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Chikout

Terrain and the immersion question.

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I love the new terrain! I've also been buying terrain since I got into the hobby 3 years ago. It's always been important to me because of they guys I started playing with. The guys at my local Game Store would bring in terrain and set up cool looking tables before we got to play. This was a small game store that mostly focused on card games and we had to fit 2 or 3 of those small gaming tables together and put on a table topper in order to have a table big enough to play AoS on. They would arrive with boxes of stuff in the back of their cars and assemble it in store, it was part of the fun of setting up the game. I moved to another town and at the store I play at now they have a shelf full of fantasy themed terrain, and another of sci-fi themed terrain, in the back of the room that we can all use on the 4 wargaming tables they have available. But I still have a nice collection of terrain that keeps growing so I can play at home. These new pieces with rules feel natural to me.

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Armies of giant mutant murder monsters fits the game’s internal logic, and if anything makes the mutual ‘hold on while I paint this rune on my herdstone please’ all the more unlikely. These aren’t conscripted soldiers having a kick about in no man’s land on Christmas Eve, most of them are mindless killing machines.

 

Tabletop games are very visual things, and whatever quirks of brain chemistry that has meant we all look at painted toys on homemade battle grounds and think they look cool can very easily be overwhelmed by little reminders of how silly it all is. Game mechanics operate off table so can be more abstract quite fine, but the on board stuff is like a little snap shot of a war taking place in the mortal realms, and things on it that look out of place have a much greater impact on immersion than whether the dice rolls of a block of archers accurately represented how a gang of murder goblins would take down a pack of ravenous slaughter hounds.

To me it’s like dumping some 40k factory terrain on the table. It looks cool and the rules don’t matter, but it’s still gonna spoil the fun.

(All in my opinion of course, not everyone cares)

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I'm a big fan of the idea of army specific terrain.

 

I despise the idea of 0 point mandatory terrain that just increases the cost of entry into an army.

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But I agree, that's down to interpretation of their motivation behind their actions. 
Not to mention that's how they themselves describe their proces, again listen to their podcasts to hear them describe their proces. 

The moment they begin adding immersive rules over gamey rules, I will certainly change my stance.  Right now they have never done so, so I can only go by what they currently and in the lifetime of AOS have done.  

I suspect that what they do is driven primarily by what people tell them in their community surveys and what they read online and what they are told at conventions and that is why I belive from my own experiences as well that the vast majority of the playerbase does not care about immersion and why they continue to develop with immersion not being something that is a focal point or consideration.

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Putting aside stale arguments about rules vs background, I agree with Chikout. Speaking strictly about immersion, I don't really see  any genuine qualitative difference between these bits of terrain and bases. If your model has a skull on its base, are we presuming that that mini is dragging it everywhere with them? Or even if it's just a rock, are they finding a convenient spot to prop one foot upon? Or just basing material, if your model is based with (say) black sand, does that not break your suspension of disbelief when you play on a grassy green board?

Miniatures are not purely neutral and able to fit any situation. Even a pose is an idealised snapshot; are we to understand your liberator as holding that hammer aloft all battle? If it's round 3 of a battle, why doesn't your model reflect the damage it might have suffered? Same with terrain. We don't have to hyper-literally presume that a throne or a shrine is being dragged to a specific place or even that every battle that involves them is situatued near them, just that they are relevant and play a part in the game under their influence.

Either every army is hyperspecific to a given battlefield and a given moment in a conflict, or you accept a certain level of abstraction. Different folks are going to have different levels of tolerance - I used to know a guy who would go out of his way to convert his empire models to sorts of plain parade-ground poses on the basis that it was more 'reasonable' and who would sniff at playing against armies with ruins or similar beacuse they necessarily didn't match the board - but none of these takes are necessarily more logical than the others.

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Posted (edited)
18 minutes ago, sandlemad said:

Putting aside stale arguments about rules vs background, I agree with Chikout. Speaking strictly about immersion, I don't really see  any genuine qualitative difference between these bits of terrain and bases. If your model has a skull on its base, are we presuming that that mini is dragging it everywhere with them? Or even if it's just a rock, are they finding a convenient spot to prop one foot upon? Or just basing material, if your model is based with (say) black sand, does that not break your suspension of disbelief when you play on a grassy green board?

