Age of Sigmar’s Third Edition is well underway. Heralded first by the incredible Dominion box set, Games Workshop has now released three Starter Sets to help ease the community into the newest iteration of its neo-classic Warhammer Fantasy tabletop game.
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Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Harbinger Starter Set Review – Dramatic Reading
By Drama I mean, I was so tired and in a rush when recording this brief unboxing and impressions. Check out the video for this article below.
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Warhammer Age of Sigmar 3rd Edition Dominion Starter Sets Compared
If you’re not sure about the different starter sets for Age of Sigmar as it enters its third age (iteration) check out our article below comparing the 3 editions directly.
Which edition looks like the sweet spot for you?
Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Harbinger Starter Set Review – Summary
Whilst the quantity of miniatures available in the Harbinger Starter Set is a significant step up from those in the Warrior Starter Set, there’s little else to set the Harbinger Starter Set apart from its smaller sibling. It nestles comfortably between the Warrior and the Extremis boxes, sporting an equally impressive array of miniatures as the larger box, but lacking the fancy plastic terrain – which may be a blessing in disguise for those people who hate painting terrain pieces.
Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Harbinger Starter Set Review – Introduction
With the Warrior Set out of the way and the Extremis Set remaining, the Harbinger review marks the (rough) half-way point through our crash-course in the new Age of Sigmar Starter Sets.
The Harbinger set is a bit of an interesting one. It’s the middle child, neither the largest nor smaller, nor the most expensive nor dearest. To look at, it’s trying to be the Extremis starter set, as it its array of figures is much more impressive than those found in the Warrior Set.
In fact, it boasts the exact same figures as the Extremis Set, it is yet still not grown enough to shed the trappings of its bit of cardboard scenery and graduate to something greater.
But enough postulating. Let’s get into it and see what the Harbinger Set is all about.
Who is Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Harbinger Starter Set for?
Not fans of the original Mass Effect trilogy, for whom the name “Harbinger” holds nothing but fear.
The Harbinger Starter Set had me puzzled for a little while. Whilst the Extremis set is very obviously aimed at just about anyone with an interest in AoS – modelers, painters, players – with money burning a hole in their pocket, and the Warrior Set is very succinctly aimed at beginners, the Harbinger set, therefore, has to nestle somewhere between the two.
The increased volume of figures is more likely to put off the absolutely green gamer or painter. Whilst it doesn’t have the fancy scenery of the Extremis Set (which may be a good thing if you’re like me and can’t stand painting scenery), it does have all the same figures. It’s more of an investment and a promise of commitment into Age of Sigmar than the Warrior Starter Set.
The inclusion of range rulers and dice, along with the books, cards, papers, and the folding mat are a gentle reminder to the hobby-inclined that the figures can be used to play with, whilst simultaneously not being such an eclipsing part of the set to put off people who are just interested in bagging some bargain plastic.
It is, perhaps, quite a good set for those people who recently started getting into the hobby with a Stormcast or Orruk army. If you started collecting Stormcast Eternals or Orruks towards the end of AoS 2.0, and are interested in getting into the hobby some more, this would be a good set for you. The units would be a good boost to a pre-existing but smaller army, or a great kick-start to a new army.
It’s also the ideal set for the painter or modeler not interested in scenery: maximum figures, minimum fluff.
At the end of the day, if you’re after figures, this box is the one that’s going to get you just that, and for the best value.
Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Harbinger Starter Set Review – Contents
As I’ve mentioned already, there’s a great deal of similarity between the Harbinger Set and the Extremis Set, give or take the inclusion of certain pieces of scenery. You’ll still find the same books, cards, and other paper-based bits and pieces you’ll need to take your figures from your painting table and onto the battlefield, and whilst the included figures are different and more plentiful than those in the Warrior Set, they are identical to those in the Extremis box.
So, as before, here are the contents of the box more-or-less as listed on Games Workshop’s webstore:
- 1 x 80-page softback Harbinger Edition Book
- 1 x softback Core Rules Book
- 6x Warscroll Cards
- 2x Allegiance Ability Cards
- A 30″ by 22.4″ double-sided gaming mat
- 2x range rulers
- 10x dice
- 32x Plastic Push-fit Citadel Miniatures
Any eagle-eyed readers will notice that amongst the rules, cards and so on, there is some considerable crossover from box to box. All of the new Starter Sets contain an 80-page book, a Core Rules book, the Warscroll and Allegiance Ability cards, a pair of range rulers and ten dice. The Warrior and Harbinger Sets come with gaming mats, whilst the Extremis Set comes with a thick card board of the same dimensions.
Now, for the plastic-minded amongst you, here’s a more detailed breakdown of the figures awaiting within the Harbinger Starter Set:
10 x Stormcast Eternals
- 1 x Lord-Imperatant with 1x Gryph-hound
- 3 x Praetors
- 5 x Vindictors
22 x Kruleboyz
- 1 x Swampcalla Shaman with 1x Pot-grot
- 10 x Gutrippaz
- 10 x Hobgrot Slittaz
Upturned Cardboard Box Sorry, a “Dawnbringer Bastion Cardboard Terrain Feature”
It’s worth noting here that, aside from the terrain features, all the Stormcast Eternals and Orruk figures that you’d find in the Harbinger box are exactly the same as those you’d find in the Extremis box. If you’re just after some figures and don’t care about scenery, save yourself some cash and grab the Harbinger box.
Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Harbinger Starter Set Review – Unboxing
With the preview done, it’s time to move on to the FauxHammer.com unboxing to get a good look at what this box is really like. As we all well know, these figures don’t arrive looking as beautiful as they do in all of GW’s preview pictures. It’s up to us to make that happen.
The Harbinger box is larger than the Warrior box, as you’d expect, but not as fat as the Extremis box, which contains a few extra beefy sprues for scenery and a thicker gaming board.
So, let’s crack open the Harbinger Starter Set and see what’s waiting beneath the lid.
