Saturday, July 11, 2015

Our Age Of Sigmar Test Game & Review

by SandWyrm


So I got a call from Uberdark up in Kokomo, who says he's heading down to Sinclair Games (our new favorite game store) to "Spend a $#!%-load of money" on Age of Sigmar. Would I like to come over to the store and hang out while he puts stuff together?

Seeing through his ploy to get me to help him put his new minis together, I told him to head on over to my place, which is only 5 minutes away. I then called up CaulynDarr, who's been wanting to do a proper critical examination of the game. I figured we'd get Uberdark's starter-set models put together, and then do a battle report.

Model Assembly

The AoS models are beautiful, no doubt. Especially the Khornate minis. But they're a real bear to assemble. Even more so than the old Dark Vengeance set, which was way more complicated than the Space Hulk 2-piece plastics. Suffice it to say that after an hour and a half of assembly, Uberdark and I had only managed to assemble one SigMarine, and had about 7-8 more models glued legs-only to their bases. Ugh!

Fortunately, when Caulyndarr showed up, he had an old Island of Blood box set with him. Giving us two complete armies (Skaven vs. High Elves) that were, when originally released, balanced against each other. So we put the AoS minis aside and just used the IoB models instead.

Q: Are The AoS Models Too Complex For Their Intended Audience?

I had played an AoS intro game over at Sinclair last Wednesday night, after a couple of good games of Flames of War. It struck me then that AoS isn't meant for adults at all. Although the box says ages 12+, I'd say the target market is actually around 10+, and with a few tweaks I'm sure my 8 year old son would be happily rolling dice and killing monsters with glee.

But while the game is definitely designed to appeal to younger players than WHFB (logical given GW's view of their player base), the models are clearly too complex for a 10-14 year old to put together. Hell, even I would have trouble, and I'm a master modeler.

So (corporate) strategy-wise... I really think that to serve their intended audience, these models needed to be no more complicated to put together than those in the Space Hulk re-release. Meaning colored 2-part plastics that you clip off the sprue and snap together without any requirement for glueing at all.

The Dark Vengeance models had more pieces, but most of the troopers were still 2-part snap-together models. Gluing was minimal. But AoS requires that every little piece (and there are many) be glued.

The other thing I'd say is that the AoS set contains too many minis for a 10-14yo audience. It's too much stuff for them to keep track of in a game. I would personally have cut the model count by at least a third, and maybe half. The plethora of billowing capes and stuff sticking this way and that also means that kids are going to break a LOT of these models while playing with, and transporting them.

Adults won't have nearly as many issues with the minis, but it speaks to the strange disconnect between what GW seems to be trying to do, and what they actually delivered.

Setting Up

Uberdark has been telling us on Facebook how much he loves this game (based on what he read about it, not from actually playing it), so having already sampled the game, I let him face off with Skaven against CaulynDarr's Elves.

Uber was ready to let us put some terrain down and go, but we were meanies and refused to do anything but follow the rules-as-written. Which meant rolling for random terrain in each table area. Complete with mystical powers for each terrain piece. So the Egyptian statue was inspiring, the column-thing increased the bravery of models near it, and the pool-of-water ruin on the Elf side was entrancing or something, and kept stopping CaulynDarr's units from moving. Oh and the Skaven had a hill on their side that you could sacrifice a model to in order to increase your chances to hit.


The hill in the far-left corner with the raccoon skull on it has some nasty power that nobody wanted to go near.

But... Why?

Now... look at that setup. Is it interesting? Does is look like a real place? Do the mandatory mystical powers add anything but annoying interruptions to the gameplay? Nope, nope, and nope.

So why is random mystical terrain a core part of the rules? Was it just to fill space? Was it to add needless complexity to a too-simple rules system?

Yes, people will just ignore those rules, as they do with 6th and 7th Edition 40K. But every time a group of gamers has to house-rule something, it puts another point of separation between them and every other house-ruling group out there. Design decisions like these fracture the player base instead of uniting it.


Anyway, setup went fairly quickly after that, and we were soon ready to go.

The Game Is Quick 

UberDark was really jazzed by how quick the game went, and I can't blame him for that. WHFB and 40K have gotten needlessly complex over the last few years, and having a battle take less than an hour and a half to play on the first reading is refreshing.

