Sunday, July 26, 2015

Age Of Sigmar (our thoughts)



WARNING!!! RANT INBOUND!!!! CURSING AND HYPERBOLE AHEAD!! PROCEED WITH CAUTION!!!



How I feel these days

So let me start this off by making one thing abundantly clear, the opinions we express here are our own. We are not telling anyone they are wrong for enjoying this game (John is) or that any differences in opinion are less valid than our own. (oh they definitely are) That being said, if I see comments on this article saying that we are the "crying minority", "whiners", or any other derogatory or disparaging remarks I will delete them with extreme prejudice. We welcome and encourage reasonable and civil discussion, not trolling or comments demonstrating a complete lack of intelligence. I am saying this because that very situation occurred in my gaming group and I will not waste time with it on my own blog.

TL/DR version: I won't delete comments that disagree with our opinion, but I will delete comments that are purposefully dickish.

So with that out of the proceed if ye dare....

OVERVIEW:
John: They are trying to sell more models.
Why not make a edition of fantasy and create another mini game? Mordheim ring a bell? If you want small unit tactics and what not, it seems like there is a better way to start that game than killing one of your major projects. Call me crazy but I like the large armies in fantasy over what always feels like a skirmish in 40k. I like having lots of ranked up units in formation. I get the want for a skirmish system but why kill the game, rules and lore that had worked so well. Bob will provide more insight than I will here. 

Bob: Age of Sigmar instantly reminds me of Warmachine/Hordes to be honest. One of the main reasons I got into Fantasy was the format of the game. Block regiments of soldiers representing larger formations (like historical miniatures) maneuvering for an advantage with magic and monsters is a huge factor in my love of Fantasy. I don't even think that LotR is a fair comparison to make. LotR/ The Hobbit was a well thought out and crafted game system, Age of Sigmar is no such thing at this point. I can see that GW really wanted to create a truly simplified and streamlined rule set, and that in and of itself is not a bad thing. I have heard folks complain that Fantasy was more difficult to get a grasp on compared to 40k (an apples and oranges comparison in my opinion). 4 pages of rules with no release of a more advanced version (at the time of writing) is not the way to do this. Before this gets bogged down in ranting I would like to point out a few things I think GW has gotten right with this release:

1) Free rules: Making the core rules as well as the temporary versions of the old armies free to download was a very smart move. This gives anyone remotely interested in trying the game out the opportunity to at least read the rules and it gives old players an opportunity to jump right in and try it without having to buy anything new.

2) The models in the starter set do look nice. 



Well that is all that really comes to mind at the moment........To expand on what John had mentioned above about the desire for a skirmish game I really and truly do not understand why GW felt the need to nuke their oldest and founding game system. A robust skirmish/warband rules set could have happily coexisted alongside a 9th edition. This could have served as a great way to expand interest in the Fantasy range and provide people who may have been on the fence about getting into Fantasy a way to play something besides the rank and file battle system while still having the option to expand at a later date. I don't think I would be remiss in saying that the cost of entry for Fantasy had become massively detrimental to new player taking the plunge. Hell, it is/was a pain in the ass for those of us wanting to start new armies or finish out collections. This problem could easily have been solved by retooling the need to take blocks of 40+ models. Not every army is a hoard army and shouldn't be pigeonholed into becoming one. Bring the unit sizes back down to previous levels of 20-30 and introduce some mechanism to balance them against a hoard. 

You finally did it blah blah

LORE:
John: Lore, we finally killed the good guys. who didn't see this coming? For me part of the enjoyment is the story line. That fun gets killed when you say the good guys lose it all, terminate the story, and make anything else pointless. And wtf is up with this multiple plain bs that is similar to how the old world was? Seems like if you are going to blow up the world you shouldn't keep any of the traces in the new game. Seems like GW is both rubbing it in our face that yes indeed they did kill fantasy, and also want us to play by keeping recognizable pieces. Also Sigmar is back? wtf? Chaos gods win but they don't notice the human god sitting around influencing stuff? 

