Getting Started with Warhammer: Age of Sigmar – Armies and Resources You Need

A table with Warhammer miniatures

It is the AGE… of Sigmar.  Oh yeah.  Hey I’m pretty new to AoS myself. I wanted to help anyone brand new to it by sharing what I’ve learned.

There is quite a bit of back story to the game but let’s keep things simple at the start:

Warhammer: Age of Sigmar Basics

  • Warhammer: Age of Sigmar is a fantasy-based RPG that is played with miniatures.
  • You pick a “team”, buy some miniature models to physically build your army, and play on a tabletop against other players.
  • It replaced Warhammer Fantasy in 2015 but generally fits the same genre of swords and shield, dwarves, humans, elves, orcs and lots of monsters.
  • The rules are a free download from Games Workshop (<<< that link)
  • The easiest way I have found to get an understanding of what this game is all about was by watching a Battle Report.  Just search up “Age of Sigmar Battle Report” on Youtube and pick one that interests you.  Here’s an example:

So with that as our foundation let’s go a bit deeper!

Picking A Team:

There are four main groups, known as ‘Grand Alliances’, in Age of Sigmar:

  • Death
  • Destruction
  • Chaos
  • Order

Within each group there are factions.  The best way to see this is again on the Games Workshop site, under Age of Sigmar.  Makes sense right?  Check out the left side of this page.

Scroll down and you’ll see the Grand Alliances listed.  Just search through them and get a sense of what your options are. What looks cool to you…what catches your interest?

For me, I saw the Greywater Fastness Start Collecting box art and I was like… YUP. Purely picked them based on cool factor, not gameplay.  I’ve come to find out these models are a few years old as of 2020, but they are FANTASTIC.  I love em’ and they’re new to me.

Quick but important note!  Buy these on Amazon or MiniatureMarket or somewhere other than Games Workshop site. Many times, it’s as much as 15% cheaper.

Next, I was listening to some lore on Age of Sigmar and came across this:

That gives you the story so far, duh.  After hearing this, I was totally down for the Stormcast Eternals. Bought em. Built em. Painted em. Love em.

Next, Games Workshop released these guys:

Games Workshop - Warhammer Age of Sigmar - Start...

Check Price on Amazon

Hell yes.  I’m in!  I just got this box and I’m excited to build this army to face off against the Stormcast!

So you see how it goes, yeah?  Find an Army you like, and start the process of looking into them.  Watch some battle reports, check out the models, read the rules.  You’re on your way!

The Miniatures of Warhammer: Age of Sigmar

The gameplay in AoS revolves around the use of miniature figures to make up armies. Not only do you need to have one, but other players also need to have their own.

Miniatures can usually come with the game but they’re largely unassembled and not painted. You will have to put your skills to use in order to assemble and paint them to make them battle-ready.

This is actually a big part of the AoS gaming experience and a hobby. Many people love making their own armies from scratch or assembling and painting them. You can use either round or oval bases for your figures.

AoS consists of races which are taken from J.R.R Tolkien’s works. You can find humans, dwarves, elves, orcs, goblins, ogres and more. There are major twists here such as that the dwarves whereas the elves live under the sea. You will have to get figures for each race that you are including in your army. Armies can be made up of 20 miniatures or even 200+.

Getting Started with Age of Sigmar

We’ll discuss the gameplay in more detail but before we do that, you will need a number of tools for getting started with AoS. The following are what every beginner should get:

Tabletop Terrains

When you start out, playing on your kitchen table or any other flat, large surface area will suffice. You won’t need to get any playing mats. However, if you want a richer experience with more believable terrain, it is a good idea to invest in some terrain tabletop mats.

Sizes also depend upon the kind of game and the army that you have. As a general rule, you should try the following:

  • 6 x 4 feet for normal to big games
  • 4 x 4 feet for small games

You can either opt for the 2D neoprene gaming mats or you can get a 3D terrain map made. The 3D map will cost more but will also include raised areas for hills, dips for lakes or ponds and make fighting a battle more interesting. You can also DIY your own terrain maps and GW also makes terrain options. However, you will have to assemble and paint these.

