The Generals Handbook – Our experiences visiting Games Workshop – episode 131

Bad Dice

 The Generals Handbook – Our Experiences visiting Games Workshop

The Generals Handbook is an awesome new release from games workshop that includes 3 new ways to play Age of Sigmar including Open, Narrative and Matched play.

Open play is pretty much Age of Sigmar as we know it now, Narrative is story driven along the line of the realm gate wars books and the 3rd version is Matched play which includes a FULL POINTS SYSTEM for all Warscrolls in the Age of Sigmar.

Ben Curry (Bad Dice Podcast), Dan Heelan (Heelanhammer), Wayne Kemp and Russ Veal (Facehammer) were invited into games workshop to, and i quote, “Help make it great”

This episode is our experiences on this fantastic weekend and a first look at what is coming in the Generals Handbook.

In the show, in addition to talking about the fantastic time we had meeting Jervis Johnson and other members of the studio, and getting to play stet some of the ideas and scenarios in the book and we also release more information about the contents of the book.

  • First thing, its a book and will be release in the summer.
  • There are 5 new campaigns including path to glory,
  • 22 new battle plans from small games all the way up to epic battles between the games biggest characters.
  • 6 new ‘Pitched Battle’ scenarios
  • Multi-player and team play and of course,
  • full points values for every Warscroll in Age of Sigmar.

Listen to the full episode for more information




If you have anything to say about this episode feel free to let me know by leaving a comment below or sending an email to

You can also contact me on Twitter and Facebook

Episode Transcription.

I’ve been asked a few times for more in-depth show notes as people do not want to/can’t listen to the eispode so here is the full transcription of the show.

(I have only just received this back so it is the raw file, I will tidy up the text over the next few days)


Dan: Hello. Hello, everybody, and welcome to a very special podcast this evening. A nice round table discussion with some superstars of the Warhammer community and the podcast community, or at least we like to think so anyway. I’m Dan from Heelanhammer, and with me, as always, is Wayne from Heelanhammer. Hello, Wayne.


Wayne: Hello.


Dan: We’ve dialed in some superstars. We’ve got Ben Curry from The Bad Dice Podcast. Super power gamer of old and reformed character. How you doing?


Ben: Certainly a reformed character, I’d like to have you all know. I’m doing fantastic. Thanks for having me.


Dan: No worries. I’m excited to talk to you. And of course, the main man, Russ. The Face from Face Hammer. Tournament legend. How you doing?


Russ: I’m really good, mate. It’s great to be here.


Dan: It sounds it. I love it. Welcome, one and all. We’re super excited to be talking tonight to you about this. We’ve been sitting on this for a while and we’re now officially allowed to come and talk to you, so we’re going to. I’m going to start off, and we’re going to tell this in a story mode for you and get to the meat and the bones a bit later on.


[00:01:01] First off, Wayne, I want to talk to you about where you were when you heard. An email came through the system. My email and Ben’s and Russ’. We all received an email. Wayne, not being quite as tech-savvy didn’t quite get it, but…


Wayne: Yeah, I’m probably the only person on the planet that doesn’t have an email. So you text me about what was going on, but it was very cryptic, wasn’t it?


Dan: It was. What happened was … Pete from the studio in Games Workshop, he said, “Guys, we would like your help to make something really cool, and can you turn up at Games Workshop on this date.” Probably with a few days’ notice was all we got. Wayne, what was your gut feeling when I told you about this?


Wayne: Well, obviously I found you straight away once you actually told me what was going on. Well, … you told me what was going on but we didn’t know what was going on and I had to explain that to my wife. She rolled her eyes at me and I said, “I love you but I’m going.” And that was that.


Dan: Ben, what was your thoughts when you got this mystical email?


Ben: I just rang you guys. I phoned you, Dan. I was at work. It’s just super exciting. It’s like “squee,” you know? Excitement noises. There’s only one thing we’re being invited in for. It’s not to design models and stuff like that, is it?


Dan: No


Ben: All your cogs start whiring all the things you’re thinking it could be and hoping and dreaming it might be. It was seriously cool.


Dan: What about you, Russ? I know you had a similar reaction, did you?


Russ: Yeah, definitely. Where I work I can’t have access to my phone so I come out of a day of work and it brightened my day up. I had a cryptic message from you saying, “check your mail.” So I did, then I rang you. It was like Ben said, really. Your head starts buzzing, the excitement starts building straight away, doesn’t it? It’s almost like a kid in a candy store. The night before Christmas, however you want to … what analogy you want to use.


Dan: The one that always tickles me, and this is the one I related to Wayne. It was we’ve been given the Golden Ticket to Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. Handed to us, but you can only make it on this day. That’s the one that sticks with me, and that’s basically what happened. We had about four day’s notice. We’re all busy people, Ben and I self-employed. Wayne and Russ are in full-time, very busy jobs. There’s families involved and they’re thinking all of us, when the call came, made it happen, didn’t we? And carted ourselves down to Games Workshop.


