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amysrevenge

Crazy question: Do we still need Grand Alliances?

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Let's imagine they finish up with all the soup-tomes we think they will do.  Enough of the product line, past and present, is covered to make the crumbs without tomes largely irrelevant.

Will we still need Grand Alliances, even at a conceptual level? 

When every model belongs to a faction that can form a full army, and all allies are limited by faction keyword (unless you're doing Open or Narrative, but then you don't need composition rules anyway), what functions do Order or Destruction or Death or even Chaos serve? 

  • It's not particularly a lore role that these terms fill - Skaven and Grots have more in common than Dispossessed and Daughters of Khaine do.  There is a lot of handwaving required to justify all the Order factions lumping together.  "Legions of Nagash" is a particular lore-based group.  "Death" is not.  "Waaagh! Gordrakk" is a lore-based group.  "Destruction" is not.  Chaos would be the exception to this, of course, but even then all you'd really need are Chaos and Not-Chaos teams.
  • It's not an army composition role - if you're making a Fyreslayers army, Maggotkin of Nurgle and Idoneth Deepkin are equally inaccessible to you as allies, unrelated to any GA keyword. 
  • There are a handful of easily updatable gameplay interactions (bonuses or penalties tied to particular GA keywords).

I think that by 2020, the grand alliance keywords will be vestigial remnants, remaining on warscrolls simply because of inertia.

Edited by amysrevenge
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Since they build up the lore around the 4 Grand alliances I think they will keep them around

gameplaywise, I think GA still have a good role when it comes to making mixed army list, stuff like Anvilguard and Stoneklaw from Firestorm are pretty thematic GA armies and I would like them work those type of mixed armies up again and expanding the GA books.

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I here what you're saying but I think the grand alliances will stay around as a) it will always help conceptually, and especially for new players, to have the factions divided simply and broadly, b) it helps with campaigns and c) grand alliance armies are fun and will remain a thing. 

There are commonalities between most of the people within each grand alliance that they do not share with factions outside of those alliances. 

Personally I find it easier to imagine Dispossed aligning with DoK than grots with Skaven. 

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Gosh I actually really hope they do keep them around. I just love the hobby side of them. Long term goal would be an Order Grand alliance with Scourge Privateers, Kharadron, Freeguild, Dispossessed and Stormcast. Love the idea that you can just get and paint pretty much what you want and be able to play against more tightly themed armies and still get a balanced game.

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I think the Grand Alliances still have a big place as they create space for creative armies without having to constantly check with your opponent if they don't mind you using your mixed army. AoS is about carving your own corner of the realms and limiting that only hurts the setting as a whole. I personally think the grand alliance can give way to some far better themed armies than solo-factions with allies thrown in (what do IDK and DoK have in common besides being aggressive aelves for example?)

From a mechanical point of view, given that they only grant small bonuses it's not like allowing the mixing really leads to imbalanced armies, and the rules sensibly enforce taking your own allegiance abilities when possible.

They also allow for more casual gamers to take part in matched play. I'm talking the person that picks up a few boxes of models on a purely visual basis but wants to show up at the store sometimes and throw some dice.

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I don't think they function perfectly as it currently stands, but they do fulfil several important roles:

  • Giving context to new players. Someone unfamiliar with AoS can glance at the webstore and get a taste of where the lines are drawn in the lore (and does this much better than 40k, where you've got the monoliths of The Imperium and Chaos, and then half a dozen wildly divergent Xenos). 
  • The ally mechanic. While it's often not required (or optimal, when everything is keyword based), the ability for limited out-of-faction addition is a taste of freedom that goes a long way, and something I always wished WFB had codified. 
  • It's an opportunity for 'theming'new and future factions around the ideology of the alliance. As we've seen with DoK or Idoneth, focusing on cosmopolitan or empire-building aspects of a faction means GW can explore moral ambiguities and ethical distinctions between Order faction while retaining the same unifying existential priorities.  

That said, I understand reservations. You probably want to keep the sizes of the factions roughly in perspective, or at least have to 'main pair' (Order and Chaos) and the 'secondary pair' (Destruction and Death) roughly comparable. The rather 'open' unifying theme of Order, though, sort of invites new addition bloat as opposed to the more thematically specific factions of Death.

I think Destruction, as it currently stands, has the weakest overall 'theme' compared to its potential. Unlike Death, which is an 'alliance' themed around sterile authoritarianism (for which a single, all-powerful leader like Nagash is appropriate), I think Destruction needs to shirk its reliance on Gorkamorka. This would be helped if they allow Ogors to have their distinct great maw religion, but even without, I think there's space for not-Gorka aligned factions.