Here’s the box as you’d find it on the shelf in your local gaming store – or, if you buy online, your doorstep.
Pulling out the interior, you’ll find the sprues, books, gaming mat, dice and range rulers all contained in a printed tray which is designed to be used as scenery.
There are five sprues in this box, all of which can be seen in the photo below.
These sprues are separated from your paper goods below by a divider. Once side is printed with the Age of Sigmar logo, the other with the iconic Vindictor-Prime versus Killaboss artwork.
The divider would look great framed, and would make excellent additions to anyone’s studio wall or gaming cave – provided it’s survived transit. Because these are included in the sets to prevent the hard sprue plastic from wrecking the books and cards beneath, their primary purpose is defence. As such, there’s always a chance they may arrive punctured or torn – as mine did.
A shame, but not the end of the world.
Anyway, beneath the divider resides everything else: the mat, the books, the cards, the bases and the dice.
Now that we’ve had a look at how the Harbinger box is put together, we need to have a closer look at the books, cards, and other bits and pieces you’ll need to play a game of Age of Sigmar using the new Starter Set. If this doesn’t interest you, and you know you’re only in it for the models, you’ll want to skip ahead and dive on in to the sections below where FauxHammer gets into the miniatures.
It’s worth saying here that as far as the books, cards, and other paper-based bits included in all three of the Starter Sets are concerned, there is an enormous amount of similarity across the three sets. If you’re planning on reading all three of our Starter Set reviews, some of these sections might start to look a bit familiar.
Warhammer Age of Sigmar Core Book
Considerably smaller and in no way as impressive as the monstrous tome that came with Dominion, the Core Book included in the Harbinger Starter Set is a thinned-down, pocket-sized version of its hardbacked forebear – and is identical to the Core Book you’ll find in the Warrior and Extremis sets.
It’s a good little book. There’s minimal fluff contained within: it gives you the rules and little else. Of course, there are still some pictures of studio-quality models inside to break up the paragraphs of instructive text and inspire you to start slinging paint at your figures, but the book focuses on the core rules – and only the core rules.
Rules Reference Sheets
The box, like the other Starter Sets, contains two Reference Sheets. These take the core-most concepts and most vital workings of a game of Age of Sigmar and strip them down further still so you can have them at your elbow during a game.
These are made of decent thick card, so they won’t rip all too easily. There are two in the box – enough for you and your foe. The instructions are well-written and clear, and clearly relate back to concepts that can be found in the Core Rules book.
Start Here Booklet – Harbinger Edition
This is the epitome of the Harbinger Starter Set. This is the book meant to grab you and drag you deeper into the hobby and the universe of Warhammer Fantasy. In its content, it’s very similar to both the Warrior and Extremis books, with a couple of edits made here and there to make it more relevant to whichever set it comes with.
It has everything you need to make the most out of the Harbinger set.
The book is broken into a number of sections, some of which are a little reminiscent of the lore that you would have found in the Dominion Core Book: a number of chapters are given over to AoS’ expansive lore and the events that led up to AoS ver 3.0 There’s an overview of collecting and painting miniatures for absolute beginners, and then eighteen pages of tutorial designed to teach you how to play the game, which we’ll have a ore in-depth look at later.
It’s a really nice book, actually. Well put together and with all the artwork and plenty of photos of display-quality miniatures to further entice any newbie or veteran looking to get back into Age of Sigmar.
It’s worth noting that there are very few differences between the Warrior, Harbinger and Extremis versions of this book. A handful of edits have been made in a few sections in order to include information about the figures in each set, and a few small tweaks have been made to the battleplans to facilitate the figures included in each set.
Warscroll and Alliance Ability Cards
Much like the reference sheets, the Warscroll and Alliance Ability Cards are easy references for the figures in the set.
Designed to be used on the tabletop during gameplay, these neat cards are festooned with epic photographs of the figures to which they pertain, and have all the appropriate statistics printed on the reverse.
They’re small, handy, and great to look at. Another excellent inclusion.
As I said regarding its smaller sibling in the Warrior Starter Set review, as far as innovative and thoughtful ways to cut down on packaging waste goes, the idea to print part of the Warrior Starter Set packaging as if it were a piece of scenery is quite a clever little idea.
It’s perfect for beginners. Plastic scenery is expensive, cumbersome and often difficult to store and transport, and if you just want to play a good, quick game somewhere, it’s not necessarily the easiest to set up. Being able to carry your army in a printed cardboard tray and turn said tray into a reasonably immersive bit of terrain, though, is great.
The problem is, it’s just not all that impressive. Games Workshop produce some incredible and detailed scenery for use in their games, and and at the end of the day, it is just a cardboard box. And, in the case of the Harbinger Starter Set, quite a big cardboard box. It’s twice the size of the one you’ll find in the Warrior Starter Set – which, if you happen to have both, could make for some creative stacked scenery for your games and displays
First off, in spite of having a whacking great lightbox, I can’t actually fit the fully folded out gaming mat into it, so I apologise that the image below is of it folded up.
The mat is printed, one side with a dry, desert look, the other with a green, swampy texture. The print is nice and detailed, but the issue I have with the mat is its material. Because it is just glossy paper, there are some wicked fold-lines criss-crossing it when you lay it out, and no amount of smoothing is going to get rid of them.
So, all the sprues you’ll find in any of the new Age of Sigmar Starter Sets come from the Dominion box. As anyone who has read our Dominion review will be able to tell, the sprues below are all given a letter value – A through to J. All of the sprues you’ll see below are assigned the same letter value as their Dominion forebears, which is why you may find some gaps in the numbering below.
Just to help you with your number hunting, I’ve split the models down below so that you can easily find the parts for each model.
as a general note, unlike Indomitus where the push-fit models were cleverly put together allowing you to build and paint the space marines in simple sub-assemblies and the pins and recesses were perfectly sized for a snug fit. we’ve taken a step back with these sprues and I recommend tripping the length and width of every pin.
Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Harbinger Starter Set – Sprue A – Gutrippaz
A great sprue of 10 different models. awesome looking beasts with very little clean up needed
Here’s the models on the sprue
- Gutrippa Boss (J) – 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 8
- Gutrippa (J) – 1, 3, 4, 5, 7, 9
- Gutrippa (F) – 10, 11, 12
- Gutrippa (G) – 13, 14, 15, 16, 17
- Gutrippa (E) – 18, 19, 20, 21, 22
- Gutrippa (I) – 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28
- Gutrippa (B) – 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34
- Gutrippa (D) – 35, 36, 37
- Gutrippa (C) – 38, 39, 40, 41, 42
- Gutrippa (H) – 43, 44, 45, 46, 47
- Gutrippa (A) – 48, 49, 50, 51, 52
The parts on this one are fairly spread out across the differing sprue segments, which made things tricky to find (beyond the numbering kerfuffle).
The only optional build on this sprue is model J (parts 1-9) which can be built as either a Gutrippa or Gutrippa Boss
Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Harbinger Starter Set – Sprue B – Vindictors
Often incorrectly referred to as Stormcast Vindicators (which is something else entirely), this is another relatively straightforward sprue. Unlike dominion, where you get two of this sprue in the box, each of the starter sets comes with only 1 sprue
In numerical order
- (1x) Vindictor Prime (E) – 1, 2, 3, 7, 8, 9, 12
- (1/2x) Vindictor (E) – 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 10, 11
- 2 x Vindictor (D) – 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21
- 2x Vindictor (C) – 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28
- (1x) Vindictor Prime (F) – 7, 29, 30, 33, 36, 38
- (1/2x) Vindictor (F) – 29, 30, 31, 32, 34, 35, 37. 39
- Vindictor (B) – 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 49
- Vindictor (A) – 40, 41, 42, 46, 47, 48, 49
For each of the models in this sprue, you get the option of a fleshy head or a metal helmet. One model can be built with a banner and 2 of the posed bodies have the option of being a Vindictor prime – though you’d only build one.
Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Harbinger Starter Set – Sprue E – Lord Imperatant with Gryph-hound
Sprue E comes connected to sprue F.
- The Lord-Imperatant is parts 1-11, with parts 5 & 6 being optional helmeted and unhelmeted heads. Part 12 is a base feature.
- The gryph-hound is parts 13-15.
Even with the finely detailed parts on this model, you shouldn’t have any issue cuting this from the sprue.
Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Harbinger Starter Set – Sprue F – Swampcalla Shaman with Pot-grot
Once again a connected sprue, (connected to Sprue E). The 2 models on this one are 2 of the most detailed in the whole set.
- The Shaman is parts 1-7 with part 8 as some base detail.
- The Pot-grot is parts 9-13.
An incredibly detailed pair of models. but there are no customisation options available here.
Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Harbinger Starter Set – Sprue G – Praetors
nother nice and straightforward sprue. In hindsight, this is actually probably the most straightforward sprue in the set, with only a little variation on one model. But the models are printed in the guide in the same order as they are numbered, with a minor exception being the Praetor prime which comes before its optional counterpart, despite the numbers being higher on the prime for the most part.
The breakdown is as follows;
- Praetor (A) – 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7
- Praetor (B) – 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15
- Praetor Prime (C) – 22, 23, 24, 26, 27, 28, 29
- Praetor (C) – 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24
So, the option here is to build model C as either.
Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Harbinger Starter Set – Sprue H – Hobgrot Slittaz
From the most straightforward sprue to the most annoying. Two of these come in Dominion and can I just say, that was too many. This sprue irritated me. The layout alone was just crazy with all the little parts.
The way you can build these models is mental too. You can build each model in 2 ways.
My respect to the designer of this sprue. most of the time you will find that sculptors will create 1 body for a model and make it look marginally different from another head or weapon. here they have given us multiple bodies. with the chest armour being the same. We also then get optional head’s too.
The guide however explains how you can build these models,m but for the beginner, it does not recommend which you should build for your introduction to Warhammer. So you may end up following this, making the coolest looking models you can, only to realise later that you’ve created an invalid unit.
My advice here is to try and build them to match the unit picture at the end of this section.
Let’s do the breakdown a sensible way, using numbers:
- Hobgrot Slitta (H) 1, 2, 3
- Hobgrot Scrap Totem Bearer (B)- 1, 4, 5, 6
- Hobgrot Slitta (I) 7, 8, 9
- Hobgrot Scrap Totem Bearer (C)- 7, 10, 11
- Hobgrot Slittaz (K) – 12, 13, 14, 15
- Hobgrot Slittaz (I) – 16, 17, 18, 19
- Hobgrot Slitta (G) – 20, 21, 22
- Hobgrot Noise Maker (E) – 21, 23, 24, 25
- Hobgrot Boss (A) – 26, 27, 28
- Hobgrot Boss (A) – 26, 29, 30
- Hobgrot Slitta (J) – 26, 31, 32
- Hobgrot Slittaz (M) – 33, 34, 35, 36
- Hobgrot Noise Maker (D) – 37, 38, 39,
- Hobgrot Slitta (F) – 37, 40, 41
- Hobgrot Slittaz (N) – 42, 43, 44, 45
- Hobgrot Slittaz (O) – 46, 47, 48, 49
That was almost as much of a pain to write up as it was to build. 49 parts on this sprue.
The parts at least are generally in the same vicinity of each other, though there are a few stragglers.
Because the sprues found in this Starter Set are taken straight from the Dominion box, a lot of what you’ll see below will be quite similar to what we originally wrote in our Dominion review – plus a few inserts of hindsight now both Rob and I have built all our figures and started painting them.
Because of the similarities across these Starter Sets as well, anyone who reads all three reviews will noticed further similarities between them. We’ve done this to ensure that the information given about the figures is the same in each review – we don’t want to miss anything out between articles!
By and large, the figures you’ll find in the Starter Sets are great. Their builds are straightforward and intuitive thanks for the push-fit format, so they’re ideal for brand-new hobbyists.
