This was not only my first time playing Age of Sigmar in person, it was also my first time playing in an event. This was also my first time playing the Third Edition rules (excluding two online practice games leading up to the event). What I mean by all this is, I am a noob. I thought I had all my ducks in a row but basically found out the hard way that I was not prepared.
I brought a Seraphon army (previously known as Lizardmen) that was all proxied on the theme of Cosmic Frogs and Turtles. This army’s sub-faction is the Thunderlizards and involves a lot of monsters. I also brought the old dried-up mummy himself, Lord Kroak. The new rules for this model make it a very swingy and random piece which I came to dislike, but it was fun fielding my converted model
The main idea of this force is to have the monsters in the center, with the Frogs and cavalry as screens. Depending on my opponent, I would then swing out the T-Rex and cavalry to one flank or the other and anchor the center with Kroak (he has a powerful, short-range tickle finger attack, think Emperor Palpatine). The Seraphon army’s specialty is magic and monsters, with board-wide control of the Magic phase.
- Players Armies must pick a “Grand Strategy” in their army list and get bonus points for completing it at the end of a battle. I chose “Beast Master: Keep at least one monster alive”.
- During each turn, players chose “battle tactics” and must try and complete them for bonus points on top of scoring objectives.
- Most missions involve a couple objectives placed either across the width or corner to corner.
- Deployment: players take turn deploying units. Whoever finishes first gets the option to take the first turn or give the first turn.
Game One – Tooth and Nail – Stormcast Eternals
Game One had one objective in each table corner, with armies doing diagonal deployment. I played a tournament regular who was using the new Stormcast book. I forgot his name as I also did not take good notes of my games…We can call him Karl. Karl brought a list that relied on strong defense with some anvil units that could sit on objectives and then hard-hitting knights and a mounted general to be the hammer. He also brought the tournament crowd favorite, Gotrek, the super Dwarf.
Highlights from the game:
- Karl jumped to an early lead on objectives and got his anvils in place.
- I was able to shut down his magic as planned and deal out long range damage to his big scary crossbows and minor heroes.
- I made the mistake of targeting his archers (they were a big threat….) instead of his main Battle Line troops throughout the game. His Grand Strategy was keeping his Battle Line troops alive.
- Gotrek was doing the Lancelot run from Holy Grail and I was not worried about staying away from his little legs…
- I was playing it safe and working my way to the left side when he brought his cavalry into my Engine of the Gods Triceratops. I had it buffed up with saves and armor and took a little damage. It struck back and wiped the cavalry with its mighty horns! That ground his attack to a full stop and gave me the chance to get onto the objectives.
- What seems to be a constant theme with wargaming, but especially in a system that involves players introducing their armies to each other like a Shakespeare play, we were tight on time. The Third Edition also adds in a ton of engagement during your opponent’s turn, but this draws things out a lot. You have to be speed playing in all phases to get to Turn 5. Two and a half hour rounds vs the more common three hours was also a drag.
- I was down by only by a couple points, there was around 10 minutes left and we had just finished a round. This is just a weird thing you should clarify with opponents, but he said we should do another turn, me assuming we would finish both our turns by either super speed play or talking it through. I won priority and did my stuff but we then ran out of time for his turn. I feel like we shouldn’t have started it but he seemed totally down to let me have a go… Regardless it came down to if I could kill his last battle line unit and deny him his grand strategy, thus letting me jump ahead in points, but I left one guy alive and he held out.
- Gotrek rolled something like 100 hit dice during the game never rolled a single 6 to cause additional wounds.
Result – Loss
Great opponent, helpful in teaching me stuff, and fun to see the Stormcast army. The first of many games at this event and I am just learning what other armies do for the first time… and trying not to fall into “gotcha” traps. Classic GW games…
Game Two – Veins of Ghur – Ogre Mawtribes
Opponent Number Two brought some big ol’ Ogres riding giant goats. These frost Ogres were another army I had not faced and my only advice for playing against Ogres was to be careful and not get stomped on. So I played this very conservative and that was a mistake.
The mission had board edge deployment and on Turn 2 and 3, objectives would appear on the board from a roll with three possible locations, equal distance from our two deployments. One objective would be on the centerline, width-wise, and each of us would have an objective in our deployment zone along the same width line.
I mostly deployed in a castle formation in my center. The Ogres spread out due to their size across their board edge. My opponent gave me the first turn. Me, not wanting to be caught in the open and to try to get some shooting in basically kept my units where they were and completed a battle tactic of running some units.
This was exactly what the Ogres wanted and pretty much sealed my fate. They crossed the board and charged in. My little Frogs were not far enough up so the whole army got jammed up in my deployment zone. Then the center objective fell right on top of a unit of his so he didn’t even have to reposition.
