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What's the real story behind the launch of Age of Sigmar?


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4 hours ago, AGPO said:

The AOS launch meant the only people playing were those who embraced this style of gaming

That's not the case, though. I know several people who played AoS in those early days who simply agreed to use the rules advantages without having to have a mustache (women in particular), dance, or avoiding having their knee touch the ground. When I finally jumped back in, I also ignored to those rules. We still played, still had light hearts, still enjoyed the game, but never felt a need to act like we were 5 years old to be able to have fun with our toys.

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Ok beardlings… sit down and put another log on the fire…   The beginning The company that you all know as GW originally was two very distinct businesses working out of Nottingham.  Game

Honestly...call me heretic, but I haven`t played a single game with points yet. I actually believe it is a step back, as the basic ruleset (which still applies, GHB is an add-on!) forces players to in

As a player who was new to miniature gaming (AoS was my first ever experience), I can tell you that the rules as they existed on release were actually a big draw for me. I can’t speak for anybody else

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3 hours ago, Aegisgrimm said:

Pretty much AoS launch was a perfect example of "Old GW" where they became so relaxed in the fact that the fans would simply eat up anything they dished out that they stopped caring about public relations, expecting everything they put out to simply be a hit. 

That mentality was pervasive throughout the whole GW culture.

Back when I was in their Trade department, we first started selling directly to retailers instead of just through distributors. It was a major shift for the US business. 

We were given a bonus structure. Without getting into the weeds, it was clear to the team that we were all going to get bonuses large enough to buy very fancy cars or or a put a down payment on a house.

With three days left before we got our bonuses, our manager brought us in for a meeting. He said they were changing the plan and just giving each of us $1000. 

We were shocked.

His next line was, and I quote "If you don't like it, you can go. There are a thousand kids lined up to take your jobs for half the pay just to work for Games Workshop."

Back in the day, they really did think their pooh didn't stink.

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1 hour ago, Sleboda said:

That's not the case, though. I know several people who played AoS in those early days who simply agreed to use the rules advantages without having to have a mustache (women in particular), dance, or avoiding having their knee touch the ground. When I finally jumped back in, I also ignored to those rules. We still played, still had light hearts, still enjoyed the game, but never felt a need to act like we were 5 years old to be able to have fun with our toys.

I was talking about the casual style of gaming rather than the specific rules, but personally I enjoyed the rules and the signal they gave about the game taking itself less seriously was a draw for me. 

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I don't think I could have tolerated a game that doesn't take itself seriously.  None of that sounds like a good time to be honest, and I'm glad they came to their senses and started pushing a more serious version of the game. 

No points baffles me and I can't even comprehend why they'd ever do that.  Silly rules also baffle me.  No one wants to play in a tournament hall riding imaginary horses.  

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42 minutes ago, Dead Scribe said:

 

No points baffles me and I can't even comprehend why they'd ever do that.  Silly rules also baffle me.  No one wants to play in a tournament hall riding imaginary horses.  

You sir, clearly have not heard of the beer and pretezels genre, such as the classic Kobolds Ate My Baby, wherein King Torg! (ALL HAIL KING TORG!) has requested that your kobold self must gather one human infant for the pot, or otherwise serve as a substitue at Kig Torg's (ALL HAIL KING TORG!) banquet

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15 hours ago, Sleboda said:

Open Play =/= not-competitive. Not by a long shot. Thinking they are synonymous is a mistake and is  the sort of mentality that had led many people to dismiss Open Play.

Lol, OK. I'll try again.

I mean to say, I wish they were clearer that the game wasn't about defined, restricted, evenly matched competitive play.

Rather, it's a plonk models on the table and see how it goes, or choose armies and try to re-create battles in the lore (admittedly hard, when the background was threadbare at the time). 

This is the approach plenty of people have, and still do take (look at after action reports for various games on Lead Adventure, for example), and is certainly the approach some current and former GW blokes take.

Now, it probably wasn't nearly enough people taking that approach, and may have been a bad idea, that's another story! I do think it was naive to release a new game and $100 plus book without spelling out exactly the sort of games they intended, when so much of their existing players (WHFB and 40k) were used to points and restrictions.

To put it another way, even your average indy game on wargamevault will have a paragraph at the front saying they intentionally didn't add points, or have only the roughest of points and if that's an issue, make your own or perhaps the game isn't for you :) (probably not the best line to put in a GW game though!)

