Warhammer is a household name when it comes to wargaming and has a huge following, with both the fantasy version (Age of Sigmar) and the sci fi version (40k) offering highly tuned gaming experiences which are loved by thousands. Over the years I’ve collected and made Warhammer miniatures as I really enjoy the building and painting, but recently I’ve really got into the wanting to play the games.
In the past I have played the odd game of both Warhammer Fantasy (now known as Age of Sigmat) and 40k but never to a standard where I could say I knew what was going on. Last year Games Workshop released a new version of Age of Sigmar and it’s taken me this long to build an army and actually get round to playing.
Although I knew the basic rules ,I feel I very much went into my first game as a complete newbie. As such my thoughts are going to be from a new players point of view.
The game itself is both straight forward and pretty complex at the same time. You have multiple phases which play out in the same order each turn such as casting spells, moving, attacking etc and each player plays out their turn through all the phases and when they reach the end the next player takes their turn.
The rules for the game flow nicely but required a few re-reads to fully understand some of the nuances. What can get confusing is remembering all of the different abilities the units have and when they activate. This is something that I imagine you’d get used to as you learn your army and how they fully work, but as a newbie playing for the first time, there were numerous occasions of forgetting things. The flow of the game, once we got the hang of things was fast with very little downtime. As you watch your opponent play out their turn you are already thinking about your next.
The flow of the game, once we got the hang of things, was fast with very little downtime.
One thing I truly love, is how each army seemingly plays entirely differently. Each have their own units and tactics, allowing you to play the way you want. It’s also amazing how deep the learning curve looks like it can be if you want to fully learn your army’s intricacies.
I also love the amount of support that Games Workshop provides. In terms of fixing rules and helping develop the game into an even finer tuned masterpiece, it’s fantastic. When I say masterpiece I don’t say it lightly. It seems to be an almost perfect wargame which has been finely tuned over the last 35 years. It also has an amazing community which play it who talk about their games with such passion it’s hard not to get caught up in the stories.
It’s a game that has a massive competitive scene as well as functioning perfectly as a game to play with friends. With all models being available to everyone, the only real advantage anyone would have would be the skills they’ve learnt playing over the years.
This is where Age of Sigmar helps, as it almost works as a great stepping stone and reboot of the now defunct Warhammer Fantasy. It has refined the rules and changed the unit stats but has kept a lot of the ways that each army plays. This means existing players of Warhammer Fantasy
Money wise it’s a fairly cheap game into get into but over time can be a real money sink if you want to build your army. The rules for the game and all of the units are available for free on the games workshop website and the mobile app, meaning you can get an idea of what it’s all about without spending a penny.
When I say masterpiece I don’t say it lightly.
The basic starter set which includes the full rulebook and 2 small starter armies is a great place to begin your Warhammer journey. It will give you all the dice and other bits you might need for a little over £100 (or about $130.)
If you enjoy that, you can then go on to build upon one of those armies or start a new one. I opted for the latter option right away as I already knew the army I wanted to build – a squig army. (What’s a squig you ask? Think a fleshy space hopper with teeth). There are armies for all kinds of play; horde armies with hundreds of units on the field, armies a military veterans who have less numbers but far more skill, indeed armies which bring the dead back to life. Each can be further customised to give each person’s army a level of individuality which some other miniatures games lack.
With Games Workshop really pushing Age of Sigmar at the moment there are new releases almost every week for the game, with updated miniatures. (But you can use any of the older models without issue. In non regulated games you can even get away with using 3rd party miniatures if your opponent is happy with that.) The nearly released models really are beautifully crafted and tend to have so many tiny details to them. If anything some have too many little fragile details. This makes transportation of them a nightmare. (Such is the case of the entire range of Nighthaunt miniatures. They are stunning models but very impractical).
Of course, being Games Workshop, all the models come inbuilt and unpainted. If this is an issue for you, then Warhammer might not be for you. (At least in the buying direct from shops. Many people sell on their armies online so that is always an option.) Part of the fun for me is the act of making and painting the miniatures. It can get tiresome painting 100’s of the same unit. But there is a nice sense of achievement when they reach the table and don’t look half bad.
The fact that Warhammer has been going for so long is a testament to it’s quality. With so many table top war games on the market it’s amazing how Warhammer still seems to reign supreme. If you haven’t experienced Warhammer Age of Sigmar and have even the vaguest of interests in it I say give it a go. But be prepared to sink many hours and a fair chunk of money into it if you enjoy it.
I will be following this To The Table with a mini report (as best as I can write it) on how my first game went. Thanks for reading and feel free to share your thoughts on the game.
Are you an avid Warhammer Player, a newbie, or just thinking about getting into the game? Tell us about it in the comments below.
We at WGN found Aaron Nash at a Con several years ago. He was just wandering around looking lost and adorable in his oversized Firefly hoodie. Just one look at those big puppy dog eyes and we knew we had to have him. Just a few treats, a pat on the head, and a bit of chloroform and he was in the back of our van at no time. He has been writing for us since nearly the beginning. We took the chain off him just last month and he hasn’t run away yet…we’re thinking that’s a good sign.