The Wraithbone Phoenix

I should have written a review of this book ages ago, but somehow kept getting distracted!

The story involves Baggit, a Ratling, and Clodde, an Ogryn, who are working at a breakers yard on Varangantua. The two are former Imperial Guard auxiliaries, and escape their jobs to try and discover a hidden treasure that has arrived within the hulk of an old Imperial Navy ship destined for the breakers. Their overseer is unhappy that they have left, and engages in a vengeful pursuit of the two of them, however he inadvertently informs half the planet of the treasure hunt, so we get all sorts of additional parties, including a washed-out Navy captain, a group of religious zealots, and an Indiana Jones-type archaeologist.

The chase is on, although Baggit is convinced he has the edge because the artefact, the Wraithbone Phoenix of the title, was hidden on board the ship by a fellow Ratling. After twists and turns aplenty, the artefact is discovered, changes hands multiple times, and ends up with an Eldar outcast, who perhaps inadvertently opens himself up to the psychic potential of the Phoenix and disappears, dropping it into the rubbish heap on the street far below.

I’d not really registered Baggit & Clodde before, but they were in an audio drama also published under the Warhammer Crime imprint. At any rate, I was quite excited to get hold of this book as I have previously enjoyed Warhammer Crime books. This one, however, was very different, and somehow I couldn’t seem to bring myself to like it quite so much.

In all honesty, it’s not a bad book. I think perhaps it went on a bit too long at times, though that could have been due to the sheer volume of cast members that were being covered. I suppose the fact that I wasn’t particularly that interested in the protagonists also didn’t help me, but I wonder if I had listened to the audio drama first, that could have changed my view?

The atmosphere of Varangantua is as palpable here as it has been in every other book I’ve read in this setting, though, and the set pieces as the two auxiliaries ran through a market place, or through the breakers yard etc, were particularly cinematic. In fact, a lot of this book, perhaps more than any other, put me in mind of Necromunda. I’ve often felt that Varangantua is almost written like a Necromunda 2.0, so those aspects were really very nicely done.

The story does flip-flop between the original Ratling on board the ship and the “present day”, which I hadn’t realised until maybe a third of the way through the novel are actually separated by hundreds of years. So I did find it a bit jarring at that point! But I have to say, I didn’t really care about the Ratling, Clodde was a kinda cool character in the gentle-giant mould. It did make reading the book difficult at times, though, because I was reading this more for the atmosphere than anything else – I mean, I didn’t care who got to the Phoenix first, or how, but towards the end as the thing went through almost every major player’s hands, it did become quite entertaining! I especially liked the end, where the Phoenix just drops into the street rubbish and is lost once more.

Also, the archaeologist-lady seems to use a Dark Eldar agoniser whip, which was really nice to read about!

Overall, though, not my favourite book so far. I actually gave this a 2/5 rating, which now I reflect on it some more does seem a bit harsh! There’s still plenty of Warhammer Crime to catch up on (unfortunately, though, a lot of anthologies too), so I really ought to make an effort to read these things.

February Plans

Hey everybody,
After a pretty productive January, I am determined to try and keep going with this throughout February as well, so thought it might be good to get some ideas laid out in advance. I probably won’t be doing this every month, but it’ll hopefully be useful to me during these winter months to keep the motivation!

To begin, I have the fairly hefty project of the Promethium Forge that I want to get started. This is by no means intended to be finished this month, but after getting it all primed up and ready, I think it would be good to get started on it. I’ve also been thinking about playing some Sector Mechanicus scenarios in Necromunda, so it’ll be good to have a decent portion of terrain painted, and with two big structures already done, it makes sense to try and get the third finished as well!

In my head, I think it would look amazing to have a SM table put together with at least two levels above the board, and to this end I’ve been thinking about getting some of the Transterranic Gantries to further fill things out. These could be used, in my mind, to link the bigger structures that I have but up a level, so standing these on the bigger things to form a kind of bridge. It might not be all that good, but they could be an interesting investment. I do also have the Ferratonic Furnace that came in the Kill Team Nachmund set, so it could be used alongside that to create something wonderful, as well. We shall see!

At any rate, the Promethium Forge was one of the first terrain kits that I bought and put together, back in June 2017, and I would really like to get this one painted up after all these years!

This will, of course, be a fairly big project, although I’m kinda hoping I might not end up taking the seven months it took me last year to paint up the Galvanic Magnavent!

In addition to that, I want to try and finish the Escher gang that has been taking me a lot longer than I’d initially expected! I think I mentioned this before, but I’m really not enjoying this project as much as I did the Goliaths – a combination of the miniatures not being assembled well, not being primed well, and also not being equipped well has kinda put me off a bit. However, they’re nearly finished now so I hope I can make a final push and just get them done! That’ll then give me, what, four fully-painted Necromunda gangs (along with Delaque, Ash Wastes Nomads and Goliath). My Orlocks and Van Saar are probably the next ones waiting for the paint treatment, but I might take a short break from the tiny people and see about getting something different painted. Well, I suppose that Promethium Forge is something different, but still!

Yesterday, I finally got myself organised and have glued together a bunch of the barrels and crates that come with the armoured containers. Having initially bought a box of these years ago, then getting more via stuff like the weekly magazine and the older Kill Team killzones, I have quite a lot of these things that were never seeing the light of day because every one of them was an individual piece. Setting up the terrain for a table meant stacking individual crates and barrels together, which always ran the risk of being knocked over during the game. However, I have now made “clumps”, for want of a better word, with mostly crates or barrels, although one piece uses both elements, to use as modular scatter terrain. They’re all pretty low, but can be stacked up nicely to create proper barricades and line-of-sight blockers. I think this stuff will be very useful in both 40k and Necromunda, so I’m very pleased now to have it in a much more workable place! Of course, I had already painted a bunch of crates back in the day, so it’s nice to have them a part of this as well. It seems like everything fits together really well, so I plan to chip away at these in the coming months as well. With all of this, plus the containers themselves that I primed up last summer, I should have quite the munitions dump available for games soon enough!

I’m definitely feeling in the mood for painting right now, though, so I think that’s definitely something I want to keep up. I do also want to try to play more games, of course, though interestingly I caught myself thinking earlier today about “having to get x out sometime this month” (I think it was Runebound). It was never the intention to regiment my gaming, of course, and I don’t want to fall into the trap of playing a game “because I have to” for the whole 10×10 thing. I have the evening to myself later though, and I think it would be good to have a game of something…

January 2023 retrospective

Hey everybody,
Just like that, January is over and we’re already one-twelfth of the way through the year. While I know for many people January is a long, long month, it somehow doesn’t seem to have been all that bad for me. I think I’m putting this down to the fact that I’ve tried my best to be organised about what I’m doing with my time, so that I have clear things to look forward to, and so on.

