Age of Sigmar – Warscrolls and balance

The Age of Sigmar rules have spread across the Internet today. Many people became happy. Many people became confused, even angry, because it is new. New is not always good. I like new.

The rules of Age of Sigmar are just 4 pages. This sounds short. It is short, but it is a core set of rules that is quick to pick up and play. The complexity and strategy comes with the unis. Every single model in Warhammer (apparently) gets a Warscroll to show its abilities and statistics. These abilities expand upon the rules by providing extra interaction, bonuses and variation between games and armies.

Here is an example Warscroll:

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The 4 pages are attached at the bottom of this article for review. They will be free to download from the Games Workshop website on Saturday and they are printed in White Dwarf 75. GW has my praise for this!

I won’t go into a long summary of the rules. What I wanted to discuss was the knee-jerk reaction to the lack of points. Yes, none of the Warscrolls have points. Perhaps we’ll see some added in books later, but I wouldn’t count on it.

What does no points mean? Well, it means the traditional way to write an army list to a “balanced” quantity, something we’ve been doing for many editions of Warhammer and many other games has suddenly gone. This has left people wondering how games will be fair. There are options:

The default gameplay doesn’t offer a “fair” way to build your list. Instead, you simply turn up with your army and take it in turns deploying units/models until player 1 decides to stop. At that point, player 2 can either stop or continue for as long as she wishes. What player 2 needs to bare in mind is that during the game, should either player have a third more models than her opponent, then her opponent can declare a Sudden Death condition. This is a means to pull a victory against the odds by meeting a single objective.

The suggested fix in seeking balance is to do what players and organisers already do with games and events – provide that balance through rules. There are already a few suggestions afloat based on what we have seen.

Models have wounds. Models have key words. Why not limit these? You could agree to play a “max 100 wounds” game, and/or max 2 Hero keyword game. Perhaps even delve in factions by not allowing the mixing of Chaos and Order keywords. Or go a step further and apply a scroll limit too. In a few quick suggestions, you can quickly create a  quantifiable limit for armies, but please bear in mind… Warhammer has never been balanced. Points merely provided a framework to build into. We the tools to create a framework for AOS too.

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