Miniatures are not purely neutral and able to fit any situation. Even a pose is an idealised snapshot; are we to understand your liberator as holding that hammer aloft all battle? If it's round 3 of a battle, why doesn't your model reflect the damage it might have suffered? Same with terrain. We don't have to hyper-literally presume that a throne or a shrine is being dragged to a specific place or even that every battle that involves them is situatued near them, just that they are relevant and play a part in the game under their influence.

Either every army is hyperspecific to a given battlefield and a given moment in a conflict, or you accept a certain level of abstraction. Different folks are going to have different levels of tolerance - I used to know a guy who would go out of his way to convert his empire models to sorts of plain parade-ground poses on the basis that it was more 'reasonable' and who would sniff at playing against armies with ruins or similar beacuse they necessarily didn't match the board - but none of these takes are necessarily more logical than the others.

I do see your point, but again it comes back to it being given for free to every faction now. You are having the choice of whether or not this spoils your experience influenced; like if the rules said you got a 10% points discount if you based all your dudes on pink glittery moon rocks (official citadel aethermoon rocks, RRP £34.99) You might not want to, but you’re at a disadvantage if you don’t, and you’re gonna be battling a lot of pink based armies.

Edited by Luke82

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I like terrain but would like more generic terrain and less army specific, i. e. Generic castle etc. 

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1 hour ago, Dead Scribe said:

The moment they begin adding immersive rules over gamey rules, I will certainly change my stance.  Right now they have never done so, so I can only go by what they currently and in the lifetime of AOS have done.  

Don't make it too black and white, mate. Because when you say They have never done so or in the lifetime of AOS. I'm going to point you, again, to the Longbeards Grumbling rules ;) and there were many more of those. Giving the advantage to the Dwarf general if he has a longer beard than his opponent because the lore says dwarfs respect longer beards is probably the definition of immersive rules. Same with true line of sight.

1 hour ago, Dead Scribe said:

I suspect that what they do is driven primarily by what people tell them in their community surveys and what they read online and what they are told at conventions and that is why I belive from my own experiences as well that the vast majority of the playerbase does not care about immersion and why they continue to develop with immersion not being something that is a focal point or consideration.

I think that's the essence of it. You Believe your own experiences and the people you talk to represent the majority of the playerbase. I do the same and we end up with directly opposing conclusions. Therefore I believe the truth is probably in the middle somewhere. Whilst I expect you to still maintain your conclusion. But correct me if i'm wrong on that one :) 
Also I do believe the designers when they talk about the design proces and actually tell us that the model comes first, the rules later. Rules that are designed to represent what the model does. They even do so with shadespire. Arguably the most 'Gamey rules' fantasy game they currently sell.

 

Also weirdly I don't get notifications if you quote me. I suspect Mod's trying to keep us from arguing ;) 

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5 hours ago, Dead Scribe said:

I have seen polls and have been in enough conversations on a global scale where I am comfortable saying a lot of us because the overwhelming majority of people that don't care about immersion are usually the overwhelming result of the polls and online discussions.  

Why speaking about unknown polls when we can create one here and now and check what the majority thinks?

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It's a fine touch, but I think the conversation as it typically goes is missing the point of the OP here.

The point isn't that army terrain is realistic or whatever.  The point is that it seems like a strange and arbitrary line to draw for immersion breaking.  I can understand and empathize with many points that I disagree with, but I just can't wrap my head around this one thing being the line.  I mean, I would have an easier time disagreeing with but at least understanding an argument that "10% of Stormcasts should be left-handed, and seeing a whole army of right-handed Stormcasts just ruins my immersion".  I don't think it's a winning argument, but it's an argument I can at least follow from premise to conclusion.

But "this bit of terrain shouldn't be here" I just don't see how it can be the line.  No matter how many times people say it, it still just doesn't register for me what the actual complaint is, what the counter expectation would be, any of it.  Like, it's a narrative complaint in it's essence, but people deny so vehemently that it's a narrative problem, saying that it's a matched play problem.

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12 minutes ago, amysrevenge said:

It's a fine touch, but I think the conversation as it typically goes is missing the point of the OP here.

The point isn't that army terrain is realistic or whatever.  The point is that it seems like a strange and arbitrary line to draw for immersion breaking.  I can understand and empathize with many points that I disagree with, but I just can't wrap my head around this one thing being the line.  I mean, I would have an easier time disagreeing with but at least understanding an argument that "10% of Stormcasts should be left-handed, and seeing a whole army of right-handed Stormcasts just ruins my immersion".  I don't think it's a winning argument, but it's an argument I can at least follow from premise to conclusion.

