I’ve never played Warhammer or 40K tabletop games or even the board games, but I’ve played plenty of video games set in their grim dark worlds. While I have a vague (but growing) understanding of the lore, Age of Sigmar is still new to me. I was happy, then, to get a crack at Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Storm Ground. I thought it would be a good way to jump into Age of Sigmar without having to invest in miniatures—something I’ve been doing with Warhammer IPs since I was a kid. But as anyone familiar with Warhammer video games knows it’s always a toss-up whether a particular game will be good—and Storm Ground, while it has the potential, ends up being disappointing.
Warhammer: Age of Sigmar: Storm Ground is a turn-based strategy game with roguelike elements, and the first video game based on Age of Sigmar. While I haven’t played Age of Sigmar on the tabletop, Storm Ground feels like a game of miniatures turned into a video game. Matches are held on hex-based grids where two of the three factions meet, summon units, and fight until one side is the victor. Sometimes there are control points, chests and other items to loot while playing single player—and these can potentially give you items to deck out your main avatar, or new cards like units that can round out your forces. You can customize your forces, too, just like they were your own Games Workshop miniatures. Where does it all go so wrong?
I spent most of my time with Storm Ground single player mode, but there’s also the option to play Storm Ground in player versus player battles where you have to carefully use mana to deploy forces to your advantage. But the single player mode for each of the three factions works more like a campaign story mode with an overarching story, and some hammy voice acting. If you fail, you can be reborn, retaining a few unit cards, but not gear, and having to start a fresh run. Battles take place on small battlefields, usually with only a few obstacles or control points to fight over. The battlefields are mostly uninteresting, but that could be forgiven if the turn-based battles were actually fun—except they’re not.
Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Storm Ground isn’t a particularly great strategy game. Units are roughly confined to being able to attack/use an ability and move. If there were interesting units, this wouldn’t be a problem, but each faction only has a handful of different types of troops to deploy onto the battlefield. Each of the three different factions deploys units differently, and have different ways to control hexes and therefore the battlefield—but not one single faction felt fun to play.
While not in Early Access, sometimes I feel like Storm Ground could have benefitted from more development time. Each aspect of it feels truncated, like it was a smaller part of a grander idea. The unit customization exists, but feels like it’s only there to be a bullet point on the store page. While the units are passable looking, I wish more though would have gone into their design to make them visually different on the battlefield. But each faction could use more units, and overall, Stormfront is really aching for more factions. I fear that there might be some coming in the form of a DLC, but I don’t know if Storm Ground was a good enough pitch for me to keep investing time and money.
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