This section is about exploring the fantastical, battle-filled Mortal Realms in your tabletop games. You’ll find a number of battleplans to try out and ideas to inspire you, including a desperate siege, a stealthy raid and an epic Chaos incursion, as well as the core rules you need to get started.

Whether you are simply trying to beat your friend’s army or aiming to recreate the many challenges that Vandus Hammerhand had to overcome to retrieve Ghal Maraz, you are playing a Warhammer Age of Sigmar battle. From small skirmishes to clashes between massive invading armies, battles range in size as well as complexity. You can play a oneoff game that lasts for an hour, or several interconnected battles in an ongoing campaign involving dozens of players, or anything in between. Tabletop commanders can test their tactical skills, fight a series of linked games or recreate some of the epic conflicts from the Mortal Realms’ long and storied history.

This section of the book is split into different chapters, each one dealing with an aspect of setting up and playing your own battles. There are many examples of the different ways to play, and plenty of battleplans to try out. As you read through the section you’ll quickly realise that there are few hard and fast rules that you have to follow to fight a Warhammer Age of Sigmar battle.

The creative freedom this offers is one of Warhammer Age of Sigmar’s greatest strengths. This section only begins to scratch the surface of the options available to you when fighting battles in the Mortal Realms.

The Core Rules

Whatever type of game you want to play, you’ll need the core rules, which form the foundation of playing games of Warhammer Age of Sigmar. These rules show you how your models move, use magic spells, shoot their ranged weapons, charge into battle, and fight with their closerange weapons – basically everything you need to start waging miniature war! They provide you with the key mechanics for everything from battle-hardened infantry to gigantic monsters, allowing you to quickly build up from your first few simple games to grand spectacles of large-scale conflict.

The core rules also provide plenty of helpful clarifications, hints and tips, along with a starting battleplan (the suitably titled ‘First Blood’), which serves as a perfect introduction to gaming in the Mortal Realms.

Wherever you go with your games, the core rules will provide the basics you need to get started, and will be your constant gaming companion. Before trying out too many of the diverse options offered by Warhammer Age of Sigmar, it’s recommended that you fight a few battles using just these rules. This will act as a great grounding for what comes afterwards.

Three Ways to Play

At its heart, Warhammer Age of Sigmar is a game that pits one army of warriors against another in a tabletop conflict to the death. Beyond that core premise, it is a hobby of vast and thrilling variation that allows you to depict everything from lightning-fast assaults to continent-spanning wars of conquest. These different ways of playing are covered in more depth in the three sections that follow the core rules: Open Play, Narrative Play and Matched Play.

Open play is the least restrictive type of gaming because it can be as simple or as complex as you like. Just pick any Citadel Miniatures in your collection and start playing. Narrative play is based around the stories of the Mortal Realms, either those you can read in our books or those you write yourself. Narrative play can involve one-off games fought between mighty heroes, or multiple games linked in a campaign. Matched play allows for armies to be tested against each other under conditions that give no particular advantage to either side, to see which army is strongest and which general is canniest.

You can choose to introduce any of the rules from these sections to your games, or even combine several different aspects in a single game. All of these optional mechanics build upon the core rules – they add to or provide variation on these rules, rather than requiring you to learn a whole new game system! From huge multiplayer battles and sprawling sieges, to campaigns fought over strange magical landscapes, these sections will provide you with exciting new gaming experiences to suit whatever type of game you want to play.

If all the involved players agree, you can take your games in any direction you like. If you and your gaming group want to run a weekend-long tournament with balanced forces using some Realm of Battle rules that you have made up yourselves based on a region of the Mortal Realms that inspires you, do that! If you want to tell a story of epic conquest with your games, where your progress is recorded on a map, and each location you control grants your army special magical abilities, then that’s the way to go – you can use any of the maps published in Warhammer Age of Sigmar books, or you can draw your own. Whether you’ve just picked up your first Start Collecting! box or are dusting off a vintage collection from days long past, the open, narrative and matched play sections are here to help you find your favourite way of playing, and give you the tools to bring the Mortal Realms to life on the tabletop.

The different ways to combine the rules in this book are practically endless, and this flexible system ensures that, whether you are just getting started or have decades of experience, you can find a style of play that suits you. These styles are fluid, and their component parts can often be used together depending on what you are trying to achieve. There is no right or wrong way to play Warhammer Age of Sigmar, so long as everyone adheres to the Most Important Rule. We’re all here to have fun, after all!

The Most Important Rule

In a game as detailed and wide-ranging as Warhammer Age of Sigmar, there may be times when you are not sure exactly how to resolve a situation that has come up during play. When this happens, have a quick chat with your opponent and apply the solution that makes the most sense to you both (or seems the most fun!). If no single solution presents itself, both of you should roll a dice, and whoever rolls higher gets to choose what happens. Then you can get on with the fighting!
Casting and Unbinding Spells
A WIZARD can attempt to cast spells in its own hero phase. You cannot attempt to cast the same spell more than once in the same turn (even with a different wizard).

In order to cast a spell, first say which spell the wizard is going to attempt to use (it must be one they know). To cast the spell, roll 2D6. If the total is equal to or greater than the casting value of the spell, the spell is successfully cast.

If a spell is cast, the opposing player can choose one of their WIZARDS that is within 30" of the caster to attempt to unbind the spell before its effects are applied. To unbind a spell, roll 2D6. If the roll beats the roll used to cast the spell, then the spell is not successfully cast. Only one attempt can be made to unbind a spell.
Charge roll, charge move
Any of your units within 12" of the enemy in your charge phase can attempt to make a charge move. Pick an eligible unit and make a charge roll for it by rolling 2D6. Each model in the unit can move a number of inches equal to the charge roll. You cannot make a charge move with a unit that has run or retreated earlier in the turn, or with a unit that is within 3" of an enemy unit.

The first model you move from a unit making a charge move must finish the move within ½" of an enemy model (you do not have to pick the target for the charge before making the charge roll). If that’s impossible, or you decide not to make the charge move, the charge fails and no models in the unit can move in this phase.

Once all models in one unit have made their charge moves, you can pick another eligible unit to make a charge attempt, until all units that you want to make charge attempts have done so.
© Vyacheslav Maltsev 2013-2021