Warhammer: Age of Sigmar – Core Book

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The Age of Sigmar began with the thunderous arrival of the Stormcast Eternals, borne upon the heavenly storm of the God-King Sigmar Heldenhammer. They are great heroes, snatched up at the moment of death and magically reforged – these golden warriors are thrown into battle against all who would corrupt, decay, and destroy the Mortal Realms. While Sigmar and his pantheon of Order s…
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Awards

Rating

  • Artwork
  • Complexity
  • Replayability
  • Player Interaction
  • Component Quality

You Might Like

  • Rich background
  • Many options
  • 3 Ways to Play
  • Hobby opportunities
  • Fantastic quality products

Might Not Like

  • Building and Painting Miniatures
  • Cannot Play out of the box
  • Can easily become expensive
  • Vast and complex options
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Description

The Age of Sigmar began with the thunderous arrival of the Stormcast Eternals, borne upon the heavenly storm of the God-King Sigmar Heldenhammer. They are great heroes, snatched up at the moment of death and magically reforged – these golden warriors are thrown into battle against all who would corrupt, decay, and destroy the Mortal Realms.

While Sigmar and his pantheon of Order strive for prosperity in these dark times, the Great Necromancer Nagash marshals the forces of Death in a bid to claim every last soul for his own. Meanwhile, Kragnos leads the wild forces of Destruction in a savage rampage across the civilised world, all while the Chaos Gods prepare to conquer the last uncorrupted bastions in a world of conflict and upheaval. This is a new epoch, a time of mighty battles and unending war. This is the Age of Sigmar!

The Age of Sigmar is an epic setting populated by myriad armies, powerful heroes, and magnificent monsters. It plays host to vast, realm-spanning wars between the forces of Order, Chaos, Death, and Destruction. In the Warhammer Age of Sigmar Core Book, you’ll not only learn the rich history of this war-torn age, but you’ll also find all the rules you need to evoke these epic stories on the tabletop.

The Book

This 360-page hardback book is the ultimate companion for both novice and veteran players of Warhammer Age of Sigmar, containing everything you need to know to collect, build, paint, and play with Citadel miniatures in the Mortal Realms.

Realms of War

The Core Book starts with Realms of War, an overview of the Warhammer hobby with concise how-to guides on collecting, building, and painting your miniatures, as well as the various ways you can use them to play games of Warhammer Age of Sigmar.

War Unending

Discover the history of the Mortal Realms in the first lore section of the book, containing a detailed, illustrated story-so-far, from the arrival of mankind's God-King to the savage Era of the Beast. This covers three major ages:

- The Age of Myth, Sigmar’s journey through the cosmos, his meeting with the Great Drake Dracothion and his exploration of the eight Mortal Realms. It tells of his awakening of other gods, the building of civilisations, and the fractious alliances that were forged.

- The Age of Chaos, brought about by the machinations of the Chaos Gods and their command of the Realm of Chaos, spitting daemon legions forth and destroying the peace that once reigned.

- The Age of Sigmar, in which the God-King's champions fight back against his enemies in all their forms. From the vengeful Realmgate Wars that cast Chaos back from many Order strongholds, to the cataclysmic Necroquake brought about by Nagash, God of the Dead, to the dawn of the Era of Beasts as the ancient Earthquake God unleashes hordes of rampaging greenskins into the heartlands of civilisation.

Delve into background information on each of the eight Mortal Realms – Azyr, Shyish, Ashqy, Chamon, Ghur, Ghyran, Hysh, and Ulgu – which details their links, descriptions of the native civilisations that have risen and fallen, key events that have taken place and notable geographical features; along with details of the Realm of Chaos, a nightmarish dimension home to the Chaos Gods and legions of terrifying hellspawn.

Clashing Empires

Learn about the armies and alliances that fight across the Mortal Realms, each featuring a showcase of beautifully painted Citadel miniatures, split into four sections according to their Grand Alliances. Beginning with the forces of Order, you'll glean insight into each of the factions that comprise the last bastion of civilisation in the eight realms (even if they don't always get along), before moving on to parley with their nemeses in the forces of Chaos. Meanwhile, Nagash's alliance of Death plots to claim every last soul in the land, while Grand Alliance Destruction indulges their baser instincts on a roaring rampage of carnage alongside their newfound deity, Kragnos.

The Rules

The first rules section of this book contains the core concepts you need to start fighting battles in the Age of Sigmar, taking you through deployment, the battle rounds, combat, magic, and more. The rules are laid out in a clear and concise format with additional commentary from the designers, making this the easiest rulebook to reference in Warhammer history.

