Thursday, 23 July 2015

Games Workshop is having me back - AoS pros and cons



While many hate Age of Sigmar, and I understand why they do... we go from a really nice complex system for doing Fantasy battles in the world we love(d) and that as evolved in eight editions! Into a 'four page' rules system, simple but in some places not totally clear... oh and they destroyed the world we loved.

So why is GW having me back then? First and foremost, I loved the old setting but as many others thought that it has gotten a bit stale, no progression in the world and storyline. Just fixing that and some tidying up on the rules a little from 8th and me and most I think would have loved it.

Problem is, and we have to face this... Games Workshop is a company, which needs to earn money... did they earn money on the Fantasy Range? I think they did, but WHFB had declined many years in terms of sales (according to most rumors, forums and what not, don't have any source on this) and each plastic frame (which is expensive) made didn't earn back enough. That's just how it was, so what could GW do to earn more money?

They had some options really, at least here's what I think they could have done. (not including the option we all would have wanted which I wrote about above)

1. Kill off the world, the game and let it be something the community can play and try evolve on their own. (Like the specialist games, Mordheim, Blood Bowl, Gorkamorka, Inquisitor etc.)

- No, this would not have been a good solution to anyone I think. The specialist games died slowly, and where never one of the two main games GW produced. Killing off all the stuff GW has done with recent kits and models in Fantasy with the plastic moulds already done? Not an good idea, but still something they could have done. 

2. Make 9th ed. Go to squares and use AoS rules. Maybe just a quick novel explaining the old Warhammer World was destroyed here you have the new one etc. 

- Fast, easy and cheap? Well if we thought we where shocked in the end of End Times and where we first learned about Age of Sigmar, what if they went with this route?

3. Doing they like they did. The End Times books, new models and rules etc. Ending the world we loved in the a big bang apocalyptic battle all over the world, just as prophesied. Ragnarök in the name of the Chaos Gods happened and they won.

After this, new gamesystem a new world(s) based on the old but with a twist and in the meantime making them more "IP protect able". Oh and do Space Marines in this new world but with a Fantasy theme.

We all know what they did, why they did it, now it's time to accepting it... or not.

Many did not, I understand that. Changing something you loved into something completely different, it's harsh. But it could have been worse, much worse. I however will give it a chance, here's why:

Pros

Easy to learn rules - I knew the rules (well basics at least) of 5th to 8th even if I never got a lot of battles. Why did I not get enough battles? Trying to get my friends into the game, some of them tried, bought small armies. But didn't get around to learn the rules fully and the interest died The four pages we have now? Well not even my friends can argue not to at least try it, especially if they have their small armies still. Will their interest die even still? That we don't know though.


Smaller armies - With tweaks 8th could scale well. But a regiment of five dudes on squares never looked right, at least to me. Currently there's no real balancing system that makes this game of AoS a smaller game, but at least an army of say 10 normal infantry, one hero, one "bsb" 3-5 elite infantry and maybe even a monster looks like an complete army on rounds. 

New world - This is as much a Con (as you will see further down) as a Pro. But let's see it this way. GW have all the opportunity to create a unique world right from the start, just vaguely based on the stuff old stuff of Warhammer Fantasy. They can now do Dwarfs throwing fireballs (might not be to far off actually) or even Space Marines in a Fantasy Setting!!

Sigmarines - Many hate them, I don't.. I would have liked them to be more like something from the Old World, but hey they need to protect their IP as well. Stormcast Eternals, easy and fun to paint, in my opinion still really cool models and well. Sigmar and humanity strikes back, I like that different approach, and really.... aren't that all the stuff we love in stories, comics, movies? When all looks grim our heroes strikes back and "win".... Well we are right in the first chapter of that. 

Free Rules - There are some funny and just fu*^d up rules ins some of the Warscrolls that's for sure. But at least we got a quite thought out 'Ravenging Hordes' treatment for pretty much everything, even terrain! I hope.. at least for the newer kits that they fit with the new ones (or get their warscolls redone)

Old world is no more - A Pro you say? Well it's dead, but we old timers are not (some of us at least) and as AoS progresses we can tell our newly brethren of the 'good ol times' and the World that was before, just as an grumpy old Longbeard, as a manling reaching 30 this year I loves this :P.

More - There are more minor stuff but this post is long as it is, remember I'm not an native English speaker and it takes time to write stuff you guys hopefully understand. (And I'm getting a little bit drunk as I'm typing this :O )

Cons

Killing the world -  I loved it, and it had much more potential... But it was based on to generic things, real world (just look on the map), tolkien, names (for IP purposes this was a problem) and what not.

A complex but awesome system, killed off - Many think 8th edition was the best ever, I think so too. But in the end we have to blame ourselves, we maybe had one or maybe two big armies we played with. The rest of our hobby budget went into other games like X-Wing, Malifaux, Warmahordes, Magic or all other sorts of games. The pace of the army books didn't get enough revenue.

Balance - Was there perfect balance in 8th? No. Well in AoS we have nothing more than Scenarios, it's not enough and I hope GW have some kind of system for this.

Shit in your face - Strange one I know,but many feel like this. All of time and money you have invested in this game is turned to shit! Well that really isn't the case If you think about it, I hope all that time and even invested money has brought you enjoyment over the years. That is not gone, and no one can take it away from you. Memories of awesome battles and what not.

This happens all the time in the rest of the world, bad sequels to movies you have waited 10 years too see. Bad sequels to video games. Strange retcon/redo worlds of comics (DC new 52 for example). In the war gaming world we are not used to these changes.

Final word

I don't know how AoS will turn out, I like Stormcast Eternals (personally I would like to see more diversity). The little I have played with the rules I like it, it's really simple, even to simple. But I hope GW can do and will something about this when the dust settles. Oh and fix balancing, please.

 That's it for now, more AoS is coming. And what I originally thought this post was about is actually that I today once again subscribe to White Dwarf.... and Visions... lets see what I think about that in couple of months :).



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