Age of Sigmar is the way forward for GW. Here’s why fantasy wargamers should be rejoicing!
Hindsight is 20/20
They say – Be careful what you wish for – you just might get it.
Wargamers around the world this summer are seeing a level of change in the industry that is unprecedented. If you went back one year and told Warhammer 8th edition players who were still enjoying the new Wood Elves book and told them that 12 months later:
– A 5 part End Times series would ship and kill off dozens of main characters
– The Old World would be physically destroyed
– Every existing Army Book would be invalidated and pulled from shelves
– The replacement for Fantasy would do away with square bases
– The new game would be skirmish based initially and have 4 pages of rules total
– The new game would not have point values
They would have said you were insane.
In fact they DID, you can read the entire long and convoluted 9th Edition rumor roundup here and see the information very slowly percolate into the community and be ignored or denounced by the masses. Even old reliable standbys like Harry and Hastings were told they must have gotten incorrect information.
And yet, despite the unthinkable reality of Age of Sigmar – it is actually just what the players had been asking for for years.
– For years, folks said that Fantasy was too steep a climb and needed to have its barriers to entry lowered.
– For years, folks said fantasy needed a set of rules that was easier for players (especially new players) to understand and learn.
– For years, folks said Fantasy desperately needed a skirmish game.
– For years, folks said that GW needed to do something to revive long-ailing WFB.
And Games Workshop has granted all of those wishes. But in a way that no player ever foresaw.
A Plethora of Pinatas
So where does that leave fantasy wargamers?
Actually I think this is the best place the fantasy wargaming community has found itself in years. The choice out there is now wide and all the options are good.
Age of Sigmar – HO!
If you are a Games Workshop fanatic – then Age of Sigmar is the future. You can bet that GW will lavish gratuitous attention on the new system to give it the best change of taking hold and growing into a strong vibrant gaming system. It’s fast, quick to learn, and actually fun. You can get in games in about an hour, and play several in an evening against a like-minded fellow gamer. The minis are fantastic. Players (who have actually played it) we’ve canvased say they have no issues balancing the game among themselves and find it equally if not more balanced than “equal-pointed” 40K! Also if recruiting youngsters and training up the next generation of wargamers in our ever more digital world matters to you, Age of Sigmar is something to keep an eye on.
Onward to Mantica!
If you are truly committed to square bases and ranked unit tactics, then Mantic is going to be your new best friend. Kings of War 2.0 is now the sole square-based fantasy wargame out there. It’s not exactly what Warhammer 8th was, but it’s not too far off either. It’s unit-based rather than model based, with leads to a faster cleaner turn, but it still has that wheeling, flanking feel of old classic Warhammer Fantasy. As an added bonus, you will soon be able to use all of your existing GW armies in the system, and the basic rules will be free for download, with a very affordable hardcover coming next month.
Tell Me About these Gears?
If you do want that skirmish-ish fast placed game in a fantasy setting, don’t care about square bases, and above all want an airtight ruleset designed from the ground up for competition – may I suggest paying the Iron Kingdoms. People have many things to say about Warmachine/Hordes, but complaints of loosey-goosey rules isn’t one of them. You get a company who pays close attention to their customers and has a constantly tuned and updated tournament scene.
Get Off My Lawn!
Finally there are the holdouts. Absolutely nothing is preventing players from using their perfectly functional 8th Edition rulebook with all the army books. I fully expect to see groups of WFB 8th players here and there, breaking off and forming private clubs that will continue to play in the Old World. WFB 8th does have a grand heritage and is 30 years old. It’s not advancing any more, but to be honest that just puts total control for balancing and house rules in the plans of the holdout community. If they have grown to love everything WFB 8th was – and they are happy with the game, who are we, GW, or anyone else to tell them to stop?
More Than One Kind of Happiness
The best part about where we sit is that there is no actual need to choose. The people who are just starting the hobby will have the hardest time, as with zero sunk investment, they can just go where their heart chooses. For those with existing armies and a glass is half-full attitude, look at what has just been thrown in your lap.
– Like WFB 8th and have friends who do also? – Then do NOTHING – keep playing 8th and have fun!
– Wish the game was a little more streamlined and want to meet new friends and a fresh set of opposing armies? Kings of War is ready for you with free rules NOW, and a hardcover priced so cheap GW customers would think it’s just a few pots of paint.
– Tired of fighting against the man? Want something elegant, fast, that is designed to embrace competitive play instead of being dragged kicking and screaming into a structured play environment? Have an unusual fascination with gears, steam engines, and giant robos? Warmachine is for you. Run don’t walk into the arms of Privateer Press. You may never look back.
– Want to start all over with an ultra fast skirmishy game more in tune with modern favorites like X-Wing or Malifaux, but still be able to use all your Warhammer minis – then Age of Sigmar awaits. The $125 gets you the rules and 2 viable starter armies (that I’m sure you can trade one for and end up with double of your favorite). And you get to stay in the basking glow of ongoing GW product support. (if you’re into that type of thing)
Far from a Dark Age of Fantasy, my friends we are in a Golden Age.
What road(s) to fun will you choose?