The Dawn of a Golden Age is here – but are we aware of it? It’s a bright new day for Age of Sigmar!
Hey BoLS Readers! AdamHarry here and yes I’m going to be talking about Age of Sigmar and referring to some of the new rules from the General’s Handbook. I know that not every one has access to a copy at their FLGS like we do – sorry about that. But it’s coming! You patience will be rewarded.
Golden Age of Sigmar
The term “Golden Age” refers to a time or a period of time where people had peace, harmony, stability and prosperity. The problem with Golden Ages is that they are never the “now” period of time. People are rarely aware they are in that Golden Age. For some players, their Golden Age is some where in the past. Heck, it’s why we do Retro Corners – to remember the good old days through the rose-colored lens of nostalgia.
However, I really do think we’re about to cross into that time with Age of Sigmar by the end of this month. This should be a very exciting time for players of Age of Sigmar! So why is “now” such a good time? It really comes down to 3 things: All the rules are out, we’re all in unexplored territory, and there is no bloat, just basics.
All The Rules Are Out
It’s a very rare thing with a Games Workshop game to have the stars align and have all the rules out for all current models. The last time this happened in a Warhammer Game the world ended! Look back at the tail end of Second Edition of Warhammer 40K the Sisters of Battle had a Codex – every army had rules…Then 3rd Edition dropped a month later invalidating all of it.
The past year has been rocky to say the least for Age of Sigmar. One of the reasons the start was so rocky was because all the books weren’t out. We had that terrible, joke-laden(as in it was full of bad joke rules) starter PDF which was thankfully replaced by the Warscroll Compendium. I do appreciate the fact that GW actually put the rules out and the enormous amount of effort that went into having all those ready right out of the gate, I really do! But the tone of that early PDF felt like a back-handed complement. That soured a LOT of players.
But this time it’s very different. But finally, FINALLY, we have everything we really need to play the game. Real warscrolls for all units. Real Army Construction Rules. Real Points costs! Everything is poised to be the launch product this should have been a year ago. If there is a current model out there for it, you can find a FREE warscroll for it in game. That’s a huge boon for players.
There is also the Summer Campaign which is launching officially next week. Games Workshop has over 1000 stores world wide ready to go with the campaign and it seems like they learned their lessons from the last few times. Each store will have it’s own registration code they can use to report results. This should cut down on the non-sense and keep things above board. But more importantly it causes players to actually feel like their games matter in the “cosmic scale” of things. When you have an objective and you get to score points for your side it’s a good feeling!
One of the Hallmarks of a Golden Age is also the idea of new lands and new discoveries. The Age of Sigmar ruleset is RIPE with new things to be discovered. I was talking to a friend today about all the unit rules for their army and my army. We were both genuinely excited! “Oh man, did you see that this unit can do this now?” I had no idea!
But why didn’t I know about those rules (which have probably been out for over 6 months)? Because I was too focused on my own paranoid and my own army to notice. All of those rules are out there but I doubt anyone really “knows” all the warscrolls or what they can do. For me, there wasn’t a reason to sit down and learn them all. There was no motivation for me because I was afraid of playing “That Guy” with 10 Maw Krushas and ruining everything. (Side note – I never actually met “That Guy” and therefore my fear was completely unfounded and dumb.)
But this game now feels like a clean slate. I’ve said it before, but because we now a have a framework to build armies in, I have the freedom to actually build armies again. For me personally, it was never about the points – it was always about the structure. If we can have preconceived terms on the armies we’re bring to the table then I can work within those limits.
Also, because the canvas is blank, to me it all feels brand new. I’ve got my paints and brushes (Army Construction Rules and Points Limits) and I’m ready to paint some “Happy Chaos Trees” all over this canvas!
No Bloat, Just Basics
I know that it’s strange to follow-up that previous section about not knowing all the rules with a section praising the simplicity of the rules right after – but while all those rule aren’t “known” they are still “knowable” and there is a difference. To make a two comparisons to 40k, Age of Sigmar doesn’t have a ton of crazy formations and it doesn’t have super complex ally rules. Also, all the current formations in the game are EASILY accessible to ANYONE via their AoS App. Sure, you may have to buy them but at least you can see if they are a REAL FORMATION. It’s an indexed list from the manufacturer which is more than I can say from the 40k side.
“Oh really, let me just double check…”
This consolidated and accurate approach makes list building a breeze now. All you need is the General’s Handbook and access to your warscrolls and you’re set. It took me 10 minutes to create a list with this new setup. If I tried to make a list for 40k, it’s going to take me 10 minutes just to get all the right books with all the different formations in one spot.
I don’t need an accountant to double check the math on my lists either. Are you a Tourney Organizer? Have you ever had to spot check a hand-written list? It’s NOT fun. But now, because you don’t have to worry about choosing all those random bits and doodads it’s just simple addition and multiplication. Easy list building leads to easy list reading for everyone – for you, your opponent and your Tournament Organizer.
I also really like combat in Age of Sigmar – this is something that has nothing to do with any of the “new” stuff either. This has been a core mechanic of the game from day one but it’s oft overlooked. Once you’re in combat range activate a unit, roll to hit, roll to wound, they roll to save and then apply damage. There aren’t any charts to memorize and every unit is viable in some way vs every other unit. The defender gets to allocate the wounds but once a model starts taking wounds, it takes them until it’s dead. It’s simple.
This opens up a lot of possibilities for those units you thought were garbage in previous editions. I’m going to field Chaos Marauders with Hand-weapon & shields for the first time EVER because they are cheap and can actually kill things now. That would have been almost unheard of last edition. All of this is possible because in AoS activation matters. If you’re looking for a game where your activation order and your decisions have to be adjusted real time then you should play some Age of Sigmar.
Age of Sigmar is about to hit it’s stride. I don’t know how long this new era is going to last. It could be a year or two, it could be a month. All I know is that things are looking really good right now. Between the easy access to all the rules, the fertile ground of unexplored territory, and the simplicity of building lists & playing – I’m genuinely excited about play Warhammer again. Are you?
So what do you think? Is AoS finally out of it’s “Growing Pains” phase or are you going to wait till the “Golden Age” passes?