Age of Sigmar: the first game

Well folks, I had my first Age of Sigmar game on Friday evening – my first in a very long time, and certainly my first with the new edition. For the curious among you, I last played in 2nd edition, in February 2019, with my Nighthaunt, and aside from it being really fun, I don’t really remember a great deal of it!

I have talked quite a bit about Age of Sigmar recently, as I was gearing up to play against James and his Slaves to Darkness, but through one thing or another, we just hadn’t been able to get round to it until now. As such, a lot of my research into the game had gone a bit by the wayside, so it was still a bit of a steep curve when we started!!

However…

Age of Sigmar plays fairly similar to 40k, with the broad game outline being fairly similar. That said, there is overall less going on, somehow. The fact that your weapon profile tells you what you need to hit and to wound is such a tiny difference that nevertheless speeds things up a lot, and the fact there are very few mixed units means oftentimes you’re fast rolling because everybody has a sword, for instance.

Also – shooting is so rare as to be non-existent.

In our game, because James only has the Start Collecting box, we were playing at roughly 570 points, so that allowed me two units of Mortek Guard, one unit of Immortis Guard, and my Boneshaper hero. The first unit of Guard died pretty quickly from being in the centre, whereas my Boneshaper kept reanimating models from the second unit, causing some significant irritation as they just would not die! However, the Immortis Guard really surprised us both. In a single round of close combat, they killed off the Chaos Lord, the next two rounds they saw off the cavalry, and in the final round they swept in to demolish what was left of the Chaos Knights. They only took a single wound in the sole game, too!

Beasts.

I think the Mortek Guard should be fielded in larger units, though – I know we were somewhat constrained by points, and by how I’ve built everything, but it’s just more reason to get that second box of Guard and bump each unit up to 20 bodies. I also think I needed a bit more speed – I very much moved up the field, then let everything close the gap and come to me. Since the game, I’ve built up my five Kavalos Deathriders, which I’m hoping to get painted at some point before we can arrange another game, as it might be good to mix things up a little!

Though I can’t help noticing how my horses are much smaller than those Chaos steeds…

It was a very fun game – made all the better because I actually ended up winning, 8-7! Didn’t expect that. We both agreed, though, that being able to just play the game, without needing to constantly check rules, was such a huge plus, and I think it’s a credit to the designers that the game is very sleek, by and large. Sure, we had some complex interactions come into play from command abilities, traits, and other special abilities, but even these were fairly straightforward to walk through. It made the game experience overall really quite light, in terms of being able to actually play the thing!

I had a fairly interesting idea pop into my head during the game, though. We were talking about my Bonereaper models, and I was explaining how they’re supposed to be bone constructs, not reanimated skeletons like the old Tomb Kings. In conjunction with the oft-repeated possibility of Mortek Archers being a unit for the army, I started to think about the old Tomb Kings line, and doing some mental comparisons, wondering whether GW might expand on the Bonereapers with Tomb Kings analogue units.

The current Bonereapers line up has skeleton swordsmen, skeleton spearmen, skeleton horsemen and big constructs akin to the Ushabti, along with the huge catapult that is a Screaming Skull mk2. On an unrelated note, it does make me chuckle how many paint names have survived when the units they were named after have gone up in smoke. But anyway. The Tomb Kings also had skeleton archers, which begs the question, if Bonereaper archers could be a thing, what else could we get?

I think Necropolis Knights are fantastic looking units, and would absolutely love it if somehow a similar thing could be introduced to this army. I’m not sure what they could be riding, but I reckon it could look very cool to have a different sort of mounted elite type of unit?

I think having chariots in the game is very important, to keep with the fantasy feel, and I do like the fact that several armies have their own take on this. I’d love to get something for the Bonereapers, it’s almost a no-brainer as we already have skeletal horses, and the crew are just Mortek Guard.

I suppose the Ushabti are a cross between the Immortis Guard and the Morghasts, and the Gothizzar Harvester replaces the huge scorpion (or possibly the Necrosphinx, though that was a very beautiful model…)

I’ve heard some rumours talking about more units, including the ever-present Archers rumours, but also mentioning a mounted hero, possibly mounted on some kind of war machine. I think the possibility of having a hero in chariot is perhaps a bit too close to the Tomb Kingd and Settra, but war machine rumours do come back to some kind of ballista that is mentioned in the lore. Now that we’re supposed to have Stormcast chariots and a few armies have ranged war machines, it does present some interesting speculation!!

I love variety, of course, so would definitely like to see more for my favourite Death faction!! Especially if I’m going to have the opportunity to play more AoS!!

