Age of Sigmar goes Narrative with Path to Glory

GW is embracing narrative play in the 8 Realms with a new rules supplement.

You will remember the General’s Handbook included three modes of play for Age of Sigmar:

  • Open Play
  • Narrative Play
  • Match Play

Everyone kind of obsesses about Match Play, but really how often are you really at tourneys? Just as important in my opinion is the Narrative side of things.  Looking back over decades of wargaming, it’s always our crazy specially crafted narrative games that stay with me over the years.  They tend to produce the fantastic moments of high drama shared with friends that stand the test of time.

The General’s Handbook included a system called Path to Glory that centered around Warbands and serialized gameplay. You picked a faction, built your Warband, fought and collected the loot glory and hopefully the crown of your league. Each faction got a page of special rewards and abilities. Finally there was a set of special missions just for Path to Glory.

Age of Sigmar: Path to Glory

It looks like GW really is embracing narrative play with both hands.  They just pulled the covers off an upcoming supplement called… wait for it… Path to Glory!

The new book takes the basic system from the General’s Handbook and expands it. Not only are the core rules presented, but they are expanded to include every faction in the game from the basics to the brand new ones like Kharadron Overlords. There are additionally other types of tables and risks-rewards you can vie for to grow our warband. One example listed was a chance to earn the favor of your god/diety – with the risk of death for your warband’s leader and a potential reward of very powerful gifts.

  • If you like the idea of smaller games with recurring units and leaders who get better from game to game…
  • If you like the idea of a linked series of games with your group over a few weeks…
  • If you like crafting a cool narrative in your own campaign setting instead of the random draw of pick-up games…

Then Path to Glory may right up your alley.

~What do you really like playing more – competitive matched play games, or narrative games?

  • rtheom

    This makes me wonder if they do have some way to balance the games though, even if you aren’t using points. Because I can only take so many “narrative” games where my Knight Questoris is pounded into dust by my friend’s Lord of Change. :p

    • thereturnofsuppuppers

      An Questor chap can be really good against monsters with a castellant (buffing his armour to a 2+) and with some artifacts or cover he can get it to a 1+ rerolling.

      Dies to mortal wounds though, so I guess you would need some anti magic.

    • Brian Griffith

      This is “narrative” in the sense that your friend doesn’t get a Lord of Change early on and you have to earn more units over the course of several games.

    • Well, good news there is there’s no greater daemons in path to glory (well, I guess he could summon one but that’s not super sportsmanlike), it’s all prospective champions from different races, heroes to be sure but not gods yet

    • Richard Mitchell

      Well for any product from a top tier company that focuses on narrative (GW, PP, Corvus Belle’s Infinity, Wyrd’s Malifaux) narrative games are going to asymmetrical. What balances the game is the scenario.

  • This is the most exciting thing for AoS since Hinterlands got released (skirmish is fun but uh…kinda underwhelming)

    • Hinterlands is a nice supplement

    • Grasshopper

      What is the biggest difference between Skirmish and Hinterlands in your opinion?

      • Character advancement mostly, but Hinterlands 3 is going to be a full supplement for skirmish, rather than a competing system so it won’t matter soon

        • Grasshopper

          Oh, that sound good. I skimmed over both systems and find them mostly similiar (besides the cooler advancement rules, as you said, and battleshock). I’m looking forward to Hinterlands 3! You know when it will be ready?

  • So I’m really curious to see if this is “that different” from what’s in the hand book. If it’s priced around skirmish’s price point it might be worth a look

  • Gregory Heyes

    So, this is, what, the third (fourth? fifth?) edition of Path to Glory they’ve done? The original Chaos Warband one they released in White Dwarf, the secondary version (along with the 40K variant) they did on digital…and now this? (I’m not sure if the “Quest for the Grail” variant counts as this).

    Wonder how it’ll work – small units like the first version, or larger ones like the second? The first had a more personal feel, IMO – the second just felt like a random way to create a WFB army.

