Labyrinth of the Necrons

Well! This is certainly an interesting idea! Chapter Master Valrak has just posted up this video showing off some pictures of what looks like a new boardgame coming in the vein of Shadespire. I’m not entirely convinced on that one, but it’s still interesting to see something like this come out!

Labyrinth of the Necrons

We have an Overlord, four warriors, two immortals and a lychguard, which is a nice warband of troops, better troops, a leader and his bodyguard. Looks like it’s card-based to some extent – those with the egg timer on them at the front there could be event-style cards? – and it’s either a tile based system, or else that’s a punchboard of tokens. I think the former, but anyway!

There’s also what looks like a Wraith on the box art, and it seems that space marines of the Salamanders variety will be involved, as well! Primaris or not, that would be very cool.

The reason why I don’t think it’s going to be like Shadespire is simply the name: it’s too specific. I mean, Warhammer Quest: Silver Tower refers very specifically to the Silver Tower of Tzeentch, so you’ll always be going up against the Lord of Change whenever you play that game. Shadespire, on the other hand, is a much more generic battleground where anyone can fight anyone else. Labyrinth of the Necrons can’t really be expanded to allow for Ultramarines to fight T’au, or Genestealer Cults to fight Skitarii. It implies the game will always see you going up against the Necrons.

As such, I think it’s much more likely this game will be more like last year’s Gangs of Commorragh, and will be a standalone box.

Which is great – I’m all for it, as I love this idea of Games Workshop being a real workshop of games!

The Devastation of Baal

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Well folks, it took me long enough, but I’ve finally made it to the end of this book! That’s not to say that I wasn’t enjoying my time on the Blood Angels’ homeworld during a Tyranid attack – the book is actually really good, with some tremendous action scenes, as well as being quite thought-provoking.

I think the main reason I found this heavy-going at times was just how arduous those action scenes can be. We get about 200 pages of space marines fighting Tyranids, and it did become a bit much after a while. There is enough peppered throughout to keep interest, don’t get me wrong, but I just found it difficult to want to return to that melee day after day.

Another reason why I found this to be quite heavy-going is the simple fact that I’m not that big of a Blood Angels fan. For sure, I enjoy the sons of Sanguinius as much as any other casual space marine fan, but I’m not overly interested in them to the exclusion of all else. And I think this is a major point for this book – if you’re a Blood Angels fan, you’ll absolutely love it. There’s nothing but wall-to-wall red armour where everything is named something to do with blood. We get a lot of Commander Dante, and learn what it’s like to be the oldest-living space marine of the Imperium.

So, the story is basically the attack on Baal from Hive Fleet Leviathan, in what often feels like a follow-up to the Shield of Baal series from 2014. Oddly, though, while it does feel like a follow-up, a lot of what is referenced comes from the campaign books, and not another novel, which just feels a little disjointed to me! Anyway, after a long preamble where the various successor chapters of the Blood Angels gather to accept Dante’s leadership, the Shadow in the Warp descends and the Tyranids begin their attack. After a gruelling battle, where Baal and its moons is basically devastated (well, it’s in the title…) the xenos are beaten back and Guilliman shows up with loads of new Primaris Space Marines.

A lot of people have already been talking about how Guilliman saves the day yet again, and have voiced their complaints that the novel falls down because of the over-use of this device. However, I have to say that I don’t really share this view. True, the Tyranid attack stops and the Indomitus Crusade shows up, but it doesn’t truly feel like Guilliman actually defeats them. Dante and his combined Blood Angels forces do the vast majority of the fighting, and Guilliman himself actually ascribes the victory to Dante. Instead, Guilliman really only shows up for the clean-up. The main turning point comes when Cadia falls, light-years from Baal, and the Cicatrix Maledictum basically destroys the Hive Mind’s synapse long enough for the Tyranids to actually be beaten back.

Leaving entire chapters-worth of Primaris marines behind does feel a bit like a forced ending, of course, as we essentially have the Blood Angels updated for 8th Edition. Now you too can field countless droves of Primaris marines in your Blood Angels army, because Guy Haley told you it’s what happens! Seriously, it’s not the worst way of bringing this development into canon. There is an interesting scene near the end between Dante and Gabriel Seth of the Flesh Tearers, where Seth calls the Primaris replacements for the marines, and their lack of the genetic flaws of the Blood Angels means that, while they may wear the colours, they will never be true sons of Sanguinius. Which is an interesting way of looking at things, to be sure.

Dante’s reaction is similarly thought-provoking, as he seems to have a bit of an epiphany whereby his attempts to preserve the Chapter almost cause Baal to be lost to the xenos. It makes the reader question whether space marines are too caught-up in their own past glories, and whether they really are willing to lay down their lives in service of preserving the Imperium. It’s a subtle point, but I really found it intriguing.