You’ll find ten Stormcast Eternals figures in the Habringer Starter Set: five Vindictors, three Praetors, a Lord-Imperatant and his Gryph-hound. They’re all great figures and will look awesome on your shelf, desk, tabletop, or wherever it is you decide to stash your (un)painted models.
Let’s have a closer look.
You get five Vindictors in the Warrior set, but each model can be assembled in one of two ways. Here’s the picture from our Dominion review, which shows each Vindictor partnered up with their variant build.
So, you’ll be able to build either the figure on the top row or the one directly below them. This is great, as it means there’s lots of scope to personalise your new fighting force.
Building these guys was easy. The sprue gates are put on sensible areas throughout. Whilst there is come clean up to be made on the odd curved surface, all the gaps covered by sensible armour joins.
Lord-Imperatant with Gryph-Hound
The Lord-Imperatant is easily one of the most impressive amongst the new line of Stormcast Eternals figures. He’s covered with awesome details – including a shoulder-cape that appears to be a relative of his partially-canine companion.
Hm. Odd design choice.
Compared to a lot of the figures in this set, this is quite a complex model, but it very well put together. One thing to note is that the Gryph-hound does have a join line across his chest and spine, but these can be hidden with a decent plastic glue and the subsequent clean-up that should be no more difficult than removing a mould line.
Painting the inside of the robe with the figure attached to the base will be almost impossible. Make sure you don’t glue the Lord-Imperatant to the bit of stone he’s standing on so you can remove him to get to the inside of the robe better.
Both Rob and I did have one big issue building this guy: the gap to line up on the left side of his cloak, shown below.
The Praetors are a great inclusion for any Starter Set as they are really simple to build, but look awesome when completed.
As with the Vindictors, each model has multiple head options, which you can see in the image below.
One thing to be aware of with these figures is the join line down the cape on each side. Once again, some sprue goo (that’s glue with some old sprue mixed in to make a melted plastic paste) will be your friend here and you’ll be able to make the gap disappear, as I have in the picture below.
The inside of the cape is convex across the seam line making clean up tricky. The only option here is a thin but a firm sliver of sand paper and a lot of patience. I didn’t bother doing the inside.
Once again, don’t glue these figures to their bases. You’ll want to be able to remove them to paint the inside of their capes.
There are no less than twenty-two of the new Kruleboyz in the Harbinger Starter Set. There’s a great selection of the new figures available in the box, and more than enough to kick-start – or, perhaps, reinforce – your Orruk army.
These are delightful models to build and go together with ease. They only had the odd join-line visible, but these have all been carefully designed to hide in natural armour gaps anyway.
What’s really great about this set is that each unit in the group of ten has distinct sculpts. Whilst there are similarities form figure to figure – as you would expect there to be – no two are the same.
Swampcalla Shaman with Pot-Grot
The Swampcalla Shaman and his pot-stirring compatriot are, perhaps, two of the most iconic and dynamic Figueres to be released in the AoS v. 3.0 range so far. I mean, look at them.
Unfortunately, the Shaman is a bit more difficult to build. In hindsight, I wish I had just removed the push-fit posts on this figure and glued him together at the seams. A lot of the push-fit parts felt a little too tight, and with the parts so fragile it was hard not to have large gaps. As you might expect, I had to make quite merry with the sprue goo.
The subsequent clean-up, however, was a real pain as I simply couldn’t reach a lot of the areas I needed to. It worked okay on the arm, but for his hood, I ended up smoothing out gaps that should have remained as holes.
As I originally said in our Dominion review, I want to say well done to the sculptor who designed these because they are incredibly detailed.
But I just hate them. And, having now painted all of his, so does Rob.
There were twenty of them in Dominion, which was far too many. Having ten of them in the Harbinger Starter Set still feels like a lot – but maybe that’s an opinion coloured with a degree of hindsight. At the end of the day, I’m not a gamer: I paint, and I get bored painting 5 of the same units.
Another issue with the Hobgrots (Hobgrotz?) is that, whilst there is a great deal of variation in pose from figure to figure – and even a hell of a lot of alternate build options across the sprues, as you’ll see below, to look at, they aren’t all that different.
Here’s the first five figures on the ten-figure sprue, each matched up with their alternate build.
And the second five, again with their alternates.
Lots of difference. Lots of variation. But somewhere, the sparkle has gone.
Perhaps it’s their build guide. Their guide is a pain to follow, cleaning mould lines from them is incredibly tiresome, and many of the sprue gates sit on shoulders or chins which need shaving down and cutting off. My hands already hurt before I started these (as the last thing I built) and by the end, I was not happy. Should have done these crappy ones first.
Again though, really detailed models. Creatively thought out on the sprue and the sculptor should be proud.
Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Warrior Starter Set Review – Playtesting
Right, here we are again.
Having playtested the Warrior Starter Set successfully in the previous review, it’s time to move on to the Harbinger playtest.
Once again, you will notice some crossover. The five battleplans included in the Warrior, Harbinger and Extremis books are all the same – save that they have been appropriately tweaked to foster in the slight variation in units and terrain that you’d find from set to set.
This set, for example, does not have any cardboard scenery in it as the prior two do. This will affect the set up on certain missions. However, because all the figures in this set are also available either wholly or in part in the other two sets, some of the battle report below might look familiar.
As I said on the previous review and will do so again now, I won’t be using the gaming mat that comes in this box for these playtests. Having reviewed all three Starter Sets, I’ll be swapping the mat out for the board that comes with the Extremis setm, as it’s much nicer to both play on and photograph.
The Start Playing section begins on page 60 of the Harbinger Edition rulebook and contains five scenarios designed to teach budding players the basic ins and outs of Age of Sigmar. We’ll have a look at each of these in turn, starting with…
Tutorial Battleplan 1: Stranded
The first Battleplan is designed to teach you the fundamentals of charging and fighting in the course of a game of Age of Sigmar. It pits two Gutrippaz against a long Vindictor-Prime. With the board set up to the specifications outlined in the book, we were ready to begin.