Warcry content in White Dwarf

Hey everybody,
I’ve been going through the archives, so to speak, and taking a look at all of the stuff published for Warcry through White Dwarf since the game was launched in 2019. If I’m honest, there’s not as much new content in there as, say, for Necromunda, but even so, I thought it might be useful for others like me, who are curious as to what else is out there for this great game!

While there hasn’t been a great deal of content in the way of new rules and so on, I think it’s interesting that White Dwarf has been giving us new cards for fighters, particularly recently with these pull-out sections they’ve been doing. This really goes back to the Jakkob Bugmansson fighter card that came in with a slew of other game “expansions” within the magazines, as an actual printed card for use in the game.

Back when Warcry was released, we had a Designer’s Diary in the September 2019 issue that showcased the initial six warbands, and talked through the influences and such for the miniatures. We also had two battle reports. A couple of months later, the December 2019 issue had a Realm Focus article on the Eightpoints, and included a two-page painting guide for the ruins showing four different colour schemes using Contrast paints. I think this is quite useful, as I still don’t know how I want to paint my scenery from the original core set!!

The first new rules for Warcry came in the February 2020 issue, Issue 451 in the new numbering system, when we had the rules for Fyreslayers. At this time, GW had already released a bunch of card packs for some of the various Age of Sigmar factions, but Fyreslayers weren’t one of them. While they would release further waves of packs, it felt like a lot of people saw the White Dwarf release as “righting a wrong” or something, but anyway.

The Spire Tyrants were the seventh original warband released for Warcry, and in Issue 452 (March 2020) they got their own campaign rules, Lord of the Pits. The very next issue began the Tale of Four Warbands, which was a great way to raise the profile of the game, in my view, showcasing four warbands and some amazing colour schemes, as well as featuring battle reports to show just how awesome the game is!

In Issue 454 (May 2020), we had rules and a campaign for the Lumineth Realmlords, who were a new army when the Sentinels of Order expansion book had been released, so weren’t included. The Lumineth were also expanded in the article on the Warhammer Community site, of course, which was partly later folded into Tome of Champions 2021. The Lumineth were treated to a box much like the Slaanesh Sybarites that I picked up last month, though, giving all the fighter cards for the faction.

We had another warband release with Issue 456 (September 2020), with Cities of Sigmar getting cards and a campaign. I say “cards”, of course, but they’re just printed in the magazine – you know what I mean, though! This was followed with the Jakkob Bugmansson card in Issue 458 (November 2020) as I mentioned above, which was a physical card, as well as a challenge battle for using him in games.

Things went very quiet on the Warcry front for the whole of 2021 though. It wasn’t until Issue 473 (February 2022) arrived that we got our next Warcry fix, with rules for gaming in Thondia, within the Realm of Beasts. Everything Age of Sigmar seems to be focusing on Ghur right now, so it’s no surprise really. There are a bunch of charts in this update, which allow us to generate new Victory Conditions and new Twists, as well as new charts for gaining artifacts and command traits when playing a campaign in Thondia. In addition, all beasts in the battle get +1 toughness, which is a nice thematic bit.

Issue 474 (March 22) gave us the first of many tie-ins to Age of Sigmar releases, when we had updated rules for Idoneth Deepkin and Fyreslayers, which accompany the two new characters that came out in the boxset. These characters also have cards in the magazine. Campaigns for each warband are also included here, all battles of which make use of the Red Harvest terrain, something I thought was interesting as it seems to suggest that this will be the new starter. At least the box is still available to buy, which is a nice change!

The next issue, Issue 475 (April 22) gave us Oath of Ascension – four linked games for Chaos warbands, each one fighting to become a Daemon Prince. It’s a really interesting mini-campaign idea, I think – you each have an Annointed fighter, who is trying to become a Daemon Prince, but whoever fares the best over the first three games then finds that Chaos has turned on them, and that Annointed fighter becomes a Possessed fighter under their opponent’s control. The “winner” needs to take down their former champion, but each time the Possessed fighter takes out another member of their former warband, they gain 10 wounds. Very nice!

Finally (for now!), in Issue 476 (May 22) we had updated rules for Nighthaunt and Daughters of Khaine, which goes alongside the recent boxset much like the Fyreslayers and Idoneth. We get new campaigns for each as well, once more using the Red Harvest terrain. The rules are more substantial for Nighthaunt, as they had more new models, but even so, it’s nice to see that GW are keen to keep the Age of Sigmar model range relevant in Warcry as well. Interesting, too, because the more models you have available to your warband, the bigger your collection becomes, until you might as well invest in Age of Sigmar as well…


At any rate, that brings us up to date with the stuff White Dwarf has made available for Warcry so far. I’ll be keeping this page updated as time moves on, so that it provides (hopefully) as complete a picture for what is out there. While a lot of stuff, like the early Fyreslayers and Lumineth stuff has of course been superseded and replaced, it would be nice if we had this collected in one of the annual books. Looking through my little Warcry library so far, I don’t think the Spire Tyrants campaign was ever reprinted, for instance, and as we seem to be getting much more stuff coming out this year, I would hope that it doesn’t disappear into the mists of time as things move on.

