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Made in gb
Jinking Ravenwing Land Speeder Pilot





Hot on the heels of Balance of Power and Grand Alliance: Chaos, GW have released a new tome for Age of Sigmar – Grand Alliance: Death. So, should you be picking this one up?

As always, more piccies here: https://ttgamingdiary.wordpress.com/2016/02/24/review-grand-alliance-death/



The first thing you will notice is that it is quite small and, in fact, rivals Battletome: Chaos Dreadholds for smallness – just 88 pages. The second thing you will spot is the amount of money you handed over for it – just £10, a lot less than Dreadholds.

It is also a softback, in the same fashion as Grand Alliance: Chaos and given this, and the price point, three possibilities come to my mind.

1. GW are intending to replace these books every few years to incorporate new models and Warscrolls, so they are being made cheaply and sold cheaply so no one has to worry about re-purchasing a £30 Codex. You are not going to complain too much if GW ‘make’ you spend £10 or so every couple of years.
2. GW are looking for a cheap entry point through which people can buy Age of Sigmar books, in the same way as there are high price point new miniatures and low price point re-boxings.
3. Age of Sigmar books are not selling particularly well and so GW are trying to support their new game as cheaply as possible.

A lot of cynics will latch on to Number Three, but we should remember that these books will have been planned a long time ago (before Age of Sigmar was first released, I would guess) and the campaign books and Battletomes are still hardback. For my part, I would lean towards Number Two.

The proof will come if either the campaign books or Battletomes go softback or a Grand Alliance book gets revised.

Remember, it really is okay to withhold judgement until you know more!

Like Grand Alliance: Chaos, this book features three core items.


1. Warscolls
This is the meat of the book, and the reason you would buy it.

In this book you will find all the Warscrolls needed for all current Death models.

A lot has been made of what has been removed, most notably the Tomb Kings. There has been a little outcry over this on various forums but I think the writing was always on the wall for these guys. If the Fantasy range was going to get re-organised, it would never make sense to keep two plastic sets of Skeleton Warriors and, once you have made the decision to lose them, the rest of the Tomb Kings were always going to follow quickly.

I must admit, I was a little surprised that some of the larger Tomb Kings plastics went as well, but if you have a large Tomb Kings force already, remember those Warscrolls that GW published for free are never going to disappear from your hard drive. This is one of the cool things about Age of Sigmar – you will never have to worry about an army being invalidated (or Squatted) even if the models are withdrawn from sale. Your Tomb Kings can carry on marching for years to come!

Anyway, the Warscrolls are organised into factions based on the keywords used in the free-to-download Undead PDF, such as Deathmages, Deadwalkers and Nighthaunt. Like Grand Alliance: Chaos, some of these are intended to be ‘stand alone’ forces (such as the Deathrattle, Skeletons and related models led by a Wight King), while others are intended to be mixed and matched with others – the Necromancers within the Deathmage faction being a good example.

Oh, and any of the ‘silly/fun’ rules that were in the Undead PDF before? Gone now. You won’t care whether it is dark or not outside, Mannfred still gets his special rules.

There is just one Battalion Warscroll in the book, for the Deathrattle guys – the Legion of Death. Yes, they could easily have included more, but I think they were probably working to a page count, and I am sure there will be plenty of Death-based Battalions to come (such as in the recently released Balance of Power).


2. Background

If you are into the heart of the background and storyline for Age of Sigmar, this is the real reason you pick up the books… and you are not going to find a great deal in this one.

Instead of hard information that will flesh out the Death factions in the storyline, what you get in this book is a more general overview of each faction. This, I think, will serve to prepare you for the Death factions to enter the ongoing storyline properly (I think we all know they are about to arrive in a big way!). So, you will now know how a Flesh-eater Court is arranged and how the Soulblight Vampires rule their minions.


3. Specific Forces
There are a few forces showcased in this book, demonstrating how the factions go to war and how they can work together. There does not appear to be anything linked to the main storyline (though GW may well reference them at a later date, as they did with the Fyreslayers), it seems to be more a kick start to your own imagination to get you thinking about how to portray your own dead people in Age of Sigmar.

Still, always a good excuse for pictures of pretty miniatures and, if you are like me, it may get you thinking about colour schemes.


Conclusion
It would be easy to criticise this book for lacking the Tomb Kings, or Kemmler, or more Battalions… but that is really not the point of it.

