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What is Warhammer Age of Sigmar (AoS)?

Covered in this article: Warhammer Age of Sigmar (AoS), Warhammer Fantasy Battle (WHFB), Warhammer The End Times, and Games Workshop.

Warhammer Age of Sigmar Title Logo
Warhammer Age of Sigmar Title Logo

Warhammer Age of Sigmar (AoS)

Warhammer is one of the World’s largest and most successful tabletop miniature wargames, and Warhammer Age of Sigmar (AoS for short), is just one of 3 main product ranges and storylines within the Warhammer universe.

Games Workshop created the Warhammer hobby and model range, and Games Workshop itself has been around since the 1980’s. Back then, the business was founded by enthusiasts of the ever popular Dungeons & Dragons (“DnD”) tabletop roleplay game, and indeed the earliest Games Workshop models were designed for use in DnD.

Warhammer Age of Sigmar Title Banner 4
Warhammer Age of Sigmar Title Banner (Bonesplitterz Vs Seraphon)

Gameplay – How to play Warhammer Age of Sigmar (AoS)

The Warhammer game system revolves around a vast range of plastic and metal miniature figurines which can be brought together on a tabletop, for the purposes of playing a simulated wargame.

The game involves two or more players taking turns to deploy and move their model units, and then “attack” the opposition by declaring things like weapons firing, casting of magic spells, missile hits, sword blows – all of which are determined to be effective (or not) through the roll of dice.

Warhammer Age of Sigmar Echoes of Doom Box Set
Warhammer Age of Sigmar Echoes of Doom Box Set

The tabletop game of Warhammer therefore combines skill, in the way of strategy and tactics, alongside chance, in the form of outcomes which are ultimately determined by the roll of a die (dice).

However to get to the tabletop battlefield in the first place, the Warhammer models must first be built, and (ideally) painted.

Build and Paint your own models

This build and paint side to the hobby is well cherished by many enthusiasts, and over time has evolved to boast a huge community of artist painters and model collectors.

It’s the assembly and build part of the hobby, where our website offers its assistance.

All Warhammer hobbyists need to follow the “how to” construction guides when building any new Warhammer model set.

Any new Warhammer model set typically comes in a cardboard box, with the models attached to a plastic frame called a “sprue”.

Paper Warhammer Instruction Booklets 1
Paper Warhammer Instruction Booklets

The individual parts of each model must be cut from the sprue, cleaned (i.e. remove any plastic mould lines or debris), and then glued together according to the steps outlined in the instructions booklet.

A World-leader in Plastic Scale-Modelling and Tabletop Wargames

These days, most Warhammer model kits are produced in unexpanded Polystyrene plastic, which is itself a recyclable plastic, and a very versatile material – ideal for moulding into intricate model sets.

In years past, Games Workshop also produced models in metal. This looks to have ceased as the technology around the whole sculpting and injection moulding with unexpanded Polystyrene has improved over the years and the new plastic kits can now be made with higher detail and quality than ever before.

Resin model sets also still exist, but are typically exclusive to the Forge World model range, which is itself a sub-product-line owned by Games Workshop.

Warhammer is widely regarded as the world’s best selling and  most popular fantasy miniatures game, and can be found as a best seller in most hobby shops.

Ok, so what is Warhammer Age of Sigmar (AoS), and how does it differ from any other forms of Warhammer?

Age of Sigmar is based upon a specific World (or rather collection of Worlds) and timeline within the wider Warhammer ecosystem.

In many ways, Warhammer Age of Sigmar could be likened to a Medieval period in our own timeline. Indeed – a lot of the lore (background context, stories etc.) and armies set in the Age of Sigmar universe are akin to things we’ve seen in our own Medieval History. Armoury such as swords, shields, bows and arrows, are all commonplace in Age of Sigmar. So too are elements which crop up in fantasy stories from our own history – things like magicians, witches, dragons and other beastly monsters.

Warhammer Age of Sigmar Title Banner 1
Warhammer Age of Sigmar Title Banner

In many ways, a lot of the Warhammer Age of Sigmar lore and context takes inspiration from our own fairytales and fantasy stories, but often builds upon them to create far richer and more appealing concepts, not to mention gorgeous model sets to accompany them.

Warhammer Age of Sigmar differs from the other 2 main “Warhammer” products, Warhammer 40,000 and Warhammer – The Horus Heresy, mainly in that it falls much earlier in the timeline.

The timeframe for Age of Sigmar can be likened to hundreds or thousands of years in our past (taken with a pinch of salt), whereas Warhammer – The Horus Heresy is set around the year 30,000, and Warhammer 40,000 is 10,000 years beyond that again. So in that way, the Horus Heresy and Warhammer 40K worlds are very much set in a futuristic timeline.

Where Age of Sigmar sees heroes battle with swords, spears and magical incantations, Warhammer – The Horus Heresy and Warhammer 40,000 sees them take up futuristic weapons resembling supped-up guns, cannons, lasers, forcefields and the like.

Another neat aspect of how the timelines of the 3 main product ranges interact, are the common races which appear across all 3.