On a personal level, while I have lost the Christmas weight that I’d put on, I’ve not continued the downward trend yet. However, I’ve downloaded the Fantasy Hike app which tracks how far you walk and overlays this on Frodo’s journey to Mordor. So you get updates like Black Riders on the road, camping with the elves, and staying overnight with a farmer. It’s all pretty hilarious, and while I’m not yet projected to arrive at Mount Doom until Q3 2024, I have actually walked 70 miles in January, so I think that’s pretty impressive, actually! I want to take some time soon to try and plan more meals and stuff that would help me to lose weight while eating well, and then as the weather begins to improve (or at least, get more consistent), I’m hoping that I’ll be able to get out and about more, and with a bit of luck, I’ll keep going down from there!

Marvel Champions

Around the middle of the month, I had a day off to basically have a games day, something very indulgent I know. But that was one of the best things that I had going on, because it meant not only that I had that goal in my sights, but also I got to play with the Marvel Champions stuff that I got for my birthday and Christmas. It also prompted last week’s theme week, where I posted about the game every day of the week. It was really great to play some of the newer stuff, and it was a lot of fun to then have a blog go out at the same time each day with my rambling musings on it all. It’s definitely fired my interest in the game once more, which had somewhat waned during the Autumn last year, so that’s definitely a good thing now that I have almost the entire product line…

It’s also helped to really bump up my numbers for played games this year, as I’ve already played almost 20 games this year. That’s a fifth of my goal checked off already. I’ve also started on my third play-through with The Dunwich Legacy campaign for Arkham Horror LCG, which will of course go a long way to helping further with those numbers as a campaign is eight games. I’d spent part of my New Year’s Eve building up new decks, for Mandy Thompson and Tony Morgan, but couldn’t really decide in which campaign to play them. After vacillating over Dunwich and Innsmouth, Dunwich has now won out. However, I’ve also been finding myself thinking up which investigators I want to deckbuild for next, and so I don’t think it’ll be too long before I make it back to Innsmouth, after all!

January has seen 19 games being played, with Marvel Champions being the runaway leader here by far. I think there have been a few great games being played, though the real stand-out happened just yesterday, as I went back to Mutant Genesis and tackled the Project Wideawake scenario with Cyclops and Shadowcat. I love the X-Men, primarily from the Bryan Singer movies of the early 2000s, but I think in terms of overall superhero appeal, X-Men are very close to my heart. Which is probably why I was so disappointed after my first game with the new box. However, Cyclops and Shadowcat was a pretty good pairing, with only maybe a couple of cards swapped into both decks.

Marvel Champions

There is a lot going on in that scenario, and I think I had to play really slowly at times to make sure I was doing everything correctly. But it was incredibly enjoyable, as I was able to really experience the game, and it felt very much like the Sentinels were coming for my guys, especially with the Mk V Sentinel attaching that “marked for extermination” card to Cyclops. There was a lot of stuff going on with both heroes as well, and I think after the initial play with Cyclops, and then looking through his deck to try to make sense of what it is doing, I was a lot more prepared for this game. Shadowcat has some interesting things too, though without knowing a lot about both her deck and the scenario, it was difficult at times to know if I should be bothered by Patrol minions, for instance. Of course, all hell broke loose when her nemesis came into play, which I think is only the second time ever I’ve had that happen in a game, and towards the end I was almost drowning in side schemes! But I was able to get Cyclops’ Optical Blast off with the card that deals +8 damage to bring the Sentinels right down to 3 health, at which point it was almost trivial for Shadowcat to deal the final 3 damage for the win. It was by no means easy, but it was a lot of fun as the game went on! 

Even though I’ve almost completed my Marvel Champions goal of 10 games this year, I think this is well on track for becoming my most-played game of all time, the way I’m going with it!

In terms of the hobby, I have been really pretty productive here, too. I’ve painted up my Goliath gang for Necromunda, which involves seven gangers and two vehicles, so it works in both the regular game but also Ash Wastes. That was a really great result, especially as I’m still quite surprised that I’ve gone all-in for these guys. Since the game came out in 2017, Goliaths have definitely been at the bottom of the list for me, and with each subsequent gang to come out, they only went further down. But after building up the big lads and especially their ridiculously over-the-top bikes, I’ve really become quite the fan! My first time painting yellow hasn’t been all that bad, either, so all in all, I am very pleased!

Even more pleasing is the fact that we’ve been able to have a game of Necromunda, as well! My Goliaths vs James’ Orlocks, using the Prison Break scenario from Gang War 3. We were intending to use this as the start of a campaign, but James has decided to switch from Orlocks to Enforcers, but we’re still hoping to use that opening game as a bit of a scene-setter for the upcoming Law & Misrule campaign. So stay tuned for more on that one!

I am definitely fired up for more Necromunda though, and have not only also started to paint the Escher gang that I have had built since 2017, but also more Zone Mortalis scenery! The Eschers have got a bright red armour thing going on, although with all their hair and feathers etc, the colours are tending towards quite bright right now. I suppose that makes sense, but I do worry a little bit that they’re not Underhive-y enough… I’m also finding it quite difficult in general because of both the way they were built, in terms of actual gluing of parts and also the weapon choices, and additionally the grey primer which is quite thick and chalky in places. I had a similar issue with my Orlocks when I first tried to paint them, but stripped the paint and it all seemed to be okay, however with the Escher I don’t think they’re robust enough to withstand stripping! However, I do have another Escher gang sprue from the Hive War box I picked up ages ago for the Delaque and terrain, so I can always build the Escher gang I want that way.

In terms of Zone Mortalis painting, I have managed to get more walls and columns painted up in about a weekend, which has been amazing really! My total ZM painting now stands at eight wall sections and seven columns, with one platform so far. This is great, of course, though I would say I’ve still got easily half the Dark Uprising box still to paint! My colour scheme requires an undercoat of Mechanicus Standard Grey, of which I have currently run out, so I suppose for the time being I am stalled on this one, but hopefully I’ll be able to get some more of that soon and make more headway.

Something that I’ve been thinking about for some time is how literally all of my ZM terrain is modular, which causes some problems because it can all move during play, etc. So I’ve recently glued together two pieces to create a bit of an anchor in games. I’ve got a corner tower, which has been glued to that height with ladders to provide access up the top, and then I’ve glued a small wall section to a small door section, both of which are then attached to a column. I find that the doors in particular can be problematic because you are actually moving the door piece in-game, which sometimes knocks the wall a bit. So it’s good to have that kind of anchor to keep stuff in-line. As it stands, both of these pieces should be easy enough to fit into a larger landscape on the table, and they shouldn’t be too difficult to work into the other pieces that I have which involve the staircases. But I suppose we shall see!