It comes down to this, really:

If you prefer your Warscrolls to be collated in a single book, this is going to cost you just £10, which is way less than just about anything else you will get from GW. So get it. You won’t be sorry.

If you are happy with your printed Warscrolls (and all the Death units have had their Warscrolls updated for free download on GW’s web site), you won’t need this book. If you use the AoS app, you won’t need it.

It really is that simple!

40k and Age of Sigmar Blog - A Tabletop Gamer's Diary: https://ttgamingdiary.wordpress.com/

Mongoose Publishing: http://www.mongoosepublishing.com/ 
   
Made in kr
Regular Dakkanaut




Los Angeles

Thank you for this review!
   
Made in us
[MOD]
Protoculturist






RVA

Nice review, very helpful!

   
Made in gb
Arch Magos w/ 4 Meg of RAM





I thought it was a great book for the £10 asking price - and I think I prefer the sourcebook style background rather than a specific narrative.

Do you think there is anything to the two pieces of artwork with Empire and Dwarf characters depicted?

Bye bye Dakkadakka, happy hobbying! I really enjoyed my time on here. Opinions were always my own :-) 
   
Made in ca
Inspiring Icon Bearer




Canada

MongooseMatt wrote:
A lot has been made of what has been removed, most notably the Tomb Kings. There has been a little outcry over this on various forums but I think the writing was always on the wall for these guys. If the Fantasy range was going to get re-organised, it would never make sense to keep two plastic sets of Skeleton Warriors and, once you have made the decision to lose them, the rest of the Tomb Kings were always going to follow quickly.


Undying Legions are leading the polls in 9th Age armies people would like to see new models for. As a long-time TK player, and poster on the TK boards, it was pretty clear that the thing holding the army back was rules. It takes a very specific kind of player to drop hundreds of dollars on the worst army in the game for the sake of its models alone. Many TK players ran VC skeletons anyways, and all they really needed was an iconography pack with shields and banners to have cross-compatability.

Just another indication of GW's shortsightedness, really. They're so convinced that only hobbyists play their games that they completely ignore how competitive considerations might factor into the marketability of certain units.
   
Made in ca
Dakka Veteran




On that note, one of the interesting things about AoS, I think, is seeing which armies become most popular in a world where there's no such thing as over/under-powered armies anymore. Everything is good and effective. It's all based on taste now.
   
Made in us
Regular Dakkanaut




Picked this up at my local GW today...love having a hard copy of the stats to flip thru, well worth the $17.00 in my opinion.
   
Made in us
Enigmatic Exalted Daemon





Albany, NY

Thanks for the review Matt, and I'll admit being extremely surprised to see such an affordable 'armybook' released for AOS. While I won't be buying Death, I look forward to Destruction getting a similar $17 treatment

- Salvage

BLOODFIRE: KOW SALAMANDER REPORTS 
   
Made in us
Dangerous Skeleton Captain




Baltimore

Destruction will probably cost more, as I doubt GW plans on dropping either orcs or ogres, meaning the book will be twice as big, and probably half again as expensive, though neither as big nor as expensive as the chaos alliance book was.

The pursuit of knowledge requires a mind unfettered by the petty constraints of ethics, faith, or mortality.

~ Roderick Pale 
   
Made in us
Longtime Dakkanaut




Great review, thanks Matt!

It's a shame that the death alliance is so small but it certainly fits with Nagash's ego.

I do wonder what the future will be like for undeath if GW expands the army? That one leak of a tomb king-like novel did say they would not be like what they once were.
   
Made in us
Enigmatic Exalted Daemon





Albany, NY

 Malisteen wrote:
Destruction will probably cost more, as I doubt GW plans on dropping either orcs or ogres, meaning the book will be twice as big, and probably half again as expensive, though neither as big nor as expensive as the chaos alliance book was.
Ah right, I missed that part of Death's low price is the fewer number of scrolls in it. I thought it was a combination of decreased background material/art, softcover material cost and smart pricing decisions ....

I'm actually still bummed that Chaos is so absurdly expensive, as I'd love a proper book for the Daemons I'm refitting for AOS

- Salvage

BLOODFIRE: KOW SALAMANDER REPORTS 
   
Made in us
Dangerous Skeleton Captain




Baltimore

Chaos isn't absurdly expensive - that book is freaking HUGE. Even paper back, a full color game book that big on decent stock paper like that is generally much pricier. It's also got a lot of fluff placing all the various chaos subfactions (including beastmen, all the skaven clans, etc) in the new setting, and it includes a bunch of formations.

