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The Casual's Handbook - A Battlepack for Pick-Up Games and Casual Events


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Hey all, I finally pulled together a new version of the Casual's Handbook, a battlepack for quick and casual games and events inspired by discussions I've seen pop up in the Age of Sigmar community. This pack is intended to provide streamlined army building and battleplan rules for casual pickup games and for events that want to focus on a casual, accessible format where the main goal is to get everyone in the local community to throw down dice and have fun pushing little aelves and goblins around.
I've been working on this since the summer, and posted it a few weeks ago here in another comment thread. People seemed to like it so I figure I'll make a thread for it. I'm looking forward to hearing your feedback and talking about what else could be added to round out the pack. I'm thinking of even adding a little "beginner's campaign," the sort of thing where you and your buddy can split a Starter Set or grab a Vanguard box each and build up your knowledge over the course of 3 games.
I want to give a shoutout to Warhammer Weekly for their feedback and encouragement, and to Tyler Emerson (AKA ScrubbyAndWells) in particular, as well as to the whole AoS community for their warm reception and feedback on previous versions.
UPDATE Nov 11th, 2022
- Altered the standard benefits of Defensible terrain to comply with AoS charge mechanics. Previous versions require you "target" a unit with your charge to receive a benefit, which is not how charges work in AoS.
- Altered the "Protect the General" rule to work for all non-Unique foot heroes, since replacing Look Out, Sir with an effect that only benefits your General would leave these other heroes even more  vulnerable - the opposite of the intent of this rule!
UPDATE Nov 28th, 2022
- Made some minor changes, and am calling it done for this year! I will begin prep work for potential additions and changes for next year's version. Please leave your feedback below!
Edited by acr0ssth3p0nd
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I will repost my comments from the other thread below, for the sake of clarity.

Regarding the scoring - any thoughts on adding points for killing? Like 1 VP for every 500 points killed. My feeling is that, especially for new players, it's a tad weird that you don't get any points for actually killing enemy units in a wargame. This approach would also be easy to implement, since you can count the additional VPs once the game is finished. 


This is really good; the battleplans and scoring are clean and easy to grasp, the moments of glory is a neat idea to get away from battle tactics / grand strategies while still adding something specific to achieve. I would keep the miscast - I've always liked this rule. Save the General is a no-brainer though and will probably be implemented by GW sooner or later. As for the terrain - I've never even bothered with the official rules, it's just too much.


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12 hours ago, Flippy said:

I will repost my comments from the other thread below, for the sake of clarity.

Regarding the scoring - any thoughts on adding points for killing? Like 1 VP for every 500 points killed. My feeling is that, especially for new players, it's a tad weird that you don't get any points for actually killing enemy units in a wargame. This approach would also be easy to implement, since you can count the additional VPs once the game is finished. 


For the killing - I'm not sure. The Moments of Glory kinda cover that in regards to heroes, but not to the degree you're referring to. Ultimately, I think AoS is a game that works best when it's about fighting over objectives, so I probably won't add more in terms of kill scoring.

Miscasts are one of those mechanics where it really doesn't add enough to the game to justify its inclusion, at least in my opinion. It's a neat idea, but it doesn't create interesting choices or tie into the larger themes of AoS as a mythic, heroic setting (unlike 40K, where the danger of psychic power is a running point).

Official terrain rules are something that I think definitely needs an overhaul, for sure. I've tried to do something here where each type of terrain has a single rules that's thematically on-point and can be determined easily by looking at the terrain, but it's not the strongest area of the pack, which is why I want to keep them as an optional rule.

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I think it's good that you're making your own battlepack. The addition of battlepacks as a concept had me thinking that GW was expecting at least some people to make their own battlepacks for events and such, and so far it doesn't seem like too many people really have. I think it's a really good idea for events as opposed to house rules, because it makes it really explicit from the get-go that this is not using the matched play rules. So kudos for that.

Formatting is good, you've matched the GW house style pretty well I think.

Miscasts - I understand why you've taken them out. I would personally advise against it. Firstly they're a core rule, and I think a casual battlepack should try to stick to core as closely as possible. Even though you've taken a core rule out of the game, it sort of acts like an extra thing to remember because you have to remember that in this battlepack you don't miscast. Secondly, for casters with large enough bonuses, the miscast rule is the only way they can fail a cast (e.g. Nagash with +3 to cast will always get a 5 or more so will always successfully cast mystic shield & arcane bolt). If you don't auto-fail on double 1s, it could mean that with sufficient bonuses, it's impossible for a caster to fail, which could be quite frustrating for your opponent especially if they don't have enough unbinds to challenge every cast. And thirdly, I think many self-professed casual players quite enjoy the extra bit of randomness that things like miscasts add to the game and would be sad to see it gone. I totally get your reasoning for ditching it and I wouldn't think it's enough to ruin this pack if you decide to keep miscasts out, but I thought it felt a bit out of place.

Moments of Glory - I like that these are your replacement for battle tactics/grand strats. I think Vendetta and Tear Them Down might be a little bit too similar, and with both of them together combined with the save our heroes rule might encourage having a weedy general and hanging back to keep them safe, that way denying the potential for 2/3 moments of glory to your opponent. I'm not sure what I'd do instead - I like that they are all counted at the end of the game so you don't have to remember to track anything extra. Maybe swap one of Vendetta/Tear Them Down out for something like Plant A Flag: When the battle ends, you complete this moment of glory if your general is wholly within your opponent's territory and no enemy units are within 3" of your general. Idk, something to encourage pushing in a bit more - it's a critique I've seen from more casual leaning players that picking your little 100 point foot hero and hiding with them all game is encouraged by the rules but doesn't really push the fantasy of having the best warrior personally leading the charge, which is a lot more cinematic.

Battleplans - They seem solid, I haven't read through all of them. I would say that the attacker picking the north end of the table is an unnecessary extra step. I'd say something like 95+% of my games, both people put their stuff down on one side of the table, you go through the setup for terrain etc, and then neither player can be bothered to swap sides regardless of who wins the roll-off. Alternating setting up terrain pieces is a clever way of giving both players some influence over the state of the table and I think it perfectly fulfills the function that defender sets up/attacker chooses sides aims to achieve in the GHB. Imo, just pick sides at the beginning, determine your territory, and then start laying out terrain.

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I have played two 1000 pts games today, using this battlepack. I’ve also used OBR for the first time and this hindered both games a bit, as I had to constantly refer to the app.

Nevertheless, the games were significantly quicker and easier than matched play and I’am very willing to use the casual handbook regularly.

The one thing I would consider is the scoring system - as it is linear, it’s really difficult to come back once you fall behind. In the second game, we finished in the third round based on calculations; even though we both had units on the table it was apparent at that point that I will not be able to catch up. This may be a result of a specific setup (I was against Sylvaneth; in a 1000 pts game it’s rather difficult to catch them teleporting on objectives).


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