Wednesday 23 August 2017

General's Handbook 2017 Review

Hello everyone,

So we've finally got the Generals Handbook 2017 to hand and I can tell you its been worth the wait! 

I am sure most of you will have already seen other reviews and images on other blogs but we'd also like to have our say on the new book too! 

As always please bare in mind I can't reveal a whole lot in these reviews in terms of rules and points but I'll do my best to give a good account of the book, which in my opinion is again another brilliant addition to Warhammer Age of Sigmar. Also forgive the lack of detail as its a pretty extensive book!

So lets get started..

Open Play

Firstly there is the new Open War Cards, having played a game I can say they did really have a positive effect on the game and with hundreds of possibilities available its another great resource for us to use. There are the Map, Objective and Twist cards which form the basis of each game along with the additional Ruse and Sudden Death cards. I didn't really like these cards personally as they are essentially a copy of the Sudden Death rules you can find in the four page rules section in the older books.

There are also options in the book to run campaigns and tournaments with the Open War Cards.

As I mentioned before we did manage to have a game using these cards. Where Dispossessed and a small contingent of Shifthawk Agents took on some Ironjawz. I will add with uncompleted models, but we're getting there slowly but surely!!

The game revolved around us having two objectives, one where you had to discover the treasure in one of six objectives and the second one involved you earning points for each enemy wound you took away and double points were earned for killing the enemies general.

Overall it turned out to be a great game and just another alternative way to play the game. 

So following on from this there are a number of multiplayer options, including Coalition of War, Triumph and Treachery and Triumph and Treachery map campaigns these versions of the game are actually quite complex so I'll post a few pictures but unfortunately won't be able to go into them in any great detail.

The Coalition of Death is a team based multiplayer game with a lot of additional rules, like the Fog of War where players can only communicate if there generals are within 3 inches of each other or by hand written notes! 

There is also another cool rule where you have to write down which units will charge that turn but you cannot show it to anyone else friend or foe. This means teams can not coordinate their attacks, with units then getting in each others way!

Above is a battle plan from the game. 

Next is Triumph and Treachery!

As I am sure many of you have seen before this a revamp of the old version for Warhammer Fantasy and it looks like it will be just as fun. I am hoping to play a game of this at the weekend so I can not elaborate much but it has Treacherous Acts, Bribes and Secret Objectives for each player to use and six battle plans to choose from!

The general idea of the game is that you have three or more players and at the start of each turn you roll to see who goes first, however that person can choose another player to go first instead, if they are wanting see to what moves they are going to make.

At the start of each phase the player who's turn it is must pick an opponent to be there enemy, the other player is then neutral. This is important as only the 'enemy' models can be attacked, effected by buffs and have spells cast on them. This can only be interrupted if neutral players spend treachery points to attack instead of remaining neutral.

You can also pay victory points to players in order to bribe them into fighting for you. Whilst Treachery points are also earned each turn with the losing player generating the most to use on treacherous acts, hopefully turning their losing situation around!

The winner is who end up with the most VPs.

Narrative Play

This is another area which I haven't had much experience of playing through but it does look great. Forging a narrative, themed armies and time of war rules are inlcuded, which gives you chance to play in the different environments of the mortal realms, with rules applying to any battle fought in that realm. 

New to the Generals Handbook 2017 is the Siege Warfare section, this looks very interesting. 

It has rules for Battering the opponents stronghold, Starving it or Tunneling underneath it! 

Matched Play

Now for a section I understand! There has been some huge changes to matched play with the new book. As I am sure you have heard, there are now five rules of one, allies available, points updates and new allegiance abilities for some of the races that have had no love from GW so far, which is a brilliant move in my opinion!

The Rules of One 

There are now two extra rules for us to abide by in this section.

The 4th rule is that you can't reroll or modify the dice roll that determines who takes the first turn with the 5th rule being that you can't take two of the same artefact in one army. Both I think are fair and welcome editions into the game. 

However, it doesn't look like they have taken away the ability to stack buffs such as the Warchantas +1 to hit. Please correct me if I am wrong though when you get a copy yourselves! :)


This a brilliant addition to the game in my opinion as it again opens up the boundaries between certain factions. For example I never really understood why they separated Brayherds and Warherds in first place but now you can ally the two and incorporate the units that are needed to make the beastmen armies of old!

So 400 points I think is a good allowance for 2,000 point armies and gives me the chance to work on an Ironjawz Giant or an Arachnarok Spider! 

The allies are obviously restricted to factions in the same grand alliance.