Just quickly, before we do, people who are more familiar with the rules of Age of Sigmar, or those who read our Warrior Starter Set review will notice a few 6s rolled throughout the earlier stages of these battleplans that are not allocated as Mortal Wounds. This is because the rule isn’t introduced until a little later in the book, so we’ll wait until then before we start doing that.
As per the Harbinger Edition book, the Kruleboyz went first and charged. To charge, each unit (in this case, each Gutrippa on the field) rolls 2D6 to see if they can close the gap between them and their target – the sum-total of what is rolled on the dice is how many inches that can be charged. With some decent rolls, the Gutrippaz borth closed on the Vindictor-Prime.
Each Gutrippa has two attacks and hits on a 4+, so the next thing to do is roll four dice. Of the four rolled, only two were a 4 or higher, so those two dice are rolled again to see if the Gutrippaz’ strikes cause wounds. Again, wounding on a 4+, the Gutrippaz had to roll a 4, 5 or 6 to wound – and possibly kill – the Vindictor-Prime.
Alas, no such luck. Both hits failed to wound, and the Fight Phase passed to the Vindictor-Prime, who promptly rolled 3 successful Hits and 3 successful Wounds, leaving one Gutrippa to try and save against three potential Wounds. With a 5+ save, the Kruleboy only saved against one of the Wounds. Gutrippaz can only take two wounds before dying, and so one of the Gutrippaz was slain.
Turn priority passed to the Stormcast Eternals, but this time the Vindictor failed to cause any wounds to the remaining Gutrippa, so the Fight Phase passed back to the Kruleboyz (or, more accurately, Kruleboy).
The Kruleboy came out fighting, inflicting a Wound on the Vindictor-Prime – one more and he wound be defeated and victory would pass to the orruks. But in his turn, the Kruleboy failed to get through the Vindictor-Prime’s defences, and was slain in the Stormcast’s part of the Fight Phase.
Tutorial Battleplan 2: High Ground
The second Battleplan in the sequence is designed to to teach players about moving around the battlefield and handling terrain. For this, we needed to set up the Cardboard Box of Destiny XL: the Dawnbringer Bastion (which is twice the size of the one in the Warrior Starter Set).
With everything set up, the rules dictate the Stormcast Eternals move first. Moving in tow units, the southernmost pair moved their maximum move distance of 5″ towards the pack of Gutrippaz, whilst the northernmost pair threw caution to the wind and, after their 5″ move, rolled to Run. To run, a movement rolls a d6 and adds the resulting number of inches to their standard move characteristic. In this instance, the Stormcasts rolled a 5, so were able to move an additional 5″ (as long as they didn’t end within 3″ of the Gutrippaz), scaling the Bastion’s wall.
Next, the Stormcast Eternals charged. Only the pair of Stormcast Eternals who had not run could charge this turn. With a successful roll, they closed on the Kruleboyz, though they couldn’t move onto the structure. With a range of 2″ on their spears, the Stormcast Eternals could attack up at the Gutrippaz , but the Gutrippaz’ elevated position meant they were in cover, giving them a +1 to their save.
Still, following the Stormcast Eternals’ Fight Phase, one Gutrippa was killed. Following a singularly dreadful orruk Fight Phase (only the front most pair of Gutrippaz could attack; of four dice rolled, one Hit and Wounded, but was saved with a roll of 6), it was time to introduce the Battleshock phase.
The Battleshock Phase is, essentially, a renamed Morale Phase. for each unit that has lost a model, roll a D6 and add the number of models killed in that turn. For every point by which the score exceeds the unit’s bravery score, a model in the unit flees.
In this instance, a D6 + 1 was rolled, the +1 added for the single Gutrippa killed. With a roll of 4 and, therefore, a total of 5, the value matched the Gutrippaz’ bravery characteristic, which means none of their number fled. Had it been 1 higher, a single Gutrippa would have fled. Had it been 2 higher, a pair would have fled and so on.
In the orruk turn, the remaining Gutrippaz piled in and rolled well to hit the Stormcast Eternals. Unfortunately, the Vindictors rolled better and, once again, saved all potential wounds.
In response, the Vindictor and Vindictor-Prime struck back, killing a Gutrippa and wounding another. In their Battleshock phase, the orruks rolled a 6, adding 1 to make the value a 7. Two Gutrippaz fled the field, leaving only one remaining and the priority passing to the Stormcast Eternals.
The remaining Vindictors charged and the final Gutrippa was assaulted on all sides by stabbing Stormcast spears. However, the Vindicotrs could only score a single wound on the Gutrippa, who was unable to score any Wounds in his part of the Fight Phase.
It was just a matter of time befoer the last Gutrippa was killed, and on the next Fight Phase the final Kruleboy was ousted following an eye-wateringly poor Save roll.
Oh well. Man of the match that guy.
Tutorial Battleplan 3: Aim and Fire
As you might expect from its name, this Battleplan introduces the fundamentals of ranged attacks in a round of play. The Vindictors and Gutrippaz, neither of whom have ranged weapons as standard, are provided with these:
Here’s the stat block for whatever junk happens to come to the hands of the fighters.
|MISSILE WEAPONS||Range||Attacks||To Hit||To Wound||Rend||Damage|
It’s interesting that the setup for this Battleplan don’t utilise the Hobgrots, who actually have a ranged weapon on their warscroll. Either the Hobgrots’ shrapnel grenades would totally unbalance the Battleplan, or Gee-Dubyah got a little happy with the copy-pasting (something I can understand having had to review three of these boxes!).
The round begins with the Stormcasts moving into shooting range. With only the front trio able to throw stuff at the nearest Kruleboyz, the Stormcast Eternals were only able to inflict a single wound on the orruks. attempting to charge, the Vindictors only managed a 5 – not enough to move into range of the orruks, and thus the turn passed to them.
