Is Now The Best Time To Dive Into Warhammer Age Of Sigmar? Part One – The Lore

July 2, 2024 by brennon

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I've recently been able to digest the new Core Book, Spearhead rules and more for Games Workshop's latest edition of Warhammer Age Of Sigmar and whilst I don't think that it's going to suddenly turn the most stalwart and resolute of wargamers into fans of The Mortal Realms, it feels like it will be enough to bring the curious into the game and deliver a satisfying experience at the tabletop. How? Well, let's dive in...


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I have recently been playing a lot more Warhammer Age Of Sigmar (third edition) over the last six months or so and when I saw the new edition was on the horizon, I was sceptical and intrigued at the same time. After reading through a preview copy of the new Skaventide launch box and pouring through the pages of the books in that set, I feel like I can give a fairly good appraisal of where the game is at this point and what it might offer to the Age Of Sigmar curious.

Dispelling The Age Of Myth

One of the key things that felt like it was keeping people from diving into Warhammer Age Of Sigmar back during its initial incarnation (apart from the death of The Old World) was the fact that the background, the faction and "the lore" felt like it was particularly ethereal. There were these swirling Realms where armies would do constant battle and a shift from the meticulously detailed timelines and maps that had been generated throughout Warhammer's life in favour of something that seemed like it was just created so Games Workshop could trademark everything.

core book cover age of sigmar

Now, whilst I'm still very sure that Games Workshop continues to make their armies as trademark-able as possible, one of the biggest changes is that Games Workshop has now taken the time and effort over the intervening years since Warhammer Age Of Sigmar's launch to actual craft a living, breathing world for those diving into their faction of choice.

The Black Library has done a superb job in the last few years of giving voices to the different factions within Warhammer Age Of Sigmar. Cubicle 7 has also done a lot of the heavy lifting as well, packing their roleplaying game books for Warhammer Age Of Sigmar: Soulbound (see the review of that HERE) with details about The Mortal Realms. It was pleasing, therefore, to dive into the new Core Book and find that Games Workshop had taken time to flesh out the world of Warhammer Age Of Sigmar and make it feel distinctly easier to grasp.

background age of sigmar

The new Core Book features plenty of stories and background now from the viewpoint of mortals rather than the eyes of the gods. This is tied into the new storyline around the Skaventide and the new edition in some cases but there are also lots of snippets here and there that go into detail about the different Realms, the cities that exist there, the people and how they act and what the current situation is there in terms of the ongoing, swirling maelstrom of war that is Warhammer Age Of Sigmar.

map age of sigmar

In addition to that, the new Core Book comes with something I have been craving for a while. Maps! There are maps of each of the Realms and a focus on where the main action takes place within them. These are so, so incredibly integral to the way people latch onto a Fantasy game, or any game for that matter. I think having an idea of where they could be fighting, why certain places are important and what they mean to the different factions does a lot to draw people in. It also serves as a great stepping stone for someone coming to the game and wanting to find a place for their army to fit into the complex tapestry that is The Mortal Realms.

background age of sigmar 2

It also helps that Warhammer Age Of Sigmar has gone through a couple of editions at this point and some major events have happened. The Realmgate Wars were titanic and mad but really set the scene and helped to give the feel of what Games Workshop wanted to do with their miniatures range and the game as a whole. The Soul Wars then took things in a new direction and threw some interesting interplay into the mix between the various factions and the games the gods were playing. The Era Of The Beast almost grounded Warhammer Age Of Sigmar and brought forth that idea of the mortal story and that struggle for survival. The new edition has now, for want of a better word, felt like it has found its Warhammer, Grimdark heart. There is a lot to latch onto, whatever your favourite take on Fantasy is, allowing you to find your happy place within the universe.

map 2 age of sigmar

If you're someone who wants to explore more of the depth and clarity that Games Workshop has added to The Mortal Realms, I have some book recommendations! Callis And Toll is a great way to get your classic Witch Hunter vibes but in The Mortal Realms. The continuing saga of Gotrek Gurnission is another solid way to dive into exploring the lore, especially as it's tied into his perspective as someone from The World That Was. Godeater's Sons is a superb way of exploring the fall to Chaos and the view of the Stormcast Eternals and the Sigmarmites from the perspective of the people who have had their lands "civilised" by the followers of Sigmar. You've also got the Hollow King following vampire, Cado Ezechiar, and Soul Wars which is a brilliant exploration of the Stormcast Eternals and how they are not just Space Marines in a Fantasy world.

I think the key to all that I've said here is that Games Workshop has taken great pains, despite what you think of them as a company, to really make The Mortal Realms somewhere that you'd want to get lost in. The Mortal Realms feels unique and special which makes it a great playground for you to start exploring. As much as I'm an Old World fan and I still adore that world, The Mortal Realms really takes off the shackles and lets the creatives in the studio at Games Workshop have some fun. Additionally, unlike Warhammer 40,000 I think there's a good sense that within The Mortal Realms, there is a sense of hope. Warhammer 40,000's Grimdark is relentless, gritty and brutal with no hope of survival. Warhammer Age Of Sigmar gives you all of that but with occasional glimmers of hope and "good" which makes it feel like a Fantasy world worth diving into. As a fan of Tolkien, I'm happy to see that.

Combine this with the fact that Games Workshop has now got a series of factions, each with their own personality and depth as well as a bunch of lore to back up those stories and you've got the makings of a really interesting and fascinating Fantasy wargame.

Cementing The Rules

As an aside, I think another of the great things about the new edition is that Games Workshops seems to have done a great job with the rules. I know the phrase "simplified not simple" has been bandied around quite a lot over the past few years but I think that Warhammer Age Of Sigmar, if that's your game of choice, will be very easy to get your head around and enjoy.

core rules 1 age of sigmar

The rules haven't seen a massive departure from the last edition of the game and have simply been tweaked and refined. A lot of the same DNA exists in the new core rules but where Games Workshop has changed things, it seems to be for the better. The way that you interact with your opponent, getting to do more in their turn might seem like a concept that has appeared in other games for years but Games Workshop are finally catching up! You can now use a lot of interesting abilities, both core and within specific factions, which provide you with a fun back-and-forth that makes the game feel more engaging than its Sci-Fi (battle) brother.

core rules 2 age of sigmar

I won't dive too deep into the rules at the moment as there's more to explore and I need to play more when the Faction Packs come out but I think, from a look over what they have updated and tweaked, the game feels like it going to be starting from a good point. Put it this way, I have been playing 10th Edition Warhammer 40,000 since it came out and I still get things wrong. I don't feel like that's going to be a problem with Warhammer Age Of Sigmar.

Watch Out For More...

I'm going to be coming back to Warhammer Age Of Sigmar and the new edition of the game over the next couple of days and weeks, discussing my thoughts on the new Spearhead game mode and other entry points into The Mortal Realms as well as the new miniatures of course. Hopefully, if you're someone who has always been curious, you'll join me on this journey and see if the game could now be for you.

fire and jade cover age of sigmar

Make sure to let me know in the comments what you think about the new edition of Warhammer Age Of Sigmar right now and if you could see yourself getting drawn into The Mortal Realms. I might also be able to answer some questions for you!

Drop your thoughts below...

"Games Workshop had taken time to flesh out the world of Warhammer Age Of Sigmar and make it feel distinctly easier to grasp..."

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"...the new Core Book comes with something I have been craving for a while. Maps!"

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