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16 hours ago, Ollie Grimwood said:

The “we’re a miniature company not a games company” quote is a misquote/paraphrasing it was actually “We’re a miniature manufacturer not a games retailer” and taken from their business model. A similar statement still exists. Both then and now it has context and further explanation with it as part of a document that explains to investors and protential investors how GW functions as a business, It can be read on

https://investor.games-workshop.com/

along with loads of other information on how GW runs as a business.  Have a look it might clear up some misconceptions

 

I had never seen this before.  Excellent resource.

I was skimming through some of the things Tom Kirby wrote, but this one is my favorite (he is speaking on the subject of things that people thought would harm GW but didn't)---- 

"How about other games like Pokémon or role-playing games? (Who can remember them, now?)"

This is from 29 July 2013.

!!!!

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Ok beardlings… sit down and put another log on the fire…

 

The beginning

The company that you all know as GW originally was two very distinct businesses working out of Nottingham.  Games workshop was a games importer, and Citadel was a miniatures manufacturer.

 

They stayed that way for some time, TSR already had a foothold in the Uk and Dungoens and Dragons was doing well.  Gamma world was their stab at sci-fi but it didn’t do as well as their core product.

The other big players at the time were Chaosium who were producing Runequest and Call of Cthulhu and miniature wise there were several but the main competitor was Ral Partha and Grenadier.

Now, tabletop wargaming at the time was very much confined to the historical gamers.  There was nobody really doing a wargame for fantasy gaming at the time. TSR had tried with a product called Chainmail and later Battle System but they didn’t really work very well or integrate with the D&D rulesets at the time.

With the model lines rising and with the vision of people like Tony Ackland, Brian Ansell, Rick Priestley and John Blanche, the miniatures and their backgrounds started taking on a character and life of their own.  Warhammer came into existence and Harry the hammer was born smashing a skeleton to pieces on the cover of warhammer 1st edition.

There was talk back then of doing a game set in the far future called Rogue Trader.  But we wouldn’t see that materialise into reality for many many years to come.

In the pages of white dwarf we’d find scenarios we could play and storylines to follow, and of course there were the published stuff like Terror of the Lichmaster, Bloodbath and Orc’s drift and MacDeath.  This was the age of parody, ripping off ideas in popular culture and having fun- the words IP and lawsuit didn’t exist then - they were far more innocent and different times.

Warhammer 2nd edition came, and with it an army book called Ravening hordes not the thing with the goblins on the cover but an amazing piece of art by Chris Achilleos - you lot think nothing of codexes and battletomes now, but back them this was revolutionary - like opening the lost ark.  We as players had a structure to build an army, and themed armies.

Warhammer third edition landed not long after, and with it Warhammer fantasy role play.  At this point we started to see the old world fleshed out and given form.  This was the beginning of the warhammer many of you remember.

We also saw a new game, Warhammer 40,000 : Rogue Trader.   A far cry from the original concept of expeditionary privateers in space, we see the 40k universe unfold. And what a universe it was - a truly unique vision, but to every warhammer player, familiar as all our favourite races were in there with great new twists.

There was a fluidity back then, new stuff was announced in white dwarf with rules and fluff and we set about playing to them right away..

Bearing in mind that we didn’t have stores other than local indi stores and WD was available at every newsagents stand.

Inevitable small companies grow with success and with that success comes changes.  The small company can’t behave as it once did and a more business orientated mindset comes in.  Over the years this translates as a tighter grip on the strategy and lines.  It’s no longer about guys in a shed having fun.  The good ol’ boys are also having to tow the line in a different manner.

 

Times Change

Nobody could have foreseen just how popular 40k would become.  It was fluid, it was fun it was skirmishy.  You could play it with a couple of boxes of RTB01 marines or orks.

Fantasy was still strong but was stuck in the world of ranks and flanks, it still stuck fast to the historical war game paradigm.  Popular culture was changing as well, fantasy in film and media was falling out of favour and giving way to sci-fi.  It would take decades before this balance was addressed.

If GW ever had a problem with specialist games it was that of support and continuity.  Its two main product lines had emerged and with the limited resources they had, it was obvious specialist games would be a niche affair.  Any company at this point in time asks one question - is it making us money?

