The Old, the New and the Coolest
What haven’t changed? The names of the units and models stay the same, as well as some of the special rules. Apart from that, there’s not much left of the old Warhammer. GW was really busy (whether for the better or worse remains to be seen).
Four pages of basic rules, doesn’t sound like much, looks puny, but it’s sufficient. Everything necessary for movement, shooting, casting and close combat is available. What fell away, are all special rules, weapon types, unit types, to hit and to wound tables and the magic armoury. Everything you need to know about a unit can now be found on there warscroll.
„Magic“ equipment is still there, but not like before, where you had to buy it. Instead all units/models have fixed equipment. Some have multiple Options to choose from, as stated in there descriptions.
The same applies to spells. There are only two spells in the basic rules, and as far as I could see, all wizards know them. What else a wizard is able to cast and how many spells he/she is able to cast/dispel is all stated in there warscrolls. No more randomly selected spells, no magic levels. Spells are now fixed. Some wizards also know summoning spells, for example, Death Mages are able to summon undead units and wizards of chaos are able to summon demons. These summoning spells can be found on the warscrolls of the unit to be summoned.
The profile as we know it no longer exists. Instead of looking up the table for to hit rolls in close combat or calculating what you need to hit when shooting, these times are over, same for the to wound rolls. Everything is now stated in the warscroll. You hit and wound every enemy the same way, except a special rule of the unit or the enemy modifies the roll.
There is only on saving throw throughout the game, I haven’t read all warscrolls yet, only the ones concerning my own armies, but the only model with two saving throws is Settra. Also I haven’t seen a saving throw better than 3+. Even Cold One Knights and Bretonian Knights only have a 4+ saving throw. How attacks modify the saving throw is now also stated in the warscroll. As compensation, cavalry now has two wounds per model.
There are no longer fixed formations. As in Warhammer 40k, units are now deployed in a “loose” formation. You can still play with square bases and you’re still able to deploy your units in tightly packed regiments. There is no rule that prohibits it or gives you a disadvantage if you do so. There are also no longer any template weapons, so it doesn’t matter how tight you deploy your models. For me a real relief, since I transport my regiments tightly packed and assembled and I wouldn’t like to deploy 200 zombies one by one.
Point costs are also gone. But how do you determine the size of the game/army? Two possibilities, first, you arrange with how many models you play, since the number of models is relevant for the victory condition. Second possibility, play as many as you want and the one with one third less models on the table, may choose a sudden death victory condition, with which he is able to focus on a objective to defeat his superior foe.
Characters are now running around solo. There are no rules for them to join units, on the contrary, the basic rules clearly state, that a unit can only consist of models from the same warscroll. With that, heroes are now easy targets for shooting attacks and flying units. Since characters have more wounds and a better saving throw when they are mounted on a monster, they will definitely be seen more often now.
Army composition is also gone. You can play what ever you like; you can play only monsters or only heroes or only snotlings. That is up to you now. You don’t even have to play a hero. The general is a model selected after deployment.
The coolest are now the tomb kings. Why? Because of Settras new special rule:
And He Did Say ‘War’, and the World
Did Tremble...: If Settra the Imperishable
uses this ability, you must hold out your
hand and utter ‘War’ in a supremely
commanding tone. If you do, then until
your next hero phase you can add 1 to all
hit rolls for Death units in your army
that are within 18" of Settra in the combat
phase. If a Deathrattle unit is affected
by this ability, you can also add 1 to their
wound rolls in the combat phase. However,
if Settra is your general, you must not
kneel for any reason during the battle. If
you do, even once, you immediately lose the battle.
Settra does not kneel!
You just have to watch out when you play Settra, that your opponent does not trick you into kneeling down and that when a dice rolls of the table, you only bend down, never kneel down.
Looks like I have to get a Settra model after all :D .
The basic rules are simpler, but the unit rules therefore are more specialized. Common special rules no longer exist, thus you have to read a lot of warscroll to know what all your units are capable of. For beginners who just started with two or three different units it’s not bad, on the contrary, they only need the four pages of basic rules and the two to three warscrolls. For Veterans who have a giant collection of units to choose from, it’s a bit different, especially when you play big battles with ten to fifteen different units. There will be a lot of reading involved, especially in the beginning.
Through the simple basic rules and the warscrolls it’s a perfect game for beginners, a handful of models is enough to fight your first battles.
For the old WHFB veterans, a lot of familiar rules disappear. My biggest fear was, that through the new movement rules, the game is tactically much less demanding. But since heroes are no longer allowed to join units and from now on they’re on there own, you have to think twice where you put them and how to move them safely around, without getting them shot to death. It’s also challenging to prepare yourself for battle, since there are no longer any restrictions about what you put on the table. Now you can play whatever you want. This also opens up the possibility for theme lists, without worrying about restrictions and point costs. But it would be best to determine the size of the game before playing.
Age of Sigmar is not perfect, but you can’t expect that. It’s a completely new game with new rules and like WHFB developed itself from first to eighth edition, so too will Age of Sigmar develop itself over the next months and years.