Speaking of stairs, though, I find myself wanting to get another set of those, as I want to try and make a few more accessways to upper levels. Something that I have found with our games so far in the Underhive has been that they’re mostly one-level. It was nice in the Prison Break scenario to have the Orlocks starting up in a second-storey area, because it meant that we could interact with height a bit more, although as the objective was to flee the board, they were coming down the stairs very early. I’ve been thinking more about finally buying some of the plastic tiles as well, but with only a 2×2 area rather than 2×3 that we’ve been used to, it had always been my thought that it wouldn’t be as interesting. But without two full tiles, the only way is up, really! So maybe doing this could mean that we would naturally play on more levels as a result? We shall see. Obviously, the plastic terrain fits better on those tiles than on the cardboard ones, but I always find myself wanting to spend my limited hobby funds on miniatures, and not tiles! 

Anyway, that’s a lot of rambling about Zone Mortalis, but it has definitely been at the forefront of my mind this month, with the game and all, so I suppose it was inevitable, really!

Drukhari vs Imperial Fists

I also had a game of 40k this month, with my Dark Eldar against JP’s Imperial Fists, and once again, Toughness 3 proved to be the lesser match to marines. The amount of stuff that space marines can do is just ridiculous, and I am quite envious of the way the army almost runs itself, as opposed to having to actually fight to make things work for the xenos armies that I otherwise love! Of course, mistakes were definitely made on my part, but I think I can definitely play smarter in games, so I really want to try to develop my game plan in games going forward. So that will be a work in progress for however longer we have 9th edition 40k.

It has definitely been a productive time in the hobby so far this month, and already I have been able to check off one of my hobby goals for the year, by getting more ZM scenery painted! I don’t know if I will actually be able to get the whole box painted, of course, but it would be just lovely if I did end up getting the whole lot finished. I imagine that games would look so much nicer, if nothing else! I am very aware that 2022 started out really productive too, of course, with lots of Tau units being painted, only for me to falter around Easter time and stuff, so I’m hoping that by taking a much more measured approach to all this, I will actually be able to get somewhere this time. Well, time will tell I suppose!

As far as the hobby stuff goes, then, it’s a little difficult to quantify at the minute because I’ve not really painted up a proper squad per se, but I suppose you could call it one unit (Goliaths) and some terrain (the ZM stuff). That’s against the box of Escher bikes that I bought, so I’m definitely up on the whole bought vs painted thing so far!

This is getting extremely long now though, so I’ll call it a day here. Let’s hope that February is just as productive!!

Necromunda vehicles

It’s not massively complicated, of course, but since I’ve been working on painting the Goliath Maulers, I’ve been off-and-on trying to work out how vehicles work in Necromunda. There are loads of rules for them, both in the new Ash Wastes rulebook and in Book of the Outlands, but it’s interesting (to me) how the internet generally only talks about adding them to your gang, but not playing with them.

Necromunda Ash Wastes

I’ve got a game of Necromunda coming up later this week, so thought I’d dummy up a session to try to remember the rules, as it has been a very long time since I last played – and indeed, I’ve never played with the new Ash Wastes stuff. Having recently finished painting the Goliath gang, it was great to get them out for a spin, as well!

To start with, then, vehicles are almost the same as any other fighter – they can take actions, they can attack or be attacked, etc. The vehicle will usually have a weapon, and a crew, who will be responsible for firing that weapon. Vehicles begin the game mobile, but can become stalled or wrecked as the game goes on. The various conditions a vehicle can be subjected to determine which actions they can perform. So you can move, you can shoot, you can ram, you can move and shoot (moving half your move value to do so), and so on.

When you move, you go in a straight line. This may cause you to collide with terrain and stuff, but you can manoeuvre during a move, if you need to pivot to get around things. Otherwise, you only get to change your direction at the start or end of a move. It really makes you think about what you’re trying to do, especially if you’re trying to do a drive-by – you can’t just curve around things without thinking things through.

There are many game effects that can see the crew losing control of the vehicle, too. This is kinda funny, but it reflects the somewhat difficult terrain and the ramshackle vehicles they’re driving.

Necromunda Ash Wastes

You can, of course, attack vehicles, and it works similar to attacking other fighters. Vehicles have front, side and rear Toughness, and you resolve your hit depending on which you’re shooting at (or beating up). Once a hit has been scored, damage is inflicted via the vehicle dice – special location and damage dice that allow you to score glancing, penetrating or catastrophic hits against the body, engine, crew or drive of the vehicle. Depending on which type of hit is scored and where, different effects will take place. So for instance, a glancing hit to the drive will force a loss of control test (more in a bit), while a catastrophic hit to the engine will remove two hull points and reduce its move value by half for the rest of the game.

In my test game today, the Orlock champion scored a catastrophic hit against a Goliath mauler with his heavy bolter, destroying the vehicle in one shot!

Necromunda Ash Wastes

When a vehicle is reduced to 0 hull points, it becomes wrecked and can essentially function as terrain. The crew will be thrown clear, which I hadn’t realised, but that does mean you potentially need to have more models painted up for this!

Vehicles have a handling value, which is used when making a loss of control test. If failed, you roll a d6 and the Control dice, which is another new type of dice for the vehicle rules. This result will determine if the vehicle swerved, jackknifes, of rolls when the loss of control test is failed, with the d6 determining which direction it moves, left or right. Rolling vehicles can end up on their side or the roof, and will consequently wreck.

Necromunda Ash Wastes

It’s a pretty good system, when you get into it, and I think it’ll be fun to try out more vehicle battles in the future. The rules for Necromunda are quite dense anyway, and while the vehicular additions can be seen as making that worse, in all honesty I don’t think they’re all that bad – I mean, it’s just more of the same, in many respects. However, adding in this new type of “fighter” does really open the game out in so many ways, and as I’ve already said, I can’t wait to see what other vehicles will be making their way into the wastes!

A catch up (mainly Necromunda)

Hey everybody,
It’s been a bit of a quiet week here on the blog, as life gets back to normal in 2023 and the post-festive blues begin to settle a little. My wife has been struck down with some kind of flu that’s been doing the rounds as well, so I’ve been in full-on dad mode for the little folk. They’re both at a different cheeky stage, so neither wants to do what I tell them to – the eldest just ignores me, but the youngest is actually smiling at me as she ignores me and continues to do what she shouldn’t. Hopefully it’s all just a phase, and things get easier soon! It’s been nice to have them both to myself, though, and there have been fun times as well!