So now we wind the clock on a decade or two.  GW is strong.  It’s survived huge upheaval in the marketplace.  TSR is long dead, but their demise was to echo through the ages and GW almost take on a dark parody of it.  Chaosium, Runequest, etc all gone to the dust.  There was a new way of doing things, CCG’s, video games, and other new ways of doing thing.  Even fantasy had changed in outlook and aesthetic with WoW and their ilk.

The new warhammer gamer (both systems) was becoming a competitive animal.  A far cry from some guys deciding that if you have that, and I have this, then we’ll play it like this and this is the story.

 

Core differences

If fantasy was struggling to attract new blood, to seduce them to swords and sorcery rather than las guns and bolt pistols, then it wasn’t helping itself in the way it was wanting you to do things.

Your army in fantasy had to have a minimum amount of it’s army’s points in core troops - the predecessor of battleline if you will.

In a 2000 point game that was 500 points.  back in 3rd ed, the points cost per model were high, the model count still low.  But wind that clock on the 7th / 8th ed and you’re talking eye watering cost - especially if you played a traditionally small point per model army like greenskins or skaven.

20 chaos warriors did you - two boxes, well one and a bit as they contained 16 models - a throwback to 7th ed.   But a skaven player would be buying up five or more boxes of slaves to make up his numbers, he’d launched 100 pounds straight away without getting started.

By comparison 40k said minimum units, and guess what - a unit was a box of models. great.  Little Johnny just buys some marines and he’s good.

 

Age of Kirby.

Lots of stuff said about this bloke, and probably held in as much disgust as Matt Ward.

If there was one overriding fault that typifies his reign it was xenophobia.

No press releases until release, no official information channels other than white dwarf, and eschewing the new media that was web and social media.

They did have a forum many years ago, but it got trolled so hard that they thought nuts to this and shut it down.

Now remember what I said about TSR? -  well that was GW right there.  Telling you that it was their way or no way and you should be grateful to buy the same thing twice over with the only difference being a new cover.  And it was dying in the same way.

I don’t doubt that he tried to pull GW back as best he could, but in reality he didn’t appear to understand this new world.  It had given him the tools he needed to make things right but he didn’t know how to use them.

They’d also sunk a metric ton of cash in New Line Cinema’s way for the LoTR licence.  The return was in fairness quite pitiful.  There was no assistance on New Line’s part to market the game for GW, or assist them.  But why would they? they were used to dealing with the Mattel and parker of the world, huge commercial corporate entities with their own vast advertising budgets and knowledge of tv commercial slots.  GW didn’t have that knowledge or money to make it happen even if they had, not on the global scale that say a batman toy gets pumped across the globe.

Giving computer game houses et al. licence to thrill was great, but unfortunately it didn’t have the desired effect of pulling custom the other way as much as GW would have liked.  I’d like to see just how many people started to play 40k off the back of Dawn of War for example.

By now fantasy on top of everything else had issues whereby it was sitting stagnant in a four yearly cycle.  The problem was that with each edition the story never really got advanced, merely re-written or retconned.  Armies which didn’t sell got left by the wayside with only loyal followers saving them from (eventual) extinction.  this was further compounded by the fact that models were not released quickly enough to support a new release.

Beastmen were a prime example.  the book came out in 7th ed. It was a full 6 months till the gorghon/cygor came out. By then people had converted giants etc.   Sales were poor.  Of course they were.

And when there was no model to support something, then third parties stepped in and filled the void.

 

End Times

8th edition culminated with end times.  The rules were nothing more than rehashed storm of chaos rules but the story was beautiful as were the books.  We were all looking to the golden dawn of 9th edition. Rumour was that the starter box would be brets and beasts and I for one was uber excited as I had promised myself a bret army as the next project to sit diametrically opposed to my Warriors of Chaos.

It was also noted the aesthetic direction the new models in 8th edition were taking.  They had a very different design direction to the previous stuff. It was far more high fantasy than before.  A precursor to AoS hidden in plain sight.

With the Xenophobia on code red at the mothership, understandably when End times er.. Ended we were all left with a full on WTF.

No news. No communication. No nothing.  Just blackout.

Hastings on Warseer was already talking about combined stats.  The forums lit up.  All anyone had reference to was the fantasy battle rules.  much gnashing of teeth about how broken things would be etc etc.

Then news came that brets were going to be like space marines the rules being 4 pages long and the web lit up some more.

Still there was silence.

 

Age Of Sigmar.

The silence was broken,  and the next thing we see is Khorgos Ghul on one side of the window display and a mighty stormcast Prosecutor on the other.

