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My thoughts on Age of Sigmar 
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I'm still in the proces of theorycrafting and testing the game, so my view on the game is still subject to change. But considering the big overhaul that AoS brings, and the various debates about its mechanics, I thought I'd dive in and write in my view on it.

For sake of structuring my text, I'll follow the structure of the rules which are simple enough as it is :P

The Battle Rounds - Random turn sequence

The randomized choice on who goes first every round feels like a cheap trick to disorient the strategists. It also gives your movement and shooting an irregular pace.
Warhammer had it as well, with fleeing, overrunning, quick reforms, stand and shoots etc, but it was more controlled.

I'm ambivalent about it. WFB may have overemphasized min-maxed movement. AoS too little.

The Hero Phase

Magic moved to the start of the turn, which is a big thing. Your opponent (last move?) has the initiative now to position his troops against your magic phase. You will have to set up your magic defense during your movement.

Other than that, this phase feels like a charge-up round that becomes a mini management game with cards or tokens:
- Start by collecting any of your cards/tokens from the table
- Redistribute them across the table, one at a time.

I mourn the loss of 8th's magic system though. I enjoyed that. But perhaps 6-dice Dwellering all those noobs demanded a fix.
For the non-magical abilities, it's a great addition and I bet we'll see counters or cards come up for this soon.

The movement phase

It's so simplified it benefits ranked units as well as skirmishers. It might just make AoS a sort of hybrid between a ranked mass battle and skirmish game.

It brings a new aspect to the game: formations. Formations can influence combat, defense or terrain benefits.. which is a thing I didn't expect to find in this AoS. A nice surprise.

Still, strategy and style are replaced with "game". 360 degrees sight and free movement lets you slide a model or unit in any direction (without rotating). Rotation becomes an aesthetic thing, and something for irregular bases/formations.

I see dynamic scenery landscapes may become a thing in AoS.

It does seem possible to control your opponent's movement, but not without dodging a counter charge. The most reliable way to dominate their movement is by charging the enemy.. which means committing your troops.

Running: A D6 movement bonus replaces all movement restrictions and irregularities. Light-hearted, simple, gamey and non-strategic.

Retreating: Flee as a choice and it seems possible to prevent a unit from fleeing. Something to keep in mind.

It also means you can't "catch" a unit, but have to take it down or make it fail battle shocks.

Shooting
By using pre-compiled hit and wound chances, a lot of the finesse is lost. It felt a bit overpowered, as one can shoot from combat (even a warmachine), into combat. You can't "escape" into combat, or block shooting with combat, which is another strategy removed.

It feels way less refined, but gunlines rarely felt refined in WFB. It still captures the gist of things: you're going to blow things to bits.

There is but one counter: it looks like warmachines and gunners get shot more easily themselves.

Charging

Note that the new rules require you only to declare that you're charging. There is no declared target, response or anything. So, roll your dice and choose your target depending on the results. The movement liberty is interesting: you can reform during charge to maximize/minimize your models in contact with the enemy, provided you have the movement available. I bet this will permit some tricks.
It -will- be important!

It impresses me that, once your units are in combat (or within reach), then combat will happen and it's hard to get out. Taking the initiative is bound to benefit you which means you'll be rewarded if you dare to commit your troops.

All in all, we did lose the mini-game that the charge phase was in WFB. I guess the focus now lies on the result of it: combat.

Pile in
The counter to the tricks that charges permit is the pile-in. This is its equivalent and I think it will become important in more competitive games. It's a phase that can be manipulated, and so it will become a part of the game where the difference is made between the casual and the pro.

Combat
Initiative is gone and fights are picked by alternating players. This actually increases the importance of battle selection compared to WFB.

WFB, especially 8th, had the entire strike order set in stone. Only dice could make a difference now. As such, WFB emphasized the importance of movement and charging.
AoS takes a different approach, and it's quite interesting. By choosing your units to fight, it turns into a minigame where each players try to maximize their damage or minimize the damage taken. It can be strategic choice which will undoubtedly play a role.
Instead of committing a unit to a predertmined scenario, throwing in an extra unit may turn some initiative.

It also means attacking a big unit with a lot of small units gives you a penalty: the big unit goes first against all but one small unit, probably reducing the effectiveness of a frontal MSU attack.

Battleshock
A very interesting design but it has a design flaw: you need to keep track of wounds, across several subphases (hero phase, shooting, combat, ...). This could make for a messy table.

Attacking, hitting, wounding

WFB was stuck in its interpretation of damage dealing and they were in a constant limbo to overcome the engine's limitations through special rules, like re-rolls (hit, wound, armour), blanket ward saves and all other kinds of horrors.

AoS steps away from this, which offers clarity and flexibility. The cost is losing an important tie to WFB's roleplay history.
I think AoS offers less flavour, but it will play better.

Wound and counter heavy

They killed off ward saves in general (well, except for Phoenix Guard because high elves), lowered the saves and then boosted the wounds to compensate. While I applaud this change from a gaming perspective, there's a downside: keeping track of all the wounds!
I think we'll see a lot of specialized wound counters emerge soon enough :)

This makes AoS token or counter heavy, with the spells and abilities from the hero phase and then the wound counters for the units.

It almost reminds me of a Wizkids game I observed (never played).

Warscrolls and units

I think it's a very smart move to replace books by scrolls. It permits them a much more flexible release schedule. Books don't have to be completed, just the units you want to update/release.
I imagine GW will come up with battle formations of some sort, to sell new models in bulk. Depending on their compatibility with old models, they might throw in old models to boost their sales again.

The downside is that it's harder to get an overview of an army, and its abilities. I think a database of units, scrolls and special rules would be interesting at this point.

If they don't provide one, I will.


Final remarks

It's a fun game, emphasis on "fun" as in.. You have to focus on the "fun" because it's all what's keeping the game from being broken. It plays a bit like a game that's in open beta.
The game engine itself is alright. It plays fast and light. I can definitely see myself play this, for a long time.

