This game needs to become more like Age of Sigmar

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse this site, you are agreeing to our Cookie Policy.

  • This game needs to become more like Age of Sigmar

    Sorry for the provocative title, but now I have your attention :D

    Disclaimer: I like this game more than AOS. I think this is a good game, better than Warhammer was. But, I actually do believe the rules could take inspiration from AOS.

    Problem:
    This game is hard for beginners. You need to buy, assemble and paint a lot of miniatures that is problem number one. The second problem is that the rules are complicated. It simply takes too much effort to learn and too much time is spend looking up rules, rather than playing. It is even difficult for semi-regular players. Im the only one in my gaming group who still plays this game. The rest have switched to other more accessible games, and have to some extend brought me with them. Especially once we became dads we have less available time. Sometimes months go by without a game of T9A (we play something easier & faster like Warhammer Quest). When I finally get to play T9A it is against a stranger, since my friends have given up. And then, even I have to look up a lot of rules, and I have played T9A since the beginning, and Warhammer since the 90'ies. I actually hope I will be playing against someone who plays a lot more than me, so he will remember the rules. A problem is of course, that such a veteran is likely to win big time. I see more people leaving than entering the hobby. Some go to AOS. The third problem is that while the core rules are super balanced, gone are some of the randomness and fluffy fun from GW. The giant used to be hilarious. Now he trows balanced dice. The Hellblaster Vollygun used to super good and super unpredictable, and yes unbalanced.

    Problem in a nutshell:
    This game seems as if it has been designed by super competitive tournament players, who wanted a complicated & balanced game. This game is not as accessible & fun to new players as it could be, or even old timers like myself with family obligations. There are simply too many rules. Too many things to remember (or forget). Individually, all these rules are probably cool and makes sense. Taken together, there are simply too many of them.

    Could some of these things be combined?:
    - Two different weapon skills
    - Two different special saves
    - Lots of similar words: large, tall, gigantic, towering presence and massive bulk
    - Hatred, Frenzy and battle focus
    - Front rank does not give a rank bonus, but it does give a rank (super confusing for new players)
    - Warmachine & construct
    - Poison attacks, toxic attacks, lethal strike, divine attacks, flaming attacks, magical attacks

    Conclusion:
    Dont get me wrong. This is a good game. And the game designers have done a fantastic making it balanced, listening to feedback from the community and presenting the rules in a coherent and simple manner. I also realise that most of the problems of this game which I have just mentioned, have not been created by the game designers, but are inherited from GW, especially 8th ed. However, if this game is to survive on the long run, it needs to be able to bring in new players and keep the ones like me, who love the game, but cannot be as dedicated as we once were. A rules simplification could be a step in the right direction.



  • before summer hits, you'll have a new alpha version with
    - patrols for 20 factions
    - expanded armylists for at least 3 factions
    - revised basic and advanced rules
    - summaries
    - translations
    - papercraft armies


    if you want to play an online game, i'll be happy to introduce you.
    it's fast, it's fun, and it doesnt look too shabby
    (this is the starter army from Sylvan Elves in my videogame adpatation)

    check out our webstore
    formerly known as piteglio
  • Some decent points. I'm addressing these as a game designer and not as staff, mind you.


    Bloody MIsfire wrote:

    the rules are complicated. It simply takes too much effort to learn and too much time is spend looking up rules, rather than playing. It is even difficult for semi-regular players.
    The rules are complex but seldom complicated and there is a difference. The game is not difficult but it's not simple. Again, there is a difference.

    To get to the root of the problem you have, I think it's important that you can determine whether this is an issue with the core game identity - or the specific game of T9A. So, what I mean is this: T9A is - just like WHFB before it - a grand scale fantasy battles game. It is not a skirmish game.

    AoS at its core is a skirmish game. And it has simple mechanics that fits that kind of playstyle. A grand scale fantasy battles game will need some complex rules for rank and file units where unit formations and positions such as flanks and rears matter. If they didn't matter, you could easily represent a unit with just a few models on round bases, which is a lot simpler, but it's also a different type of game. If you're into video games, you could compare this to Total War vs Company of Heroes or Dawn of War. None of them are difficult games but Total War is a lot more complex. Now, it's true that complex games are - overall - less accessible than less complex games, but there is an audience for both. And changing the nature of the game to appeal to more people will also - in a way - kill the game because it would no longer be the same.


