White Dwarf, Issue #74 (Warhammer: The Age of Sigmar, Warhammer Fantasy)
Publisher: Games Workshop
Page Count: 44
Release Date: 07/04/2015
Get it Here: The Black Library (or your local Games Workshop store
Man, what a difference a week makes. Issue #74 of White Dwarf was terrible. It was a third rate send off to the previous eight editions of Warhammer and it really disappointed me. This week? This has been the absolute best issue of White Dwarf since the beginnings of The End Times and one could easily say it’s the best issue since the relaunch a year and a half ago. Not only is this week’s issue oversized, but every page is devoted to a single topic: The Age of Sigmar aka, Warhammer, Ninth Edition. Even better, each physical copy of White Dwarf, Issue #75 comes bundled with a Stormcast Eternal (Technically a Liberator) sprue figure to start off your Age of Sigmar collection. With only a $4 price tag, this issue of White Dwarf practically pays for itself. So go on out and pick one of these up. There has never been a better gateway into a miniatures game. You get a free figure so you can see if you like the whole cutting, gluing and painting aspect of these types of games and you get the FULL AGE OF SIGMAR RULES in the magazine in addition to a lot of other helpful information. My god, just go to your local GW (or other gaming store) and pick one of these up. This is a no-brainer people. Free highly detailed figure! Now the only problem is do I paint my Sig Marine like they show in the magazine, do I paint it up like a Blood Angel (since the army seems really influenced by that Warhammer 40,000 chapter) or do I paint it like my Guardians of the Covenant as a fun in-joke that only I will get. Decisions, decisions.
Okay, so we’ve plugged the free figure and the fact you get the entire Age of Sigmar ruleset in the magazine. Now let’s actually talk about the mag itself.
First up, the cover gives you a fantastic look at the Sigmar army that comes in the Age of Sigmar boxed set. As soon as you open the cover, you get another shot of the same army (in the same exact formation) coming into contact with the Khorne Goretide that opposes it in the same package. You also get some quick instructions on how to put together your Stormcast Eternal figure. It’s pretty obvious as it’s not as poseable as other GW figures, but for newcomers, I'[m sure these are quite helpful. This introduction is very striking looking and it really helps to sell the new set from page one on. Interesting enough, the usual soft sell article/advertisements that make up the beginning of a White Dwarf issue are nowhere to be seen this time around. A skeptic could say this is because the whole issue is one big sales pitch for Age of Sigmar but there’s a lot of actual solid content in this issue so I’m very happy with what is here.
Our first article is “The Age of Myth” and it talks about what happened between The End Times and the Age of Sigmar. Or does it? The fluff is really odd and from what’s written here, it’s hard to tell if this is what came before The End Times, after, if this is a parallel/alternate universe or what. It’s very vague and unclear but the best I can tell from the text is that The End Times is just the latest of a cycle between Sigmar and the four gods of Chaos. This time however, Sigmar is trying to be proactive and gathers warriors from eight different realms (the ninth being Chaos) and forges them into the Azyrheim, which are the Warhammer equivalent of the Norse Einherjar and decides to take the assault to Chaos instead of letting them run roughshod over another of the Mortal Realms. Later articles in this issue make it clear that Age of Sigmar does indeed happen after The End Times but this fluff article really doesn’t do a good job of explaining it. There is a neat history of Sigmar, but it really needed a second pair of eyes or a better editor to ensure things flowed better.
