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PiotrW

Potential newbie questions

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Hello!

I'm considering picking up Age of Sigmar (because it's not like I have a metric ton of minis to assemble / paint and two other wargames I'm trying to get into already... *sigh*) - but, before I decide, I'd like to learn a bit more about this game. Could you guys help me out a little?

1. First of all: what do you need to buy? I once tried to get into WH40K, but you needed to buy a rulebook and a codex even to begin playing... not to mention special dice and templates. From what I can see, when it comes to accessories, AoS needs only normal D6s, right? No templates etc.? Also, what about the books? I have no problem with buying the rulebook (unless GW plans on releasing a new version every other year, as it seems to do with WH40K?), but what about the Grand Alliance books, General's Handbook and Battletomes?

2. Are the starters worth purchasing? I'm eyeing Soul Wars currently, but the models included seem a weird set. I mean, it has 8 Sequitors and 3 Evocators... meanwhile, if I understand the Matched Play rules correctly, Sequitors need to be fielded in tens and Evocators in fives? So, is this starter a money trap? Maybe it's just better to collect an army with normal sets?

3. What's your opinion on the AoS fluff? Is it good? I admit this part is important to me. I try to play Infinity and one of the reason I picked it up is the fact that I really like the setting. And I really did spend a lot of time on discussions regarding fluff controversies (Uprising, hee hee). Is the same possible with AoS? Or is the fluff lacking, as some people claim?

Any help?

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So much depends on how you intend to play the game. 

What do you NEED? Just models really, because the rules are free and the warscrolls are free.  

What do you need to play in most groups I've seen? Models, Battletome, General's Handbook

What can you use if you are really into it? Models, Battletome, General's Handbook, Malign Sorcery

 

Start Collecting is similar.  It's always a good value compared to buying the models individually, but whether or not the units are what you want varies.  Depending on the army it's useful toward a competitive list, or it's totally not (seraphon), but that again only matters based on how you want to play it.  

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Questions 1 and 2 depend somewhat on what army you want to run at present though as some very general points

a) You will need a copy of the core game rules. The Big Rule Book contains all the games core rules along with matched play rules and a good chunk of background lore to the game. So considering your 3rd point it would be a solid investment. 
Note GW also makes smaller rule books which contain the rules and these are often included in duel army sets and can be found on ebay. GW also publishes the core rules on their website for free here: https://www.warhammer-community.com/downloads/

b) Each army requires a Battletome, this summarises their lore and rules, but also has neat tips on painting and other aspects. Note that at tihs stage not all armies have a Battletome, but GW has been putting them out fast this year and is aiming to have most armies with one by the end of the year. A couple wich are out currently are older tomes and will also be updated to 2.0 (current version of the rules).

c) Core rules and Battletome will get you started without any issues what so ever, however there is at least one expansion rule pack worth getting. Malign Sorcery, this is a pack which contains Realm Rules (optional rules for using realms in your army and game) and the Warscroll cards (rules) for a selection of Generic Endless Spells (spells so powerful they appear as models in the game). The set also includes the models for all the generic Endless Spells! So its well worth getting as any army can make use of them.
Note there is a new expansion "Forbidden Powers" coming out on pre-order this weekend. specifics are not totally known yet but GW is releasing info all week and you can expect opinions and reviews to appear soonish. It also includes a copy of the core rules booklet (the smaller one from the duel army box and which is on the GW website); there's also some new generic endless spells and a huge terrain feature. 

That said the expansion are optional extras and not essential for your early games - though I'll note things like Endless spells are very commonly used (its pretty much default always included by most places).

d) Starters vary depending on the army, though all offer a discount on the models purchased. For something like Soul Wars note that you get short rules (basically the games rules same as in the big rule book but without the fluff and battleplans). The army numbers are a bit odd and note you get two opposing armies so if you only want one you can often sell on the other half quite easily (sometimes you can also trade one half for another half if you can find another player who wants the other army half and has their own box - this is normally easier when the boxed set is new on the market). 

