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  1. #1

    Default A very brief gamer's guide for newcomers.

    Well folks, we're damned close to the release of the General's Handbook, and all indicators suggest the game is going to get a healthy influx of new blood.

    So I say 'Welcome one, and welcome all'. I've been dabbling in AoS since the beginning, and I thought I'd flag up some of the stuff you may have overlooked, particularly by comparing to Warhammer; The Game of Fantasy Battles, on the not entirely baseless assumption you may be a player of that fine system too.

    First off?

    There's Ranks Jim, but not as you know them..

    Yep. We may not be stotting about in squares and oblongs in the Mortal Realms, but such things can and do exist. There is of course no formal rank bonus, but by adopting a similar deployment pattern, you can help maximise your attacks - particularly if you have a heavily armoured unit as your front 'rank', and some wags with 2" melee range behind them. Because you don't have to be engaged in HTH to strike, just within your melee range

    It's really easy to over extend yourself - sometimes less is more

    One of the biggest changes from Warhammer to AoS is the combat phase. Gone is Initiative. Gone is 'Always Strikes First'. Instead, the player whose turn it is picks a unit. They lay into the enemy. Then your opponent picks and lays into you. Rinse and repeat until all eligible units (and as above, that's not necessarily just people who've been charged or were in combat last turn!) have given the enemy six-nowt.

    This brings serious risk to your battle plan - if you over-commit to combat, you might see one of your main units take a bit of battering before it swings it's own blades. Choose your order poorly (as happened with my opponent in my very first game), and you can easily see your characters picked off, whether or not they're in a multi-unit melee (you see, I don't have to attack with the unit you just attacked...)

    It's far, far harder to roll up your enemy - and your Deathstar isn't that great anymore

    Any experienced Warhammer general will be able to regale you with glorious tales of breaking not just an enemies main unit, but as a result their entire battle line - sometimes so spectacularly even their opponent waxes lyrical about it to this day.

    But AoS doesn't handle Leadership and Break Tests in a way that's familiar to you. Oh no. AoS has Battleshock. And Battleshock can be an absolute killer. Why? Well, in Warhammer, you only took a break test if you won the fight. In AoS, every unit that fought in combat takes Battleshock. Every single one of them. In essence, nobody actually 'wins' a combat - you just come out in slightly better shape.

    I cannot stress enough how much of a game changer this is for those familiar and used to Warhammer. Death Stars are so much more vulnerable, as you can't rely on Ld10 with a re-roll and Stubborn to keep you indefinitely in the fight. Instead, you die death by degrees. Extra model lost here. Extra model lost there. And if you've picked your combat order poorly, you might see a particular unit hideously overwhelmed, and all survivors head for the hills.

    Now, of course there are ways to mitigate it. It's a rare army without at least one way to ensure a target unit ignores Battleshock...but then, you need to be in the right place at the right time to really benefit those abilities.

    And that's just for starters

    I'm heading home now, so I'll leave it at just the three. Everyone else feel free to chime in with your own pointers
    Fed up for Scalpers?

  2. #2


    Great write-up mate. The biggest change for me was how the combat is turn by turn instead of initiative. Makes for some really interesting tactical decisions and target priority. I've done an in-depth Age of Sigmar review for anyone who wants the finer details.

  3. #3


    "and your Deathstar isn't that great anymore"

    Well, you just have to find a new "Deathstar" is all. But yeah, they're totally doable. Probably not as easy in Matched Play, but if you get the right combo of heroes and unit(s), you'll still have a nasty fighting force.
    Critical statements above are not intended to promote negativity or dislike, they are meant to add to a discussion where the positive points have likely already been stated.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Her Majesty's United Kingdom


    Nice little piece Mystery, good stuff.
    Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit
    Wisdom is knowing not to put it in a fruit salad.

  5. #5


    There certainly are nasty arse combos out there, but I've found they're much easier to deconstruct in AoS. Biggest change there is characters can't conventionally hide in friendly units, and when most bonuses come from character proximity, that's certainly a welcome change.

    Another thing I've noticed locally is that there doesn't appear to be duff unit types. I think the ditching of rank bonus and former combat res has really helped there, as you're no longer faced with spending oodles of points on say, Monstrous Infantry or Cavalry to get them up to a properly effective unit size.

    I feel this is writ large by big monsters. They're immune to Battleshock, because that's worked out on lost models rather than wounds, and for the most part they don't half pack on decent attacks, with most if not all doing multiple damage for each failed save. Outside of Matched Play, the main balance for them is the worse they get beat up, the less effective they become - a change I really enjoy, as it's bugged me since 3rdEd 40k that monstrous creatures fight at full effect until they're ded.
    Fed up for Scalpers?

  6. #6


    Really found this helpful if I am honest. It answered the biggest question floating round my noggin after the Warlords Live stream...

    "why are they ranking them up?? there is no ranks anymore (screamed my fantasy part of my brain) how does this help?"

    And BOOM answered you have. Brilliant.

    Very much appreciated from a long time "ranked fantasy" nerd who has taken a few years to get over the imagined butt-hurt that some people forced down my gob.

    Hopefully I wont get confused too much by this bloodborn malarkey I seem to have started.



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