The Apocalypse is here!

Hey everybody,
So, Apocalypse is coming on the horizon for Warhammer 40k. While I’m not really all that into playing such massive games, I’ve actually surprised myself at how interested I’ve become in this latest format for the game, after watching the brief run-down video from Becca Scott over on theĀ  Warhammer TV channel. In case you haven’t taken a look, I’ll link it here:

My very first impressions after watching this were of just how similar it sounds to card-based combat games like Battlelore. I find this interesting, as I had originally had the impression this scale of game was literally just for people who wanted to spend an entire day playing a single game of 40k, or else wanted to play with all of their massive Forge World stuff that required remortgaging in order to buy, or possibly both. The video, in fact, makes the game seem a whole lot less complicated than that, and I can actually see me giving it a go sometime in the near future!

Right off, something I really like about this system is the way the army building works. Building a force using detachments is nothing new for 40k, but here we see that the detachment functions as a singular entity, activating at the same time, and relying on its commander for in-game leadership. In regular games of 40k, I find myself (and see plenty of others) building armies where the HQ which goes into a Vanguard detachment never has any in-game link to the Elites within, and is almost seen as a tax. Here, it sounds like it might be a lot different, and I like that!

Here’s something huge: movement trays! Apocalypse isn’t Epic, and so troops units still have a vital role to play. However, moving about dozens of units model-by-model will be arduous for anybody to watch, so we’re seeing movement trays coming back, and the internet rejoices!

We’ve got an Index of faction focus articles that show pretty much all of the regular factions will be making an appearance – and it’s nice to see the Sisters of Battle included here, ready for their big plastic release that is hopefully coming later this year!

It’s probably the fact that it feels like such a new and interesting way to play the game, but I’m really quite keen to pick this one up! I’m also a bit of a sucker for this style of box set, with all the fancy dice and tokens and cards. It sounds like it should make large-scale 40k games much more bearable than some of the horror stories of playing Apocalypse from back in the day, so it’ll be interesting to see how much of that is true. I never played Apocalypse back in the day, of course, but still…

It goes up for pre-order on Saturday, along with a bunch of other stuff (including, naturally, a bunch of battalion boxes to help you flesh out an existing army ready for the new system, or maybe to start off a new one). If I do find my way to playing, I will pretty much certainly be playing with either Necrons or Dark Eldar, depending on how the army composition works. I mean, I’ve got loads of painted Dark Eldar ready to go, so hopefully they’ll turn out to do me well!

Apparently, it’s summer now…

Hey everybody,
It’s been raining something terrible here in the UK for the last week or so, which has left me with a lot of indoor pursuits to take my mind off the fact we’ve had more than a month’s rainfall within hours. I’ve already talked about getting back into Magic, which has been very exciting as I’ve been rediscovering that classic. I’ve got quite a bit more to discuss on that, of course, so those blogs will be peppering my site over the coming weeks and months. I’ve already got some lined up, to keep things going while I move house (though when, exactly, that will be, remains to be seen!) so I thought I’d check in with everything else that has been going on!

First of all, I’ve really gotten back into painting, and have been really getting somewhere with my Skitarii army ideas from days gone by. I’ve been toying around with quite a number of list ideas, though for now I’m trying to focus on painting up what I’ve got built, and ensuring I can bring down the pile of shame into something more akin to a proper army.

I’ve managed to get two lots of five troops, along with one HQ and one elite slot finished. Once I’ve finished up the Tech Priest Enginseer and the next ten Vanguard painted up, I want to move back to making the two lots of five troops into two lots of ten, which I’ll probably do alongside another character model. I’ve also built up five Sicarian Infiltrators, which I really like – especially that Princeps model! I love the insane technical details on these models, and I’ve really enjoyed painting the abundance of clips and plugs and screens on the Enginseer, so I’m expecting to enjoy him as well!

It’s my plan to get 500 points of AdMech painted up soon, so that I can start to play games with them. I don’t have an Imperium army that I can play with, so I’m looking forward to seeing how they work. Once I’ve got those 500 points finished, I can keep painting and adding to the collection, but at least it will be an army that is seeing some action, at last!

Skitarii list 500 points

My thought process here is to keep adding units that interest me, or that I feel that I need, once I’ve been able to try the army out and see what it’s all about. I’m guessing that heavier artillery will be a requirement, and I’ve already started to put some paint on the first Dunecrawler twelve months ago,Ā so hopefully that will be making an appearance before too long!

On the subject of painting models, I’ve also been fidding with some Necromunda miniatures, the Delaque gangers that I’d built back in December. I want to get into this game so badly, but finding people to play with has been proving a bit more difficult than I’d thought – hopefully soon, though, I’ll be able to get either the Delaque or Van Saar models to the table and try it out! I just hope I actually enjoy it!