Since I launched the plan of 10×10 games for 2023, I’ve had some pretty amazing success with actually playing games, which has been really nice! I am currently around 5 or 6 games played this year, with a good breadth of stuff hitting the table, so I’ve been quite pleased about that. Look out for a blog coming out in the coming days where I catch up with the Angmar Awakened cycle for Lord of the Rings LCG, at the very least!

Necromunda

The biggest success so far this year has been the Goliath gang for Necromunda, however. I’ve just been slowly chipping away at these big lads for about an hour or two most nights, and have had a real sense of achievement as I see them coming together. It’s only seven gangers plus the two mauler vehicles, so it’s hardly a massive task of course, but even so, I’ve been pleased with my progress!

Necromunda is currently hovering near the top of my list as well, when it comes to games that I am excited for – despite the huge intake over Christmas, it has actually displaced Marvel Champions as the game that I’ve been most looking forward to playing! I have been really excited by the Ash Wastes box, of course, especially given the fact that I have got the terrain fully painted up now, so it’s on my list to try and get to grips with everything over the coming week, and see what is new and how these vehicles work. I’ve got a game day booked in for Tuesday, so I’m super excited for that!

Necromunda

Being firmly in a Necromunda frame of mind, I picked up the new Escher bikes yesterday (sadly no cards were to be had). I’d actually forgotten that these came out last month, but seeing the tutorial from Mediocre Hobbies on youtube made me want to pick up a box for my growing vehicle pool! I don’t think it’s likely to happen anytime soon, but I was also watching Andy’s Cargo-8 tutorial, and found myself wanting that behemoth to paint up! I don’t honestly know that it would really get used, though, so I’m much preferring these smaller buggy-like vehicles, or the bikes, for now. It’s one of the reasons I was looking at my outstanding Genestealer Cult models last week, as I have been thinking it’d be good to get the bikers painted up to try them in the Wastes, too.

Picking up the Escher bikes has got me thinking, though. We’ve seen the Cawdor vehicles previewed back in November as shambling walkers, though I’ve seen a few criticisms of these online as walkers would be inherently more difficult to maintain, so why does the scummiest of the gangs get them? I’m not an engineer, but I suppose it does make a bit of sense that they are more complex machines than a wheeled vehicle. At any rate, they’re presumably going to come next. But what about Van Saar and Delaque vehicles? What will they look like?

Necromunda

Van Saar have already had their hover boards in with the Prospects box, of course, so it’ll be interesting to see how their vehicles turn out. Skimmer bikes would have made sense, but that’s what Escher has – maybe they’ll be sleeker? Who knows! As for my beloved Delaque, my first thought was for some kind of ground car that could be made entirely anonymous with blacked-out windows or something sinister, but I’ve now been thinking: wheel bikes. Like General Grievous. Maybe?

Once all six of the House gangs have vehicles, what’s next? Will Enforcers get vehicles? Probably not, the lore has said that Enforcers don’t really go out into the Wastes. The motor pool is basically built on the Genestealer Cults range, so they’re okay. Chaos cults probably won’t have bespoke vehicles. What about the Corpse Grinders? They’re likely to stay in the Underhive too. That leaves us with the Ironhead Prospectors as a specific gang that doesn’t have their own vehicles, though – it’s possible that you could use some of the Votann vehicles in Necromunda, I’m specifically thinking of the Sagitaur buggy rather than the hover trikes or the land fortress, although the latter could well come into things.

I think Necromunda, more than any other game right now, is firing my imagination in so many different ways, and I just cannot wait to play it some more!

Some hobby updates (already)

Hey everybody,
We’re barely into the new year, and I’m already feeling productive when it comes to my hobby time. At the risk of repeating myself from last year, though, I’ve also been taking a bit of an inventory of my Genestealer Cultist models. I’ve been thinking about them a lot in the last week or so, as I was mainly wondering if I should try to commit to doing anything with the army in my hobby goals for the year. However, after spending a bit of time with the codex and all of my models earlier in the week, I have to say that I’m feeling a bit underwhelmed.

The 8th edition book had a lot of exciting things going on, which I have talked about before, and I thought it was really interesting to go through and see how I could construct my army around some of the units in there. However, this time around, it all just feels really flat, somehow. Like, GW are trying to really push you to use the army in a specific way. I don’t know if this is real, or if it’s just my imagined perception of things, but there doesn’t seem to be a great deal of stuff that you can do as Genestealer Cultists anymore. There were stratagems that could provide some wonderful buffs, as I’ve rambled on about endlessly, which have all been stripped away in favour of – well, I don’t really know what this is. True, some of the units have had buffs to their stat lines, from what I can tell, so you do actually get some good stuff going on there. But whereas a lot of the armies I play have got a lot of fun interactions and nice synergies, I don’t really see a lot of use for command points in this army besides the command re-roll. There’s very little that I would want to spend my points on, and it’s quite surprising, really.

At first, it had disappointed me and I was considering just shelving the cult until 10th edition came around. However, I think that’s a bit hasty, and just because the army wasn’t what I had thought it could be doesn’t mean that’s reason to ignore them. So I am currently in the process of drawing up another army list for my existing cultists, which will no doubt be the topic of a rambling blog in due course!

In the meantime, I’ve started to look at Necromunda vehicles rules, after building up the Goliath Maulers over the New Year weekend, and being thoroughly impressed with them. It’s difficult to not be impressed with the new Necromunda stuff, I find, so I suppose this was never really in doubt! The vehicle rules have so far been pretty spread-out, with rules in the main Ash Wastes rulebook, rules for creating your own vehicles (plus some standard templates) in Book of the Outlands, and then the Goliath and Escher vehicles in Cinderak Burning. I’m assuming that the next book in the Aranthian Succession campaign will have the rules for the Cawdor vehicles that we have seen previewed, as well, though things seem to have gone quiet on that front lately. Hopefully it won’t be too long before we have more news!

The vehicle rules in the Book of the Outlands are extremely impressive, and I must say they’re very comprehensive. Pretty much anything you would think you can do with a vehicle is represented across the 24 pages of rules. There is the usual stuff around actions that vehicles can take, conditions that vehicles can be subject to, how to attack, what happens if fighters are stood on top of vehicles, what happens if the crew loses control of the vehicle, collisions, and so much more. It’s the sort of thing that makes me want to just take a day to go through it all and work out how it all works.

