I finally caved and had a go at Age of Sigmar.
I've been watching the game develop for a while now and picked up the General's Handbook recently. the matched play rules looked ok and Ian and I decided to give them a trial run.
We jumped in at 1000 points, with me using my Dark
Elves Aelves and Ian using his Orcs Orruks.
In Age of Sigmar the Dark Elves have been split into about 5 factions, which is a pain in the neck. I cobbled together a list from the stuff that I had but as it turned out I didn't have the requisite 3 battle line units required, but we decided to let it go so that we could get a game.
My force consisted of:
20 Witch Aelves
10 Drakespawn Knights
5 Dark Riders
10 Sisters of Slaughter
Witch Aelf Hag
Dreadlord on Cold One
2 Bolt Shooters
20 Orc Archers
1 Orc Chariot
3 Grot Fanatics
1 Warboss on foot
1 Warboss on Wyvern
I really had no idea what to expect in this game, and had no ide what any of Ian's stuff was capable of , and only a slim idea of how my own would perform.
As such I let Ian have the first turn. It turns out this was a mistake as the forces od destruction all get a free D6 move at the start of the turn, and he had selected a warscroll ability that let his forces run, shoot and then charge with no problems, whereas normally if you run you cant shoot or charge. So inevitably he was down my throat in the first turn, inflicting casualties.
My reply was fairly feeble, as most of troops were in hiding to avoid being shot, but I managed to deal some damage to the chariot and kill the shaman.
Turn 2 and the Orruks had priority again, with them charging in all over the table. the ensuing fight saw the Giant killed, one unit of Darkshards wiped out, the Hydra killed and the sisters of slaughter wiped out.
The Dark Elf reply showed that Witch Aelves, while fragile packed a punch as they eliminated one unit of Orruks, with the Warlocks finishing off the Wyvern with a spell.
Combat continued into turn three, with the Orruk archers charging into the Drakespawn Knights and combat continuing everywhere else. The Drakespawn Knights proved to be pretty tough, and wiped out the Orruk Archers.
Turn 4 saw the Drakespawn Knights finish off both of the bolt throwers, and the Witch Aelves start to make inroads to the last remaining Orruks. the Darkshards failed to finish off the Warboss as well. We pretty much ran out of time at this point and called it a draw.
My initial thoughts on the night went along the lines of "this is a pile of crap" as the game did not seem to make much sense. At one point in the game a unit of Orruks had so many buffs on them they had 4 attacks each, which even the Witch Aelves cant achieve. Once I have had a chance to think on it though a lot of my annoyance probably came from the legacy of playing Warhammer for nearly 30 years. I have to remember that this is a completely different game, and as such approach it differently.
So what didn't I like:
- The movement phase is pretty boring now. In WHFB (my main frame of reference) manoeuver is pretty important, especially for fast cavalry. That doesn't really exist now and it looks like Fast Cavalry are pretty much redundant now.
- Lack of decision making. You can almost do everything all the time now. You can always shoot (even when in close combat), and pretty much always charge. the only decision to make is whether or not to run, and in this case the Orruks didn't even need to bother with that.
- The Splitting up of the Dark Aelves. I understand why they did it and in the future I hope they will get some attention but at the moment it is a bit of pain in the neck.
What did I like:
- The simplification of the profiles, although the game has lost some depth due to the lack of comparison between Strength/Toughness etc. I still like the level of simplification.
- There is a lot of synergy in the game now, with Heroes attempting to provide buffs to the troops around them, rather than just being super tanks. Only a couple of characters in our game saw combat, with the rest providing benefits to the troops around them.
- List Selection. Now you don't have to buy that one extra model to give you a slight advantage in width and combat resolution. That's all gone now, which is a good thing. Command groups are free for everyone, which is another thing we don't have to muck about with.
So after some thought I think the game has some legs. I will keep an eye on it and continue to play whenever I get the chance. This is purely a game now, with the closest comparable example I can think of being Malifaux. The designers have made no attempt at "realism."
I must apologise to my opponent Ian for getting a bit grumpy in the middle of the game as well.