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I’ve also been reading Warhammer 40k novels quite voraciously, as I try to work my way through quite the backlog that I have! The Space Marines Legends series was a short-lived set of hardbacks that focused on a single Space Marine hero from one of the popular first-founding chapters. I’d read the first book in the series, Cassius, back in 2017, and was quite impressed overall. Lemartes takes us to the Blood Angels, and discusses the cursed sons of Sanguinius with the dual flaws of the Red Thirst and the Black Rage. We follow a Chaos incursion on the planet Phlegethon, which the Blood Angels are sent to put down. The Death Company are unleashed on the cultists, along with those brothers from the Fourth Company who are particularly susceptible to the Red Thirst. When the cultists bring down the wrath of Khorne on the planet, these brothers almost lose themselves, but fortunately the unbridled fury of the Death Company is able to bring down the greater daemon Skarbrand.

It’s an enjoyable enough novel, though it felt a little bit like a non-event in the grand scheme of things. I also read Azrael recently, by the king of the Dark Angels, Gav Thorpe, but I was particularly unimpressed with this one. It just felt interminable, and the plot was particularly uninspiring overall. Also dealing with a Chaos uprising, and showing Azrael’s ascent to Supreme Grand Master of the Chapter, I was hoping we’d get to see a lot more of the inner circle, but instead it all just fell a bit too flat for me. Ah well!

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#nowReading #Warhammer40k

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A bit more recently, we have Cadia Stands, which is something of a tie-in to the Gathering Storm series that brought 7th Edition to a close. The novel deals with, well, the Fall of Cadia, as the forces of Chaos emerge from the Eye of Terror for Abaddon’s Thirteenth Black Crusade. Yes, he’s had a Thirteenth Black Crusade before, but this is a different Thirteenth Black Crusade. I really found myself enjoying this book, as we followed groups of Cadians around the planet. I thought it was really quite interesting to see how the soldiers reacted to the increasingly Chaotic events on-world, as some struggled to evacuate from the warzone.

The book has been followed up by Cadian Honour, which seems to follow up on one of the soldiers featured in Cadia Stands, Minka Lesk. I’m not normally one for Cadian stories, as I’m not a fan of the army in-game, but I enjoyed this one enough that I’m thinking I’ll probably give it a try soon!

Arkham Horror LCG

From 40k to Lovecraft, and it’s been quite an adventure this afternoon, as I’ve finally started playing the Dunwich Legacy!

I’ve been playing this game for what feels like a long time now, but have never made it past the Core Set. Back last October, I finished the core set campaign, Night of the Zealot, and so built up some decks with the new cards and thought about starting up the Dunwich Legacy, but other things seemed to get in the way. Well, I’m pleased to report that I’ve finally made it to Dunwich!

I’ve played the first scenario, Extracurricular Activity, using my Jenny Barnes and Ursula Marsh decks. I know Ursula is a more recent investigator, but the deck was built, so there we are! I really enjoyed it, seeing how the game has evolved from the core set already was quite interesting. There is a strong discard theme in the first scenario, at least, which I wasn’t expecting – I didn’t quite see my decks completely discarded, but even so, it was something I wasn’t really prepared for, and the hate leveled at investigators by the Agenda for having a large discard pile was really something!

Arkham Horror LCG Dunwich Legacy

Overall, I’m really enjoying this game. I’ve been buying everything for it as it has been coming out up until the current cycle which, due to real life intrusions, I hadn’t been aware had been released! When I popped by the games shop recently, it turns out pretty much the entire cycle has been released now, though I’m fairly sure I’ve only picked up the deluxe cycle.

FFG have recently announced a fifth deluxe expansion, The Dream-Eaters, which has also taken me unawares! The way the campaign works for this expansion is quite unique, as it features scenarios set in the real world and in the Dreamlands, and you choose one of the two for your investigators to follow. There is still talk of a cohesive eight-part campaign, though, so it sounds as though it will still be a traditional cycle. I may even have caught up with it all by then, and be able to play this one as it happens!

While I am loving this return to the Arkham Horror LCG, and finally getting round to seeing what I’ve been missing all this time, I’m also excitedly awaiting A Shadow in the East, the next deluxe expansion for Lord of the Rings. I haven’t played that game for a long time now, I know, but it is still up there for me, and I look forward to getting my grubby little hands on it!

Getting Back into Magic!

Hey everybody!
So it’s been a while, but I’ve started to get myself back into Magic the Gathering, having been thinking a lot about what I’ve been missing since I was last looking at it back when Guilds of Ravnica came out last year.

To begin with, it seems like there’s been a lot happening! War of the Spark is out, and all hell seems to have broken loose on Ravnica, as the Planeswalkers of the Gatewatch face off against Nicol Bolas. I think I need to really get to grips with what on earth has been going on overall, though there is that novel coming out that, I presume, will deal with all of that! In the meantime, though, I’ve been taking a look through a lot of my collection, adding a few bits here and there, and have already been building up a couple of decks – one of which, I’m sharing with you all here today!