But the character of WFB is gone, and that was important. It's the old world and its battles that inspired people to build momentous scenery, that pushed creativity and conversions.
It's neater to build a conversion if you can somehow reflect that customisation in the rules.

WFB combined a rigid and complex game with a history rich sandbox world. I remember having to look up rules in almost every battle I had. I remember being inspired to make my own characters and write my own piece of history in its rich and inviting world.

AoS turns it around, it seems. It creates a sandbox game that almost begs intervention to make your own campaign or framework. At the same time, it blew up the world and history and the first release offers a premade story which you'll have to read to go with the flow.

Ahh well.. I have a closet full of unopened WFB boxes because I have a spending issue and never enough time. AoS seems better paced to players like me. I just hope the game still presents enough of a challenge in a few months time.

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Thu Jul 09, 2015 3:02 pm
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Daeron wrote:
I have a closet full of unopened WFB boxes because I have a spending issue and never enough time. AoS seems better paced to players like me. I just hope the game still presents enough of a challenge in a few months time.


Honestly there are obvious drawbacks to AOS but it's the first thing in two editions of WFB that's got me interested. I have no idea why at a time of recession GW inisisted on WFB requiring huge spending just to get a game going. I found both of the last two editions to be based on a huge investment of time and money in buying and building huge horde units in huge armies. It was a nuts business decision becuas ethe people who can afford the models usually can't afford that level of time investment. I have a big Druchii army (more than 4K point) but I haven't the time to paint enough core units to get the thing on the table and I don't have the free time for 6 hour battles.

I really don't understand why GW scrapped the Path to Glory skirmish warband rules and why they didn't expand the border patrol rules. Once they went I lost interest and AOS is the first time in ages that I can actually see myself playing Warhammer Fantasy tomorrow


Fri Jul 10, 2015 12:45 pm
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There are a lot of good ideas in the rules and units...but for me the main problem is that the game just turns into a massive meat grinder (Not that I'm averse to such things :P) in the middle of the table. AoS has its balancing factors, but it lacks a proper strategy that can be exploited (Y'know, like proper battles). Swapping between players is good instead of initiative, but it stops being about simulating some form of strategic fight.

I want the way I play to pay off, not the order in which I happen to decide who rolls the dice.

The connection between the rules and armies needs something else before I would consider this over 8th. Perhaps scenarios will save it, perhaps not.

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Fri Jul 10, 2015 5:48 pm
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Daeron wrote:
Still, strategy and style are replaced with "game". 360 degrees sight and free movement lets you slide a model or unit in any direction (without rotating). Rotation becomes an aesthetic thing, and something for irregular bases/formations.
...
It also means you can't "catch" a unit, but have to take it down or make it fail battle shocks.
...
It's a fun game, emphasis on "fun" as in.. You have to focus on the "fun" because it's all what's keeping the game from being broken. It plays a bit like a game that's in open beta.

1) Rotation is not aesthetic; it costs movement because no part of a model may move more than the model's move characteristic. However, I doubt anyone will lose sleep over the rotation of infantry models unless they have levelled spears.
2) This is one of the better changes from 8th edition. As cinematic as it can be to punch a hold in a battle line, it sucks to have to pick up a unit of a couple dozen models because they got run down by 5 lucky chumps. I like the grind because the models see more table time.
3) The only thing keeping the game from being broken is the intelligence of the players in their army selection and tactics. Age of Sigmar gives you all of the rope in the world to hang yourself, but when two competent generals have a game, it's a fair tug-of-war.


Sat Jul 11, 2015 7:52 am
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The Mattler wrote:
Age of Sigmar gives you all of the rope in the world to hang yourself, but when two competent generals have a game, it's a fair tug-of-war.
Brilliant!

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Sat Jul 11, 2015 2:19 pm
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The Mattler wrote:
Daeron wrote:
3) The only thing keeping the game from being broken is the intelligence of the players in their army selection and tactics. Age of Sigmar gives you all of the rope in the world to hang yourself, but when two competent generals have a game, it's a fair tug-of-war.


Which is fine if it isn't a tournament game and the two generals agree on a fair battle.

Of course, there was this issue in 8th too because you always had waac players. However, you could say to your opponent "let's play a fluffy list" and know that it's just for fun and probably fairly whacky in terms of rules......but that's far more difficult now because so many units now do something completely different and 100 wounds of Skaven fluff can now be incredibly brutal compared to 100 wounds of Dark Elf fluff.

Also, there are areas of AoS that could ruin a game, not least the initiative thing. Even an agreed army list could become something horrific to face if something goes awry in the initiative phase. A Dawrf gunline is suddenly shooting at you twice in a row (two units of 10 Irondrakes who haven't moved and are within 16" could potentially cause 36 wounds in the space of a few minutes), or an Ogre army that moves 6", runs 6", rolls the initiative, moves 6" and has a charge of 6" on 2d6....turn two......when you've barely moved a model.

I'm looking forward to playing it more, but there are a lot of issues that need to be ironed out in the coming months.


Sat Jul 11, 2015 7:42 pm
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Elrithral wrote:
The Mattler wrote:
3) The only thing keeping the game from being broken is the intelligence of the players in their army selection and tactics. Age of Sigmar gives you all of the rope in the world to hang yourself, but when two competent generals have a game, it's a fair tug-of-war.


Which is fine if it isn't a tournament game and the two generals agree on a fair battle.

NO. There's no such thing as a fair fight. One side always has an advantage, and if both parties have perfect information about their respective strengths and weaknesses, the future victor is obvious and the fight itself need not occur. The whole purpose of a dice game is to muddle things such that risk is increased, and outcome becomes less certain (hence a reason to play out the struggle). The various incarnations of Warhammer, like any other strategic and tactical contests, are about information warfare; if you're better at obtaining and processing information than your opponent, you're favoured to win. In Age of Sigmar, tournament games work exactly the same way as casual games: barring crazy luck swings, the better player wins. It's much more a battle of brains and much less a battle of lists compared to other Warhammer editions. Hell, if done properly, players use a different list in every round of the tournaments they attend, drawn from the varied collection they brought to the event and chosen via the dynamic counterbuild procedures of the deployment phase. That's awesome.

