Age of Sigmar 3.0: A Test Game

My friend and I decided to finally take the plunge and try out the game that replaced Warhammer all those years ago: Age of Sigmar. A lot has changed both in terms of rules and in terms of the game’s background lore, and wading back into Age of Sigmar for it’s 3rd edition release was actually a lot more fun than I had anticipated.

As a brief reminder of my tabletop qualifications, I’ve been a steady player of Warhammer Fantasy since my 12 year old self managed to scrap together enough for a 6th edition starter set. My friends and I all slowly chipped away at armies using our middling-at-best understanding of the rules and a lot of proxy-hammer to have a grand old time romping around the Old World. We’ve stuck with miniature wargaming, dipping into 40k, historical, and skirmish games all while continuing to build and play to Warhammer Fantasy. Until Games Workshop destroyed it.

Since Warhammer died and we took a bit of a break, we’ve been playing (when not COVID restricted) One Page Rule’s Age of Fantasy Regiments, which I’ve said numerous times on this blog and elsewhere is my favorite game system ever. But now that things are open and a new edition of Age of Sigmar just dropped, we thought we’d give it a shot.

The Realm of Ghur

The Age of Sigmar

Our battle, as per the 2021 General’s Handbook, takes place in the feral plains of Guhr, a realm suffused with wild magic and a vicious will to survive. Our battle plan (read: scenario) was “Savage Gains” rolled from a list in that same handbook. While we both anticipated a grueling weight-lifting competition, instead we found a fairly standard ‘control the enemy’s objective’ scenario with a little twist. Objectives were worth more the further into enemy territory you went, and on the 3rd turn of 5, the player going second was able to remove a single objective, denying remaining points.

Our armies, my wife’s wonderfully painted Warriors of Chaos and my friend’s High Elves (Now Slaves to Darkness and Lumineth Realm Lords in Age of Sigmar parlance) were arrayed across the beautiful and Guhr appropriate table at our local gaming store Game Knight League, ready to fight.

The Lumineth host before the lines met.

The Battle

Earning the first turn, The Lumineth Realm Lords calmly organized their detachments. Archers, spearmen, and the dreaded blade masters maintained a tight formation while they move to secure key junctures of the rapidly flowing rivers that cut through this region’s mountains. Their leaders, wizards all, cast wards of protection and accuracy on their soldiers, only minorly bothered by the tug of Chaos at the edge of their minds. On the far flank, a lone Hero emerged from the undergrowth to deny passage to any Chaos warriors who might try to get the drop on his allies. Spying only a pathetic Chaos Spawn, the Hero swiftly put it out of its misery with several well placed arrows. Back on the other side of the battlefield, archers opened fire. Sensing the oncoming taint of corruption, arrows loosed at high arcs towards unseen targets. Drawn to the immense power of a Demon Prince of Nurgle, several shafts found their mark, but it was not enough to bring down the beast, who quickly healed himself using his dark god’s power.

Bolstered by the laughter of their dark god, the more mobile forces of Nurgle charged across the rivers, Chariots crashing through the water and demonic steeds leaping the gap to come down with thunderous weight on the other bank. Seeing an unholy speed that belied the gross bulk of the warriors approaching them, the Blade Lords holding the center repositioned themselves at the edge of a tangled wood, blocking the path to their home objective and dominating a pass between two mighty peaks.

Two key river junctures on the left and right, with a mountain pass in the middle, made up the battlefield

The lone Hero, satisfied at having removed the taint of the Chaos spawn from the realm, almost didn’t hear the wingbeats that brought a second Demon Prince of Nurgle hurtling out of the sky to land almost on top of him. Far away, The main host of Nurgle advanced, drawing closer to the arranged elven warriors, the sky about them darkened with a plague of flies. Lumineth archer showed their skill as arrows filled the sky and managed, beyond all reason, to navigate the clouds of flies that surrounded the oncoming horde to find gaps in armour and slits in visors. The horde was slowed, but not stopped.

