those lists.

        • Nyyppä

          But generally everything can work. This is not true in 40k.

  • Well, I hope Mr. Goarboy will play Aos, learn the rules and appropriate terminology. And use that in his articles. I know it’s pedantic but What assault phase.
    Don’t confuse us.
    Just yesterday a good friend of mine was asking me all sorts of generic questions about my opinion of AoS, structured in a way to become useless gibberish. I’m not sure my friend has even bothered to watch a game of AoS. He’s just wargamed long enough to become a bit of a know it all, “generically speaking” It made for a difficult conversation.

    Good news! Yesterdays game was my third game! I lost again but am retaining rules now! Huzzah !

    • ZeeLobby

      Lol. Prepare to be disappointed. Goatboy will be injecting 40K terms into AoS for years to come.

  • Carl Tuttle

    My heart remains with 40k but I am dabbling quite a bit into Age of Sigmar and have had a blast playing so far. The game is much deeper than people are giving it credit for, and the Generals Handbook has kind of pushed this forward even more.

  • Antoine Henry

    Be ready to see that “Age of Sigmar” bad game become a legendary powercreep game even more than 40K has become. Well at least, they already have Custo—-Stormcast in AoS :p