Elrithral wrote:
Of course, there was this issue in 8th too because you always had waac players. However, you could say to your opponent "let's play a fluffy list" and know that it's just for fun and probably fairly whacky in terms of rules......but that's far more difficult now because so many units now do something completely different and 100 wounds of Skaven fluff can now be incredibly brutal compared to 100 wounds of Dark Elf fluff.

That's why you should abandon the pretense of fairness in wound counts and accept that relative player skill is the deciding factor. You can still make a fluffy list that's competitive, but you have to make sure you've brought a sufficient variety of units in your themed selection to deal with a wide range of situations. Just as in lists without a unifying theme, you won't use all of the units you bring in the game, but you need to have them available because you don't know what your opponent will deploy.

Elrithral wrote:
Also, there are areas of AoS that could ruin a game, not least the initiative thing. Even an agreed army list could become something horrific to face if something goes awry in the initiative phase. A Dawrf gunline is suddenly shooting at you twice in a row (two units of 10 Irondrakes who haven't moved and are within 16" could potentially cause 36 wounds in the space of a few minutes), or an Ogre army that moves 6", runs 6", rolls the initiative, moves 6" and has a charge of 6" on 2d6....turn two......when you've barely moved a model.

In case it wasn't clear from what I wrote above, there is no agreement on army lists; the whole point is for the players to grow their lists in response to each other's choices, one unit at a time. I do, however, feel the same way you do about the interaction of the initiative roll and the hero/movement/shooting phases. There's no reason why one army should end up with consecutive hero/movement/shooting phases. I wrote to GW yesterday suggesting that the hero/move/shooting phases have the same alternating unit activations as the deployment and combat phase. The initiative roll could stay unchanged because the alpha strike problem is minimized.

Elrithral wrote:
I'm looking forward to playing it more, but there are a lot of issues that need to be ironed out in the coming months.

Me too, but in the meantime I'll be wary of attempts to impose comp systems or house rules that remove the immense freedom inherent in the current rules. It will take people a long time to adapt to the new paradigm, and even longer to reach enough of an equilibrium to be able to have meaningful discussions about "balance".


Sat Jul 11, 2015 9:04 pm
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The Mattler wrote:
SNIP


Sorry, dude, but I disagree.

More than ever it's a case of bringing optimum stuff on the tournament scene and a lot of units are redundant.

This illusion of depth and tactical nous that you seem desperate to portray is just that, an illusion. Now I don't begrudge you that, fair play to you, but I just don't buy it.

For all intents and purposes we're talking about bringing your entire army, however many thousands of points, to a tournament and then sitting deliberating over what you place on the table in response to your opponent. I'll run with that and tell you how games against my Skaven army will go; you put stuff down on the table and I respond in turn with some characters, Jezzails, Stormvermin, Stormfiends and a couple of war machines. You ask how many Slaves I have and I tell you that I have about 300 and won't ever use them again because they are completely redundant. Where's the depth?

The same goes for Ogres. You'll never see an Ogre on the board ever again, because Ironguts cause a third more damage. That has nothing to do with tactical genius, it's basic maths. There's no advantage to taking Ogres whatsoever, you don't get more bodies....they're gone, irrelevant.

There's little to no synergy. I don't get 5 Slaves to each of your Witch Elves anymore. I can't tarpit you anymore. What is a Skavenslave's role in the game now? I can't bait your Cauldron and Witches with a tarpit and then hammer you with a Bell unit and feel good about it anymore. All I can do is bring cheese to match your cheese.

I can sit and work out which units cause the most damage and take them. If they don't cause damage they serve no purpose anymore. We're starting a game where optimum is the order of the day and if people thought lists in 8th had hit a nadir then they haven't seen anything yet.

I'm happy to be proven wrong, but I don't see that happening. Like I said; i'm looking forward to playing this....with mates.....with interesting lists....never in a competitive setting.

I'd be interested to hear a tale of how player skill (that doesn't involve math-hammering each unit) turned a game. It's safe to assume you've experienced a game where some serious tactical gameplay, with no reliance on a unit just being a beast of a unit, has taken place so fill me in.


Sun Jul 12, 2015 1:40 pm
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Thank you all for reading my topic and joining in with detailed discussions.

The Mattler wrote:
1) Rotation is not aesthetic; it costs movement because no part of a model may move more than the model's move characteristic. However, I doubt anyone will lose sleep over the rotation of infantry models unless they have levelled spears.
3) The only thing keeping the game from being broken is the intelligence of the players in their army selection and tactics. Age of Sigmar gives you all of the rope in the world to hang yourself, but when two competent generals have a game, it's a fair tug-of-war.


1) The rules state that even rotation is measured. But paired with 360 movement and line of sight it's just an aesthetic move. It's not as contradictory as it sounds.
There is no benefit associated with rotating your models, game wise. You don't "win" any distance. Rotating, or pivoting your model during movement will always give the model a shorter move distance than sliding it in a straight line in whatever direction you want them. As a result, it becomes something you would do for aesthetics only. Unless, of course, you have a fairly irregularly shaped model and want to close-in to another model while dodging another (or hitting it as well).

3) Hmm... it's not enough "as is" in my opinion. I'm not saying it's impossible to achieve that tug-of-war within AoS but it isn't there yet.

For the WAAC player, or competitive player, there isn't a minimal sanity check. It's not a compliment for the warhammer community that their first order of business is seeking ways to break the game... but they have succeeded it by the sound of it.
- Apparently, it's possible to deploy a single Scorpion, burrowed under the sand where it can't be hit. Choose sudden death scenario endure and let your opponent walk about for 6 turns.
- Arguably, some terrain features are a war scroll too. Deploying one of those gives you an indestructible army.
- ...
There is no minimal requirement (like WFB 8th ed 'at least x units') on what your army has to contain. As there are no specifications, anti-gaming techniques are equally valid. They may make you look like an idiot, and you may find yourself out of opponents quickly, but in the strict sense of the game these are winner tactics.
Stupid yes, but was it so hard to include "You need at least X wounds, or X units" in the rules?