Hedonites of Slaanesh

Following on from Friday’s post, I wanted to give a bit of an update on my Exalted Seeker Chariot project, as well as a few fruits of my research into the new units in the army. I’m trying not to get excited, of course, as I have quite enough to be going along with, but as always with projects like this, it’s hard to not look around at what else there is, and where I might like to go with it!

The Chariot is going well, despite the fact that the whole thing is glued together. I’m enjoying the challenge of trying to get it painted, of course, and seeing it all come together at last, so hopefully things will continue on like this for now. It’s really nice to finally be getting some Slaanesh models painted, even if this is the third project diversion I’ve had so far this year!!

Starting with the latest additions to the army, Dexcessa looks like a lovely model to think about. Not only can it move 12” and fly, it’s-1 to hit and can fall back and later charge, it can issue a command once per turn without spending a command point, and Daemon units within 12” do not take battle shock tests. Something that I really like is the fact that, after it has attacked once, you add 1 to the attacks of each of its weapons at the start of each round. It starts out with 6 attacks, between its talons and its scourge, so that’ll quickly get up there, which I find quite exciting!!

The alternative build is Synessa, a wizard who knows all of the spells in the Slaanesh lore, and can issue commands to friendly models anywhere on the battlefield, provided it has line of sight to the model. Very interesting as a wizard choice!

The Shardspeaker is one of my favourites of the new models. It is also a wizard, and gets +1 to save rolls, and gets access to a magical attack if it casts a spell that isn’t unbound. It has a couple of ways in which it can mess with enemy units in somewhat close range, which I like, though I think it could definitely benefit from being screened somehow if you’re getting within 9” of an enemy, as it only has 5 wounds.

Myrmidesh Painbringers are a very attractive choice for that screen. Each model has 2 wounds, and at a full complement of five models, they’re making ten attacks, hitting and wounding on 3s, with -1 rend. For an unmodified wound roll of 6, they’re dishing out an additional mortal wound, too. Sure, they aren’t a tank, but they’re pretty nasty, I would think.

Hedonite models get the additional rule of Euphoric Killers, each hit roll of 6 inflicts 2 hits on the target. You still need to roll to wound, but ten attack rolls should score some 6s, which just gives yet more fodder for the possible mortal wounds.

The alternative build for the kit is the Symbaresh Twinsouls, who have 3 attacks each but a slightly worse stat line otherwise.

I particularly like the Dread Pageant, though that’s mainly in the context of their original incarnation as an Underworlds warband. In Age of Sigmar, they don’t particularly stand out for me, though they do have the useful ability of dishing out mortal wounds on 6s to hit, and with 13 attacks coming from the unit as a whole, there’s definitely scope there!

Now, I really like the idea of the Slaangors, but I’ve not really read good things about them. They have 3 wounds, and they make 3 attacks (4 on the charge). They move 8” and, at the end of combat you get to roll a dice for each Slaangor model left, dishing out a mortal wound on a 4+ to any unit within 3”.

I suppose part of the problem might be how you fit in a unit that costs 130 points if that’s all it’s going to do, but I do think there might be a place for them in the list somewhere! Rules like Euphoric Killers do make high-attack units a bit more interesting, as the possibility of rolling 6s is increased.

As always, the spells and command traits etc available to the army offer more bits and pieces that will stack in favour, it’s always exciting to sit down with a book and try to put all the pieces into a list! Of course, I’m really trying not to go overboard with buying more models, so I don’t want to run away with my plans just now!!

That said, I’ve recently picked up the Slaanesh Sybarites box for Warcry, which is very impressive to me. You get some Myrmidesh Painbringers, and some Blissbarb Archers, and all of the cards for all of the possible unit types in a Slaanesh Sybarites warband, which is a lot! Clearly, Sybarites are distinct from Hedonites in Warcry, as the latter seem to be entirely the daemon units, but this box was a revelation to me. I don’t remember them being released, but it seems to have come out alongside boxes for Stormcast, Lumineth and the new swamp orruks. Very interesting, if for no other reason than they give all the cards you need.

Anyway, that’s probably enough from me for now. I’m going to continue to try to not buy more Slaanesh units, despite the fact I really, really like that Dexcessa model!!

The Dark Prince

Hey everybody,
I’m definitely on an Age of Sigmar kick at the minute. I’ve been working on the Khorne Bloodbound units, of course, but now I’ve turned to another of the four. It was inevitable really, wasn’t it?