Jund

Jund is one of the five Shards of Alara, primarily aligned with Red mana, spilling over into both Black and Green. The Shards were introduced in Shards of Alara, unsurprisingly, and gave names to the allied three-colour groupings. The flavour of the Shard is very much something I like, using the vibrancy of Red as a base to build upon. I’m not hugely into Green, but I do enjoy the pair of Red and Green, so that’s all fine.

There is a strong theme of wildness and passion that comes out from looking at the actual Jund-themed cards from Shards of Alara block, where the theme of predator/prey comes out through the Devour mechanic:

Devour N (As this enters the battlefield, you may sacrifice any number of creatures. This creature enters the battlefield with N +1/+1 counters on it.)

Jund Savage Lands

For my deck, I’ve got quite a few things going on, which should hopefully make it interesting to play. There is a theme of Enchantments matter, spells matter, and a counters sub-theme, along with more of a meta-theme of shamans playing about with magic. This latter might take some explaining, so bear with me!

Creatures (14):
Radha, Heir to Keld
Deeproot Chamption
Dragonmaster Outcast
Blightcaster
Savage Ventmaw
Boltwing Marauder
Hellkite Hatchling
Paragon of Eternal Wilds
Poison-Tip Archer
Guttersnipe (2)
Kiln Fiend (2)
Winding Constrictor

Instants & Sorceries (9):
Blood Divination
Doublecast
Grim Affliction (2)
Virulent Swipe
Firebolt
Ground Assault
Enter the Unknown
Death Frenzy

Enchantments (8):
Sight of the Scalelords
See Red
Gruul War Chant
Untamed Hunger
Pyromancer’s Assault
Retreat to Valakut
Bonds of Mortality
Infernal Scarring

Artifacts (4):
Primal Amulet
Thunderstaff
Worn Powerstone
Dowsing Dagger

Land (25):
Mountain (4)
Swamp (4)
Forest (2)
Bloodfell Caves
Jungle Hollow
Rugged Highlands
Timber Gorge
Hissing Quagmire
Cinder Barrens
Rootbound Crag
Cinder Glade
Savage Lands (2)
Akoum RefugeĀ 
Molten Slagheap
Kazandu Refuge
Dragonskull Summit
Evolving Wilds

So we’ve got a lot going on, but the thought process here is stuff like the Blightcaster killing creatures whenever Enchantments enter the battlefield; the Primal Amulet, Deeproot Champion, Guttersnipe and Kiln Fiend doing things whenever instant and sorcery cards are cast; and the Winding Constrictor increasing the number of counters that get put on cards through effects like the Deeproot Champion and Enter the Unknown. Hellkite Hatchling is the only card with Jund’s Devour mechanic, which is nice to have for flavour purposes, and will also benefit from the Winding Constrictor.

The land base is a little bit janky, I’m currently thinking about swapping out a few things, and can’t decide if I want to get rid of the manland or the storage land. It’s always a question of cost as far as lands are concerned though!

I mentioned earlier the theme of shamans going crazy casting spells. I want the deck to have a fairly strong theme of magic coming through in the artwork, with spells that have a strong feeling of casting (Blood Divination, Doublecast, Firebolt), artifacts of power (Worn Powerstone), and even powerful spellcasters themselves (Blightcaster, Dragonmaster Outcast).

Artwork on cards is something that I’m often very sensitive to, wanting a deck to feel like it’s coherent as well as looking it. Another theme I wanted here was for the cards to all share the post-M15 border, and for any colourless mana symbols to have the “diamond” symbol, and not just a number in a grey circle. All very unimportant to most players, I know, but it’s something that I’m becoming increasingly concerned with.

As a side note, Firebolt’s appearance in the upcoming Modern Horizons means that it’s only Worn Powerstone that is keeping this deck Modern-legal. Ah well!

This deck should be interesting enough to play, in theory, so I’m looking forward to trying it out in the near future, along with some of the others that I’ve been putting together!

GW at the UK Games Expo 2019

Hey everybody!
There were a slew of previews coming from GW yesterday, as they showed off more stuff for upcoming games at the UK Games Expo. In a way, I was more excited for this one than the previews we got last year, though I suppose we were in the middle of getting the 40k codexes we wanted, and the new edition of Age of Sigmar was underway, so it was certainly a different time, with different priorities. This year, we’re definitely in more of a boxed-game mood, with all of the previews for the specialist games, rather than anything specifically for 40k or AoS (though, of course, the use of these models in the big games is not exactly impossible…)

I want to start with the Palanite Enforcers for Necromunda, as these are models that I’ve been eagerly awaiting for a long time now.