For the casual, friendly player, there is no common benchmark to build a fun list
If my buddy wants to invite me for a few fun games, I have no idea what to bring except all my miniatures. During deployment, there is no benchmark or common ground given in the war scrolls. If we have mirroring armies and/or units then I could respond to his every drop of 10 core infantry with a drop of 10 core infantry on my own. But when you work out different styles of armies, that comparison becomes very complex, very quickly. What would be a fair drop opposing a Gyrocopter?
How many units per hero choice would be a good starting point?

Not that WFB was the epitome of balance. Not that I expect AoS to be that. But now I'm left entirely clueless unless I fight his units a lot, and theory craft the rest.
Scenario and story based gaming is winning big time in liberty. That was something my most regular opponent and I were really hoping to do and AoS might give us our fill. But I would have appreciated some sort of framework that helps us on our way. Now there's only the starter box.

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Sun Jul 12, 2015 9:21 pm
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Elrithral wrote:
SNIP

What I'm saying and what you're saying isn't mutually exclusive. You're right that the Warscrolls have problems, some worse than others; the Skaven one appears to be particularly bad.
Daeron wrote:
Stupid yes, but was it so hard to include "You need at least X wounds, or X units" in the rules?

If there is to be a comp system, either from GW or tournament organizers, I think it will be as simple as imposing maximum unit sizes in almost every case. That way, each unit deployment has a power level in a given functional role roughly on par with other choices that could have been made. For example, if each unit of Stormvermin were capped at 25 models, Clanrats at 40, and Skavenslaves at 50, that would go a long way. Those aren't meant to be precise numbers, but you get the idea. The strike order in a given turn makes a huge difference, though, since 40 Clanrats will run the hell over 20 Stormvermin if they strike the first blows.

Elrithral wrote:
I'd be interested to hear a tale of how player skill (that doesn't involve math-hammering each unit) turned a game.

Daeron wrote:
Not that WFB was the epitome of balance. Not that I expect AoS to be that. But now I'm left entirely clueless unless I fight his units a lot, and theory craft the rest.

Like virtually all games, GW products can be reduced to mathematics (e.g., probability, distance, and time), and the degree to which a player understands and applies that fact is the measure of their skill. Some people talk about psychology as a component, but that's just leveraging the gap in understanding of the maths. Elrithral, the tales you're asking for are made by variance of dice rolls; they're memorable, but they aren't the result of skill.

I think the main difference between what people call "competitive" and casual" players is the degree to which they put in the effort to do the maths, and how much they care about the fruits of that labour. There are some seriously diminishing returns, though; a little bit of work to understand probability goes a long way, but exhaustive calculation just takes far too much time. Interestingly, the step-wise counterbuild of Age of Sigmar's deployment system makes exhaustive calculation impossible at tableside, which is where it would do the most good. By contrast, the points costs in WHFB and 40k make unit evaluation easy, and the points limit means that the army with the most efficient compared to their points costs is heavily favoured to win, especially when you can't respond to your opponent's unit selection. Granted, Age of Sigmar still comes down to maximizing damage while minimizing losses (as a percentage, which means maximizing effective wounds), no different fro WHFB and 40k, particularly because at the moment there are no other victory conditions.


Sun Jul 12, 2015 10:44 pm
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I have no doubt that a comp system, either through choice limitations or scenarios would go a long way in helping AoS. We have done it for years as a community, and developed various comp systems. I think that can be made to work for AoS as well.
But it does feel a bit "unfinished" when not even the mildest of comp systems is included in the game. I expect to find some of those in the big book that's on pre-order... if not in comp then at least in scenarios.

But until then, it does feel like something's missing and it requires input from the players to make it work. Which is a bit weird.

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Sun Jul 12, 2015 11:13 pm
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The Mattler wrote:
What I'm saying and what you're saying isn't mutually exclusive. You're right that the Warscrolls have problems, some worse than others; the Skaven one appears to be particularly bad.


Sorry, but they are mutually exclusive. You specifically stated in the other thread;

Quote:
You have a say in what they bring to the table because your deployment choices affect theirs, and vice versa. How is that not the balancing mechanism you seek?


In one breath you're wondering why I might query the imbalance in the game.....the next you're agreeing about the lack of balance. I'm not out for a scrap or an argument, but which is it? Is the game balanced? Yes or no?

The Skaven thing is another red herring, btw. I posted this in another thread;

Quote:
Assuming all of the special rules are met (X amount of models give X buffs) and only 10 models in each unit can attack the stats for the infantry staples are (roughly);

20 x Corsairs - 6 wounds
20 x Dreadspears - 4 wounds
20 x Witch Elves - 14 wounds
10 x Executioners - 9 wounds (3 mortal)
10 x Black Guard - 11 wounds at -1

Black Guard with 2 attacks, hitting on 3+, re-rolling hit rolls of 1, wounding on 3+, a -1 to the save, 2" range and a 4+ save are pretty nasty.


Are you taking Black Guard or Corsairs? There aren't any points so you can do what you want. In a "100 wound" game you can take two units of 20 Corsairs and cause 12 wounds per turn, or four units of 10 Black Guard and cause 44. No disrespect, but knowing that 44 is better than 12 isn't astute generalship.

Corsairs, perhaps the most iconic Dark Elf core troop, are dead. This is depth? They served a purpose in 8th. They were cheaper. They're not now. They were Core. They're not now. They had a relevant save. They don't now. They could hold units up. They don't now. Corsairs won't see table time unless you're playing a themed list with a mate.