I have a whole fanfic idea for  Destruction humans I'm working on (they're anti-colonial, anti-god anarchists). Won't overload this with details, but the point is that for the Alliance to truly feel like they represent distinct philosophies, humans need to be part of each one

Humans in order favour civilization and peace, humans in Death worship Nagash's power or want to gain control over death, humans in Chaos are hungry for glory, power and excess, while humans in Destruction SHOULD be stubborn anarchists, tribes who resist all colonialism and rebel against the takers of souls (whether by Nagash, Chaos or Sigmar). 

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5 minutes ago, Klamm said:

I have a whole fanfic idea for  Destruction humans I'm working on (they're anti-colonial, anti-god anarchists). Won't overload this with details, but the point is that for the Alliance to truly feel like they represent distinct philosophies, humans need to be part of each one

Humans in order favour civilization and peace, humans in Death worship Nagash's power or want to gain control over death, humans in Chaos are hungry for glory, power and excess, while humans in Destruction SHOULD be stubborn anarchists, tribes who resist all colonialism and rebel against the takers of souls (whether by Nagash, Chaos or Sigmar). 

Or... you could have an AoS version of the Diggas from the Gorkamorka game. Jus' saying. 😉

Edited by Dai-Mongar

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I think it’s fine for beginners. You buy the core book, get a taste of artifacts and traits for the 4 GAs which are found in it. Then you graduate to a real army which much better rules.

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2 hours ago, Carnelian said:

I here what you're saying but I think the grand alliances will stay around as a) it will always help conceptually, and especially for new players, to have the factions divided simply and broadly, b) it helps with campaigns and c) grand alliance armies are fun and will remain a thing. 

There are commonalities between most of the people within each grand alliance that they do not share with factions outside of those alliances. 

Personally I find it easier to imagine Dispossed aligning with DoK than grots with Skaven. 

Personally I find it very hard to imagine skaven aligning with any faction, when plotting against them isn’t in play.

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Yes,  it's such a great tool when you introduce people to the game. It's a foundation unto which other rules are build. Start no allegiance abilities but just pick play a game, add matched play army selection play a game, add GA abilities play a few games. Add faction rules play more games. 

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The grand alliances were one of the biggest things that drew me to Age of Sigmar. They provide a framework for making some brilliantly createive mixed armies, without going as far as saying that anything can team up with anything (which we have open play for).

My current dwarf army is 50% dispossesed, 50% ironweld arsenal 50% kharadron overlords. Its not particularly good, but I'm glad it exists.

5 hours ago, amysrevenge said:

It's not an army composition role - if you're making a Fyreslayers army, Maggotkin of Nurgle and Idoneth Deepkin are equally inaccessible to you as allies, unrelated to any GA keyword. 

This seems to be missing the point of grand alliances entirely. It is most certainly an army composition role. Deepkin are unavailable as allies to Fyreslayers if they want to maintain the full benefits of being a Fyreslayers army. Deepkin ARE available as part of a larger GA order force that also includes Fyreslayers. So you can compose your army differently and still be matched play viable, while sacrificing some army-specific rules and gaining GA specific rules. It's perhaps the most interesting compositional choice that's ever existed in a warhammer game.

I would be very sad if they removed it.

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I’m a big fan of Grand Alliances the restrictive nature of pure factions turns me off a bit and Allies don’t cut it variation wise. 

I like being able to choose across the whole alliance for converting and repurposing stuff. 

Variety is the spice of life, more options are a good thing 

Edited by Ollie Grimwood
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Your essentially talking about removing choice which is never a good thing in a game frankly.

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I hope they plough on and nail battle tomes for all the factions that need them but I'd be sad to see the GAs go and in fact I hope they eventually return to the GA books and redo them, making them fit for the latest version of the game.

They're obviously a bit unsophisticated but they do provide a relatively simple and easy to understand framework for the setting.

Plus I just like the idea of mixed faction/race armies, I think they open up loads of really interesting narrative possibility, I much prefer the idea of a lived in world where all the races are living side by side and aren't just all off living in their respective ghettos.

No to fantasy apartheid! Down with that kind of thing! 

On a more prosaic level they also work well for things like Skirmish, if you want to run games with ragtag bands of slung together adventurers.

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I bet many ogors are less evil than a lot of idoneth deepkin. 

We're an order army now. 

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2 minutes ago, Walrustaco said:

I bet many ogors are less evil than a lot of idoneth deepkin. 

We're an order army now. 

