Friday, July 24, 2015

Age of Sigmar: A New Beginning

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past 2/3 weeks then you may be aware of Games Workshop’s (GW) new boxed game: Warhammer Age of Sigmar (AoS).

AoS is a new gaming system that replaces Warhammer Fantasy Battles, the venerable gaming system that has been around for the last 3 decades. It represents a completely new system with new streamlined rules, a completely revamped game world, new fluff and new plastic models. From what I gather from the internets these changes has created a bit of a divide in the gaming community.

AoS introduces a game with just 4 pages of core rules. This is a huge departure from what came before and it has understandably upset many of the old guards. However on the other hand this was one of the reasons why I was so interested in AoS and why I am now fully committed to this new game.

Why I like AoS

The first photo of AoS I saw was a grainy picture of the new models on a friend’s phone a week prior to its announcement. At that stage my reaction was one of confusion. The new faction, the Stormcast Eternals, just looked …weird. Together with the new round bases they looked like Space Marines in a Fantasy setting. The Chaos models also looked ridiculously over the top with their huge Khorne banners and such.  Thankfully my first impression was completely wrong.

Once official GW photos were released to the public I got a proper look at all the new minis. I was surprised by how much I actually liked them! I also found the fluff really intriguing. GW have changed the game world from one of fairly generic fantasy with some historical elements to one of high fantasy with gods, daemons, multiple trans-dimensional realms and immortal celestial warriors that shoot lighting hammers….Cool!

After reading some of the new background I was uber excited. I love fantasy worlds full of epic heros, dark villians, mysticism and magic. The new fluff really reminds me of the best bits of some of my favourite fantasy series like Malazan Book of the Fallen by Steven Erikson or the Riftwar Saga from Raymond E Feist.

I’m a big fan of the Fantasy genre but GW’s old fantasy game never really interested me. Some of the models are very nice but I found the ranked up blocks of infantry with their limited sets of poses a bit on the boring side. Plus the idea of painting that many models really did not appeal. This all changed with AoS.

As you may have gathered there are a number of reasons why AoS really appeals to me:

4 page core rules 

This has done the most in my mind to reduce the barrier to entry for me. I’m invested in so many systems that the thought of reading a huge rule book has put me off the game in the past. GW has significantly cut down on the rules and turned the game into a very simple system. However despite its inherent simplicity I do think there is still complexity there with rules included in each unit’s warscrolls (unit entries).

Every unit has at least one special ability in addition to rules for different weapon options. This looks very similar to some of my favourite games like X-Wing/Attack Wing. Simple core rules with complex unit rules which lend itself to deep and engaging gameplay.

The rules seems to be the most contentious issue among the community. Specifically due to the lack of a point system i.e. balance mechanism. There seems to be loads of people that detest the new rule set. However for me, I’m not looking for a new competitive game. What I want is a simple system that I can use to re-enact cool battles in a fantasy setting. AoS seems to cater for this just fine.

New Fluff

As previously mentioned I love what they have done with the new setting. In particular Sigmar’s immortal army, the Stormcast Eternals are awesome! My opinion of them has done a complete 180 since I first saw a photo of them. Yes they are basically Space Marines but maybe that’s why I like them so much. An immortal superhuman warrior capable of kicking ass and taking name is cool, but an army of them armed and armoured like Blood Angels Sanguinary Guard is even better.

Also with everything being so new I’m really looking forward to finding out about the new background. There is a sense of discovery there that we don’t really get with the likes of 40K due to its fixed timeline.

New Models

Once again, early grainy leaked photos of these minis have not done them any justice. These models look gorgeous in person. Both factions look fantastic in my opinion.

The Chaos Bloodreavers all look menacing and barbaric with huge slabs of muscle and massive weapons. The new Chaos warlord is super dynamic with his cloak billowing and the pouncing Flesh Hound really gives the model a sense of aggression and motion. The Stormcast Eternals are ginormous! These guys are Terminator sized. Very much fitting their background as something not of this world. The bigger round bases really add to the sense of bulk for the miniatures in this set.

I’m a collector of miniatures. So even if the rules and the fluff are pants I would still pick this up this set based on the minis alone.

Age of Sigmar: GW Release Event

GW have done really a good job of drumming up my interest in this game leading up to the release. The week before I narrowly missed getting myself a copy of the White Dwarf with the free Stormcast Eternal Liberator and I was gutted!

I made sure to turn up on time on the day of release to pick up my copy of AoS. It turns out I was the first person in Dublin to pick up a retail copy from the GW store. I think I may have gotten myself fanboy status with that!

As I was picking up my boxed game I was told of a fantasy painting competition that same day at 5pm which forms part of the release event for AoS. Given I don’t have any fantasy models my only choice would be to run home, assemble one of the minis from the AoS and paint it up. This sounded like a serious challenge and I told myself ahh why the hell not!

AoS (Speed) Painting Competition

Taking account of travelling time to and from the GW store. I had around 5 hours of actual assemble/painting time.

Delicious plastic crack
So once I got home I started working like a man possessed. I decided on the Chaos Lord of Khorne given that this is one of my favourite model in the set.

Assembling took way longer than I expected. Together with a bit of liquid green stuffing at the end assembly took around an hour.

To speed things up I did all of the base coating using my air brush. With any painting project, a lot of time is actually lost waiting for paint to dry. Given that I was only painting 2 models i.e. the Chaos Lord and the Flesh Hound I was literally watching paint dry!

I went for the studio paint scheme as I’m a big fan of red armour. Red and gold has always been a striking combination.

Given the time constraints I didn’t really try to do anything fancy. I painted his axe as if it was glowing with power as the fluff says the weapon can rend reality apart. So I wanted something to reflect that. I also painted the Flesh Hound's eyes as if it was glowing by using a combination of yellow washes and glazes.

As it turns out I just about finished it when my time was up. I left it at 4.45pm as it would take me at least 15mins to make my way to the GW store in town. I’m pretty sure the paint was still drying when I threw it into my bag! I made it to the GW store with around 2 mins to spare. Phew!

The final result wasn’t my best work. It was done as a speed painting project after all. As expected I didn’t win the painting competition! However I did get an honourable mention from GW staff as they were impressed that I managed the feat! They must have felt sorry for me as they threw in a few exclusive AoS release goodies. Nice!

My model is currently on display in GW Dublin
Juicy AoS goodies I got from the whole event
That was a really enjoying experience! I was under constant pressure from start to finish but I was able to timed things pretty well to get it done on time. I’m of course not entirely happy with the result so when I get the model back I will repaint it to a higher standard.

Hope you enjoyed my write up.  As you may be able to tell I’m really excited for this game and cannot wait for all the inevitable new releases!

1 comment:

  1. Impressive!
    On your watching paint dry, apparently Angel Giraldez uses a hairdryer to speed things along. He mentioned something about it giving a more matt effect as a bonus.