Off we popped to Nottingham. We … were invited to a dinner where we were going to get told about what we were actually there for. Such is the geekiness of us. We didn’t really ask, didn’t really care. We just made sure we were there. We turned up at dinner after doing the usual thing of Warhammer World. For those of us that don’t see it often, we did the exhibition and all the other cool things there. We sat round a table and Pete and Ben from … not Ben, another Ben from Games Workshop studio come and talked to us. Another gent called Andy who’s also Games Workshop. Some folders came out in bits and pieces. Ben, do you want to talk us through that moment?


Ben: Yeah. It’s a lot like something you’d see off the TV. with a cop drama, sliding a file across the table. All the food had come out and we opened up all these books, and it was basically everything you could hope for when it comes to what you want Games Workshop to do with AoS. New rules, all that sort of thing. Super secret. You guys get to have a look and give some feedback on it. Excitement and this level was just through the roof. I think Russ just mentioned earlier, food was forgotten. Everyone’s piling into the books. It was fantastic.


Wayne: I’ve never seen Dan get that distracted from his dinner. It went quiet, didn’t it? It wasn’t quiet because we were eating. It was quiet because we were pouring over these documents and just trying to absorb everything before they realised, “actually, no, give them back.”


Dan: Yeah, I didn’t even know … so Pete. If you know Pete, he’s quite like a cheeky chap, is the best way to say. He smiles up as he does with this little move and he says, “We’re going to basically make this book and we think you guys can probably help us out.”


We flick through the thing. He said, “We’re going to do a few different things and then one of those we want some input in is this matched play idea. It includes a point system.”


We all looked at each other and couldn’t believe what was happening. Cue silence and then we all start flicking through the book. I should say it wasn’t just about point system. This is one thing I want to talk about, the whole book as a whole. I know Ben, you explain this best. Do you want to explain a little bit about The General’s Handbook, as it’s going to be known?


Ben: The title’s going to be The General’s Handbook. It’s pegged for a summer release. It’s got three main ways of playing Age of Sigmar. It’s not ways of playing, it’s new ways to play. You’ve already got your four page rules. This is basically a book which includes a load of new ways to play. Matched play, narrative play, and open play. Open play is kind of already what we’ve got. No restrictions. It’s just basic Age of Sigmar. You can do whatever you do now. You can chat to your mates. Me and Dan could play and we have a discussion before we start, put the models on. Just normal Age of Sigmar.


Narrative play is like the campaign. They’ve done different campaign releases over the past. Blood in the Badlands, I think there was a white dwarf one and some similar ones like that. There’s going to be campaign systems, five different ones in the book. One of those is going to include the match play variant on the the campaigns. It’s ways to play through a story arc. You build your campaign and get [inaudible 00:06:38] a certain story. You build your army up as you go along. The final one, which, obviously, we all hardcore [inaudible 00:06:45] gamers were dead interested in is the match play. They are actually going to be allowing … putting rules into the games and points into the game to pair off and play tournament-style games using a point system.


Or indeed, it should be said not just tournament but matched as the word suggests. You and I don’t know each other. We can turn up and play.


Russ: So it’s a way to basically turn up and play a balanced game between two strangers using the same system. They remotely come up with the lists or [inaudible 00:07:16].


Dan: Yeah, which is fantastic. We’re going to talk a little bit more about that in a bit. We’ve got these … the book, if I’m right in saying it’s 22 battle plans, which is fantastic. There’s six pitch battles, as they’re known, which we will talk about in a minute because we were involved with those. You’ve got another 4 or 5 campaigns through the book. There’s 160 pages of it so it’s a fairly hefty book and a fantastic price as all these printed medias have been from Games Workshop at the moment.


We had this food, which was great. I didn’t get to bed til about 3 a.m. What time did you go to bed in the end, Russ, by the time you’ve [inaudible 00:07:52]?


Russ: When we got back to the hotel we were in the lobby and I went, “do you want to go up and talk about it a bit more?” We were literally just…


Ben: We got invited back to Russ’ room.


[crosstalk 00:08:05]
Russ: We basically just … I think it was about 2 in the morning before we decided we actually need to go to bed. I though it was quite funny, the discussion about what time to start the next day as well.


[crosstalk 00:08:19]
Ben: [inaudible 00:08:20] and Dan’s like, “9? What? Can we not be there at 7?”


Dan: I’d get up at five. I just wanted to get on with it. It was one of these things we were given an opportunity to give some feedback and be involved with creating something, and we got a day, so let’s make the most of the day. Wayne, you and I obviously went to bed late as did Russ and I’m sure Ben did, when he got home reading it. But we were pretty excited about it, weren’t we?


