Thursday, 9 July 2015

The Whole Age Of Sigmar 'No Points' Issue

I don't have any issue with the lack of points in Age of Sigmar. Others do.

Such people comment that this means the game lacks 'balance'. But do points systems necessarily mean balance? Is current 40k - most often the chosen comparator - balanced?

I read and enjoyed the following post, which, for BoLs of all places, gives quite a sensible view:

I like current 40k. I use the codex FOCs to structure my hobby and I enjoy working within the framing they provide. However, I'd never say the 40k points system, FOCs, armies, and formations are happily balanced - they clearly aren't. What these things do allow for is easy and thematic army building and collecting. And if you like you can just go Unbound, which is also points based...

My position is simple. Does it make for an enjoyable game?

Enjoyable: a fun way to spend hobby/leisure time with friends, family, or even by myself.

Game: a structured pastime with some kind of internal coherency, process and/or objective, where enjoyment (see above) is derived from a shared understanding of approach, on a spectrum that includes cooperative, ultra-competative, and downright silly.

In short, points systems are helpful for building certain kinds of gaming experiences. They cannot guarantee balance, as that is always going to be contextual, and to remove that kind of context would lead to rendering most tabletop wargames into something quite different; something that wouldn't be anything like the games they are. Age of Sigmar, 40k, and the like, are neither Chess nor historical re-enactments.

With the kind of cooperation and shared vision I'd expect from the people I game with, the simple Age of Sigmar rules have enough in them to encourage and support endless enjoyable games (no one I know or would care to play with would turn up with ten giants etc. etc., unless we were playing that kind of scenario).

And that, surely, is the only point worth talking about.


  1. I agree with your points and opinions in this article.

    After getting a few games of Age of Sigmar under my belt, I must say I actually enjoy it as a narrative driven, rules light skirmish game.

    When I want to play a mass battle fantasy game, I'll play 8th ed. I've got all the books and nobody is taking them away.

    And as an example of the above mentioned giants and "unbalanced" gaming, a friend and I were discussing something along those lines the other day:
    I have access to 6 giants, we thought using a handful of them attacking an empire village for food/beer would actually quite fun to play out (the village being made up of several units of state troops/archers/militia).
    Or throwing down 3 giants per side and have basically a small tribe of giants having a fight for dominance.

    It's not all glitter and rainbows around here though, most of my gaming group won't even condone the idea of giving Age of Sigmar a try. Well... I think they're missing out on a fun little ruleset. Just because you play a new set of rules, doesn't mean you have to give up on playing others.

    1. Exactly: no one is taking away anyone's old books :-)

      In time perhaps others will open their minds and give AoS a go.

  2. Well said, sir. :)
    I have to admit, I never played Warhammer (or 40k for that matter), but the lightness of the AoS rules has me intrigued to give it try. I just love the idea of a more narrative driven game... but I do loathe the new models and artwork.

    1. Thank you.

      I do happen to like the models, especially the Stormcast Eternals, which I think have all the elements of a classic design. The Khorne stuff I think I can work with too - as usual I've had to look beyond the tacky paint job the GW studio folks have given them!


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