Of all the four Chaos gods, Slaanesh is the one that I keep coming back to, time and again. It weirdly plays into the whole thing about the allure of the Dark Prince that I talked about a fair few years ago now; he’s very definitely got his crab-claws into me!

I’ve currently got five Khorne Bloodreavers finished, and have not only begun work on the next batch of five, I’ve also got the Wrathmongers out as well! However, getting my head once more into Age of Sigmar has got me thinking again about Slaanesh, and I’ve started to paint up the Shardspeaker as well.

Thing is, I love the idea of a Slaanesh army. I love the lore, I love playing Chaos in Warhammer Invasion principally because I love the Slaanesh cards, and I really love the models. I think the fact they have had such a huge overhaul into almost entirely plastic is just wonderful, and we’ve got such delights now as to be truly spoilt.

Here’s the thing. I’ve bought and sold a Slaanesh army twice so far in my hobby life, and am currently sitting on my third iteration. I’ve kept this the longest, as I’ve had these guys with me for about four years now. I think having such beautiful models as that glorious Keeper of Secrets probably helps, of course.

I really want to make a go of it this time, though, so intend to get this project underway at some point in 2022. I’m particularly keen to make an effort with the Exalted Chariot, which is my biggest hobby mistake so far, in that I built the whole thing before trying to paint it.

To date, however, I have only painted a single Daemonette, and she isn’t really finished, if you count the base. But she was painted up slightly over 3 years ago now, so I do think it’s time that I made more of an effort to get some more models finished. Especially as I seem to recall the paint scheme I came up with for them isn’t particularly onerous.

I’ve been Instagram-stalking myself, and June 2016 is the earliest mention of Slaanesh (above), so I’ve had this idea for 6 years now, almost! I think it’s time I made it come to fruition, though getting a good balance is going to be key of course. I know that I have too many projects on the go, and I know I made the decision this very month to focus on the Black Legion, but within days of doing so I’ve had this massive swerve. However, I do find all that trim a bit exhausting, and unfortunately I’m now in the position where I need a new brush for all of that. Bah! I don’t want to fall into that trap again, but I think in more general terms, 2022 will be something of a year of Chaos for me!

I think I just enjoy painting up models for Age of Sigmar, almost more than I do for 40k. So I’m looking forward to getting underway with this!

Building an Army in Age of Sigmar (3rd edition)

The Age of Sigmar exploration continues!

After looking at the core rules themselves on Saturday, today I’m looking into the other half of that, army building. It’s a part of the game that can sometimes sound a bit too straightforward – you muster an army, then start throwing dice around as per the rules, which is where most of your focus ends up. However, there are some fairly stringent rules as to how you build your army, so let’s take a look!

I’m hoping to get my first game in on Friday, too, so this will be a useful exercise as I build my list for that!

It was first edition AoS that gave us the three ways to play that have become the norm for Games Workshop now; open, narrative and matched play. That’s still true here, and as with 9th edition 40k before it, a lot of the development has gone into narrative play this time around, as we get a new and improved Path to Glory system. Narrative play, as I remember it, used to be “historical” missions that would often stipulate how the game should run, even sometimes which armies should be used for each mission. Path to Glory has existed for the whole lifetime of the game too, first as an expansion book in first edition, then as a part of each battletome. Now, it’s very much like 40k’s new Crusade system, albeit simplified.

Open Play used to be a case of “bring whatever you want, and go smash!” – with correspondingly little time given to it. In third edition, open play uses points and features a battle plan generation system straight out of Warcry, which is interesting!

Matched Play is pretty much the standard though, I would say, with strict rules around points and how many of which unit types you can bring for each level. Third edition goes a bit further and suggests table sizes and number of scenery pieces for each size of game, as well. It’s interesting to see this development, and along with the player code and other bits and pieces, I feel like GW are more than ever trying to tell people how they should be playing the game. Which is a good thing, but being the eternal optimist, I just wish it didn’t have to be such a thing, you know?

For my first game on Friday, we’re playing at around the 600 points mark, because that’s how many points James can muster from his Slaves to Darkness. I’m still back-and-forth a bit, but I’m currently planning a list of Ossiarch Bonereapers. I had been thinking I would try the Khorne guys, but I don’t have their book, and I don’t really want to buy it when it could well be replaced in a year or less! Last year, I did a lot of work in a short space of time to get a lot of these guys painted up, as well, so I think it’ll be nice to get them on the table and see what they can do!

The points limits start at 750, and within this bracket I need 1 battleline unit, and can have 1-2 leaders. Everything else is 0-1 of, so I’ve decided to bring the following:

Mortisan Boneshaper (135 points), two units of Mortek Guard (140 points each), and one unit of Immortis Guard (190 points).

