Warhammer Age of Sigmar



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Review: Beautiful (if impractical to play with or store) models in an overlong and bloated game

August 20, 2023 by warbossd Cult of Games Member

Don't Care

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I have been playing Games Workshop games for decades and have played all iterations of Age of Sigmar from the first. This review concerns the current (3rd edition ruleset) although it applies to all editions in many respects.

Firstly the miniatures in this game are fabulous. Whatever your tastes in the high fantasy genre, I'm sure you could find something to appeal to your aesthetic sense in some fashion. The range on offer is (preposterously) huge. The downsides on the miniatures front are frankly minor, mainly focused around the huge size of some of the models and the flamboyant and delicate pieces of plastic protruding at all angles from some of them, which make storing and transporting the things a real pain in the ass. Also they are some of the most expensive models in the industry.

My main gripe with Age of Sigmar is the huge amount of cognitive load that comes from the way unit data sheets are crammed with many small rule interactions (half of which you will forget during most games) coupled with the massive number of factions and sprawling unit rosters for each faction.

The core rules of the game are basically fine. All the basic operations of spellcasting, moving, shooting and fighting are executed well enough. The game is (bucket of) d6 based where the limited value range of the dice is mitigated by rolling a huge number of them during a game.

The first problem is that on top of the games 'core' rules AND 2-6 special rules for each unit roster there are ALSO a ton of additional game systems layered on top. Command abilities, spells, prayers, faction abilities, sub-faction abilities, terrain abilities, monstrous rampage, heroic actions... It's all way too much. Even small games seem to take forever.

My second problem is the fact there is always constant change. New army books (Battletomes) are updated for at least one faction on a monthly basis, it seems, and many of the unit and faction rules change...a lot.

My third problem is the convoluted scoring system for determining a games winner. In isolation the combination of a grand strategy, smaller battle goals and a mission specific scoring option are, I think, a good idea, and in a game with way less going on it would complement a more straightforward ruleset well. In this case however it's just another example of overkill.

In summary, I cannot recommend this game but I would highly recommend buying some of the gorgeous  models and then grab One Page Rules Age of Fantasy ruleset and faction rosters to put them to good use.

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