Age of Sigmar, more like Age of No Thank You

I don’t think I’ve voiced this opinion before, but emboldened by Martin’s recent tirade against Orcs; I thought I’d talk about something that really rustles my Jimmies – Age of Sigmar.

Now, don’t expect an unbiased review of the game system or its intricacies, you won’t find that here. I’ve only played a couple of games of AOS and watched a few more and it left me wholly unfulfilled. Why tho?

I’ll tell you why tho – it’s not Warhammer Fantasy Battle.

Why tho?

I got into WFB when I was around 14. It was THE game at my local GW. You weren’t seriously into the hobby, or even an adult, if you only played 40K. This is clearly pretentious snobbery – but I’m kind of all about that.

What marked WFB out from its futuristic sibling was the effort it took to collect an army. I used to save my pocket money, and later my wages from my first job to be able to buy a unit. A UNIT. I would save up, buy the command blister, then save up and buy three dudes at a time.  It was rare to be able to plonk down a single box and have a ready to roll unit. Now some of you will say that this is one of the reasons that AOS is an improvement, new shiny models in easy to collect boxes, but I disagree. At the heart of why I love this hobby is an obsessive need to collect things, and buying a blister at a time, working up to a large unit was the pinnacle of this. Now, if I want a unit in AOS, I just go and buy the whole box, then I really had to weigh up what I wanted before sinking money into buying 10 blister packs for a 30-strong unit. It also meant that the units, once built were tied to a sense of accomplishment. I saved up, and built this unit from a three man command squad into a mighty group of warriors to wield against my foe – I’m awesome.

Secondly, WFB is tied to a world that I love and that is still clearly loved by the fan-base. For GW to have the big brass balls to wipe out years of lore and start again, it stings man. I loved the factions in WFB, and yes they may have been difficult to copy-right, and I know that GW is a business, but you just have to look at the success of games like Warhammer Total War or Vermintide to see that people love this setting. I spent years building themed armies around the canonical lore, for all of that to be discarded, and yes I understand that game systems need to move on, but seriously did AOS need to come at the expense of WFB?

There are other reasons I’m fond of WFB. My closest group of gaming friends played WFB pretty much exclusively for years. That came to an end with the passing of one of the group, and the rise of AOS, but it will still always be linked to those nostalgic times. The best gaming stories we have are anecdotes linked to WFB games – like when Martin conceded in his own first turn due to killing his only Necromancer and his army beginning to crumble, or the time Martin used his Skaven to change a ridiculously expensive unit of Grail Knights into rats (completely illegal as it turns out, but non-the-less hilarious) and of course all of the fun had with Triumph and Treachery.

It just isn’t the same!

So I guess, coming to the end of this, I see that really it doesn’t matter what AOS is or how much it may improve the gaming experience of those new to the hobby, what it is for me is the home-wrecker that broke up my happy relationship with WFB. I squeal with joy every time GW do a made to order run and I get a second chance to buy something that I always wanted, and I know I can buy stuff off eBay but it’s not the same as having a game supported by GW. Who knows, maybe in the future GW will move WFB into the Specialist Games camp and they’ll release some of the old rules online – as currently, anyone interested in building an army faces crazy scalping prices for things like the Monstrous Arcanum in order to field FW units.

What’s at the heart of this article is not the desire to bash AOS, I’m sure there are people who feel about it the way I feel about WFB, rather to ask GW not to let it go gentle into that good night. Rage, rage my old friend.

Oh – and I don’t care how many times you do it, charging an unprotected flank or rear will always be good for your blood pressure.

That’s why tho.

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