Of course, fans have been endlessly discussing the scene between Dante and Seth, and whether there will be a civil war between the old marines and the new. While we’ve been seeing fractures already like this, I don’t think GW is going to go down this route too much, as I can see it causing further problems with the integration of the product line. People already hate them, it seems, so why encourage that divide? Doubtless, it would be interesting, but I don’t foresee anything too much just now.

Anyway, overall this was a good book, and fans of the Blood Angels will of course love it more than anyone!

New Star Wars stuff!

Yes, that’s right folks, there’s all manner of cool new Star Wars stuff coming at us right now! While there’s a part of me that still feels a little like it might be too much new Star Wars stuff, I’m still excited as all hell to see this stuff, so let’s jump right in!

The next anthology movie is, of course, the Han Solo standalone film, Solo. I actually wanted to not like this, as I felt like it was a step too far somehow. Rogue One was really good, and while I think the idea of a film about how the Rebels got the Death Star plans was a bit shaky, I think the film itself is one of my all-time favourites from the franchise, and definitely one that I find myself wanting to watch time and again. It really is quite amazing, but the thought of another film set within this timeframe, one that could quite likely find itself leading up to that point that Han walks into the Mos Eisley cantina, seemed a little flat to me. Maybe I just don’t want anyone other than Harrison Ford to play the role. Maybe my inner hipster is just too loud on this point. But I was, at times, determined to not like this one…

Well, the teaser is now out, and I am enraptured! Oddly, I didn’t think much of Rogue One from its trailers, yet have come to really enjoy that film, so maybe the same will be true here, as well! The cast looks great – I don’t actually mind Alden Ehrenreich as the young Han Solo, it looks like he’s going to be making the role his own rather than trying too much for a young Ford impression, and Donald Glover as Lando Calrissian could be amazing!

I think a lot of my initial warmth comes from the fact that it looks like a lot of the established lore of the character has been preserved. Han was always a washed-out Imperial pilot-turned-petty-criminal, and it seems this is going to follow that premise but with its own spin on things. That looks to be very cool. What I like the most, though, is that we seem to be promised a look at the more ordinary lives of folk within the Empire. Sure, Luke’s life on Tatooine might be said to provide that already, but we’re mainly concerned with events of galactic import in both A New Hope and Rogue One. If Solo pans out as I think it will, we’re looking more at a film with the possibility of showing us a lot more of the regular galaxy during this time, and that is a very exciting thought, I have to say!

Solo is out on 25 May, and I’m already counting down the days!

But that’s not all the news out right now…

Disney have confirmed that a couple of TV shows are in the works, with some theories that at least one will be replacing the Rebels cartoon with another animated show. We’ve been promised a live-action TV series since before Revenge of the Sith, of course, so it would be cool to finally see something come from that kernel, too. I’m not a huge TV watcher, but it does strike me that people are doing fantastic things with the small screen these days, so I guess it could finally be the right time for something amazing to come along!

We’re also getting a new series of movies that are separate from the episode films, and from the new trilogy being worked on by Rian Johnson that was recently announced. This new series will be created by David Benioff and DB Weiss, the creators of the Game of Thrones TV series, though hopefully with a little less violence… The series will reportedly be spun from “a point in time in Star Wars mythology”, which rather makes it sound like a series of anthology films in the vein of Rogue One. Could it be the Old Republic? Who knows. I’m finding myself a big fan of these anthology films, and I’m really stoked for Rian Johnson’s trilogy, but to have yet another series of films feels a bit like Star Wars overload once again.

I’ve talked about this before, of course, but a new Star Wars movie used to be An Event, with fans waiting years while gathering the hints and clues. Now it’s just, “oh yeah, there’s another Star Wars film coming out…” For sure, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has proven to be a huge success, but even that vast juggernaut is not without its flaws, especially the longer it has gone on. Are we going to see the same with Star Wars? A series of formulaic movies that are created solely to create more money? It’s arguable that the original three only existed to create money, but I rather liked the fact that George Lucas’ six movies actually felt complete in and of themselves, and while the story of that universe had been expanded through novels and comics, the films themselves were basically self-contained. Now, we have the potential for an expanded universe situation to exist in movie form, where my shelf of DVDs (or whatever medium we’re using then) in twenty years’ time is full of throwaway movies of varying interest and significance. I feel a bit uneasy with how my beloved Star Wars is being pumped for every last dollar that it’s worth, though ultimately I guess it doesn’t really matter if these movies are all beautiful and fantastic!

But what does everybody else think? Are we in danger of over-saturation? Or is it just a glorious time to be a Star Wars fan? Let me know in the comments!

The Necromunda Weekender

Hey everybody!
Well, I’m a little late to this stuff, but I’ve just been taking a bit of extra time to digest all of the news that we’ve been seeing from the guys over in Nottingham!