My units survived a lot of combat and the Ogres were mostly meat bags, not doing a ton of damage but never dying. The secondary objectives fell and mine landed right in the middle of the scuffle. So it was just stuck being contested the rest of the game. We whittled each other down but I wasn’t scoring any points and he was, so kills didn’t matter.
Highlights from the game:
- I almost killed his leader three times over, but this Blood Lust ability kept him alive. Any time he kills a model, it splashes healing to all units in range. Got him down to his last wound three different times.
- Kroak continued his miscasting (rolling double 1s) and that shuts him down for the Turn. This is not great when your army relies on him casting four spells each turn and he miscasts on the first roll.
Result – Loss
The mission favored the Ogres playstyle and the random objective placement did not help ease the pressure. Just a learning experience on what Ogres do as well. All I had to do was throw the Frog screens up as far as possible and then move the engagements to the center of the board and let me dictate some fights.
Game Three – First Blood – Travis (Cities of Sigmar)
For the main event, a Round Three throw down! We have Cosmic Frogs riding dinosaurs squaring off against a steampunk Union Civil War Army. It was a historical reenactment straight out of a 5-year-olds imagination. Travis had 50 riflemen, cavalry, a pair of Steamtanks, a Gyrocopter, all painted in Union blues. He spread out across in a line that General Grant would’ve been proud of.
The mission was First Blood. Small corner deployments with three objectives across the opposite corners. There was a hill in the center of the board so this was obviously a rehash of Cemetery Hill.
Travis took the first Turn and decided to shoot everything at my Rainbow Bastiladon. It has one of the best saves in the game and shrugged it off. Travis was not wrong in wanting to target it because it is one of my most potent pieces in the army, but he had the numbers and would have been better eliminating some of my weaker units to further his number advantage.
Cemetery Hill also really benefitted me as it screened most of his gun line from my whole army. He jumped on all three objectives Turn 1 as I advanced and lined up some charges.
We traded the center objective as I moved a hungry, hungry T-Rex up the left side into his swordsmen. My magic was dropping comets all over the board and doing wounds to his heroes.
Sharp Tooth the T-Rex got into the Flagellants and nom nom nomed them in a single round of combat and then piled into the swordsmen with my Croc cavalry. That flipped the objective and collapsed his right flank.
Since the core of my army was untouched in the center, I was able to just take his units apart piecemeal since he was spread thin across his backline.
Result – Win!
It was pretty one-sided kill wise, the points were closer but I pulled away in the last couple of turns once most of his army was gone. Bad day for the Blues. It was the same type of thing I had encountered earlier with Travis not having played against the Lizard Folk before.
He plans to add an Abraham Lincoln riding a hippogryph… so hopefully, that is complete at the next event in December. He wants to do a combo display board of zombie and ghoul confederates… which is all amazing.
Game Four – Survival of the Fittest – Basil (Seraphon)
A bit of a mirror match going against some Lizards that were the teleporting and summoning faction. He had a bunch of the feared Salamander units. It was also a weird situation from the Best Coast Pairings app that matched me, 13th, to Basil, 3rd… but I would play spoiler I guess.
His army lets him keep 50% in reserve and can drop in from the heavens during the movement phase.
Survival of the Fittest was a similar objective layout as First Blood but had larger deployment zones. You also had to nominate three of your units to be “predator” units and if those guys killed an opponent’s predator units you got bonus points.
I selected my Rainbow Bastiladon, the Engine of the Gods Triceratops and Lord Kroak. Basil grabbed the two flank objectives and positioned some units to prepare for teleporting on the next turn.
I kept my screens much farther out to deny his Drop Pod Salamanders from landing and blasting my big monsters (reserves and summoning units must be deployed 9″ from an opponent).
This worked out to start with and I kept his focus on my monsters while clearing one of the flank objectives and taking the center. I needed to get into combat ASAP to reduce the damage potential from the Sally flamethrowers. I got the double turn (If you go second in a round and then win the next priority roll you get to go twice basically) and was able to get my charges off into his Sallys.
I eliminated those main threats and took some hits back. Also, Kroak miscast again and Basil kept himself out of range so that was well played and basically a useless 430 point model. I crept up on the score with my monsters scoring me extra points for my battle tactics (This season favors monsters in the battle pack. GW is going with a different “season” each year and that affects some fun lore and flavor rules for the General’s Handbook).
It was looking dire for Basil with not having enough damage left on the board to clear my monsters. In the last turn, I was able to target his wizards and deny him his Grand Strategy of keeping a wizard alive.