The orruks moved up, closing the gap on the Vindictors. Having managed to knock a chunk out of a Vindictor with some thrown missiles, the Gutrippaz charged.
With the Gutrippaz piling in and now well in range of the entire unit of Vindictors, and the reminder to check your Warscrolls for additional abilities outlined in this part of the Battleplan (okay, it was actually at the very end of the previous Battleplan but I missed it because I’m the worst), 6s now counted as Mortal Wounds for both sides.
The Kruleboyz delivered an absolutely devastating Fight phase and killed a pair of Vindictors – mostly thanks to the new 6s equals Mortal Wounds rule.
In their part of the Fight Phase, the Vindictors managed to prod a single Kruleboy down, but that was about it. With turn priority passing back to them, it wasn’t looking good. Still, the resolute Sons of Sigmar passed their Battleshock phase, and the three remaining warriors stood resolute.
The Special Rules attached to this Battleplan state that at the start of each shooting phase, units can make ranged attacks. Its not clear if said units can make ranged attacks if they are in melee range of or are otherwise being attacked by another unit, but we decided to go with it – similar to how units with pistol-type weapons can shoot if in melee range in 40K.
Miraculously, the Vindictors thrown rocks managed to kill another Gutrippa, and followed this up with another kill and a wound in their Fight Phase, but the Gutrippaz were just as tenacious. Thanks to a handful of 6s, another Vindictor was slain and another wounded.
The resulting Battleshock phase, the Stormcast Eternals stood their ground, but a roll of 6+2 for the Gutrippaz saw three of their number flee the field. Who knew lobbed rocks were so terrifying?
The orruks began their turn by pelting the Stormcast Eternals with anything they could get their hands on, killing another and wounding the remaining Vindictor-Prime and reducing them to a single wound. Then, on the first roll of the Fight Phase, the Gutrippaz managed to roll a single 6 – one unsavable Mortal Wound, and enough to kill the Vindictor-Prime.
Tutorial Battleplan 4: Magic
Once again, there are absolutely no prizes for guessing what this Battleplan is all about. Designed to show you how Wizards cast spells during the course of a battle, this Battleplan pits your Vindictors against one Swampcalla Shaman.
The game started with the Swampcall Shaman, who cast Arcane Missile on the pair of Vindicors on the eastern side of the board. With a casting value of 5, and 5 being rolled on two dice, one of the Vindictors suffered a Mortal Wound. The Shaman decided to stay put for the rest of the turn and wait for the Stormcasts to come to him.
It was a good move. Following their maximum move of 5 inches, each pair of Vindictors would have to succeed on a charge roll of 8 in order to close to within half an inch of the shaman and succeed on the roll: 1″ to the wall, 2″ up the wall, and then 5″ to cross the Bastion and reach him. The eastern Vindictors failed their charge, but the western pair, which included the Vindictor-Prime, succeeded.
In the subsequent Fight Phase, the pair of attacking Vindictors struck the Swampcalla Shaman for no less than three Mortal Wounds in their To Hit phase, and a further Wound the Shaman failed to save against, reducing him and his Pot-grot from 6 wounds to 2.
The Shaman and Grot responded with similar ferocity and managed to carve two Mortal Wounds onto a Vindictor, killing one. The Prime passed their Battleshock phase, and the turn passed back to the Swampcalla Shaman.
With the Vindictor Prime now within 3″ of the Shaman, the damage value on his Arcane Missile changed from 1 Mortal Wound to D3 Mortal Wounds (take a D6, 1-2 = 1 Wound; 3-4 = 2 Wounds; 5-6 = 3 Wounds). With a successful cast roll and a subsequent roll of 3 on a D6, the Vindictor-Prime was killed by the grinning Shaman.
to try and make charging as difficult as possible for the remaining Vindictors, the Shaman and Pot-grot shuffled to the far side of the Bastion. With nothing left to do, the turn passed to the Stormcast Eternals, who moved their full 5″ onto the top of the Bastion and prepared to charge.
Again, needing a value of 8, the odds were against them, and with a roll of 7 they could not charge.
In the next Hero Phase, the Shaman blasted another single Mortal Wound out of the Stormcast Eternals before shuffling back again, keeping the distance between himself and the attacking Vindictors.
In their next turn, though, after moving their full 5″, the Vindictors rolled the necessary 8 required to close the gap between themselves and the Swampcalla Shaman.
Then, their To Hit roll yieled a pair of unsavable Mortal Wounds, enough to kill the shaman.
A close-fought thing, but victory to the Stormcast Eternals.
Tutorial Battleplan 5: Hallowed Ground
This is it, the big one.
This is the Battleplan that takes everything you’ve learned and tested over the previous four battles and rolls it all up into one. Using all the figures and resources available in the Warrior Starter Set, the training wheels are off and it’s time to really play Age of Sigmar.
But, there’s a small problem.
As I was setting up the board for this game, I encountered a phrase in the book.
“Set up objective markers in the locations shown on the map.”
There aren’t any objective markers – or even things you could use as objective markers – provided in the Warrior starter set. Also, given my aversion to painting scenery, and the fact my copy of Cursed City remains untouched, I discovered I don’t actually have anything I could use as an objective marker, either!
Having spent so long over the last week making sure I had nice painted figures for this review, I was reluctant to throw unpainted plastic onto the board this late in the battle report. But then I had a stroke of genius. if I was an orruk, and I liked breakin’ fings and nickin’ stuff from ‘Umies, what kind of thing would I want to pinch from a Stormcast Eternal? And if I was a Son of Sigmar, what would I really not want an orruk to pinch off me?
A Celestar Ballista.
With three Celestar Ballistae set up as objectives, we set up our armies. After some rolled dice, it was decided that the Stormcast Eternals would be getting the first turn.
In the Movement Phase, the Stormcast Eternals advanced, hoping to secure victory by keeping the Kruleboyz away from the central objective and the one which they started closest to. The Lord-Imperatant tried to smite the Swampcalla Shaman with his Stormcaller Baton, but the cunning orruk resisted the attack.