But "this bit of terrain shouldn't be here" I just don't see how it can be the line.  No matter how many times people say it, it still just doesn't register for me what the actual complaint is, what the counter expectation would be, any of it.  Like, it's a narrative complaint in it's essence, but people deny so vehemently that it's a narrative problem, saying that it's a matched play problem.

Matched play speaking it’s another cost to getting an army started. I have started a Khorne army to take to my first tournament and it meant buying a terrain model I don’t particularly care for (premise or actual model) when the quidz could have been spent on more awesome bloodletters to paint. This is a fair comment I feel.

Immersion wise, it is indeed an arbitrary line, but these things always are. And it’s not all terrain, the Sylvaneth and Nurgle stuff is a great idea, Deepkin boat is pretty cool, gnawholes great, but an actual functioning forge right on the battleline? Is that really the best place to set up a metal working area? The dwarfs genuinely thought “let’s put the forge here, it’s a great spot, right next to where that Bloodthirster is sharpening his axe of Soul Rending, saves having to carry all the freshly smithed weapons 200 metres from our camp in that stronghold behind that mountain”? It’s just bizarre and smacks of GW saying “this is making us good money, shoe horn some terrain into every release now, who cares how we justify it, the muppets will buy it”. I’d actually find it refreshingly honest if when the Stormcast get their next book their terrain piece was a giant golden glittering £ symbol, perhaps etched with runes of CEOs lighting cigars with £50 notes whilst urinating on the lore section of the core book (this would genuinely be awesome now i’ve typed it out).

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Whatever you think about themed terrain on the battlefield, you can't deny that it will be awesome once the AOS RPG comes out!

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Posted (edited)
19 hours ago, Dead Scribe said:

The terrain pieces are great, they look nice, and this isn't really the game where immersion is that big a deal.  We have a game where you can drop a castle onto combat and only hurt one side, dragons flying around, demons flying around, and terrain doesn't really give much cover or act intuitively at all.  Basically the terrain not being immersive is just another chunk of ice bobbing in the sea of AOS aint built around immersion, its built around gameplay mechanics and combo synergies. 

Its not a simulation and it has very little to do with actual military tactics.  And thats perfectly fine.  So fine in fact that its selling exponentially better than its predecessor ever did.

The Flesh Eaters carrying a throne in every game is as acceptable as a castle landing into combat and only hurting your guys because I threw it, and its as acceptable as dragons flying around and its as acceptable as demons being summoned.   Its there as a vehicle to push the game forward as a game mechanic.  Same as tapping mountains and swamps in magic the gathering gives you mystical power.  Its a game mechanic.  

 

tldr:  the terrain pieces are great because they are FUN.  Thats all a game needs to be.  FUN.  

I genuinely disagree and you still mixup „immersion“ and „a simulator“, those two things aren‘t the same thing and one does not create and or guarantee the other at all.

Also „fun“ and „immersion“ are tightly connected. „Fun“ is also very subjective. I would call some of the terrain „goofy“ which is more of the non-immersion negative fun.

Also the whole field of game studies proves your point of „immersion not being important in (a)/this game“ wrong. 

Apart from that all your posts in this topic were some shade of either plainly wrong or „you can‘t k ow that so don‘t claim it is a fact“. I already reminded you to please look up what you are claiming in the runout thread and you continue to use the same wrong arguments and you continue to proclaim your opinion as a fact. Again: please read up on ludoligy, game design, game studies, flow and immersion.

—_

Do you want a world that is coherent in itself? Apparently not if throwing castles is just the same or okay due to there also being dragons.

Game mechanics in AoS are implemented in two ways (as far as I can tell):

a) Streamlined slim rules: Some game mechanics are not logical due to this simplification.

b) Integrating game mechanics to make an army act as described in their lore.

For some Faction Terrain the presence of it is not logical, coherent or does even serf a practical purpose which is due to the terrain being solid structures or simply increadibly, heavy and/or unmovable objects.

Since these Terrain Pieces have no point cost there are two effects of it:

a) Not including it in your army puts you at a (immense) disadvantage.

b) There is no way anyone would not include it since it grants free buffs and other benefits. Therefor this Terrain will take part in EVERY Battle.

This is a huge Lore and coherency Problem for the following reasons:

-Your Fyreslayers march along a woodland path and they‘re ambushed. Do the two armies now hold a temporary truth so each faction can build their scenery? Or does the Forge pop out of the ground? 

Also does the Khorne Shrine or the Herdstone suddenly manifest out of thin air?

