From the computer to the tabletop, this is all about games. Updated each week-end.
I have weakness for starter sets of $60 or less. Star Wars X-Wing, Dystopian Wars, Malifaux, and SAGA all filled that bracket for me. Of those listed only SAGA went ahead for me in any meaningful way, but I don’t consider the money I spent on the others to have been wasted. Sometimes the tabletop hobby is about exploration.
Games Workshop’s Storm of Sigmar starter set for their Age of Sigmar game fits nicely in my price range. While I had read the Age of Sigmar rules when they were first published – and been singularly unimpressed – I approached this product with fresh eyes.
The first thing I saw was a box stuffed full of content. 13 miniatures, a rules booklet, dice, and four ‘warscrolls’ which in any other came would be called unit cards. These cards show how each of the units operate in the game. The box gives the starting player two small forces to start with and learn the rules. Five on the side of Sigmar and 8 on the side of Chaos.
Assembly instructions are easy to follow (critical for someone like me!) and you’ll soon have your models assembled and ready to play. The rules pamphlet shows you how a game is played and comes with three ‘battle schemes’, essentially play scenarios to take your new models for a spin.
The game itself plays in a straightforward manner. You move, you charge, you fight. Repeat until one side is gone, or the scenario conditions are met. Shooting and Magic exist in the game but none of the models provided can fire missiles, magical or otherwise.
I did not find the game to my liking. Ultimately there are rules in the marketplace that do small and large scale games better. SAGA will give a more in depth small scale game, and I’d rate SAGA’s faction battleboards over the warscrolls here. For larger scale games, Kings of War does good element play, while War Machine and Hordes provide a more precise ruleset to take larger forces across the table as individuals.
When the most important rule is that sometimes the rules won’t agree and you’ll need to roll a dice to decide what happens, I start to grind my teeth. I am over that level of amateur ‘you work it out, mate’ rules design. Other games can manage it; there’s really no excuse here. For me, Age of Sigmar will be a pass, but painting up the figures gives me something different to do, and no doubt they will find a home in the Silver Tower.
That said, I will give the game another try once I have these figures painted up.
C’est magnifique, mais ce n’est pas la guerre
Does it provide value? I’d say yes. For a low price point you get the rules and enough models to at least try the game out and see if you like it before committing to anything larger. In this regard Storm of Sigmar compares well with starter sets for the latest version of War Machine, Hordes, Malifaux, and Infinity. If you find yourself playing the scenarios with what you get in the box, and wishing you had more models, then you know you’re on the hook. If you play and find the rules don’t grip you then it’s a cheap lesson.
If you especially enjoy the background and figures, plus find the rules passable, then you have a good little game on your hands. I’d say Age of Sigmar shines as a father/son game designed to get some cross-generational play started. If you fall into that demographic, then I’d go from slightly reserved to very enthusiastic in my recommendation.
As a wargame? You could do better.