So I played 9th age last weekend…

And it’s complicated…. (not in the sense that my opinion of the game is complicated, but the rules are quite complicated.)

Let’s tell the story of how I came to play the game. A mate of mine (who has joined me for KoW a few months ago) asked me to join him in a battle of 9th age. As someone who has mourned the passing of Warhammer before switching over, I thought why not?

we got used again!

So after a quick google search I downloaded the league of Rhor.. Empire of Sohnstahl army book and started building an army. It was bit more complicated than building an army in Kings of War, but nothing more complicated than Warhammer 8th edition. Aparrently an army of 4,500 points 9th age is more or less comparable to 2,500 Warhammer 8th or 2,000 points of Kings of War. All-in, a fairly normal army size.

the first thing that struck me was the point costs of characters. In KoW a 185 point character (General on flying beast) is a large point cost for a character. The equivalent in 9th age (370) is just a well-kitted infantry or cavalry general, while flying beasts are a lot more expensive. A master-wizard easily costs 500 points in 9th age, which is the equivalent of a revenant king on flying wyrm in KoW. Only the dragon-mounted characters are more expensive. This shows the prevalence of magic and magical items in 9th age over KoW.

500 points just for me?

Anyhows, so I built a copy of my KoW League of Rhordia list as Empire of Sohnstalh (2 hordes of 40-man infantry, regiment of halberdiers, couple of troops of chaff/shooters, regiment of knights, regiment of war elephants (griphon knights), 2 troops of mounted scouts with repeater guns and one troop of pistoliers and a 500-point wizard.)

The game itself was a quick afair. Too many special rules to be remembered (orders? Detachment rules? What did those spears do again?) and the fact that Kings of War tactics do not work in 9th age -duh- made it quick work. My oponent played skaven eh… Ratkin eh Vermin swarm with decent efficiency and his experience showed on the field.

What I remember most about the battle is, where in Kings of War chaff does a good thing stopping charges, in 9th age there’s a thing called overrun. A single doom wheel managed to wreck a whole flank with its impact hits as my units were too close to each other. 9th age is most definately another game than Kings of War…..

Characters / war machines / monsters can *and will be* attached to units to increase their effectiveness multifold. The difference between -say- a unit of spearmen and a unit of spearmen led by a marshall of the empire and a prelate (elector count and warrior priest) is that one is nothing but a anvil good for nothing but dying while the other is a serious damage dealing monster. Coming from a world where the ability of a unit can only be changed by giving it a magical item (or not) this is a whole different mindset.

The verdict?

There’s no verdict yet. I’ve yet come to grasp the basics of the game to be able to somewhat control & analyse what happens on the battlefield.

The game is a lot more “fiddly” compared to Kings of War, as there are quite a lot of modifiers to a units’ performance on the battlefield. Not only does magic influence a battle, there’s also units in the vicinity, orders, equipment, characters and racial abilities. All this makes for a lot of *aha* moments. As the game is about risk management, I need to reduce the amount of *aha* moments for me to enjoy it to the fullest. Not sure if I’m willing to spend the time to get to know it that well, though.

The good thing about 9th age is that it can be played with my existing KoW armies. (I just need to fiddle a bit with wound counters instead of removing models, otherwise it’s just a one-on-one port. ) That makes the switch quite a lot more comfortable than building a complete new army for a testrun.

All things compared, I’m still on the fence. I’ll probably be trying the game again, if only for the sake of the friendship and to give it a real chance. I might actually enjoy it once I figure out what’s going on.


One thought on “So I played 9th age last weekend…

  1. That story reminds me quite much of when I tried out 9th age. I convinced a friend of mine (who played 8th edition for a very long time and is passionate about it) to try it out with me. We both were not convinced afterwards. He disliked that he needed to learn something new, I disliked it not being as easy as KoW even though I find it a lot clearer than WHFB 8th edition.


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