Quote:
If there is to be a comp system, either from GW or tournament organizers, I think it will be as simple as imposing maximum unit sizes in almost every case. That way, each unit deployment has a power level in a given functional role roughly on par with other choices that could have been made. For example, if each unit of Stormvermin were capped at 25 models, Clanrats at 40, and Skavenslaves at 50, that would go a long way. Those aren't meant to be precise numbers, but you get the idea. The strike order in a given turn makes a huge difference, though, since 40 Clanrats will run the hell over 20 Stormvermin if they strike the first blows.


That's an over simplified ideal. Slaves aren't 2pt models anymore, they potentially have two attacks each, with a 5+ save and a mortal wound caused on friend or foe for each 6 rolled for a fleeing Slave. They aren't awful. They aren't Stormvermin, but they aren't awful.

Nevermind anything else, what tournament organiser is their right mind is going to go through each and every unit and decide that you can 5 of that and 10 of that? The hard work was done with points. People were forced to pick core. Now they're not. It's a completely new beast and nobody, try as you might, can make it "balanced" without investing a serious amount of time, that probably isn't worth the effort.

Quote:
Elrithral, the tales you're asking for are made by variance of dice rolls; they're memorable, but they aren't the result of skill.


Eh? You have literally said the following in this thread;

"It's much more a battle of brains and much less a battle of lists compared to other Warhammer editions."

"That's why you should abandon the pretense of fairness in wound counts and accept that relative player skill is the deciding factor."

"The only thing keeping the game from being broken is the intelligence of the players in their army selection and tactics."


Is it a battle of brains or is it dice rolls? Is it player skill or the roll of a D6? Is it intelligence or that little grain of sand that shifted the dice?

Again; i'm not spoiling for a fight, but give me an example of a game of AoS that you have played in which expert gaming and understanding has outweighed dice and optimum units. Seriously.

Quote:
Hell, if done properly, players use a different list in every round of the tournaments they attend, drawn from the varied collection they brought to the event and chosen via the dynamic counterbuild procedures of the deployment phase.


Ok, for this i'll bite and be a bit arsey. "Dynamic counterbuild procedures of the deployment phase", have a word with yourself, dude. I'll see you pick a unit and i'll deploy Black Guard because Corsairs are crap now and there's no distinction between Core and Special. What's dynamic about that? What's the thought process involved in that decision? I know Black Guard do more damage and have a better save and I don't have to fill 600pts of Core, so i'm picking Black Guard. Come on, dude. I'm all for giving AoS a chance, I think it'll be fun to play, but actively trying to make it seem like something more than it is, a game for WAAC players who bring the same units every single game, just doesn't wash.

As for the other stuff about probability, check iStore....there's apps for it. People don't have to bother working it out and won't. They'll go to forums, just like 8th, and see that unit A is better than unit B, then they'll buy unit A and only casual players who share their lists with their friends will play unit B. The difference was that in 8th a net-build wasn't enough to win the game. They'll not buy Ogres, they'll buy Ironguts and you won't face an MSU Ogre army that makes you think twice about how you move cast or shoot, you'll face two units of 7 Ironguts every single time you play Ogres. Again, where's the depth?


Sun Jul 12, 2015 11:41 pm
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Daeron wrote:
- Apparently, it's possible to deploy a single Scorpion, burrowed under the sand where it can't be hit. Choose sudden death scenario endure and let your opponent walk about for 6 turns.
- Arguably, some terrain features are a war scroll too. Deploying one of those gives you an indestructible army.
warhammer aos rules wrote:
one side able to claim victory because it has destroyed its foe or there are no enemy models leftŽ on the field of battle.
Rules are clear, either would be instant auto-lose.

For casual players, of course you would say let's bring 20-25 models or 100-120 models, and no more than five single model units.

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Sun Jul 12, 2015 11:49 pm
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Elrithral wrote:
In one breath you're wondering why I might query the imbalance in the game.....the next you're agreeing about the lack of balance. I'm not out for a scrap or an argument, but which is it? Is the game balanced? Yes or no?

On a per modal basis, some units are better than others, as is always the case with the GW design team's inability to evaluate the units they create; as you said, Corsairs are one of the bad units in the Dark Elves Warscroll. That's imbalance, and in WHFB and 40k, it would be a big problem. In AoS, there are (currently) no restrictions on unit selection, so it becomes a matter of players correctly evaluating units and assembling a collection from which they can choose subsets that can address a variety of opposing armies. Yes, it sucks that doing so probably involves breaking theme more than most of us would like, including me.

Elrithral wrote:
No disrespect, but knowing that 44 is better than 12 isn't astute generalship.

None taken, although your assumptions are off (not nearly enough models in combat), and your numbers follow suit. I’m going to start working on articles comparing the damage output and resilience of Dark Elf units. Nope, it's not "astute generalship" by itself, but it's the first step, and you'd be amazed how many people don't even get that far, relying on nothing but their own anecdotes instead. Ever notice the proportion of online answers to the question “Should I take unit X?” boil down to something like “Yeah, unit X has always done well for me!” with no data? The rest of “astute generalship” is still just more calculation, though, at least in GW products.

As for the "100 wound game", that's a non-starter; wound limits don't make any sense precisely because of the differences you've already highlighted.

Elrithral wrote:
That's an over simplified ideal.

That's why I presented it as a concept for a fix, rather than a specific tweak with data to back it up. I was also trying to shy away from translating max unit size back into points cost, since that let's total points limit on the game creep back in, bringing with it the idea of pre-made, static lists, which have started to annoy me.

Elrithral wrote:
It's a completely new beast and nobody, try as you might, can make it "balanced" without investing a serious amount of time, that probably isn't worth the effort.

Oh no, it's definitely worth it to put in the time, but the problem is consensus, and considering that the community has been loathe to actually errata the game, partly from lack of knowledge, and partly because GW would actively prosecute such tinkering. As a result, rational revision by anyone outside GW is a crude patchjob, like comp systems. The biggest area of deficiency is, and has always been, the power disparity between units in the various faction sourcebooks, yet comp systems opt for a ban/restrict approach instead of altering unit stats/costs (which would actually fix the problem).

