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Age of Sigmar 4th edition bins Battletomes and battleshock

The rules rewrite coming to Age of Sigmar 4th edition Warscrolls is so extensive that all current Battletomes will be retired to make way.

Age of Sigmar 4th edition battletomes on fire, indicating the fact they'll leave the range soon

Games Workshop has revealed that Age of Sigmar 4th edition won’t include battleshock, among other overhauls to the game’s rules. The firm published a Warhammer Community article on Wednesday that expands on the scope of changes coming to the game, which will result in all current Battletomes becoming invalid.

Games Workshop confirmed that Age of Sigmar 4th edition would be a complete rules rewrite when it announced the new edition during Adepticon, so the retirement of the current edition’s Battletomes isn’t news – the new article provides context on what makes the rules changes so substantial.

The firm reiterates that every Age of Sigmar army “will receive a free downloadable Faction Pack on or shortly after release” which will contain the “army rule, subfaction rules, enhancements including spell lores”. This is very similar to the launch of Warhammer 40k 10th edition.

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The new article reveals some more specific AoS 4th edition rules changes we should expect. The biggest is that Battleshock has been removed. There’s no word on whether or not it will be replaced with another, similar system for morale.

The article also discusses several other changes which, while not as stark, are still significant:

  • Melee weapon ranges are gone – instead a model that is within 3” ‘combat range’ of an enemy model can fight in melee.
  • Models within 3” of a 40mm objective marker can contest it.
  • There will be a “manageable amount” of Universal Special Rules.
  • There will be “meaningful Command Abilities in every round”.
  • The Command Point economy will be “strict”.

The article promises changes to how information is presented on Warscrolls. Units’ ‘wounds’ characteristic will be renamed to ‘health’ for clarity. More significantly, “everything you can do in the game is now an ability, from moving, fighting, shooting, and casting spells, to the unique actions found on your Warscrolls”. Abilities are each broken into a “Declare step” and “Effect step”.

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The graphic designers have also taken steps to make these rules easier to parse on Warscrolls. The timing of each ability is written out, color-coded, and “uses symbols”, which hopefully makes the phase that an action can be used in immediately visible.

GW has an uneven track record with graphic design: recent editions of 40k and AoS have been progressively easier to use, but both Warcry and Kill Team have problems with how they visually represent certain information. In Warcry’s case, distinct classes of unit are sometimes badged using very similar looking logos; in Kill Team’s case, measurements are counterintuitively represented with polygons instead of numbers.

We’ll be covering Age of Sigmar news for the new edition as it’s revealed: follow Wargamer on Google News to stay informed. Make sure you check out our Age of Sigmar 4th edition trailer analysis for early hints at the units that should be coming in the launch box for the new edition.