So they don’t have the classic Arbites look that I had been hoping for, but I guess Necromunda Enforcers were never true Judge Dredd-style Arbites, so it’s difficult to argue that point. We basically have ten chaps in carapace armour, who would look fantastic as Guardsmen allies for a Primaris Marines force because their helmets are so damn similar! I feel like that is something of a let-down, though it’s something I’m sure I could get used to. A lot has also been made already of the fact that the shoulder armour actually seems to be restrictive of movement, but hopefully they can be posed without that being too obvious – the two “gangers” who have that look may just need to wait for the Forge World additional weapons options, to see if there’s some way I can use the bodies with different arms and avoid the narrow, squat-y look. Hopefully.

However, on the whole they do look pretty good, and I’m looking forward to seeing what I could potentially do with them, given a different paint job (I’m thinking of a deeper navy, and then red for the yellow…) Shame about the lack of cyber-mastiff, though!

Whether Adeptus Arbites will ever make an appearance for, well, anything, will remain to be seen, then. I do entertain some hopes that we’ll get actual Arbites if they ever decide to do something properly in plastic for the Inquisition, so that we could use them in a retinue or something. I know that they’re the police, so can’t really be expected to act within the context of the tabletop game, but even so, stranger things have happened!

Up next, we’ve got the fourth new warband for the upcoming Warcry, the Corvus Cabal, a bunch of bird-worshipping cultists who wouldn’t be out of place in a Tzeentch-themed army!

This fourth warband is, admittedly, quite weird, although beautifully realised, so I can’t honestly complain much there. We’ve seen some really unique Chaos cults come out for this product line already, and it has been fascinating to see them take shape. With two further warbands due for reveal, I’m intrigued to see what else we could possibly be in store for here!

That said, I’m finding myself a little bit bored with Warcry now. We’ve been having previews like this for months, but we don’t know a great deal about what the game actually is. Back in February, when it was first announced at the LVO, it was described as a mix of Warhammer Underworlds and Kill Team, so everybody has been assuming that it is AoS Skirmish, re-imagined with bespoke Chaos warbands. At the Adepticon preview, GW confirmed that nine non-Chaos warbands would also be playable when the game launches, making this sound a lot like Kill Team, and I suppose that’s the analogy people have been using since. We also know it is coming with fancy new terrain, so the comparison is a good one, right?

Well, who knows. I don’t know what the game is going to look like yet, whether we’re getting a big, expensive core set with all the terrain and new warbands, or whether it’s going to be a whole product line similar to Adeptus Titanicus, with everything sold separately. Are all these new Chaos warbands going to be available in one big release, or are we seeing the next six months of releases with these previews, and the game will more likely remind us of Necromunda in that respect? I suppose at this point, I just want to know more details about how I need to plan my purchases, but all we’re getting is “hey, look at these new miniatures!” rather than anything more solid as regards what we can do with those miniatures. Time for details, GW, if you please!

In the interests of saving the best til last, we’ve got another expansion for Blackstone Fortress, this time something more along the lines of what I would have been expecting for this game all along: Escalation. I say that, because I’ve been expecting GW to put out this sort of hero-and-enemy pack as the first expansion, rather than the third. Getting the Ambull was nice, although a little unexpected, and the Traitor Command stuff should be another interesting addition, though both of those are more akin to the sort of thing I would have thought we’d have seen much further down the line. I’m not really explaining this well at all, but never mind!

We’re getting four new explorers, the characters from the Combat Arena game that was first previewed a whiles back, with the suggestion here that the Servitor is somehow either not a playable character, or else is linked with (presumably) the Tech Priest in-game. I thought it was interesting to learn that Combat Arena isn’t going to be available outside of the US and Germany – something they’ve kept to themselves up to this point. I do find it a bit disappointing that GW have these country-exclusive games, as with Labyrinth of the Necrons last year. It just boggles my mind that they’d go to the trouble of creating a game just for release in one country – why not get as much money as you can off the back of it, and release it worldwide? Bah! Anyway. We’re also getting enemy miniatures, to change up the battlefield from the original game:

These models do look quite beautiful. Six cultists, plus two villain-style minis, with a rag-tag feel that does seem to complement the heroes from this set quite nicely. There’s a parallel between the Rogue Trader and the pirate-queen-style cultist, to my eyes.

There is almost something AoS-y about these new Cultist models, as well, maybe it’s the tusks on flame-pole guy there, or the Daughters of Khaine-style face mask on the other one. It’s always really good to get new Chaos implementations like this, for sure, and I think it’s a good sign for things to come if we’re seeing updates for the Cultists as well (though, a cultist with a grenade launcher? Interesting…)

Blackstone Fortress has definitely been kind to Chaos!

I’m going to assume this will be the big box expansion that we can expect to get around about the 1 year anniversary date, so in the shops in time for Christmas. Hopefully Traitor Command will come out sometime between now and then, to keep us going with more content, and then I suppose we’ll have to wait and see if next year brings us plastic flayed ones, or plastic mandrakes, or some other weird and wonderful corner of the 40k universe! Certainly, I think GW will be using this game to put out miniatures that capitalize on the fact there is a lot of weird out there!