Dice and Measuring Tape

The gameplay revolves around the use of 6 sided dice. Make sure that you buy these in bulk because you will need a lot of them. These can also be based upon the kind of gaming style you have. Nonetheless, make sure you have enough for use and a few spare.

Additionally, AoS characters move in inches. This means that you will have to get a tape measure to see how much you must move your army based on your turn. It’s an odd tool to have but once you start using it, it will be a vital part of your gameplay.

The AoS app or Core Book

You really should get the core book for the AoS game. This can be found for free on the GW website. It will help you understand the traits of the races, how battles are fought and more. You can print the PDFs of these files and make your own binder based on your army.

Another alternative is to download the AoS app. This holds all the character traits, war scrolls, and information you need to build your own army. However, this does come with a minimum subscription fee to get access to all the information that is on the website for free.

Gameplaying Styles

Now, let’s consider the gameplaying styles that you can apply with AoS. The following are the three types of gameplay you can use:

Open Play

This style hinges around the choices of you and your opponents. You both can decide the number of miniatures in your armies and the kind of restrictions you want to add or remove. The battle plan is also open to changes as needed.

Matched Play

With matched play, you’re going to be playing against an opponent and trying to level the playing field. You will have restrictions and rules to follow and balance the armies, using the point system as shown in the core book. It makes the game more fun, intense and requires more strategic thinking to win.

Narrative Play

Narrative play style is similar to open play but there is an actual story that you will be following. In this style, it doesn’t matter if the armies are matched or more powerful or even who wins. It’s all about creating a cool story for the future of the orcs, elves, humans and other races.

For all these playing styles, you can rely on the core books to get the right storylines, details and more. It’s a good idea to dedicate some time by reading up on the lore. There are also educational videos available on GW for it.

Making Your Own Army in AoS

Now that you are familiar with the AoS lore and have gotten everything you need, it’s time to focus on one of the most major areas of this game – building your army. All AoS players dedicate a huge time assembling, painting and preparing their miniature models to add to their armies.

It also depends on the number of miniatures you want. An army of 50 to 70 miniatures will take less time than making an army of 100 plus miniatures. You should work out this factor first. Once you have decided on this, you can focus on the special tools you need to make your own army.

The following are some of the essential tools you should get:

Miniature Models

You can find models for AoS clans, races and more online with ease. GW also hosts an online marketplace where you can get models for your armies. The good news here is that if you built an army for Warhammer: Fantasy, you can use it for Warhammer: Age of Sigmar, despite their square bases.


All miniature models you buy will need assembly. They come in a frame and you will have to cut out all the pieces. For maximum precision, you will need to have clippers to get all the parts out safely and without damaging them.

Cleaning Up

Once you have all your pieces cut up, you will need to clean or cut out any rough edges. Again, you will need maximum precision. In this case, get a hobby knife or a mould line remover. This can be sharp and precise enough to remove any unwanted parts.

Plastic Glue

You need to use good quality plastic glue for your models. This is a must as it melts the plastic and allows the various parts to properly melt and bond well together. Poor quality plastic glue will give you poor results so be mindful about this.

Primer or Base for Paints

Now, once you have assembled your miniatures, you will have to paint them. Before you do so, use a primer on the miniatures surfaces. This is necessary as it will help the paint to stick better and be true in color. Use a white, brown or even a grey color as a base and primer for your miniatures.

Paints and Brushes

You will need to get special miniature paints that can give you the kind of results you are looking for. To color reference your models, you can take a look at GW’s website or the AoS app for more details about your characters. You can either buy individual paint pots or buy a complete pack which comes with all the brushes and paints you will need for this.

Getting Beginner Sets

It’s also a good idea to get beginner or starter sets to allow you to get a set of miniatures relating to a certain race. These also help you to get more miniatures quickly. The right beginner sets can come with a core book, the dice you need, miniatures to make a rough army and other essentials. You will still have to buy your paint and brushes separately.

Remember that building an army from scratch does take time and it can take weeks of assembly, painting, and drying before you can have your first battle. However, being patient will pay off and you can build the best army possible with ease.

Last update on 2024-05-26 at 15:38 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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I'm a hobby enthusiast with a real love for painting miniatures. I also happen to run this site and write the majority of its content!