Wayne: I think the excitement level was kind of different because we’re all in this hobby for slightly different … the style of game we play as well. Competitive-level hobby gaming. The most exciting that stood out about what we thought was going to happen with this book and what has actually happened is the fact that it’s a book for everyone. Regardless of how you play Age of Sigmar or how you want to play, this book will cover it …


Russ: I think it’s great to close the loop, isn’t it? Anyway you want to play, it almost … for me, the validation of saying you can play it your way and competitive play is valid if you want to play that way, but so is open and so is story-based. Do what you want. That’s always been the great ethos behind Age of Sigmar, which I think makes it such an exciting game to play because it appeals to everyone. It’s got such a wide audience that it appeals to.


Wayne: I think the massive thing as well to take into account is this: when you … Obviously, there’s so many releases from Games Workshop at the moment. So many books, novels, and this, that, and the other. I would say this is the one book that if you play Age of Sigmar, everybody needs this book because it has something for every single player out there. It’s the one book that … It doesn’t matter what you play, it doesn’t matter how you play. This is what you need.


Russ: It’s the handbook, isn’t it? [crosstalk 00:10:01] It’s aptly named. Everyone needs to have it, really.


Ben: From my point of view we’re really pushing the club at the moment. [inaudible 00:10:09]guys down at the games club, and that involves 12 of us or 16 of us it’s been the past few meets, practising hard with our [inaudible 00:10:17] lists. Same time we got new guys coming in who have said, “oh, I’ve got some models from 5th edition. Can I come down and play?” This book would apply to both groups, and it’s great. It’s [inaudible 00:10:30] what you want, really. It’s fantastic.


Dan: Yeah, it really is. For us we had this late night, early morning. I suppose we should describe the moment. For me, anyway, I didn’t even know there was a front entrance to Games Workshop. As far as I knew there’s just [inaudible 00:10:42]. We get a text that says, “meet … we’re at the front entrance.” I was, “Where’s the front entrance?” … Oh yeah by the gold sigmareen. We [inaudible 00:10:50], let through, and rolls up. We’re playing basically, in … what’s the best way to describe it, a board room? Is that the best way?


Wayne: Yeah, it was behind the prosecutor wings, wasn’t it? If you look at the photos of the front of the building you’ve got the liberator, or the sigmareen, as Dan calls it. You’ve got the liberator, and in the background you’ve got the prosecutor wings on the front of the building. We’re playing in that room.


Dan: All the tables get moved away, gaming tables, like it’s normal. Just put some gaming tables down here. For me, I’d never been in there. There was some bits you could see of some beautiful … how the models were molded and this kind of stuff. We get taken into a little room. Russ, who walks in as we’re sitting in this little room?


Russ: None other than your hero, Jervis Johnson. I think pretty much all of us … he’s had such an influence on our childhood and in the games we’ve played. It was a bit surreal, to be honest, but it was great to have that moment.


Dan: Yeah, it was. Wayne, it was like two old people of [crosstalk 00:11:55]. Two stalwarts (that’s the word I was looking for) having a chat.


Wayne: Yeah, we had a little chat, obviously, before we got down to business about [crosstalk 00:12:04]. We did that. Ole boy bonding.


Dan: We were debating things like, so … for those of you who don’t know, Jervis had a massive input with the [inaudible 00:12:13] rules guys in the system. Just been had a chat, philosophal approach to the game. You guys were whining about the [inaudible 00:12:23], weren’t you? When you started with no points and all this kind of stuff …


Wayne: Yeah, we were talking about a game that was pre-Warhammer. We were talking about that. Obviously it was a DW game. It was a skirmish game, funny enough. We had that chat because we wanted to do that. We all wanted to speak to Jervis because it’s that thing. You don’t have a ton of opportunities, don’t you? When am I going to actually sit down and have a chat with this guy? When am I going to get the opportunity again? So you take it.


Russ: I think it’s good as well because at the end of the day we’re all war-gamers, so we all got something to talk about. That’s why we do our shows. We could talk about war-gaming for hours [crosstalk 00:13:04].


Dan: Of course, one of the reasons we were asked to come is to play-test some of the scenarios in the match play bit and look at points and just look at a few things that were going on. That was cool so we sat down, didn’t we? Each time we came into the room we had a chat about the scenario that was there and maybe some tweaks and some of our own opinions on the scenarios and perhaps the victory conditions and things, and then went away and played it. Ben, do you want to tell us a little bit about your gaming experience and what went on in that aspect?


