Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Champions
December 1, 2018
At this year’s PAX Unplugged, we had the opportunity to meet a lot of game designers and have hands on play time with the newest and best tabletop games on the market.
One of our favorites, in fact our Favorite Game at Show, was Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Champions. AOS Champions is from PlayFusion, in partnership with Games Workshop (makers of Warhammer Age of Sigmar). Below is a game overview and our impressions. Also, we highlight the new Onslaught Expansion which released during the PAX Unplugged weekend.
Background and Lore.
Based on the popular miniatures battle strategy game, Warhammer Age of Sigmar, Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Champions takes the “Warhammer Age of Sigmar” universe and brings it to the collectible card game world, utilizing a familiar turn-based battle system.
As the father of a 10-year old, I am more than familiar with collectible card games (CCG) (maybe better known now as trading card games (TCG) — think Magic: The Gathering or Yu-Gi-Oh! or Pokemon) but I am far from an expert. At best, I’m a bumbling noob, squinting at the powers described on beautifully rendered cards.
That being said, in one sitting at the AOS Champions booth, I was able to not only learn the basic play mechanics but also, appreciate the amount of strategy and game play that could be invested in this game. In other words, you’re going to get maximum bang for your buck learning and mastering the ins and out of Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Champions.
Much like video games, a tabletop game that has a good backstory and mythology is destined to draw me in and keep me hooked. On this front, AOS Champions does not disappoint.
Head to https://www.warhammerchampions.com/gameplay/lore/ to learn the whole backstory but for our purposes, you need to know that you and your opponent will “take command of one of four powerful factions and recruit an army of legendary Champions.” The factions, or Grand Alliances, are split into four categories: Order, Chaos, Destruction and Death. Each Grand Alliance has its own strengths and weaknesses, affected by your internal game play as well as the Grand Alliance chosen by your opponent.
During the game, “[p]layers deploy units, cast spells, and unleash deadly magical abilities, while completing quests to earn blessings from the gods. Only the mightiest of warriors will stand victorious in this battle for the Mortal Realms that spans both physical and digital worlds.” Yeah, I’m totally in with this kind of set up.
“The game begins with players positioning the Champions from their chosen alliance upon the battlefield. Each Champion is accompanied by an unknown blessing, which may come into play during the match [Ed.Note: the Blessing cards are placed face down under a Champion card]. Once all Champions are deployed, the game can begin. Players take turns to perform up to two actions, this may include playing a card to deploy a unit, cast a spell, or unleash an ability or using one of their cards’ heroic acts. For every action‘passed’ the player will draw a card.
“As the battle continues, Champions will progress through their own personal ‘quests’ by completing a set of objectives,which may include damaging the enemy, deploying units or activating spells. Once a Champions’ quest has been completed their blessing is revealed.
“Blessings are powerful abilities bestowed on Champions by the gods that can quickly change the flow of a battle. Combat continues until a player reduces their opponent’s health to zero and SEIZES VICTORY!”
You can download the Rules here.
Basic Deck Set Up.
Champions play with one of four “Campaign Decks.” Each Campaign Deck is dedicated to one of the 4 Grand Alliances (Order, Chaos, Destruction and Death) and each Campaign Pack comes with 38 cards broken up into: 4 Champions Cards, 4 Blessings Cards and 30 Action Cards (consisting of units, spells and abilities). Once you get the Campaign Deck, you’re ready to play – no other purchase required to do basic play. You can buy the beautiful game mats and miniatures, separately. You can buy each Campaign Deck for $15 at one of the games’s authorized distributors.
Champions can combine their basic Campaign Decks with cards from Booster Packs. Each Booster Pack contains 13 cards including: 6 Common Cards; 3 Uncommon Cards; 1 Rare Card; 2 Guaranteed Champion or Blessing Cards; and 1 Guaranteed Foil Card.
“With our latest expansion, Onslaught, 128 cards are being added to the card pool. These are designed to work in conjunction with the existing cards in both the physical and digital game, so that players can hone existing tactics and forge new ones! Onslaught also introduces the mighty Realm Magic, where players can choose a realm that will provide them with unique blessings and spells for the duration of that game. Once a player has selected a realm, they are locked to it and may not change for the duration of the match!”
Onslaught expansion packs are available for purchase now! Here is the trailer for the Onslaught Expansion:
Champions can scan their physical cards into a mobile/PC version of the game and then play online against Champions around the world. You can take your physical decks digital so you don’t need to rebuild or obtain cards twice!! The digital version of Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Champions is currently available on iOS and Android.
We LOVED Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Champions. It was a great balance of a few things we need in order to enjoy TCGs. First, it was easy to learn to play. My PlayFusion guide gave me the basics and had me up and running for a game demo in just a few minutes. Second, it’s the right length of play. When I approached the booth, I was worried I was committing myself to an all day affair but the partial game demo (we left out some type of moves and gameplay) took about a half hour and I never found myself checking the time to see how long I’d been sitting there. Which goes to my Third. The game is interesting without requiring a masters degree in nerd minutiae to understand. The cards themselves are beautifully illustrated and the instructions are intelligible and keep you engrossed in the game play as you take turns, back and forth with your opponent. And Fourth, it’s easy to get this game up and running. Two Campaign Decks and you’re off to the races. Granted, having the game mat with the illustrations and labelled card slots and health meter around the edge, increased my enjoyment but certainly isn’t necessary for the overall experience.
In a time when I am always looking to my son (and myself) an alternative game experience to video games, Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Champions is the perfect storm of CCG/TCG. Whether you’re a legendary Champion or brand new to the world, Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Champions is extremely accessible, interesting and For.You.