The Ninth Realm – Episode #36 Who Killed Narrative Play?

Episode #36

Who Killed Narrative Play?


  • This week we have  Jason and Scott. Reece is off at Adepticon. It’s good to be the boss, baby!
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Main topic: Has the Generals Handbook killed narrative or open play?


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About Jason

Raw Dogger, aka, Phat J Sleaze (formerly of the Booty Boyzzz) is a highly opinionated, questionably skilled 40k enthusiast. When not working at Frontline Gaming, he can be found down on Jabroni Avenue.

6 Responses to “The Ninth Realm – Episode #36 Who Killed Narrative Play?”

  1. Avatar
    Ytook March 24, 2017 4:56 am #

    I think something people get wrong about open play is thinking it’s playing with no restrictions, when it’s actually playing with your own restrictions.

    I agree you’ve got to run it if you want it. If you want to do open play stuff and your groups all matched play, treat it as learning the game in reverse, set an evening for open play but keep points, remove battle line restrictions and the like but set other restrictions, like only allowing one of any unit, only having heroes, only one unit from each faction in a grand alliance or having to have units from all 4 grand alliances’.

    Also I think it’s important for open play to use more different and weird battleplans, use the battleplans from the army books or the realm gate wars books.

    Get people into the idea of open play and you can gradually lessen restrictions as you go. But I think setting challenges is the best way. Like for example if you’ve got one person with a huge collection take turns seeing how long you can last against it.Or swap half your army with your opponents.

    With a little work and creativity we managed to make open play evenings a lot of fun 🙂

    • Avatar
      Scott R March 24, 2017 5:32 am #

      Great response,

      For those of us that have been playing from the begining, open play and no points is just natural. After a few runs you quickly get a feel for what’s going to make a battleplan work. I think the issue, when it is brought up, comes from players that have jumped in since last summer or came back with the points after a bad experience. There are those guys that can’t help themselves. With no restrictions hey just don’t think about making the experience fun for all.

      In the early days of the game many conversations were had about the social contract and playing the game for fun. For a good number of us there was a clear understanding that games needed to find a natural balance so as to include more people. The best way to do that was to talk about what you both wanted to do and meet in the middle. If you had not gone through that and you come from old Warhammer, or 40k, I can see how it seems strange to just throw down and play. It does work give it a few games and try the narrative battleplans they are a blast.

      There is no arguing that the Generals Handbook brought tons of people into the game. Those of us who want to see more open play, need to provide a way for it to happen, and show that it can be done.

      • Avatar
        Ytook March 24, 2017 10:49 am #


        Agreed, I love having points, I liked AoS a lot already but I think matched play is very important and made me really fall in love with the game. Open play is great fun but it’s difficult to think of points as an option rather than a necessity if you didn’t experience those early days of AoS.

        But by easing away from army building points and focusing on different types of challenges I think people can see it as a great other way to play.

  2. Avatar
    Chris March 24, 2017 6:32 am #

    I personally love the open and narrative play. The battleplans in books other than the generals handbook are perfect for it. To help get games we still use the matched play stuff a lot but I almost never use those battleplans. For games against friends we will mix up what’s used and break from the matched play list design but still use allegiances and stuff because they are cool. Then add a funky battleplan maybe modify it to make it crazier and add a fun time of war to spice it up some more. Then we go nuts and have a good time. I’ll be hosting a “tournament” doing this next month. Everyone will leave with a different tale of how their army fared.

  3. Avatar
    Col. Duke LaCrosse March 27, 2017 2:39 pm #

    I’m personally a huge fan of open and narrative play and I also enjoy matched play. I mostly just want to play with my toy soldiers and I’m fortunate to live in an area where many people have played AoS from release and play in many different ways. We have some folks who’ve come from 40k that just have to have their points. I get the impression that they just don’t ‘trust’ that the game will be fair and fun otherwise. We also have people who simply throw whatever they wanna play with on the table.

    Our community has a narrative campaign going on right now and has been since before the General’s Handbook. There are no points. Army comp is simply bring 45 models field 30 of them. Not pure open play but very loose and very intentional. We did not change to points so that people could still bring anything they wanted. And people have fielded Archaon, and Nagash, and Gordrakk, and Alarielle and it has been a blast every time. Why only yesterday my Tomb Kings were rofl-stomped by an equal number of Ogors but I had a blast the whole time. There was a cool story playing in my head and that’s all I needed to enjoy the game.

    That’s the key I think. In narrative and open play the story has to take precedence. If all you want is to win and prove you’re better at the game and list building and gamesmanship, etc. then you won’t enjoy narrative because you won’t win every game. Especially in here in America there is a very strong emphasis on competition. Competition is all that matters and anything else is fluff and a waste of time. Many people won’t even try other styles of play for that reason; narrative and open play is just ‘wasting time’ you could spend prepping for your next tournament.

    With that said I strongly encourage people to try narrative. Think of the story you want to tell , which battleplans to use to represent it, and how long the story should be. Find some like minded folks and your good. In fact here’s a link to Chapter 1 of the narrative campaign I mentioned earlier, courtesy of Hive Fleet Charybdis on tga:

  4. Avatar
    Garrett Mulroney March 28, 2017 11:13 am #

    Hey guys, just wanted to say I am loving the video format. Keep up the good work

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