Ben: Russ killed [inaudible 00:13:39] [crosstalk 00:13:42]. I wasn’t sure in bringing the cast wars because of the forge world and that sort of thing so I brought someone [inaudible 00:13:50] test out some of the new summoning ideas and things like that. The scenarios are fantastic and what really struck me was you read the scenario and you think, “I’m a big boy, know how to play.” You read the scenario and you think, “yeah, this is clear or it’s not clear.” [inaudible 00:14:09] straight away. Then you play it in the way where you are actually playing to test the scenario. Then you have the same conversation at the end of the game and it’s wildly different after one game. How many times I’ve been to events and I’ve written scenarios for events and things like that, and getting everyone as a group all with the same mentality of let’s pick these things apart. It was really cool to see just the process of play-testing the scenarios, getting them down and getting them tight.


What was fun as well was I think I played two games. People played three games over the day, so I got the chance to watch other guys doing the same thing in the third game. I sat out because we had an uneven number, I think. Play-testing the scenarios for the book was really good fun, especially in that environment. Chilling out in the board room with the prosecutor wings on the front windows, watching Dan [inaudible 00:15:02] play Jervis Johnson. Talked to [inaudible 00:15:07] [crosstalk 00:15:08]. It was just a proper amazing experience but also quite surreal. I also do remember being very ill for the whole weekend. Not a well boy. It was fantastic.


One of the things that really brought it home … we say we all love the game, we talk about it all the time on the podcast, we go to these tournaments, but particularly seeing Dan. Dan was just so excited all weekend, just blew anything out of the water. It was like a little boy making his first trip to see Santa. It was amazing. You’ve asked me, Dan. What about you? Getting to play Jervis, what was that like?


Dan: There was a lot of things we did at the weekend, so we … Games Workshop treated us fantastically. They put us up, they took us for lunch in Bugman’s. So we’re sitting in Bugman’s Bar next to Jervis chatting games with him. There’s a bit … anybody that’s been to Games Workshop will know this. There’s this bridge. I like to think of it as the bridge of Khazad Dum. It’s this big, long … goes out the back of the canteen to another place that doesn’t really exist. It’s like a mythical place. We come out the other side of it to walk across. I was like, “hold on, guys. We need to stop and just take this moment in. I’ve been coming here since I was sixteen and never been across this bridge.” … In the games when they were like, “Let’s pair off” I was like, “Please let me play Jervis. I want to play Jervis.” … There’s a photo of the event, which I’m sure the listeners will have seen by now. It’s of me playing Jervis. The one photo that we’ve got and I’m not even smiling. [crosstalk 00:16:53]. It was, and just chatting to Jervis and understanding how much of a gamer he is, and some of the people we’d seen him wiped off over the years, he was saying, “You know, I’ve been in contact with.”


Then I was talking to him just about his army. Do you play? What do you play with? Do you paint? This kind of stuff, and just having a game. It was fantastic, absolutely brilliant. Honestly, it’s easy to say, but literally probably the best moment of my hobby life, and I’ve done lots of things in this hobby. I’m very fortunate. It was one of the best. Being able to provide feedback for something that’s hopefully going to give people enjoyment. Wayne’s said it before. It’s kind of like a childhood dream, isn’t it, Wayne, in terms of being able to have an input on the books and things that other people would …


Wayne: Absolutely. I think it’s that … We’ve all been playing a while now. We’ve all invested a lot of time, effort, money. We love what we do. Then actually being able to have the opportunity to play a part in something that’s going to happen or is happening, is a bit mind blowing, really. Even now, after we’ve … this was a month ago, wasn’t it? Just over a month ago. You still got to pinch yourself because being allowed into that circle to be able to test stuff … What I found really refreshing as well was one of the scenarios that we played, I mean you played, Dan, didn’t work. We just said, “It doesn’t work.” Jervis was brilliant and he just went, “Okay, it’s gone.” He just scrubbed it off and came up with another scenario.


Dan: I was going to talk to Russ about this because now, Russ, he’s obviously does a fantastic job on the south coast pack in terms of the battle plans and all the rest of it. We were all sitting around talking about different scenarios and victory conditions and we did a lot of this chatting the night before. Russ, you must have found it that how open Games Workshop were about No, that don’t work. Bin it. Cross this out. Try this, and listening to ideas. It was fantastic, wasn’t it?


Russ: Yeah. I think it’s always great to be involved in that. From my point of view, watching the scenarios being played, we tried to … we looked at them. We wanted to keep them varied and interesting and we also were looking at “can we make it work? What if we change that?” It did feel like a two-way process. It wasn’t “here’s the thing. What do you think? We might take it on board.” It was a very organic process and going into the boardroom or the side little meeting room to talk thorough the [inaudible 00:19:09] we were going to test. Almost [inaudible 00:19:14] crafting it straight away and saying, “we’re not sure about that, not sure about that.” Making a couple red pen edits. Going in, playing the mission and actually after the game immediately going, “okay, well that went really well.”