    • rtheom

      I’d love it if they brought something closer to the first back, but that’s a lot harder to do now since you can’t just buy individual models like you could with the first Path to Glory. A the good and bad ol’ days when you could buy a blister of just 2 beastmen, and then weep when you realized you needed 14 more such blisters…

      • ZeeLobby

        Blisters were fun though. I kind of miss them, haha.

  • Sean Schoonmaker

    Hope they do this for 40K as well!

  • Carey_Mahoney

    Glory points…

    [facepalm]

    • Carey_Mahoney

      Okay, come to think of it, it’s quite funny if not taken too seriously. So yeah, Glory Points…

      Up next: Glory Hardpoints…

      • euansmith

        Get your sword out and poke Glory Holes in to your enemies!

        • Carey_Mahoney

          Actually, my first thought was just that it sounds a bit silly, which was why I made the first comment. But off course, very soon after, the inevitable analogy came to mind…

        • Matthew Pomeroy

          spoken like a nurgle commander!

  • euansmith

    Fingers crossed this will be fun, fast and balanced. Skirmish is quite a laugh, but heroes can be quite mismatched at this scale. Maybe the game needs to be given its own Warscrolls to designed for that style of play.

    As it is, I feel kind of dirty (appropriately) fielding a Plague Lord and Blight Kings whose horrible powers stack up to loads of mortal wounds in the hero phase.

    • Grasshopper

      My fear is that Skirmish has less mobility then AoS. I have seen some games (unfortunately didn’t play myself yet) where the warbands clash on one or two spots (preferably near mission objectives etc.) and hack away till nobody stands. I would prefer something more mobile where you maybe can disengage from melee combat and find a new position to fight. Could it be done by altering warscrolls and adding new abilities? Or could this be done just by moving objectives?

      • euansmith

        Indeed, there is a temptation to go for a tabling. In one mission, it was the only way for my Nurgle Dudes to score any type of victory, as they were too slow moving to walk a relic across the width of the battlefield in six turns. Fortunately, my Khornite opponent could pass up the chance of a scrap, instead of running away from me and scoring at least a Minor Victory.

        • Tabling is often the easiest route to take, and as such many people take it.

          • euansmith

            I wonder what sort of mechanism could be used to avoid that? Maybe making objectives score each turn, and have tabling end the game without scoring any more points?

          • I’ve tried that before and it never went well because its intuitive in general. If I annihilate your army, it would stand to reason that I win the game.

            Unless you are playing a game where I have to hold out for X turns or else I win regardless.

          • Grasshopper

            Phew, that is not a trivial problem indeed. How to make tabeling less interesting without prohibiting it? How to make alternative ways to win a Skirmish battle more enticing? Man, now I wish for somebody who knows game design. It’s really not that easy to construct mechanics that give you one specific result but also feel natural and slick.

          • I’ve been involved in game design for many years. There really is no way to make tabling not the natural inclination since war was about destroying your enemy.

            When people step up to the table to a wargame they have natural assumptions about war and their objective. The game objective may be “take that hill” but their natural inclination will be “destroy the enemy”.

            Now one thing that does lend itself more to “destroy the enemy” is list-building. The second is that in a one-off game, casualties don’t matter.

            Play a chained set of scenarios in a campaign where casualties deplete your forces, and you’ll see a whole new type of game being played, where players do not want to fully commit their forces because they know that they will need them in the following battles.

            However, one off random games and tournament games are what typically dominate any area, and in those type of games where casualties don’t matter, the natural inclination is to charge home with full commitment.

  • I want to do this. This will be a hard sell to my area though.

  • Hagwert

    I think this is a good move, give people as many different ways to play in a setting as possible usually means you increase the overall number of players. Not doing that is one of the things that contributed to the fall of WHFB .

  • Richard Mitchell

    I am still surprised GW still requires a book to run a narrative campaign. The trend for the last 4 years has been running campaigns that can last the entire year as free downloadable content. Only thing you buy is flare…if you are into wearing at least 15 pieces of flare.