Elrithral wrote:
Is it a battle of brains or is it dice rolls? Is it player skill or the roll of a D6? Is it intelligence or that little grain of sand that shifted the dice?

Again; i'm not spoiling for a fight, but give me an example of a game of AoS that you have played in which expert gaming and understanding has outweighed dice and optimum units. Seriously.

You're trying to separate two concepts that are both strictly mathematical in the context of these games. I could just as easily ask you for such an example from WHFB 8th edition, and then reduce the "expert gaming and understanding" to knowledge of probability, position, and time. The dice results have variance, which introduces risk, but that risk is still probabilistic, and the player who has a better grasp on probability has the advantage in mitigating risk. There are indeed apps for dice rolling, and the occasional forum post that actually contains useful unit evaluation, but without the knowledge of how to ask the right questions, how to use that information, or how the results are generated, players are unprepared for novel situations. Since no two games are the same, that's huge.

Elrithral wrote:
Ok, for this i'll bite and be a bit arsey. "Dynamic counterbuild procedures of the deployment phase", have a word with yourself, dude. I'll see you pick a unit and i'll deploy Black Guard because Corsairs are crap now and there's no distinction between Core and Special. What's dynamic about that? What's the thought process involved in that decision? I know Black Guard do more damage and have a better save and I don't have to fill 600pts of Core, so i'm picking Black Guard. Come on, dude. I'm all for giving AoS a chance, I think it'll be fun to play, but actively trying to make it seem like something more than it is, a game for WAAC players who bring the same units every single game, just doesn't wash.

Although I suspect you’re right about the Dark Elf light infantry being poor choices, it's not just a matter of spamming elite infantry like Black Guard or Witch Elves. While powerful, those units have low reach due to low movement speed and short ranged weapons, so an army consisting entirely of such models can only exert force along its periphery, and units doing so are more vulnerable to counterattack. Ranged units, especially those placed on hills, exert force from deep in your battle lines, allowing multiple units to focus on a point that would otherwise be unreachable by all but 1-2 units. Some units excel at holding the line, like War Hydras; they can be focused down but so can anything, except that focusing is the only way to kill a War Hydra and failing to kill a War Hydra in a single turn is a major setback because its regeneration wastes a chunk of the effort directed at it. Sometimes you need to drive deep into enemy territory or change the shape of your battle lines rapidly, so you use fast moving units such as cavalry and flyers, which can also perform assassination missions against valuable targets (such as those providing powerful buffs or summoning new units. Speaking of assassination, Dark Elves have Assassins, which can pop out of those fast units (or any others); they’re FINALLY good at fulfilling their intended role! Then there are the support models, which also to exert force at a distance by handing out buffs and debuffs. Most of the characters have such abilities, as does the Cauldron of Blood and the Bloodwrack Shrine. The decision to deploy any of those units at all, the order in which you deploy them, and where you deploy them, sets the tone for the entire battle. Throw all those considerations together, plus Sudden Death objectives, and there’s plenty of synergy and depth to go round in AoS (most of which was also in 8th as well, to be fair).


Mon Jul 13, 2015 7:14 am
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You guys have incorrectly assessed corsairs and I am going to defend them because I have always loved them. It will also highlight a new mechanic no one is talking about namely Assault, shoot and THEN charge (yup it's a 40k mechanic)

Corsairs are not front line troops they are skirmishers or to revert to old WHFB speak "chaff"

they should be used in one of 3 way I think

1) to screen your line get some shots off do some damage in return if charged and then retreat away from danger in the next movement phase allowing some other unit to step up and charge the enemy. You have halted the enemies advance and guaranteed a charge with a unit you want to attack first plus done some softening of the enemy. If they all die too bad we were used to,this happening in WHFB when the 5 man dark riders got nailed so why is it any different now.

2) used as secondary units "flankers" they sit behind the main unit and once the enemy is engaged move up to within 3 inches fire off a volley and then charge in and attack. In this they have 3 attacks per turn this way and 20 models will (excluding saving throws) dish out on average 10 wounds assuming they all shoot and strike in combat, which is why you take them in smaller units of 10ish so they can all strike and maximise their potential.

(Note that the above calculation that of black guard doing 11 wounds in comparison to the corsairs now is not so clear.....)

3) speed bumps, advance shoot a target, charge get your attacks off and force a battleshock test. A potential 5 wounds on average with 10 guys means you might get lucky and cause a couple to flee, (come back to that) also if they don't all die or you buff them to be immune from battleshocks, your opponent has to either stay put and kill them or retreat and thus waste his initiative, so a similar result to 1) but without the retreat.

Their special ability when added to the potential wounds caused by our stronger units could mean the opponent losing a few more models over the course of a game (especially if used as flankers) also if your inclined that way with lokhir, the roll moves to a 4+ so basically an extra 50% of models die if they flee, not so significant with skeletons, but with cavalry or multi wound models there is a big issue (think of it as getting a mortal kill on a 4+ for every model that flees) now look through the army scrolls and there are some interesting synergies, dark riders , harpies and kharybdyss (fleet master doesn't count as you can only have either him or lokhir as general so wastes a command ability unless you get Magethrone scenery) -1 bravery or extra models killed on a flee or the dark riders messing with BS tests. So even a big 20+ man AHW units can for a function if desired (though not optimal use in my opinion)

I think 2 or 3 small units of 10 interspersed between your lines is a sound investment, and the extra flee on a 6 could help quite a bit if you cause enough wounds because even a enemy unit with a 4+ save if they engage your 10 blackguard and then get charged and shot by your corsairs on average are going to lose 10 models, scale that up with a bigger unit of black guard (even just 15) your getting around 14 dead enemy, make that Bs test :-) ...........and even if they do buff their unit with IP they aren't using their other command abilities where they want them so once again you are dictating the enemies game not them.

Corsairs love em and happy they have been buffed in AoS


Mon Jul 13, 2015 1:31 pm
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BASE RULE - Why take corsairs (or any other troop) if you can take better troops, they cost the same!!!

