Jump to content

The state of Skirmish - and how to approach it as a new player?


Recommended Posts

[Apologies if this is in the wrong place, but I couldn't find a dedicated Skirmish subforum or anything!]

I'm just getting into AOS for the first time, after having been away from wargames for about 10 years. I've always been a huge fan of skirmish games, and as the booklet's pretty cheap, I thought I might as well pick it up and see what it's like.

As I expected from what I'd read online, it's pretty slight and quite rough around the edges. Taken as a competitive game, it seems totally unbalanced and thrown-together - but it seems like, as long as it's not taken too seriously, there's enough there to have £6 worth of fun with while I work on painting my AOS army. 

BUT it's pretty clear that it's going to need some house rules if I want it to work even just as a beer-and-pretzels game. My question is, in the years since it was released, and in the light of the changes to the core rules in 2e, is there a set of 'standard' fixes people tend to use? Without getting too complicated or fiddly, what are the house rules everyone should use? 

And what renown point level is advised to start with? 25 is so clearly too low that it's left me confused - I've got a Stormcast collection, and even at 40 my warband would only be three models, due to how expensive heroes are. It occurred to me you could maybe solve this problem by ditching heroes altogether and just getting everyone to designate a unit champion as their hero instead, with that model getting all the usual artifacts and abilities - would that work? 

 

TL;DR - What house rules should I use for Skirmish and how many renown points should a warband be?

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't think there's a collective set of house rules (community rules?).  I'm fairly sure that Skirmish wasn't ever intended to be run in anything nearing a competitive environment in truth.  I've played quite a bit of it over time and don't think I've ever started off at 25 renown, most heroes will exceed that on their own xD.  There's nothing stopping you using a unit champion as a hero - I'd even go so far as to say that if everybody does it, they could start off with +1 or +2 wounds to just help them along :)  Very much down to deciding with your group.

In a week or so, I'm playing a Skirmish campaign with 3 others and we've said that we'll start off at either 40 or 50 renown.  We'll probably limit the number of heroes too.

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Morning,

Skirmish is great fun in my opinion! I have run 5 matched played Skirmish tournaments now and they have all gone really smoothly. I don't actually think there's masses you need to change or things you need to worry about. That said I have introduced a couple of house rules to stop shooting/wizard spam.

Here are a couple of the rules packs I've used at these events over the last year or so;

http://traffic.libsyn.com/theblacksun/The_Well_of_Souls.pdf - This one introduced the Skirmish additions from the Malign Portents book.

http://traffic.libsyn.com/theblacksun/Blackout_Skirmish.pdf - This is more "standard"

Both packs keep to the same principles and have allowed for some super fun events.

You could apply some of these ideas to your casual games of Skirmish, but I think the best way to play it is either in matched play events like this, or literally just grabbing a mate and running through all 6 battleplans as written (takes like 3 hours - me and @Paul Buckler did it at Warhammer World one time and it was great).

I don't think you need to worry so much and overthink things before just getting a few models out and giving it a go. I'm sure you'll have a blast, let us know how you get on :) 

Chris

  • Like 6
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Your analysis is quite right, Skirmish is wildly unbalanced and the rules does not really fit skirmish gameplay. Does this matter for me? No. Skirmish is a quick and fun game. Try a four player game some time!

I don’t really care about house rules. The only way to actually make Skirmish better is to totally redesign it, if you ask me. A possible way to make Skirmish better is perhaps to make the scenarios more interesting, narrative and creative.  Perhaps there is a roaming behemoth-monster on the battlefield?

Edited by Bohemond
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Chris Tomlin said:

Morning,

Skirmish is great fun in my opinion! I have run 5 matched played Skirmish tournaments now and they have all gone really smoothly. I don't actually think there's masses you need to change or things you need to worry about. That said I have introduced a couple of house rules to stop shooting/wizard spam.

Here are a couple of the rules packs I've used at these events over the last year or so;

http://traffic.libsyn.com/theblacksun/The_Well_of_Souls.pdf - This one introduced the Skirmish additions from the Malign Portents book.

http://traffic.libsyn.com/theblacksun/Blackout_Skirmish.pdf - This is more "standard"

Both packs keep to the same principles and have allowed for some super fun events.

You could apply some of these ideas to your casual games of Skirmish, but I think the best way to play it is either in matched play events like this, or literally just grabbing a mate and running through all 6 battleplans as written (takes like 3 hours - me and @Paul Buckler did it at Warhammer World one time and it was great).

I don't think you need to worry so much and overthink things before just getting a few models out and giving it a go. I'm sure you'll have a blast, let us know how you get on :) 

Chris

I didn't realise they'd ever added to the Skirmish rules anywhere else - how extensive are the additions in Malign Portents? Are they worth picking up that book for, or are they just a bit of extra flavour?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

25 minutes ago, robinlvalentine said:

I didn't realise they'd ever added to the Skirmish rules anywhere else - how extensive are the additions in Malign Portents? Are they worth picking up that book for, or are they just a bit of extra flavour?

It has more body, fun little campaign but all focussed on the portent system and the 4 new characters 

so if you can get it on the cheap cool, if your looking for another pre-made campaign very cool! But if your looking for an updated base skirmish system. No not really. 

