As I begin this article, I should note that I am a very casual AoS Player. I have played off and on for the past several years but a mixture of bad experiences and lack of local players stymied any chance for a deep knowledge of the game. Recently a local club has started up that is promising more opportunities, and with the launch of 3.0 I am feeling myself being pulled back in.
1.*Insert Generic Comment about the Double Turn Here*
We all saw this coming. As a 40k player I am contractually obligated to insert a complaint about the double turn system despite me never having played with endless spells etc. There are some legitimate points on both sides of the argument but I do feel it would be hypocritical of me to praise AoS for being its own thing from 40k then nitpicking at everything that is different.
2. Dial things back to a 10
In some ways learning both 40k and AoS is a process that is full of feels-bad-man moments. In 40k it’s typically watching your shooting or combat bounce off a tough model or unit. In AoS (at least in my experience) a lot of these moments come from armies showing off crazy abilities or resurrecting units that you just tried very hard to kill. A particular memory of this comes from my game against a Troggoth player where, on the last turn of the game, (I was using a Legion of Nagash army) I resurrecting a 40-man skeleton squad using my army ability and wiped him off the board. He had been winning pretty handily up until that moment (especially after he got an early double turn) and I was down to just my vampire lord and a unit of dire wolves. These moments suck when they happen to you, especially if they are abilities you have little ability to block or interrupt. However, I have been encouraged by the changes I have seen in the new Soulblight book. My hope is that they will continue to maintain their innovativeness with new rules and abilities but tone things down a bit on the wacky or over-powered abilities.
3. Expanded Campaign Rules
In my opinion the Crusade system is the best thing to come from 9th edition 40k. It is far from perfect, but it is one of the most adaptable campaign systems I have ever seen. I know AoS has the Path to Glory system but that hasn’t grabbed me in the same way. My hope is that they implement a similar system, as well as army-specific rules (although as a DoK and Soulblight player my armies won’t get those rules for a while, unless they pull another Lumineth Battletome stunt). Even if it is a slightly simpler system something to add to the narrative experience would be great. I think a solid narrative campaign system is a good way to involve newer players in the hobby. In a well-run campaign it gives players the opportunity to use sub-par competitive units and armies and develop a love of the setting as you add to its lore and history.
4. Expanded Terrain rules
I have a feeling this is something GW is working on while also being a difficult thing to balance. Whereas in 40k the game is driven by armies relying on cover to advance or shoot their enemies, fantasy settings have a more complicated relationship towards terrain. Fantasy armies are never “realistic” but they do share many similarities with ancient armies who often fought in terrain that would be utterly dull to use on the tabletop. This is also compounded by the need for additional terrain to counteract the shooting abilities of some AoS armies. So, in some ways I feel like there aren’t a lot of great ways to resolve this issue. My main issue with the terrain in the current setting is that it can be bland and uninteresting (with the exception of faction-specific models). Part of this problem may just be the result of a commercial supply issue. GW has been trying to increase the number and variety of AoS (non-army specific) terrain kits and this may help cultivate a more thematic gaming experience.
Bonus: Bring back Wood Elves in some form
C’mon GW I need my pointy-eared waifus back, You’ve already teased us with the single model from Cursed City, and the releases from Underworld. It’s time to take the plunge and relaunch the murder hippies.
Overall, I am very excited and curious about what the new AoS edition will be like. I feel like many of the leaks hold promise, though, I am not experienced enough to fully understand their impact. My hope going forward is that Age of Sigmar will continue on its own path, borrowing the good from the 40k system but not being afraid to be different. As the game has aged it has started to develop its own unique culture and fell and I am curious to see it expanded on the tabletop.
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