    Next, what I think T9A has done well but also needs to be better at is streamlining and you mention a few concrete issues. I have highlighted the ones that I agree with:

    Bloody MIsfire wrote:

    Could some of these things be combined?:
    - Two different weapon skills
    - Two different special saves
    - Lots of similar words: large, tall, gigantic, towering presence and massive bulk
    - Hatred, Frenzy and battle focus
    - [lexicon]Front rank[/lexicon] does not give a rank bonus, but it does give a rank (super confusing for new players)
    - Warmachine & construct
    - [lexicon]Poison attacks[/lexicon], toxic attacks[/lexicon[/color]][/b], [lexicon]lethal strike, divine attacks, flaming attacks, magical attacks

    Without going into detail, you're right that there are some similar terms that do different things, which generally is not good because it does confuse. Poison attacks and toxic attacks is a good example. They mean the same thing but do different things. There is also some issues left with lawyer-speak in the rulebooks. Some wordings are very precise which is good for making sure you've got the rules applied correctly, but they sometimes require a paragraph for saying something that could be summarizes (less accurately) in a sentence.

    Then there are things like counting. T9A did well with streamlining shooting, which was a mess before. Still, more can be done. Amount of ranks and amount of rank bonus should be the same, indeed. And this is an example of a complicated vs complex rules. Having ranks to determine the morale of your troops vs the enemies you're facing is complex. Rank bonuses being a separate thing that doesn't count the first rank is complicated.
    I also think that the amount of Armour you have should correspond directly to the roll of your dice, not the opposite. This can be done by simply rolling low rather than high for armour. If you have Armour 5, you need to roll 5 or lower. Much easier than counting backwards from Armour 5 to 2+


    Streamlining efforts such as these will go a long way to help beginners and intermediates. However, they will not change the nature of the game. I believe T9A is already more streamlined than WHFB ever was and I do believe that a lot of your experience stems from a lack to time to commit to this hobby. Even if you've played WHFB for years, if you were to go back to that, I don't believe your experience would be any better. In fact, most of the examples you and I have listed are legacy issues.

    ^ I have no idea why this all displays as bold and green. I think it's automatically copied some text attributes even though it's not set as such. Stupid forum software.

    The post was edited 4 times, last by Hombre de Mundo ().

  • Just wanted to point out that “poison” and “toxin” aren’t technically the same thing, but agree that “toxic attacks” would be better represented by a term like “corrosive” or “caustic”.

    The point stands that in a quest to not use words that sound like words from another game we’ve ended up with quite a few that don’t quite fit what they’re intended to represent; Fortitude and Supernal both spring to mind.
  • dan wrote:

    Just wanted to point out that “poison” and “toxin” aren’t technically the same thing, but agree that “toxic attacks” would be better represented by a term like “corrosive” or “caustic”.
    lol yes, and that's also leaning towards my point of lawyer-speaking. To the common man, poison and toxin are synonyms and they should be treated as such :)

    Changing toxic attacks to something like corrosive attacks (or even better - gas attacks), that'd remove all confusion. A poison blade kills you better but doesn't go through armour. Gas isn't necessarily super easy to kill you with, but it goes through armour. Super intuitive.

    dan wrote:



    The point stands that in a quest to not use words that sound like words from another game we’ve ended up with quite a few that don’t quite fit what they’re intended to represent; Fortitude and Supernal both spring to mind.
    Yes, I do believe we've sacrificed a bit too many common words just in order to be different. Regeneration for example is super common in fantasy and would help make the rule stand out as its own thing (which should be different from Aegis), instead of Fortitude which really means the same thing as Resilience, but those are completely different things in our game. The worst offender of changing for the sake of changing - however - is "Move".
  • So the key question is, will EoW be able to fill this gap? I have no idea, I never played it. I heard @LordNelson tried it the other day. What say you? Is EoW the future proof version of 9th Age? Or is it really mainly just the "welcome to .." version for the game?
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    When strolling around before going to bed, a mean Orc might whack you on the back of your head!
  • I for one like the game because it occupies a niche in the high complexity category.
    No doubt that wording and names can always be improved, but i wouldn't agree on reducing complexity with things such as remerging offensive and defensive skills. I think the game is better off with more things like that, so long as they add tactical depth and immersion.
  • Pellegrim wrote:

    So the key question is, will EoW be able to fill this gap? I have no idea, I never played it. I heard @LordNelson tried it the other day. What say you? Is EoW the future proof version of 9th Age? Or is it really mainly just the "welcome to .." version for the game?
    Yeah my view would be that EoW promises to do both: the pre-built patrols are good for beginners and I hope/think that the Advanced version works as a quick play version that experienced gamers who want a quick game will also enjoy. I disagree with OP that the full game needs to change, but I see where he's coming from. That's why EoW will be a great addition to the T9A universe
  • This game should become LESS like AOS,

    Sorry for the provocative title, but now I have your attention

    Disclaimer: I like this game more than AOS. I think this is a good game, better than Warhammer was. But, I actually do believe THE ARMY BOOK could take less inspiration from AOS.

