The community has been watching Age of Sigmar for the last month with bated breath. Here’s the industry word on the street:
1) The Game is Selling. Various folks at GENCON have told BoLS that Age of Sigmar is in fact off to a solid start. It is moving in respectable numbers and is breathing new live into the Warhammer line. Product is moving through the channel in numbers Warhammer Fantasy has not seen in years. It’s not anything like 40k, but its a good place to build from. What Age of Sigmar hasn’t done is sink like a stone to the bottom of the retail sea.
2) Lots of Gamers Like the New system. The community is mixed and there were always going to be oldtimers who loved everything that WFB 1st-8th Edition. Age of Sigmar was never going to be thier cup of tea. But there is equally a growing set of both 40k, some WFB players, and NEW PLAYERS who are having a fantastic time with the game, and genuinely having fun playing with their friends – yes with a 4 page rulebook.
There is a surging casual player market that seems to be flooding the entire industry at this time. Age of Sigmar may have had close to perfect timing to introduce a new generation of newbie gamers into miniature wargaming with an introductory product that doesn’t require a degree in math, or keeping up with the game’s meta on an hour by hour basis to learn.
3) GW is Cranking out Quality Products to Support the Game. Regardless of what you think of the rules themselves, Nottingham is knocking out high quality miniatures and lavish books week after week after week. The Stormclad Eternal line is now up to a nice core range, (certainly bigger than Grey Knights were when GW launched thier 40K codex), and the book released so far features some of the most lavish artwork and quality layout we’ve seen from GW in a bit. The core Age of Sigmar hardcover (more on that later) is a product BoLS would put on a higher level than the standard 40K codex. If you haven’t flipped through a copy the book or seen the Eternals in your hands, you really should, just to get a feel for the effort GW put into the launch range.
4) Retailers are Moving Product. Retailers who BoLS has reached out to are saying the following: They were pleasantly surprised with Age of Sigmar’s sales numbers, and the products are going out to customers smoothly with little grousing and/or returns. The products look to be moving in higher than expected numbers across the launch range from the boxed set to the follow-up miniatures. Retailers who went “all in” and heavily pushed the new system reported strong sales into their player communities.
The verdict. Thumbs Cautiously Up.
Age of Sigmar was never going to be the cup of tea for a large number of the (dwindling) WFB 8th community, but it may have been just what the doctor ordered. A gateway into the casual gaming community and a doorway for those new gamers to be introduced to Games Workshop. And regardless of what GW, or other brand of wargames you play – that should be something you should get behind.
~ New blood in our beloved hobby today will pay dividends for us all years down the road.