Once you've got the basics squared away, find out all about the three core ways to play the game and the battleplans you can undertake in each.

Open Play
Let your imagination run wild as open play caters for re-enacting every kind of narrative storyline or tactical challenge you can think of, without restrictions.
– Includes the Open War Battleplan Generator, which provides pre-set Maps, Victory Conditions, Twists, and Ruses.
– Combining different options allows over 1,200 different types of Open War scenarios to be played.

Matched Play
Designed to put both players on an equal footing, matched play offers players an even chance of victory based around points-based army construction rules and a competitive set of battleplans.
– Includes additional special rules, including Stealing the Initiative, as well as rules for additional objectives scored on either a turn-by-turn or end-of-battle basis.
– Features much broader and more detailed requirements and restrictions than other game types, including restrictions on endless spells, reinforced units, and understrength units.

Narrative Play
Send your army on a Path to Glory and watch them develop across games with an overhauled section on narrative gameplay rules. Earn renown, gain new abilities, and even expand your army's territory while free of limitations on how, when, and where you can play.
– Includes rules and guidance on a 5-step process to starting a Path to Glory campaign, including: Choosing Factions and Realms, Starting Sizes and Territories, Orders of Battle, Core Enhancements, and picking Quests to embark upon.
– Provides guidance on how to fight battles against opponents both participating and not participating in a Path to Glory Campaign.

Conquest Unbound

The final section helps represent the vast array of battlefields and endless war that the overlords of the Mortal Realms fight across, including bespoke rules for the various, more niche type of battlefields you may come to fight, on, across, over, or indeed, under.

It includes three variant types of games for players to enjoy, including:

- Siege Warfare – all too often across the Mortal Realms, warlords and conquerors look to displace inhabitants of a territory or city that they have decided should fall under their control, and often the culmination of such a campaign is a brutal, no-holds-barred siege.

- Triumph and Treachery – sometimes duty calls for an all-out brawl between all of your enemies at once, and, when that happens, these rules can be used to represent battles that take place between three or more factions at the same time – all are frantically fighting to win the day against all other opponents, but will you be the one to come out on top?

- Tunnel Fighting – deadly, close-quarters combat is commonplace across the Mortal Realms as armies cluster into labyrinthine cave networks, perfidious skaven skitter through the city sewers, and mind-bending tunnels open up in the unpredictable domains of Chaos.

The Core Book closes out with a handy, alphabetised rules index and a photocopiable Path to Glory roster, Order of Battle, and Army roster.

For Sigmar (…Or Not)

Warhammer Age of Sigmar is the premier fantasy tabletop game by Games Workshop, currently in its third edition. The game has a vast setting that spans multiple realms where a variety of factions battle one another in an era of turmoil and war. Each of the playable factions are divided into one of four Grand Alliances: Order, Chaos, Death and Destruction. Whilst the forces of Order seek to build new civilisations throughout the wild and untamed realms in the name of Sigmar and his former pantheon of benevolent gods, the mortal and daemonic forces of Chaos look to conquer the lands in dedication to their own gods. The armies of Death include vampires, ghouls, ghosts and the skeletal bonereapers that seek to establish their own civilisations under the rule of Nagash, the god of Death, as the forces of Destruction enjoy nothing more than a good fight and to bring civilisations crashing down.

To Battle

Whichever force you choose to align with, your games will take place on a tabletop using miniature models that have been painstakingly assembled and painted (more on this later). There are three main ways to play Warhammer Age of Sigmar; Open Play, where people bring whatever they want to the table to thrash it out; Narrative Play with story-driven objectives and linked scenarios that make up an extended campaign where the outcome of each game has effects on future battles; and Matched Play where games are non-asymmetric and points-based army composition seeks to make each battle as balanced as possible.

The core rules for Warhammer Age of Sigmar are freely available on the game’s official companion app along with the basic rules for each specific unit in the game. Furthermore, detailed rules and a history of each faction can be found within the relevant faction-specific Battletomes. So why do you need the Core Book?

The Core Book

The Warhammer Age of Sigmar Core Book is a weighty tome with 360 pages filled with great artwork and lots of background information. The product is of exceptional quality with heavy pages, clear printing and a ribbon to mark that important page. The Core Book boasts an in depth overview of the geography and history of the Mortal Realms and includes background information on each of the factions within the game. The Core Book also contains a hard copy of the core rules to reference at the table, full details of each of the three ways to play and a variety of options for multiplayer games and games in specific settings.