Massive Regiments

Another great addition to the game this time around can be seen in the picture above, you now get a points discount if you take a larger unit of infantry. I think this will be very interesting and i'm sure we'll now see hordes of skeletons or clan rats potentially having a role to play in the game. You can also take 30 Ardboyz now with a discount of 90 points!

Updated Profiles

They've also said that when a new addition of the book comes out these little gold stars will mark out which units have had points adjustments. I am happy with most of the adjustments for the Ironjaws, particularly Gore-Gruntas! They have thankfully gone down!

As you can see above there is the points reduction for Gore-Gruntas, which I think was well needed, as only a warscroll change would justify the 180 points from the last book!

Overall there has been widespread points changes though, in pretty much every faction. Even for the most recently released Kharadron Overlords!

Also they have made more units in each faction available to be taken as battleline, which is another good move. Units are also now classed as battleline if you take a certain leader as your general!

Warscroll Battalions

There are not many new warscroll battalions in the new book, but they are there to add to the existing new factions books, so expect them for Fyreslayers, Seraphon and IronJawz. Again I think this is a great idea for giving existing players for these factions some more diversity.

One thing I have picked up on is that there is a big points increase for warscroll battalions across the board. I am assuming this is so they have greater control, as they can now point the very best battalions highly whilst making the worst a lot cheaper and therefore more enticing.

However, some of the increases are huge, for example the Ardfist was 40 points in the first GHB but has now risen to 140 points! If you don't know the battalion, it isn't very good and certainly in my opinion isn't worth that price. To me it then makes the points decreases on other units mostly useless for the Ironjawz as they are paying an extra 100 points for the same battalion that previously cost 40.

Below is one of the new abilities from the Dracothions Tail battalion for the Seraphon.

Allegiance Abilities

So probably the biggest and most exciting change to the GHB this year are new allegiance abilities for the factions that have had no love from GW before GHB 2017. It's a shame not all factions have received the abilities but for factions like Moonclan grots and Death Rattle, there's a chance this could be because there are books on the way for them. Moonclan have proved to be a popular faction and we have already seen some new skeleton models when shadespire was previewed!

However, for other factions like Wanderers and Brayherds it could be to try and rustle up some interest in two factions you don't hear of very often in Age of Sigmar. Either way it is a brilliant move and I am very excited to see how it effects the game.

So the first new ability for these factions are the battle traits.

Battle traits are one or two army wide abilities, available to factions like the Darkling Covens now, as you can see above Lethal Coordination encourages synergy within the army, this gives the unit its +1 to hit buff without having to be over 20 models, potentially saving you some points too!

Next up are the new Command Traits these are also available alongside the battle traits and are exclusively for the armies general.

The ones above are some now available to the Skaven Clan Skyre!

There are also some new variations on this for the Slaves to Darkness who now have a chaos rewards table of their own.

Time to bring the chaos spawn models back out again! I'm not sure how good spawns are in AoS but I think most players would just accept the D3 mortal wounds!

Finally new artefacts have also been given to the revamped factions, again this a brilliant move as it adds more diversity and power to these armies that have so far been a bit neglected.

I think both the Brayherds and Wanderers could be very interesting factions now as a lot of their abilities revolve around ambush tactics and give buffs to their movement in the game.


The Generals Handbook 2017 is an excellent book and for £20 is a complete bargain for the wealth of information it contains. Again it caters to everybody playing Age of Sigmar whether it is narrative, open or matched play and is also a great book for new players to be inspired by the diversity in the game.

For me personally adding in the new allegiance abilities and updating the points is a hugely positive sign and it also keeps players hopes of their army improving or becoming more balanced alive, as we know we'll receive another addition this time next year too. I'm very excited to see how these additions and changes effect the state of the game and adding in allies for each faction is yet again increasing the diversity we have. I just hope at some point more of the factions will be given a chance too with either a new book or allegiance abilities.

In terms of the narrative and open play sections, the multiplayer additions such as Triumph and Treachery look very fun to play and i'll hopefully be having a game of this at the weekend! The rules for Siege Warfare are another really interesting part of the book that i'm sure can be incorporated into campaigns!  

There really is too much information in this book to do it justice and its definitely a big thumbs up from me, so I would highly recommend picking up the book no matter what part of the game you're interested in.

thanks again for reading,

Aveinus Kaane


  1. Top review. Far better than the photo dump you see on some sites!

    1. Totally agree. What interested me to most is possibly the siege options

  2. An enjoyable read! Great review.