Every Stormcast Eternal unit charged: the Lord-Imperatant leading the way into the Shaman, the Praetors piling into the Hobgrots, and the Vindictors into the Gutrippaz.
The Lord-Imperatant, swinging his mighty warhammer, struck two Wounds from the Shaman. His faithful Gryph-hound chewed another from the Shaman, reducing him from 6 wounds to 3. Meanwhile, on the left flank, the Praetors set into the Hobgrots. With a 6+ Save and a -1 inflicted by the Praetor’s Rend on their weapons, three of their number fell.
On the right flank, the Vindictors struck the Gutrippaz for two Mortal Wounds, killing one of their number, but managed to do nothing else.
The Hobgrots responded to the Praetors with particular venom. Their Stab ‘Em Good characteristic allowing them to roll two To Wound dice for any To Hit roll that’s an unmodified 6. In spite of some phenomenal rolls, the dice favoured the Praetors who survived, having taken two wounds.
The Gutrippaz had more success. rolling well to Hit and Wound, two Vindictors fell, but the two slain Vindictors’ Blaze of Glory characteristic struck hard into the Gutrippaz, killing one outright and wounding another.
Finally, the Swampcalla Shaman struck back against the Lord-Imperatant, inflicting two wounds against the Stormcast Eternal Hero and bringing him down to 5 wounds. His Pot-grot accomplice faired poorly: the one attack that landed being saved by the mighty warrior.
The Kruleboyz faired exceptionally poorly in the Battleshock phase. The Hobgrots, with three of their number slain, a subsequent roll of 6 on a D6, and a Bravery statistic of 4, saw five of their number fled the field in the face of the Praetors’ swinging halberds. On the other flank, the Gutrippaz also rolled a 6. With a Bravery stat of 5 and two of their number dead, a further three of their number fled the field.
The Vindictors, with a Bravery stat of 7 (+1 thanks to the Banner Bearer), a roll of 2 remained resolute in spite of their two losses. With all the objectives contested – bar the one the Stormcast Eternals had abandoned – no-one was awarded any points.
Still, the turn passed to the orruks. In the Hero Phase, the Swampcalla Shaman blasted the Lord-Imperatant with an Arcane Missile, reducing him now to 4 wounds. In the Shooting Phase, the Hobgrots’ grenades failed to wound the Praetors, as did their attacks in the Fight Phase – in spite of a roll of a 6 to double the Wound rolls made against the Stormcast Eternals.
The Gutrippaz fared better, causing two Mortal Wounds to the Vindictors and killing another of their number. But the Vindictor’s Blaze of Glory ability killed another Gutrippa. The shaman and his Pot-grot managed to further injure the Lord-Imperatant, bringing him down to 2 Wounds.
In their ensuing Fight Phase, the Vindictors only managed to scrape a solitary Wound into the Gutrippaz. On the opposite flank, the Praetors despatched the remaining Hobgrots, and in the middle of the field the Lord-Imperatant lashed out at the Shaman.
It’s at this point I notice a little “2” written underneath the Damage characteristic on the Lord-Imperatant’s warhammer. With that in mind, the Shaman should’ve been slain in his first turn, but never mind – it made the game more exciting!
This time, the Stormcast Hero only managed to make one blow connect with the Shaman, reducing him to a single wound. With the Shaman on his last legs, the door was open for the Gryph-hound to finish him off, but no such luck. Failing his To Wound roll with a pair of 1s, the Shaman lived to fight on.
With the Vindictors and the Gutrippaz having lost a model each this turn, each rolled for Battleshock. The Vindictors passed easily, but with yet another 6 on the roll, a further trio of Gutrippaz fled the field – just as the turn passed back to the Stormcast Eternals.
Free from their skirmish with the Hobgrots, the Praetors charged into the Swampcalla Shaman. Two wounds made it all the way through the rolls, and the Shaman was slain at last.
The beleaguered Vindictors managed to eke out one more Wound on the Gutrippaz, slaying one more of their unit and leaving only their leader standing. In his part of the Fight Phase, the Gutrippa leader failed to wound anyone. In spite of the crushing losses inflicted on his side, the lone Gutrippa passed his Battleshock test, and the turn passed back to the Kruleboyz.
In his final Fight Phase, the Gutrippa champsion almost killed another Vindictor, but no such luck thanks to a good saving throw. The Vindictors responded with force, inflicting a Mortal Wound in their To Hit roll, and sneaking another wound past the Gutrippa’s Save, thus killing him.
Victory to the Sons of Sigmar, who at the end of the turn held two uncontested Objectives.
Playtesting – Final Thoughts
Even after playing through all the Warrior Starter Set Battleplans, I enjoyed trying them out again with the Harbinger version.
Things still feel fairly well-balanced. Things could have gone either way in the final confrontation if the orruks had rolled a little better. Had the Gutrippaz been able to keep up their slaughter of the Vindictors as they did in their opening turns, things could have gone very differently.
That said, had I actually read the Lord-Imperatant’s warscroll properly after his first attack round, the Shaman would’ve been toast before he’d had a chance to do anything. I imagine the game would’ve been over even quicker, as the Stormcast Hero would’ve been free to support the Vindictors and would’ve knocked some serious lumps out of the Gutrippaz with that mean hammer.
Oh well. Something to remember for the next one!
Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Harbinger Starter Set Review – Value Breakdown
So below I just want to take a quick look to give you a reminder of the value in this box. you can find all the editions compared in more detail on our Age of Sigmar Starter Sets Comparison article
Please note that all references to price is based on the RRP from GW themselves. shopping around you can find these kits and various other bits for around 20% discount.
Here’s a quick breakdown of the cost per, sprue and model (note that sprue refers to the individual lettered sprues despite E & F being connected in the harbinger set.
|Cost Per Sprue||£10.83|
|Cost Per Model||£1.63|
The comparison above is quite crude and as such unfair. Especially in regard to Dominion value. But that’s because we have stripped this down to the barest of comparisons here, a single model divided by the cost of the set.
