Friday, September 11, 2015


One of the reasons I haven't piled into Age of Sigmar is that for me it doesn't fit my idea of a massed rank wargame. I like the idea that you have blocks of troops that function as blocks of troops did in "real life".

Sure Warhammer Fantasy Battle allowed some "unnatural" formations - conga lines spring to mind - and positioning - railroading - but generally it was about manoeuvring quadrilateral blocks or lines of troops. Personally I never used a conga mechanic and worked to get a realistic counter to railroading as I thought that they were gamey exploitations of rule mechanisms.

I've been keeping my eye on various AoS threads and blogs because I'm hopeful that GW will eventually introduce expansions that allow for a more traditional "Warhammer" game.

So I was interested when I read this on formations in Age of Sigmar.

I'm sorry but an "inverted T" is not a formation, it is the exploitation of a rules mechanism. If the game rewards what are these type of mechanics then I am more comfortable that the game is not currently for me.


  1. I havn't followed AoS after its initial release at all. Seeing this makes me glad I didn't waste any time.
    Have you tried Kings of War? It's so simple and easy to get to grips with. As a mass rank game I am really enjoying it. The only issue I take with it is what I call a lack of flavour. After 8th ed, where there were so many different things from army books to terrain effects in game KoW seems a little Vanilla. However the rules are so clean, the game is fun, you can learn it in about two plays and everything is free.

    1. You summed it up. "Its simple"
      In other words, it's AoS with multiple models on the same base

    2. KoW is certainly simpler in the mechanics, maybe too much so. But the larger size of the armies, and the generally greater number of maneouvre elements, introduces some extra complexity to the game. Coordinating 20 elements is more complex than coordinating 14. Just one small thing that I've noticed.

  2. The article seems like I have been written as a bit of a troll tbh. The author can't actually do what he is showing in the images in either example. In the first example he piles in more that 3" with the models on the end of the T. He has also miraculously lost no models. The second example he has moved the models at the back of the unit around 9" to get to where they got to. The encirclement tactic is about the only valid point in the article.

    Traditional formations are very effective in AoS particularly when combined with terrain to prevent flanking attacks, and the ability to do hybrid formations with a soft unit inside a tough unit is also valid.

    I do agree it's a very different game to WHFB, but it does have its own brand of tactics, less reliant on the movement phase and more reliant on end positions. This cited article is just not it.

  3. Why do we have issue with this as a 'tactic' in AoS when conga lines were a 'tactic' in 8th?
    I understand that AoS isn't everyones cup of tea but I have played it (coming from a very negative, this isn't 8th, standpoint) and actually found the game, when played with scenarios and comp pack, was actually a really good fun game. Plenty of tactical decisions to be made.
    Do I prefer it over 8th?
    Hard to say. It's very different but the aesthetics does look good with armies on rounds. Its funny to think about 8th but the ridged blocks of troops really come from Napoleonic era battles not medieval which fantasy is based upon. AoS battle look a little less ordered and correct.
    Think of the Game of Thrones, the Bolton cavalry charge across the snow into the disordered troops of Stanis Baratheon.. Really not very ordered was it, even before contacting the enemy. AoS can look and feel like this.

    I'm not telling anyone what to play, it's only a game after all so play what you want, but I am saying there is hidden depth to the game. I hated it.....until I'd played a few games. Now I think its a good game. There are issues. Some of the 'combos' are bent but again that was the case in 8th (1+ reroll saves with a ward! Great) so I can imagine that as we go forward comp will iron out some of the more abusive challenges.

    Either way I hope you all enjoy whatever system you settle on.

    1. A) noone really accepted Congalines to be honest. They were often banned and generally avoided unless both players were cool with it.

      B) you did not just try to make an argument on how historical battles looked based on how one looked in a TV series, did you?

    2. No one looks In history books any more. It happened how it's shown on tv or it never happened right?

  4. What is the definition of a tactic that differentiates it from a rules exploit?

    Conga lines with champions at the front and character walls are all rules exploits along with turning your monster sideways to get a couple of extra inches of movement and random movers not allowing charge responses because they don't charge you.

    the romans used gaps in their formations to minimise the impacts of chariots and elephants you can't simulate that in warhammer but you could simulate it to some extent in AOS by putting some models out in front of the unit to minimise the number of mortal wounds the chariot inflicts when it charges.

    I am sympathetic to the plight of those players heavily invested in 8th ed armies and tactics. I am sure there were many players with similar feeling when 7th stopped being the game.

  5. It is interesting in reading about WHFB vs AOS. Everyone talks about missing the mass ranks in WHFB, which I find interesting. To myself (in GW games) WHFB was not a mass rank games, it was a game based around small number of units with characters, which is a very small battle. If you wanted mass ranks and a feel of a army, than Warmaster should be the game you could play. That it is still around and you can use 10mm models and have a mass rank looking game. Ps I like my small models. :-)

    1. Warmaster on a 12'x8' using Whfb scale!

    2. Yes, it's called Hail Caesar. there are even expansions for it to increase the rules to account for flying monsters, magic users and monstrous infantry.