The generic army Getting Started sets are all worth getting, but they vary in how good they are. Some offer some good units, others offer a host of very important key units; some have unique units only sold in them (often the big monster/unit) and some offer you a big chunk of the core army.  So they are all good, the best depends on armies.

e) Aside from rules you'd need a generic tape measure and 6 sided dice. A table, terrain and opponent are all important too. Basially mostly everything save the opponent comes in the Soulwars boxed set. Though you'll likely want more dice, a proper tape measure and other things if you get into the game. 

f) The Rulebook and Battletome fluff is very good! If you want extended fluff then Black Library publishes a whole host. Some of the earlier stuff is a bit weaker, partly because its built around battles and focuses very heavily on Stormcast beating seven shades out of Chaos. Though even then there still some great gems like Pestilens (the book); whilst the newer stuff is getting better and better. The Novellas are a great series of stories, whilst there's good short stories in the Inferno books; then there's longer books. Again if you've a faction preference say and people can suggest some books that best showcase them. The Realmwars series is worth reading as it details the early days of the game

 

So there is a fair bit, but a lot of it builds up as you get more into the game and isn't essential to get start with. The Generals Handbooks are also good to keep an eye on for investment, however it depends which army you're interested in if one is worth getting. Considering the updates going on this year most would likely not recommend getting the 2018 handbook because much of it is being revised with proper battletomes whilst the points changes and such will be revised with the new 2019 tome coming out this year very soon. 

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Thanks!

So, some quick questions before I hit the bed:

1. The free rules in the PDF - are these *all of the rules* of the game, or does the big book expand on them? This booklet seems really... short.

2. What exactly is in the General's Handbook and are we sure the 2019 edition is coming?

3. Is there a risk GW will replace the current big rulebook with a 3rd edition sometime soon?

4. Which battletomes might get replaced with new edition? The armies I'm interested in are the Stormcasts (is it okay to like the Stormcasts..?) and the Daughters of Khaine.

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1) It contains all the core rules for the game. There are a few bits such as specific matched play rules and endless spell rules which are not spelled out in it, but they are honestly quite quick things to pick up and very short indeed (I think most of the matched play is pretty standard things like equal points in each army and the like, but there's a few little important bits like only one of any endless spell may be cast per player at any one time). So the short rules are more than enough to get started and you can glance at a friend/store/club copy of rules for the rest - though considering your lore interest chance are the big rule book will appear on your desk sometime soon anyway ;)

2) It is 100% guaranteed to appear very soon within the next couple of months it was previewed at Warhammerfest last weekend. It contains some updated stats and points as well as some expansion rules for mercenary forces and rules for improving 1000 point games - so for you getting started it woudl be an ideal supporting product.

3) No, they are still updating the whole game to 2.0. This next year is going to be GW releasing new battletomes for armies and updating old ones as well as releasing the very rare new army now and then. That's certainly going to be the standard well into 2020. I wouldn't expect a new rulebook until 2021 at the VERY earliest and it might well be further on than that. So the current rules are very safe to invest in. 

5) There's a list here: https://www.tga.community/forums/topic/21317-current-state-of-the-armies/
Stormcast are currently fully up to date, so barring point changes in the new Generals Handbook, their battletome won't see any proper update for a long while yet. Daughters of Khaine are in the very same position (and were one of the first armies which were 2.0 compliant). 

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3 minutes ago, PiotrW said:

1. The free rules in the PDF - are these *all of the rules* of the game, or does the big book expand on them? This booklet seems really... short.

2. What exactly is in the General's Handbook and are we sure the 2019 edition is coming?

3. Is there a risk GW will replace the current big rulebook with a 3rd edition sometime soon?

 4. Which battletomes might get replaced with new edition? The armies I'm interested in are the Stormcasts (is it okay to like the Stormcasts..?) and the Daughters of Khaine.

1) The rules are very short - it's one of the draws of the game.  The big hardback rulebook also includes rules for playing in different realms, having your army be from different realms, etc. etc.