Edited by Kramer
  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, robinlvalentine said:

I didn't realise they'd ever added to the Skirmish rules anywhere else - how extensive are the additions in Malign Portents? Are they worth picking up that book for, or are they just a bit of extra flavour?

What @Kramer said pretty much. I suspect it would be possible to pick that book up relatively cheaply now tbh.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, robinlvalentine said:

Another question - how do you guys feel about the amount of renown it's possible to get after each battle? It seems like warbands could escalate fast, especially as no one can actually die - how common is it to reduce the renown rewards?

If you're talking about just playing through the 6 battleplans in the book then it's fine, it doesn't really get out of hand and if it did you could always tweak it for your next playthrough if you felt it did. If you're looking to keep the same warband going and expanding for longer than 6 games then I'm not sure how well it'd work.

Honestly I think your best bet is just to give it a go with a friend, run through the full campaign as written in the book and perhaps just note the things you thought were off. You can then either tweak as you go or make amendments for the next time. I wouldn't suggest the rules are overly suitable for playing extended campaigns with the same warband (Like you might in Necromunda or Kill Team etc) though.

I really do think one off matched play events (3-5 games) is actually the best way to play Skirmish, which may surprise some.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The majority of my gaming has been skirmish since it came out.  We tend to do it with Open War cards.  As well as adapting scenarios from pretty much anywhere.  I've probably played through the six scenario campaign a dozen times now.  They work.  Malign Portents and Sorcery don't add much, but it's a bit and I was getting those books anyway.

Some area effecting magic and dishing out of mortal wounds should likely be skipped or limited in some form.  Applying a rule of 3 where you can only dish out 3 mortal wounds in a single turn works.  Any beyond that just become normal wounding hits with no rend that the model saves against.

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Haven't read everybody's comments but one thing we did do in our campaign was empowering little guys (skeletons and the like would always get crushed by more powerful guys). What we did, if you have 1 wound and attack something with 3 or more, or 2 wounds and attack something with 4 or more. You can select the whole warscroll against that one model instead of just select model by model. 

And if you have several attacks they must all go towards the same model. 

This helped in my opinion... We also limited models to 5 wounds. :)

 

Sounds a bit complicated but I found it actually helpful. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We ran a campaign where you only ever field as many points (or renown or whatever, it's just points / number of models / 5) as the opponent.  You can go over but by the lowest amount possible.  The players got to know the scenario beforehand but not necessarily exactly what the other person was fielding.  Though we were relaxed about this as you can't help seeing what models people have and were just playing in the previous round.

We also ran one where the points for each round were set.  And they even went down for some games.  Especially near the end when things were getting close to 500 points of stuff (100 renown).  This let us do things like have an attacker with way more renown on the table but harder win conditions.  Like defender deploys in the center of the table, attacker has twice the number of points.  Closest model to centre of the table after five turns wins.

Edited by Nin Win
Link to comment
Share on other sites

We only really play skirmish and use house rules, like most people. We normally split the board into four for set up (roll a d6, squares 1-4,  5 is player chooses, 6 is model can't deploy that turn.) Match types Iike Graveyard in the middle of board roll two d6 for direction (like a clock face)  d6 of zombies come out or endless spell randomly moving across the board causing havok. Skirmish should be about short, nutty games for ****** and giggles.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am working on a new set of terrain and warbands for a Skirmish campaign and the comments here have been great to read. We are starting at 25 renown. It means both my starting warbands have three models in them but as we some of the participants have never played Age of Sigmar before I am cool with that.

I see our campaign as an escalation one, where our bands quickly grow into Path to Glory armies  so I'm liking the the light simple rules set. That said, how good would a full skirmish companion game a la Kill Team be! We will be playing through the scenarios in the Skirmish booklet but tweaking the storyline to reflect our games are set in Ghur

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I play skirmish quite often and we usually play around 30 points. With a demanding job and two kids hobbytime in general is limited and the amount of renown most of the time resembles the amount of minutes played.

Three scenarios are pretty much balanced, while the other three are better suited for campaign telling. That is actually mentioned in the book itself and in the review I`ve made a while ago:

https://www.chaosbunker.de/en/2018/07/28/review-warhammer-age-of-sigmar-skirmish/#more-20635

 

Seriously, what you get is totally up to what kind of a hobbyist you are. If you like narrative and enjoy having a characterful warband, you can do that with ease. For example:

 

ORDER: Freeguild General on Foot (20), Liberator Prime (4), Longbeard Old Guard (2), Freeguild Archer Marksman (2)

, Freeguild Guard (2). TOTAL: (30)

DEATH: Necromancer (22), Skeleton Champion (2), Skeleton (2), Skeleton (2), Skeleton (2). TOTAL: (30).

As you can see, one setup is harder than the other. If you see and know this - it`s up to you to make the game better. Simply tweak the setup a bit, so your opponent has fun too. Narratively both setups offer a small story just by their look: the order warband is on a holy mission, the Liberator is the bodyguard, the Duardin the faithful companion and the Marskman and the Guard are the Generals best men.

The Necromancer warband could be a youn Heinrich Kemmler, making his first steps as a Necromancer (just to show that playing in the World That Was is great for skirmish).

 

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...