Eventually arrows could do no more and the mighty hosts clashed. Chariots crashed into steady ranks, wreaking bloody havoc before being brought down by pin point accurate blades and spears. The Spearmen of the Realm Lords, emboldened by their leader’s magic, were a glowing engine of death. Dozens of hulking warriors and even a demon prince fell before their efficient onslaught. It took the might of the Putrid BlightKings, scions of Nurgle’s Will, to turn the tide. As the spear elves slowly began to fall before weight of the advance, the weeping of the Scinari Cathallar took the pain of his fellow realm lords and weaponized it, turning their suffering and sorrow into pure energy that wracked the brains of the assaulting Chaos Warriors. When the dust settled and the flies were silenced, none but Fecula, Sorceress of Nurgle remained on that bloody field.

Warriors of Chaos and Lumineth Spearmen and Blade Lords move to meet on the critical juncture, a now desolate plain that will forever be known as the field of flies

A mountain away, The advanced forces of Nurgle’s host were struggling. The Blade Lords used the forest to their advantage, striking out at the Chaos Kngihts as they blundered through the gigantic trees. Even farther afield, The Lone Hero dueled with the Demon Prince over control of a key ford. He put up a valiant fight but could not contain the fury of the beast. Eventually, a triumphant and bubbly laugh signaled the Demon’s victory, and the capture of the ford. The triumph was short lived, as the Hero had managed to stall the beast long enough. The battle had shifted and the ford he died beside was no longer strategically critical.

While their soldiers butchered each other on the wide plain that would evermore be known as the field of flies, The Chaos Lord confronted the Leader of the Lumineth. It was he who Nurgle had told his champion to slaughter, and so he did swifty, the sorcerer no match for the god touched warrior. His success was met with a great boon, as Nurgle saw fit to bless him with Demonhood, elevating him beyond mortality.

It was clear that the elves were in danger of losing the field of flies and therefore the key river junction. Leaving some Blade Masters to hold their flank against whatever forces might come, the archers and remaining Blade Masters repositioned themselves to take back the field. The newly minted Demon Prince, arrogant in his new form, dove upon them alone, intent on finishing the puny elves and taking the pass for his god.

A Great Demon of Nurgle

His hubris would be his undoing, as the combined might of the remaining archers was more than enough to send his newly twisted soul into the void of Chaos. This left only a handfull of BlightKings and a Demon Prince alive on the field. Though the BlightKings pulled their weight in the final moments of the battle, they were brought down, leaving the Lumineth Realm Lords in control of the key remaining juncture and their own home area.

Though the Field of Flies will remain rotten for generations, the three key mountain passes remain in the hands of the forces of Order, the Lumineth earning a sizable, if costly, victory over the forces of Chaos.

Demon Prince and Lumineth Realm Lord

Game Review

Age of Sigmar is fun! At first we were both overwhelmed with the sheer number of special rules we had to look up. I’m sure we both missed some here and there. But the management of Command Points, Hero Abilities, and combat activations made every turn feel important and full of meaningfully tactical decisions.

The victory conditions, tied to objectives instead of merely killing opposing forces, kept the game up in the air until the final couple of turns when in quickly became apparent that I wouldn’t be able to overcome the Lumineth lead.

Lumineth Realm Lords

The most important part was that the game was entertaining and led to a lot of fun emergent narratives. The duel between Demon Prince and Lone Hero. The Sad-ening of my warriors killing most of the unit, and the overeager Demon Prince spawning out of my general only to be shot down with his hubris. It helped that we had mostly painted armies and a beautiful battlefield, but I’m more than ready to hop into a new Age of Sigmar Army. It was a great night out, and isn’t that the point of tabletop wargaming?

At the Height of Battle: Building and Painting

Putting together and painting everything in the “At the Height of Battle” set took a little longer than we had expected, but my wife and I had a great time giving life to these excellent figures. We can’t wait to get them on the table for a little skirmish, but I wanted to walk through our building and painting process.

Building these guys took a little extra effort. For the most part, the white metal casting was done well, with only a few ships having a noticeable difference in definition on the port versus the starboard side. For the most part, the detail was there and distinct, and where it wasn’t a line or a cannon could be fudged with the correct application of paint.

Korean Panokseon and their masts. Also some tools of the trade.

Some of the ships required a little drilling to make room for the masts. This also led to a temporary tragedy when my drill bit went through the side of the hole on the OAtakebune’s second mast. A little ‘greenstuff’ was all it took to right the issue, and with the primer applied it was almost invisible.

Drilling out space for the masts on the Atakebune.
Stupid Stubby Fingers! You can see the damage on the forward mast. I accidentally carved away the whole side of it.Well, it wasn’t the end of the world as some Greenstuff saved the day.
With the repair in place and smoothed out, the primer covered all sins.

