If you have followed my Warhammer content for any length of time, you will know that Warhammer 40,000 is my favourite setting established by Games Workshop. I have been visiting the grim dark warzones of the far future since 2nd edition, and it holds a special place in my heart. However, when it came to Games Workshops other IP, Warhammer Fantasy Battles, I was much less keen. I know it’s an unpopular opinion for some, but I never really enjoyed playing WFB, even when I had to as an employee of the company.
Don’t get me wrong, I love me a good bit of fantasy. In fact, I really enjoyed The Lord of the Rings Battle Game back in my youth. But there was just something about Games Workshops take on a fantasy setting that never really inspired me. I suspect it was more to do with how the larger games played rather than the setting, as I was a huge fan of Mordheim. Whatever the reason, WFB was never my jam.
So, when I got back into the hobby after a long break and discovered that Warhammer Fantasy Battles had been replaced with the high fantasy setting of Age of Sigmar, I was intrigued to see if this iteration of a Games Workshops fantasy setting would be of more interest to me. So, I started to read the lore of the End Times, and how that fed into the Mortal Realms. I looked into the Black Library books that took place in these new realms, and even dipped my toe in to the setting with Warhammer Underworlds and Warcry. And you know what? I really started to have fun with it.
Rather than a grim and dark setting that felt I bit like earth in the 14th century but with Orcs, we got a world of heroes and myths. A world where gods walked with mortals, and new and interesting races could exist alongside establish concepts like the forces of Chaos. It felt fresh and exciting, and got me far more invested that years of playing WFB ever did.
I guess a big part of this is also the fact that my 7 and 8 year old’s have started to show a really interest in the hobby, and seeing them get excited about the lore behind Cave Squigs really has lit a fire under me. So, this year I (along with my children) are going to dive into Age of Sigmar proper, and really give the main game a shot. I will be using my Chaos Daemons from 40k as a starting force (which was always my intention for them) and I will be building a small Gloomspite Gitz force for my children to try.
However, I didn’t want to overload them (and myself) with larger battles until we got a hang of the basics. After all, it is important to walk before you try and run. So, I looked for an introductory level of play, similar to the 500-point Combat Patrols of 40k as a starting point. But as I looked for such a thing, I was saddened to see that it just didn’t exist!
Sure, you could play 500-point games, but in terms of army building it seemed the smallest level of play recommended was 1,000-point Vanguard games. Now sure, we could just play narrative and not bother with match play. But I want to show off all aspect of the game to my children, including list building. So, if there wasn’t a set standard for building and playing smaller games in Age of Sigmar, we would just have to make our own.
Border Clash of Age of Sigmar is what Combat Patrol is for 40k. A way of representing small frontier settlements of warriors clashing with one another on the fringes of their territory, that can be played in about an hour or so. Where Battlehost sized games represent epic wars between larger armies, and Vanguard has the forward scouts doing battle, Border Clash has you commanding the garrisons or outposts of the Grand Alliance’s against the raiders and bandits that seek to burn them down.
Border Clash plays like any other game of Age of Sigmar, only at a much smaller scale. To build a Border Clash force you will follow the steps laid out in the main rulebook for a match play army, with the follow restrictions.
1+ Battleline units (no maximum number of units).
Any number of units without a battlefield role.
Up to 100 points of Allies.
No more than 500 points a side.
If you are a Sons of Behemat force, instead of the above restrictions you my take one of the following:
1 Gatebreaker Mega-Gargant
1 Kraken-Eater Mega-Gargant
1 Warstompa Mega-Gargant
This will be your entire army (one Mega-Gargant against a Garrison of smaller soldiers seems fair enough to me). To give you an idea of the sort of army you can create with the above rules, check out the below force of my Maggotkin of Nurgle.
30 Plaguebearers, Icon Bearer, Piper.
So now you have a Border Clash army, it’s time to play some games. Now, you are free to select any Battleplans you wish. But it’s important to remember that most Battleplans are designed with larger scale battles in mind, so they might not be the best suited to this level of play. Still, there is nothing stopping you from coming up with your own plans or using specialist ones from White Dwarf or a tournament pack. But when it comes to table size, I would recommend 44”x30” sized board (or two Warcry boards if you have them).
The important thing is to have fun and enjoy playing some quick and engaging games of Age of Sigmar. I am currently working on a list with my children for a Squig heavy Gloomspite Gitz list, ready to teach them the finer points of high fantasy warfare.
If you have any ideas for games of Border Clash, or have your own take on small scale battles in the Mortal Realms then I would love to hear from you in the comments below. You can also find me over on Twitter @TenguPlaysGames, or over on the Master of Magics Facebook page. Also get in touch if you have tried out these rules and have some feedback, as I would like to improve these rules moving forward.
If you have enjoyed todays article, please like and subscribe to keep up to date with all we do here at Master of Magics. You want to support the site directly; you can join our Patreon for as little as a $1 a month. Until next time though remember, Stay Safe and look after yourselves.