Welcome back. In my previous post I gave my initial impressions of Warhammer: Age of Sigmar from a painting and modelling perspective (spoiler alert: I love it). This post delves into the new background and rules that establish this exciting new age of Warhammer. I should also give a mention to the guys at Tabled Podcast who provide an excellent account of the background to Age of Sigmar which you can listen to here. Their podcast is one of the things that got me so fired up about the game.
A Brave New World
As I said in yesterday’s post, I have been steeped in the lore of the Warhammer World for twenty years now and fondly remember pouring over maps of the Old World in the Warhammer Quest Roleplay book (the first Warhammer Fantasy game I purchased). For this reason I was genuinely sad to see the world destroyed in the End Times. However, the Warhammer World had become static. We all knew what it was and its history and the clock stopped some time around (or just before) the Storm of Chaos. In my opinion, the End Times series was a fitting send-off for the Warhammer World and again I must praise Games Workshop for having the bravery to destroy their setting so thoroughly. Part of me worried that it would turn out to be a marketing ploy like the death of Superman or Knightfall in the ’90s and that after a few months the Warhammer World would be magically restored somehow or that Karl Franz would wake up in the shower and it was all a dream. However, GW have shown no sign of this happening and are instead committed to developing the Mortal Realms.
The new setting, with its diverse opportunities and mythic grandeur, has got me genuinely excited. We know that elves, men and dwarfs have survived but as yet have been told little of their history, territories or social organisation. Personally, I can’t wait for this to be revealed as GW develop their new setting. It finally feels like Warhammer is moving forward again.
The Warhammer World still exists as a ‘historical’ setting for those people who wish to set their games in the ‘World That Was’ (this is even made explicit in the warscrolls on GW’s website).
I couldn’t write a post about Age of Sigmar without mentioning GW’s new poster boys, the Stormcast Eternals. The company’s commitment to these new guardians of humanity is evident from the new statue at GW HQ shown above and these really are the protagonists of the new game.
I really like the background and models for the Stormcast and am eager to learn more about them. The idea of super-human warriors taking the fight to Chaos really appeals to me. At first I was a bit ambivalent about the models but after painting up a few units I have really fallen in love with them. They are fun to paint and, importantly as my gateway army back into Fantasy, look great with a simple colour scheme that is quick to apply. This means I can have an army of them painted up and on the table in next to no time.
Many people have compared them unfavourably to space marines and the moniker ‘Sigmarines’ is already a common pejorative term being used around the internet. However, I like the fact that 40k has started feeding back into Warhammer. Back in the days of Rogue Trader, many fantasy archetypes were ported over into a sci-fi setting and given lasguns and shuriken catapults. It’s nice to see this go in the opposite direction and for an element of warhammer 40,000 to be adapted to a fantasy setting.
The Best Things in Life are Free
Undoubtedly one of the major draws of the game is the fact that all of the rules are free to download. No longer do you need a rulebook, expansions, army books etc to play the game, cutting down the cost of entry. As someone returning to Fantasy after many years I no longer have to worry about which rulebooks are still current or compatible with the latest edition. I can simply download the warscrolls for whatever models I have in my collection and get playing.
Another common complaint. Again, as a painter and collector I really like the idea of not having to trawl through army books adding up the cost of units and picking out combinations of magic items. I know some people got a lot of pleasure from this, and it really is just a matter of personal preference, but as a casual gamer I am all in favour of it.
So there we have it. I can honestly say as a casual gamer who is mainly interested in painting and modelling this release is perfect for me as it does away with a lot of the problems I had getting into Warhammer Fantasy Battle. I understand it may not be everyone’s cup of tea but I for one will be embracing this new age.
Next time I will share my painting progress on the Stormcast Eternals. See you then.