[TLDR version. Warhammer is stupid, but I’m buying it anyway.]
I’m glad you guys started this post. I too find myself peaking over the fence at AoS, as I’ve semi-recently finally gotten in to 40k. Don’t get my wrong, Infinity is, and always will be my game of choice, but I’ve managed to actually find myself pretty immersed in 40k lately. I’m as surprised as anyone. It really is a stupid, bad game…
Dice fest, and you go – I go were always so boring to me – (I’m just going to have a running aside about “a reason I like Infinity so much…” 1. Always playing because of Reactive turn 2. Rules that stay true across all the armies).
The fact that I buy books, though beautifully produced, that are way too frequently errated, or otherwise made immediately obsolete is stupid.
The fact that a rule in my book will do the same exact thing as a different rule in 10 other books, all with 10 different names is stupid.
The fact that I have to use a third party app to build my army lists because GW doesn’t have their own living/updated army builder is stupid.
The fact that if I don’t use the third party app, I’ve got to literally write down on a f*cking sheet of paper what my army is, what weapons each model carries, and find the points for all that stuff among numerous charts in numerous books depending on what units I’m playing is stupid.
The fact that I can play a game, make no mistakes, but because of the way the point system works, I can lose the game or win it, and have almost zero control over the outcome is unforgivably stupid.
But for some reason I am really enjoying it…
One (repeat) ONE friend of mine tried and tried and tried to get me into 40k during 7th edition, and I gave it a fair shot like an adult is supposed to. Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it, right? Well, I tried it, and I didn’t like it. Pass.
Along comes 8th edition, and with it the new Death Guard models. I liked what I saw. He sold me the Death Guard half of the box at a really good discount and so I figured I may as well pick up the 8th edition core book to learn the “new and improved” version of the game. Fast forward a little and I rarely sit down without a Codex or some other lore book near me. I can’t stop reading this stuff. Papa Nurgle all the way buddy!
And I think that’s key to enjoying this game. Before, when I played 7th edition, I knew nothing about anything. My friend would tell me “this guy is a chaos champion, and he’s got a power sword, and bolt gun, and blah blah blah, I’m bored.” None of it mattered to me, because I didn’t know what a chaos champion was or why I should care. He was just another clunky model that was going to chuck some dice at me.
There is a reason the first 175 of 281 pages in the core book don’t even touch the rules. It’s all about the lore. You have to know “who your guys are,” because it very much is a dice fest, and while there is some nuanced strategy once you get a few games under your belt, it’s nothing compared to a game like Infinity, where literally every order is potentially game changing. I want to take certain guys who may not really be that good in the game, because I really like the way the model looks, or how they were described in the text, etc. It’s stupid! I know it! But it really does play a part in [at least] my enjoyment of the game. It’s about nerding out over your miniatures, and reading about them, and building your army to be fit for The Long War. It’s about the lore. It’s stupid.
I played in my first tournament this past weekend, and I’m still trying to decide how I feel about the experience. Unlike Infinity, where after the game you can analyze your plays, and break down what you did well/poorly, etc. and feel comfortable about the outcome, in 40k I never really felt that way. Most of the outcomes, even down to the points individual objective cards awarded, came down entirely to luck. Two of my 3 games were lost because multiple cards I scored that award “d3 points,” I rolled a 1 on…F*cking great, right?? I lost both of those games by a single point. That’s stupid.
I never really had a moment in any game where I could look across at my opponent and say “that was an excellent move,” or “wow, you walked into that one didn’t you?” The units moved toward each other as you’d expect them to, then dice were rolled until no units were left. Whoever got better dice rolls won. Simple as that. It’s stupid.
Now, there are some aspects of the rules that help with tactics, and strategy, such as helpful / harmful auras on some units, and the ability to only hit character units under certain conditions, etc. And playing to those aspects, leveraging when certain units are in range of others, or properly placing your units to block other charges is absolutely a thing in the game, but it’s going to take time before you start to think about that stuff. I still suck at it. Your mileage may vary. But it is in there, and it is important if you want to “git gud.”
I tell this long story to help explain why this game is so stupid, but also why I’m really really enjoying it. It’s still a dice fest, but as dice fests go, at least from my limited experience with 7th edition, it is better. It’s cleaner. It’s easier to get in to. And the reboot to 8th edition came with some sweet new models.
Which is how I bring this post back around to AoS. They’ve tweaked some things, but for the most part the new version is simply rolling in the past two years of official rulings, house rules made legit, and updates all into a nice new book with a bunch of new background lore and a bunch of sweet new models. This approach worked for me with 40k. I’m hoping it does with AoS.
I also bought the Storm of Sigmar box set, for my daughters actually. They got bored already, so there goes that idea…
My gut tells me neither of those armies is for me. Yeah, no range attacks, it’s just “run, run, run, charge, attack attack die.” My least favorite part of 40k is the Fight Phase. I like shooting things. [I play Infinity, a game about shooting things] Much of AoS is the Fight Phase, which is why I’m leaning toward the Sylvaneth army, one of the “shootier” armies in the game. And their models are really cool.
I’m skipping Soul Wars, and just picking up the Core Rulebook for a read on vacation. I really like what I’ve read so far in 40k, and I’m getting an itch for something in a Fantasy setting. I’ve already got the Sylvaneth book, and it’s been a great read so far. If I like the updated core rules, I’ll buy the “Start Collecting” Sylvaneth box and start rolling. If I don’t like it, I’ve got a nice looking book to add to my game shelf after I’m done with it.
Didn’t expect that to go so long. Hope at least one person read it.
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