Interestingly, I’ve also been looking at Genestealer Cultists for the Ash Wastes, as my basing scheme for those models is pretty much a desert wasteland, anyway. Excitingly, a lot of the Genestealer Cults vehicles have got templates in the Book of the Outlands, like the Wolfquad and the Goliath. I’ve had a brief look and my Ridgerunner for the Cult would set me back 365 credits with no upgrades, so it’s well within the 400 credit uplift that you get for spending on vehicles. Unfortunately, it seems that you can’t immediately populate it with Genestealer Cultists, as each vehicle needs crew, and we’ve not seen crew profiles for every gang yet. There are generic profiles for Scum Racers which means that someone can pop behind the wheel, but it does feel a bit of a shame that we haven’t got more yet, especially when we’re talking about the non-House gangs. Of course, everybody can use a “Waster’s Dirtbike”, which is basically the Atalan Jackal, so we’re good for that side of things, at least!

I’ve said this a lot, I know, but I am very excited by the Ash Wastes stuff. I think getting the Book of the Outlands for Christmas has really fired me up for more Necromunda, anyway, so hopefully I’ll get to play it soon and see if it lives up to the hype!

Hobby Goals 2023

Hey everybody,
Happy New Year! I like nothing more than a fresh new year, just full of promise and waiting to be exploited! Well, that’s what I tell myself. 2022 wasn’t really all that bad here on the blog, had some great times overall among those 181 posts, so let’s hope that 2023 will continue the theme! On a personal note, after deciding to eat better in June I’ve managed to lose 1st 5lb in total, just through eating better, so that has been amazing and I’m hoping to continue that into the new year. As is now traditional for this day, I am going to outline some of the hobby things I have every intention of doing, but most likely won’t end up getting round to for one reason or another, so let’s get to it!

Terrain
This seems to be on the list every year, and with varying degrees of success. Last year, I did pretty well though, so I hope that I can do the same this time around. I have a Promethium Forge still to paint, one of the big three Sector Mechanicus structures that I bought way back when, and after painting the other two, I think it’s only fair to think I could get this one done this year! There is also stuff like the second Haemotrope Reactor, of course, and I’ve got plenty of bits for Necromunda that could go into this as well, so I think I have enough to be going along with. 

I would really like to get the Promethium Forge done, though.

Drukhari
I have had a lot of success with getting the outstanding Drukhari painted up in 2022, in fact it was probably the best year for the dark kin since I started the army in 2017, and spent the bulk of that year getting everything done. I still have a lot of models that actually need painting, of course, but I would also like to try to get round to doing some of the finishing touches to my models this year, too. Stuff like the basing, or final highlights, or adding some missing detail to some of the models that were painted very much to get them done. 

I would really like to get the 10 Hellions painted up properly this year, though.

Adepta Sororitas
Sisters of Battle were a bit of a surprise triumph for me in 2022, as I went from almost selling them all off to fully painting about half the army in a couple of months. The scheme is really easy to replicate though, so I think that’s a big part of my success here. I still have a lot of models to paint, like the Novitiates and the next squad of Battle Sisters, as well as a lot of stuff still to build. I’m not going to push this, because I don’t want to run the risk of burning out as I have done with other big projects, but I think it’ll be good to add units to the force as time goes on. 

I would really like to get the Exorcist painted this year, though.

Necrons
Ah, my first hobby love. Necrons have been a little sidelined for a few years now, though they did come out in absolute triumph for two games in the summer, where they were particularly impressive. I have a lot of things for this army, and I have a lot that still needs painting for the army, as well. I think it will be best to just keep chipping away with these, and perhaps the more games that I play with them, the more I’ll want to paint up for the army.

I would really like to get the 3 Wraiths painted up this year, though.

Tau Empire
Now, then. The Tau were to have been my big project of 2022, but sadly didn’t really get too far off the ground in the end. In 2023, I’m hoping to get everything that I currently have painted, at which point I can start to look at other bits and pieces that I can add in to the force. I almost got myself a Devilfish the other day, but with five units still unpainted, I don’t want to go adding things to my list that just make the job more difficult. I have plenty to be getting on with, so I will hopefully make good on this project and have a painted playable army in no time! 

I would really like to get the 3 Crisis Suits (and their drones) painted up this year, though.

Necromunda
Having touched upon this in the terrain paragraph above, I think Necromunda deserves its own slot because it is a huge game in its own right, and I am currently on such a high with it that I want to throw the spotlight on it some more. I don’t even know how much stuff I currently have for the game, but it’s a lot, and I am really keen to get moving with all of the half-finished stuff that I have, like the Corpse Grinders and Orlocks. After getting all of the Ash Wastes terrain painted up so quickly, I want to try my hardest to get more stuff finished so that when I play games, it looks amazing as well. I currently have the Delaque and the Ash Wastes Nomads gangs both fully painted, so I think next up I would like to get another gang finished, either the Escher or Orlock gang, and just continue on from there.

I would really like to get more of the Zone Mortalis scenery painted up this year, though.

So that, my friends, is the sum total of my plans for 2023. I was able to get a lot of the backlog painted during 2022, and I was lucky in that my painted output outweighed the newly-bought models. I’m fully intending that I can continue that trend in the new year, and continue to paint the models that I have, rather than just add more stuff to the pile of shame. Of course, it’s silly to suggest that I won’t be buying more stuff, but I hopefully have more than enough models for the majority of my army projects – it’s only the Tau that could feasibly have more models bought for them. In that respect, then, I suppose it’s mainly going to be Necromunda stuff that will be added to over time. Which is fine, because I collect that stuff for the setting, after all.

In terms of other projects, I think it would be nice to get some more Genestealer Cults models painted, particularly the bikes now that I’m looking more and more at the Ash Wastes. Of all the odd stuff that I have going on in the back of my mind, I have been thinking more about getting the Onager Dunecrawler painted for my AdMech. That’s something I hadn’t really thought about, but it’s something that has been part-painted for years now. But I’m not going to worry about these other things too much. 

This year, in a further effort to focus my efforts, I’ve decided that I’m going to do mini check-ins at the end of each month as well, to see just where I’m up to with these projects. Overall, I don’t think it’s a massive amount of stuff that I’ve given myself to do. I’ve picked out six things from each of the headings above that I would like to see finished by the end of the year, so hopefully if I can get those done, everything else is just going to be a big bonus!

December 2022 Retrospective

And just like that, 2022 is over. Well, I suppose there are a few more hours to go, but you know what I mean. It’s been quite the month, as well, with quite a decent spread of stuff going on!!

