Warcry: Red Harvest (first look)

Hey everybody,
So I am a very lucky boy, it seems, and have been able to snag myself a copy of the new Warcry: Red Harvest set, which came out a couple of weeks ago and looks an absolute delight so far, I have to say! I’ve not been able to get a game with it yet, because much like the original core set, there is just so much stuff in there to build, but I thought I’d come along here for something of a first look, and general geek-out over the new plastic!

And what new plastic it is. We get two honking big Chaos-infused industrial machines, two substantial, multi-storey platforms, a whole bunch of sluices to create all manner of layouts, and the barricades from the original Warcry set.

This stuff does look really nice, and I think it was certainly the thing that initially attracted me to the set. It’s the sort of thing that just really captures my imagination, and I know I’m definitely a sucker for these sorts of releases, but it definitely excites me for these types of games!

The story of this box is the pursuit of varanite, a type of realmstone particularly attuned to the power of Chaos, with which warbands can become super powerful. Enter the two forces clashing in this set, the Darkoath Savagers and the Tarantulos Brood. It’s always great to get more Darkoath models, as it brings me closer and closer to that dream of reworked Chaos Marauders. There are a total of ten Savagers in the box, which makes them one of the biggest Warcry specific warbands, I think? At first, I did think they might just be a close repeat of the Spire Tyrants, who were almost the generic Chaos Marauder style band, but these do have a very nice aesthetic that is noticeably different to the other band, not just with a different paintscheme.

The Tarantulous Brood is unlike anything we’ve seen before, a Chaos cult devoted to Chaos Undivided in the guise of an eight-legged spider. They are specifically seeking varanite to enact foul mutations, bringing them closer to eight-limbed perfection, and it is just utterly bizarre – I love it! I think they’re going to be the first warband to get my attention, when I finally get round to building these things up!

The new rules are particularly exciting, I feel. Of course, most of this is the basic Warcry stuff, but the new terrain comes with new rules for the Varanite Delve machinery – as the expansion is set in the cursed mine of Krath, there are rules for using the machinery against your foes, such as turning it on to flood any sluices with molten ore, or using the moving parts to crush foes who are dealt damage when next to the machinery. I really liked the look of this machinery when we first saw the set shown off, but with all of these additional rules it is really giving me Temple of Doom vibes, and I absolutely love it!

As ever, each warband has got two bespoke quests, each of which uses the new terrain, and we have a new type of quest, Branching Quests, which are aligned to each of the four grand alliances. These are really quite something, and remind me almost of a Choose Your Own Adventure style thing – after the first convergence, there is some fluff to read, and you’ll choose which path you want to follow, which will give you additional options to complete your quest, with spoils of war appropriate to the final choice you made.

It’s a very nice addition to the game. We also get the core rules, along with stuff about narrative campaign play (no open or matched play rules though, curiously). So it’s a strange one, especially if this is your first taste of Warcry as you’ll also need to get the core book. I do like the fact that GW has listened after the Catacombs thing, and we have battleplan cards for this box. That’s always a nice touch, even though it doesn’t look like we have the boxes for them this time? Unless I’ve not found them in my box, of course!

I do like the dice that have come in the box though – they are much more square than the rounded-corner dice from previous sets, so they land better!

In general, as a Warcry fan, I really like this set. I think it is glorious, unlike anything GW has put out previously with the mining terrain and the Chaos spider stuff. I’m really looking forward to having more toys in the toybox when it comes to this game, so it’s definitely time I started building this stuff!

On a somewhat-related note, I wonder if we’re getting a Tome of Champions 2021? With the Branching Quests for all four alliances in this book, I don’t really know what else we could expect to see in the annual round-up book. Of course, that’s probably why I don’t work as a game developer, and they could have all manner of good stuff up their sleeve, but I think I would have expected to have seen it by now, if it was indeed in the works? Didn’t the last one come out with Catacombs?

Well, anyway. Red Harvest is a very welcome addition to the line up. I’ll doubtless be coming back here in the coming weeks, as I build up some of this stuff – maybe even paint it! You never know…

Another Warhammer Preview!

It’s been quite an exciting preview this time around, hasn’t it? Not perhaps choc-full of surprises in some respects, but even so, it’s been really good to see what’s coming over the hill!

To start with, 40k has had the next couple of codexes shown off, Custodes and Genestealer Cults! They’re also getting a new battle box that is showing off a new character model apiece. The GSC Saboteur model is very nice, I must say – I’m not planning to get the box, but I will pick up that model when she’s released separately!

There’s just so much character there!

Age of Sigmar has had the next battletome shown off, the Maggotkin, and the next season of Warhammer Underworlds has got its next warband in the shape of a pirate ogre – including a pirate monkey with a knife!

I think it’s a really nice callback to the variety of Ogre Maneaters of the Old World. Similar to the other ogre warband that was just the one guy and a bunch of creatures, I guess that’s the template here. Interestingly, they have said this is the way forward now, kinda weird warbands that go a bit more into the corners of the mortal realms. Very intrigued as to what that could mean, I must say!

So, this wasn’t something I was expecting. I’m not an aficionado of Blood Bowl, though I have heard of Dungeon Bowl. It does kinda intrigue me how this works, playing American football in the dungeon? Not sure if I’d be intrigued enough to pick it up, though, because let’s be honest, there is rather a great deal of awesome stuff coming out right now, and my gaming budget is being hammered!!

