Tuesday, February 7, 2023

What's Old is New Again: The Old World and Movement Trays

It's no secret that The Old World game is coming, and probably sometime in the next year or two at this point. We've even had quite a bit confirmed about it, but there's still a lot of mystery surrounding the return to the world-that-was. A few things we know for sure is that it will be 28mm, so existing armies and models will be compatible, and that it will be on square bases again. With all of the new stuff for AoS though that will seemingly be compatible with the Old World, part of me wonders about how the square bases will be implemented. Join me, on my journey into the speculative for this new game!

Back when my Tomb Kings were on squares

If you're a veteran of Warhammer Fantasy Battles, then you'll be familiar with the idea of square bases. Everything was on square bases so they could rank up into blocks, alongside more intricate movement rules then we currently have. The movement phase was probably the most important part of the game to be honest. Since we left the world-that-was behind and moved into the Age of Sigmar, we've also left those square bases behind. Everything switched over to rounds, and any new models were designed with round bases in mind specifically. This allowed a lot more creative freedom and dynamism with the models.

While there are definitely some models and units in Age of Sigmar that have no place on the battlefields of the Old World, there are tons that still do. Any models that predate AoS, like Dryads and such, would presumably have little issues in fitting back onto square bases. Others though would have a harder time fitting into the boundaries of a ranked up unit on squares. If we look at even just the recent Slaves to Darkness army we can see a few examples. There's no way all of those new warriors, knights, and chosen were created without the intention of being used in The Old World too. You can see this with the new Snarlfang Riders, and even stuff like the Hobgrots too. The aesthetic is there, as are all of the command models you'd expect in a rank and flank game of Warhammer. I also suspect the upcoming Dawnbringer Crusade models will have a good amount of cross compatibility with the Empire range for the Old World.

This brings up a few issues. Some of these models were designed to fit on bases much larger than their counterparts from Warhammer Fantasy Battles had. The Chosen used to be on 25mm squares, while the new ones are on 40mm rounds. The smallest square base size was 20mm squares, which doesn't even have a modern equivalent anymore. I also have a hard time seeing GW expecting you to rip all of your models off rounds to put them on squares when they can be used in either game. The Old World was described as being equivalent to the Horus Heresy when talking about AoS. It's the specialist game that tells the story of the distant past of the setting. If you look at the Heresy, a ton of the models have rules that allow you to use them in 40k as well.

So, how will this all work. Round. Square. How will you be able to use your army of Nurgle Demons in both AoS and the Old World when they're currently on rounds? As mentioned before, the square aspect of the basing is integral to the way movement works for the old WFB system. They've mentioned the rules will be a mishmash of 6th, 7th, and 8th edition along with a bunch of new mechanics to improve and modernize the game.

A Song of Ice and Fire models courtesy of Alex G

Here's my theory. Square movement trays that fit round bases. We see this with other games already, like A Song of Ice and Fire, and GW even utilized it in the past for the War of the Ring. I think the smallest base size will be 25mm, since that's the smallest round base out there. This will be an easy enough fix for ranked units, as they'll all fit within their movement trays anyway. The biggest question for me is what about units of single model? Will those just have round bases? How will characters join units when they have a different sized base than the rest of the unit? Will there be little single model movement trays? I think everything will still be packaged with rounds. I don't see them going backwards in their freedom to make dynamically posed models by reverting to tightly packed ranks of square bases. The footprint size of units could also be a lot looser in the gameplay mechanics. That way someone playing with a unit of skeletons on 25mm round bases in a square movement tray could play against a veteran Fantasy player using skeletons on the old 20mm squares. 

A Song of Ice and Fire models courtesy of Alex G

Of course I could be completely wrong and it could just be as simple as everything will be on proper square bases. That just seems like to much of a deterrent though when you look at the cross compatibility of Heresy and 40k. What are your thoughts? Do you think GW is going to implement a way to use round based models in The Old World? Will that be the norm or just a way to accommodate AoS players? Which do you personally want to see?

As for me, I'm definitely hoping for the round bases in a movement tray solution, but only time will tell for sure.

Until next time,

Tyler M.

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