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Age of Sigmar: The Modular Rules Format – Less ‘Upfront Rules’ And More Options Later

5 Minute Read
Mar 29 2024

Warhammer: Age of Sigmar is getting a massive rules re-write but are the Modular Rules innovative or unnecessary?

Yesterday Games Workshop revealed the overall structure of the new Modular Rules for Warhammer: Age of Sigmar. At first glance this really just seems like a structural or formatting change to how the rules are presented. But digging a little deeper reveals some interesting tweaks to how you can play the game. That’s the important part of these changes. But are these a solution in search of a problem? How different are these changes and are they really necessary for Age of Sigmar to begin with?

Modular Rules: The Setup

This is a high level overview of how the rules are structured. The Core Rules cover:

  • Moving
  • Fighting
  • Shooting
  • Unit Coherency
  • Objectives

Anyone that’s played Warhammer can tell you these are fundamental to pretty much all Warhammer games. I doubt these rules are going to be so vastly different that they will feel very alien to veteran players. These are indeed the “core” rules for the game. Now, as for the Advanced Rules, there are some interesting segments within those:

  • Commands
  • Terrain
  • Magic
  • Army Composition
  • Command Models
  • Battle Tactics

These do indeed feel like more “advanced” rules for the game. Specifically once you start dabbling in Commands, Command Models, and Battle Tactics — those (to me) are really where the tactical depth of Age of Sigmar come from. It’s also interesting to note that Army Composition is listed here as well. Normally, “How To Compose Your Army” is towards the front of things as you have to build an army before you can play it. I’m curious to see all these rules and how they work together.

Modular Rules: Redefining Your Games

Here we get a look at exactly how these rules will be used. We’ve got four different examples and it all starts to make a bit more sense. Spearhead (the new “pick-up a box and play” game mode) will just use the Core Rules. Obviously, you’ll have warscrolls and unit rules, but those will all be a part of the Spearhead mechanics. You’re also not really building an army as Spearhead boxes do that for you. So it makes sense that Army Comp isn’t part of this.

Next we have Path To Glory, Matched Play, and the General’s Handbook. The main difference here is Path to Glory doesn’t use Battle Tactics and General’s Handbook rules use additional Seasonal Rules.


I’m not 100% sure why Path To Glory doesn’t use Battle Tactics. Then again, we haven’t gotten a solid look at those either. They might add an unnecessary layer for the game mode. Matched Play uses everything except the Seasonal Rules. I find this interesting as currently the GHB Seasonal Rules help to reshape the meta for the Tournament Scene and is where you see a lot of the Matched Play data (like win-rates) pulled from.

And then finally we have the General’s Handbook that uses everything. I have a feeling that the GHB is basically going to have sections that essentially replace entire chunks of rules from the Advanced Section — which is why it’s setup like this. And thus we have the “Modular Rules” format.

It certainly seems like GW has some big ideas on how these Modular Rules will be used in the future. We might see big meta reworks like the Battlescroll updates that push out errata or entire sections via this system. Overall, it sounds similar to what we have now in many ways. So who is this new system really for?

Modular Rules: To Help The New Players


Let’s be real here: This is to help new players get into the game quickly and cleanly. Having Spearhead games just use the core rules is smart. Why? Because these games are supposed to be fast (less than an hour) and the army boxes are ready to play as soon as you get them built. The games will help new players learn the CORE rules quickly. That’s exactly what you want for new players.

As an example, when AoS 3.0 launched our local AoS group, The Weirdnobz, ran an escalation league with some custom rules. It cut down on a lot of the extra rules and just focused on how to actually play with out all the “extras” to worry about. The missions were super simple and the game sizes started small and escalated. This was (in many ways) the Spearhead format. And it worked great! Lots of folks re-learned AoS 3.0 and folks quickly got up-to-speed and ready to play Matched Play and beyond.

I know a lot of players are going to want to dive right in and play in the Matched Play format immediately. That’s fine. But personally, I want to check out a few games of Spearhead to get my feet wet with the new edition. Plus it will give me a chance to start a new Spearhead army…which I also think is the other reason GW is doing this move. I see what you’re doing GW and I am looking forward to trying it out.

Modular Rules: For Everyone?

So are these Modular Rules going to be for everyone? I think ultimately yes, they will be. Sure Spearhead is for the new players — or really anyone looking to get in some quick games (nothing wrong with that). But the more advanced stuff like the Seasonal Rules are going to be where we see some long-tail impacts of the Modular Rules. Unfortunately, we don’t know much in regard to the Seasonal Rules or even how the Advanced Sections work. Therefore, it’s hard to speculate on exactly what GW could swap out. But we do have this tidbit to work with:

“Say, for example, we find out during the course of a season of Matched Play that the economy of Command points isn’t quite right for competitive play. We don’t need to issue an errata online; instead, we could have a new General’s Handbook with a new Command Module that is both thematically resonant and helps evolve the internal balance. If we want to bring that Advanced Rule module back in the future, we can.”

I think that’s really the benefit for the veteran players. GW could change the game up without having to do entire rewrites. It still approachable to new players and it gives them some runway for the veterans to mix things up with. Personally, I want to play with “No Magic” and that’s something that could actually happen in this new edition.


So what do you think of the Modular Rules? Are they innovative or unnecessary? 

Author: Adam Harrison
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