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Found 6 results

  1. There is a surprising dearth of theory regarding Age of Sigmar. I’m not sure why that is exactly. There’s certainly a lot of effort spent on list building. There’s a lot of effort spent on finding combos and unlocking synergies. There’s time spent on “creating a plan.” There’s time invested on computation aimed at solving very specific problems (aka math-hammer). There’s even a good amount of discussion about actual tactics and tactical play. But there’s next to nothing about theory. I suspect that’s one of the reasons that some people think that AoS is a game without any strategic depth. I disagree. I think the depth is there. What’s missing is the theory (the concepts and the framework) that makes thinking and talking about it easier, more accessible and more fruitful. I’m going to use this blog to try and build some momentum on this topic. I don’t know right now how it will turn out. It could be that the naysayers are correct and the game lacks substance. Or it could be that this will help map out some uncharted conceptual space “beneath the surface” from which we players can engage each other and the game in productive new ways. The endeavor will kick off in earnest with the next post. For now, I’ll just lay down some definitions for anyone who might not be completely comfortable with what we mean when we talk about theory, and how theory relates with strategy, tactics and having a plan. Theory is about the creation of concepts that have explanatory power. These theoretical concepts provide a clarifying lens through which we can look at the game in a way that helps us to understand it better. Strategy is about deciding on the best use of the resources available to us in order to win. Tactics are about how we specifically do each action we make in order to maximize the benefit of each decision made. Or simply, we can say: theory explains, strategy evaluates, and tactics execute. Or even simpler: Why, what, how. Considered this way, it’s perhaps a bit easier to understand why theory is a neglected part of AoS discourse, and to understand the implication of this neglect. Imagine your typical newcomer to the game. They are drawn in by a specific faction, by its lore or its look. They have some fun painting and modeling, but don’t have much success on the table-top. So they plug into the community and ask for help. Here’s my current list, help me make it better. Lots of people chime in with advice that helps the newcomer solidify a better plan. Drop this unit, add that unit, take this artefact, combo this thing with that thing and you will be able to do this really cool thing. The newcomer gets a few more models, makes these changes, and enjoys a bit more success on the table. Soon they are back asking for more help: I can’t beat army X, help! Again the community jumps in, and now their advice is more tactical. Make sure you screen like this and deploy like that, etc. And again, the newcomer takes the advice and applies it and enjoys a bit more success. And then the meta shifts, new armies are released, and the process starts all over. The point here is that the player is getting better with each step. They are learning what to do, and how to do it. And the rate of change across the surface of the game has sufficient velocity that the sense of learning and improvement can seem to go on indefinitely. If we can keep iterating on what to do (through list design), and how to do it (through improving tactical play), why do would we ever need to step back and think about why we’re doing it? The hope with this blog is that by exploring the why we allow for less imitating and more innovating. We flush out a strategic depth that persists across armies, and battleplans, and other superficial game changes. We improve our gameplay by expanding from just learning how to make a good plan better, to being able to ascertain, at any point, whether a given plan is still optimal, or even viable, and to successfully pivot to a new plan, to make different choices, in the moment, in the context of what’s most important right now. That’s the strategic depth that lies below the surface. That’s what I’d like us to explore.
  2. PlayerJ

    Let's chat: Katophrane decks

    Starting the discussion on Katophrane relic decks and the best way to achieve them.
  3. buffs for the buff god

    Aos in 40k

    I know it’s stupid and probably easily disproved but wouldn’t it be cool if the mortal realms were just a feral world in the grim darkness of the future (feral worlds are world that the imperium just forgets about and leaves it’s populas behind as they have de, evolved. We get explain races easily squats= dwarfs eldar= elves humans = the empire space marines= storm cast who are confused between the emperor and sigmar most of chaos is easily explained but skaven, beast men and other beasts would still be native Now because this is easily disproved let’s look at what else could be evidence
  4. someone2040

