Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Storm Ground is touted as the first strategy game adaptation of the tabletop wargame. Made by developer Gasket Games and published by Focus Home Interactive, it tasks the player with fighting opponents to safeguard the realms. Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Storm Ground is also fairly challenging, hence why we put together this beginner’s guide with several starter tips to help you out.
Also, to clarify, the game uses roguelike elements. That means you’re bound to fail and restart a few times.
Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Storm Ground – Beginner’s guide and starter tips
A lot of folks should be familiar with turn-based strategy games where you move your team’s units, and then the opponent takes its turn. With roguelike elements thrown into the mix though, it becomes a grindy and challenging affair.
There are many instances in Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Storm Ground where your army (aka warband) is outnumbered by the AI. It also means that enemies can take a chunk out of your units’ health bars which will lead to deaths. Due to the roguelike element, dead units are gone for good until you acquire “Miracles” which can bring them back to life. Likewise, if your hero dies or if you fail a mission’s objectives, it will count as a loss. You’ll restart from the very beginning of your campaign.
The game also uses one save file and autosaves are only possible prior to starting a mission or if you choose the “save & exit” option). That’s why you’ll want to make your moves count lest you commit disastrous mistakes.
Note: A game I could compare this to would be Othercide. It’s also published by Focus Home Interactive, but it had a different developer.
You’re starting from scratch?
If you lose the campaign in Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Storm Ground, you’ll restart from the beginning. However, you’re able to select certain gear pieces and units to bring along with you (the stuff you acquired during your previous run). Since missions get progressively harder, you can expect to incur deaths, failures, and restarts until things eventually become manageable.
What’s progression like?
When you start the campaign, you can only play as the Stormcast Eternals (aka Sigmarines). The main character is a Lord Celestant named Freya Skyhelm. The roster has armor-clad and versatile units such as Liberators, Vanguard Hunters, and Vanguard Palladors.
After completing a couple of missions, you’ll unlock the option to play as the other two factions: the Nighthaunt (spirits of the dead and minions of Nagash) and Maggotkin (plague-bearing and diseased corruptions of Nurgle). You can choose to continue with the Stormcast Eternals’ campaign, or try the other factions. Just remember that only one campaign autosave is allowed.
As for the campaign, you’ll go from one mission to the next. There are times when multiple selections are possible and you’ll even see their individual rewards. But, you may only choose one of the missions and the others will disappear for good. Eventually, you’ll reach a point when you can challenge a particular boss. If you complete this encounter, you’ll finish the rather short campaign for that realm. You can then select a higher difficulty that requires you to conquer two realms, and so on.
Similar to most turn-based strategy games, you’ll encounter various objectives during each mission:
- Kill all enemies – The most common task simply involves eliminating all enemy units. There are also cases when a new wave can spawn and you’ll need to take out the additional hostiles.
- Destroy ‘X’ target or enemy – This one might have a particular object on the battlefield that you need to destroy or an elite/boss enemy that you must eliminate.
- Control points – This requires units to stand on three circular icons (control points) around a beacon. Hostile units may also move in to claim a control point. You’ll need to hold all points for a couple of turns until the beacon is lit.
- Keep hero alive – Apart from your main character, a supporting hero might also join your squad for storyline purposes. This unit needs to be kept alive or you’ll lose.
- Completion with turn limit – Some missions have the aforementioned objectives plus a turn limit. If you exceed this turn limit, you’ll fail the mission and it will result in game over.
Warband roster, wargear, and skills
The units and gear pieces you acquire throughout the campaign appear as cards. Before each mission, you have a chance to examine your warband’s roster. Your hero starts out with only a couple of slots for your unit limit, but this increases as you progress during a campaign (it also resets to a lower limit when you start a new campaign, including those at higher difficulties). Ideally, you’ll want to complement your hero with units that can provide support (i.e., Castigators for their ranged attacks).
Likewise, you can equip your units with new weapons, armors, and skills to make them tougher. Heroes and units will also gain experience points by killing enemies and if they’re alive at the end of the mission.
Unit summoning, new heroes, and other map features
At the start of each mission, you may only spawn your main character. After a turn, you should have enough purple crystals to summon at least one extra unit from your roster. Each unit has a summoning cost denoted by the purple icon on its card. If you have a support hero (i.e., Alrik Nightrunner for the Stormcast Eternals), you can spawn him if you equipped his card in the warband screen. Be forewarned that support heroes only have a single use though (at least at the start). Try not to summon them for easy encounters.
Speaking of drops, you’ll get your loot from various objects on the map such as chests and urns. There are also other features like plates that let you acquire more summoning points.
Note: After completing a campaign run for the Stormcast Eternals, Alrik Nightrunner will be unlocked as a main hero. When you start a new campaign, simply right-click on Freya Skyhelm’s card to replace her with Alrik.
Attacking, charging, and channeling abilities
As an aside, you should also take note of unit abilities in Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Storm Ground. Most melee units have a default attack, and a charge that allows them to pounce on enemies. Beware, because this will also cause enemies to retaliate and damage you. It’s better to charge a unit that’s been weakened so that it’s guaranteed to die from your hit, making it unable to retaliate. Then again, charging also makes your unit move to that previously occupied tile once your target is dead. It can be a little detrimental, especially if you lose the high ground advantage.
There are also abilities that are usable if you don’t move, and those that are channeled. For instance, the Castigator can perform a Greatbow Shot if it doesn’t move at the start of its turn (it’s a strong ranged attack). If you move it, it’ll lose this ability. Additionally, it may use a channeling skill called Indirect Attack. You can target a tile and the Castigator will blast it on its next turn. This can be useful if a new enemy unit is spawning, or if you feel that a hostile will move to that tile.
Note 1: Another mechanic to consider is armor (denoted by a yellow pip above a unit’s HP). Basically, the armor value is subtracted if a unit is attacked. The result will be the damage that the unit takes. If the target’s armor value is higher than the attack, then there’s a hidden roll to determine if damage can be done or if it’s fully mitigated.
Note 2: Right-click on enemy units to see the stats and abilities that they have. Some can explode on death, and you want to watch out if your units are close to it.
Changes to your settings
Take a look at the game’s settings. Try to avoid setting your graphics to max. I tried that, and even with an Nvidia RTX 3080 and Intel Core i9-10900K, my framerates dropped down to 30fps at 4K resolution. Mind you, I’ve played open-world games at maximum settings without issues, so this problem in Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Storm Ground was pretty surprising.
Likewise, go to the controls panel to see the keybinds. The “WASD” keys can be used to move the camera around, so you might want to remove “E” as a keybind for ending your turn (believe me, that screwed up my initial run when I accidentally pressed it). You can also set the “tab” key to select a new unit just to make cycling faster.
Sadly, there’s no way to speed up animations at all. If you consider the slow pace of battles, the difficulty spikes, and roguelike mechanics, then Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Storm Ground‘s single-player campaign might feel like a slog.
Hopefully this beginner’s guide for Age of Sigmar: Storm Ground helps get started with minimal frustration and decent efficiency.
Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Storm Ground is available via Steam.