Pimpcron: AoS or 40K – Which is Better?
Pimpcron takes it all apart for you.
Well, well, well. Here you are again. You came crawling back, didn’t you? Well so did I, because we both the other’s legs last week. Please just keep your anger in the comments section, no need for fisticuffs. I have been doing some figuring about Age of Sigmar and 40k, despite the court order to stop figuring. To be so similar, these games have some distinct differences.
Models and Hobby
Age of Sigmar tends to be more hoardy, coming from its roots in Warhammer Fantasy Battles. Of course this isn’t always the situation with armies such as Ogor Kingdoms, by and large you will probably be painting more models if you play AoS. That’s great if you just love to paint scores of models, but it often gets tedious when you’re on your 47th Skeleton Warrior.
Toughness Versus Wounds
40k uses a fluctuating wounding system where you compare the attacker’s strength versus the defender’s toughness. AoS uses a fixed “X+” to wound with weapons but generally features more hit points as a way to make beefier units … well, beefier. As a matter of game play balance, it is theoretically much easier to mathhammer AoS because all the probability is constant. This is like a seal trying to balance on a large cube, because I am bad at analogies. When they are trying to set the point cost of a model based off their stats, it is far easier to properly price a model if they will reliably deal X amount of damage each turn.
Warhammer 40k is much harder to balance because of the flexible nature of the wounding system. Like a pelican balancing on a large ball, a model in 40k is not in a vacuum. The pelican would certainly die, much like the seal if it were also in a vacuum. Come to find out, living creatures don’t like vacuums; vacuums are much too confining and too dusty to support life.
Anyway, a 40k model is not in a vacuum because how do you point cost a model when its damage output is variable? Certainly, a Guardsman’s Lasgun is theoretically worth more points if all his enemies are toughness 1 with no save. A Lasgun would be worth much less if the enemy is toughness Kazillion with a save of 1+. I don’t know how they do it, but my guess would be to gauge all model costs versus how deadly they are to a common enemy, say toughness 4, 4+ save or something. Either way, it is not easy.
This is a tough one, because I like the way that 40k wounds better as it is more interesting, but AoS is definitely more likely to be balanced. I guess I’d have to say that AoS is “better” due to balance, but that goes against what I like personally.
“No, no, no, no …”
Stratagems and Command Points
When 40k first started out in 8th edition, everything was pretty nice and balanced, with a minimal amount of Command Points, and only a few common stratagems. Then everything just went crazy and you’ve got people rolling up to the table wielding sometimes upward of seventy-five Command Points or something stupid. Then they just unleash all their pent-up rage on turn one like they’re dropping a spirit bomb. I personally think that Command Points should be reduced from where they are now.
Age of Sigmar is much more limited on Command Points which causes players to use them more carefully. Stratagems are also much, much less frequently used because of this. I approach my view on Command Points like my view on salads: the fewer the better. Now, don’t think it’s just because I’m fat that I hate both Stratagems and Command Points. I’ve hated salads since long before I was fat. Anyway, I feel like AoS’ approach to Command Points and the use of them is much better and not as prone to spamming. Another key feature to AoS stratagems is that they require a unit to be in proximity to a Hero or General. This is sooooooo much better and strategic than the way 40k’s stratagems are applied.
“Wait, that can’t be true.”
I think we can all agree that weapon options are what make a strategy game more fun. If you don’t agree then get the hell out of my article. While AoS does have some weapon options, they are treated as the same price regardless of what they do because they don’t affect the unit point cost at all. 40k on the other hand, is very granular with its points per model with some things being a low as 1 point.
I personally think that being able to take 1 Meltagun in a squad, while another takes 2 or whatever is much more strategic. AoS is mostly just “every model in this unit either takes X or Y”. This is another hard one to decide on. AoS’ system is much easier to list build which is better for everyone. Being that they are all the same points cost, it generally forces the design team to attempt to make all weapons different but equal damage output.
40k relies much heavier on the points costs to be appropriate which we all know is hard to do. That being said, I love the freedom 40k affords in list building, but how much does it actually matter? Hmmmm. I call it a draw technically, so I will break the tie with my own personal opinion, which everyone knows is better than objective science anyway.
“Yes, let the winning flow through you.”
They are so similar, yet so different. Overall I’d have to say 40k is my favorite, but the design on AoS often is better developed. AoS has many design choices that are geared towards balance, I’d say. I think I have to go with AoS if we are talking strictly which game is best overall.
AGREE? DISAGREE? Tell me below!
Hey! This article is brought to you by my top-tier Patreon supporter Mike Cowley!
Thanks Michael, smooches!
We’re on Podbean, Stitcher, iTunes, Spotify, and others!
Pimpcron’s Narrative Wargaming Supplement
Or contact me at [email protected] for the latest rules if you don’t do the Facebooks.