Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Age of Sigmar: The Props & the Slops

So, having been on a massive downer about the rules as they were drip fed to us via leaks, a strange thing happened when the warscrolls got released Friday night/Saturday morning...

I got a bit excited.

The possibilities. Oh, the possibilities: here was a free army book containing all of my units, and i can field whatever i like. (i do have a rather large tomb kings collection, after all)

There were some obvious hurdles. The massive pink elephant in the room with 'POINTS VALUES' tattooed to it is probably the primary one.

We did our best to balance out. We figured if we kept to roughly the same number of wounds and a similar number of units of roughly similar types, that should work, right?

So i fielded a liche priest, 10 skeleton archers, 10 tomb guard, 3 ushabti with great bows and a khemrian warsphinx.

Dave fielded a sorceress, a master with standard, 10 black ark corsairs, 5 cold one knights, a repeater bolt thrower and a sorceress on black dragon.

And we played.

My 'props & slops' observations for the first game were thus:

I like that the guy who sets up first gets to decide how to divide up the table, that's kinda cool.

Movement felt really free, which is probably a prop and also a slop, as the thing that really stuck out about WFB was manoeuvring blocks of infantry.

I thought it was very interesting how the liche priest had one standard spell and gained more related to other units i included (IE, if i have a unit of Ushabti, he can try and cast a spell to add a model to the unit)

I like the 'i go, you go' mechanic in the combat phase, it could actually make for some new tactical decisions, especially when you consider that the bigger gribblies decrease in effectiveness as they take wounds. In my turn, do i start with these mounted knights as theres a chance they could get killed, or do i start with the dragon who, while he wont get killed, could be less effective?

Despite our efforts, i still don't think it was all that balanced. Despite summoning an extra 26 models into the battle, i got wiped out, and as such had lost something like two hundred percent of my starting force to Dave's fifty-sixty odd percent. I'm not even sure if using the old points values is that good a metric, as theres a fair number of units that have changed in effectiveness that i can tell.
If that's still a decent enough judge though, my army for this game clocks in around 600 points, whereas Dave's clocks in around 800 points.
Having said that, i did raise another 120 points of archers and 55 points of tomb guard.
Points were never a perfect measure of balance either, as we all know they have never been implemented perfectly, but points combined with the army composition structure at least gave you a rough framework to operate within.

No missions. With us having a roughly even number of models, there was no sudden death, so no 'end condition' for the game beyond, one of you gets wiped out or gives up. So the game really started to drag for the last 3-5 turns. Its simple enough to add an arbitrary time/turn limit, but nothing like that is mentioned in the rules, and i think it probably should be.

Combat feels a real grind. Once you get a unit in, its pretty much stuck there unless you commit a second unit or either unit gets wiped out. Sure, you can retreat, but then you're frozen for a turn so you're probably getting recharged by the same unit.

All the new unit stats. This will partly be down to having to memorise a new set of stats, but the lions share of time spent during this game was looking up what the to hit and to wound rolls were for all our units. And this wasn't even that big a game. This was way worse in the case of the monsters who have multiple weapons profiles whose values change over the course of the game.
Even more baffling is that it isn't even the same values that change for each weapon on the SAME GUY.
For example, the black dragons claws get harder to hit with as it takes more wounds, but its jaws get harder to wound with. Thus you're constantly referring to the tables.
Some of the simple infantry i can see myself remembering eventually, but the monsters? No chance.

The word is theres still more free stuff to come with scenarios and the like. And also a version of the rules designed for 'competitive play'.

So, as it stands, my excitement for this as a game dwindled pretty quickly, but i'm not completely convinced its un-salvageable at this point.

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