Scent of a Gamer

From the computer to the tabletop, this is all about games. Updated each week-end.

Age of Sigmar: the right decision

In my opinion, the verdict is now in: Games Workshop were right to kill off Warhammer and replace it with the Age of Sigmar.

Warhammer at the time was a moribund game with nowhere left to go. Sales had dwindled, new players were absent, and supplements were minimal changes to armies which had been around for 20 years.

Early signs were not promising. After the middle-finger way in which Warhammer was terminated and replaced, most players had walked away, and new players weren’t rushing in to patronise a company that had just trashed a 25 year old game.

At time time I wrote a pair of articles:

Why Warhammer had to go

Why Warhammer should have stayed

Age of Sigmar seemed like an each-way bet; as likely to fail as to succeed. However over the years that changed, mainly through the release of models and factions that engaged the player base – mostly new players.

In terms of sales and engagements, Age of Sigmar is doing better than Warhammer ever did. The most recent sales charts bear that out, with Age of Sigmar sitting only behind Warhammer 40,000. Warhammer itself was absent from these charts.

Age of Sigmar’s key advantage over Warhammer is that it can go anywhere. With the setting changed from a single world (an analogue of our own) to the realms of the Age of Sigmar, the setting suddenly became larger. It’s easier to add new factions, settings and so on to the game as each of the realms is explored in more detail.

With an expansive setting and a theme more based around hope than hopelessness, Age of Sigmar appeals to a broader audience.

We’ll never know what might have been, had the Warhammer world been renewed instead of killed off. The success of to Total War: Warhammer games shows this setting can still appeal to a broad audience. However I think that ultimately, Age of Sigmar was the right choice for Games Workshop to make.

4 comments on “Age of Sigmar: the right decision

  1. Azazel
    September 22, 2019

    I’m kinda in the middle. I like the new models, and many of the “refreshes” of the factions, but I also really liked (most of) The Old World. The problem was that they’d priced WHFB out of feasability. Now with AoS (niminally) being a skirmish game, they can sell fantasy models for a price on a parity with their 40k models…

    Liked by 2 people

    • davekay
      September 22, 2019

      Yes Warhammer as a fantasy massed battle game didn’t fit with the way GW wanted to sell their miniatures. Boxes of 5 and 10 models are not the way to build an army.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. backtothehammer
    September 25, 2019

    I’m a similar view. I like some of the reimagined classic models (the squigs are just outstanding) and some of the other models (Kurnoth Hunters) and am envious of the support the system has received, but I just can’t warm to the setting.
    I also always question the internet ‘fact’ that fantasy wasn’t making money or was making a substantial loss. On none of the UK accounts (or published group accounts) does it split revenue between the different streams, i.e. 40k\fantasy. I’ll admit to only looking at the accounts (something I do as part of my job) rather than any shareholder meeting notes.
    Having played 8th 40k after only a few games of 7th I really appreciated the simplification of the rules but although AOS started with really simple rules it soon turned into a almost 7th ed 40k bloat with all the different supplements. So I think I’d still put the death of fantasy down to model count vs cost and lack of support. My main gripe is and always was that AOS is a skirmish game.
    I’m less bitter now (honest 😉) and glad that AOS is doing well as at least they throw the odd sop to the old world out every so often. It also allowed me to find Kings of War. I still think it’s a poor mans substitute (though the guys who loved 6th ed at the club really like it) and I’m looking forward to 3rd ed. In an ideal world I’d like a 40k esq rule set for Warhammer. Sitting somewhere in between 8th fantasy and KOW.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: The Old World returns… soon | Scent of a Gamer

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This entry was posted on September 21, 2019 by in Game Design, Industry and tagged , , .
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