2) I don't remember exactly, but the basics are always new battleplans, optional rules, and updated points values.

3) No.

4) Someone else is going to have to chime in on this. Stormcast have already got their 2nd edition book. Daughters of Khaine were pretty late in 1st edition, so they might be up to date? And yes, you're allowed to like Stormcast. They're awesome. I'm selling mine off, but only because I fell in love with Sylvaneth (and I'm probably keeping some of my favorite Stormcast models, anyway).

Also, re: the models in Soul Wars, something we all have to get used to is that GW is not assuming that everyone is playing with points and points-scaled units all the time. Nowadays that's just one of three ways to play.

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Again, thanks :)

Two more questions:

1, Regarding the three ways of playing - is anyone actually using AoS for open and / or narrative play, or is matched play most popular anyway?

2. Any opinions on the skirmish rules? I actually have the January White Dwarf with these rules, but they don't seem to fit with all the types of units. For example, they don't explain what do with units like Evocators, who are wizards in standard games, but require their units to be of 2 models or more to access ths ability... It doesn't square with the skirmish rules, where every model is separate unit by definition? Sorry if this is a specific question, but I really do like skirmish games (as I mentioned, I'm an Infinity player, so I guess that's not a surprise).

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1) yes, for all we know the majority in fact. Matched play is the most visible of the 3 versions, for sure but I’d say that in terms of overall numbers it’s not so clear cut. For a start the 3 aren’t so strictly demarcated as a large percentage of narrative players will still use points in some way and a lot of people that might consider what they do as ‘matched play’ might incorporate various extra rules from narrative games so there’s a lot of blurring between the different versions.

But then narrative/open games by their nature are probably played amongst friends at people’s homes rather than in shops or at tournaments, so you just don’t see it in action as much, and it has less visibility online as it doesn’t revolve around tedious things like discussing lists.

If GW relied on competitive tournament players to survive as a company they’d have gone under years ago. But matched play and tournaments do provide an easy to understand and easier to promote version of the game so from a marketing perspective it makes sense to use them to push the game to new people.

2) I myself prefer Skirmish sized games too. The original Skirmish rules were super light, the WD ones are a little more involved but not a huge amount, still they’re usable. I think you just have to be willing to roll up your sleeves and be prepared to house rule a lot and come up with all kinds of home brew rules to get the most out of it at present. 

For me that’s a good thing not bad, as I generally look at all these rules as just tools to create the game I want. Hopefully that will be pretty close to the game as is but I love making up new rules and fiddling with mechanics so it’s all fun for me. I realise I may be in a minority here though.

Anyway you know they’re releasing ‘Warcry’, a dedicated proper boxed AoS ‘skirmish’ sized game, in July though? Might be worth hanging on for that. If you can then I’d just buy a couple of the available Underworlds warbands and have some fun painting them up.

——————

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Posted (edited)

To learn the basics of the game you really only need the app which is free and includes the warscrolls and the core rules and the points which are free if you use warscroll builder in the community site. The only thing that costs money which I think is essential is the battleplans. 

These lay out the win conditions for the games which are different for each battleplan and provide a lot of the variety and challenge to the game. The battleplans are in the big core book and more are in the generals handbook.

The community site previewed a few of them, so if you want to try before,  you buy you can use those.

If you decide you like a particular army, you can buy their battletome which provide additional army rules, lore etc. Anything published after the start of 2018 is considered up to date so daughters of Khaine and Stormcast both fall into that category. 

The two supplements contain additional rules but are definitely optional especially as all the endless spell warscroll are free on the app and many of the spells are quite easy to scratch build if you don't want to spend money on them. 

As for skirmish it does look like warcry will have what you need. Unfortunately we haven't had any rules previews yet but the team who designed it have a pretty good track record.  

 

Edited by Chikout

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Not sure if this was mentioned but if you want the stormcast from soul wars your best bet is from ebay as you can get what you want and usually cheaper. Otherwise the blister boxes of those units give you other weapon options.