    Problem:
    This game is hard for beginners. You need to buy, assemble and paint a lot of miniatures that is problem number one. The second problem is that there are a lot of army-specific rules to remember in the army books. It simply takes too much effort to learn and too much time is spend looking up rules, rather than playing. It is even difficult for semi-regular players. Im the only one in my gaming group BECAUSE THERE WAS A PANDEMIC AND IT S FORBIDDEN TO MEET AND PLAY. Especially once we became dads we have less available time (true, it is a month that i have the same Tze***h's demons on my table and I never get time to finish them). Sometimes months go by without a game of ANYTHING (we tried playing tabletop game in remote with a site). When I finally WILL get to play ANYTHING against a stranger, since my friends have given up (. And then, even I have to look up a lot of rules, and I have played T9A since 2017, and Warhammer since the 90'ies. I actually hope I will be playing against someone who plays a lot more than me, so he will remember the rules, BUT THIS WILL NOT HAPPENS BECAUSE HE DOESN'T KNOW MY ARMY WELL. A problem is of course, that such a veteran is likely to win big time, UNLESS I PLAY DIRTY BY TELLING HIM SOME SPECIAL RULE JUST AT THE RIGHT TIME. I see more people leaving than entering the hobby. Some go to BIRDWATCHING OR VEGAN'S CAKE BAKING. The third AWESOMENESS is that while the core rules are super balanced, gone are some of the randomness and fluffy fun from GW. The giant used to be hilariousLY RANDOM. Now he trows balanced dice. The Hellblaster Vollygun used to super good and super unpredictable, and yes unbalanced.

    Problem in a nutshell:
    This game seems as if it has been designed by super competitive tournament players, who wanted a complicated & balanced game AND THAT IS COOL BUT THE RULBOOK SHOULD BE ENOUGH, WE DONT NEED EXTRA RULES IN EVERY ARMYBOOK. This game is not as accessible & fun to new players as it could be BECOUSE YOU EED TO STUDY 16 ARMYBOOK INSTEAD OF JUST 1 RULEBOOK, or even old timers like myself with family obligations. There are simply too many rules DISPERSED EVERYWHERE. Too many things to remember (or forget). Individually, all these rules are probably cool and makes sense. Taken together, there are simply too many of them.

    Could some of these things be ERASED?:
    - EVERY RULE NOT IN THE MAIN RULEBOOK.
    - A GAMES MORE SIMILAR TO MAGIC MTG THAN WHATHAMMER, WHERE EVERY FRICKING UNIT HAS ITS OWN SPECIAL RULE, LIKE EACH MTG CARD HAS ITS OWN RULETEXT.

    Conclusion:
    Dont get me wrong. This is a good game. And the game designers have done a fantastic making it balanced, listening to feedback from the community and presenting the rules in a coherent and simple manner. I also realise that most of the problems of this game which I have just mentioned, have not been created by the game designers, but are inherited from GW, especially 8th ed, SO JUST RETURN TO WHATHAMMER 4TH ED!. However, if this game is to survive on the long run, it needs to be able to bring in new players and keep the ones like me, who love the game, but cannot be as dedicated as we once were. A rules simplification could be a step in the right direction.


    youtube.com/watch?v=QHHg99hwQGY
    MTG, TWENTY YEARS TWENTY LESSON LEARNED:
    IF EVERYBODY LIKES YOUR GAMES BUT NOBODY LOVES IT YOU WILL FAIL.

    The post was edited 5 times, last by scatmanworld: GRAMMAR, AND I'M A SMIDGE DRUNK ().

  • Shlagrabak wrote:

    I for one like the game because it occupies a niche in the high complexity category.
    No doubt that wording and names can always be improved, but i wouldn't agree on reducing complexity with things such as remerging offensive and defensive skills. I think the game is better off with more things like that, so long as they add tactical depth and immersion.
    I agree, if you want a simpler mass battle fantasy game you have Kings of War, Warlords of Erehwon, or Oathmark, and could easily port rules for War of the Ring and Hail Caesar.
    Beyond that you have games like Dux Britainium which are neat because you can effectively decide how complex you want it to be. In a pinch you could also just use the rules for 8th edition Warhammer fantasy, which was a simpler version of the rule set we use today.

    If you want a lower model count you have truly dozens of options for Skirmish and smaller scale ranked games: Dragon Rampant, Lord of the Rings, Frostgrave, and then again porting historical rules like SAGA and SPQR.

    In summary, we can (and many of us do) play other wargames if we want simpler, faster rules or fewer models on the table. Putting aside the nostalgia we all have for Warhammer, what makes T9A special is that it’s the few fantasy wargames that offers a combination of high model count and high complexity. Consequently, I feel that lowering either model count or complexity would make it less unique and would be a mistake.
  • Tonko wrote:

    if model count is such a struggle
    This is a concern that's popped up a bit all over the place. And the funny thing is that it's simply not true, unless you choose to make it so.

