I kind of lost touch with Games Workshop at some point and I don’t know if it was more down to them or down to me. Like many fellow miniature wargamers, Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000 were my gateways into the larger hobby. I started out with some Warhammer Orcs and Warhammer 40,000 Eldar (Ulthwé in my case) but quickly moved on from my space-elves to the Chaos Space Marines that I would collect for many, many years. The high points for me in terms of collecting and painting were 6th Edition Warhammer and 3rd edition Warhammer 40,000, with a big resurgence during 8th Edition Warhammer and a small resurgence of interest during 5th edition Warhammer 40,000.
Games Workshop never stopped making some of the coolest models on the market, but they did stop producing rules that I enjoyed, especially after I had discovered simpler, better games like Hordes and Malifaux. These smaller games involved less of an upfront investment and a ruleset that just flowed so much better. It’s been a long time since I really enjoyed Warhammer 40,000, but I did enjoy 8th Edition Warhammer – but it was just such an effort to play, with so many models on the table and so many rules and nitty-gritty details. For some people, the complexity is a huge asset, but I’m just not one of these people.
Enter Age of Sigmar.
I, like many, was initially quite dismissive of Age of Sigmar. It seemed – and was – such a huge departure from what came before and it was jarring to see. I think I needed time to get over my shock and, dare I say, initial disappointment. It also seemed to lack structure, with no setup for matched play. The scenario approach and the open play approaches are both great, and I think the scenario-based narrative play is one of the big attractions of the game, but for straightforward matched battle, the lack of points was a huge problem that resulted in a mess of lots of different comp systems that were confusing and, in many ways, ineffective.
Now that there is a matched play system and points values for each unit, this really does feel like a complete and compelling game. I love how army composition works now, with a much more open system, having each unit attached to both a broad “Grand Alliance” of Chaos, Death, Order or Destruction (in order my interest) and a selection of smaller, more thematic sub-factions. This gives the option of creating a cool, themed army or a more varied – perhaps more competitive? – army.
I recently started playing Age of Sigmar as our local club decided to run a slow-grow league and I was initially worried that I wouldn’t like it, that just maybe I was wasting my time and money on a game that was trash. I am delighted to be wrong.
I’ve loved putting together a new army and playing a few games of Age of Sigmar. I’ve loved learning the incredibly simple rules and playing around with the official army builder, Azyr. I’ve loved the whole experience of reacquainting myself with Warhammer, albeit in this new and different form.
The army I chose to start with was Daemons of Tzeentch and I picked up two of the fantastic ‘Start Collecting’ sets, some extra Flamers and a couple boxes of Blue and Brimstone Horrors. This has given me a nice start to my army, and all I really need to fill it out later are some more Pink Horrors and maybe a Lord of Change. I’ve been determined to stick to the golden rule with my approach to Age of Sigmar, and not buy anything else until I’ve painted what I have. The club’s slow-grow league is helping me stick to this rule, giving me motivation to paint at a decent pace.
I don’t have any good pictures to hand, but I’ve grabbed these ones from my Instagram, just to give you an idea of how I’m doing with my painting at the moment:
I’m delighted with my return to Warhammer and with the changes that Game Workshop are previewing for Warhammer 40,000, I’m cautiously optimistic that I may return to this as well with the next edition. It looks like they are simplifying it and incorporating a lot of elements from Age of Sigmar into their design. It also helps that I happen to be painting a shiny, new Daemon army that can also be used with Warhammer 40,000…