-The Fyreslayers attack a Orruk infested fortress at night. Suddenly they‘ve a blazing forge right in front of the orruk walls?

🤷🏼‍♂️🤦🏼‍♂️

These terrain pieces would make sense for the ONE player who is attacked at his home or in his reinforced encampment, but never for the attacker which drags a whole building after his Warband.

The biggest issue with the terrain is that it‘s not meant to be on the actual battlefield and that the terrain used is mostly too solid and unmovable.

solutions to this (would have been):

- Make Terrain cost points, this way it won‘t appear in every battle.

- Make all terrain sth. That can be summoned like Wyldwoods, the IdK Shipwrecks and Nurgle Trees. This means there is no Forge for the Fyreslayers but a Spiritforge of their Ancestors. No Khorne Altar made of solid steel but a Throne if skulls which pour forth from the ground etc.

In the end these are all the reasons Why it does break immersion imo and immersion should not be broken by a game mechanic that is unnecessary and feels forced, especially if it could have been made in a significantly more senseful manner like making these terrain pieces obviously being summoned to the battle.

What GW did in reality was picking one big Object each faction would have at the Heart of their Home/Keep/Lair and forcing it o to the battlefield. It feels sloppy.

The game mechanic might be fun, the rule might be cool but the price for it which leaves a bitter taste in my mouth (why did your forge appear in the middle of my keep?) is just too high.

 

 

Apart from that I like most terrain very much (visually) I just intensively mind the way it is now being forced into the game at the cost of immersion, lore, coherency and visually different army compositions.

 

@EccentricCircle

oh yes! It is also very cool for campaign battles: Like Fyreslayers defending their forge as a last stand while the runelord has to finish a master rune etc.

Edited by JackStreicher
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It seems the new Apocalypse game uses clear plastic movement trays. These might be great for AOS hoards. But if they're shines clear plastic I might hit them with a clear matte spray to improve immersion.

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I think I'd make the argument that it isn't about immersion, but it's about storytelling. Sure, it can make sense for a giant gold forge to be sitting on a battlefield. But when we're dealing with skirmish level conflicts, or at least the spearpoint of a larger battle, it seems weird for something so big and solid to be brought and set up by an army. It's the same critique with the Khorne stage/shrine/priest thing. If the forge looked like it could be moved easily, I think the story of how it got is way easier to make.

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Mostly just wanted to say I agree with the OP and that I am *fascinated* by what people will complain about. Seen people complaining that there isn’t enough terrain and that the armies are all getting terrain in the same sentence. 

 

I came back to warhammer after a few years of warmahordes and I gotta tell you- if you want to avoid entire tables of 2D mousepad terrain then making it mandatory is a safe avenue haha

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ALSO the “I’d rather be buying cool models with my money” argument is actually insane. The terrain is a cool model. It’s literally a part of your army. I have a friend who makes this complaint and all I can say is holy moly. 

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But if you don’t think it’s a cool model then it isn’t is it? So it’s still valid to have a little whinge (which is all anyone is doing, complaining is a mite too serious a description I think). If you hated Plaguebearer models but had to buy them for your faction to work you’d be sour too, even though I think Plaguebearers are awesome models.

Terrain is great. Being railroaded into having to plonk terrain you’re aren’t keen on onto the table isn’t. 

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I'm building a Gitz army. I love the loonshrine model, but I'm not convinced that the tiny guys would be able to keep moving a giant piece of moonrock to wherever the bad moon has risen. Most of their battles are meant to be suprise ambushes too. That's why my tribe have strapped their piece of moon rock to something much more portable. Much easier for me to picture them following the moon around with it.

Meanwhile each of my Sylvaneth woods are painted differently (jungle, winter, magical, burnt etc). When one is summoned it is being pulled from across the various realms.

If you're playing for the immersion then you should be modelling, painting and converting in a way that enforces this.  Make your army work for you. Find a reason why those Duardin have a forge on the front lines.

Ok, I agree GW could do better too. Think part of the reason is that the models come first, then the lore, then the rules.

 

 

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I am not opposed to making terrain cost points.  However, the argument that it will sometimes be seen and sometimes not is not one that I really consider, because basically like anything in this game - if the points warrant its abilities, or the points are lower than what its abilities offer, you'll see it mostly if not all the time, otherwise you'll never see it at all.

