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W:AoS Impressions
#1
Ok folks, this is without playing a game, but having spent an amount of money on Age of Sigmar, and having spoken and heard from people, this is my impression on the game system.

Quick over view for RedWarSoc, this might be an fantastic game system.

Time to explain, why that is my feelings.

Firstly the rules, or lack of them, mean that the game is very simple to pick up and play. There are glaring things missing from these rules though, the most obvious being the Army List building and points cost. This is obviously a very strange way to play the game, however what it does mean is that a degree of not being a dick, comes into force when picking an army. On the flip side, it encourages scenario play which is the best way to play the game.

Next there actually appears to be a huge amount of tactics in the game. Now for this having not played a game, I am going off other peoples opinions. The most obvious one revolves around the combat phase, in that order of combat selection. If previous editions of the game, all sides fight in one combat. In AoS the player whose turn it is choses a unit to fight, then his opponent choses a unit, but that unit doesn't have to be one who just defended. Then there is the battle rounds and how that plays into your decisions. It could be that player A gets the first turn, then Player B, then Player A, the Player B, then Player B gets another turn. If your going second in a battle round, do you push a unit, hoping to get back to back turns, or do you play defensively, incase your opponent wins the turn? Thats just the start from the basic rules, but this blog, covers more hidden tactics.

Having purchased both W:AoS and Quest for Ghal Maraz, I think that the content of these books might be ideal for the ideologies of some people in Redditch. Each book contains a number of scenarios, and from what I have heard this is vital to enjoyment in the game. A straight up fight, in many game systems is boring, so with GW actively publishing scenarios (16 in a month,) it adds a great variety in game play. These scenarios even include rules where if one player outnumbers the other, by a third they automatically take a certain role in the game. Add to that the inclusion of rules for playing in certain realms (for example you could play in the Brimstone Peninsula in the Realm of fire, where there are geysers of lava erupting, which could kill models nearby.) There are also rules in the books and the main rules (the triumph table,) that encourage campaign play.

My initial reaction to the game was negative. I really struggled to grasp a game that had no internal balance at its core. I still wish there was a way of constructing armies, but having seen the way that GW are taking the game, and having observed peoples opinions on having partaken in games, it might not be as vital as I first thought. That being said though the UK tournament scene are constructing ways of selecting armies, so perhaps using one of those systems might help.

Ultimately my view of people that attend RedWarSoc, is that most of us, are not the most competitive of players. Thats not a negative in describing anyone, but some clubs attracts players who play a fair amount of tournament games, and they are often pushing and honing lists, playing to the extremes of he rules. Where as at Redditch people tend to play for the enjoyment of playing a game, and the narrative feel of AoS, lends itself heavily towards those types of players.

Ultimately like everything its up to individuals. I for instance just don't like the aesthetics of Infinity, so its not a game for me, and for others AoS might be the same. But I certainly will be looking to play some AoS, and would really like a couple of regular opponents, to play through the scenarios in a campaign style.
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#2
Nice write-up Gaz. I know little detail of the new AoS rules release, but from what little I've read I'd also picked up that this was initially geared towards almost casual, scenario based encounters.

(18-08-2015, 10:23 PM)Gareth Wrote: There are glaring things missing from these rules though, the most obvious being the Army List building and points cost....On the flip side, it encourages scenario play which is the best way to play the game.

This puts me in mind of something that Andrea Sfiligoi (games designer of SBH) once posted on the SBH mailing list when discussing points systems:

Quote:There are so many variables involved -- actually I do not use point systems at all in my own games, I just create two warbands and have my opponent choose the one he prefers. I include point systems in my commercial products because people ask for them, it is a sort of necessary evil. :-)

Point systems are there to give a beginner something to start from, they are not accurate representation of game balance -- war is never balanced, there is always some factor which allows one side to gain the upper hand. The fun is discovering what that means in game terms.

(18-08-2015, 10:23 PM)Gareth Wrote: Where as at Redditch people tend to play for the enjoyment of playing a game, and the narrative feel of AoS, lends itself heavily towards those types of players.

This is certainly the mode of gaming that I'm enjoying most at the moment, and something I'd like to pursue later in the year by running a narrative based campaign based on a fantasy skirmish system.
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#3
A scenario example from Ghal Maraz is Cast Adrift. Played on a 6'x4' board (although it's not specified,) the defender (who is automatically the defender if they have 1/3 more models otherwise it's rolled off,) gets a 4'x4' section. The attacker gets the other 2'x4'. Forces deploy, and the attacker has to get a model within 6" of the defenders table edge, or either play has no models left. Sounds simple. The attacker gets to bring back on destroyed units, however here's where it gets interesting. Starting end of battle round three the defender rolls a die. On a 5+ the attackers 2'x4' section of the board gets removed as the defenders territory lifts out of the ground. There is then no more attacker reinforcements and any model on the attackers board section is destroyed, and there is only three more turns.

Haven't got to that section of Ghal Maraz and the story, but it looks like a nice scenario, that also deals with an imbalance in forces, with one player getting additional models, but for an undetermined amount of time. Also those reinforcements are racing to get onto the stable ground, otherwise their involvement in the later game is non-existent.

It's things like this that actually have me excited to play some AoS.
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#4
Great write up, and refreshing to hear something positive about AoS. I've only played a few basic test games, but I've actually really enjoyed it, and would echo your point about the strategy. Getting combos together with a caster, and using that inspiring presence at critical times add a lot of interesting dynamics. I really REALLY like the potential alternate turn orders too, as you say Gareth, setting up charges become even more risk/reward.

As to the lack of points cost, I have a theory on that. Having no points is another smart way GW encourages you to buy models from the whole range, not just those that happen to be point efficient in the current book. So for example, I rarely ran Corsairs in my Dark Elves army as I found them a bit pricey in points and didn't return enough for the points spent. Now there's no points, I can bring them because I think they look cool and not be penalized for taking a "sub-optimal" choice.

I'd definitely be up for playing some AoS scenarios.
Warhammer 40K (Astra Militarum & CSM) | AoS/WFB (Dark Elves) | X-Wing (Rebels) | Dropfleet Commander (UCM) 
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#5
Yesterday myself and Will took our first foray into the new AoS. I really quite liked the game, but I did go into it with a fairly optimistic attitude. A few things of note,

1) as good as the GW app is, having a print out of the war scrolls is a must.
2) both players really need a copy of the scenario
3) the scenarios add a huge amount tactically to the game
4) things die, fast
5) synergy is key

I'm at work currently. Expect another post to expand on this and possibly add a few more points.
Star Wars Legion - Rebels
Guildball - Alchemists
Blood Bowl - Lizardmen
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#6
I also enjoyed the game. Not quite as good as old fantasy (I think), but worth playing especially using scenarios rather than straight up battles. I think the synergies hidden in the warscrolls is where the secret to this game lies (and the fun) .Although I still think it's going to be a struggle to balance armies against one another, using wounds, models or warscroll numbers just doesn't seem feasible. Will have to trust in other players and go by what feels right. I'm going to have to play more games and get a better idea of my armies warscrolls so can get a better feel for what are good, fun matchups
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