A level headed view on Age of Sigmar and 40K – Guest Post

Approximate Reading Time: 6 minutes

Hello everyone, Michael here from Tactica Imperialis. This is my second article on the blog in as many years (might make it a tradition!).

Quick Disclaimer: this is just my opinion, an attempt to start a balanced discussion. All thoughts are welcome, but be respectful of everyone regardless of their opinion on the matter. Today I want to discuss a topic that has probably been scaring a lot of 40K hobbyists in recent weeks; the rumour that 40K will get “The Age of Sigmar Treatment”.

In essence, this would mean that 8th edition would have super-simplified rules and no codices or points values, all whilst likely bearing little resemblance to the 40K of today. Understandably, this has put the fear of the Emperor into many (including the esteemed owner of this blog) that 40K will be ruined by such a change. Personally, I don’t think it would be as bad as the scaremongers on the Internet would have us believe. Let me explain.

As a Warhammer Fantasy player, I was really concerned by what I heard about Age of Sigmar (known henceforth as AoS for ease), and I was considering selling my Elves to fund more Orks for 40K. But me and my friend have played four games of AoS now, and we really like it! The rules set is clear and simple, the gameplay is fast paced and surprisingly deep in terms of tactics, and the game (on the whole) is reasonably balanced in our experience. I confess it has issues; the lack of a points system requires negotiation with your opponent or the improvised system used by MiniWarGaming and ourselves. But we’ve enjoyed playing AoS far more than WFB and it’s got us psyched up to get back into that side of the hobby again.

I must stress at this point that 40K 7th Edition is actually a really solid rules set, and I don’t think replacing it is necessary. But it has its’ fair share of issues, the main one being that playing a game takes several hours or an entire evening. It’s not a bad setup, just maybe a little clunky in places and in need of some streamlining. An AoS style overhaul would take out almost all the ambiguity we have with rules debates as well as shaving a fair amount off the game time, allowing you to play more games in one session. As well as that, “Warscrolls” are self contained unit rules instead of referencing weapons and rules detailed elsewhere, meaning there’s no trawling your codex to find what rules weapon X has and then looking up what those rules mean in the main rulebook.

The other thing to consider is Games Workshop’s perspective. AoS has been a near smash hit, reinvigorating what was left of the WFB community and pulling in new players, so why wouldn’t they want to repeat the trick with 40K? On top of that, the costs for AoS are likely lower because no codices have to be printed alongside the main rules (the new Warscrolls are in the rulebook and all the others were released online). This would mean more money could be invested into model design to make sure we get the best looking kits and possibly more kits as well. It’s also far lower maintenance because there are far less rules to be updated if/when it comes to refreshing the core rules, making play testing easier and helping keep the game balanced (if they still care about that, anyway). At the end of the day, if it suits Games Workshop then they’ll do it, regardless of our complaints.

Of course, that’s not the whole story. As many have rushed to point out, 40K is not in the dire straits that WFB was when AoS was in the works. There is plenty of scope to have fun, quick games on the small scale along with the epic Apocalypse games and everything in between. The lore and setting are fantastic, and you can create stories in the current setup as well as re-enact the best that you’ve read. In fact, I think 7th is one of the better core rules sets we’ve had, though I still prefer 5th for its simplicity (and nostalgia).

All in all, I think that giving 40K the AoS treatment MIGHT be beneficial to the long term health of the game. I don’t think the game is in a position where it needs an overhaul, but AoS works so well that it would certainly not be a death sentence to 40K. But when all’s said and done, it’s up to Games Workshop to decide the direction of our favourite hobby. Just one thing we should all remember; if they make the change and we don’t like it, we can just keep playing 7th edition and ignore the new version. There’s no need to jump ship because you prefer the old to the new, especially if large numbers agree with you.

Thank you for reading my thoughts, I hope you found it informative/useful. Feel free to let me know what you think either in the comments below, or head to my channel and leave a comment on one of my videos. I look forward to having that debate with you, whatever your thoughts. This is Tactica lmperialis signing off. I’ll see you all next time.

Editors Notes

Michael is right! Age of Sigmar-ising Warhammer 40K does scare the hell out of me! Big thanks to him for putting this together for me! As he knows, I really hope AoS style rules do not come to 40K at all – so its interesting letting someone else take the reigns on the matter on my blog.

But his thoughts are very clear and level headed – hence the title. The main thing I have taken from this piece is that 40K is not in the same place that WFB was before AoS came along. This pleases me and keeps me sleeping through the night. 40K does not need saving or rebooting as its community is large, vibrant and spending money.

All the talk of Age of Sigmar-ising Warhammer 40K had got me scared but I think Michael’s points have calmed me down somewhat. Granted some of the rules do need streamlining but that can hopefully be done without implementing all the broken bits from AoS; no points, moustache requirements and just 4 pages of rules.

I think that is what worries me the most – there is no way that a 4 page rule book can be as tactical or strategic as the current rule set of 40K. If I wanted a 4 page rulebook and simple rules I’d just play Monopoly or Snakes & Ladders? The game length, the complexity and the layers is what makes 40K attractive to me.