Bob: Where to start with this mess. I agree 100% with John, this new lore makes no damn sense if you stop to think about it as a player familiar with the Old World. So you do The End Times (the god awful mess that it was) and kill off lots of characters and make a huge deal out of their deaths and sacrifices only to turn right around after blowing up the world and have some of the biggest characters poof back into existence? What the hell? Why bother destroying the lore if you are just going to bastardize it and keep the major characters anyway? I will be honest with you good readers, I haven't really delved that deeply into the new lore for a variety of reasons (1. I don't want to 2. What I have read doesn't make me want to change #1 and 3. unless somebody loans me a copy I refuse to spend money on this train wreck).

GAMEPLAY:
John: Can't really speak to this because more than likely I will never play it. I hardly ever get to play fantasy, because of a small crowd and now that it has been whitewashed. I have no desire to try a new game, buying a crap ton more models, for a crappy system. All I have seen are rumors of rules so this may change in time.
1. weird charge rules. you can either charge or just move within 3" of the target and you automatically assume combat is started. uhm ok, wtf?

2. the bases don't matter. kinda makes sense if you are trying to let people use old models, but that was one of the key things in fantasy. you could build this bad ass model with a gigantic sword pointing at the enemy and it had no drawbacks, except for trying to rank up that sob. now you have a sword pointing out an inch that expands how big the target is for your model. Remember three inches from that sword point. I imagine a lot of arguing on model facings and guys spending 5 mins making sure their models are looking the right direction, or the big pointy piece is sticking towards the opponent. Dumb waste of time.

3. Rearranging the phases, with magic/commands first, then movement then other stuff I am meh about. I can see the reasoning, but again not enough reason to start a new game.

4. Take whatever you want. dear lord, really GW? Another gaming system that lets you take whatever you want and the balancing doesn't matter. That one of my favorite changes to the fantasy rules was the breakdown of percentage. Whatever version I started with required 2 core and the rest didn't matter and games sucked. Then came the percentages and suddenly players couldn't field their Cthulhu model and you started fighting battles, not duels of ZOMG-iness, or who could out hero the other player. Warhmmer fantasy was about battles, and the rules reflected this. Now we are back to who can build the smashiest model. take all my nopes. 

5. Combat: doesn't matter what you are hitting or wounding it all based your stats. doesn't matter how bad or good the enemy is

Bob: So I did play a game of AoS recently. I will sum up my impression of the game and mechanics in one word: MEH. It wasn't horrible nor was it the best thing since fermented fruits and grains. It was simply OK.The entire time I was playing I had one thought lodged front and center in what passes for my brain: they replaced Fantasy with THIS bs?!?!
Say word, Ricky.

Let's start with the whole lack of army construction rules. I am not a tournament player nor am I overly competitive. I like to have fun games with both forces fairly evenly matched against each other. Wanting a point system or some other mechanism of army construction is not a desire to make the game competitive or restricted, but rather a way to attempt to reign in the worst aspects of army building (ie the curbstomping potential of unscrupulous players). When the inevitable asshole shows up and plops down the A-Team of his factions heroes or whatever else fun ruining combination they can possibly take then you have two options: walk away because there is nothing in the rules that say he can't do that, or fight fire with fire. While this scenario is the extreme example, what I ran into seems like the all too likely problem. My friend Scott took the Chaos units from the box set, but split his marauders into two units of 10. I had no damn clue what to take against that to make a fair game. Part of that was my unfamiliarity with the new rules and units, but the more glaring problem was the fact that other than a body count or wound count (both highly inaccurate methods of balancing a force) I had no real frame of reference for building my list. So in the end I wound up taking this:

mounted general with lance, 20 halberdiers, 10 handgunners, 3 demigryphs, 10 greatswords, 1 priest with greathammer

I threw this together off the top of my head and to me it looked like a fair match up. Thanks to atrocious dice rolling on Scott's part coupled with the Demigryphs and Greatswords murdering anything they touched it was anything but an even match. So what did I learn in the process of giving the rules a try?

1) The game has a glaring lack of customization in it. Gone are magic items and meaningful weapon/armour options. Besides a few attacks and maybe a rend difference all of the weapons did basically the same thing. Also, this whole schtick of having each factions shields do different things is ridiculous. A shield is a shield unless it has been ensorcelled.