1) there is no more screening, as anything can shoot anything. I can have my dragon sit in the corner and use his breath weapon on your unit of anything anywhere on the table, just in LoS. As fas as CC look at base rule.

2) there is no such thing as flanking, and why use corsairs when look at base rule.

3) this is possibly viable, but look at base rule.

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Mon Jul 13, 2015 2:06 pm
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1) screening exists, your unit wants to charge my blackguard but I put 10 corsairs in the way you attack and either kill them or get stopped, my turn I charge your unit with my blackguard and attack first that's a screen. Also your dragons range is 6 inches if your within 6 inches and don't kill the corsairs they will have a good change at taking off 4-5 wounds on your dragon (excluding tyrant shield carrying Lord) which then makes the dragon less effective and closer to death.

2) flanking exisits just not in the form of +1 to CR for flank charging, if you hold up a attakcer with a line or square unit they will pile around you then you counter charge with the corsairs and maximise your attacks at the enemy whilst taking less attacks back in return due to the fact your opponent has overstretched his/her lines. That is a flank in AoS terms

Base rule: synergy

corsairs can effectively have 3 attacks each can shoot and reroll failed 1s to save when shot at, can cause even a demigryph to die 1in6 times (1in4 with lokhir) if they flee you get 10 per scroll instead of 5 (compared to BG, execs, witches etc...)

You take corsairs because they are differnent to other units and have different abilities, in the discourse above I didn't give a 4th option which was let your line engage and just sit 9 inches away and pour shots into the enemy while being under no threat (except from a different enemy unit of course)

Kanadian ive have watched your diffenent posts over the last year and your strategic grasp of WhFb 8th was excellent I'd love to see you open that thought process to AoS even if you had no intention of trying it out there is a depth underneath those 4 pages and the druchii will find it and more importantly exploit it, it's what the "exiles" are good at!

To finish 10 corsairs can on average kill 2 liberators on the assault, with a kharibdyss nearby that means they are fleeing on a 4+, with a dark rider unit closeby they are having an extra D6 added to their BS roll as well. Even if your enemy makes them immune from BS you have still put a dent in their lines, they roll a 6 on their battleshock and theirs one guy left and you have 3 dice to roll to see if he dies on a 6. It's not so convoluted and is a tactic.
(Edit I may have been a little enthusiastic with my maths here but they could do it :-)


Last edited by Sangfroid on Mon Jul 13, 2015 2:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Mon Jul 13, 2015 2:28 pm
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Killerk wrote:
anything can shoot anything. I can have my dragon sit in the corner and use his breath weapon on your unit of anything anywhere on the table, just in LoS.
DE warscroll compendium wrote:
Noxious Breath:... pick a target unit that is visible and roll one dice for each model in that unit that is within 6".
Sure, when you modify the rules, they may look absurd.

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Mon Jul 13, 2015 2:30 pm
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Calisson wrote:
Daeron wrote:
- Apparently, it's possible to deploy a single Scorpion, burrowed under the sand where it can't be hit. Choose sudden death scenario endure and let your opponent walk about for 6 turns.
- Arguably, some terrain features are a war scroll too. Deploying one of those gives you an indestructible army.
warhammer aos rules wrote:
one side able to claim victory because it has destroyed its foe or there are no enemy models leftŽ on the field of battle.
Rules are clear, either would be instant auto-lose.


Well, actually, you can claim a sudden death (Unless the opposing player has deployed only 1 model) and through that you can claim a major victory.
It's an argument I brought up not to diss the entire game, but to indicate it didn't include the minimal ruleset required to close a few loopholes and I'm expecting those to come in the future. Perhaps the new BRB will do that.
It should be easy enough to amend this.. But that's also why I'm surprised they didn't do that for us.

On a brighter note: my starter box arrived and I'll be building and reading it over the coming days! :)

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Mon Jul 13, 2015 2:50 pm
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After a bit more thought, I'd add a few more bits and pieces.

Turn randomiser: equalizing aspects, confusing movement, some statistics

One of the weirdest changes to the rules, with respect to previous editions, is that you now have to roll to decide who goes first in a battle round. At first this seems confusing, upsetting even, as it fundamentally changes a basic concept of a turn based game. After a bit more thought, I start to see some side effects that aren't all bad. Not all good either ;)

Equalizing shooting in first two rounds
First of all, it seems to bring an equalizer to shooting. I've faced Dwarven gunlines on a regular basis in 8th and I can't emphasize the importance of winning that first roll enough. It would make a completely different game. Let's say we count the first two turns as having the biggest impact. In 8th, you had two possible scenarios (Ignoring the deployment bonus there for a second):
  • 50% best case. First in round 1, first in round 2.
  • 50% worst case. Last in round 1, last in round 2.

The new mechanic allows 4 possible scenarios.
  • 25% best case. First in round 1, first in round 2.
  • 25% balanced, but beneficial situation. last in round 1, first in round 2. You get 2 turns before taking a second round of shooting. You do have to bear the full weight of the first round of shooting.
  • 25% balanced, but mild disadvantage. first in round 1, last in round 2. You must bear 2 rounds of shooting before your second turn. However, you do get to start with a round of your own, perhaps weakening some of your opponent's shooting.
  • 25% worst case. Last in round 1, last in round 2.

Winning the first toss still gives you a good start, but it comes with fewer guarantees. Losing the first toss might still offer a come back.

Going first creates double turn opportunities for your opponent

The only way to get a double turn is by going last in one turn, and going first in the subsequent turn. Usually, it's beneficial to go first in your turn. But there's an odd side effect. If you win the toss and go first, then your opponent goes last. For the next turn, that opponent has a 50% chance of going first and getting the 'rumoured to be devastating' double turn.

While I doubt there are many situations where you want to hang back and relax, it might be interesting to keep this in mind: going last may just create an opportunity later.

The dangers (and safety) of turn 1.