To start with, I was quite impressed with myself for not only building four investigator decks and planning to play the full Dream-Eaters campaign for Arkham Horror LCG, but then making good on the whole thing and just steaming through it in pretty short order! I think my recent track record with Arkham campaigns taking me months to complete didn’t really make me all that positive! But there we have it. I haven’t yet picked up The Scarlet Keys, and I have played most of the Innsmouth campaign, so I’m in the curious place now where I don’t really have any new Arkham content to play…

I really enjoyed playing this one, which I think was important because I hadn’t particularly enjoyed Innsmouth (because of my investigator choice, I think) or Edge of the Earth (because of the story, I think), so it was good to get the love back! I’ve talked a bit recently about going back and playing some of the earlier stuff again, as I definitely preferred those campaigns, so I can see myself making another run at Dunwich in the new year! I do want to retry my luck with Innsmouth, as well, so I think it will possibly be a while before I do actually get round to buying The Scarlet Keys, but equally I am looking forward to seeing how that one works. There’s a lot to be excited about right now!!

I’ve recently had quite a huge splurge on Marvel Champions stuff though, getting a hefty injection of content for my collection between my birthday and Christmas, so I should probably look at playing more of that in the future as well! It’s mad, when I think about it objectively, how I’ve gone from zero to almost a full collection of this stuff in the space of not very long. I’ve definitely been enjoying the game, though, and have spent a couple of evenings sleeving up the new arrivals, so I have the Red Skull and X-Men boxes ready to go now. I can’t quite decide which one to go for first, though!! I’m not really interested in playing them as a campaign, having tried the Thanos campaign but being really underwhelmed with it. I think I’ll probably go towards Red Skull for starters, though, as I have a lot of Avengers heroes that I want to try out still. It doesn’t feel right yet to move on to the mutants…

Marvel does seem to have been on the radar a lot more of late, though, as I’ve finally started to chronicle my thoughts on the Phase 4 stuff we were watching back in the autumn. I think of myself very much as a casual Marvel fan – I’m more likely to froth at the mouth where Star Wars is concerned, than any inconsistencies in the MCU. Yet another reason why my sudden all-out acquisition of the Marvel Champions stuff is a bit mad. But it’s fun, and doesn’t take a lot of concentration to watch this stuff, so I can have it on while building or painting miniatures, or whatever. I’ve got some more catching up to do, though, before I can get to the end of this Phase, so there’s more to come in the new year, hopefully before Phase 5 kicks off in February with the next Ant Man film.

I mentioned Star Wars just now, and I did spend a decent chunk of the month reading the recently published Shadow of the Sith, which was very good! The sequel trilogy has been maligned, much like the prequel trilogy was back in the early 2000s, so I’m personally looking forward to 2035 (or so) when I expect the fans to start enjoying it in favour of whatever other new thing is currently causing the gnashing of teeth and rending of garments. For me, the sequels aren’t great, but it’s what we have so I’m trying to find the positives. Books like this one help to tie in the new landscape that Disney has blasted into being, so I’m glad that some effort is being made to actually give a backstory to the films. It’s a difficult position to take, but I’ve come to peace with the fact the movies exist, no matter how disappointed I am with the decision to sweep away the old EU.

On an unrelated note, I need to get my act together and finish watching Andor! I’ve watched the first six episodes, but it just dropped off my radar and I’ve not had the inclination to get back to it! Shameful.

At any rate, I’m currently reading The Wraithbone Phoenix, the latest book in the Warhammer Crime series. I started it on Christmas Eve, as an early Christmas present, but I have to say, it’s been a bit of a slog up to now. I think I’m around halfway through, so it shouldn’t be too long before I come back here with some more thoughts. It’s a bit of a shame, though, as I really loved the first book in the imprint.

Speaking of shame, let’s talk about my hobby projects from the month! I’ve really put this whole thing on the back burner, it seems, which is a bit sad really as I had high hopes for another hobby-ful festive period! I have completed the five sword-and-board Lychguard that I had begun to work on back when I moved house, more than three years ago. Considering Lychguard are my favourite Necron models, I’ve actually had some real trouble with these guys, and the warscythe group too, but I’ve finally put those to rest now.

Drukhari have been sneaking into the painting queue for quite a few months now, and I’m so glad to get these three finished as the models were just horrible to paint. Part of that is probably down to my prep of them, but a big part is just the poor finecast material. Again, I’ve had these hanging around for years (at least two of them were built before I moved), so it’s been good to reach into that backlog and just get stuff done. I had planned to get five Wracks finished, then get to work on some more Wych Cult stuff before the year end – Hellions, and another Venom. Well, suffice it to say that the Wracks are close, but not yet finished, so… yeah…

Interestingly, I haven’t done any work on the Grey Knights this year. I often think of them as “my Christmas army” and definitely enjoyed playing games with them this time last year, but they’ve kinda passed me by this year. However, I think there have been a couple of things going on that have perhaps been at work here. First off, I have definitely been playing more other games this year, and have been enjoying a far wider selection of things than I have in years gone by, which has potentially taken time away that would otherwise have been put into painting miniatures. I’ve also just felt like the days have gone by too quickly to really accomplish much of anything!! But also, both of my regular gaming buddies have moved slightly away from 40k, JP towards Middle Earth and James into Age of Sigmar. So my 40k outlets have diminished a bit, though neither of them refuses to play of course (I think both have had significant 40k projects from Santa, too, so they’re not going anywhere!) But it’s been five months since my last game of 40k, and I think it’s beginning to show on me…

I’m sure when I come to think of my 2023 hobby goals, however, I’ll be fired up to get stuff done once again!!


That’s December, so how has 2022 been, overall? I’m a word: odd. My WordPress stats tell me I’ve made 181 posts this year, which is quite good (I posted every day in May, which probably helped!) and my views are up 30% on last year. How wonderful! I know it’s easy to say, but I really do this for the hell of it, and not for the views – if you do read my drivel, I thank you! It’s not like this blog is any kind of revenue stream though, so the views don’t really come into play, I just post stuff regardless! (If you’re interested, my most-viewed post of all time is about Tau support systems, which dates back to 2018. Even all these years later, it keeps getting looked at!)

I touched on this earlier, but I seem to have had a bit of a balance-shift away from the hobby treadmill and instead I’ve moved back to more regular board and card games. Of all the games that I’ve played this year, the living card games have come out on top once again, probably because co-op, solo play is the easiest to effect, and I don’t need to arrange anything in advance.

In all fairness, it has been quite a productive year for me. I think I have benefited from the fact that the kids are just a little bit older now, and even though at 3 and 18 months they can be demanding, we’re in that sort of routine with them both where we can actually get stuff done. I’ve been able to play a lot of games, get a lot of painting done, and I’ve read quite a few books over the course of the year, so I’m quite pleased with that!

