Wednesday, March 23, 2016

The Living Game Concept

Age of Sigmar is considered a living game, but what does that mean?  For decades we have had a "stagnant" game with Warhammer Fantasy.  While the rules did update and units/characters came in and out of the game the overall setting and story remained the same and if any advancement was made it was pulled back to a prior time to keep the Fantasy Setting intact.

With Age of Sigmar we have a continuously evolving story where each new book can potentially move the story forward, kill off characters, or possibly add new characters.  This can be very exciting, exhausting, and even frightening.  Look back at The End Times to see an (Extreme) example of a living game.

While it can be a roller coaster ride as far as the fluff is concerned the benefit to rules can be great.  My favorite example of this would be X-wing.  The game releases Waves with new ships and cards and even new factions in the case of Scum.  While there is no official story for X-wing they do utilize the fluff from the Star Wars Universe to create their pilots, ships, and upgrade cards.

As I have stated in a previous post I enjoyed The End Times and so far I am enjoying the fast pace of Age of Sigmar.  While my Wallet is still hoping they step off the gas a bit I do hope the living system continues at a consistent pace regarding fluff and rules.  I want the story to move, but not at a snails pace or leaps and bounds and as new Warscrolls are introduced I would prefer they mix up the "Meta" for gaming without turning into needing to buy the newest toy in order to compete.

While I would enjoy having a Grand Alliance Book not be outdated weeks after its release I am not opposed to buying yearly updated copies (at the nicely costed price) as new scrolls are added. I can not complain to much considering the Warscrolls are being printed in White Dwarf and updated in the App, but seeing books being incomplete very quickly is not a trend I would like to see continue.

Gamesworkshop is getting more involved in our community once more and as these issues arise I hope our voice will be heard (above and hate or mocking that may be present) so our living game can continue and evolve better as the Ages roll on.

Monday, March 7, 2016

What is Balance of Power?

I will begin with saying SPOILERS!!!! as I will be discussing parts of the recent Balance of Power book for Age of Sigmar.

I have recently completed my first read through of Warhammer Age of Sigmar: The Realmgate Wars (book 2) Balance of Power.  The book moved the story ever forward as we have been promised with the new Game and The Mortal Realms are as exciting as ever, but this time around there was more focus on the gods of the realms.

In the realm of Life Alarielle is continuing her escape with add from the Sylvaneth as well as the Hallowed Knights (ONLY THE FAITHFUL!).  She begins a metamorphosis along the way and her (literal) Right hand decides on a path to cleanse any possible corruption and allow her soul to absorb the honor and glory from fallen heros so she might be reborn as warrior queen so she might lead her armies to retake the realm from Nurgle.

During a final climactic battle Sigmar sends down his Celestant-Prime and boy does this guy deliver.  I wont go into much detail on his battles, but if you get a chance to read anything about when he comes to battle get ready for an enjoyable time.  Ultimately the battle ends with only Stormcasts alive as the Prime uses Ghal-Maraz to turn the Nurgle Champion leader into a fine red mist.  However, it is not the end for this guy as we find out.

Nagash makes a (very)small appearance as A new Stormhost is sent to aid Neferata and seek to parlay with the Lord of Death.  There is plenty of Slaanesh in this battle which is great to see.  The God of Excess is very much alive....somewhere.  Sadly, not much else happens in this arc, but we will probably see more in the novels and dramas coming out soon.

In the realm of metal we get to see Vandus Hammerhand (the golden boy himself) continue to lead his Hammers of Sigmar into battle, but this time around it doesn't go as it has.  Archaon himself comes in battle ensues between the two.  Archaon is able to vanquish Vandus and send his soul back to be reforged and I am very much looking forward to seeing how this changes Vandus.  His Chamber does not fair much better, but died to a man in the death of heros.  During this part there is a small line as a Tzeentch Sorcerer is conversing with one of the Four Greater Demons that fought Sigmar oh so long ago.  He tells of Archaon's true name and how he could be swayed back to the light.  At first this seems like a throw away line until we get to the very last page of the book...

Remember that Nurgle Champion?  Well it was explained that he was corrupted by Nurgle despite being a stalwart champion of the realm of life.  He never died, but was slowly corrupted which is why Sigmar was not able to sweep him up to be reforged (Even during the battle which he died to the Primes hammer he has a small moment of doubt in what he has done).  So here he is reborn as a Hallowed Knight ready to take revenge on the Chaos that so long corrupted him.

This is the balance of power.  For so long Chaos has been able to tempt and taint mortal beings to fight for them.  Chaos has always had the upper hand in this as when one began to fall there was no escape.  It seems Sigmar has found a way to purify these souls who are corrupted.  Sigmar can now possibly redeem any (noble) Chaos Champions/Warrior killed in battle by pulling their soul to Azyr to be reforged and rid of the Chaos taint.  

So what about that throw away line about Archaon?  Is it possible for Archaon to be reforged as a Stormcast (possibly as powerful as the Celestant-Prime himself?).  It all would appear so if someone can kill Archaon to allow this to happen.  Either way I am very excited to see how this plays out in the next campaign book!