There was typical “You will like it” fanfare.  but the damage was done.  We’d been left in the dark and now what we were given was something none of us knew or could relate too.

 

“We’re a model company first…”

I think this will go down in history as one of those comments which probably never came out with the intent that it was meant to.

We all heard it, read it and took it the same way, but now standing back, I think what it was trying to say was that it was the models which made the company, not the rules that made the models.  We buy into stuff with our eyes and our imagination, not because words on paper are the driving key.

We talk of how awesome the models are and then we say yea that’s a great faction, I’ll start that.

It’s few people that may look at a faction and say yes, great looks but their scrolls are rubbish. nah, not touching them.

It also dawned on the mothership that to protect yourself from third parties essentially you had to do only what you already produced. No model, no rules. simples.

 

"Bring your fake moustache and a cheeky insult while standing on one leg..”

When AoS landed, the early faq’s leading up to it said that:

Your old army was still playable

Your old arrny would no longer be developed or supported

New factions would come to the fore and these would be those that were built on - they failed to mention that many of these “no longer supported” models would actually come back with a new name and new lore, thus becoming a new faction.

To bridge the gap till the new lore was forged, GW put out the compendiums.  Like many we thought some of the stuff in there was a real slap in the face.  It was supposed to be light hearted and humorous but in reality it offended people’s sensibilities, especially after the massive long silence that had proceeded it, and now we get this BS.

I can understand that perhaps the origins of what was to become known as open play were based on trying to get people to play and enjoy the interaction of just playing for playing sake, but the reality was that was going to work on a very small minority when taken at face value.

We old role player long beards were not plentiful anymore.  I would never take six nagashes because I could, it made perfect sense to me he was unique, but many didn’t see it that way.  

The statement also alienated the competitive community, and they needed structure and frameworks to be able to do their thing.  There were none, and for a company like GW to allow third party comp to come up with its own ideas was deplorable.

 

Looking back.

I genuinely believe that AoS was probably on the cards concurrently with 9th Edition WFB.  Only sales figures were going to swing the pendulum in the favour of one or the other.  With Fantasy sales low, the decision was made as we know.  But I think also we need to look at a different angle.

Gameplay was more fluid in the looser 40k style.  You had more creative freedom with the models as you didn’t have to worry about ranking up on a movement tray, and story wise, perhaps the old world had grown too small, too quaint to handle the imagination and ambition of the writers and where the developers wanted to take the game and the model lines.

The mortal realms allowed the writers to introduce factions and things in new and exciting ways, rather than waiting for the next big armybook update and retconning the lore so that "the new model has always existed, what are you talking about?!”

With their plans for the future, its inevitable they looked to the future, and decided to call it a day with certain models and factions.  And without this getting to be a war of words about chapterhouse and IP, things like brets died because the early script writers backed them into a corner and nobody knew how to pull them out of it.  personally I really think they could have worked as a narnia mashup, and worked as a far more gritty darker aspect of their former selves.  But that’s another rant for another thread.

 

The Age of Rowntree

If there was one overriding word that typifies his reign it is communication.

From being enemy number one, GW transforms itself into our best friend.  It’s showing us what’s coming up, asking us what we think, and encouraging us to share our thoughts.  It walks the journey with us, asking if it tastes ok, rather than holding us by the throat and telling us we’re going to have to like it.

I firmly believe that had Rowntree and his team been in charge at the time of End times, we would have had a very slick and well received roll out of AoS much like the 8th edition 40k rollout.

Communication is key.  Imagine a malign portents style buildup to get people used to the idea of the mortal realms as the old world was crumbling, and the interplay between them.  Imagine just teasing snippet rules such as battleshock to replace morale checks, and changes to running and charging for instance.

Sure, lets not mince words, it’s a business that’s there to take your money, and the only good customer is one that keeps spending.  They don’t give a frig if you’ve been collecting for twenty years and have ten thousand points of chaos warriors alone - if you’re not spending NOW.  You’re not paying their bills or turning their cogs.  You’ll still dance to their tune but this time you feel you’re the one deciding and willing to do it rather than being forced.

And that’s no different to anyone else.  Apple loves you all the while you keep upgrading that iphone and mac.  It doesn’t care that your old mac book is still going strong after 10 years.  Next year’s software release will sort that out.  Then it’s up to you if you’re still up for taking the cookie or want to eat elsewhere.

So it is with GW.