The game me and Ben played, that scenario felt really quite balanced and good and felt right. Conversely you guys basically were like, “well, this isn’t really working.” Jervis disappeared to basically do a quick “let’s make a new scenario” and sort of disappeared during the second set of games and came back. It was fantastic. Being involved in that sort of … very briefly and helping with that design process is, at the end of the day it’s a bit of a childhood dream, isn’t it? We’ve been playing these games since we were kids and we love it. Being involved in that is just an absolute privilege. Being invited up … I didn’t imagine that Games Workshop wouldn’t want to know our input. Obviously they wouldn’t have asked us there. It was brilliant, how well it all worked. Only one day but we got so much covered.


Dan: It really was. It was fantastic to be asked. I should say how historic I suppose it is. I can’t remember the last time that this kind of thing happens, where Games Workshop Willy Wonkad it and opened the doors and said, “You guys, we want to make this as cool as we can. Can you come and play some games?” That was brilliant. The two-way approach was fantastic. Jervis is a pro, isn’t he? He looked at it and he went, “I don’t like this or don’t like this.” Bum bum bum. Comes back. Slams it on the desk. The creative process … as a guy that … I spend all day sorting problems out and dealing with people, I don’t get too much creative, in a creative process very often. It was refreshing to see how this kind of stuff got done. People who like the hobby-playing games.


Wayne: He processes things really quickly, doesn’t he? As you’re talking to him, like when we sat in the board room and we’re … the room next to where we were playing, and we went through the first 3 scenarios and we’re bouncing ideas off each other and talking about this, that, and the other. He’s just scribbling away taking notes and this and that and he’s taking it all on board and he’s processing it really really quickly and making it work and adjusting stuff. It was great watching that, actually, because obviously we all know Jervis as the great figurehead of GW that he is. Actually seeing the guy working, watching the cogs turn and him doing actually, that was great. It was really good.


Dan: Yeah, and not even just Jervis. There was Ben and Pete from the studio there who have a massive input in this stuff. There’s obviously other people involved … such a big team effort from chatting to the guys. To be even a little part of that was really cool. It wasn’t just the day, was it? We should say, I know Ben and Russ, you’ve all been involved with this, back and forth about points, FAQs, all these bits and pieces surrounding the game, which has been really cool to be asked to be involved. The Games Workshop have gone really well on the community. Ben, as a person who’s been involved in the community and things for some time as we all have, what’s your thoughts on this new sort of approach to not only this day, but the general … the Facebook and Games Workshop coming out into the community?


Ben: It’s just great. I know everyone says they should have been doing it all along, and they should. For whatever reason, the fact that they’re here now and doing it and doing a fantastic job of it as well is really exciting. They’re doing things like posting random blog posts of beast-tracking in the realm of beasts and different monster footprints. Just fun stuff on the social media just to get people involved and posting and taking part in the community. Never mind the books that are coming out or the models that are being released. They’re just getting people who are massive fans of Games Workshop on the Games Workshop page talking about Games Workshop. It’s just awesome at the moment. I think this General’s Handbook is going to increase that. It’s the tool that you’re going to need to drive that community even more. I don’t think … I think people who want to hate will hate, but I don’t think you can actually pick a bad thing about the book.



Russ: I think it’s going to open the floodgates for a whole new generation of gamers and inject a load of enthusiasm. Exactly what we want from Age of Sigmar. I think it’s definitely going to do that.


Dan: Russ, as a tournament gamer who has been very successful over the years, you musthave been really pleased to see the return of this points and structure. It’s quite exciting, isn’t it? Listing and trying to work out what you can do to compete and play your mates. Is that something that’s been exciting you
Russ: Yeah, I think when you’ve got something to think about when you’re not actually at the gaming table, to prepare for something is a great thing to be … a distraction, basically. I think when we’re doing the whole south coast GT process and I was getting people emailing me and saying, “This bit I like. This bit doesn’t really work for us. Can you clarify this?” It was going do it how you want. Use it as a base, as a foundation. What I think this book is going to be fantastic for is it’s a foundation for people out there. You can play straight out of the book if you want but if you want to take what’s in there and build on it. You could say, “actually I want to play a ladder league and I’m going to use bits of it and I’m going to change a few bits.
If you’re not quite as experienced as us that basically had to come up with a system from scratch, there’s something to build on and work on. Whether that’s [inaudible 00:24:45] game or you’re going to run a tournament and you’re going to run the scenarios, the battle line pitch battle scenarios from the book and you’re going to go down that route or you’re actually going to go, “well, let’s do a narrative campaign weekend as an event organizer.” Even if you’re just a gaming club or even just playing with your mates or down at your local GW store, it’s a great way to build on that. I think it’s going to really get the ball rolling for excitement for new players coming into the Age of Sigmar experience. We’ve been part of it from the get go but I think it’s really going to break down those barriers that maybe people are thinking, “I’m not quite sure” or need a bit of structure. I think this is great because it’s giving everyone that foundation to work from.


