Review: Age of Fantasy Skirmish
by Ramanan Sivaranjan on March 22, 2020
In these days of social isolation, we must all find ways to pass the time. So, after one week of working from home, late last Friday night, I laid out my Warcry terrain, placed its two war bands on the field, and played a game of Age of Fantasy: Skirmish. One Page Rules has convenient quick play army lists to help you get going with the Warcry armies, and simple AI rules to play solo games. It was Ramanan vs. Ramanan: too close to call.
This is our life now: stay home and save lives.
One Page Rules makes a set of games seemingly designed to give you a (far) simpler alternative ruleset to play wargames using your fancy Warhammer miniatures.1 They have two main games, Age of Fantasy, which could be used as an alternative to Age of Sigmar, and Grimdark Future, an alternative to Warhammer 40,000. There are two matching skirmish games, and for those of you who miss Warhammer Fantasy Battle they also have one page rules for that style of game. Impressive!
Compared to the other games Games Workshop puts out Warcry is a pretty simple game, but Age of Fantasy Skirmish manages to be even simpler. Units are defined by: two stats (quality and defence), the weapons they may have, and in some cases a few special abilities. Weapon profiles themselves are also quite simple: a weapon tells you how many dice to roll when attacking, and if the has any special attributes—there aren’t that many to worry about. Here’s an example of the leader of one of my warbands:
Golem Dominator: Quality 3+ / Defence 3+ + Great Weapon A3, AP2 + Hero, Tough(3)
This character needs to roll 3 or higher to both attack and defend. His Great Weapon rolls 3 dice to attack (A3). You score a hit by beating your quality score on a d6. This is a quality test. You defend hits by rolling a d6 for each hit and trying to beat your defense score. In this case defenders will have a penalty of 2 when rolling for defense because of the weapon’s Armour Peircing score of 2 (AP2). This unit is a hero, so regular units within 12” of this model can use its quality score when rolling for morale. Tough(3) means he can take 3 wounds before he needs to start rolling to see if he’s taken out of action.
The game uses alternating activation: each player alternates activating a single unit. Units can move, shoot, or charge into melee on their turn. When your army is at half size you roll for morale. There honestly isn’t much more to the game than this. The extra abilities help differentiate units and keep things interesting.
The various One Page Rules games all play fairly similarly, so if you learn one you’ll probably have learned them all. The rules fit on a sheet of paper, you can just read them and see if they sound interesting.
The following day I set up the game again and played two games against my daughter. I was helping her with the rules, but for the most part she picked things up quickly and by the end understood the important bits and bobs of the game. I think something like Warcry or honest-to-god Age of Sigmar would be a bridge too far for her.
I plan to give Grimdark Future a go next. Will report back with how that goes.
Or, paper miniatures, stuff you bought in one of those Reaper Bones Kickstarters, stuff from a CMOM boardgame, whatever! ↩