Kill Team Elites & Sector Sanctoris

Hey everybody!
So I’ve picked up some of the new shiny stuff for Kill Team, and thought I’d come along here to ramble about these expansions, and just how much I’m actually quite excited for what they bring to the game!

Kill Team Sector Sanctorum

First of all, let’s take a look at the new book, Kill Team: Elites.

This is quite an incredible book, with the rules for using Elite model choices in the game only half the story. There are 67 datasheets in the book, but 30 of them are new Commanders, some of which are actual named characters from the lore such as Sly Marbo, Darkstrider and Illic Nightspear. That was really quite the surprise to me, if I’m honest, as I was expecting a similar situation to the core book, where we’d just get a progression of Elite choices and that would be it.

Not only do we get these, but we also get the sub-faction rules that now permeate regular Warhammer 40k, such as Chapter Tactics, Cult Creeds and T’au Septs, etc. This was something I really hadn’t thought to see in Kill Team, but it is quite nice to see this game closely mirroring the regular tabletop game. Sure, there are people who are no doubt calling this 40k by another name at this point, and I think the more rules that get bolted on to Kill Team, the closer it is going to become. But there are now a myriad of different ways that this game can be played and enjoyed, so I don’t think we need to be calling it anything just yet.

I do find myself wondering just where this game can go, if I’m being perfectly honest, as it is already running the risk of getting silly. What I mean is, what will the next expansion be? We now have troops, HQ choices, and elites playable in the game. We’re left with fast attack and heavy support, and while I can see a couple of these porting over quite well into the game, I’m starting to feel like the cynics are correct, and this could well just be re-named 40k lite. There are fundamental differences of course, and I do quite like those, but so far as expandability goes, I’m not sure where the game can go.

Within the elites book, we get pretty much all of the contents of Shadowspear as playable units, which may well provide a hint as to what is next in store for Kill Team. Rather than going down the route of allowing us to use Space Marine Devastators or Drukhari Reavers in the game, maybe we’ll just get updates for it every so often when new box sets come out. I know we’ve had the free pdf for the units in Blackstone Fortress, and maybe we’ll get that sort of thing rather than hard-copy books to buy. But that does feel like the main support for the game is going to just die off.

The other way for the game to continue, as far as I can see, is tied into the long-rumoured Inquisition vs Daemons expansion. Along the lines of last year’s Rogue Trader expansion, maybe we’ll get a book that provides a system for making up even more bespoke kill teams, which will look similar in style to those found in the Rogue Trader expansion. I’ve talked about this before, of course, and as I think about it, it’s something that I keep coming back to as being a potential for keeping the game alive.

I don’t want to come across as being down on Kill Team, of course, just a little intrigued, maybe confused, by where they could be taking this thing next! Of course, one way that has worked out really well for them so far is the Killzone environment expansions, and while the most recent release in this line hasn’t had quite as much good press paid to it so far, I do find myself actually really enjoying it – indeed, whereas with others in the line I’ve just bought the boards and cards off ebay, this is the first environment that I’ve actually sunk my teeth into in its entirety!

Sector Sanctoris combines some quite disparate scenery pieces into one box, and currently retails for Ā£50 like the others. Within the box, you get the two Imperial statues that were formerly available in the Basilicanum terrain set; the walls from the Sector Imperialis set, and the scatter terrain that came out in Urban Conquest earlier this year. There is also a short pamphlet with some background/fiction set around Imperial shrines, a short construction booklet showing how to build the scenery, and the environment card, mission cards, and tactics cards. People have been decrying this online for not being as good value for money as other sets, but I think this is such a subjective argument that I find it difficult to agree with. I really wanted that scatter scenery, and it would have set me back Ā£60 to buy Urban Conquest. So I’m already up on the deal buying it this way.

The set comes with the standard set of tactics cards that can be used by players using this killzone, as well as four mission cards (two for matched play, two for narrative play) and a killzone environment card that can add some extra effects to the game. As can probably be expected from a set focused around Imperial ruins, these effects tend to bolster factions under the IMPERIUM keyword. Even if you aren’t running Imperium factions, though, I do feel that the terrain is just so cool and so iconic – and blends in so well with that from the core set – that it’s really going to be worthwhile getting this one for the collection. Indeed, of all the killzone environment expansions released so far, this is probably the best one to pick up to complement the core set for the fact that they both use the new style Sector Imperialis terrain.