 

 

So…. back to the beginning..

 

On 12/28/2018 at 7:26 PM, Ken said:

I was listening to an interview of Jervis Johnson on the Stormcast podcast in which he tactfully  acknowledges that  the roll out of AoS wasn't exactly a smooth one.   

It got me to wondering how that all happened. I don't mean how or why GW decided to end WFB. I mean who decided that releasing AoS in it's original state- without much structure or point costs- was a good idea and how did they reach this conclusion?
 

Did GW always intend to flesh AoS out by adding the missing elements, or was this a decision that was made only when they saw the overwhelmingly negative reaction to the game as released?

Did any heads roll at GW for what, with 20/20 hindsight, appears to have been a very poor decision?

Many people have speculated regarding the answers to these questions, but is there any hard information, any first -hand accounts from those who were there on the inside?

Thanks.
 

 

 

The changes were needed, and the financials spoke for themselves.

If damage was done it was the silence, and that damage was greatest insofar that it made people actively look for alternatives and realise that there were great systems and games out there.

There was only one man who's head rolled and that was Kirby's.  Times had moved and he hadn't moved with it, and was unwilling to see or accept that.

He ultimately failed to direct the business in a manner which kept profitability and customer satisfaction high, and as such paid the price.  I'm sure the paying his wife's web development company several million pounds for a substandard website didn't help but that's conjecture at this point.

 

Sorry for the ramble.  I'll shut up now.  The embers are dying low on the fire anyways. :)

Edited by Kaleb Daark
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39 minutes ago, Caladancid said:

I had never seen this before.  Excellent resource.

I was skimming through some of the things Tom Kirby wrote, but this one is my favorite (he is speaking on the subject of things that people thought would harm GW but didn't)---- 

"How about other games like Pokémon or role-playing games? (Who can remember them, now?)"

This is from 29 July 2013.

!!!!

He’s comedy gold his comments on Delaware’s legal system following the CHS law suit really made me chuckle.  I felt his tongue was lodged firmly in his cheek but who can tell.  

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On 12/31/2018 at 12:57 AM, Sleboda said:

Not saying your overall point is off, but your emphasis on the value of the tournament scene is highly overstated. Tournaments have value, even if they do bring it the gawd-awful worst in gamers, but their impact on sales is likely negligible.

Did you just ignore everything he said. The value of the tournament scene had nothing to do with what he was talking about. Other than that some guys that were part of it were brought on to help with the new rules and eventually get the Warhammer Community started. 

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1 hour ago, Envyus said:

Did you just ignore everything he said. The value of the tournament scene had nothing to do with what he was talking about. Other than that some guys that were part of it were brought on to help with the new rules and eventually get the Warhammer Community started. 

There's always going to be that tussle between the tournament players and others, but all player factions bring value, they really do.

The open play and narrative play community feed the imagination of the background and the lore, its their vision and imagineering that makes the narrative thread on this forum such a rich resource, and in turn I'm sure that although we can all make an omelette but we're not Michelin star chefs, a black library writer may have skimmed over one of the ideas thrown around, or looked at cool conversions and thought - yea, I could work some magic with that.

Tournament players are by the nature of every sportsman there to win. Winning is fun, of course it is.  I have tournament playing friends, who have played face to face with our own ben and Chris and Gary.  Where I might build a chaos army based on my love of khorne, or my imagining how awesome this would look if it was a cinematic trailer, he'd be building me a list picking the best to do certain things and cope with a certain situation or unit type.

I'd be saying no, as it doesn't fit my theme, he'd be saying you'd lose if you don't take it.  I just wouldn't go and do elves for example, they're not my thing, but if Daughters of Khaine are suddenly THE win, he'll go off and land a full army to achieve that win.  Rule of Rule rather than rule of cool wins him over every time.

That doesn't of course make him the antichrist, not at all, it's just the way he is, and GW profit from him accordingly as like all of us the love of the models and the system is there - suited and moulded to him within his framework of the desire to win.

Now the difference between him and me is that when a faction or new book comes out he buys it, he reads it, and he dissects it. If he can see the potential to win him an even he'll buy an army off the back of it.

If that army drops a tier, he'll buy an army to get back on top.  Playing him is a nightmare of course it is, but to GW and the community he like other tournament gamers are a necessary part of the eco system, as he will drop good chunks of money regularly into the till in order to stay competitive when the meta shifts.

