Knowing me knowing you(tube)
I, like many a miniature gamer, spend a lot of time painting, and for entertainment enjoy nothing more than to watch (or at least listen) to YouTube whilst I’m doing so. Now there are a lot of entertaining folks out there in the YouTube community sharing their hobby and one such man is the legend that is Mr. Reef Beastman.
For many years Reefy produced a monthly show about his war gaming exploits, usually tallying in at 3 to 4 hours at a time and although he is now in semi-retirement and produces shows less frequently, I still enjoy watching them whenever he posts something new (or just re-watch some of the old ones which he has saved to his new channel).
I have made comments on videos and chatted with Reef in the past and one such interaction led to us arranging to meet up for a game at Warhammer World. I pulled together a small selection from my Grande Armée de la Mort, to field a detachment which will hither to be known as the ‘Children of the Hydra’ and headed off for my first ever game of Age of Sigmar.
Let battle commence
The tables at Warhammer World are breathtaking and the one Reef had booked for our game, a dedicated AoS board, was definitely no exception.
The ad hoc scenario involved Reef’s intrepid Sigmarites attempting to re capture their leader and his trusty Griffhound from the clutches of the Tomb King’s embrace. I had an absolute blast and after 4 hours of laughter and mayhem, the crumpled corpses of Sigmairites were piled like cord wood and the dreaded ‘Children of the Hydra’ retained the field (the name eludes to the fact that, like the legendary beast, every time you remove one head, two seem to grow back in its place as the dead rise to replenish their ranks)
I had such a good time that we agreed to meet up the next day to see if Reefy could salvage some honour. This game was not only to take place on another table but was to also include a third member, Mr. Remington Steele (another You tuber of much renown), who would be arriving later on in the battle to side with whoever seemed the most beleaguered. The scenario this time had ‘The Children of the Hydra’ besieging the Sigarites in their Dreadhold fortress.
When Remington arrived he was recruited by Reef and deployed his Vampire Counts forces in my rear echelons, caught between the two I battled valiantly until we ran out of time.
Both Reef and Rem uploaded videos on their channels and I will embed them in to the comments section below. but feel free to click on the following links and check out their channels:
Keep it simple… stupid – My thoughts on age of sigmar
As these rules have no point system, they are definitely not designed with the competitive war gamer in mind and that suits me just fine, I never liked having to play quartermaster before the battle and work out points down to the last dagger, making sure everything was equal.
Unequal battles can be very entertaining and fun, you just need to re-define the victory conditions via some kind of scenario. In the example of the 300 Spartans, they were hugely out-numbered, used terrain to best advantage but ultimately died to a man! Does this mean the battle of Thermopylae counts as a win for the Persians? Not necessarily as the Spartans were there to buy time for the Greeks to muster a force capable of facing the Persian threat, they achieved that even at the cost of their own lives.
One of the interesting ideas with AoS is that when deploying your forces, alternating the placement of units, at any time one player can choose to stop deploying any more troops. If this happens the other player can, if they wish, keep on placing units. When one side is out-numbered by a certain amount they can choose one of a selection of ‘sudden death’ victory conditions such as – ‘Assassinate the enemy general’ Achieving this mission (even at the cost of your whole army) will win you the game immediately. Now tell me that’s not the perfect plot for an epic fantasy story!
The rules themselves are only four pages long and many have scoffed that they are too simple, there are two points I have on this subject. Firstly, simple doesn’t mean stupid, some of my favourite games have very simple rules and are no less challenging for it (how many rules are there in chess? I’m led to believe that it is a very tactical game in deed! I’m certainly rubbish at it!)
Also the small set of core rules is somewhat deceptive as every single unit, monster and hero has a war-scroll for it, these provide extra rules and stats specific to them. The war-scrolls for the game we played added another 6 pages of rules for me to use!
The rules and war-scrolls for all the armies are free to download from the Games Workshop website for you to peruse so I wont go in to all the details, but if you are looking for a simple, fun, scenario-driven fantasy war game it is definitely worth a try.
My only gripe is to do with shooting, any unit can shoot both into and out of close combat, now this is somewhat of a double-edged sword and I will try to elucidate as to what I mean by this.
During my own turn, when my skeleton archers were engaged in close combat with an enemy, they were able to either shoot their bows at point-blank range in to the unit with which they were engaged, or ignore them entirely and shoot at any other unit that they had range and line of sight to. This seems a little incongruous to me as I would have thought that they might have been a bit too busy defending themselves from the enemy to knock, draw and loose arrows.
On the other hand there are also less conventional shooting attacks. For instance, my War Sphinx has ‘Fiery Roar’ shooting attack and it seems much more plausible for an enormous beast to roar in to the face of an engaged enemy before slashing, stomping and biting them to pieces. However, Games Workshop have always had the ‘Most Important Rule’ included in their rule sets and it is this:
‘In a game as detailed and wide-ranging as Warhammer: Age of Sigmar, there may be times when you are not sure exactly how to resolve a situation that has come up during play. When this happens, have a quick chat with your opponent, and apply the solution that makes the most sense to you both (or seems the most fun!). If no single solution presents itself, both of you should roll a dice, and whoever rolls higher gets to choose what happens. Then you can get on with the fighting!’
I have always liked this rule a lot, there are no lives or nations at stake in the hobby of war gaming only friendships. Is it really worth getting annoyed about something not going in your favour? Better to come up with house rules for anything you don’t agree with later and implement them in the next game.
All in all I had a great time playing Age of Sigmar and would definitely raise up my undead horde for another game.