    What's in Aesthetics

    So today I'm going to write about aesthetics and why the sub-faction break down was both a good and a bad thing for Age of Sigmar. Games Workshop at the beginning (and still is) in a tough spot when they decided to reboot the Warhammer Fantasy game. They wanted to create a world, where you could focus on a particular faction, or branch out and collect whatever you want. They wanted to create worlds where they could introduce new factions into the game, and wouldn't have to launch a huge product range at the same time just to put them up to par with the factions that had been out for 20 years. So what did Games Workshop do? They took each significant idea, each aesethetic they had created for the old world Warhammer races, and created a faction out of it. No longer was there a combined Empire, but there were the Freeguilds, the militaristic might of the humans. There was the Devoted of Sigmar, those with unflinching faith in Sigmar. The Ironweld Arsenal, a combination of both Human and Duardin engineering. And there was the Collegiate Arcane, those Humans who spent their life dedicated to learning the ways of magic. No longer one combined human force, but a diverse range of Humans following their own ideals and goals. And in future, if Games Workshop wants to introduce a new faction of Humans, lets say some techno-wizards from Chamon, or Barbarians from Ghur, they can do so. Because they're not trying to fit in those factions with the existing Empire, they're just trying to fit another smaller faction into a part of the larger world. The Free Guilds aren't the core of the Humans now, they are now their own faction amongst many Humans A lot of people complain about how the Aelf factions turned out. Instead of the cohesive and larger factions from yesteryear, they've been split into a dozen tiny factions. For many, a hero and a few units if they're lucky. But I would actually argue, the bigger sin isn't that they were split up, but how they were split up. There's a big difference between creating a world, and transitioning an existing world. Unfortunately Games Workshop don't have a blank slate to work from, they have an existing model range that they still want to make money off of, but they need to transition those ranges into the new realms. And this is where the Aelves come in. I'll tackle the High and Dark Elves separately. For the most part, the Wood Elves transitioned over pretty easily, the Aelf side stayed as Wanderers, while the Tree folks went into the Sylvaneth. A good and easy divide between the two different aesthetics the old army shared. Let's tackle the High Elves first. They were actually split fine for the most part. Yep, you're gonna yell at me. You're going to say stuff like "But they've got these tiny little micro-factions, how am I supposed to build an army out of one of those!?". And the answer is, you shouldn't, not yet. You see, the High Elves actually had some pretty distinct but shared aesthetics within their armies. This largely came from Games Workshop promoting differences in how the different units looked due to coming from different regions of Ulthuan. Dragon Princes, don't look that similar to Swordmasters who again don't look that similar to White Lions. Sure, they're all Aelves, they all have tall helms, and they all wear scale mail. But there are notable differences also. Dragon Princes wear Dragon helms and their armour is embossed with dragons all over the place, White Lions wear lion cloaks draped over their bodies, and have shorter scale to allow them to move around more easily. Swordmasters are largely the more boring of the lot, as they just have plumes and large swords. But you see what I mean, differences in aesthetics. Similar though they may be, they are very clearly different So now we get back to, not yet. Games Workshop have sadly been lacking on the follow through. They can't magically bring out new models for everyone, but other than the initial 'promise' of expanding these factions, they haven't acted on it yet. So we have these sub-factions like the Order Draconis, Eldritch Council and Lion Rangers that have the glimmer of that gem in the rough. Will they turn into diamonds? I certainly hope so. So where have the High Elves gone wrong if the split was actually good for them? There are two things I would like to point out, one minor and one a bigger disaster. The first minor one, is the Dragon Noble (and slightly the Dragonlord). The Dragon Noble kit has the issue in that it was supposed to represent a High Elf Prince originally, one that could've been from one of Ulthuans many realms. So while there's some Dragon Iconography in the kit, there's plenty that's not. I mean, there's a Phoenix Banner in there, what do Phoenixe's have to do with Dragons? Much better in the apt named Phoenix Temple faction huh? And that's a problem when transferring these kits across, they don't mesh seamlessly. You've got Dragonlords riding around shooting bows, just because they're an option in the kit. The second one is more of a tragedy, as there are lots of good models in the faction individually. I'm talking about the Swifthawk Agents. This faction is essentially a mish mash of everything else that they wanted to support in the game. You've got the Skycutter, cool model, makes sense they want to keep it around. Spireguard should've been recut already so they're not relying on the Spire of Dawn set, but sure, makes aesethetic sense with the Skycutter and Skywarden. But the rest of the faction? How do Shadow Warriors fit in with flying Sky Chariots? They're running around in the shadows. Why weren't they put into the Shadowblades instead? A faction that far better fits their aesthetic. The Reavers don't fit in with either the Spireguard nor the Shadow Warriors, only back in action due to the Spire of Dawn set again. And then you've got the worst offender of the lot, the simply named 'Chariots'. The only reason this kit is still around is because they want to use it for the Lion Chariot set. So hey, Swifthawk Agents are swift... lets just cram it in there. There's no place here for you my friend, but marketing says we need to keep you around It's a shamble of a faction, that has a super cool premise but at the end of the day it's this complete mish mash of Aesthetics. The only reason I can surmise they created this faction was they wanted to keep the Skycutter Chariot kit around, so built a hodge podge faction around it instead. Better to have retired some of these models and left them in the legacy Highborn faction. So that's the High Elf side of things done, so now, the Dark Elf side. The Dark Elves I think are fine, but they were split just one too many ways. There are some good splits, and some bad, so let's tackle the factions. The Daughters of Khaine, an examplar of a faction. They have a hugely distinct aesthetic due in part to basically being