I don't and I won't, for me its all about the story not so much the glory.  When i see something I like I'll drop good money, but I don't list tweak and refine, and spend accordingly to achieve that scalpel edge play. - but I'll go and stupidly buy box after box of darkoath/ marauder/bloodreavers as I like the idea of a horde of frost covered angry (human)  barbarians running around.

Regularly is the operative word here.  Sure GW will have my money in big chunks at some point. but tournament dude  will keep feeding it regularly so it doesn't starve by virtue of what he enjoys, whereas when I dump cash into the till it's usually a massive binge.

As you may have guessed... both are needed to feed the beast.

The three ways to play honestly I don't believe should have needed spelling out, but that's a sign of the times.

Tournament/matched play like any sporting event needs a framework and a structure or else people just do what they like, and of course if you're there to win, you'll do what you can to be on top.   Six archaons? sure coming right up - nobody told me I couldn't.

Would A hardened tournament player would never really see the sensibility of recreating say a last stand a-la Helms Deep, where you pitch 100 men against say 2000 opponent models?  point for point he knows he's going to get slaughtered, there's no balance, it could never win etc etc.  But ultimately that's not what it's about.

Open play - as an old roleplayer, I got open play.  But I can see and saw why many just couldn't and didn't.  I just fell straight back into my old (tabletop) rpg shoes and out came the narratives and the reasons and the whys. But if you were never part of that I was always going to be the most alien of things  - being told to sort it out amongst yourselves.  made further difficult by the fact that GW themselves had made sure that it's community of players had walked away from this into a points structured world of their making years before.

Had GW still held onto Fantasy roleplay, and maybe 40k roleplay in house and pushed them along side the battle games, we may have seen something different in our player community as one fed into the other. As it was, many people didn't know that an rpg of both even existed outside of a few computer game franchises.

Edited by Kaleb Daark
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Thing is RPG games have rules too - heck Dungeons and Dragons in the past had so many rulebooks and supplements and such that it makes the amount of rules Warhammer has (at its most complex) look tiny. In fact RPG games can have very tight and strict rules systems and its off the back of them that you can craft your stories. 

In fact in general RPG systems with sold rule systems often prove more popular than those with wishy-washy weak ones. Because the structure provides the framework to build off and the DM can use that to craft a vast variety of stories and campaigns and battles and situations and problems for their gamers. 

 

What early AoS had was a system in evolution; it was a half or part system of rules that lacked key components. It would attract those who were up for experimenting; those who might enjoy writing their own rules or who just wanted an excuse to play with 20 dragon models because they love dragons and had been building them for years. However it was a hollow system, in my view. It relied too heavily on either using previous points and some structure or inventing your own through theory/trial and error in order to get things to a point where they'd work. 

I'd say it worked as a fresh system for a while, but if GW had maintained it it would have either fallen apart or given rise to independent rules systems (like 9th edition) gaining more and more influence until GW was basically making models for a 3rd party rules system (baring in mind there might be more than 1 that rose to the top which would immediately divide the playerbase at regional/national levels)

 

 

 

Personally I don't see the casual VS competitive divide the same way as many do. I think many try to see this divide as mechanical between rules systems. Personally I don't see that as the dividing point at all. The rules system, well written, is critical and enables both equally. The core difference is player skill* and player attitude toward the game and what they want. 

I think if GW keeps improving the rules and balance it works great for both parties. Personally I would like to see GW expand Narrative and Casual segments of their rules. To expand upon what each mode means, give them their own formal battle plans and some structures players can work with. Tricky for Casual, but for Narrative I can see a wealth of options that GW can introduce to players. Perhaps this is what they hope to do with their new format WD; and might also get rolled into comprehensive editions of the rules in latter versions of the game. 

 

 

*Yes I'm going to say that skill does play at part. Quite a few very casual players are less skilled at playing the game. This might be at building lists through to playing. This is not a bad thing for them, its simply a reflection of variation in skill level which shows up more keenly in smaller clubs/groups

 

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We need tournament players who are constantly chasing the dragon, it's their knee-****** cashflow that keep the company afloat in the most obvious way, and when the company is doing good those of us who play armies based on personal imagination get to reap the rewards when otherwise non-mainstream stuff can be made.

It's just a pain when the two mindsets try to play each other, as one guy wants to talk army FLUFF, and the other only cares about army META, and it's apples and oranges.

