Review: Cites of Sigmar
An Age of War (Hammer)
The light of Sigmar shines down across the Mortal Realms, reclaimed by the God-King and his champions. But there was another time, another age, another world. The World That Was.
This was a different age, an age of Elves and Dwarfs and an Empire of Men. Armies marched in tight formation on movement trays filled with square bases. Cocky casters chucked spells on six dice. Ranks and Flanks mattered. This was Warhammer, and it was glorious! Well, mostly – but that’s another tale for another day!
And then, like all things, the end of the world finally came.
With the End Times bringing finality to the Warhammer World, the future of Warhammer was unknown. But like a chunk of essence of that old world, hope still drifted through the aether.
Age of Sigmar exploded out of the remains of Warhammer Fantasy and the rest is history! It may have had a false start, but AOS quickly matured and evolved. Like adepts of Sigmar, the Games Workshop studio reforged the game’s white hot beating heart, crafting it into the excellent 2nd edition. Battletomes went from strength to strength, competitive play was refined and tweaked through General’s Handbooks, and Warhammer Community worked their magic to excite and entice us with this now thriving game.
But what of those old armies? The Elves and Dwarfs? The Empire? Had Sigmar forsaken them to an eternity of being the whipping boy of Slaanesh and Flesh Eater Courts?
Have faith in the God-King and he will provide…
Order Battletome: Cities of Sigmar
It was at the Age of Sigmar Open Day 2019 when I first heard about this book, Studio Warboss Ben Johnson pointing me towards the goodies gleaming being the cabinets as he casually dropped the fact you could build a Steam Tank army. At that moment I was sold.
It’s no secret that I have been wanting to build an “Empire” army for a long time, but without a true battletome it seemed like they would struggle against the more established Age of Sigmar armies. A lot of the old Warscrolls had not been updated since the game launched, and the separate factions made it difficult to build the Mortals army of my dreams.
So are my dreams answered in the new Cities of Sigmar Battletome?
Order Battletome: Cities of Sigmar is a glorious book for fans of those old Order factions from The Old World. It is a love song to people who like to convert and build themed armies. It is a beacon of Sigmar’s might on the battlefield.
The first half of the book 45 pages of lore, crafting together images of the Cities of Sigmar and the races that dwell within them. In a great touch this section also features a number of short stories by Black Library author Josh Reynolds, which really give you an insight into these various forces and the background of where they hail from. I have loved the influx of lore we have had since Malign Portents, and this book continues this with great effect and I hope this is something that we see in future Battletomes and supplements.
Artwork is as beautiful as ever with some excellent pieces that really capture the wide range of factions that have been united under the Cities of Sigmar banner, with even the edge of page detailing tying together the feel of the entire book.
We get much more info on these factions than we have ever had, and even for people just interested in the background on who the peoples of the Mortal Realms are this will be a great source of information and inspiration for your games of Age of Sigmar.
The centre pages cover colour schemes for all the Cities, and in a great move the studio have painted up forces for each of them – showing what a united army of Aelves and Duardin look like under a single colour scheme. I love this and it shows how something as simple as a unifying colour scheme can make these forces feel like a brand new army, even though many of the models shown are relics from the World That Was.
On to the meat of the rules we get to the soul of this army, and that is the Cities themselves. On building your force you select which of the Strongholds of Order your army comes from; and each of these Cities unlocks unique abilities, command traits, artefacts and spells – essentially giving you 7 armies in one book!
And these are not minor differences between the forces, they each play in very different ways. From the artillery heavy Greywater Fastness to the magical supremacy of Hallowheart, or perhaps a taste of what Battletome Woodelves might have been with The Living City – you could even approximate the feel of a Bretonian army with a fully mounted force from Hammerhal charging a lance through the enemy forces.
Where the book gets really clever however is not limiting what forces you can take in each city – You want a Steam Tank army that can use the Living City rules to pop up behind enemy lines? Sure go for it! You want a shield wall of an army with an awesome save turn one? Then maybe give Tempest’s Eye a try!
The strength of this book is that there are lots of options, lots of ways of building different lists, and crucially for me lots of ways of using many of the old units that survived the End Times.
I say “many of the old units” as one of the downsides of this book is the fact that a lot of the older kits were discontinued before the book came out, and as such are not featured within it’s pages. This is a massive shame, as would have loved to have been able to use Cannons or Freeguild Archers, or even Glade Guard! Luckily there are enough unit options to proxy many of these. I just think it’s a shame we couldn’t keep everything – but perhaps that’s just me being greedy!
One of the other hings that is a little bit of a shame is the lack of a scenery piece or unique endless spells – however this is offset by the fact that Cities of Sigmar casters always get to use the enhanced effect of any Endless Spells. I do wonder if this is a move to appeal to players with old Fantasy armies, and this is something also seen in the Orruk Warclans book launched the same day.
The majority of Warscrolls in the book have seen adjustments, bringing this Battletome more in line with more recent releases, and I can see uses for every choice, again reinforcing the feeling of being able to build the Order force of your dreams! The options are expanded further with the ability to bring Stormcast (or even Sylvaneth or Kharadrons in some cities!) possibly making this the Battletome with the most different unit selections ever!
In summary, I feel this is one of the best Battletomes put out by Games Workshop for Age of Sigmar, and I hope this way of building armies is continued in future books – Slaves to Darkness in particular would benefit from this type of list, as would a way of combining all the Ogor factions – With the Mawtribes on the way hopefully we see this sooner rather than later!
So what do you think of the new book? Is it what you expected or hoped it to be? Let us know in the comments!
Want to try out Order Battletome Cities of Sigmar yourself? Then make sure to order from Element Games to help out the site and save yourself some money too! Element now also stock direct only items, so there’s no excuse to not pick up a Steam Tank or 8…