The Boneshaper is a wizard, and can natively cast an offensive spell but I’ve given him a second that improves the combat effectiveness of my other units. He also has the ability to heal units, which may be very handy! My two battleline units are the Mortek Guard (both sword and spear varieties). They strike me as pretty tough for basic troops, making two attacks per model, and with a 4+ save that their sergeant can allow them to reroll with his command ability. They also have exploding 6s that the Boneshaper’s extra spell changes to exploding 5s to hit. Nice! The Immortis Guard have a similar ability, whereby they can attack with their massive shields and dish out mortal wounds on 6s. Their command ability is to pile in and attack again with shields only once combat is finished, which seems kinda bonkers but I do love it!!

I’m going with the Petrifex Elite, which is the colour scheme for my army. Interestingly, their army-wide special ability used to be +1 to save across the board, but I seem to recall that was deemed too powerful so it is now worsen the rend of attacking units that target a Petrifex Elite unit. Could be handy, I suppose!

The big thing with Ossiarch Bonereapers is that they don’t get to use command points or command abilities, but instead generate relentless discipline points which can only be spent on their own command abilities. A recent Tome Celestial in White Dwarf has helped out with this a bit, by giving more options, but it definitely feels like the Bonereapers are getting a rough deal at the moment!

Now, there are a lot of other bits and pieces that go along with list building in Age of Sigmar 3rd edition which I’ll go over now, but which I’m not sure I’m using in this list.

First up, all of the old warscroll battalions are gone, instead we have new core battalions which grant you specific bonuses based on how you build your army. The only one I could use in this force is the Vanguard, which allows me to issue a command ability without using a command point, but both of those things don’t apply to my army, sad face. They’re interesting ways to organise your force, and while I don’t know much about the game yet, I don’t think they’re too broken…

Enhancements are the catch-all term for relics, command traits and all those lovely bits and pieces that I enjoy from list building in the past. Something completely new, though, are Grand Strategies and Battle Tactics. It seems like an effort to incorporate the Objectives stuff from 40k, but as I’m not a huge fan of that, I do find myself a bit lost here. I’ve chosen Vendetta as my Grand Strategy, which is basically Slay the Warlord.

Overall, it seems like list building in third edition is a bit tighter than last time around. I seem to recall it was a little bit faffy in second edition to find all of the rules that you need, but while there is more to it this time around, I feel like it’s getting better. I suppose I need to wait for my actual battletome before I can fully judge it though, to see what I can do these days!

Learning to play Age of Sigmar (3rd Edition)

Welcome to my first musings on learning 3rd edition Age of Sigmar!

I’m sure there will be quite a few of these posts going up in the coming weeks, as I attempt to figure out what I’m doing with AoS. They’re probably more for my own benefit than anything else, but hopefully by publishing my thoughts here, experienced folks can tell me where I’m going wrong!

Very briefly, I think the game system is really interesting. While the free pdf has been called out as coming across as litigious because of the way each rule is numbered, I think this is perfect and in line with a few other games that I’m familiar with, so it’s not unexpected. Especially with a ruleset that can get cumbersome. It’s quite clear, and I think better than the 40k layout. The fact that the sidebar has useful clarifications is nice, too.

The game seems to broadly follow the same basic premise as 40k, which I think started when Warhammer Fantasy became Age of Sigmar with the famous four-page rules sheet, but has evolved and expanded into a much more filled-out game. It starts out with a player code, which basically amounts to “be nice”, and I like that a lot. While attempts are made to summarise basic rules concepts, I was surprised (like many players, I think) that engagement range wasn’t made a thing here – instead, “within 3” of an enemy unit” is used throughout.

There are six phases to the game. We start with the Hero Phase, which is basically the Command Phase and Psychic Phase from 40k. Generals get a command point for the army, and one hero can perform a heroic action. Wizards can cast spells, and Priests can cast invocations.

Next comes the Movement Phase, where units move up to their move characteristic, they can retreat from combat, and they can run (+d6 to their move). The Shooting Phase is next, where units armed with missile weapons can shoot them. Shooting seems to be very much an exception though, unlike in 40k, and within the rule book, actual combat rules are put into the combat phase. After any missiles have been shot, the Charge Phase allows units within 12” of an enemy to charge at them.

The meat seems to be in the Combat Phase, though. Both players alternate fighting with a unit, and there doesn’t seem to be a rule for all charging units to fight first. Interesting. At any rate, after a 3” pile-in move, fights are resolved with the normal roll to hit, roll to wound, roll to save. A big thing here is that it seems wounds spill over within the unit, so one attack doling out 3 damage can kill 3 one-wound models. Interesting. A unit’s saving throw can be modified by rend (AP) on the attacking weapon, and by cover if relevant. A unit can potentially get a Ward save once a wound has been allocated, which sounds a bit like magical protection or something, and can save against Mortal Wounds as well.

