Warhammer Age of Sigmar was released a little over a month ago, and it has taken me some time to collect my thoughts. One podcast I listen to used the word “bipolar” to describe their reaction, and I feel that it is an appropriate word to use for what I’ve felt. Sad that the Warhammer I loved was gone. Angry that the world I had come to know so well had been canned. Confused on what we could expect in the future. Intrigued by the new world that is there to explore. Delighted by the new miniatures that had come out. In awe of the new artwork being produced. Unsure about what this meant for me. And so on. So what is the verdict?
I started playing quite a while ago, and every edition change comes with its share of howling and gnashing of teeth. The magnitude of what GW did this time however far surpasses any mere edition change. Age of Sigmar is a massive overhaul of Warhammer, with only certain thematic themes and ideas being carried over. Everything else has changed (some pie-loving rumour mongerer aptly compared it to the Cambodian “Year Zero”). There might have been good (or not so good) business reasons for doing what GW did, and not being privy to the deliberations of their board I can’t conclude either way. But we’re here now.
After having thought long and hard, I have come to a conclusion. I am on board, and I am going to go along with this new game that has been offered (or forced?) upon us. I do so for some very specific reasons. I like the fact that, looking at the High Elves’ compendium, everything in there seems viable. I might now take the time to paint a Lothern Skycutter and not feel guilty for doing so because I might be using my limited painting time for better things. Related, I also like that unit sizes seem a lot more reasonable. The 20 spearmen then I painted are actually a sensible unit now, something that wasn’t the case in 8th edition. Yes, there is no out of the box system for constructing armies. But this is something that can be easily arranged as long as your are playing friends, or within a structured setting such as tournaments. I get that it makes pick-up games harder, but my selfish view is that I don’t do those so I don’t mind.
More importantly, I feel this game is something that is meant for what I currently am: someone who is invested in Warhammer but cannot commit the time and effort to play in any competitive way. I don’t need miniature wargaming to offer me a deep intellectual challenge. I have other outlets for that. What I do like is the idea of grabbing two dozen miniatures, thematically related, flick open some scenario book and have a good time with a friend. And more friends than before, who don’t need to commit weeks of study to get an idea of how the rules work. Is this what everybody wants in Warhammer? No, and I can understand people being disappointed. The miniatures market is in such a booming state however that anyone can easily find what they are looking for elsewhere. This is seems to be happening right now, which is fine and only natural. Kings of War seem like a great game. I hear Warmahordes is fantastic for competitive play. X-Wing & Malifaux look like fantastic rules sets. And so on.
So yes, I a am on board with this Age of Sigmar thing. Having amassed a massive backlog of High Elves I can go ahead and enjoy the game without spending a lot of additional money on GW, which suits me just fine. In fact, this whole thing has inspired me to do something which would have been a massive waste of time in the previous edition, but looks like a lot of fun now and will be even useful game-wise. More to come on that in future posts.
Goodbye, Warhammer Fantasy Battles. You were a good friend, and I will miss you. But everything comes to an end, and I will always remember the good times we had.