Dan: I agree. I want to come to Wayne on this, actually. We talked a lot about this on the show. We’ve interviewed some great people that really love the open play and the narrative and all the bits and pieces where you don’t have these points and love it. There’s plenty of people on the closed Facebook groups. They’re all pro-no points … Bringing it back to the book, the best thing about it is you can do any of it and it’s something for everyone. Wayne, you enjoy this open play idea, don’t you? We’ve both been playing that way?


Wayne: I love the scenarios where you actually … When we spoke to Jervis about this, the way he envisions Warhammer as a whole is that you are two directors and you’re making a film. That game is decided on the cast that you pick, your armies, to play out the film. I love that because you have that discussion. You work out the armies. You play one of the stories from the book or however you want to do it. I think that the importance of this book is that it covers everything. This isn’t just another publication. By the time it releases it will be the publication because it will be, I’ve said this earlier, but it is literally everything for everyone.


Dan: And if you’re not keen on points, then you don’t use that part of the book. That’s the beauty of it.


Wayne: We got a lot of new players coming into AoS now [inaudible 00:26:45]. Loads and loads of new players coming in. I think what you’ll find now is that will grown because it’s growing anyway. Also we’re going to get a lot of the players that maybe dropped out of AoS are going to come back because this book gives them what they want. It gives everyone else what they want. I think there’s going to be an explosion of players. Once this book drops there’s going to be a massive explosion of players.


Dan: Yeah. It’s going to be exciting to see. The main thing for me, and the takeaway from this is that you can play how you want to play. The option’s there. I’ve been exposed, and I remember talking to Jervis about this. We’ve covered this in the show before, I’m sure. As a person that’s grown up since the age of 12, 13 with the game, I’m a Games Workshop. I’m used to picking points from a list [inaudible 00:27:30] and that’s what we play in. Then you’ve got, ten years older than me is Wayne. You played where you didn’t have that structure. When I was talking to Jervis I was like, “I’ve been conditioned by you guys to play this way.” What’s been great about Age of Sigmar is I’ve now been exposed to a different way of playing and, you and I, when we’re playing, Wayne, are quite happy to do that. I’ll be equally happy to play in a tournament with a set of structure, so it’s really cool.


Wayne: How many games out there actually give you an actual, definite option to play the game exactly how you want? I can’t think of another game that does that.


Russ: I think that was such an innovative and brave step in that this game is actually, say, “you guys decide.” Put [inaudible 00:28:15] on the player and I think this really does complete the circle for people who just perhaps need a bit more structure but also gives some more cool stuff to use if you don’t want to play that way and you want to play open or narrative. It’s brilliant.


Dan: Again, Games Workshop’s approached this, listens to the feedback and everything else and coming and putting this book there is brilliant. I just want to touch on, before we start to wrap this little brief session as I’m sure we will all cover more followups of this on our show, but we really wanted just to chat to you about our experience on this day. I just want to talk about your highlights. Russ, what was your outstanding highlight of the day and the process?


Russ: I would say it was killing Nagash. I think it was, for me it was just the whole experience. It’s so hard to pick a moment, but probably the train ride back. I sat there with a little sense of bewilderment on my face listening to my audio book just thinking, “did that really happen?” It was just the whole day, really. It was just fantastic.


Dan: What about you, Ben?


Ben: I don’t know. Start to finish, it was mental. I think one of the things was when we was all sat in the restaurant I think we’d sat down, we’d had a chat, we look at the menus. Then it was kind of like the calm before the storm. We all wanted to say, “all right, so what’s happening?” But none of us wanted to seem too super keen because we were all far too cool for that. Then they brought out these folders and it was just literally like, “you guys can go home now if you want. We’re just going to sit here and read. It’s amazing.” It was literally just, like Russ said, the most surreal experience. Also, the most amazing. I’ve done the play testing before. This was a different situation and a whole different level. Just the whole reveal of it, like boom. This is everything all in one hit. Fill your boots. Come back in the morning and tell us what your thoughts are. That moment in the restaurant I think was the highlight for me.


Dan: Awesome. What about you, Wayne?


Wayne: It was when I got home, actually. When we had the long drive home, and obviously that’s all we talked about on the way home. I got in back to normal life. Spoke to my wife briefly about my weekend and then she went upstairs; one of the kids woke up. She went upstairs and I literally just … I was sitting in my front room on my own and I though, “I feel like just running around the house.” Sort of like a 2 year old. Obviously, I’m far too mature for that. It was that kind of quiet. You have that moment when you’re around and you’re sitting there quiet and you think, “this is amazing.” I didn’t ever think that when I started playing at the age of 14, I think it was, that I’d be part of something like that. It was great. Absolutely great.