I find the development of Mortal Wounds kinda fascinating, as a mechanic that initially represented such devastating damage that you couldn’t possibly defend against it, to the sort of damage that was coming from everywhere, to suddenly being able to defend against it with special stuff, etc. I don’t know anything about the AoS meta, of course, but hopefully it’ll be a bit more sensible here, and mortal wounds will be a bit more circumspect. We’ll see.

At any rate, we finally have the Battleshock Phase. Here, you roll a d6 for a unit that has lost models, and add the number of models slain that phase; for every point by which the result exceeds the Bravery of that unit, another model flees. Coherency needs to be maintained, and if a unit of 6+ models has any that aren’t within 1” of two other models you must remove models until unit coherency is restored, same as 40k.

Overall, I like these rules. It’s interesting to me, that 9th Edition 40k has been somehow clouded for me, while 3rd Edition AoS feels much clearer and better, but it’s very similar. True, the Hero Phase is very different, but it strikes me that games of AoS would be much faster than 40k, and much more enjoyable, dare I say?!

I remember having this chat with the manager of my local GW back when first edition AoS was out, whereby the rules are quite straightforward but the bulk of the mechanics are within the warscrolls, and I think that holds true more than ever in third edition. With all of the allegiance abilities (roughly analogous to chapter tactics), and the command traits etc, it can become quite a task to work things out! But this comes from practice, I suppose, as you become more familiar with your chosen army.

Of course, I haven’t yet played it, so I could be barking up the wrong tree here. I think I played a couple of games with my Nighthaunt at the start of the last edition, and that was pretty good! I think there’s a huge attraction to fantasy for me, because it’s how I got started and all. Each time I find myself in this situation, it somehow feels like coming home for me, and I feel really positive about it all. So hopefully it’ll be a good time for all!

Converting miniatures (an opinion)

This is something that I’ve had bubbling around in the back of my brain for quite a few years now, and seeing as how I’m churning out all manner of blog posts right now, I thought I might as well try to get this idea on the virtual paper, as well.

The hobby of building, collecting, painting and playing with miniatures is diverse, and we’re all in it for our own reasons. There may be many overlapping reasons, but ultimately, what you do with your money and your time is entirely your own business (so long as it’s not illegal). In more broad terms, everybody has a right to be happy, so long as what makes you happy doesn’t infringe on anyone else’s right to be happy.

Hopefully you’re still with me, so far…

Something that I see and hear a lot, especially around new releases of miniatures, is “I would get one of those to convert up”, or words to that effect. That’s fine, converting models to make them more personal to you is a big part of the hobby, and for a fair number of folks, it’s almost the whole reason they’re in the hobby. I have no problem with people who convert miniatures, indeed some of that stuff is incredible to see. We see conversion guides in the pages of White Dwarf quite regularly as well, where alums of the Warhammer studio show off their efforts (always using 100% Citadel parts, naturally).

I think what bothers me is when people adopt a sort of hipster attitude to it, though, and try to make out that they would improve the original model because they have a better design vision than professional miniatures designers working in the studio. I remember it being a big thing particularly with Lauka Vai, Mother of Nightmares, above. She’s a very weird model, for sure, but that’s kind of the point. When it was shown off, I loved the fact that it’s literal nightmare fuel, but was told off by a fair few people because it needed converting up.

It’s the sort of attitude that is prevalent to a wide degree, with the half-joking “is this an Archon?” and “every new model is a Necromunda model”, which are both somewhat jokingly meant. I don’t watch his stuff much anymore, but I remember Kirioth would enthuse a great deal over new model releases with an immediate “I’d convert that”.

And I would always think, why?

What’s wrong with getting a model because you like how it looks? Well, apparently it means I’ve drunk the GW kool aid, or something, but I happen to like the look of a lot of the models that I own. It’s actually the reason why I bought them

I think it really bothers me when people make the announcement in that way, like they’re expecting praise for seeing the possibility for making it into something else. Sure, if you’re wanting to build a model to represent something, and then GW produce something else that would get you maybe 30% of the way there, then I get it. But the knee-jerk attitude of “I will get this and make something better from it” really bothers me.

Now, there’s I think a legitimate argument to be made about the lack of poseability in a lot of the new miniatures, which I do find rather baffling. I used to love the fact that Tactical Marines could be posed, and that they came with a variety of extra bits and bobs that you can you to further customise your force. But this is more about customisation, not conversion. At its most basic, a different paint job is customising your minis, but whether it’s adding bits and pieces, or hacking a model apart to make it look like it’s running, that’s all fine. When people complain that monopose miniatures make it harder to convert them, I just tune all that nonsense out. There are some great looking monopose miniatures out there – why would you want to convert the Master of Possession? Are you saying you’re better than Jes Goodwin?!