But...

If the older games are far too fiddly, then AoS isn't fiddly enough. There are no formations or block-movement, which is essential for any kind of real tactical play in a Fantasy game. In 40K, loose formations work because every model on the table has a gun, and the game is mostly about shooting.

But if all you have is a spear or an axe, and the enemy has few guns, then you really need to block up. Which is all the Romans did when fighting the undisciplined  Germans on their borders. The Germans were bigger, and had better weapons, but the Romans knew how to work together as one unit, which made all the difference. The first episode of HBO's Rome shows this perfectly.

Kings of War was Fast AND Tactical!
And... We know that a simple block-based Fantasy game is possible, because we did a battle report on the first version of Kings of War a couple of years back. The play time and overall complexity was identical to Age of Sigmar, but the emphasis was on tactics instead of random LOL-sies.


But block-movement won't even be possible with the new AoS models, because they all use round or oval bases. So the gameplay pretty much boils down (and always will) to two mobs of models running into each other. Until combat devolves into one large blob of fighting in the center of the table in a sort of gun-gimped parody of 40K.

And When You Can Shoot...

The other big problem I have is how shooting is handled. If you do have a bow or a breath weapon, there is no restriction on who you can target. You can target units in melee. You can even target units in melee when YOUR unit is in a DIFFERENT melee. Which I find utterly ridiculous.

Simplicity is a fine goal, but things should only be as simple (or complex) as they need to be. And... This game needs more complexity to avoid these WTF moments that keep popping up.

But Back To The Game...


CaulynDarr didn't have a base (lost or broke it) for his Griffon-Rider, but that didn't matter, because AoS doesn't use bases for anything but holding up the model. All distances (though this will be house-ruled too) are measured to/from the closest parts of the models involved. So we just put the Griffon down on the table, where it looked like it was giving the JAZZ HANDS!!! to the enemy.

UberDark was not amused
But then it killed both Rat Ogres with its four, YES FOUR melee weapons. All of which could be used at once. One of which hits automatically and does D6 wounds.

Overpowered much? Yes, say hello to Hero-Hammer. It never left.


The Skaven move in, but RAW means that they can't get within 3" of an enemy model before charging, and since that is measured to the model, and not the base, they had to form a little semi-circle just beyond the Griffon's wings.

The Skaven with the shock lance-thing is in combat though, as the tip of its lance is within an inch of the Griffon's nose.

Now, while this makes combat a bit more picturesque, measuring model to model is something that can be RIDICULOUSLY abused by all the WAAC players that will flock-to, and have a field day abusing this system by modeling for advantage. Expect to see super-sized lances that add 3" to a model's charge distance. As well as flowing banners that always point forward. Or tactically re-sculpted wings that point forward in one direction instead of outwards to the side.


The Skaven General charges (with the aid of his forward-pointing staff) into a High Elf Spearman unit. He kills a few, but then fails his roll to skitter away and dies.


The Griffon held on despite all the troops thrown against it, but UberDark charged in one of those poison globe things and killed it with a lucky roll. There's no consolidation though, so...


Horn to tail! GOTCHA!!!

Note that with the way Morale checks work, you take your casualties, roll a D6, add them together, and then subtract your bravery stat. Whatever number is left is how many additional wounds the unit takes. Yes, every unit is undead now apparently.

Now consider that Heroes never take Morale checks. Consider what that will mean for the forces that people bring to the table. Because you'll lose FAR more models in a unit to morale checks than actual shooting or melee attacks. So why bring units?


For instance, while things are looking dire for the Skaven right now, the lone Skaven model at middle-left has a warp-lock something or another. He kills 1-2 of the 6 Elf spearmen near him with it. The Elf spears then roll horribly on their Morale check and the remaining 6 Elves run away.


Is that cool? Really? Is that how a game should go?

Then consider that because you roll to see who goes first every round, the spearmen could just as easily have pulled out their bows and shot down the Skaven that ended up killing them.

So the fate that hero and that unit depended on one D6 roll. Not on any action or tactical thought on the part of the players. Even UberDark hated this aspect of the game.