Dan: We’ve done some fantastic things through the show and the fact we’ve got so many listeners and everything else and all these things we’ve done. Ben and Russ have been to ETCs with me and played for our country in Warhammer and all this kind of stuff. These excellent experiences. This was still for me the highlight. How can I really echo what the other guy said which was … I remember standing outside at the end of the day and we were all sort of like, “that just happened”. We were having a conversation where we were standing next to the liberator. What just went down? Especially as Wayne and I have approached Games Workshop many times over the years for bits and pieces. It’s always been a policy that they couldn’t help. This is just unbelievable.


My main hope for all the listeners and the people listening to this and all the gamers is that hopefully you enjoy it. I think that having seen the process and seeing the great people like Ben and Pete and Jervis and the whole team that work on this, they really are just gamers who just want to make good stuff for other gamers. I hope that with everything that’s [inaudible 00:31:53] this book’s going to be very well received. Great job, Games Workshop. We certainly appreciate our invite.


Before we go, one final reminder on the book and all the great things that’s in it. Ben, lead us on.


Ben: I can’t believe I’m actually saying this on a podcast to the whole world. I’ve been keeping so quiet. This is the General’s Handbook. It’s penned for Summer release. There’s going to be three different styles of gaming: open play, narrative play, and match play. That’s just basic pickup games. Or just more like using [inaudible 00:32:27] and playing Age of Sigmar. Narrative games where you can play to the stories. [inaudible 00:32:32] to what are in the Realm Gate Wars books at the moment, I guess. Then match play where there’s going to be actual points from Games Workshop for the Age of Sigmar models. You can play matched games, practise games, pickup games, friendly games, games where you can just turn up against another person and not need any discussion and just get your armies out of a box.


These are actually going to be 2,000 points, so it’s proper harking back to classic Warhammer. 2,000 points is kind of the 2 hour, 2 and a half hour battle. There’s different level of battle in the book, different points values. That’s the beauty of it as Wayne said earlier, I think you can … this book is for people who want to play small battles of a few models and epic battles. It’s all in here.


Full rules for 5 different types of campaigns including Path to Glory, which I think we’ve seen already in … is it the admin calendar that had this in? Similar to that. 22 all new battle plans with Path to Glory-sized games with small war bands all the way up to huge knighted battles including all the biggest, largest heroes similar to what was in the End Time books. That sort of level with epic battles [inaudible 00:33:48] characters. Rules for multi player and team games as well which is cool. The Throne of Skulls always have the double events. We’re going to see some good rules, side rules for doubles. Then points values again, for every … see, I can’t stop smiling when I say this. Points values for every war scroll and war scroll battalion in the Age of Sigmar. Rules for using in your game, so it’s pretty much, if you’d have asked any of our listeners to write their wish list for what they’d like Games Workshop to release, I think this would be exactly what they’ve all been asking for.


Dan: I agree, and as you say, it feels a bit odd talking about this because we’ve not been able to talk about it for so long.  Fantastic. Again, to finalize it I just want to thank Games Workshop for listening to the community and putting this book there and inviting us and letting us be part of it and hopefully everybody’s going to enjoy it. Guys, thanks for coming on and again, making this work. It’s short notice. We got there in the end and when Games Workshop calls, we attend. We’ll see you again on all our shows. Ben, where can they listen to you?



Ben: It’s the Bad Dice Podcast. You can Google that. You can find it on iTunes and all the usual places you’d get a podcast. If you’d like to get in touch you can drop me a tweet I suppose, at Ben@BadDice_Podcast, or just drop me an email at, so the Bad Dice Podcast.
Dan: Great news. Russ, where can we hear your tones?


Russ: You can Google FaceHammer and you can follow us on Twitter and get us at @FaceHammer_ and we’ve obviously got all the usual ways to get that: iTunes and RSS feeds and all kind of jazz. The best way to go is the website. All the information’s on there.


Dan: Great news. And of course, us. for the email. You can get us at Again, as per the other guys, we’re on iTunes and all the other sorts of feeds. Twitter’s the main one for us @HeelanHammer and @WayneKemp13. I would encourage anybody, it doesn’t matter what show you’ve listened to this on, to listen to all three. We’ve all got different angles. Wayne and I do a bit of everything. Russ does a lot of great tournament reports and coverage and a bit of everything. Ben does, again, tournament reports and a bit of everything. They’re a bit of everything for everybody. Make sure if you haven’t heard the shows, you go and subscribe and listen to them all because there’s something there for everybody. Great news. Thanks, guys, and we’ll see you out there on the tables. 

13 thoughts on “The Generals Handbook – Our experiences visiting Games Workshop – episode 131

  • April 27, 2016 at 16:13

    Do you really think the addition of points will bring back all the players who were burned by the casual disregard to the Old World, the removal of support their armies(Empire, Bretts, TK to start), and the bland, simplistic and nonsensical ruleset?