Edited by Aegisgrimm
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21 minutes ago, Aegisgrimm said:

We need tournament players who are constantly chasing the dragon, it's their knee-****** cashflow that keep the company afloat in the most obvious way, and when the company is doing good those of us who play armies based on personal imagination get to reap the rewards when otherwise non-mainstream stuff can be made.

It's just a pain when the two mindsets try to play each other, as one guy wants to talk army FLUFF, and the other only cares about army META, and it's apples and oranges.

That’s utter speculation. I highly doubt tournament players make up the majority of GW’s sales.

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It probably is, but I have a feeling that meta-chasers and those who can never settle on an army before going onto the next are probably a pretty big chunk of sales, especially of rew releases.  Probably more for 40k than AoS, really.

Edited by Aegisgrimm
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Well having been there when aos lounged, I can tell you that I didn’t really like the way it was played.

not having somewhat of a well point option to make the game fair, my club Uesd livepoints instead. And i tried having fun with the system, sadly it didn’t work.

i was back then a more well narrative player who loved building an army based a certain theme.

but when it came down to playing a horde of clanrats against the same amount of swordmasters, the fun was over.

even when I tried playing without any kind of competitive pointthingie system, playing against 3Nagashes or a horde consisting of Archaon, the three Nurgle brothers and Skarbrand against a bunch of clanrats, was where the fun was over for me.

i stopped after playing a few games and sheltered my Skaven army in the dark abyss for a year and started with a Khorne daemonkin army for 40k.

From my perspective, aos was a total failure, it also seems that it was a slap to the face for many people.

of course  a minority of people were enjoying and playing the game frequently, and there may even have been country’s  were most of the people played the system.

after some month different point systems were presented to the player by companies and other fans of the old world.

Even miniwargaming made there own point system, to have some kind of fairness on the table. (With which fairness is meant as a enjoyable game)

my guess is that the point system was a greater success with the game then what Gw actually gave us. (Also their sales may have been very low in 2015 and they really needed some ideas)

this might have been the reason why the competitive mode was introduced with the ghb.

 

ps: also say has maybe anybody found any well stock images of the year 2015 of Gw?

 

 

 

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The financial reports for the last year of 7th talk about the game not meeting their goals and a new edition would be coming out.  The annual reports during 8th mentioned that it didn't really happen.  During this time GW as a whole as not super profitable.  Anyone who thinks Warhammer Fantasy wasn't losing money has to be really dedicated to that conclusion.  There's simply no way it would be specifically mentioned in two annual reports as a problem  during a period of barely making a profit and it not losing money.

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Obviously I don't know the inside information about the launch of AoS but I would like to share my experience.

I collected some Warriors of Chaos in the early 2000's when I was a young teenager with my friends. We had some Dwarves, Dark Elves, High Elves, Orcs and Goblins, Vampire Counts, and my Warriors. We used to just get together and paint until one of us got their hands on the Core Rulebook for Warhammer Fantasy. It was a big meaty thing (much like the current rulebook) but much more full of rules than fluff. It fell to me to discipher the arcane scrawlings in the book and run a few games during a weekend. We all played one game in a weekend and after than single weekend we never played again. Maybe it was because the learning curve was too steep for kids our age or because some of the games were very one sided, I'm not sure. In any case, we all kept our minis in a box in storage and moved on with life.

Fast forward to 2015 and suddenly one of my oldest friends from those days is talking to me about a new Warhammer Fantasy called "Age of Sigmar". Him and his brother were going to buy the starter set and play a few games and they asked me if I still had my old minis and if I wanted to play. I was reluctant at first; I didn' like the look of the Stormcast, didn't know any of the lore, and was fearful of learning all the rules. After being assured that there was only 4 pages of rules I eventually agreed. 

Our very first game of AoS was a 4 person narrative battle where our tiny armies had to chase down a dragon and slay it. Whomever killed the beast would win the game. We had Khorne Bloodbound, Stormcast, Dark Elves, and Slaves to Darkness on the table. It was a very enjoyable game with the victory going to Khorne via the Reality Splitting Axe. We all agreed it was a blast and agreed to play again the next week. The following games were pretty terrible.

