Warhammer Age of Sigmar Champions is a new TCG brought to us by the team at Play Fusion in partnership with Games Workshop, it’s available both as a Physical game and a Digital Mobile game.
Now I’ll start off by admitting a huge fan of the Warhammer franchise, I’ve been an avid wargamer for many years and will most likely continue to do so. So, when I tell you that the effort taken by the team at Play Fusion to capture the essence of Warhammer Age of Sigmar and distill it into a card game is amazingly impressive, it’s not something I say lightly.
Also, this article is about my impressions of the game, it’s not intended as a how to play guide, for that, you can simply download the Champions App on iOS or Android and give it a go yourself, something I’d highly recommend.
Warhammer Age of Sigmar Champions is unique within my TCG experience, as regular readers know I’m a big fan of The Final Fantasy Trading Card Game, and knowing what an investment a second TCG would be I was reluctant to start playing Champions. This all changed at EGX 2018.
I and the GameHype team strut around the NEC at EGX 2018 located in our hometown of Birmingham, my eyes spot a huge banner with Warhammer Age of Sigmar Champions emblazoned upon it. Well, my course was set, I arrive at the Play Fusion stall to be greeted by a huge setup, what must have been 16 tables with nerds and geeks ready and excited to teach me how this game works.
I sit down and the lesson beings, Immediately, just from looking at the play mat I can tell this isn’t the usual TCG.
Champions core gameplay is structured around, well your champions. The ‘Campaign Decks’ (Champions name for Starter Decks) are spit across the Grand Alliances in the Age of Sigmar. Each deck has it’s own unique and thematically accurate to the tabletop gameplay style.
Chaos features corrupted mortals and powerful daemons granted awesome and terrible powers by the Chaos Gods. Order, the noble Champions of right, pledged to keep the evil tides of chaos at bay. Death, Simply put, Vampires and Necromancers who seek to use dark magic to bring the world under their power. Destruction, Now truth be known, I love the Destruction faction, battle-obsessed green-skinned orcs, always spoiling for a fight.
Naturally (well, I say naturally, seeing as of at the time of writing Champions lacks a Skaven Deck) I opted to use the Orcs, The forces of Destruction were mine to command, my foe elected to pledge himself to the dark gods and brought the forces of Chaos (In the chaos deck, mostly those of the Blood God, Khorne). to face off against the mighty waaagh!
Now the game itself bids you choose champions (up to a points cost of 20, the higher the points cost of a champion, found in the green circle on its card the more dangerous and capable the champion) who seek to earn the blessing of the patrons (Blessings are exceptionally powerful spells or abilities) by completing certain quests. One way in which WAOSC is unique is that these champions aren’t directly involved in the battle, damage to your opponent’s health is done through the champions command of units or casting of spells. Just in the same way, your heroes in the Table Top AOS would.
Now, Orcs for those who may be unaware are what’s known as a Horde army, as a rule, they lack individual finesse, so they seek to outnumber the foe and destroy them through the weight of numbers. Now I was concerned that Warhammer Age of Sigmar Champions would struggle to replicate this aspect of Orc lore. Well, I had no need to worry, Warhammer: Age of Sigmar Champions has many a game mechanic to make this TCG feel as much as a part of the Warhammer universe as it can. In the instance of Orc hordes, certain Orc cards are ‘Stackable’ Meaning that if you play Orc units on top of each other, it will boost the damage they deal out.
The Chaos campaign deck features terrifying hulks of corrupted mortal ready to carve up innocents for the glory of their patron lord. (I’ll add that in the time since EGX I’ve switched to using a chaos deck, purely because Valkia the Bloody has a card) Now, this deck plays much as you’d expect, dealing huge amounts of damage with little regard for its own units wellbeing, even to go as far to injure it’s controlling player to dish out even more damage to its poor doomed foe.
Now while I adored the Destruction campaign deck and found no faults with it at all, I have one issue with the Chaos deck. This complaint is purely one of lore, My favourite Chaos god is the blood god himself, Khorne, (Well again, in the absence of the great horned rat) now old skull throne abhors magic and sees dealing damage from afar as a shameful disgrace. However in the campaign deck which heavily features subjects of the blood god, to the point that it may as well be called the Khorne deck. It also features horrors of Tzeentch, master of (cowardly) magic, having these two elements side by side somewhat ruined the feel of the deck. I understand that many Deck builds are available through buying booster packs and the additional plethora of cards available. From a TCG starter deck point of view however it makes perfect sense, freeing players up to take their deck in whatever direction they like.
If you are planning on starting to play Warhammer Age of Sigmar Champions physically I would dare to say that purchasing one of the games official playmats is essential. Warhammer Age of Sigmar Champions has a complexity that adds hugely to the enjoyment the game, however for your first few games there’s an awful lot to keep track of, fortunately, the playmats come with all the phases of each turn and a legend of what the symbols on cards mean. I lost count of how many times this has been so amazingly useful in teaching friends how to play the game.
Another added value bonus of Warhammer Age of Sigmar Champions is that it’s not divided into the digital and physical versions of the game, every single physical card you own can be scanned into the digital app and unlocked for use online. This is something other TCG’s have done but far too few. Now, why am I so impressed by this, well simply put, it means a much larger player-base.
Now as a veteran TCG player I can attest to the disappointment of rocking up to your local TCG venue and not being able to find a game of your chosen system. Which often leads you to question why you’re investing so much time and money into the hobby. Well in the case of Warhammer Age of Sigmar Champions it’s card scanning feature means that no longer is my TCG playing tied to my physical location, I can, in fact, play people from all around the world at any time of the day or night. This adds longevity to the TCG itself meaning that come to the release of the 2nd set of boosters you’ll see my ‘cracking’ packs all hyped at the idea of pulling a powerful champion or blessing.
So, to sum up, Warhammer Age of Sigmar Champions is a breath of fresh air to the TCG landscape, with its consistent board state concerning champions meaning your favourite characters are on the board for the entire battle, coupled with the constant turnover of units and spells. I’ve never felt like defeat was certain while playing Warhammer Age of Sigmar Champions,
we’ve all played TCG’s where certain combos are unbeatable and the game is in effect over as soon as your opponent puts the final trigger of said combo, but with Champions, I’ve been left with 2 health as I’ve managed to complete a champions quest and the blessing bestowed has completely flipped the game and given me the win.
So I hope to see you many of you at Warhammer Age of Sigmar Champions Organised Play events or to wage war against you on the app. I mean you’ve really got no reason not to try Warhammer Age of Sigmar Champions, the app is free so give it a blast.
Campaign Decks, Boosters,Playmats, and health counters were all kindly provided by Play Fusion, however, this is not sponsored content, all thoughts are that of this Warhammer nerd.