Train of thought: A new edition of Age of Sigmar

The announcement of an impending new edition of Age of Sigmar had me asking if it’s really been that long since the current edition was released, and the answer is “kinda”. It’s been three years, and good portion of that’s been under a pandemic when people weren’t gathering to play games (or at least, shouldn’t have been). Three years isn’t a bad turnaround for a new edition, though given GW’s track record of “forgetting” that some of their factions exist when they update an edition, I have to wonder how some will fare. Look at how many Space Marine codex releases there have been – just the core, not the individual chapter codices – compared to the Dark Eldar/Drukhari and Tyranids, who were skipped entirely in some earlier editions.

I get it, Space Marines are the big moneymaker for 40K, but there’s a track record of leaving some armies to fall by the wayside, and even for those factions that do receive an updated codex or battletome, there’s the question of value – or lack thereof – in the new book. When a new book is released with one (1) new model entry and a rehash of the existing lore, it’s a blatant reminder of how GW can lean into being the biggest name in town to set their own prices and just expect people to pay up. I miss the days of Privateer’s book releases for Warmachine/Hordes, where even the Forces Of… books came with – at bare minimum – a new warlock/warcaster, some new warjacks/warbeasts, a new unit or solo (or both) and lore than continued on and expanded from what came before. Even if only interest in a faction was the fluff, there was an advancing storyline that led us down the path to Oblivion. Literally. Like, the fiction ultimately led us to the Oblivion box set and the coming of the Infernals.

Age of Sigmar has upped its narrative game with the Broken Realms books granting an overarching metastory to the setting, and I’ll confess I’m curious to see where it leads. Much like their 40K core boxes (which are pretty much always Space Marines vs Flavor of The Month) we can expect the same from the new Age of Sigmar core, but we seem to be cycling through the Grand Alliances. It started with the Stormcast vs Chaos in the form of Khorne worshippers, then moved on to the Soul Wars with Stormcast vs Death in the form of the Nighthaunt. With the announcement of the fourth Broken Realms book being named after Kragnos, the End of Empires,  it may be Destruction’s turn at bat.

Will we see the Ogor Mawtribes taking the center stage, or was their feature in the Feast Of Bones box the only love they’ll be getting for awhile? What about the Beastclaw Raiders being singled out again? The Orks (sorry, Orruks) have had multiple battletomes in the last edition, with the goblins (gitz) getting their own and the Savage Orruks being squished together with the Ironjaws into a single book. The Sons of Behamat got a lot of attention with the release of the Mega Gargants, but perhaps it’s time to see something entirely new. It –is- a new edition, after all. With Kragnos himself being an enormous Centaur-like beastie, perhaps we’ll see something along those lines. An army reminiscent of the chaos beastmen and dragon ogres, but even hairier?

I have mixed feelings about a new edition being announced when we’ve had a shortened experience with the previous thanks to the pandemic keeping us away from FLGS’s, but perhaps a new edition will help people get excited about gaming in person again and help break down any lingering trepidation, once we’ve all had our vaccines and it’s safe to game again. As much as I want to game in person again, and I do encourage everyone to be sensible and mindful. As much as we all love pushing little army men around tables and cursing our dice, please continue to think of others. Don’t be the vector by which someone loses a loved one.