    T9A offers a lot of variety in its factions. In a standard 4500 points game, you can literally play anything between 15 and 770 models. That is an enormous range and it is nobody but you yourself who determines what factions to play and what models to bring to the table. Don't like collecting or painting a lot of models? UD, Ogres or WDG will suit you well. And since the game is model-agnostic, you can play an army like Ogres without having them look like ogres. Seriously, T9A offers you so much flexibility to create the army that suits you best.
  • Hombre de Mundo wrote:

    Rank bonuses being a separate thing that doesn't count the first rank is complicated.
    It was the same in WFB during years and years. So it's not a "new" complexity than before.


    Hombre de Mundo wrote:

    I also think that the amount of Armour you have should correspond directly to the roll of your dice, not the opposite. This can be done by simply rolling low rather than high for armour. If you have Armour 5, you need to roll 5 or lower. Much easier than counting backwards from Armour 5 to 2+
    I made this proposal. But it was not accepted. They prefers to keep the formula and the table that confuse :(
  • I think there are two vert distinct issues being raised by the OP, but they're being slightly conflated in presentation:

    1. The game is [too] complicated {for people new to it}
    2. The keyword terms selected are confusing

    Point 1 is fairly fundamental and not something I can really engage with. Point 2 I agree with - I think there are things we could simplify purely through choice of language.
    Could some of these things be combined?:
    - Two different weapon skills
    - Two different special saves
    - Lots of similar words: large, tall, gigantic, towering presence and massive bulk
    - Hatred, Frenzy and battle focus
    - Front rank does not give a rank bonus, but it does give a rank (super confusing for new players)
    - Warmachine & construct
    - Poison attacks, toxic attacks, lethal strike, divine attacks, flaming attacks, magical attacks
    From this list
    1) WS - the split to OWS and DWS was intentional and does give increased granularity - they represent different things and, so long as you don't assume they're always equal (as they previously were) isn't too much of a burden to adjust to.

    2) two types of special save - it does create an additional layer of rock-paper-scissors. I've no idea whether this is intentional or not, or simply legacy (I can't even remember what legacy was here!). Is it a bug or a feature that we have wards and regens?

    3) IMO the size system is a hot mess. Not necessarily mechanically, but linguistically. I frequently see conversations by better players than me about using X to block LoS to Y, and discussions around cover, etc. The inclusion of Tall as some sort of half-way-house between categories (like an extra 0.5) is confusing. And the fact that we have three sizes of troops but they're not Small, Medium and Large is also confusing.

    4) Hatred, frenzy and battle focus at least *sound* different, even if they're covering similar mental states. I find battle focus and battle fever to be confusingly similar.

    5) Front rank giving a rank but not a rank bonus - 100 times this. Very confusing for new (or like me just slow) players.

    6) Again, these all have different *sounds* so for me at least I don't confuse them. But in terms of their mechanics as has been said above, toxic attacks is a really unhelpful name. They could be corrosive (eating through armour) or gas (sneaking through armour), but why should something being toxic mean that your armour can't save you from it - the toxicity would still need to be administered. And of these, the similarity in concept between toxic and poison could be a red herring for people who aren't so entrenched in the vernacular already that the words don't matter they're just keywords to trigger a mechanic.

    Where terms are confusing, or have obvious potential to be so, there's also a generally easy fix available with re-naming.
    Join us on Ulthuan.net
  • ferny wrote:

    2) two types of special save - it does create an additional layer of rock-paper-scissors. I've no idea whether this is intentional or not, or simply legacy (I can't even remember what legacy was here!). Is it a bug or a feature that we have wards and regens?
    The issue with the saves is that they both work exactly the same, except fortitude is negated by fire attacks and lethal strikes, whereas aegis only has divine attacks as a real weakness, and that doesn't negate it, just forces a re-roll. The two are similar enough that they (IMO) don't warrant being separate things. We just kinda use fortitude as "aegis, but for beasts and stuff".

    Fortitude was previously regeneration. The kind of stuff that trolls, hydras and wolverines have - a healing factor. In-game, it doesn't work like that though, it works as a save. And I suspect this is due to damage multipliers. So a troll with 3 HP gets shot by a cannon. The troll makes the roll and if the save fails, the cannon rolls a D3+1 and if scoring 3 or higher, the troll is dead. But if the save succeeds, there's no damage at all. So it's an all or nothing situation. But if it had been a proper regeneration rule, the troll would have taken the D3+1 HP and then checked to regenerate each one, which is considerably different. And I think that would be more intuitive and also more fun as it adds to the character of these creatures. And I'd also rather see aegis saves expanded to models that don't regenerate but are damage resistant. Take the VS Abomination. I doubt it regenerates but I can definitely see it being a monstrosity without obvious weak spots, so a stab in the "chest" didn't hit any vital organs, so it doesn't care. That should be represented by Aegis, whereas Undead creatures that lost an arm and has it re-attached by necromancy magic should be represented by regeneration.