Result – Win!
It was a close match on the score and units getting removed by my monsters were able to stay alive just long enough to push their weight on objectives. Basil was a great opponent and taught me a bunch and was a very constructive player.
Game Five – Power in Numbers – Big WAAAAGH!
My new goal is to take photos of the score sheets so I can remember names…This was another great opponent playing the new Ork book. Orks featured almost as heavily as the Lizards… a third of the field were Lizards and a quarter were Orks.
The Orks had the scary Mawcrusha monster and some of the new anti-monster ballistas from the new swamp Ork sub-faction. This Ork faction has this cool tracker that gives him bonuses as he does certain things. Complete a charge, cast something, run, etc. As the Orks hit different milestones they get army-wide buffs. 5, 10, 15 etc.
Power in Numbers involves board edge deployment with each player having three objectives horizontally in their zone. At any time, you can burn an objective you control for a certain number of points depending on the turn. Hold onto them longer and you get more points. I love this mission concept because it is one of the few missions that allow for exciting Turn 5 comebacks and forces players to focus on all five rounds.
We both set up long to ensure we capped all the objectives in our zone Turn 1. He had recently played against another Lizard army and got shot to pieces when he played conservatively so he flew the Mawcrusha straight up the gut Turn 1 and charged my Rainbow Bastiladon. Unfortunately, the dice gods betrayed him and it was a complete whiff on the attacks. Barely did any damage. On my Turn, my entire army had to focus fire and clear this beast. Which they did, but it took my entire army to do it. So in the end, he was ok with the result because it kept me pinned and not shooting anything else for a whole turn.
Turn 2 though saw me get another double turn so I was able to start turning the pressure to the other units on his objectives. Due to having to stack my army on the big beast battle, I then turn my whole army up one flank while he was spread out holding his objectives. By going on the counterattack, I was able to swing into his zone and slowly work my way through his objectives.
I did not screen my own objectives well enough and he snuck in and burned one down to make it a very close game. It was a race against time to see if I could clear his units before they burned their own objectives to score points as I was behind at that point.
I was able to come back with my monsters scoring points on battle tactics and denied him his grand strategy in the end to secure the win.
Result – Win!
It was a fun game a truly last turn last die roll kind of situation. Great opponent and a lot of love behind his army. Paid homage to the neon green Orks from the old Fantasy days.
Results and Recap
I finished 3-2 with an exciting 3-0 run to close it out. By far my best Day Two in any tournament and any system ever. Day Two is always a battle of attrition in any event.
I was also able to win Best Painted! So that was rewarding for this army. Been almost a year to date since I started painting it.
Below are some general reviews and final thoughts on the Con, the tournament and AoS in general.
- Great venue.
- Run by the folks who own The Armoury Wargames and Hobbies close to Dartmouth, MA.
- The event donates and help raise money for a Pitbull rescue shelter.
- Fun prize table stamp allocation system that increased engagement across all aspects of the Con.
Age of Sigmar GT:
- Generic terrain, nice mousepad battle mats. Would have liked more terrain but understandable given it was all provided by the convention it seemed and not extra community terrain.
- The Best Coast Pairings app is good and bad:
- I love the ease of sending out pairings to players and players can input their scores.
- From a TO perspective I would probably hate it because you cannot put soft scores into it from what I can tell. Or at least add specific weights to different scores. MS Excel for the win.
- It gives out way too much info for players. You can see updated standings every round, players can predict pairings or even go as far as manipulating their current game to shoot for a potential different result for the next round.
- Public army lists: If you know your pairing going into the next day, you can sit down and crunch the mission and their army list to your hearts desire…
- I do not know the actual trends, but because everyone can see the standings all the time, this encourages people to drop out on Day Two because they “don’t have a shot” or, more alarmingly sometimes events just cancel Game Five because no one could mathematically beat the current top score. I don’t think that happens for larger events because there is more people playing for first place in the final round, but under 20 players, it could happen.
- This is TO dependent but there needs to be a standard operating procedure for time limits and calculating results. And perhaps this happens in other TOs packets, just not this one.
- If you are short on time, make sure to not start a round if you can’t finish, or just state you keep playing till dice down, just needs to be consistent as it was different depending on who was playing. It should not be left to the players as it will always be different. Not malicious different, just not consistent.
- Calculating and predicting results: If time is called or a game is conceded, what do you do? Some games we just tallied the score as it stood. Other games, time was called at Round 4, and then we talked through the last round and then added those theoretical scores to our final game score. This matters in a pairings system that uses victory points to decide pairings on top of wins/losses.
- It also denies dice their fair due because just cause it should happen does not mean it is for sure.