For basing, we followed the directions of the rulebook and mounted everyone on 40mm x 30mm card taken from comic book baggies. Not sure why we had them, we don’t read comics, but there they were, so there they went. To stiffen everything up before we tried painting the bases, we coated them in liquid craft glue. In the end it looks a little funny with the giant OAtakebune and the tiny Sekibune sharing the same base, but I like the uniformity.

My wife, with much steadier hands, cutting out the bases from card.
Every ship assigned its base. It’s coming together.

We hand primed the miniatures with a brush and black primer. This was the first time we noticed that the primer occasionally slid away from parts of the miniatures, like there was some kind of repellent on the metal. Perhaps we should have washed the minis before painting, but in the end we managed to cover everything adequately. The primer stayed put so I guess it was a non-issue, but it had me worried for a moment!

Starting to get paint on them! You can be sloppy in the first few stages.
Korean ships sorted. At this stage we simply painted the banners and dry brushed some colour onto the water.
Japanese ships with their base colours in place. Much fine detail brushing was to come.

We wanted to be a little stylish with the different sides, giving the Korean and Japanese ships different base hull colours to help create uniformity among the sides. We kept the deck colour the same for both though. No idea of they’re historically accurate wood colours. Tabletop visibility and actually getting them done trumped that, unfortunately. One thing that I loved when looking at pictures in the rulebook and online was that there seems to have been a lot of decoration on Korean ships. Perhaps if I pick up some more I’ll do some experimenting.

In all their glory!

At the end of the day, Sacha and I had painted and based every ship. They were a blast to paint, but I especially enjoyed the Panokseon. They had some nice lines that really pulled the ship together visually from a distance. Now, on to gaming!

-Joe Fonseca

You can find the starter set here. LTAW gets nothing if you click on the link, and I purchased this set myself.

At The Height of Battle: Unboxing

A while ago I tried Long Face Game’s Russo-Japanese War naval miniature rules White Bear Red Sun (A campaign setting for Broadside and Salvo) and had a good time soloing some scenarios using paper miniatures. You can check out my report of the Battle of Chemulpo Bay. When I heard that they were teaming up with MT Miniatures to do a quick play game covering the Imjin Wars, the Japanese invasions of Korea in the 1590s, I was immediately sold. There is so little coverage of this important conflict, and to be able to game it out on the table with 1/1200 miniature ships was just too tempting. I immediately preordered a copy and, lo and behold, it just arrived!

The Box was a little munched during its journey from the UK to the chilly shores of Canada, but I’m happy to report that there was no damage to the contents. Opening the box reveals each of the different ships types included in the core box. For the Japanese, there are O-Atakabune, Atakabune, and Sekibune. For the Koreans, we get Geobuksen (the famed turtle ships) and Panokseon. There are seven ships a side, so an equal distribution, but it will take a closer reading of the rules and some historical accounts to see what kind of engagements I can knock together with this set alone. So far I love the look of the minis and I can’t wait to paint them up. The rulebook recommends using card bases so I’ll be cutting up so comic book board to mount everyone up.

Looking at the rest of the package, there are a lot of included game aids in laminated sheets that need to be cut out. I have no problem doing that, and I’m glad to see everything important is included. At first glance I’m wondering if I’m going to need some opaque backed card sleeves for the activation cards, as you can kind of see through their backs. As far as I can gather they need to be drawn to determine activation, so covering their backs will be important. The rest are great and include movement and fire aids, wind direction aids, and my absolute favourite, laminated sheets to record ship information. I like a clean table generally so marking things down is perfect for me, though there are included markers as well.

The rules are well written so far, (I only noticed one minor typo!) and the game looks to be the kind of light-mid game that I enjoy. I’m very happy to see that a good bit of history has been included too, not just in describing the ships but in going over the Japanese Invasions of Korea in general.

Overall I’m super impressed with this as a quick start package. My wife and I are going to be sitting down to paint up the minis and cut out all the tokens tomorrow evening, so check back for a little painting guide, a review, and an AAR of our first couple games over the weekend!

-Joe Fonseca

No review copy was provided, this game was purchased(immediately!) at my own discretion. Here is the link to MT games if you want to purchase the set yourself. Let’s Talk About Wargames gets nothing if you click here, so click away!