If anything, I'd call it a considerably better deal and more exciting product than GADeath's skeletal (haha) showing.

In both cases, however, the Grand Alliance books are mostly just hard printings of warscrolls which GW has committed to making available for free both online and packaged with the models themselves, and since the bulk of the Grand Alliance books is thus free regardless, there's only so much GW can reasonably charge for them. Other AoS books that lean more on fluff, scenarios, or campaign content that isn't free online are all priced much more aggressively.

Anyway, I'd expect GADestruction to weigh in at us$20 to us$26, possibly more if we see new releases for Destruction before then (which I view as possible, but highly unlikely).

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2016/02/26 15:08:30


The pursuit of knowledge requires a mind unfettered by the petty constraints of ethics, faith, or mortality.

~ Roderick Pale 
   
Made in us
Enigmatic Exalted Daemon





Albany, NY

 Malisteen wrote:
Chaos isn't absurdly expensive - that book is freaking HUGE. Even paper back, a full color game book that big on decent stock paper like that is generally much pricier. It's also got a lot of fluff placing all the various chaos subfactions (including beastmen, all the skaven clans, etc) in the new setting, and it includes a bunch of formations.
Here's where I have to come clean: I don't care about the background, particularly for AOS, and I don't particularly like the new art direction nor need to see photos of available models. What I want is a physical collection of up to date warscrolls on decent paper stock, preferably in a soft cover. So spending an extra $50 for all this stuff I don't want seems a bit much, you know?

*looks up how much Grand Alliance: Chaos actually costs*

Wait, this thing is only $33? And softcover? It's not another $70 hardback??

Excuse me as I go eat this crow

- Salvage

BLOODFIRE: KOW SALAMANDER REPORTS 
   
Made in us
Dangerous Skeleton Captain




Baltimore

You are excused. :p

But yeah, the grand alliance books have some fluff and formations and pretty pictures, but they're only the tiniest portion of the books. They are 90% just print outs of unit warscrolls on decent paper stock, and GW knows they can't charge much for that since they've committed to making those scrolls available for free, so anybody could just go to kinkos or whatever and have them printed out there instead, but they also don't want to restrict access to the unit rules to people with internet connections.

The pursuit of knowledge requires a mind unfettered by the petty constraints of ethics, faith, or mortality.

~ Roderick Pale 
   
Made in us
Enigmatic Exalted Daemon





Albany, NY

 Malisteen wrote:
But yeah, the grand alliance books have some fluff and formations and pretty pictures, but they're only the tiniest portion of the books.
Armybooks after my own heart

Part of my interest is actually in the warscrolls that were updated (some are just name changes and LARP rules being dropped, but I'm paranoid that there are more in there, like weapon options and so on), and those scrolls that aren't available online - i.e. the Bloodbound.

- Salvage

BLOODFIRE: KOW SALAMANDER REPORTS 
   
Made in gb
Arch Magos w/ 4 Meg of RAM





The Grand Alliance books are a great move by GW even if it is free content printed on nice paper. I hope they have sold in big enough numbers for GW to consider setting similar prices for other companion books :-)

Bye bye Dakkadakka, happy hobbying! I really enjoyed my time on here. Opinions were always my own :-) 
   
Made in us
Bounding Dark Angels Assault Marine




Berkeley Springs, West Virginia

Nice review! As others have said. I think you're spot on that these are cheap for the reason that they will be replaced every year or so.
   
Made in gb
Wight Lord with the Sword of Kings






UK

Thanks for the review

Would still have preferred sets of nicely printed cards - so much more useful! Still £10 is not something I will notice...........


"Unimaginably ancient xenos artefact somewhere on the planet, hive fleet poised above our heads, hidden 'stealer broods making an early start....and now a bloody Chaos cult crawling out of the woodwork just in case we were bored. Welcome to my world, Ciaphas."
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"I will admit that some Primachs like Russ or Horus could have a chance against an unarmed 12 year old novice but, a full Battle Sister??!! One to one? In close combat? Perhaps three Primarchs fighting together... but just one Primarch?" da001

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A Bloody Road - my Warhammer Fantasy Fiction 
   
 
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