bare women. The only criticism I have is why put the Warlocks in this faction? The Daughters aren't exactly known for using magic. I guess because they're part naked? No, I think they would've been better off in the Darkling Covens. Next up, Scourge Privateers! Another great example of taking the Aesthetic and going with it. A faction that only has models in it that make sense. If I were to add anything, is that the War Hydra should belong to this faction, and not the Order Draconis. The handlers have the sea dragon cloaks that the Scourge Privateers are known for, the War Hydra looks pretty aquatic also due to sharing the kit with the Kharibdyss, a better match in my opinion. Examples of good splits, two factions that have a core identity Those two factions are the diamonds in the rough. A few more characters, a new unit or two, and they'd be great factions to collect and have strong aesthetics and thematic appeals to the players. So then where did the Dark Elf split go wrong? I'd argue by separating out the Darkling Covens, Order Serpentis and Shadowblades. A big part of this is aesthetic similarity between the troops of these factions. You've already got in game links between the Serpentis and Darkling Covens as the Sorceress' get Black Dragons from them (A thing so rare that they needed to create Drakespawn, but Sorceress' can just waltz in and ask for one huh?), but the problem is that the Drakespawn Knights armour, and the Darkling Covens infantry just don't look all that different. Then you've got the Charioteers on the Drakespawn Chariot also. Not only that, but again, you've got Charioteers using ranged weapons in a faction that shouldn't really have any. Not so different, these two So personally, I feel that the Order Serpentis should just be a part of the Darkling Covens. Perhaps they could've changed the fluff, so each Coven is led by a Sorceress and a Coven Master. The faction then, would be much more cohesive due to the factions shared Aesthetics, and a much more diverse faction also. You wouldn't have the problem where they have no leaders with command abilities, or the faction is made up purely of infantry. These two, bridge the gap and make the faction that much more interesting and balanced. Lastly I briefly mentioned the Shadowblades. I don't really see them ever becoming a fully fledged faction. I think they could've just been merged into the Darkling Covens also, especially since the Dark Riders are similar to the Darkshards also. I also mentioned the Warlocks, it's a lot easier to keep the aesthetics tightened up if boxed sets only belong to a single faction. It also means you can market that boxed set for that particular faction. I mean, Shadow Warriors/Sisters of the Watch have this issue where they're in two different factions, so do you market the box for Wanderers or Swifthawk Agents? A lot easier if they just belong to a single faction. So then, why didn't they keep Darkling Covens, Order Serpentis and Shadowblades as part of one larger faction? The only two reasons I can think of is they thought that there was enough identity for them to forge their own path, but also they didn't necessarily want to make it 'too' easy for a player to transition their older armies. Yep, money huh. If we look at all the other 8th edition forces, they all got split into multiple factions also. Especially the core parts of each army were split across multiple factions. Ogre Kingtoms were split between Gutbuster and Beastclaw Raiders. Orcs and Goblins by each different aspect of Grots of Orruk. If you had an 8th edition army, you could run your existing collection as a Grand Alliance army with less synergy. But it made you think, do I take one aspect of my army, and expand that instead to make a more synergistic army? Overall, I appreciate what Games Workshop are trying to do. I just think they need to follow through on some of their ideas. Show us it's not just a hindrance to us (Where before, we could run a synergistic Highborn or Exiles army). I want to play an army full of Dragon Armoured Aelf Warriors, but I don't want to play with just Dragon Blades and Dragonlords. I want to create a Phoenix Temple force, but I could use some mini-Phoenixes! I love the Scourge Privateers, so where's their flying skyship? Tons of great ideas that are just waiting for some awesome models and a battletome to go with. As a parting thought, I'll leave you with this. Did Deathrattle kill off the Tomb Kings? In some respects, you could definitely make the Tomb Kings work in Age of Sigmar (Likely as 2 separate factions). You can even get rid of a bunch of old kits like the older Skeletons. But was the fact that there'd then be two factions largely composed of Skeletons a problem for Games Workshop? Let me know what you think in the comments below.
  5. Just as the title says, what do people think is generally stronger ~ faction-specific armies, backed up with the special artifacts, traits, and such, from the newer tomes, or taking a general army of the cream of the crop from across the breadth of one of the four Grand Alliances? I've (so far) gravitated towards Grand Alliances over faction specific forces with both Destruction and Order, but now with the new Chaos Battletome coming out, I can't decide whether I want to go faction-specific for my next 3k points, or to stick to my theme of pulling the best from each race.
  6. Turragor

    Unusual Stormcast List

    I had an idea for an army that I will probably never play because A) I'd need to buy and paint a ton of judicators and B) It's a bit cheesy: http://bit.ly/2a5F2LW What I wanted to ask was if my understanding of the number of attacks was right. So the main idea is that in AoS range is not great but you can fire in combat. So the boltstorm squads are actually to be used as close combat troops. Their main weakness is being on the move. When in combat they don't move and so in the shooting phase (before combat) get 3 attacks each (is this right?) focus these into the melee they're in then when the combat phase comes round use your regular melee attacks. The stat line for the Storm Gladius and Boltstorm Crossbow is identical. It's a total of 4 attacks per Judicator (excluding special weapon options - which are mortal wounders). LCoD is there for the battleshock bubble. Castellant is there for save boost at crucial times. Relictor for heals on LCoD and mortal wound chipping. There's one skybolt bow unit but I'm not even sure I shouldn't just add another block of 10 stormbolt crossbows. It's mostly bows for some semblence of extra flexibility. The prosecutors are in there for speed, objectives and slightly longer range harrasment. Every unit is a 4+ save, hardly groundbreaking but for a Stormcast 'horde' and mass of dice it's respectable? I dunno, what do people think? Will we see someone run this in a tourney?
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