Not sure if anyone has mentioned battlescribe...That will do all your lists for matched play without having to purchase a GHB, although the book has lots of battle plans in which are pretty good. There is also a warscroll builder on the app and community page (The community page is free to use)

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I don't know where you are, but if shipping from California USA wouldn't be prohibitive, hit me up. I'm going to be selling most of the Stormcast side of Soul Wars plus the previous starter ;-), assembled and with a couple of headswaps for helmetless primes but otherwise untouched.

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Oh, I'm actually in Poland, so I guess that the shipping costs would make such a transaction too expensive... Still, thanks for the offer :) Also, no worries - again, thanks to Infinity I have experience in the whole "buy a big starter to re-sell one half of it" thing :)

As for Warcry - I've heard of it and I'm keeping tabs on it :) Let's see what comes out of it, yes.

If you don't mind, here's another matter I'd like to ask for input: WYSIWYG. In WH40K (at least when I tried getting into it) there was this notion that models needed to be accurate - all chosen weapons needed to be actually visible on the model etc. Is this the same in AoS? I get that, obviously, a Stormcast with a sword should actually brandish a sword, not a mace - but is there some flexibility in model appearance etc.? For example: when it comes to Daughters of Khaine, the Blood Sisters (infantry) are Melusai in scary masks, while Blood Stalkers (archers) are Melusai with faces uncovered. I really don't like these masks, sooooo... would it be considered a problem if I assembled Blood Sisters with unmasked heads? Would it be considered inaccurate and unallowable in matched play, or is such a thing okay?

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No, that's just a cosmetic thing - you can change the heads if you want.

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Age of Sigmar is a bit like Warhammer Fantasy in that its a bit easier when it comes to WYSIWYG. 

Most units don't have many upgrade choices and most of the appearance is tied to the weapon they have and the base they are on. So if you want to have melusai without the face masks that is perfectly fine since the two options are with spears or with bows which are dead easy to tell apart. 

It's the same for most other units, most models only have one or two weapon choices and you're often not limited on which to pick. It's also easier because units that have varied weapons but the same profile often cost the same in points. In 40K everything costs points so a lot of the time having flexible weapon options helps balance the points out. In AoS its either an entirely different unit with different points; or the points are the same. Liberators will cost the same points no  matter if they've got hammers or swords. 

 

Also in most casual games if you want to experiment or are on limited budgets most wouldn't mind if you say "hey my liberators all have hammers this week" even if they have swords. It only becomes an issue if you're confusing your opponent with it. Competitions also tend to be stricter on being clear what model is what and not using counts-as. 

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I see! I was a bit worried when I looked at the Melusai box (I actually own two of these, as I use Melusai as archers when playing Dragon Rampant) and noticed all these meticulously listed items the Melusai carry...

Okay then! A lot of food for thought :) Thanks, guys!

BTW. What do you think of Shadespire / Nightvault? I actually purchased it and just picked the box from the mail box...

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Considering WYSIWYG you really shouldn't do proxies when it comes to what models are armed with (And I mean it's okay to test something with them, just don't use same proxies for months), but with cosmetics like heads, pauldrons, even shields (like, changing SCE tower shields to round shields) you can pretty much do what you like

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13 hours ago, PiotrW said:

BTW. What do you think of Shadespire / Nightvault? I actually purchased it and just picked the box from the mail box...

It's a good game if you like competitive games, as it's very focused upon scoring Glory points and how you can tweak your deck to do that. My only complaint about it, is that to be really competitive you need to buy everything to get the cards (think CCG like Magic). I think it's a great game, especially as it's something you can play in a short period of time and people new to miniature games can pick it up fairly quickly.

 

As for your questions about getting into AOS, everything that has been mentioned above ;) 

But just to start playing you just need some models and the free rules (from website or Azyr app) and build from there. I would probably see if anybody plays near you and see if you can get a game in with them. 

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