Kill Team Sector Sanctorum

I’ve only built up the scatter terrain so far, and even just having that on the board, it’s quite wonderful. I say “built up” like it was a complicated job – only two of these pieces actually have to be assembled, the rest is just clipped off the sprue and away we go! The terrain pieces are quite huge, as you can see in the photo above, and are really quite detailed. It’s definitely a chunkier plastic than the usual stuff, very similar to the other terrain we’ve had now, but that doesn’t really detract from the overall effect. I’m definitely looking forward to getting this lot painted up, probably with the new contrast paints when they come out, so I can give some colour to my games. I think I should finally be able to paint all of that Sector Mechanicus scenery that has been hanging about unpainted all these years once I get those new paints, as well!

I am definitely a terrain fan, though, and I think it’s a very important component of the hobby for me. It’s something that really brings the setting and the game to life, and so I might place a little too much import on actually getting terrain, collecting it and (hoping to one day start) painting it. Boxes like this are just wonderful, and while I could have picked up one of the army boxes like the Scarab Occult Terminators and gotten that scatter terrain that way, I already have those chaps, so it was either a case of buying more or else getting this and having all of the additional scenic bits, the cool add-ons like the cards, and of course the board to play on.

While I have no real clue how GW are going to set about expanding their line of Kill Team to keep the game alive and fresh, I think environment boxes like these, and then perhaps campaign books that might give us some rules for prescribed Teams, are likely going to be the way forward. I could well be wrong, but I’m very interested to find out, regardless.

Playing catch-up!

Hey everybody!
It feels like it’s been a while, due to real life intruding quite rudely once again! But I’ve now sold and bought a house, and while playing the waiting game, I thought I’d catch up with some of the new (and not-so-new!) stuff from recent weeks and months!

new stuff!

There has been a lot going on, it seems, with stuff like the Kill Team expansions coming out the other week. Kill Team Elites and the new killzone will be featured in their own blog coming soon, as there is quite a bit to go through there, but suffice it to say, I like this tranche quite a lot! I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to pick up the Vigilus Ablaze book, though I suppose I have stalled a bit with my Chaos Space Marines project due to the impending house move, so that does at least kind of explain that. And the Ambull has been out for a while already, but I’ve still only played Blackstone Fortress the once, so I hadn’t really been feeling the need to expand that game quite so soon. In the end, though, my natural curiosity won out and I’ve picked up the big monster to see what I’ve been missing.

I’m actually keen to try out the Fortress again soon – it’s something that I’ve thought about a couple of times since Christmas, as I’m sure I hadn’t been playing it properly when I had that first game! Should definitely make more of an effort there! I don’t feel quite so bad, though, as I had heard that a couple of people in my local group had only just finished the base set campaign and opened the mystery envelope a week or two ago, so that feels like it might have a lot of game in the base set alone!

Of course, we’ve got Traitor Command coming out soon, so that’ll be even more stuff to look forward to! I was recently reading a thread over on boardgamegeek where someone had been decrying the state of expansions with this game, which I thought quite funny as I suppose I just hadn’t been expecting expansions to come out for this game with anywhere near the regularity other people had been expecting! Personally, I was expecting we’d see another expansion, along the lines of a big-box thing with new models and a new campaign, around November this year, and that would be it. We’re already getting different enemies to try with missions of their own, and Combat Arena coming at some time will apparently give us new heroes as well. Warhammer Quest isn’t, to my mind, the sort of game system that will come with multiple expansions month on month. Remember when games like Runebound and Arkham Horror had one small box and one big box every year or so, and otherwise all was quiet? Seems like we’re getting a lot more support for this one already, and we’ve not yet reached the one year anniversary!

I suppose I just find it amusing how expectations have changed, perhaps with the rise of Kickstarters and the ability to get a game and multiple expansions all in one sitting. I realise that I do tend to demonise Kickstarter a lot, but part of me feels like it has spoiled us for how game releases used to be!

Ultimately, though, Blackstone Fortress is a third-tier game for GW, after the big wargames and the skirmish variants of those games, so I think we should all just calm down a bit.

As well as all of this Warhammer goodness, I’ve also decided the time is possibly right to try and get back into Magic! I do this every so often, it seems, dipping out for a couple of sets then coming back and trying to play catch-up. I picked up some boosters for Ravnica Allegiance when I was collecting my Warhammer purchases the other day, and have also ordered some more online, for both Ravnica Allegiance and War of the Spark. Seems like all hell has broken loose since I was last properly in the game, around a year ago! I did pick up a Guilds of Ravnica bundle, but didn’t really spend any time properly looking through the cards due to the set not having many of my favourite Guilds within. Orzhov and Rakdos have returned in Ravnica Allegiance, however, so I thought it might be fun to get back into the swing of things now, and see what’s been going on.

Turns out, a lot! Just looking through the cards in the set for War of the Spark, it seems like that has broken with a lot of tradition by giving us 36 Planeswalker cards, something previously unheard of! It is, however, an “event set”, and shows the culmination of the story from, as far as I can make out, Battle for Zendikar block, when the Gatewatch was first formed. Wow! So there’s a hell of a lot to catch up on, and I think it might be about time to jump in with the new novel, as it feels like there is a lot of story going on here, and I’ve heard rumours that a lot of the Planeswalkers that we’ve seen and enjoyed over the years might actually be dying… The novel is out in August here in the UK, from what I’ve been able to see, so I’m looking forward to picking it up and seeing what I’ve missed! As the first novel set in the multiverse for, I believe, 8 years, it will hopefully be an event!