Ogres are not evil in the slightest. They're lovely gentle creatures. They just get a bit cranky when they're hungry, aren't we all? 

I mean, it doesn't help that they were cursed by The Maw with eternal starvation (if that's still the case, anyway).

TBH, I think you could make a case for Order Ogors as sellswords. But still, Ogors provide a good angle on the ideological crux of destruction: they reject civilization not because they're battle-mad adrenaline junkies (like the Orruks) but because they're either too lazy or, in the case of BCR, they're forced to live as reaving nomads. 

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We have an Ogor as a security guard in the city of Excelsis (Eight Lamentations: Spear of Shadows).

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I will straight up say that generally speaking I detest ally systems in most wargames because its often bolted on and tends to end up a mess. GW has actually done, what I think, is phenomenally well with AoS 2.0 in terms of allies and the Grand Alliance structure. I'm serious its really well thought out now in that you can run a Grand Alliance army or you can run with your ally block and yet still pure armies are dominating and viable. It's managed to allow a blending of a lot of factions through the lore without it breaking the gameplay nor army identity. 

It honestly impresses me and is something I hope GW keep going as it is without tinkering too much. I think that having an allies system that allows for allies without letting them dominate or break the balance is great. 

 

 

Grand Alliances might go away though or dissolve in time - eg Order could fragment and shatter. However right now I can't see them breaking up for a while. 

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We don't need anything, you don't seem to understand the lore and nature of what a Grand Alliance is.  The Grand Alliance of order for example represents a faction's  allegiance with eachother against common foes, the desire to build civilization (we have plant cities by the way), represent artificial or natural order,  have some form of complex society and high Arts, Etc. The greatest being throwing your lot in with Sigmar, as Sigmar is the Beating Heart of order.

The grand alliances are so people can look at a faction and go "these guys probably like structured Civilization of some kind and are allied with Sigmar" and they also "don't like being Undead and enslaved to the will of some megalomaniac death god" 

Edited by xking

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I also disagree with the dispossessed having anything in common with the skaven or grots. The daughters of khaine may be bloody, but at least they have an orderly civilization, organized religion, sophisticated cultures, the high Arts. And most importantly, they don't want to burn the world down.

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Personally I'd be quite sad to see the GA's vanish.  I think they add a really nice level of intrigue and depth to the background and explain things like why certain races live/work together.  From a game perspective, the ability to create themed armies and running them as a GA is brilliant!

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While GW has been drifting away from the Grand Alliance structure (likely due to following the players' lead), I think it is still important to the entry-level of the game and to its long term health.  It seems that dedicated and vocal players want more depth from each faction (and they're mostly getting it), but the Grand Alliance system facilitates the army ADHD and "play with what you like" mindsets that are more prevalent among young players and new players.  Also, the Grand Alliance system helps to maintain players old armies from WHFB.  It's less important now than it was in the beginning, but I imagine they'd still like to get those players back.

It basically costs them nothing to leave it in place now that they've completely sidestepped it with allies rules for matched play.  Since at this point GA rules only really apply to casual/open/narrative play and have no impact on matched play, I think it's safe to say that GW will leave them in place for the foreseeable future.

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I personally get why the OP is asking this question. But for me the problem currently with the GAs is not about the GAs per se but rather the allies system.

The GAs largely make sense, maybe with the exception of my beloved DoK, IDK & Dark Aelves being Order factions - there's an argument for them forming a 5th (Dark or Neutral) alliance. But the interaction of the allies system with the GAs is silly. Why can what used to be Dark Elves only ally with former Dark Elves and former Dwarves ally with former Dwarves, or former Ogres ally with former Ogres. And why in Nagahs's name can't FEC ally with Nighthaunt!! I mean what is the actual point of GAs in the face of pointlessly restrictive allies systems.

My solution is simple scrap the ally lists in favour of allowing X amount of ANY other units from the same GA. 

Edited by zedatkinszed
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Personally I'd love to see the grand alliances fracture down into some more specific alliances with time, that way there is less confusion over the fact that order doesnt neccesarily mean good or even fond of Sigmar. So rather than Order you could have:
"The Azyrite Host" - Stormcast, Freepeople, Dispossessed and various azyrian factions (weld etc)
"The Shadowed Host" - Maelarions Aelves, Morathis, Idoneth, Scourge Privateers.
"The Englightened Host" - Tyrions Dudes, Teclis's Dudes, College Arcane, Magic Aelves

"The Savage Horde" - Orruks, Ironjawz, Gloomspite
"The Ravenous Horde" - Ogors, Beastclaw, Other hungry destruction

 

etc

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