Age of Sigmar: New-ish Rules for a More Narrative Focus?

Let’s start from the assumption that Games Workshop’s Age of Sigmar is all about telling good stories. Let’s further assume that it’s best when a game’s rules directly support what it’s about. Given those two assumptions, these rules are noteworthy; they feel like an effort to push the game in the direction of having exciting things worthy of having stories told about them happen on the table.

In sum, the rules linked cap the number of models each player can have, but not how good those models are. Players with significantly worse models are the “underdog,” and have access to a bunch of ways of getting victory points that the player with the advantage does not. These special means of scoring are aimed toward things a weaker army might be able to accomplish: don’t get wiped out, focus fire on one single model until it’s destroyed, etc.

“Don’t get wiped out” and “focus fire” might not sound like great stories, but think about how they might work out in play. A small force organizes itself into a spearhead to reach the enemy general; beleaguered defenders fall back step-by-step, trying to hold on. This is the stuff of cinema, and the rules are encouraging it to happen.

I haven’t gotten to try these rules myself, but I very much like the direction they suggest for the game. Age of Sigmar seems to be positioning itself as being for those who aren’t engaged with tournaments and instead want a more narratively-driven experience. Rules that give every casual game the potential to turn into an exciting scenario are a great way to provide that, and are something really different and interesting in minis gaming.

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