Planeswalkers, powerful mages from many disparate realities, must unite against the elder dragon Nicol Bolas, who has claimed dominion over Ravnica and is perilously close to completing the spell that will grant him godhood. Now, as dozens of Planeswalkers fight alongside the Gatewatch – led by Chandra Nalaar, Jace Beleren, and Gideon Jura – against Bolas and his relentless army of Eternals, nothing less than the fate of the multiverse is at stake.

Exciting stuff!

MTG Modern Horizons

I’m weirdly also really looking forward to the Modern Horizons set, the first time a set is going to be released directly into Modern (and other non-rotating formats, such as Commander!) I’ve had a brief look through some of the spoilers that have made it into the wild so far, and it was actually these cropping up on instagram that got me looking into the game once again! I’m not into the whole competitive Modern scene, or anything, but I was really enjoying building some decks just with the cards that I have, regardless of Standard, and seeing the interactions etc. So I could see myself picking up some of these in the future!

I do miss my days playing Magic, I have to say. I enjoy the Warhammer stuff, of course, but playing a card game is so much cleaner than fiddling with glues and knives, after all! While I think this pattern of drifting in and out of the game will likely continue for quite some time to come, I can certainly see myself always being around the game, even if it’s just collecting some cards for a nebulous possible future use. I mean, the artwork is just beautiful, and so incredibly evocative. It’s cool that Wizards are making efforts to have a properly-contained story now, as well, so maybe we’ll have more of these event sets in years to come…

Warhammer Fest catch-up

Hey everybody!
It’s been a while, as real life has once more taken over. I’ve been buying a house, which has been all manner of joy! But it’s a bigger place, and hopefully it will all be sorted by the time our firstborn arrives in October! I’ve found I’ve had barely any time to keep up with the world around me, as hobby stuff has been pushed a bit to the back burner while we were selling ours. But I’ve had a week off, down on the south coast of England, so it’s been nice to get away from it all!

Well, it was Warhammer Fest at the weekend, and while it probably wasn’t as exciting as last year’s event, there were a few things of interest to come out of it. Let’s talk first about the new paint range, which is probably the biggest thing to come from Coventry, despite my liking for more model announcements…

From what I’ve been able to understand, from reading the myriad posts on facebook groups since the weekend, they’re pretty much like the Nighthaunt technical paints that came out with the new ghosts last year. I’ve painted a fair number of my Chainrasps with Nighthaunt Gloom, and found it to be quite a decent way to paint them up quickly, though of course I can’t see how I’d do an entire miniature in these colours, but rather use them to do the heavy lifting and then fill in some details later. Of course, it’s best for horde armies, which would have been ideal for my Slaanesh plans, but I’ve now got a colour scheme for these that wouldn’t really help things, so I’m likely to pass over these for the most part until I have a use for them. Probably once I get my Khorne plans underway…

I’ve been quite surprised to see a number of Space Marines painted with these colours, and looking quite well for it, too. Unfortunately, though, I’ve set my heart on painting my Space Marines as Novamarines, which I’m not sure would work. But maybe – I suppose it might work for the cream quarters, but I feel like these paints might be best used on the many scenery pieces that I have waiting in the wings!

I’ve been looking forward to seeing the new Sisters of Battle coming along, though I have to say, now that we’ve seen the first painted one, I’ve begun to wonder whether I’ll actually pick any up. Don’t get me wrong, they look great, and I think it’ll be exciting to see the army come out fully-formed later this year, but I reckon I’ve got enough to be getting on with. Maybe if they come out for Kill Team…

Speaking of Kill Team, the new Elites book is due out tomorrow, and I’m cautiously excited about getting it. I’ve been playing a fair bit of Kill Team recently, and have been enjoying it, so I think it’d be cool to add some different units to the mix. I’ve been playing my Necrons, using four Immortals and two Deathmarks, so I think it might be nice to add some Lychguard or Praetorians to the mix. Maybe both?!

I’m also quite excited about the new killzone, Sector Sanctoris:

There has been quite a lot of annoyance online with this one, given that it only seems to have odd bits of terrain rather than the more full kits we’ve seen coming with the other battlefield expansion sets. I suppose part of the issue might also be the fact only the walls are available separately so far, so it isn’t immediately apparent how big of a saving it might be. Personally, it has all of the terrain that I would want – those two massive statues from the Basilicanum set, as well as the scatter terrain from Urban Conquest. With some low walls to boot, I think it’s a great set and I’m looking forward to picking it up – I’d otherwise been thinking of getting the Scarab Occult terminators set in order to get that scatter terrain, so this has worked out well for me!