You might retort, but I don’t want my Master of Possession to look like all the rest. Well, that’s a very valid point, and I don’t really have a rebuttal for you. But then, this rambling post isn’t really aimed at that aspect of it. Wanting a miniature to look different in the scheme of your army is one thing – and if you want to include two of a miniature, but don’t want clones, then I get that too – but if you’re going to tell me that you have a fully-converted 2000-point Guard army that uses parts from 6-billion other kits to make something that doesn’t look like a Guard army, I’m not going to be impressed. Cue RDJ rolling his eyes so damn hard it hurts.

I think I resent the fact that I’m apparently not supposed to enjoy a model for its own sake, and can only like it for the opportunity it presents to make something completely different. That’s really what bothers me, and I think I’d the crux of this whole post. It’s like you’re being told off for having a lack of imagination, or something. I don’t buy a car because I think it would make a great spice rack.

You’re allowed to like what you like!

I would actually go one step further, and say that people are allowed to paint their Space Marines as Ultramarines, but I know that might be a step too far for many! (Ultramarines are great, remember!)

Of course, I’m not trying to tell people off if they also want to buy a model to make it into something else – as I said, conversion is a great part of the hobby. I just dislike that snobby tone where people seem to think they’re Truly Special (TM) for doing it, and the rest of us plebs can build our models according to the instructions, and presumably eat mud for dinner as well. I bought that Keeper of Secrets because I loved its pose, its insinuated deadliness, and not because I thought I could make it look better by using an Onager Dunecrawler for its legs, and a Treeman’s sword, and parts from a pewter model that was initially released at Game Day in 1995 (because I’m that cool).

Yeah, I know, I’m kinda ranting, but it’s all tongue in cheek. The main point that I want to make is that converting a miniature isn’t always some kind of brilliant move that ought to result in everybody bowing down before you.

If you start talking about “looting”, though, I’m going to have to walk away entirely…

Throwback Thursday

I don’t normally get into this sort of thing, but for a variety of reasons I felt the need to do so today! I think talking about a return to Age of Sigmar yesterday, more broadly about Fantasy in general, has put me in the mood, somewhat.

When playing Warhammer Invasion, I would almost always play as Chaos, and it’s a faction that I really enjoy a great deal. When it came to the miniatures, though, it took a lot longer for me to fall in with the ruinous powers. I’ve recently begun to work with some gusto on the Khorne Bloodbound models as a second army for Age of Sigmar, and I’m also still chipping away at the Black Legion for 40k. So I’m definitely feeling Chaotic at the current time!

The models tend to be absolutely beautiful though, whether it’s in the baroque majesty of the Khornate armour, or the lithe beauty of Slaanesh Hedonites. Which reminds me, I’ve got some of those mortal units still boxed up somewhere…

For me, there is a definite appeal to the Fantasy miniatures, I think mainly due to the fact that it was Warhammer Fantasy that initially got me into this mess. True, I never played the game, but there’s a lovely sense of nostalgia attached to these things, for me. I’m not about to do a complete 180 and throw my lot fully into AoS, especially because most of my gaming buddies are more 40k-centric. But I’m definitely leaning into the fantasy setting once again. And with stuff like Warcry and Warhammer Underworlds, it’s hard to stay away from the mortal realms!!

Age of Sigmar, too?

Well, that didn’t take long, did it?! I’d only talked about this on Monday, and two days later, I’m changing my plans! Well, kinda…

There’s been a bit of chatter going on around me recently as regards getting into Age of Sigmar, and James in particular has been off-and-on keen since getting the Slaves to Darkness box at Christmas. I already have an Ossiarch Bonereapers army of not insubstantial proportions, although I believe I may need more battle line units, but I’ll get to that in a bit.

However, I also have some Khorne Bloodbound models from a project that I had picked up just over twelve months ago, but was sort of abandoned when my second daughter was born.

I really enjoy the Khorne models for Age of Sigmar, I think it may have something to do with the nostalgia because they of course came out with the original AoS starter box, which was a glorious time in my memory… They do look great, though, particularly the Mortal units, like over-steroided barbarians. Glorious stuff!

I’ve talked about the Khorne models before, and it’s a project that I did make some efforts to start, but unfortunately stalled with. But now I’m really enthusiastic about getting an army underway! I’m not intending to go crazy with them, however. Famous last words, of course, but I’m in the process of thinning down the ranks, after all! I actually have quite a lot of models to start with, anyway, so it would be kinda redundant to just buy more when I’ve got so many. I’ve got the starter box, plus an additional box of the guys in armour (I think they’re called Blood Warriors?) so at this point I have quite a substantial force!

