So, I finally got around to reading the Age of Sigmar rules (yes, it’s only four pages long but, as silence ’round these parts might indicate, I’ve been busy) and the Skaven and Empire warscrolls.
I’ve tried to remain objective about it all. I got into this hobby painting Skaven over twenty years ago, and I’ve liked each new edition of Fantasy better than the last… so I’ve got a lot of love tied up in Fantasy. But, I also recognize that it’s been known for quite some time that Fantasy hasn’t been doing as well as GW wants it to. We’ve known that GW had to and was going to do something drastic.
It’s a scary, really. That company was built on Warhammer Fantasy, and it’s such a mainstay that the idea it could just go away is more than a little terrifying. I saw (and am unable to relocate) a great post that threw down about the Age of Sigmar response in the context of the five stages of grief.
So, like I said: I’ve tried to stay objective about it and try to take the game for what it is and not try to smother it with expectations for it fueled by WHFB.
Anyway: I’m not sure.
The rules don’t look awful. They look a little simpler than I’d like. I have a feeling that they’re missing a thing or two, but I need to actually roll dice around them before I can really have an opinion. It’s the only way I can really learn rules.
The warscrolls like they more or less captured the flavor of the units they were converting. I’m nonplussed that every unit has a couple of special rules. I’ve grown to dislike that sort of them. They’re not so involved that they seem exhausting (which was my response to Malifaux, 1E at least), so that’s a point in their favor… but the same rule works differently for different units. Musicians let this unit Stand and Shoot, that unit counter-charge, and this other unit shoot or charge if it runs. That bugs me.
People have cherry-picked goofy rules out of them. Congratulations: you can read! Things like that are definitely the exception and not the rule: there’s 1 or 2 of them in the Empire doc, out of over 30. They’re not a thing worth getting het up over.
Army construction is a topic that’s been done to death. I have nothing to add beyond that I’m looking forward to at least little more structure. In theory, we’ll be getting that. I’d like more guidance around options. The Description sections bug me. Some of them read like they were optimized for running through Google Translate. Others are verbose to the point of being a challenge to make sense of. Look at the Stormfiends section: that all could be expressed with “each may be equipped with one of the following: – Ratling Cannon and Clubbing Blows, – Warpfire Projector and Clubbing Blows, – Doom-flayer Gauntlets and Warp-laced Armor” etc. That’d be a heck of a lot more clear and succinct than “some guys take X and others take Y and maybe if they feel like it, they could take Z but we’re not going to really opine whether or not you can take X and Z or Y and Z or only Y and Z or maybe just Z alone but that’d be silly.”
Also, it seems pretty clear to me that multiple models in a[n infantry] unit may be Standard Bearers and [Musicians]. “Models in this unit may be Standard Bearers. If the unit includes any Standard Bearers, it can retreat and still charge in the same turn.” (Clanrats) Now, one thing we do know about the game at this point is that it relies on as little assholery as possible, and the idea of taking multiple standard bearers in a unit seems like a move contrary to that “don’t be a dick” spirit the game calls for… but there’s an unambiguous plural there, and “there may only be one standard bearer per unit” is, fundamentally, a WHFB concept and may not be appropriate to W:AoS. What I’m trying to get at is: I’d like there to be more guidance around what should be taken and when: one standard bearer per unit? Per 10 models? Per 20? for example.
So: it doesn’t look bad, but a few things seem rougher than I’d like. I need to get a few games in with it before I can have a truly informed opinion… but that’s going to be tricky with Historicon this week (so pumped!) and our first move in a decade(!) going down immediately afterwards. Hopefully I’ll get the chance to play it a couple of times before everyone else has had the chance to play it, the newness has worn off, and they’ve moved on.
Fluff around the setting is a completely different subject: I haven’t read what comes with the box yet, and the book obviously isn’t out yet. What little we’ve heard feels incredibly designed-by-committee and is boring as heck, but that amounts to so little: that might mean nothing.
Anyway, those are my initial thoughts. Shades has a reaction that is, I think, more negative but more cogent that’s worth a read.