It does not take into account the value of these models in-game or the value of an equivalent model individually. The missing sprues between Harbinger/Extremis and Dominion contain some of the more formidable units. Some of these individual units would easily retail at £20 ($25 USD) – £35 ($35 USD) each!
We already did a brief comparison of the costs in our Dominion review, but here it is again for reference
|Dominion Contents||GBP||USD||CAD||EUR||AUD||Comparable Item(s)|
|Lord-Imperatant with Gryph-hound||£20-£25||$33-$40||$40-$45||€26-€30||$55-$65||Lord-Veritant/Lord-Castellant|
|3 x Praetors||£15-£35||$25-$58||$30-$70||€20-€46||$40-$100||Steelheart’s Champions/Kurnoth Hunters|
|10 x Vindictors||£35-£40||$60-$65||$75-$80||€50-€55||$105-$115||Sequitors/Judicators|
|Swampcalla Shaman with Pot-grot||£20-£25||$33-$40||$40-$45||€26-€30||$55-$65||Lord-Veritant/Lord-Castellant|
|10 x Gutrippaz||£30-£35||$60-$60||$75-$70||€50-€55||$70-$100||Sequitors/Judicators/Ogor Gluttons/Squig Hoppers|
|10 x Hobgrot Slittaz||£25-£35||$40-$60||$50-$70||€33-€46||$70-$100||Stabbas/Shootas|
|Total (Based on Estimates)||£145 – £195||$251 – $323||$310 – $380||€205 -€262||$395 – $545|
|Harbinger Set Price||£65||$99||$119||€80||$120|
|Predicted Savings||£80 -£130||$152 – $224||$191 – $261||€125|
|$275 – $425|
A good saving for this many models! This is no joke, those are the equivalent prices you could pay. For the UK alone, pay £60 and you are equivalently saving £80!
If you are new you’ll very soon come to realise just how expensive things can be. Take this as a good thing or a bad thing but after buying this it may shock you how much something like a set of Vindictors would be on their own.
Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Harbinger Starter Set Review – Where to Next?
As I said at the start of this review, the Harbinger set occupies an odd space between the obviously beginner-oriented Warrior set and the pricier Extremis set. Whilst the Harbinger set is probably too expensive to appeal to a lot of completely new players, it’d be a good booster for any budding armies or beginner generals who started the hobby at the end of AoS 2.0.
You’ll probably be keen to start expanding your new armies to make the wars you wage all the more epic. If you’re particularly keen on the new look of the new Stormcast Eternals and Orruks and can’t wait to start filling up your Kallax with dozens more minis, I have bad news. Currently, the new style of Orruk and Stormcast Eternal figures are only available in the Dominion release and the three new Starter Sets.
However, GW have teased several follow-up releases, some of which can be seen in this article on Warhammer’s community website. To tide you over until then, you may want to pick up the new Age of Sigmar anthology from Black Library, Thunderstrike and Other Stories.
It’s also very likely that once you’ve got a couple of armies at your fingertips and you’ve played through the introductory stuff in the Starter Set, you might want to wage wider war in the Mortal Realms. Once again, there is both good news and bad news: whilst GW recently have announced new Battletomes for both Orruks and Stormcast Eternals, they aren’t out yet.
Alternatively, if you’re a modeler or painter after as many minis for as little cash as possible, this is the set for you. As such, you might want to have a look at some of Best Of Hobby Tools lists and guides to ensure you’re getting the most out of your figures.
Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Harbinger Starter Set Review – Price and Availability
As we said in the breakdown above the savings here are incredible. This is certainly the sweet spot for the new starter sets. Spoiler Warning for the more expensive Extremis set. The only difference is that the play-mat is made of thick cardboard, which is nice. but the rest of it is just more plastic. which actually works out to be pointless in the scenarios they would have you play.
If you are an existing player, a painter or just someone interested in Stormcast or Kruleboys. if you missed Dominion, this is the box for you
price wise this is on par with (as it’s clearly aimed to be) amongst other premium board games you can get your hands on right now.
You’ll soon find this box everywhere. and by that we mean in every Warhammer store across the country, it’s there now. your FLGS will be required to stock these.
Check out our affiliate links in the ads section too, all of those affiliates should be offering at least 20% off these boxes
Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Harbinger Starter Set Review – Final Thoughts
Everything you need to start playing
Great for established painters and tabletop generals
Perhaps a little too big for absolute newbies
The Harbinger set is a difficult one to rate, I find. At the start of this review I outlined that I wasn’t one-hundred percent sure just who, exactly, this set is for. It feels a bit too big and expensive to be aimed at true beginners, so we have to look further afield for its market.
This, then, is the set for the painters and budding collectors – people who maybe aren’t so interested in waging tabletop warfare, but might one day be tempted to glance over the books and cards included in the pack. It is flush with dozens of excellent figures that will keep hobbyists hobbying for weeks to come
Marks against it are twofold: the first is the scenery tray thing. As I said in my summary of the Warrior review, printing the cardboard tray to look like scenery is a clever idea, but there remains something a bit weird about it. Perhaps it’s the fact that the rest of the set is of such high quality – the excellent books, the wonderful miniatures – that playing on a wobbly card box just feels a bit wrong.
The other mark off, the fact that the Harbinger Starter Set doesn’t feel as well-geared towards absolute beginners as the Warrior Starter Set. That feels like a strange thing to say given how similar so many of the contents are, but I can’t escape the feeling that the Harbinger Set may be just a little too big for absolute beginners. As I’ve said above, though, for people with established collections already, or returning players who are already used to playing with larger armies and want to get into AoS 3.0, this’d be an excellent set.
But with those aside, this remains an excellent set. Still, if you are a complete beginner, I would recommend the Warrior Starter Set over the Harbinger Starter Set. But if you’re a hobbyist after their painting fix, or a budding tabletop general looking for reinforcements, you can’t go wrong with the Harbinger set.
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