I have downloaded the rules for AoS 3, but I’ve not yet been able to really digest them. Army building is something that does confuse me a little, because I’m not sure how any of it works these days! I will definitely need to take a proper look at the rules, I think. If memory serves, though, you need two or three battleline units in the army, and certain things are made battleline when you take certain units… it’s all quite confusing to me, so I need to get a better understanding there.

I have plenty of AoS terrain, thanks to all the Warcry stuff, so I think when it comes down to it, actual games should be pretty good! Just need to arrange some dates, I guess!

Age of Sigmar will hopefully be coming to the blog again this summer though!!

Warhammer Fest 2022

Oh man, this was an exciting one! Four days of previews that are really pretty great, for so many in the hobby. Let’s try to break down some of the new stuff and see what’s coming our way in the next few months!

To start with, Chaos is back on the menu! We’re getting a lot of new Cultist varieties, including a ten-man squad, a sort of command squad, and mutant cultists of various stripes. Delightful! There’s also going to be new Possessed, which will presumably be accompanied by the Chosen and the Warpsmith when the big release comes.

Oh yeah, and there’s also gonna be a new Daemon Prince!

Points values will be made available for free, but the upcoming Chapter Approved will be tinkering with the rules, specifically around command points, and giving everyone new secondary objectives. There has been some outcry about why CA is coming out when armies like the Guard still don’t have their Codex, which I think is pretty valid, but 9th edition has been so strange to me, I suppose I’m not really surprised.

World Eaters will be getting a Codex, too, but it’s too soon to show off any new models. And the new Squats are getting a trike, which people seem to be excited for. I’m still underwhelmed with the Squat news – I’m happy for those players who have wanted this to happen, of course! I’m just happy, also, that I don’t feel the need to get any!

Next up, we have Age of Sigmar! Leaks from the Slaves to Darkness book have been on Facebook for about a week already, but it’s great to see these big lads in high definition glory! There’s a new Skaven model coming out, and Sylvaneth are getting a lot more new models!

This has been quite a surprise, to me. Seems like each iteration of the game grows this army, and they’re getting further away from their Wood Elf origins. It’s great to see, and I think I’ll need to exercise some restraint because Sylvaneth are an army that I really would love to try out. I mean, the Treelord mini is one of my absolute favourite sculpts of all time!

Big news from AoS is that Cities of Sigmar will be getting what I suppose we’re now calling “the Battle Sisters treatment”, and there will be updates for the redesign online. Could be interesting…

Big news in Specialist Games comes once more from the Squats, as we’ll be getting them in a new gang of Ironhead Squat Prospectors. Interesting, seems like 2022 is going to be the year of the space dwarf.

The next Kill Team box has been announced, Moroch, and will be Phobos Marines vs Traitor Guard, with the new Sector Frontieris terrain! I’m unsure about this one, as I don’t want the Marines, and I already have the ogryn and commissar models from their release in Blackstone Fortress, so I’m thinking that I might sit this one out. That terrain is, of course, wonderful, but given that they split these boxes up eventually anyway, I think I might just wait.

It does look tempting, though!

New logo and new location for Warcry, as we head into a cursed jungle for what many seem to think will be a soft version two. I’m not sure about the jungle, because I personally love the aesthetic of fighting in these abandoned cities (or mines!) and can’t really see that translating well. I’m prepared to be wrong, of course!

We also have a new warband preview – the Horns of Hashut – which is odd because it feels like they’re half of the suspected new box… We also have the centaur dude who looks pretty great – I hope this is going to mean we get more unique crazy sculpts for these sort of mercenary allies as time goes on!

I have to say, though, I’m disappointed to hear that the new setting is going to bring with it more AoS races “to the fore”. I don’t think Warcry is good when we have just any old fantasy race; I much prefer it as a Chaos vs Chaos game. Don’t get me wrong, I know why they’re doing it, and adding in the whole AoS catalogue has probably kept interest in the game to the point where we’ve been able to have so much amazing content for it. But I really preferred it when we were seeing bespoke, weird Chaos warbands unique for this game…

The final day, yesterday, brought the big news about Horus Heresy 2.0 that has been teased and spoiled and goodness knows what for a long while now. We’re getting a new box set, which is huge, and new MkVI marines. New plastic tanks, and a slew of plastic weapons upgrades to try to muscle in on people who have been 3D printing their own. It’s an interesting move, and I wonder if they’ll start to do these kinds of weapons packs for other armies, giving Kabalite Warriors a second blaster, etc? It’ll be interesting to see whether these Necromunda-style upgrades have any traction into 40k, anyway. Without being a Heresy aficionado, however, the final day was otherwise a bit of a whimper, to me.

But it was definitely an exciting few days, and here’s hoping that I am the lucky one to win everything they’ve previewed here!! 🤣