So, the biggest new thing for Age of Sigmar is the new “Skirmish” game, which came out just this Saturday. Having had a bit of time to read through it, it looks like it will be a fun way to play Warhammer, especially since I have a relatively smaller force at the moment.
The rules are quite a bit different from standard play. Instead of controlling small tactical units of men, you control separate individual troops. This opens up a bit more freedom of movement, as you aren’t hindered by having to move an entire unit to engage. It also allows a bit more focus on your models and kind of build a backstory up for them (if you wanted to).
Units are recruited to your squad via a point-based “Renown” system. You and your opponent will start off with a set amount of renown with which to start building up your party. At first the amount of men you have in your group will be very small (depending on how many points you are playing with), but with each battle your renown will grow, allowing you to pick up more troops for the next chapter of your adventure.
Not only does completing a fight earn you renown, it also depends on how the battle resulted. A major victory will earn you more renown as your leader gains more reputation, but even in defeat you will earn some points to bolster your forces for future battles. Along with this, after a fight both players will roll to see what kind of rewards they will earn for the fight (extra renown being one of the rewards available), the victor having a bit more flexibility in what they reap.
To build up a skirmish army, you first need a leader amongst your men; a true hero. They will get special benefits such as artefacts and relics along the way. They are also the basis for your battle-shock rolls, so it is best to choose a leader with a bit of bravery. Once you have chosen your commander, you won’t be able to change your mind later, so make a good choice for your play style, as a lot of things kind of depend on your leader. There are many heroes to choose from for each faction, so the ability to change up each time you play through the skirmish campaign keeps things fresh.
The rest of your retinue will be composed of your regular troops that you can bring in, including other heroes, though you won’t be able to label them as your leader. The only limits to what you can bring with you would be that they should stay within the same Grand Alliances (Order, Chaos, Destruction, Death), so you could potentially have a very mixed tag-rag group of characters fighting together.
The campaign itself is split up into six skirmishes, each fight progressing through the story line. If you can achieve a major victory, you get a special bonus reward as well according to the mission. Winning a skirmish will not only give you benefits in the rewards roll, but also will provide a small boon for you in the upcoming fight.
Overall, I think this will be a fun way to play Age of Sigmar, especially if you don’t always have time for a full scale battle. My local Games Workshop will be holding skirmish battles each week with multiple people, so it will be fun to finally blood my warriors. Next week is when the first skirmish map will start, so I have a bit more time to prepare my troops for the upcoming campaign. Hopefully to bring back some sweet victories!