I think I might branch out a bit soon with Kill Team, and have been considering either Space Marines or Militarum Tempestus. I’ve got plenty of models for both of course, but it might be nice to have an Imperium force. I’ve thought this about regular 40k before, and had wanted to get moving with the Adeptus Mechanicus army that I’ve been wanting to do things with for what feels like forever (though in actual fact, it’s only been two years!)

While we’re on the subject of the Mechanicus…

Yes, there are Chaos Knights coming, complete with their own Codex – but I’m not interested in that. I’m much more interested in this:

The Skitarii are finally getting a transport! Cool beans, for sure. I’m hoping it’s open-topped, as well, so I can be throwing out a butt-load of galvanic rifle shots (or better, radium carbine shots!) in a binharic drive-by! While there have been plenty of people unhappy with the look of it, thinking it belongs more appropriately as a Cadian transport, I think it looks really on-point for the faction. Doubtless that is helped by the design cues such as the top hatch and all the vents, but it looks exactly like something you’d expect to see floating across the radium wastes.

I also like the tank variant. Up to this point, we’ve only had the walker vehicles for the army, which I think have helped to establish the faction as being, well, weird. Seeing this version as well really just reinforces this weirdness, and I love it!

The AdMech aren’t the only folks getting vehicles though, as the Primaris Marines are due for a variant on the Repulsor tank. The new Repulsor Executioner looks, well, hilarious, but also like it would likely fit in perfectly with a Primaris force.

While we’re on the subject, I’ve been thinking a lot about perhaps finally painting up all the Primaris marines that I have hanging about, from Dark Imperium and the like. I split the Shadowspear box and only got the Heretic side of things, but I’ve since picked up some phobos-armoured bits, and feel like trying my hand at a small marines force, maybe to go alongside my Skitarii or Tempestus Scions… I’ve previously thought about an all-Primaris list, headed up by Marneus Calgar, though I’ve more recently been thinking about making a list around the Vanguard marines.

I’ve painted a small number of Primaris chaps in the colours of Genesis Chapter before now, but I can’t currently decide if I want to continue like that, or else do Primaris Novamarines… šŸ¤”

I’ve never even considered playing Apocalypse games, as I’ve previously given over an entire day to playing just regular 40k back when I was first getting into playing it, and I can’t say as though I really enjoyed it. In all honesty, it’s just a bit draining! But it’s exciting for those people who do enjoy the game that much, so I’m glad to see folks getting what they like!

There’s been some further news for Necromunda expansions, with the alternate heads and weapons for the Delaque gang, and some more hive scum and a champion for the Cawdor gang. While of course, that dude looks cool and all, I think it has made me more excited to think about how the Delaque hero will look! Aside from all of this, however, I think the more exciting thing here is the prospect of Palatine Enforcers coming for the game! Of course, I think it would have been amazing to have actually seen models for these guys, and given the rumours that these things are due in Q3, I find it a bit of a let-down that we’ve not seen anything. I’m therefore assuming that the rumours are false, or else I think it would be a bit of a shame that Warhammer Fest didn’t have anything more for us…

I think this is a very exciting development, seeing yet more warbands for the upcoming Age of Sigmar skirmish game. I’m still going for the Iron Golems, as I find them wonderfully creepy (and almost perfect fodder for Dark Eldar Grotesques), but the snake folks are pretty exciting, I won’t deny:

I mean, look at this chap! With such a proud beast of a cobra at his feet there!

I’m really looking forward to this game, though obviously I’m not sure about whether I’ll be able to pick it up at release! I think we’re probably in for a similar situation as Kill Team last year, with the core set selling out quickly.

On the wider subject of Age of Sigmar though, we’ve got more releases to look forward to in just over a week, with the arrival of the new scenery pieces that form the Dominion of Sigmar stuff. Much like the new Sector Imperialis terrain that came out of Kill Team, I think it’ll be really exciting to see these things come out and what people do with them.

I would have liked to get hold of some of this stuff myself, but while I do enjoy playing AoS, I think I’m still more of a 40k player when it comes to this sort of thing.

Forbidden Power has finally be revealed to have been basically Malign Portents volume 2, bringing more generic endless spells and a book for their use. The spells look cool, but I’m hoping that we’ll get the book released separately so that I can take a look at what the whole thing is all about.

It’s interesting, isn’t it, that while I started my AoS journey with the Nighthaunt and have been branching out almost expansively with ideas for Legions of Nagash as well as Chaos Daemons, I’m still more interested in the wider world of 40k than AoS, and stop myself short when it comes to getting this sort of stuff as well.

I suppose last year was a hard act to follow, bringing the new edition of Age of Sigmar, as well as Malign Sorcery and Adeptus Titanicus. But there are definitely some exciting things on the horizon to look forward to!