Counter to some negative bias in this thread, I enjoy Age of Sigmar and I'm glad GW ever bothered to make it. The changes made from Warhammer Fantasy (WFB) to Age of Sigmar (AoS) brought myself and several of my local friends into the game.
(I just want to point out that I'm wiriting this late, and in a bit of a rush, so I apologize if it comes off as really choppy)
To explain, it's my understanding that WFB had, through successive editions, required
that players field larger and larger forces by changing the dynamics of the FOC and minimum unit sizes. Initial changes to AoS removed FOCs and points values from the game, and meant that my friends and I could collect whichever models we wanted—and only the ones we wanted—in the amount that we wanted. Total freedom for our armies, completely legal for gameplay. Additionally, AoS's rules scale differently. Technically, it isn't a skirmish game, but it has the flexibility to be played as such even if the rules lack the granularity and special tailoring most skirmish level games have for such small model counts. This meant that, even after having only started a small collection, we could begin playing "real" games. Then, to top it all off, the core rules and rules for all the models were (are) available for free.
As people who had always sat on the fence of actually caring about WFB, these changes made it far more attractive from both financial and hobby perspectives. We could afford to dip our toes into a new system and universe, and still play. Nearly a year later, our group has four players (with more biding their time before hopping in). We have players with: Forest Spider Goblins, Orks, and Khorne; Lizardmen, Sylvaneth, and Tzeentch demons (her 40k army, hooray for round bases!); Lizardmen and Stormcasts; and myself with Death, one unit of Stormcast Protectors, and six Minotaurs.
For my own collection, I had already acquired some End Times Spirit Hosts
and LotR Warriors of the Dead
for tabletop roleplaying purposes, and thus at the release of AoS I had inadvertently made a death army. Eventually, I added some beastmen Minotaurs
because I only like them in the beastmen range. Then I added a unit of Stormcast Protectors
(despite having strong opinions regarding how stupid the Stormcast were at the initial release), because I love their fluff paired with the visuals of the glaives
. As somewhat of a narrative player, I had slowly began crafting a story to unite the disparate elements of my collection together. Now, with a cohesive story and direction for my army, I have planned the next stages for expanding my collection (albeit at a snail's pace).
Also, regarding gameplay changes, ultimately, everything was streamlined. I can give you some basics here, but I recommend simply reading the rules
(only four pages), and checking out a unit entry
So, the standard Warhammer Statline (WS, BS, S, T, W, I, A, Ld, Sv) has been replaced with four stats (Movement Speed, Wounds, Bravery, and Save). For the purposes of attacking, weapons themselves have flat rolls with no stat comparison. For example, missile weapons will tell you what roll it hits on (you don't look at the model's BS and figure it out), and it will tell you what it wounds on (you don't compare a weapon's strength against a target's toughness). Additionally, saves tend to be lower than 40k (averaging closer to the 5+/4+ range and absolutely no default 2+), but in return wounds tend to be much higher (heavy infantry often have 2-3 wounds per model, characters have 5-7, and monsters can have up to 14).
Recently, GW has announced, and are imminently releasing, The General's Handbook
. Which is will be providing the official
structure many player have been clamoring for (points costs and FOC's), in addition to other forms of play (narratives, campaigns, example houserules, etc).
, comparing my response with Kakapo
's and Falsegods
' you can begin to see why AoS is somewhat divisive and controversial. What I laud as a brilliant maneuver to salvage a waning system, others regard as the climax to a series of mistakes. Personally, I think both sides have legitimate—and ludicrous—points and grievances regarding the switch in gameplay, art design, and setting. Even I had/have hangups in every one of those categories during the initial release, and I still prefer the more realistic and low-magic feel of WFB over AoS. But, somehow, it managed to attract my friends and I despite all these things, so YMMV.