Eventually it came down to the Elf bolt thrower (which can now move and fire like any other model) gunning down the remaining Skaven with the help of the spearmen (who have bows).

yay.

So there you have it. AoS is a simple, fast, but exceedingly random battle experience. One where tactics are almost non-existent beyond the order in which you decide to activate your units. So you have a little bit of the target priority considerations of 5th Edition 40k, and a little bit of the melee priority of Blood Bowl. That's it.

The randomness of who goes first each turn rubbed UberDark (who was otherwise loving the game) the wrong way. Since it means that you can't really plan anything ahead of time. You just run everyone forward and react.

We started counting up wounds to see if that was any kind of decent balancing metric, but I had to go sign a bunch of re-fi papers and didn't hear the final count. The guys can chime in with that in the comments.

But... Was It Fun?


That's a point of disagreement between UberDark and I, and I'm sure he'll chime in with his view, so I won't put words in his mouth. Did we have fun playing THIS game? Hell yeah we did. It was a blast! But what was fun about it?
  1. Making fun of the rules
  2. Forcing UberDark to play strict RAW instead of house-ruling (for amusing reactions)
  3. Making fun of certain people we know that would break the rules
  4. Coming up with ridiculous, but legal, ways to break the rules (if we were that guy)
We all agreed that the game was fun in a it's-so-bad-it's-fun way. Like watching Plan 9 From Outer Space. But to me, that's not a healthy, positive way to enjoy a game, and it certainly is not the kind of "fun" that I think will hold up past your 5th or 10th game. At which point you're left with the frustrations of the game itself, which are legion.
  1. No Points System For Balancing
  2. No Troop Formations
  3. Model-To-Model Measuring Instead of Base-To-Base
  4. No Movement or Shooting Restrictions
  5. Hit/Wound Rolls Which Don't Rely On The Skills Of Your Targets
  6. Overpowered (instead of supporting) Characters
  7. Rolling To See Who Goes First Each Turn
  8. Simplistic Run-To-The-Center Gameplay
  9. No Tactics Other Than Activation Priority
To name but a few.


We all agreed though that there was a certain core of something in Age of Sigmar that could be really great, and if the price were a bit lower I'd have no problem buying it to play with my oldest son, who's 8. But it's half-baked and sloppy. To the point that I could (and have) made up better rules on the spot to have Space Marines fight dinosaurs on the basement rug with my boys.

It's A Question Of Development Strategy

If this game were an adjunct to regular WHFB, then I'd have no problem with it. It would fill a much-needed hole in GW's lineup. But instead of simply making this a WHFB gateway game, GW has gone all-in on AoS being a WHFB replacement, and it's pretty obvious to me that they're positioning it as an entry-level game that will eventually funnel young players into 40k, which is their only profitable game right now. All of the design cues are there, from the ovoid bases to the SigMarines themselves.

Ok, so WHFB wasn't selling well enough for GW to continue supporting it. I get that. I also get that they absolutely DO need an entry-level game to pull players in. But nuking Fantasy to do it? All that does is piss off what loyal players remain. Many of the people I know that have gotten fed up with the state of 40K had gone back to Fantasy to avoid the WAAC nonsense. Now that option is gone, and this game will draw WAACs like bugs to a halogen porch light. Not good. 

Looking at the strategy further... They want more kids and casual adults in the hobby, which is why the rules are dumbed down. But they also have to sell to their existing customers, which is why the models are overly complex. The game is therefore trying to serve two contradictory goals. The casual types don't want to spend hours modeling just to play their first game (X-Wing or Imperial Assault is their perfect impulse purchase), and the die-hards are going to be put off by the simplistic nature of the game the detailed models are made for.

And what is the end goal here? If the goal is to eventually push AoS players into 40K, then there's going to have to eventually be a 40K component to this. Which means they're probably working on a dumbed down, simplistic version of 40K that is rules-compatible with Age of Sigmar. 

I think (hope?) GW isn't stupid enough to release an "Age of Sanguinius" that totally replaces 40k. But nothing would surprise me at this point. Guess it depends on how well AoS sells, how badly the 40K numbers are going down, and the cluelessness of management. 

