The Idea: Making AoS play like 8thThis project is now complete
-to the extent that I have posted values for every faction currently available as either free PDF downloads from GW, Forgeworld, or as Battletome lists. The exception would be named characters, as many named characters have very powerful special rules which do not "play well" with the formula (explained later). As such, I am editing this initial post to explain where the project has found itself, and the theory behind it.
As you probably know, Age of Sigmar is lacking two major elements of all previous Warhammer games; firstly, they have removed the traditional "rank and file" regiment from the game, and all models now move in 40k style 'blobs'. Secondly, and more importantly, they have removed any type of balancing mechanic from the game, including the points values. Without these balancing mechanics, players were left on their own to figure out how to create equally matched forces, and while careful discussion with your opponent could sometimes "ballpark" a fair game, it was hardly a foolproof system. Other players adopted a system which balanced by wounds, and that had it's own drawbacks as soon as you realized that a 2W model is rarely as powerful as a pair of 1W troops, and so on.
If I was going to return AoS to the style of "traditional" games of Warhammer, the first thing to tackle would be assigning points costs. This is important not only for playing AoS in the fashion of older editions, but also for playing AoS in general. The game seemed to be begging for a balance mechanic.
You are probably aware that AoS has done away with the complex charts and tables from previous editions - models now Hit and Wound on flat, unmodified numbers. This makes the "math hammer" for these values very linear, and ultimately, this is what allowed me to make a reasonably balanced formula to determine points values. The formula itself is quite complex, but at it's most basic, I determined the average stat values To Hit, To Wound, Rend, and Save and assigned them a points value of 7. From there, I tested and "Math Hammered" every warscroll in every faction, with every wargear option - against this average. By reversing from the end of the combat with both sides at 0 Wounds, I was able to determine how many of the 7pt "baseline" models it would take to destroy any particular Warscroll unit.
Next came adding the classic "rank and file" elements of the previous editions. This has absolutely no bearing on AoS games - it is possible to use only the points values - but it helps to make the game palatable to veteran players, and also polishes some of the more unusual elements of the (very sparse) AoS rules. Rather than creating entirely new rules however, I wanted to use AoS as a foundation and work from there. The rules I have written - which I call the "Realmgate Legions" - are guidelines for how units would interact if they were deployed in rigid formations during a normal game of AoS. The units still move, fight, and interact as exactly as they would in the basic game, and no new rules are added, or existing rules changed in any way except to restrict players from making certain choices that would normally be allowed in the core ruleset.
Why 'Realmgate Legions' and not '9th Age' or a similar '8.5' reboot?
Initially, I was working on a sort of 8.5 - a way to give 8th edition everything that we were promised in 9th. However, I saw that this was ultimately a dead-end. 8th edition is over, and nothing new will be released within that framework. GW has moved on to AoS now, and if we want to continue playing a supported and official game, we'll need to move on to AoS as well. If you want to play an unofficial edition such as 9th Age, that is fine - but why not just continue playing 8th? Both systems are unsupported and unofficial, and at the moment, 8th is more common and more widely understood than any fan-created offshoot.
I can determine the points values of any new Warscrolls released by Games Workshop in the future, and I intend to. When new models are released by GW, those of us playing with the AoS/Realmgate rules will be able to utilize those models, in exactly the same way we did when the End Times models were released during 8th. Importantly, the 'Realmgate Legion' rules do not break or violate any of the official Age of Sigmar rules. They only impose restrictions. If a person familiar with AoS games were to watch a game being played with the 'RGL' rules, they would not see anything "illegal", but would instead ask why players are not making particular choices or utilizing certain facets of the AoS rules, or why they are maintaining these rigid formations. A player might ask the same thing when two gamers choose to balance their forces by Wounds, or impose some kind of "thematic" restriction for a scenario. For this reason, the 'Realmgate Legion' rules should be accepted in official GW hobby stores. This was hugely important to me, because I want the 'Realmgate' rules to spread and grow. I want to see veteran gamers return to the fold, and I want to give new gamers a system that has enough tactical depth to not go stale. If formatted like the AoS core rules, the RGL rules are only 3 additional pages of content, and add a great deal to the game. I think that they are certainly worth giving a try - especially if you are a returning Fantasy player.
Reading the Entries
The warscrolls are presented in the same order that they appear in their PDFs or Battletomes. When reading them, the following rules apply:
1) If a particular wargear choice is not shown, assume that it is included in the cost. For example, a warscroll might say that a model is armed with either an Axe or a Flail, but if all that my entry says is: "Model - 10pts" then it means that the model will cost 10pts regardless of what wargear options you give it.
2) "Choose One Below" means exactly what it says - choose a model from the list below. This is common for units who have multiple types of wargear or options, many of which have differing points values. Some units also have a upgrades that are available only to certain numbers of models in the unit. These are not priced in addition, (unless you see a +Xpts) but rather, just "choose" that model as part of the unit.
3) Use common sense. If a warscroll describes a model as being armed with a "either a Chaos Axe or Chaos Flail" then do not assume that if you pay the +Xpts/Model for a Chaos Axe, you will get to keep the flail as well. Come on guys, use your heads.
Limitations of the Formula or How Balanced IS It?
Unfortunately, I can't claim that my formula for determining the points values is perfect (and as a disclaimer, no system ever is or will be). I can say that I applied the formula equally to all warscrolls across all of the factions, so if - for example - Wizards are somehow overpriced, then all Wizards will be overpriced.
Known concerns with my formula mostly stem from "non-attack" abilities. Things like buffing/nerfing abilities, auras, and so forth. This applies both to models like the Engine of the Gods and Warshrine, who apply buffs in a large area and target multiple units, but also to units - who get buffs by being near a certain other models, such as the bonuses that many Tomb King scrolls get when they are near a Necrotect.
One "fix" for this is to simply overlook it. With the Necrotect example, I charged players as if this model would be going into combat, however, putting it into combat means potentially losing it and the buffs that come with it. If a player chooses to hide the Necrotect safely behind the lines, then they are being assessed points for combat abilities that they are not utilizing, and I doubt that the minor buffs handed out are worth the points cost of that entire model not attacking.
Another concern is that some attacks are very nebulous. There are some attacks which hit every unit within a certain radius, or jump from one unit to another unit in range (Skaven lightning attacks, for example). Other attacks target every model in a unit. I have no way of knowing how many units will be in range, or how many models will be in a unit - so I had to estimate. I assessed all units by the same values (X units per radius in inches, or about 10 models per unit) but it's obviously not as perfect as the 1:1 ratio used for determining price of models in combat.
Because of the mathhammer nature of the formula, all that I was able to account for were direct kills with weapons - missile weapons and in melee, and spells. I did impose a 10% "movement adjustment" to models with M7+ to represent the advantage of being able to move slightly faster than their enemy. I also added scaling points for weapons that have more than the typical 1" of reach.
Preliminary tests indicate that the formula should be quite well ball-parked, and to be honest, I see the possibility for under/over priced units as a facet of the strategy in the game. Otherwise, there would be no reason to explore taking different units beyond just "I like how this one looks, etc". Finding particularly powerful combos that let you get more "bang or your buck" out of a unit or two, is encouraged. If anything seems truly devastatingly broken, let me know. I'll be using these rules as these points values in my own games of AoS and therefore will be updating them if I catch anything unusual.
OKAY - POINTS VALUES ARE WHAT EVERYONE ASKED FOR: NOW USE THEM!