Ever wondered what happens when you cross pollinate Epic Armageddon with the Age of Sigmar General's Handbook?
I hadn't either. And then I did.
And this happened:
I was sitting around one day, probably intoxicated on a plane, and was thinking about how the lists that are developed for Epic Armageddon are all play tested for the one scenario. This leads to a certain emphasis on some things, and a tendency for other things to almost never be taken. The up side, of course, is that it is fairly easy to keep things reasonably balanced.
An example of this are upgrades like hellhounds for Imperial Guard companies. In Imperial Guard lists (well, most of them) you can only take hellhounds by attaching them to already fairly large companies. However, there are real advantages in not upgrading your companies too much, as it means you can take more smaller formations, that are cheap. By having many formations, rather than fewer larger formations, there are advantages as you can activate your smaller ones first, see what your opponent is up to, and then activate your larger ones. These are then set up to deliver a coup de grace later that turn or first up in the next turn, and you can have more control over the flow of the battle. But this means that your hellhounds stay on the shelf more often than not. This lack of upgrades means that many lists taken to tournaments look quite similar, and certain formations are deemed as "sub-par" as they aren't well suited to certain aspects of the scenario. Potentially you might end up with the actual army list building process being tainted by this philosophy and the situation becomes even more ingrained.
Another example is that the victory conditions in the scenario are the same for every game. With one of these the formation that is worth the most points yields one victory point when destroyed. So you try not to upgrade certain formations, such as the one that contains your army commander, so they aren't the one your opponent targets. That way if you do lose your most powerful unit and concede a victory point you at least (probably) still have your supreme commander running around somewhere, boosting the rest of the army. This isn't necessarily a bad thing mind you, but it does encourage the Supreme Commander's formation to usually be devoid of upgrades, which isn't very fitting of a Supreme Commander's formation (in my opinion at least!).
Around the same time that I was thinking about these sorts of things I bought the Genreal's Handbook for Age of Sigmar. I had a read through the scenarios in it, and liked how balanced they were, but more importantly how they encouraged army builds to be more varied. Then the idea dawned on me that they could be adapted to Epic Armageddon fairly simply, and would help to overcome some of the issues that I had identified.
So here is a document listing the scenarios adapted for games of Epic Armageddon.
I'll do a bit of a rundown here on what I've done in this document, and how I think it helps Epic Armageddon.
I was also thinking about adding some limitations to the armies selected based on the size of the game; like limiting certain types of units or whatever. But in the end I decided not to as that is covered quite well by the lists that have been made. It might be something that needs adding in at a later date though.
If they choose to go first or second is situational, as there are pro's and cons. If you have less activations to begin with, and you choose to go first, then you are compounding the problem of being out-activated. But at least you can shoot with those nine manticores before the thunderhawk full of terminators shows up and ruins their day. So the option is there at least.
As the scenarios are random, and the victory conditions are all different and require different things, what you end up with is an army that needs to be diverse as it may be up against anything.
So that is the crux of what the document has, and the reasoning behind why I think it will work for Epic Armageddon games. I think the Games Workshop team have done a great job in coming up with these balanced scenarios for Age of Sigmar games, and have obviously invested a lot of time and thought(and some input from the top tournament players and organisers) into them. I look forward to giving them a go in Epic games soon.