Regardless though, Mantic is throughly enjoying the backlash, and is releasing the 2nd Edition of Kings of War as a free download. I see no reason not to give it a read. The first version was a lot of (healthy) fun, and Farmpunk and I would have played it regularly if there had been some WHFB players on the north side of town to play it with.

So in conclusion... The game is good for some initial laughs (in a bad Nicolas Cage movie kind of way), and will appeal to younger players. But it's definitely not a game for adults, and I would only buy it to keep the Khorne models while selling off the SigMarines on eBay.

If you want a fun, fast, fantasy-ish skirmish game, then I hear Saga is a blast. While if you want something better than what WHFB was from a tactical play standpoint, you're probably better off with Kings of War. Otherwise stick with WHFB for as long as you're able.

Peace.

41 comments:

  1. Remember since all measurement is based on the model the 3 inch extra long lance will just make it harder to move the model. He is have to be deployed farther back such that his big poker is not over the line and if he turns you have to measure how far any single part of the model moved.

    Also I do not think on average units will lose more models from battleshock than they lost in combat most. High elf spear man are 6 Bravery which means that at most they lose an additional guy for each killed but more like 2-3 less. Clanrats can lose more but given the structure of the game I am not sure there is room for shit models anyway.

    None of that changes you review ofcourse. It all reminds me of this penny arcade comic:

    http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2004/03/24

    I am very surprised to hear that the models need glue. One thing to remember is that 10-12 years old are often a little less fussy about things being right before playing the game so there might be a ton of badly assembled Age of Sigmar models floating about soon.

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    1. One thing I noticed looking at the KoW rules is that the game is not really a 28 mm game. It would probably play just as well at 10 mm with stands of models and be way cheaper.

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    2. That is true. The only real reason to play it at 28mm is because you have those models already. In which case you might as well glue them all down to the same base. Because you don't remove individual casualties.

      It's a flaw that works in KoW, but which Alessio also carries over to Warpath, where it makes the game ridiculous.

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    3. As for the model measuring thing, you abuse it by deciding the model's facing as you move. If you want to charge, you point the spear at the enemy for a 1-2" (or more) advantage. If you don't want to be charged, you show the nearest enemy unit your back, taking that 1-2" away from THEIR charge distance.

      If facing mattered, that would be one thing. But it doesn't matter.

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    4. The rules say no part of the model my move more than the model's move characteristics. So if I have a 3 inch spear past the 1 inch base then rotating the model by 90 degrees at the center moves the spear tip almost 5 inches. Fun with Pythagoras.

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    5. I don't see anyone, ever, measuring movement that way. The most practical way would be to measure in a direction and move the model such that the spear tip doesn't stick out past the movement distance, however the model rotates.

      But you could still move "North" and decide whether to point the spear "East" or "West" without violating the total distance of the Northward movement. Gaining a 1/2-1" advantage in charging distance would just mean that you 'tack' towards your intended target instead of moving straight towards them. So you move North-West and point the spear North-East. But the spear didn't move any further North-Westward than the rest of the model did.

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    6. Well you can do anything if you just ignore the rules. The movement/coherence/distance measurement from the models instead of bases is probably the worst in game change they made. If done properly it makes the game very time consuming to play. Remember that if you turn 180 while moving one of the models shoulders moves farther than the other, etc. It is just a nightmare hence people will just ignore it and you will get people using that ignoring the RAW to cheat. I cannot imagine trying to follow that rule while moving like 30 guys who have like 1 inch fiddly model point to model point coherence also.

      Other than the points cost throw out which is purely about player freedom and has nothing to do with how having to pay more in game for using better models limited model sales.

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    7. Well... That's kind of my point. If you actually try and move models like you should, it's tedious and will frustrate everyone. But the obvious shortcuts will leave holes that WAACs can exploit. Which is why everyone will surely house-rule measuring from bases. But then you'll still have some issues with the ovoid bases that all the monsters are mounted on, because there is no facing in the game.

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    8. As for the lack of points... I really think that the GW dev team didn't have the budget (or the talent) available to develop and test a new points system. So they're hoping that the fans and TOs will come up with something on their own.

      Which is lazy, but the game is actually simple enough, stat-wise, that I (or someone who cares) could probably work out a calculated points system fairly easily. So it may happen.

