I finally managed to rope in an old friend whom used to play Warhammer Fantasy with me back in 3rd Edition to give Age of Sigmar spin. To keep things quick I just threw together a small Skaven and Chaos Warrior/Daemon force with a mix of different unit types. Since it was a learning game we weren’t overly worried about the game being balanced in terms of totalling wounds, warscrolls or even looking at one of the burgeoning pseudo points system:
The Skaven force consisted of:
1 x Warlock Engineer
1 x Warpfire Thrower Weapon Team
1 x Poisoned Wind Mortar Weapon Team
2 x Rat Ogres (run as independent units just to mix things up a bit).
10 x Plague Monks (single unit with leader, musician & standard)
10 x Clanrats (single unit with leader, musician & standard)
The Chaos Warrior/Daemon force consisted of:
1 x Nurgle Chaos Sorcerer
10 x Plaguebearers (single unit with leader)
2 x Chaos Spawn (run as independent units)
2 x Putrid Blightkings (single unit, since I only had two painted and assembled)
I kind of expected the Chaos force to be a bit outnumbered, but decided to ignore the alternative victory conditions and just aimed to slaughter each other as this was only a training game. We threw down a gaming matt and a half dozen clumps of vegetation to act as terrain (the only aesthetically suitable options from my 40k/sci-fi terrain collection) and jumped straight in.
Some quick observations:
– The core game mechanics are very simple to pick-up and we have pretty minimal flipping to check core rules which I normally find is an issue with Fantasy/40k if like me you aren’t a regular player.
– Our game played in a little over 4-5 turns/1 hr of time which is perfect for me for a quick ‘school night’ game where available time is at a premium.
– Unfortunately my AoS Tablet version was playing up so I fell back to using my laptop for reference. This was less than ideal as there was a lot of flipping between different PDFs/war scrolls to remind ourselves of the special rules. If I had been better prepared I would have greatly preferred to have printed out reference sheets for everything in advance as that would have really helped speed of play and being effective as we missed quite of the rules out in the early turns.
– There doesn’t seem to be much tactical depth at first glance. If there is more to it than our initial impression then it will probably be based around making use of unit synergies, magic spells and heroic abilities to buff the effectiveness of your troops at key moments.
– I have seen a lot of online complaints from old school Fantasy players that the AoS rules make for a game more like 40k. I actually disagree with this as the similarity with 40k is cosmetically linked to the round bases & skirmish style movement of units. I think the core game mechanics (in terms of the simplicity of hitting & wounding) are actually more closely related to Epic40k and ironically enough Kings of War’s systems than current 40k game system.
– For a casual / beer & pretzel style games these work well for us: although I was slaughtered to a man, we both had fun and would be happy to play again.
Age of Sigmar won’t become my first choice option for a large scale / whole day gaming experience, but it is plays sufficiently quickly that I can probably manage to squeeze a quickly monthly game into my schedule now which simply wasn’t possible with Warhammer Fantasy. I’ll be interested to see how the game develops over the next few months and more importantly what the new style & direction of the new figures is – I’m not completely sold on the Sigmarines, but I find the new chaos figures rather tempting.