  • April 27, 2016 at 17:06

    About as much casual disregard the Old World community had for GW? By purchasing armies through eBay, Chinese knock-offs and 3rd party companies (the lesser of said evils). No those players were culled. Good riddance. This is to reward the AoS players who see the game for what it is. I won’t bother explaining it because it’s apparent that you wouldn’t understand.

  • April 27, 2016 at 17:11

    Hi, Thanks for taking the time to comment.
    The old world and old game was stagnant. The rebook was required for the game to grow again. Some people will never like it but the truth is that Age of Sigmar will be bigger and better (and different) than th told way would ever have achieved.

    If you think the rules are simplistic then you clearly have not given it enough time to learn the intricacies.

    Give it a try, you may even like it!

  • April 27, 2016 at 17:20

    Mikey_Vengenz Sort of Rude, you think?

  • April 27, 2016 at 17:23

    Probably. But I’ve had to defend this game continuously for the mere 10 months it’s been out. It was to the point where AoS players were being harassed at tournaments by the 8th ed players, and even a judge if you can believe it.

  • April 27, 2016 at 17:28

    Mikey_Vengenz GW is a victim of their own design.  By making large units of point-inexpensive but dollar-expensive core troops the basis of the gmae they began to price themselves out of the market.   

    Even then look at how well Wood Elves sold when they finally received a new army book.  Tomb Kings players would have purchased a Hierotitan kit if they ever got one.  Brettonians had no new models and no new army book for the better part of a decade.  

    GW let WHFB die on the vine.

  • April 27, 2016 at 17:28

    Mikey_Vengenz Fair enough. I do have a converted round base Seraphon army. When this game came out I knew it would eventually have points. It had to have points. Not initially, but as the game was played and battle strategies mastered by the insanely smart players… that data collected and researched. I have been waiting for  points values to get back in.

  • April 27, 2016 at 17:29

    Mikey_Vengenz Maybe, just maybe, the reason so many people are actively against AoS is that is was a bad decision, and a bad game.

  • April 27, 2016 at 17:31

    It needs work, but its not a ‘bad’ game. Warhammer FB had potential but after 6th edition they sort of ruined that in my opinion.

  • April 27, 2016 at 17:37

    epicwargamer Sure it’s salvageable, and points addresses one concern, but my first few games of AoS ended with events like War Machines sniping generals out of combats and chariots that could only charge sideways that it wasn’t worth it.

    They need to address the ruleset, maybe come out with AoS advanced or something and realize how much of their community they’ve seriously disillusioned.

    This is coming form a guy with five fantasy armies of 4k+ points each, two 40k armies and a Heresy army.

  • April 27, 2016 at 20:12

    I’m happy you guys got to have fun and meet your heroes, it sounds like a really awesome day out. But your enthusiasm is a bit cringing – GW don’t need input from people who love the game already. Getting positive reinforcement from super fans is a recipe for disaster. They need to get 5 people who are indifferent to AoS and listen to WHY that is.
    You guys are like the production team on Phantom Menace, all smiling as metachlorians get added to the script.

  • April 28, 2016 at 01:48

    So this will be my last post on this. Yes, you’re right about GW when it comes to the design flaws. The editions kept favoring larger units and larger games. And with the cost of these games it became a rich man’s game. They priced themselves out of the market, I don’t let GW off of the hook for that. Ultimately, the game was NOT sustainable. To the WHFB players who loved the game and supported it by buying legitimate GW models from GWs or local stores, I mourn the loss of your game. I’ve invested heavily in games that come and go too. What irritates me is the community that will simultaneously condemn GW for the failings of the game (balance, cost, etc) while also condemning them for rebooting it. This is a generalization, but the WHFB community was the most toxic community I’d ever been exposed to in my 13+ years of gaming. I could go into the failings of the game’s rules and level of complexity but that’d be too exhausting. Ultimately, the simplicity of AoS make it a far more challenging game than WHFBb ever was. Every supplement so far has had a dozen or so scenarios. The nature of the game has removed the focus on list building and geared it towards generalship. The scenarios are far more involved than any version of WHFB ever was. I think less about what list configurations I’m bringing and what rules I can exploit and abuse and more about disposition of troops, achieving the objective, etc. The tactics are in the game, not in the rules. If you get my meaning. I’ve played a LOT of AoS and I’ve never had any misunderstandings on rules. No rules lawyering. And no single rule used to break a particular unit or faction. That’s the best way to describe AoS. It’s the most UNbroken game I’ve ever played because it’s evened the playing field. A lot more to say, but I think I’ve said my piece.

  • April 28, 2016 at 12:47

    did you chaps get paid? 4 full day consultancies re-working their (ex) flagship product?

Leave a Reply