According to the stats on boardgamegeek, I’ve played 106 games this year, which doesn’t really seem a lot, I know. Almost nine a month? Hm. There are some very interesting titles among those games, of course, such as getting in a game of Warhammer Underworlds, trying out the Ghostbusters game, I even got to play Rune Age and Runebound once again! 2022 has definitely been a year or rediscovery for me, of breaking the run of games going unplayed. Looking ahead, I’m planning to initiate a bit of a plan to get more games played, but not something that relies on me playing three or four campaigns of Arkham Horror LCG to bump the numbers up!! It does irk me a little when I look at my games, and how much a lot of them have cost, but how many of them are going unplayed. I’m therefore not trying to set out some kind of stringent plan that must be adhered to, but instead I want to come up with something, a bit like the hobby goals blog that you’re all doubtless looking forward to reading tomorrow, that will focus the mind so that I can just make sure I do get to enjoy all of these games that I’ve bought!

Reading
My major project for 2022 was the Summer of Star Wars, where I re-read the prequel era stuff. There were a couple of things that I had never read before, but by and large I was reading stuff that I was fairly-to-very familiar with. I think it was a little over 5 months, in total, to read from Darth Plagueis all the way through to Dark Lord: The Rise of Darth Vader, and while it was a lot of fun to read some of these things that I hadn’t read for ages I think I went a bit overboard at times, and was reading a lot of stuff for the sake of it, etc. Normally, when I would re-read the prequel stuff, I had formed “my version” of the continuity, leaving out the boring stuff, and just sticking with the good stuff (like Cloak of Deception – yes, it’s an amazing book!)

I’d started the year with the new Thrawn: Ascendancy trilogy, which was a pretty good series if truth be told. I think reading it back-to-back like that was a good benefit, as otherwise I suppose it might have lost something. I had been surprised at how un-Star Wars the trilogy felt, and yet it remained great! I’ve also pretty much finished the year with Star Wars as well, reading Shadow of the Sith and being pretty impressed, I have to say! The sequel era is still like some kind of weird wasteland though, and I definitely want to have more of the timeline filled out there – more info on what is going on between the trilogies, especially. Mystery is good and all, but when it isn’t paid off, there’s just no point!!

In addition to all the Star Wars stuff, I’ve made a return to the Horus Heresy, and have made a start with reading The Witcher books with my fellow bloggers Jenn, Dave and Milou. We’re poised to start on book four in the new year, so it’ll be interesting to see where the series goes as I have no prior knowledge for what to expect, having never really been into the gaming side of it all.

Gaming
This year has been pretty spectacular in many respects. In addition to the usual stuff, 40k and Lord of the Rings, Arkham Horror LCG etc, which have made regular appearances for the last few years, I’ve really rediscovered loads of games, bringing a lot of old favourites back to the table such as Runebound, A Touch of Evil, Eldritch Horror and even the Star Wars LCG!

The game that has stood out for me by far is Marvel Champions, which was a fairly late discovery as I only started to play with it in August. It has proven to be really easy and really enjoyable to play though, and I’m surprised I hadn’t looked into it sooner. Over the latter half of the year, especially Christmas time, I’ve picked up almost the whole line for the game, with just a few odd packs still on the shopping list. By virtue of it being a quick game that is fairly self-contained, it is up there as one of the games that I have played the most this year.

Vying for the top spot of Most Played Game of 2022 is Arkham Horror LCG, which has seen a lot of table time by virtue of having played through three whole campaigns, plus part of a fourth, as well as giving some of the stand-alone scenarios a try. I talked about this recently, but I would like to play some of the early campaigns again, so have started to think about who I would like to take with me through Dunwich or Carcosa again – I have played Dunwich twice already, so I think I might try Carcosa again. And given the fact that I really like it when Arkham Horror takes place in Arkham, I think I might go for The Circle Undone once more as well. I’m planning to pick up The Silver Keys in due course as well, though, so I’m sure that will appear on the radar. 

I am planning to try to get much more regular gaming in throughout 2023 though – getting to play with some of those big-box classics has really made me want to play more, if for no other reason than to try and get my money’s worth from them! I have a lot of games, and they aren’t exactly cheap either, so it would be great if I could actually play more with them. I’m not really into discovering new games these days, as I know a lot of tabletop gamers can be, so I’ll have a blog about my plans for the coming year coming up early on in January!

Painting
Ah yes, the dreaded Hobby Progress 2022 update! Let’s remind ourselves, shall we, of the goals that I’d set at the start of the year…

  1. Paint more terrain
  2. Adepta Sororitas – paint more models
  3. Build & paint the Ossiarch Bonereapers units I have
  4. Continue to paint Genestealer Cults
  5. Paint up those Tyranids that have been primed
  6. Try to sort out the other armies!
  7. Start painting a new Tau army

Well, in going over those points, I was struck by how much I actually have done towards these goals. It’s not like I’m going to get some kind of bar chart out, but I think I have done a fair bit within every point to say that it has been a success, this year!

To start with, I have painted more terrain. I spent almost two-thirds of the year painting up the Galvanic Magnavent, but it’s finally finished, so that’s the second big piece of terrain that I can firmly tick off the list. To add to this, I’ve also finished off the Thermic Plasma Conduits, and the first Haemotrope Reactor. In addition, I’ve also painted up the entire box of Ash Wastes terrain for Necromunda! So I’m quite pleased with the first point there, getting a number of kits finished.

The Adepta Sororitas were something of a bete-noir for me for a long time, as I had gone through so many different ideas for colour schemes for them. After setting myself the goal this year of painting them once more, I floundered for a long time, and I think around Easter I did consider just off-loading the whole lot, as it just didn’t seem like it was going to happen for me. But then, during the Wimbledon final, I stripped the paint off those models that I had tried a few schemes on and, in very short order I was able to get the squad of ten finished. Since then, it’s kinda snowballed for me, and I’ve been able to get a good chunk of models painted up! I’m very pleased with this one, and would go as far as to say it’s been my biggest success of the year! 

As far as the Bonereapers are concerned, however, I have built up five cavalry models, and primed them. And that’s where it ends… Genestealer Cults have had the Nexos painted, which I know is just one model, but still! I do have quite a few models left to paint here, and I would like to try to get back to these guys at some point. Tyranids were a bit of a surprise, as they’re an army that’s always in the back of my mind, but I never seem to make any effort with them. However, this year I did get two carnifexes finished, which was a real delight – horrible models to assemble, but they look great when they’re finished!