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  2. Not like we expected anything really positive from y'all.

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    1. UberDark is positive. CaulynDarr and I are honest.

      Considering our known biases going in, I think we're a lot more positive about the game now than we thought we would be. It's a better game than say... Robotech RPG Tactics. But for the money there's better skirmish games out there, and Uberdark himself will complain about how difficult the lovely models are to assemble.

      As CaulynDarr said after the test... "I don't even have enough time for the games I actually like." Which pretty much sums it up. This game would have been pretty decent in 1995, but that was 20 years ago.

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  3. I loved the game. My only real gripe was the fact that you rolled for each turn. The rules were ridiculous, but that's what made the game fun. I will say this, you can build a Khorne AND Stormcast army by buying two sets, and spending another $200 on other miniatures. Not to mention if you go to Sinclair Games you get 20% off. So to make two of these armies I am spending $450 total. Any of the other armies can be bought at a cheaper price too. The fact that a 12 scroll army can be had for a much cheaper price than 40k or old fantasy is another great aspect of this game. Is it perfect, no. But what game is? Yes it's simple to play. THAT is the beauty of the game. I don't have to worry about making an army and exploiting the tiniest of rules breakage. You know what I felt like when I played this game? Happy. I felt like a kid again and I laughed at the silliness of some of the rules, but more than anything, I just had fun, THAT is what has been missing in the war gaming community for years. And I look forward to more of it.

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    1. The total costs of playing are remarkably lower, I can't argue that. In fact they're downright reasonable. Although I'm seeing new models coming that cost as much as a Chimera used to for one plastic single-pose infantry model. That's not cool.

      But I'll be interested in seeing how you feel about the game 3 months from now.

      How you can say that you don't have to worry about exploiting the tiniest rules breakage when we did nothing but joke about how to break the game while playing it makes me scratch my head though. :P

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    2. I suppose I look at $450 and cringe a bit, because for that same amount of investment, I could buy 2 very well fleshed out FoW forces (with Battlefront models even), several Infinity forces, or several MERCS factions, or several Malifaux factions. I could even build two decent Star Wars Armada fleets.
      I'd even go for some of the Kings of War stuff. Or several SAGA factions.

      I think my RoI might be better on the games with better rulesets.

      What I have found with my experiences of good rulesets.... if you find a rule that doesn't fit, don't use it. Much easier to do that than arguing out a rule that doesn't exist because the rules are poorly written and constructed.

      I don't think we should keep letting companies get by with shoddy workmanship.

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  4. Our jokes were more less what we could do to break the game. That said, I don't really feel like adding that 18" spear. Lol.

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  5. Silly game is silly.

    It's odd as a fantasy game mostly because range is so much more effective than melee. Melee is pretty much about trading units.

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  6. The rules are really open for abuse. I think deliberately so. There's a paradox with wargames where the tighter the rules, the more people feel entitled to abuse them. It becomes a mark of pride to find the killer exploits that are going to break your opponent and make him cry. The nonsense with Fantasy movement really blew my mind. AoS encourages players to keep to the spirit of the game much more by having some really obvious ways to break the game. Yeah you can have the 6ft lance dude (although I'm not sure he can rotate for free), the screaming bell/fateweaver thing is possible, the chaos lord can bring on a unit of any size on any table edge on a 4+. You could bring in 1000 models if you want. You win easily... once...

    And for all the protests that "that guy" is lurking around the corner to spoil the game with its flimsy rules, I've not heard of anyone actually doing any of it. In a game as complex as Warhammer, achieving true balance is really hard - if not impossible. The spirit of the game and the social contract between players is more important than the rules. As a kind of social experiment I think GW has tried something pretty interesting. The balance rubrics will come soon and I think there's some nice stuff in the game that will make it interesting.

    I'll totally agree on one thing though - the randomised turn order is a bad mechanic for a turn based system like Warhammer. It's great for I-Go-You-Go games like Dropzone but not AoS.


    As an aside, it's funny that in your neck of the woods Fantasy was the antidote to the WAAC 40k. In mine it's the other way around. Fantasy felt like it outright encouraged a WAAC attitude with its weird movement and frontage mechanics. I guess it's often the meta-culture as much as the game rules itself.