For example – long-loved fantasy stalwarts such as Elves and Dwarfs exist in the Warhammer Age of Sigmar universe, and then also make an appearance in 30K and 40K. Humans exist across all timeframes and product ranges, and indeed their weaponry and technological advancement befits the previous analogy of likening Age of Sigmar to a medieval time period, and 40K to some far off Sci-Fi future.

What else exists in the Warhammer Age of Sigmar timeline and product range?

Whilst Warhammer Age of Sigmar is a primary product line and a whole timeline and setting in itself, there are also a number of offshoots and sub-brands within the Age of Sigmar ecosystem.

Warcry, Blood Bowl, Underworlds, and Warhammer Quest.

What is Blood Bowl?

Blood Bowl Title Logo 1
Blood Bowl Title Logo (Blood Bowl Range)

Blood Bowl is a stand-alone game set in the Warhammer Age of Sigmar universe, which revolves around pitching small teams and hero characters against one another in an “American Football” style environment.

Indeed, the name “Blood Bowl” is an obvious nod to the “Super Bowl” of the NFL American Football league in the real world.

Blood Bowl model sets are typically stylised into colourful teams based on race or allegiance, and a range of new hero models accompany each team.

In terms of inter-operability, Blood Bowl models are approximately the same size as those from the Warhammer Age of Sigmar (AoS) mainline. They can often be substituted in as “proxy” models, or even converted to add weapons to match the configuration of an existing Age of Sigmar unit.

What is Warcry?

Warcry Title Logo
Warcry Title Logo

Warcry is a long established spin-off from the main Warhammer Age of Sigmar product line.

Warcry is set in the same universe as Warhammer Age of Sigmar, and observes similar gameplay, rules, and historical lore.

Warcry takes small units from existing Age of Sigmar armies and factions, and pitches them against one another in smaller skirmish based battles and themed campaigns.

The Warcry model sets are often very unique, offering special combinations of a squad and new hero characters. The Warcry setting and lore also introduces a wealth of campaign settings and battle scenarios, all of which offers a new spin on established Warhammer races, squads and units, and how to play the game.

Again, in terms of compatibility, it’s good news here – and any Warcry model set can also be used on the table alongside Age of Sigmar models. The two product ranges are produced at the same size and scale. As such, there shouldn’t be any issues, and mixing the two can create some really stunning armies and warbands for the tabletop.

What is Warhammer Underworlds?

Warhammer Underworlds Title Logo
Warhammer Underworlds Title Logo

Warhammer Underworlds is a smaller spin-off product line, set in the same Warhammer Age of Sigmar (AoS) universe.

Underworlds focusses on a slightly different product offering. Whilst the races and factions are all familiar, a game of Warhammer Underworlds typically revolves around quick play, involves a smaller model count, and has simpler rules.

Most of the existing Warhammer races (e.g. Slaves to Darkness, Stormcast Eternals, and Seraphon), all have their own Warhammer Underworlds ‘warband’ box set. These typically consist of a small unit of 5-10 models. They will also typically introduce new characters and / or new model sculpts and different weapons configurations from what might be available in their nearest equivalent unit model sets in Age of Sigmar.

Warhammer Underworlds Gnarlwood Box Set
Warhammer Underworlds Gnarlwood Box Set

Any model from Warhammer Underworlds can also be used alongside units from the main Age of Sigmar product line, since they are all produced at the same size (scale).

This makes for some great possibilities to shake things up and introduce new units and hero characters. It can be great fun to add Underworlds models and make use of the special weapons and capabilities which they can bring to the tabletop and gameplay.

What is Warhammer Quest?

Warhammer Quest Title Logo
Warhammer Quest Title Logo

Warhammer Quest is another skirmish based variant of the Warhammer Age of Sigmar product range, but with a twist.

Whereas both Warcry and Warhammer Underworlds focus on a wider range of interchangeable ‘teams’ of models, Warhammer Quest is instead intended to immerse the game players in a single environment and stand-alone tabletop experience.

Warhammer Quest has released a very limited number of box sets over the years, and each in turn has it’s own stand-alone game within a box, and a full complement of immersive game lore, background context and campaign rules.

A box set from the Warhammer Quest range typically sets the scene for a specific battle, in a specific time and place, between two fixed opposing sides. This differs from Warcry and Underworlds, where pretty much every race and faction in the Age of Sigmar universe has its own ‘skirmish team’ represented by a Warcry or Underworlds model set.

The Warhammer Quest range has produced discrete stand-alone box sets for both the Warhammer Age of Sigmar, and the Warhammer 40,000 settings. Two recent examples from the Warhammer Age of Sigmar universe include Warhammer Quest – Silver Tower, and Warhammer Quest – Cursed City.

Warhammer Quest Cursed City Box Set 2
Warhammer Quest Cursed City Box Set

Warhammer Quest models can be introduced to pretty much any game of Warhammer Age of Sigmar, since the model sets are from the same tabletop scale, and the units all come from existing Age of Sigmar armies and factions.

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