Horus Heresy Necromunda Weekender

For those who don’t know, last weekend was the Horus Heresy & Necromunda Weekender, something that has been an annual celebration of the Horus Heresy but, this year, has been a joint affair between the Heresy itself and Necromunda, the new smash hit boxed game from GW! For the first time ever, I’ve actually been genuinely gutted that the weekend had sold out, as I would have liked to have popped along and soaked up all of the atmosphere – and pick up some brand new plastic!

Let’s start with Necromunda!

Orlock Gang Necromunda

The Orlocks are coming up for pre-order this weekend, which is just so exciting I can’t even begin to tell you! They’re coming alongside their House-specific cards, naturally, with all the rules held in a second Gang War book. This rulebook also holds the rules for some new terrain tiles that are on their way also – it’s going to be quite the weekend, I can tell you!!

Necromunda Hired Guns

Over on the Forge World website, we’ve got the set of three Hired Guns also available for preorder at the weekend. Again, awesome looking models (but not quite so awesome as the Orlocks), and I’m looking forward to getting some. Only trouble, of course, is the fact they’re resin. But I’ll just have to live with that…

In the meantime, I’d built up an Escher gang over the Christmas break, and have slowly started to get moving with them. I mean, I have a colour scheme sorted in my head, so it’s just a matter of time before I get them painted! The Warhammer Community team have put up this handy dandy guide to naming your Necromunda gang, and so I’m quite chuffed to announce that I’ve named my little team the Viridian Venom. That’s got nothing to do with my initials, incidentally, but I took the kinds of conventions listed and went with it. Anyway!

The reason I’m waffling about all of this, anyway, is that there are gang heroes, the Escher Queen and the Goliath King, as well as the Orlocks having a Boss (with dog). If the miniature is anything like this artwork, that Escher character is going to be bloody spectacular!

Escher Queen

I’m looking forward to all of this, having decided that I’m going to collect just everything I can for the game. It’s really fantastic, I have to say! (I’ll try to get a game day review up soon!)

Escher Huntress Necromunda

Heroes aren’t all that we’re getting though, as each House is also getting a sort of faction-specific bounty hunter to go along with the rest of them, and the Eschers have this rather amazing Huntress model. It’s a model strongly reminiscent of some of the artwork that had been doing the rounds while Necromunda was still in its early promotion, so to finally see the miniature is quite amazing. Looking forward to adding her to the roster!

But that’s still not all!

After the beastman bounty hunter that came out shortly after the game’s release, we’re getting more hired gun types, starting with the now-famous Squat bounty hunter. Yes, that’s right – Squats are back! Except they’re not. I mean, one of them is, but he’s hardly enough to build an army with. Anyway, here’s the little guy in all his resin glory:

He looks like a fun model to paint, so I’ll be treating myself to one of these when he arrives. Another bounty hunter on display at the Weekender was Eyros Slagmist (what a name!) who has a very Samurai-esque look about him. In fact, he reminds me of a couple of different Star Wars characters, as well as a hint of Mei from House of Flying Daggers:

Eyros Slagmist Necromunda

I’m sold, at any rate! I’ll be snatching this chap up as soon as possible!

But what of the Heresy, I hear you all type?!

Well, we’ve got the next Primarch for the series they’re doing, Rogal Dorn himself has turned up – much, it seems, to the internet’s dismay. Cries of “he’s a big Custodes?” aside, the model looks quite strident, which I suppose is what we should have expected from Dorn, so I can’t really fault that. I thin it looks decent, and as always with the Primarchs, I love the base!

We’re also getting a new magos dominus for the Dark Mechanicum, some more vehicle doors, and – oh, hello Alpharius!

Alpharius

Jokes aside (seriously, the whole “I am Alpharius” thing is really old and tired now, people!), the model should be amazing, and while I’ve not been interested in picking any of the Primarchs up (price tags notwithstanding), I might find myself getting one of these when he comes out. I do have an Alpha Legion army, somewhere, after all, so it’s only fitting!

Of course, the size they’re going to do this model at does interest me. I’ve talked about this at length in the Alpha Legion blog linked earlier, but Alpharius is consistently referred to as short (for a Primarch), and the fact that anybody in his Legion can feasibly masquerade as him means that he really ought to be regular marine height. Sadly, I can see him coming out as a massive dude like the others, which is a bit sad for my own Legion aesthetic, but even so, it’d be nice to have the daddy…

And that’s all I really wanted to ramble about from the Weekender! Maybe I’ll get to go one day, as it does look like an excellent event. There are a few more models that were shown off during the two days, which I’m sure by now you’ve all managed to devour, so I think I’ll leave it there…

Exciting times to come, though, at any rate!!