Today is the day that Games Workshop officially launches Warhammer: Age of Sigmar. Even though it is only the pre-order for Warhammer: Age of Sigmar going life today, and we still have to wait one more week before the new starter box is released, today marks the largest break of any major gaming system ever – save maybe the transition of D&D 3.5 to D&D 4. –
Why today is today so important you might ask? Well, starting today you can download the Age of Sigmar rules from the Games Workshop website for free. Although the rules have been posted online from scans or photos from the White Dwarf magazine. In addition, you can also download all the so called Warscrolls. Basically these a stats card for your models. A system that is also employed by Privateer Press and their Warmachine and Hordes ranges. Games Workshop has announced that there will be a Warscroll for every Warhammer model ever released, but I’m curious if my old Empire Warwagon, Halflings or Dogs of War such as the Birdmen of Catrazza will be included…
New website, new layout of armies
Another big change has been the makeover of the Games Workshop website. Not only has a ‘new’ logo take the place of the classic Warhammer logo, behind this subgroup is a totally new classification. Instead of selecting an army based on your old Warhammer race, you now select based on a ‘Grand Alliance’. These grand alliances are Chaos (Warriors, Beastmen, Deamons, Skaven), Death (Vampire Counts, Tomb Kings), Destruction (Orcs & Goblins, Ogres) and Order (Empire, Bretonnia, Dwarfs, High Elves, Dark Elves, Wood Elves, Lizardmen).
Besides the Grand Alliances are the races. Basically these are badly spelled names for Elves, Orcs, Ogres and so forth. What is interesting is the fact that there are more ‘races’ than there were armies in Warhammer Fantasy. It seems that every possible race has been split up into separate sections. This means you can also find Mummies (basically your Tomb Kings heroes), Troggoth (Trolls, any and all trolls except for the old Chaos Trolls), and Sylvaneth (Wood Elf Forest creatures). The reason for splitting the armies into pieces and sort them by biological type is not clear to me. In fact, it seems of little purpose besides offering an extra selection tool.
Veterans, your old selection is still available… Partly…
Yes, even though Games Workshop has scrapped ALL things ‘Old Hammer’ or Warhammer Original, you can still find your favourite army on the Games Workshop website. So if you are looking for some Dark Elf Dreadspears or Bretonnian Damsels you can find these models under the banner ‘faction’. However, do not expect to sort your old army based on old standards. So even though you can look up your old army, you cannot sort the models on Lord, Core, Hero, Special and so on.
Times are changing
It was already known that some Warhammer kits were disappearing from the Games Workshop webstore. This is often a normal process, when GW releases an update for an army, they often recall kits and suspend the sale of kits on their website so that the kits can be repackaged. In other cases, kits are removed because new models are coming up.
However, the sheer amount of kits disappearing around the Age of Sigmar release has been quite overwhelming. When browsing through the Warhammer: Age of Sigmar website it became that quite few models are now ‘out of stock’. These models will probably be repackaged: square bases are out, round bases are in and in addition a Warscroll is included. Again I think that these are signs that things are changing. The models are at least a big change and do not fit the usual ‘Empire or Bretonnian’ aestethic.
But where are the scenery kits?
The biggest disappointment is the disappearance of Warhammer Scenery. To put it simply: when you want to buy scenery at this moment you have to go somewhere else! There is absolutely NOTHING in the GW store as I’m writing this. And while we have seen some great looking scenery coming up why make the old kits not available? It seems illogical to me that they would cancel their ‘old’ buildings such as the watchtower and chapel. In terms of ‘style’ they are not all that different from the Warhammer: Age of Sigmar scenery we have seen this far.
Even more surprising is the removal of the Forest kit, Arcane Ruins and some other similar sets is even more odd. Their gloomy forests were perfectly usable in games of The Hobbit or Warhammer 40,000. The Arcane Ruins even feature in some of the photos we’ve seen in the White Dwarf and online. I would still buy these older sets and make a cool table that incorporates both old and new sets, and I think that many ‘starting’ gamers that might drop into Warhammer: Age of Sigmar might think the same.
Thank you Games Workshop, so long and thank you for all the great and gone scenery kits.