Thursday, 9 July 2015

Games Workshop: Masters of the Unexpected

Well, we didn't see that one coming, did we?

What am I referring to?

Warhammer: Age of Sigmar.

Games Workshop, in an effort to revitalise their dying Fantasy wargame (and according to their sales data, it was dying), have totally scrapped the Old World and the rank and file mass battles game that was Warhammer Fantasy. Instead, they have introduced a smaller, skirmish style game, with a whole new back story and a new faction to boot.

Over the last two weeks, I have never seen more vitriol and hate spewed across the internet than I have about this new game. It really has ripped the fan base in two, with the old diehard Warhammer players raging against the desecration of their beloved IP, and new people to the hobby and other gamers who openly embrace the changes. I've actually had to block people I don't know on Facebook because of the amount of hateful speech they are using in some of the groups and communities I'm a member of. Crazy.

So, what do I think of this new game? You know what, I actually really like it.

I've never played Warhammer Fantasy myself, always being a 40K player, and then more recently, skirmish style wargames. I've tried to start the game, going as far as to make two abortive attempts at an Orc and Goblin army (now known as Oruks and Grots!). However, due to the high buy in cost, and requirement for an absolute shedload of miniatures, I never got very far with it.

Age of Sigmar, however, changes all that. Gone is the need for masses of miniatures and bucketloads of books. Instead, I can pick up the box set, trade the faction I don't want for more of the faction I do (Stormcast Eternals in this instance, giant, immortal, superhuman warriors in heavy armour. Sound familiar?), and have a decent sized skirmish force to get started with.

The rules are free, and if Games Workshop are to be believed, all subsequent rules will be free to. I'm cautiously optimistic about this new game, and I'm really interested in where it goes. Time will tell if it rejuvenates the Fantasy genre for Games Workshop.