    As for the Kings of War vs AoS, it's all gravy to me because I love both games. I'm seriously considering buying the £25 KOW hardback book when it releases later in the year. Heck I might even buy my first fantasy models for over a DECADE! The sisters of the thorn and the new treeman are both beautiful models.

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    1. I don't know where this delusion comes from that tighter rules encourage cheating and rules-lawyering. Because in my experience it's exactly the opposite.

      Flames of War has what are probably the tightest 40K-like wargame rules right now, and I've never once seen anyone get in an argument about how something works. Because you open up the book and it’s all there clear as day. I’m not crazy about Flames’ tournament rules, but they’re exceedingly pleasant events because everyone acts like gentlemen.

      The nicest, warmest, most non-WAAC wargamer I know is currently ranked #2 in the nation for Flames, and he never does anything in the least bit shady. In fact, he’ll help you out with tactics mid-game. I will gladly play him anytime.

      Whereas, I’ve seen tons of loud verbal fights at 40K events between even good friends about how to interpret one of GW’s poorly written rules. As 40K and Fantasy have gotten less tight as rulesets, I’ve also seen all the honest competitive players in my area move on to other things, while the WAACs are happy to stay. Because they LOVE games with loopholes and sloppy wording. Games with tight rules, like Flames or X-Wing repel them like garlic to a vampire.

      As for balance, Flames doesn’t have perfect balance, but its balance is at least 10-20x better than 40K. When people argue about points costs in Flames, they bemoan that an entire unit costs 5 points more or less than it should. Not 50-100 points.

      The difference is that Battlefront gives a shit, and does the best job they can.

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    2. The problem I have with Flames is I feel like they are re enactments not games. I want my space men and aliens. I want my tanks to have lasers and hi tech weapons and I want the models bigger than matchbox cars. (one of the two reasons I am not a dropzone guy). They could have the best ruleset ever but until they are no longer historical I can't even see me trying them.

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    3. @grenn dal
      To each his own. To a certain extent, even sci-fi games are sort of miniature re-enactments of things that never happened. Many of my FoW games are things that never would have happened. A French Reconnaissance company fighting a Japanese Infantry Company on the Steppes of Russia? Americans vs. Brits in the Jungle?
      I've known people to use Aliens and things for their infantry, and paint their tanks outrageous colors. No biggie.

      Another suggestion I have is to look into "All is Quiet on the Martian Front" http://www.architectsofwar.com/allquietonthemartianfront.aspx

      It looks to be well done, and a fun game.

      Overall, I suppose my greatest recommendation is to TRY different systems.

      Sandwyrm wasn't sure about the 15mm scale on FoW at first. Each scale has it's benefits. 28mm allows for larger models, which gives more detail in painting (both a blessing and a curse). I find 15mm a more enjoyable painting experience. Things are smaller, and I find I don't have to pay attention to quite as many details when I paint.

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    4. @Green Dal

      WWII isn't everyone's thing, I miss the Sci-Fi too. But I was just using Flames as an example because it's so similar to 40K, being basically a cleaned up 3rd edition ruleset that's gone through 2 revisions since.

      If you head over to http://www.warstrike.org you'll see posts showing the rules for the Sci-Fi ruleset that I'm working on, which also (I hope) shows what clear writing and carefully considered design could bring to a game like 40K.

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    5. It's actually kind of useful to be able to gauge your commentary by what you've managed to produce so far.

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    6. The issue is more to do with rules that are perfectly clear, and yet still irritating as hell. The thing that's really in my mind is the movement phase in Fantasy. The amount of idiotic nonsense that could be pulled really blows my mind:
      http://warhammer.org.uk/phpBB/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=121513&start=180

      The worst thing is that people took pride in this petty shenanigins. Mastering the complex and intricate movement phase gave them a lot of pleasure. They don't get how the game has become obnoxious to play.