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Posted (edited)

I'm just going to quote myself from another thread: 

I like both. I obviously want good rules that make sense and perform a good game system, but I get extremely excited about the in world illusion GW sets up with their panoramic dynamic scenes in battletomes and codexes. When an army is thematic, fully painted, plays like the lore, looks great on the table, and "feels" like you're in it, in the story, with your guys and its all coming together it's great. This simulation argument people are throwing out is literally irrelevant. Those massive spires of citadel ruins for 40k, or the rocks and smoke, and general "battlefield" for their still shots feel alive and real and cool. 

Simulation does not equal to immersion, AT ALL. World of Warcraft is by no means an accurate depiction of war, but its extremely immersive. The music, the art direction, the tone, the zones, the landscape, the races and classes all works for a cohesive whole and you FEEL like you're in Azeroth. 

Age of Sigmar is becoming the same way. You see a Stormhost of Stormcast Eternals beautifully painted and in action and with the right set up it FEELS like the mighty and undying soldiers of Sigmar standing as a righteous Bulwark against Chaos and Evil...but you're really just rolling some dice. Everything chain combos together to make a cohesive whole and full picture, the paint scheme, models, table top terrain layout, who you are fighting, army list and composition, and any narrative elements. The realm rules as well as the endless spells, terrain features. Mystical ancient ruins thrumming with arcane power (+1 to cast), dreadfully haunted tombs that fill you with fright (-1 bravery), and everything. Layers upon layers stack up to make a fantasy world where fantastic battles are fought. Literally 0 to do with a simulation or simulating a war. It's more like an RPG world building and you are roleplaying as the general and leader of your chosen army. 

I can imagine before the battle my Bloodreavers have performed a giant sacrifice of slaves bathing the ground in their blood, their chants answered by the blood god as the blood begins to boil from the heat of the Skull Altar rising from the realm of chaos, dark ichor dripping from its bronze spires. The coalescing black aura that stifles and suffocates all magic nearby as it radiates heat that impassions and empowers the slaughter priests. My army lines up, eyeing the enemy before the war cry and given and they lose themselves to the thrum of battle, mad berzerkers killing one another (casualties from battleshock) as much as they're killing the enemy. Frothing at the mouth, the lunatics crash in a crimson tide against the stalwart enemy, their blades seeking purchase. 

IRL I made a successful charge roll and now I'm rolling 20 dice to see if I'm hitting on 3's 🤷‍♂️

Edited by Ravinsild
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4 hours ago, Luke82 said:

Matched play speaking it’s another cost to getting an army started. I have started a Khorne army to take to my first tournament and it meant buying a terrain model I don’t particularly care for (premise or actual model) when the quidz could have been spent on more awesome bloodletters to paint. This is a fair comment I feel.

Is this terrain specific, or any model?

For instance, what if you had Karanak, but did not own any Flesh Hounds. Would you have this same issue with getting Flesh Hounds for free in your army in Matched Play as an ability, but now having to buy the models for the Flesh Hounds?

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5 minutes ago, Choombatta said:

Is this terrain specific, or any model?

For instance, what if you had Karanak, but did not own any Flesh Hounds. Would you have this same issue with getting Flesh Hounds for free in your army in Matched Play as an ability, but now having to buy the models for the Flesh Hounds?

Probably not, as I would have made that choice when I purchased Karanak who is optional and costs points accordingly (supposedly) to his abilities, but it’s a good point. Does any faction have troop choices they get for free?

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Posted (edited)

Many factions get free troops.  Flesh Eater Courts get a lot of free.  Seraphon can summon a lot for free.  The chaos armies can get troops for free.  Goblins can recycle units, essentially getting free units.  Nagash armies recycle dead units, essentially getting free units.  

In essence, getting free troops and free terrain pieces is pretty par for the course in this game.

Edited by Dead Scribe

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I like how the themed terrain looks. Some make sense while some dont. 

The Fyreslayers  awesome looking forge looks like a big hungry old man you want to spoon feed endless amounts of ur-gold. Looks great...buuuut doesnt make any sense from a lore or even gameplay point of view. 

Lore wise they are master smiths as most duradin are. They have volcanoes full of forges sure but those are at their home. Now the real question is...how the hell are these guys bringing a massive forge to every battlefield across the realms? And dont answer with 'its magic' lol 

Do they bring it in pieces then set it up before hand? What if the battle changes or never happens? Or its chained and pulled by several Magmadroths maybe? Or even crazier sill a Runemaster sucks it into a lava hole then shoots it up to the surface somewhere? 

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