2) Multiple Heroes are an absolute necessity. The buff the Chaos icon bearer gives is basically a must take.

3) Shooting whilst in close combat and into close combat with no penalties is stupid as hell.

4) Measuring closest point to closest point is incredibly dumb and begging for exploitation. Hell, you don't even have to purposefully do anything to certain models in order to get an extra inch or so.

5) 1" unit cohesion is pointless. With only an inch you may as well have stuck with regiments.....

6) The real depth (what little there is) of the game comes from determining what order you want to do your combats in. Having the 3" pile in for anyone who damn well pleases is also a big deal when setting up supporting units.

7) The random turn priority is just dumb. Oh you wanted to at least maneuver your units and get some shooting off? Too bad I just shot you to shit and charged your units. Charge reactions? You don't get no stinking charge reactions. If they didn't want to stay with an alternating turn sequence I would have humbly suggested something more in line with Bolt Action's random activation method. 


THOUGHTS AND RAMBLING

Bob: So like I said in my last article about what hobby purchases I made while in France, I picked up the White Dwarf with the free Sigmarine in it. Now that I have also gotten to see the Chaos components from the starter box one thing is very clear, we are in for a scale change. The Marauders (or whatever they are called now) are more in line with the old Chaos Warriors kit and the new Warriors are a size up from that. The Sigmarines are closer to Terminators in size and share the same bases. What is my point with this? Well, if all the new models are this larger scale (32mm by my estimation) they are going to look real out of place with any older collections or facing them across the table. I realize that this isn't an issue for some people and that nobody is going to force you to buy these new models, but it is another smack in the face for folks who already have a Fantasy collection. Not only did you destroy our game, but you also changed the scale of the models thus making our old ones smaller in comparison? Dick move, GW.




Speaking of the old armies and models, all I have to say about the silly rules and slapdash effort that went into making the old armies balanced is this:


Rickyisms are the best.


And if you think 40k isn't going to get hit with something like this in the next few years you are sadly mistaken. The timelines in each of the new Codecies has steadily been advancing the narrative towards a point of no return. Hell, the current chronological period is called "the time of ending" and these story advances are all pointing towards Abbadon marching on Terra and the Golden Throne failing. If GW does to 40k what they did to Fantasy they will be committing sales suicide. And if you entirely discount the possibility of them doing this you may want to take a minute and look back what they just did to Fantasy.

So that does it for this rant, folks. I probably didn't cover everything I should have/wanted to in this so a part 2 may be needed in the future. For the record, I plan on trying at least one more game of AoS out to try out another of my soon to be obsolete armies. Time will tell of Age of Sigmar is going to be a success or not. I may take another look at it in 6 months or so to see what GW decided to bring out and if any more advanced rules/FAQs get released. Until then, both John and I will happily be sticking with 8th.




24 comments:

  1. on a world where ogres and blightkings exist ... the scaling part of the article sounded dumb as hell

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    1. I think the idea is that if you want to add a coming new release to an existing army they might look funny being 20% taller than the other guys in the army.

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    2. Well aracerss, your apparent confusion can be alleviated by perhaps rereading this little excerpt: "The Marauders (or whatever they are called now) are more in line with the old Chaos Warriors kit and the new Warriors are a size up from that. The Sigmarines are closer to Terminators in size and share the same bases. What is my point with this? Well, if all the new models are this larger scale (32mm by my estimation) they are going to look real out of place with any older collections or facing them across the table."

      And thank you, eriochrome. I am glad you at least read the actual content.

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    3. aren't they their own army in the first place? ... what out of place are you getting at from an army different from empire or bretonnia ... unless you wish to align/rank both in some way

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    4. is like facing ogres in the end

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    5. I realize that the Sigmarines and the Empire/Bretonia are not the same faction. The point I am trying to make is that there is a noticeable difference in size between ALL of the newer models and the older ones. It is a completely DIFFERENT scale (32mm as opposed to heroic 28mm). All of the previous models are scaled to fit in with each other. Everything fell within the 28mm scale range. If I can snag a photo of the newer chaos marauders and warriors compared to the old ones I will post it. They are simply larger models compared to their older counterparts. So no, it isn't like facing Ogres at all. If this new scale is the norm than eventually everything for AoS will be larger than its Fantasy counterpart. Hence my complaint.