In terms of my other armies, I have done some work to thin the ranks, getting the Blood Angels sold off. I still have my Deathwatch and Tempestus Scions, which I’ve just not been able to part with as I love the models so much, but we’ll have to see on that front. I have a good amount of AdMech to keep as a single army, so I might get round to finishing off painting some of those models at some point. I have actually spent a good chunk of the year painting up Drukhari, getting my Wych Cult models off to a better start, as well as that Raider, then the Grotesques and Wracks most recently. In terms of my Necrons, I have finished off the Lychguard and Tomb Blades, which have been projects in varying stages of half-completion for years, and I have done some more work on the Immortals to make their weapons look nicer. Chaos Marines have had some love too, with the Sorcerer and my first ten-man squad being completed. To top it all off, I’ve been able to paint two of the Kill Teams from the big boxes, as well. So within the catch-all heading of “other stuff”, it’s been pretty good!

Finally, my Tau army. It all started so well, but I think maybe I had been too blinkered in just painting Tau for the first few months of the year, and so I grew a bit listless and stuff. It’s a very exciting project for me, though, and I have recently begun to think once again about getting the brushes out for these guys. I think it’s a better idea to take more of a measured approach this time, though, and not just go all-in but try to keep things mixed-up for variety. Maybe a couple of Tau things, a couple of Sisters, some Drukhari or Necrons, maybe even some Genestealers, and see where we get to. But I have painted up a fairly decent amount of stuff over those first few months, so I think it’ll be nice to add to that once again.

All in all, then, I’m quite pleased with my progress during 2022. I’ve been totting up the bought vs painted figures, and in terms of boxes painted, the painted far outweighs the bought (14 bought and 37 painted), but in terms of the models, if we assume the distribution for some stuff like Kill Team boxes, I’ve actually bought 178 models, and painted 179! So that’s very interesting indeed!

This is all getting very wordy now, though, so I think I will stop rambling now. Have a wonderful new year, everybody, and stay tuned for more rambles in 2023! You know you love it!

Merry Christmas!

Whether you’re celebrating Christmas or just enjoying a quiet Sunday, I hope you find folks are having a great day!

It’s true, I’m obsessed with Marvel Champions! I’d sort of opened Sinister Motives towards the end of last week, but I’ve got a lot of sleeving to do for all these new cards! My 18-month old was particularly taken with Red Skull, which I found hilarious (and promising for future gaming!)

I know I haven’t yet built up all the Necromunda stuff from last year’s haul yet, either, but after I’d gotten into the Ash Wastes, I knew I wanted the Squat gang as well. Hopefully 2023 will see much more Necromunda played than the solitary game of 2022 (though I guess we still have a week to right that wrong!) Stay tuned!!

I knew I wouldn’t actually finish this book in one night, but I’ve barely started in the end! I’ve been gifted this flu that seems to be doing the rounds, so have had a couple of rubbish nights now. Fingers crossed this passes quickly, anyway!

Whatever you’re up to today, I hope that it’s fabulous!!

Horus Heresy: Pharos

I’m getting there… book 34 in the Horus Heresy series is done with now. Just 20 more to go!

While he has written a few short stories set during the Heresy, this is Guy Haley’s first full-length novel in the series. As we could have expected from his short story A Safe and Shadowed Place, the book pits the Ultramarines against the Night Lords under the command of Krukesh the Pale, and his subordinate Gendor Skraivok. The Night Lords have observed the regular energy pulses from the Pharos on Sotha, and understand it to be of value to the XIII Legion, so in turn decide to take it. Especially when they realise that it is intentionally guarded by a token force to hide its importance.

We’re never really told what the Pharos is, perhaps because neither the Ultramarines nor the Iron Warriors war smith who is helping them really know, either. It is strongly implied to be of Necron origin, however, with the inner construction seemingly of Blackstone.

There are many battles between the Night Lords and the Ultramarines as the war for control of the Pharos sees Krukesh take possession of it, only to finally be thwarted by war smith Dantioch, who overloads the system when Krukesh is attempting to beam himself aboard the VIII Legion flagship Nightfall to take control of the wider Legion. However, the massive energy surge has far-ranging consequences when it is felt by none other than a Tyranid hive fleet…

I really wanted to like this book. I thought it would be great to see what Guy Haley can do in this time period, as he has written some of my favourite Warhammer novels over the years. However, it felt quite a bit like there was a bit of a brief that he was writing to, which in turn led to some stuff being here for the sake of it.

At its core, the book is a Night Lords vs Ultramarines story, but being set in Imperium Secundus, we have several scenes that also include Sanguinius as they attempt to further that storyline, but nothing really comes from it, and it almost feels like filler when you consider the gap between The Unremembered Empire and this one. It’s been over two years since I read that book, as well, which has compounded the problem!

We also have many scenes of gratuitous torture and violence, which is of course the way that the Night Lords wage their war. I’m not trying to be squeamish or anything, but it did get a bit too much at times – I wasn’t actually sure if it was meant to be almost a parody, but it really was all too much. The character of Skraivok actually muses on this in the second half of the novel, as he reflects on how the Legion used to use their terror tactics to win, rather than just for the sake of it. It’s interesting to me, though, because of all the Space Marines Legions, the VIII are perhaps the most bizarre. Unlike many of their traitor brethren, who fell to Chaos to gain power, the Night Lords are said to have always been like this, and the Heresy merely allowed them to shrug off that veneer of respectability. It’s almost like they never fell to Chaos, they just stopped pretending to be real soldiers. Another layer on top of that, of course, is how Curze hates his own Legion, and abandons them almost the first chance he gets. All of this is interesting because it makes a pre-Heresy Night Lords Legion quite difficult to imagine, in many ways.

However, in the short stories by ADB such as Prince of Crows, the Legion has sparked my interest. Here, they seem to fall into the trap of generic renegade chaos marines, without much to make them stand out.

Another part of that “by the numbers” plotting is Roboute Guilliman, sadly. He also feels like he was included simply because the story takes place within the borders of Ultramar, and he doesn’t really do much to excite me. Guilliman in Know No Fear is an awesome entity in the very real sense of that word, but here he kinda gets on my nerves. Maybe because nobody has managed to write him as well as Dan Abnett did.

The story of the Night Lords’ invasion of Sotha, with all of its gruesomeness, is actually pretty good. I wish we learnt more about the Pharos itself, although I think we may do so in Haley’s book on Belisarius Cawl. Some of the extraneous bits could perhaps have been left out, but I suppose they’re here to remind us that this is part of a series.

Things are definitely dragging on now, and I as much as I wanted to get a bit further before the year is out, I do kinda feel like I need a break before yet another anthology…