Turn 1 of the first battle round is still a dangerous one. If your opponent goes first, then you have to suffer whatever damage he can inflict before you have had a first hero phase. This implies you have no command or hero abilities in place. A good deal of hero phase abilities handle damage control or battle shock control, so you're facing the damage of your opponent without protection.

That said: there are other factors that counter this.
  • Very few spells are within range at the first hero phase. Magic probably won't be a notable source of damage as the opponent hasn't been able to close in yet.
  • The Range has been reduced on most shooting weapons. Our own darkshards have a 6" move radius with a 16" shooting range. There is but a slim chance they'll be able to shoot in turn 1. High Elf archers can combine 6" move with a 20" shooting range, but this still limits the reach. Not all weapons will have effect on turn 1.

This may give a boost to the value of Dark Riders who can move enough to get within range, and Shades who can deploy within range. Beware though that Shades might also be in range of enemy shooting who have no other targets to go for :)

Double movement

Since the amount of shooting won't drastically change because of the roll-off at the start of a battle round, it looks like movement is influenced the most. When it's possible to get two movement turns in a row, one's mobility and charge range change dramatically. Do we always need to take that into account?

As it turns out, no because of the way a double turn occurs. You can get a double round if you went last in one round and this is followed by battle round where the toss lets you choose to go first. If you go first, then you won't get a double round. If you go last, then your opponent can not get a double round.

So, on one hand taking first turn gives you the initiative in that battle round. On the other hand, it forces you to take into account a potential double turn from your opponent. That said, I still think it's better to go first. But it's something to keep in mind.

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Tue Jul 14, 2015 11:51 am
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Warmachine placement

I was considering the placement of warmachines, some tricks with or against them. During my test game against my opponent, I reached his cannon fairly easily, in spite of being squeezed between two units. Sure, it has only a 5 man Shade unit but it was way too easy.
Thanks to our free movement, you have to screen a unit, or not at all.

It leads me to think there's two strategies to protect them.

A long long time ago on a table edge, far far away

So the first idea is to place them as far back as possible, without sacrificing the range too much. The concept isn't new, and was employed in 8th ed regularly. It forced the opponent to choose between abandoning the main force, or bearing the damage of the guns.

Should they hunt the machine, then you have the benefit that the troops are split. In Age of Sigmar, it looks ever more important to manage how you commit your troops to battle.

Remember that a lot of strength multipliers are gone: units can't be broken so literally, flanks don't help out, there is no Dwellers below or mind razor.

Splitting the enemy force could be what's needed to gain dominance in the center.

Taking my gun for a walk

Another idea stems from the ability to move and shoot with your warmachine in the same turn nowadays. This would allow us to walk behind our troops, as our troops form a defensive wedge.
Obviously, this makes the war machine more vulnerable to shoot range shooting and flying troops but it also keeps them more protected. After all, there is no "rear" of a unit anymore, and your screening units can just as easily charge to the back. It could serve as bait, in a way.

Line of sight. No problem!

Our own troops might block line of sight, so that is something to watch out for. But since we have flexible formations, and shooting comes after shooting, it's perfectly possible to reform your unit to have a gap (hallway?) between your models, up to 1" through the unit to free the line of sight to the enemy unit.

That's something to keep in mind during movement, that we may have to pick our shooting targets before hand.

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Thu Jul 16, 2015 1:20 pm
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Benefit and dangers of MSU

In Age of Sigmar, it seemed people instantly jumped to small units, preferably single model units to gain an immunity from battle shocks. As I played a game with 3 small units of Shades, and quite ignorantly placed them in various match-ups I noticed there's a few downsides to small units as well.

Limiting battle shock
Small units can limit the impact of battle shock. Imagine taking a unit of 5 Shades. Killing 3 Shades in a single round will give you the following chances on battle shock:
- 0 flee: 50%
- 1 model flees: 16.7% (1/6)
- 2 models flee: 33.3% (2/6)

That's a good score against them! But it's worth nothing it's also the best you can get. If you kill 1 less model, your odds to make a model flee drop quite a bit and it's quite unlikely the unit will be gone. If you kill 1 more model, then the odds to wipe the unit increase but the benefit goes down: killing 4 leaves only 1 model to flee.
So it seems like small units minimize your opponent's return on investment on the battle shock.

Of course, a single model never has to test in the first place.

Countering small units
Following the above observation, we can conclude a peculiar treat. When a small unit takes a few casualties, but survives the battle shock... then it just became more durable against subsequent battle shocks. It doesn't offer enough models to nuke it with a battle shock any longer.

Conversely, iF you want to remove a small unit, it's better to invest sufficient killing power straight away and benefit some from battle shock than to invest too little and having to remove every single model the hard way.

Watch out for melee initiative!
MSU has one important weakness in AoS. With initiative out of the way, the battle sequence is decided by the players. Charging a large block of your opponent with three small units means only 1 unit can strike before the enemy. If a large block gets to kill your other two small units before they strike, there may not be much left of a fight.

This happened to me in my first AoS game, where I charged a unit of Quarrelers with 2 units of Shades and a Dreadlord on peg. Seems like a fair match, but the shades got knocked down fast, before they could strike the enemy.

I did the opposite when fighting a unit of Dwarven Warriors: I placed one unit of Shades in the rear corner of his unit, and swarmed the front with my Witch Elves. It would eventually force the unit to split if he wanted to step-in. I let the Shades strike first, making them a less favourable target. He focused on the Witches instead, but they had the numbers to take the casualties and strike back.
Had I charged his unit with another small unit, they might have never landed a blow.

This also teaches a counter to MSU: a wide formation can try to swallow up many small units as you can attack in a single charge or initiative.
It's a risk however, as spreading out also increases your vulnerability and risks splitting your unit up which will restrict your movement.

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Fri Jul 17, 2015 7:45 am
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Moderator edit:
I split some posts from this thread, which were more about complaining on poor rules rather than discussing them.
You can find them here: Poor rules writing in AoS
Calisson

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Sun Jul 19, 2015 3:30 pm
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