Both the General’s Handbook and its 40k cousin, Chapter Approved, have become must buy books for those who enjoy competitive or Competitive gaming (the small c is for people who like a good contest, the big C is for those who like tournaments – know what I mean?). I have always been more of a painter (not that I’ve been doing a great deal of that lately) but I do like a game, and a competitive challenge is always a little more fun if you have a good opponent.
A little while back, I made a post about my Stormcast Eternals army and I will be trying to get that to 2000 points and legal in matched play during the early days of this new edition of Age of Sigmar. So I need to work out what I need to paint, how I’m going to play my army, and, how I’m going to operate in this new edition. Games Workshop were kind enough to send me a copy of the General’s Handbook 2021, and in this post, I’m going to see how easy it is to use this product to help an AoS novice like me to get my Stormcasts all Shipshape and Brightspear fashion.
First off, I’m going to say that the size of this product is great. It’s a little larger than A5 and as someone who has known the pain of dragging 5 or 6 books along with me to a 40k game not so long ago (Rulebook, Codexes, FW Book, Campaign Book, etc…) it’s nice to know that this is small and handy. Also, one of the practicalities of the game is that while we might play it on a 6’x4’ (or 44”x60” in new money), you usually need the same area gain just to hold all of your open books. So this handy little tome-ette works great.
I also like, that they’re continuing to split the updated points costs into a separate little book. Makes it easier to find and can be left at home when you don’t need it. Lovely. If I had one gripe with this size of book, it’s that the font sizes can be tiny and if your eyesight isn’t great, it could be a little hard to read, but that’s really the only thing I question about this. In those pitched battle profiles, when you need to look something up in a huge roster like Stormcast Eternals, even with the guidelines, it can turn into a fair bit of squinting. But I can live with that for the convenience that this size of book brings.
Onto My Army
With these updated points, I worked out the list of what I had and it clocked in at (according to my mental arithmetic) 1190 points. It felt like I had a lot of ground to make up there. The points costs for the Dominion box are in this pack too so it turns out that if I add in the big Celestial Spear character, two groups of five Vindicators (which finally gives me my 3 battleline units that I need), and the 3 Paladors I’ve had sitting in a box for ages now, I could get up to 1955 points! Result. And with 45 points left over, I reckon I could squeeze an Endless Spell into this list. And that brings me on to my next favourite feature.
I do like the tabs. My codexes are typically sprouting with bookmarks (well, scraps of paper) but the tabs in the main book here need to be adopted by all GW publications – it makes life so much easier. It was while reviewing these that I noticed the Endless Spells tab. As someone who’s never really understood these magical things, I was delighted to find all of the “Anyone can use these” spells in this section with all their rules. Cross-referencing with the Profiles booklet, I’ve added the Chronomantic Cogs to my list giving me exactly 2000 points to get ready – more on that later.
The Player’s Code & Learning Rules
The Player’s Code (which has existed in one form or another since at least the early 90s) is lovely to see here. Now we’ve all had 18 months of being necessarily anti-social, it’s good to remind us all what it takes to make a good game for both players. I still don’t agree with the “Never complain about your bad luck” bit as that’s pretty much my entire personality during games but I like to think I do it with a fair amount of humour so hopefully it’s not that bad when I do it. And I still think my own rule should have been added – the winner buys the drinks (that way, everyone wins), but it looks like that didn’t make the cut again. Shame.
Otherwise though, I hope all players will take some time to review the Code. It’s worth it, and will make all of our lives better.
Next up, I needed to review the rules and do you know what, this really is a great little section. From pages 59 to 95, there is everything you will need to play a game really (aside from the Battletome unit rules). Numbering the sections for reference is a great move. The side notes in the margin are mega helpful for novices like me. While this section feels dense and involved, it doesn’t feel like it’s too much. It tells you everything without it feeling like it’s told you Everything. I’ve gone through it once and feel like I know the game backwards (which almost certainly isn’t true but it’s nice to feel like that never the less) and I reckon I could find my way around it for a game easy as pie.
So it’s a well done to the rules writers and a very well done to the people who laid this section out in the book. Great work all round.
Final Thoughts On The GHB21
I really like this product. It’s incredibly helpful, full of useful things and laid out in a sensible and logical way. Has it helped me to sort out my Stormcast Army? I don’t think I could have sorted it out without this set of compact books. It’s got me almost as excited for AoS as knowing I have a copy of Dominion on the way to me soon. Finger’s crossed, I’ll be heading to Warhammer World with it all one day soon.
So What Next?
Well, in under a couple of weeks, I will be heading to my local store to pick up Dominion, and then I have exactly 15 models that I need to paint up to get to my 2k points army. Once that’s all done, I’ll be painting up some of those delightful new Orruks I reckon. But I’ve got a lot of half finished projects that I want to get to over the next couple of weeks os hopefully I’ll be able to show off some of those here. Until then, happy hobbying. Onwards!