We had no real sense of how to balance more straightforward games. The second game I ever played was against the Dark Elves lead by Malekith. According to the 4 page rules we could count wounds and address balance that way. Well, it didn't work out very well. Somehow I doubt Malekith is worth the same weight at 8 Chaos Warriors. Anyway, what followed was a few games of devastating losses  as we tried to work put how to balance the game. I am still surprised that we managed to work through that dark time, especially after my friend replaced his Dark Elves with Beastclaw Raiders. But we did persevere and our patience was (somewhat) rewarded with the GHB 2016. Games suddenly got much more enjoyable. Then the Battletomes started dropping. I bought the Stormcast one for my friend and ended up painting all of his models for him because he has some nerve damage and can't hold a brush too well. I became fascinated with the Stormcast after that and now have a massive collection.

Games started getting more evenly matched after a time, but  it wasn't until 2017 where everything came together for us. Since the GHB 2017 the majority of all of our games have been 4th or 5th battleround affairs and I couldn't be happier.  For me a fun game is one that runs right down the wire until the end. Of course, this could be a result of practice and becoming familiar enough with the system to make choices in army building that result in closer games, but I do think that the more rigid rules systems help to keep games tight. Since the early days our gaming group has grown and most games are fun, nail-biting battle with rarely a blowout. I will admit that I am lucky to live in an area where everyone seems to go for "rule of cool" rather than whatever will win games. 

So my long winded opinion is that, for me and my gaming friends, the game has come a long way since those early days and even though the rules are getting a bit bloated they really make for fun games.

Sorry about the massive anecdote 😅

Edited by Somanlius
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On the no points aspect is was clearly the intention that people find ways to balance their own games based on their circumstances.  Balance of units was and still is very situational.  Quite a few people came up with innovative and interesting  ways to balance their games Mo Comp,  SCGT and there was a formula based mechanic that was tried  

I felt many of the claims that the game was impossible to balance coming from existing WFB players were somewhat disingenuous at best. Coupled with the claims there was always a long list of examples of unbalanced situations, if people were so capabale of working out what wasn’t balanced they were just as capable of working what was. 

There were also claims of ludicrous numbers of Archaons (or Bloodthirsters or Nagash for example) being fielded by individual players.   Again quite easy to work out that wasn’t going to work and let’s face it, pictures or it didn’t happen. 

Are GHB points easier? Yes and their release  did galvanise AoS sales. However they weren’t and aren’t as good as what the community came up with and I really liked the possitive attitude towards ownership of the game and shared gaming experience that existed in the AoS community before their existence 

N.B. This is my opinion of the situation as a whole and shouldn’t be considered to be about any individual in particular 

Edited by Ollie Grimwood
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Yeah well i guess you could say that the beginning of aos may have been a slap in the face, but lastly games workshop is only a company where multiple humans work together and making mistakes or trying to establish something better, is just a part of our human/(rattish) beeing.

But lastly they found a way in making aos much more likeable and if it wouldn’t have been for that well in my eyes not so great beta version, aos would have never become what it is today.

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TBH this thread is veering WAY off topic into the launch of AOS and how that could have been better. The OP asked a simple question: why did WHFB get canned and why did they choose to do AOS at all. That's been answered multiple times and comprehensively with the great post by @Kaleb Daark

I don't know why @Skreech Verminking is only showing GW's stock for the first few years of AOS timeframe, because there's really little point showing that in the absence of context. By the way AOS was decided upon in 2012 or 2013 according to Jervis Johnson so any stock analysis (which TBH is not all that helpful) needs to go back to 2008 or 2009.

Now, here's the stock picture for GW for the last 5 years:

601916555_GWstock5years.png.bc79a3fa13cbbd91d08df6c6a4a514d6.png

 

As you can see GW stock took a slight dip in 2016 and then rocketed up after Kirby left. Honestly I'd love to say that the stock upsurge was about AOS's reform and the improvement in the GW marketting style. But TBH it was about the CEO.

Oh and BTW GW itself is saying it's in a bubble and that it's stock will fall. It will so don't panic when it happens (unless you invested at the high point - in that case bummer).

Edited by zedatkinszed
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On 12/31/2018 at 7:37 PM, Dead Scribe said:

I don't think I could have tolerated a game that doesn't take itself seriously.  None of that sounds like a good time to be honest, and I'm glad they came to their senses and started pushing a more serious version of the game. 

No points baffles me and I can't even comprehend why they'd ever do that.  Silly rules also baffle me.  No one wants to play in a tournament hall riding imaginary horses.  

The no points idea can work but frankly it'd never fit GW after all the years they've spent getting money from the tournament crowd. Not only that but it makes pick up games longer 

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