It’s been a few days since I picked up the big box of goodness that is Necromunda: Ash Wastes, so I wanted to provide a bit of an update as to how it has all been going for me. In short: it’s going very well indeed!
To start with, I really like this terrain. I find it interesting because the hab units and walkways combine together to give a not very Necromunda-y feel, in my view. I suppose it’s because we’ve been in the Underhive for so long in this game, that it’s difficult to imagine games on a more open table. It’s interesting, though, because it’s very similar to games with Sector Mechanicus terrain, which is also quite tall but fairly open – all those galvanic magnavents and whatnot are quite imposing, of course, but it’s not the same as Zone Mortalis. So if Sector Mechanicus can still be Necromunda, why can’t Ash Wastes? I suppose the hab blocks and stuff is all quite delicately balanced up on those stilts, though, giving the illusion of a much more open battlefield…
For all that, though, I do like it. The habs themselves are big, chunky terrain pieces, even though they’re open for manoeuvring models through. I was hoping they’d have that kind of nice and chunky feel to them, and that’s definitely the case. It’s also pretty impressive in terms of just how sprawling the whole thing becomes, it definitely has a presence, you know? I’ve only put it all together once, just to check it all fits and I’d been following the instructions correctly, but also to take some fancy photos! It’s big, but I still don’t really feel like it’s enough, somehow.
It wasn’t all that arduous a build, either, to be honest. Things just seemed to go together really well – having so many of those stilt platforms to build was possibly the most tedious part of it, as there are five structures with the same basic base, but it surprised me how quickly things went from sprue to actual building. I did enjoy some parts, as well – the antenna thing that sits on one of the smaller platforms, for some odd reason, really pleased me as I was putting it together. It’s somehow reminiscent of a moisture vaporator from Star Wars, which I suppose might be fitting, given the whole structure has been likened to the Ewok tree village often enough.
The platform undersides look like they might be compatible with the Sector Mechanicus stuff, having the same type of holes underneath as if you could potentially join gantries to them. I haven’t tested the theory, but I have seen a post on reddit that shows the platforms would line up, as they’re both the same height.
What I’m gearing up to, I suppose, is that I feel like I need more terrain for the board. I know it needs to be reasonably clear for vehicles to move around, but there’s a big part of me that would like to have more variety. I said it on Monday, but I will definitely be adding at least another hab block, and after taking a look at the site today, I think more walkways will definitely be required as well. The way this all goes together, there is definitely room for more to come off from the left, if you’re looking at the settlement in the first photo. I’ve definitely built it by the numbers to start with, but I think as I consider getting more, I’d like to experiment a bit more, and see what else I could do.
From looking at other Ash Wastes boards out there, it seems like most folks are using styrene foam to create rocky mesas and the like, which is very interesting, but something I can’t really say I’ve wanted to do for a long time now. I suppose, in my mind’s eye, I’m seeing the settlement being fought over and just imagining the canyon walls around it, or whatever. It’s a similar thing to the Mechanicus stuff – I suppose it’s implicit that either we’re within a factory, and the walls just aren’t there, or else these hulking big silos and furnaces etc are just out in the open air.
The artwork in the book though does seem to suggest that’s the case for the Wastes, with lots of ferratonic furnaces just out there in the open and stuff, so that’s an interesting aspect to consider!
In searching for a paint scheme, I’ve discovered the Mediocre Hobbies youtube channel, and have been really taken by the whole ethos of speed painting that Andy shows off. It’s something I had come to a few weeks ago now, but I love that attitude of getting stuff painted so that you can play games with fully-painted models (and terrain!) – because it just looks so much better! I really like the look of his hab blocks, so I’m intending to go along with that scheme for my own, though I’m not sure if I’ll be doing the red look, or something else.
I’ve also started to look at the rule book. I haven’t made a point of checking over the revised rules, though from flicking through it does look very much like we’ve just got the standard rules but with the vehicle stuff added in where it makes sense, so I’ll need to take a proper look at the book at some point soon. There’s some very good lore in there, including a section near the front that talks about why all of the various Underhive gangs are also out there in the Wastes – I particularly liked the fact that, when it comes to Delaque, nobody knows why they’re out there – they just are. Brilliant!
I’ve been flicking through the Ash Wastes Campaign stuff, though, and it does sound like a very interesting take on the whole thing. Whereas the Dominion Campaign had gangs fighting over terrain that would generate income, here we’re fighting for control of sections of road, which you can potentially join together to form a trade route. There are rules for using Ash Wastes Nomads as raiders who are disrupting this process, and maps that show to which area of the Wastes each section of road belongs. This becomes important, as when you’re fighting for control of a road, the area in which it is located is tied to the scenario that will be played.
We also get environment rules, which provide additional rules for things like the battlefield surface, the season that we’re in, and we get rules for “rolling roads”, which are effectively convoy battles. The need for the land train kit just became real!
We have thirteen scenarios in total. I was somewhat fascinated, prior to getting this box, as to how it would integrate with the Underhive stuff. Turns out, you can use zone mortalis set ups to simulate canyon warfare, but the preferred set-up for Ash Wastes boards is similar to the Sector Mechanicus, but try to leave open spaces. So while there have been efforts made to make Ash Wastes its own thing, we definitely have some cross-compatibility between the game boxes.
In short, I love how the Ash Wastes box has really ignited the spark for me to get back into the hobby, after some wilderness weeks back in September. I still have some catching up to do as regards getting my Necromunda collection up to scratch, as I’m one of these people who likes to collect it all. High up there on my list as the Redemptionists and the Van Saar specialist box, though with the promise of all these vehicles coming out, I need to try to sort myself out in painting this stuff! Hopefully I’ll be inspired by Mediocre Hobbies to be able to get myself in shape and paint more miniatures for the rest of the year, anyway.