I have played Warhammer Age of Sigmar competitively and narratively since it replaced Warhammer Fantasy Battle many years ago and I often hear people say that there isn’t any point in getting the Core Book. I do not agree. Whilst I accept that you can play Warhammer Age of Sigmar perfectly well using only your army’s battletome (the faction-specific book containing additional rules and benefits for a given force) and the General’s Handbook (the current season’s matched play scenarios and rules), it is the rich depth of the setting that makes Warhammer Age of

Sigmar special. Plus, if you really want to become attached to a specific army, and ultimately take the most joy from each game, I would argue that the narrative play options set out within the Warhammer Age of Sigmar Core Book are essential – especially for new players.

Warhammer Age of Sigmar takes commitment. You cannot play the game straight from the box; it is a many-faceted hobby. To become invested enough to take an army to the table involves many steps and a significant investment in time (and money). Models come unassembled and are packaged mainly as individual units that form a small part of an overall army. Whilst games such as Warhammer Underworlds and Warcry now act as bridges or gateways to playing Warhammer Age of Sigmar, as far fewer miniatures are required and they can be used across all three games, it is still a long process for most people to field a full force of models befitting their ambitious vision. It is important that new players select an army with an aesthetic and/or background that they enjoy and it is equally important that they have fun as they work toward their overall goal of playing full games of Warhammer Age of Sigmar. In this regard, the Core Book proves invaluable.

Path to Glory

After selecting a faction within the extensive background/lore section your journey to building a force can become a fun adventure. The Narrative Play section of the Warhammer Age of Sigmar Core Book includes full rules for playing games with a growing collection of miniatures from the very first skirmishes using only a handful of models to full-scale battles with massed ranks of troops and impressive centrepiece monsters or epic heroes. When playing through a Path to Glory campaign you will see the general of your army grow in renown as battles are fought and your territories grow.

For example, in my last Path to Glory campaign I chose to use a force of Fyreslayer dwarfs. A group of friends decided that we would each build a new army and that we would have monthly games to keep us on track. We began the campaign at the smallest size, Vanguard, and and worked up to full sized tournament armies. I chose to use two dwarven priests, a battle standard bearer, 10 dwarven warriors and a magmic invocation (a fiery entity that my priests could summon) to spit fire across the battlefield at whatever forces my friends chose to bring. I elected to establish my settlement on some ancient roads because these gave me access to additional allies and I knew I had ambitions to build some flying gunships later on in the campaign.

I really wanted to select a magic banner for my battlesmith but decided to wait until the campaign began to see which of those available would be the most useful. So I chose the ‘Search for an Artefact’ starting quest for my battlesmith so that after a couple of games I could acquire the banner I decided that I wanted. The other players chose to take a wide variety of forces including a group of hungry ogors that followed their butcher leader from battlefield to battlefield, a force of vampiric bat-like creatures, and a force of warrior wizards dedicated to Sigmar. For me, growing my armies around a story that I can share with my friends greatly increases my enjoyment of the process. Plus I find that building to a relaxed schedule suits my lifestyle.

Of course, not everyone is lucky enough to have friends nearby that are also invested in the hobby. However, there are countless clubs around the world that meet regularly to play Warhammer Age of Sigmar where people often need little excuse to embark on another hobby journey. Many of my closest friends were met at such clubs.

Yay or Nay?

The Warhammer Age of Sigmar Core Book lasts for a full edition of the game, which is usually 3 years. The core rules remain stable throughout that time and the background/lore is invaluable to help you to familiarise yourself with the game and choose a faction. In my view, the Narrative Play section is truly where the value lies and the main Path to Glory rules cannot be found in any other publication (although there’re additional rules within the faction-specific battletomes that add flavour to the options for quests and territories depending upon the forces themselves).

Overall, the simple question is this. How far along your journey into Warhammer Age of Sigmar are you and what do you want from the game? If you are a seasoned player and are primarily interested in quickly building armies for tournaments, you could likely spend your money more wisely elsewhere. If, however, you are new to the game, or if you want to utilise the Narrative Play sections of your army battletome and grow your army over time, then the Core Book is an invaluable resource that you will keep going back to.

Zatu Score

Rating

  • Artwork
  • Complexity
  • Replayability
  • Player Interaction
  • Component Quality

You might like

  • Rich background
  • Many options
  • 3 Ways to Play
  • Hobby opportunities
  • Fantastic quality products

Might not like

  • Building and Painting Miniatures
  • Cannot Play out of the box
  • Can easily become expensive
  • Vast and complex options