      TBH is bad wording really the issue? I've not really had any issues with bad wording. When I read the ITC FAQ my overall impression is "does this really need to be spelled out?":
      https://docs.google.com/document/d/1NkfW26mcJHaqDKlaZyA3PB-prM0k17-DuTifGv2mOG4/pub

      Flames of War rules are good at covering rules exceptions but are pretty confusing to read and poor to reference. It's mostly due to major layout issues and a lack of cross-referencing. Ironically the starter set had a simplified ruleset that is really well laid out and has become my primary rules reference. It's much clearer than the rulebook.

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    7. Better list of the complete horseshit that drove me way off the Fantasy revervation:
      https://docs.google.com/document/pub?id=14JSOKks_7eyeecC8HZ0N-8gQj82YBjG0iw1s-RneOt8

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    8. @Nurglitch

      No problem. As long as I'm allowed to judge your comments on the same basis.

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    9. @Korona

      Well, there's clear wording, and then there's clear, considered design. It's perfectly possible for a game to have one without the other.

      I'm with you on Flames being too complex overall, and it absolutely was confusing at first. Which is why everyone should only start that game playing tanks, and not infantry, arty, etc.

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    10. @SandWyrm:

      Of course. You're always welcome to comment on my game design work too.

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    11. Have you been doing any game design work? I'd be interested if you are.

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    12. Yup, been noodling around with an Adeptus Titanicus knock-off for a couple of years now.

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  7. What are your thoughts on AoS's decision to give melee weapons range, rather than requiring models to be base-to-base (or model-to-model) to fight?
    Personally, I kind of prefer that for games where models are free-moving and not bound into rigid formations, especially at 28mm.

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    1. As a general idea, I kind of like it. But of course GW's rules are contradictory. The melee weapons have range, but the rules say that all models within 3" of an enemy model can fight.

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    2. Yes. If they're within 3" then they can pile in. If that pile-in move and weapon range gets them within range of an enemy model they contribute attacks to the combat.

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  8. Actually. Upon further review, your models must be within 1" of the model you are trying to assault. So that clears that up.

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    1. You and Nurglitch seem to have come to different conclusions on this. If the rules were clear, you'd both be on the same page.

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    2. Alternately we're agreeing, and the rules are perfectly clear. Unfortunately Uberdark hasn't been perfectly clear, since the rules make no reference to "assault." But considering how it works with charging and attacking in 40k being wrapped up in a single 'assault' phase, that's perfectly understandable.

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    3. The issue we got into is that in the charge rules it says something like "Any model within 3" can attack" this is latter overridden somewhere in the attack rules.

      It's 4 pages of rules and there are still confusing bits that could have been worded or organized better.

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    4. In the charge phase it says you can't charge if the unit has models within 3" of an enemy model, and that a charge only succeeds if models make it within 1/2" of an enemy model. I don't see what's confusing here.

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    5. "Any unit that has charged or has models
      within 3" of an enemy unit can attack with
      its melee weapons in the combat phase. "

      When scanning the rules to remember something, it's very easy to spot that and go, "oh, just have to be in 3 inches." It needs an additional clause to indicate that there are conditions in play. Or to be dropped from the rules all together as it is completely superseded by melee range and the pile in rules.

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    6. Attack means something specific in this game. They should have said something similar to "can participate in the combat phase."

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  9. I agree that the Chaos models in the AoS box are too complex for a young modeller, but the Stormcast ones don't seem so bad at all, to me. Maybe the mounted leader (he gave me some trouble) but the basic troops are all pretty chunky and just a few pieces.

    In a way the set seems to be made to split between either a parent (chaos) and their kid (stormcasts), or an existing hobbyist (chaos) and a new hobbyist (Stormcasts).

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  10. Here's the thing you forget: GW doesn't primarily sell games, it sells models. If you just collected and painted the models (as some do), you would be an ideal customer.

    All the rules systems are unbalanced because they jam in so many supplements and overpower armies in turn to sell models. Luckily, for GW, the franchise is popular enough to do so.

    From one perspective, this is horrible because the most popular war game is really just a marketing scheme to sell models. From another perspective, though, it's good for wargaming because the models, fiction, etc. are compelling enough to get people to start a wargame hobby.

    All the little things that make it more CONVENIENT for the customers (low model count, simple free rules, use of generic models, etc.) also take away from the great fundamental appeal of 40K: massive battles with beautiful miniatures that look like a still from a sci-fi film.

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