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    6. If you genuinely would like a more clear example of scale differences I would be happy to provide clear examples (with pictures). Just say the word and I will make it happen :)

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    7. I would like to see the new vs old marauders and new vs old chaos warriors if you can take it.

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    8. I will see about getting that up here as soon as I can. Should be able to bum the models off my friend to get some photos taken.

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  2. Age of Sigmar is not even close to being a skirmish game. It is best described as a battle game with skirmish movement/measurement. Rules and customization have really been set at having things done on a unit level which is very battle game. But the individual model (not base) movement and measurement is very skirmish in nature where turning a model with a spear sticking out costs you significant movement.

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    1. I can totally see it as a battle game with skirmish rules. It seems like it has a bit of an identity crisis. In terms of the size of engagements I would still classify it as a skirmish game (small units, small to medium sized forces, loose order).

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    2. The battle game factors are like the limited unit customization and the to hit and damage rolls now being only based on the attacker, the damage as removed by owning units choice is also very simple and battle like.

      Some units have advantages listed up to 20-30 guys so small unit is not really clearly the goal.

      40K is actually more skirmish than this game but that is sort of where it started and just formed into larger game as GW pushed more models.

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    3. 40k was like that in terms of removal of casualties at one point in the not too distant past.

      The advantage of larger units isn't really that great until you get above the 30 mark. The new Sigmarines aren't being sold to play to that though. I haven't really seen their rules so they may have something different.

      I do get where you are coming from though and would agree that perhaps battle is a better word for it.

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    4. I am really curious to see what they do beyond the current Sigmar extravaganza.

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  3. This rant NEEDS MORE RAGE!!!

    I'm really hoping it tanks because: (1) They deserve it for what they did to WHFB & (2) To keep them from doing it to 40k (though at this point, I'm thinking of just sticking with 5th/6th ed and ignoring 7th altogether, so what they do in the future may not even matter to me).

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    1. Man, all the rage over this got expended months ago. At this point it is more absolute disappointment and betrayal. I don't even want this to tank. I just don't care about it.

      As to 40k, if they go down this kind of bull shit road with it I am happy to stick with 7th or 6th. 7th in and of itself isn't bad at all as long as you set up a few guidelines about army selection.

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    2. Man, everyone sounds really butthurt. Games Workshop is a company and their goal is to make money. They are great and I love their games.

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    3. Thank you anonymous for that insightful comment. Next.

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  4. Anonymous, I can respect that they need to make money but there is no need to kill WHF to achieve this. Launch AoS as a separate game, and see if it out performs WHF. GW just gambled their bottom line on a new game replacing an old one and being more popular. And popular enough to offset the loss of WHF. If they had done AOS as a separate game I would have bought in, gotten army, played for a year then sold the models in all likelihood. As Bob has alluded to numerous times GW used to be a gaming company where the game was more important than the bottom line. And you know what, it worked and grew them into the largest gaming company in the world with several breakoffs, video games and widely popular books. Now they have gone to a company concerned on increasing profits instead of quality of game. The last two editions of fantasy and maybe the last two in 40k have gone down this path. And suddenly with the mindset change they start having money issues. Instead of reverting back to what worked and tweaking from there they have now thrown everything out the window to start a new system. Sometimes the thing to do when you find yourself in a hole is to stop digging, but GW called in the excavator and are going for broke.

    To sum up AoS may not be that bad, but dong take away fantasy.

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  5. Wow. A troll like that an DLWDG would have gotten a lot more rage... from at least Da Masta Cheef.

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    1. If you'll recall my post was also along the same lines of utter disappointment, and didn't reach the 'Rant' stage till the fanbois lit me up in the comments...

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  6. Anonymous: for a company to want to make money, they shouldn't piss off the previous generation of buyers who have made them all the money they now have. I have no intention of going forward with AoS, and I (and all the other veteran WFB players) have all the toys we need to keep playing the game we want to play.

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    1. I have very mixed feelings about them to say the least.

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