The next article is simply “Warhammer: Age of Sigmar” and it showcases all the models in the new boxed set. First the Sigmar units are shown and I still don’t know what to make of them. I really like the Dracoth ridden by Lord Celestus Vandus Hammerhand (reminds me of my Tomb Kings’ sphinxes I guess), but I can’t take the name of the characters or troops serious. The Retributors and the Prosecutors look more like Blood Angels to me and the Stormcasts do nothing for me. It’s too Space Marine looking for me. In fact, I call my Sigmar squad the Sig Marines because the 40K influence feels so strong. I absolutely love Ionus Cryptborn though. I keep calling him Arkhan the Gold. It’s not a joke either. From the fluff he just might be the old Arkhan the Black liberated from Nagash’s control. SO COOL. So it’s a mix. I am so torn as to whether I am going to buy a boxed set of this or not because the models aren’t what I normally play or am drawn to, but I really do like some of the figures A LOT. After that the article shifts to the Khorne Goretide and again, I have the same mixed feeling. Chaos is the least interesting army in either Warhammer to me. The rank and file in this boxed set (and there are twenty of them) do nothing for me. Same with the Blood Warriors and Vekh the Flayer. They’re just unappealing to me. Yet I really love the leader, Korghos Khul and his hellhound. Oh man, I want this figure. I also really like Threx Skullbrand (Oh the naming…). I have no idea how I feel about the khorgorath as it looks like a Helbrute done fantasy style. Again, I’m not sure if I am going to buy this boxed set or not. Games Workshop said they were sending me SOMETHING to review, but who knows what it is. If it’s this then yay! I will review the shit out of it for you. If not, I’m not sure if I will buy this. I love the new ruleset and want to support it, but I might just wait for figures that better suit my armies and the new terrain pieces. After all. I have three Warhammer armies, a bunch of Batman Miniature Game figures, a Gremlins band for Malifaux and a ton of Reaper Bones. Mantic is also sending me three armies to paint and review, so something has to give. I don’t need to start any new armies, you know? If this was Lizards vs. Bretonians or Settra Vs. Nagash, I’d totally be there though. Tell you what though GW, if this IS the review product you sent me, I’ll buy lots of terrain and some assorted pieces I can use now from various armies.
So you saw me mention casually that I love the rules to Age of Sigmar. I know people either hate them or love them. Well the next piece in the book is the four page rulesheet. That’s all you need to play them game. My guess is these are Quick Start Rules and that at some point GW will flesh them out, but even if they don’t, who cares? Age of Sigmar is something completely new. So different is AoS that comparing to the previous eight editions of Warhammer is stupid Edition Wars folly. If I want a large scale old school Warhammer game, I can still use my 5e/6e/8e rules that I have held on to. Hell, I can do my old Circle of Blood boxed set campaign. I can go my local GW store and play any edition of the game I want INCLUDING Age of Sigmar. What I can’t do is get my wife to play older versions of Warhammer. She LOVES anything dinosaurs and thus loves my Lizardmen army, including my Dread Saurial. She was curious about using them…until she saw the size of the rulebook and the army books. Not to mention having to know the rules for other armies if you want to properly plan some sort of strategy. So there were these models she liked to look at, but you couldn’t get her to play the game. I can get her to play skirmish games. With the Age of Sigmar rules and the Lizardman battlescrool, she can now give the Slaan and their warriors a try. She can learn the rules easily and see just why I like Warhammer so much. Games are easy to play, are over far quicker and things aren’t bogged down. Maybe AoS will even be a gateway to older versions of the game for her. Do I think the AoS rules are BETTER than previous Editions? No, my favorite is still 5e. However, I like Age of Sigmar for what it is. I love that is has a sense of humor ala Rogue Trader and the earlier editions of Warhammer. I really like it for what it is and have every intention of supporting it. Just because Sigmar’s warriors and the Goretide aren’t my cup of tea doesn’t mean there aren’t so awesome undead, Knights lizards and the like waiting to release down the road. Hey, plus my Bretonnians finally got new rules for the first time in OVER TEN YEARS. That alone makes me say, “Yay Age of Sigmar!.
The rules themselves are smackdab in the middle of this White Dwarf issue, but they are also available online for free in PDF form. This is true of all the battlescrolls as well. So you don’t need to get the Boxed Set if all you want are the rules. Things are very simple. There are no point values. Armies can be any size but you do have to follow unit rules. Some figures are a unit of one, but some might be more than that. Check your battlescrolls to be sure. Some people will feel that without point values, the game can’t be balanced, but honestly, between the rules for individual units and caveats for what happens when someone brings like 100 models to someone else’s 25-30. There’s also rules for randomized terrain which will be a lot of fun. Magic, shooting and combat are all simplified compared to the old versions of Warhammer. Think of the rules like those of attack Wing, HeroClix or Mage Knight but better. It’s very streamlined but very fun. Yes, the game has a nice sense of humor about it and it’s closer to the game in early 80s, but I like it for what it is. Don’t let your fear of change or Edition Wars mentality ruin a good thing for you. Now, this is a review of White Dwarf, not the Age of Sigmar rules. I’ll review some of the Battlescrolls though, but that will be in different articles throughout the week.
NOW BEGINS THE SELLING PIECES. Oh, they’re still here. They were just carefully hidden in the middle of the magazine rather than up front as they usually appear. Craft little buggers, aren’t they? You get a two page article on the Age of Sigmar boxed set, and then another two pages split between the upcoming Novella Gates of Azyr (which I will be reviewing), two new versions of the Citadel giant cases (The only difference is that they are embossed with a Khorne or Sigmar logo), a 120 page painting guide (which I am considering getting if I get the boxed set) and the new citadel paints. I’m excited for the Retribution Armor spray paint because it might mean we get a silver one down the road and I could really use that for my Guardians of the Covenant marines. Or anything that wears a lot of metal like Bretonnians and dwarves. That’s it for the selling pieces. They only take up four pages this week, which is pretty crazy.
The next article is “Warscrolls” and it is two pages long. For those that haven’t downloaded any yet, you can see how the rules for each model will be displayed from here on out. You are given a breakdown of the five different sections followed by five different Battlescrolls for you to peruse. There are four Sigmar scrolls and one Khorne. I love that they did this. In addition to have all the rules for Age of Sigmar in this issue, you can also see if the troops from the boxed set play in a manner that suits you. Very well done.
“SIgmar’s Chosen” is up next and here you get some fluff on the new Stormcast Eternals army. The article is four pages long, but there are only three paragraphs of text. The rest is all kick ass art. I would have liked a little more substance, but the art is fantastic and I’m glad they put it SOMEWHERE in this issues.
We’re down to the last three articles in the issue. The next two pages are “Sprues and Glues” and it talks about how to properly remove the new Prosecutors from their sprue without damaging them. They have a lot of tiny little pieces (mainly their sword-feathers) so this is a very helpful article, especially to the droves of new players Age of Sigmar will (hopefully) bring in. It’s an excellent piece for people new to the hobbies and if someone does start wargaming because of Age of Sigmar direct them to this article. It will really help them,
Our second to last article is “How To Paint. Both Khorne and Sigmar’s sides get two pages each. It’s while look at the common paint jobs that will run through each model in your starter set, regardless of type. I really enjoyed seeing how they did the armor of the Stormcast Eternals as well as some of the effects on the Khorne figures like their flesh scars. Another article well worth picking up White DwarfAge of Sigmar boxed set. Remember, it’s cheaper than the upcoming Painting Guide and you get a free figure with this.
Our final article is “Get Playing Right Now!” which is exactly what is sounds like. The article reminds you that your old 1-8e armies are still valid (except Kislev and Chaos Dwarves apparently) and can be used in Age of Sigmar. Yes the 9e figures have round bases but the article makes sure you understand base shape and size do not matter. It even shows a Nurgle army that has both. You can use those free battlescrolls and your new armies to play 9e/Age of Sigmar rules and get used to them until the new boxed set hits stores on the 11th. The article also shows the four major alliances that will be in Age of Sigmar. You have Order. Chaos, Death and Destruction. You also see changes to the names of races for copyright reasons. Elves are now Aelfs. Dwarves are now Duardin. Lizardmen are now Seraphon. Orcs are orruks. Goblins are grots. Ogres are ogors. Annoying I know, but that’s lawyers and GW’s paranoia about losing control of their game for you.
All in all, I loved pretty much everything about this issue of White Dwarf and between the Battlescrolls and this magazine, I am really excited for Age of Sigmar. I know that when I first saw the AoS models, I was less than impressed because hey, they weren’t part of my armies. Now though, I can combine my Bretonnians, Lizardmen and Stormcast into one army and they case my combined Undead Legions horde. I can even pick up some elves and dwarves to flesh things out, which will be cool. Age of Sigmar seems like it will be a blast once the naysayers and negative ninnies drop out. I’ll still play 5e. I’ll still play The End Times and I’m certainly going to play Age of Sigmar. Now go out and grab this mage and see firsthand if Age of Sigmar is something you want to experience.