Yes, that’s right – a new starter set for Warcry, and this one is so much more up my alley than the Catacombs set. I mean, dungeon battles are an interesting take for the game, but I think this looks much more like the sort of box that launched the game. I’m getting a lot of Temple of Doom vibes from the mining terrain – though many people have likened it to Goblin Town, too. There is some incredible looking terrain, and the warbands are a very nice inclusion – the spider guys are really quite original, and it’s lovely to have some more Darkoath warriors. A prelude to seeing the Chaos marauders getting a refresh? 🤔

It looks like it’s going to be a really good set, and I’m really looking forward to getting my hands on it!

Oh yeah, and there was this!

Now, I don’t collect these chaps, and I’ve moved away somewhat from the Heresy in terms of the game, but it’s always pretty nice to see these event-style miniatures. Very nice!

So there we are, another preview day! New Warcry is definitely exciting me the most, but I’m looking forward to getting my hands on the book for the Cultists.

Lizardmen!

Lizards! Lizards everywhere!

It’s that time again, when I start thinking about another army. Does this happen to anyone else? Just me? Hm, interesting. I’ve almost started a Lizardmen army before, as they’re one of those races from the Old World that really inspires me, though I think back when I was seriously thinking about it, I had that many projects on the go that it got a bit lost in the mire.

That was back in 2014, when I was first getting into the hobby and was a little bit all over the place as regards projects! Following on from the first attempt at building this army, I made a few purchases again a couple of years later. But that never really got off the ground, either! 2016 was a busy time after all.

I’m honestly not that sure why I got rid of these things though, they do take me back to my very early days with the hobby. Back then, it was the artwork from March of the Damned that started it all for me… That huge, calculating Slann on the front of that box – even now, it’s something that I really enjoy.

I can’t really say what it is about the Lizardmen that intrigues me so much. I know very little of their lore – or that of the Seraphon, as they’re now known, but I just like the slightly meso-American vibe they have with their jungle stepped pyramids and whatnot. I do like my fantasy in settings outside of medieval Europe, though.

I didn’t really get very far with the army back in 2014 or 2016 though – just a few skinks and the finecast models at the first attempt, then a single Saurus Knight later on. It’s like it was never meant to be!

From what I’ve heard, the lore of the Seraphon is quite bonkers, something to do with beings from the stars, and you can either play them as being star-stuff or “coalesced”, which gives you access to different rules in-game? I don’t know. Bonkers stuff, but I suppose I just need to get the battletome in my hands. That said, with 3rd edition and whatnot, I’m not sure if it’s going to be worthwhile picking up the book if there could be another one out at some point. There has been a rules update in the current White Dwarf, which I had tried to read through but couldn’t make much sense from. At least it’s allowed me to make a start getting to grips with the new lore, though!

So, what about the army plans?

Well, in short, I’m not sure yet. I’m planning to pick up the Start Collecting set soon, as I think that’s a nice mix of infantry, cavalry, and a big centrepiece model. I would like to get a slann, but I’m not entirely sure about HQ units just yet. As far as colour schemes go, while my first thought is invariably ‘go with the box art’, I’m considering either reds and yellows, or bright greens. Maybe some purple thrown in there as well. That’s one of the big attractions of the army, to me, the bright colours would be a nice change after some of the grim dark 40k stuff. Should be a nice change, I think, anyway!!

At any rate, I’m thinking 2022 might be the year of the lizards – much like 2021 was (for the first few months) the year of the skeletons!

Warcry DLC

Hey everybody,
Earlier in the week, the Warhammer Community website put out an article for Warcry, covering new rules for the miniatures released as part of the Dominion box set for Age of Sigmar. It was the last of these “Call of the Everchosen” articles, which has prompted me to look back at what they’ve actually covered in this series since it began in February. By my count, there have only been five, more’s the pity, but that’s a good number to allow for us to take a dive through and see what is on offer!

1. The Purge of Anvilgard

Relive the fall of Anvilgard in this free Warcry campaign – Warhammer Community (warhammer-community.com)

Stormcast Eternals vs the Blackscale Coil, a shadowy criminal enterprise in Anvilgard, around the events in Broken Realms: Morathi. There are a series of linked narrative battles where the Stormcast leader, Keiser Ven Brecht, is gathering clues on the activities of the criminals before the final showdown. The Blackscale Coil player musters different warbands throughout the campaign, finally playing with the Coil (made up from Dark Elf units, including a chariot and Hydra/Kharibdyss!) Ven Brecht is searching for clues, and will automatically lose the campaign if he fails to uncover 10 over the course of the linked battles. It’s a really cool concept, narratively, and I think it harkens back a lot to the anthology of short stories that I read a while back, where the cities of the Eightpoints are alive with criminal elements and not just bloodthirsty chaos cults vying for dominance – I know this particular campaign is set in Anvilgard, of course, but it’s very interesting to see how these types of stories can be told through the game system, and it’s not all just warbands fighting for the sake of it.

2. The Forlorn Hope

Bring the Lumineth to Warcry with Free Fighter Cards and a New Campaign – Warhammer Community (warhammer-community.com)

This is an interesting one, adding 21 Lumineth fighters to the roster, and gives us a narrative campaign of the Lumineth Realm-Lords vs Ossiarch Bonereapers. The campaign allows for the Lumineth to be led by the Light of Eltharion model, which is itself quite something, while the Bonereapers are able to use Mortisan Boneshapers, Soulmasons or Soulreapers, they can attempt to summon a Nightmare Predator. Much like the previous campaign, this one follows along the Broken Realms: Teclis book, and is fought over three games. The rules are much for flexible for the first two, but the third has a specific battleplan that brings none other than Arkhan the Black into the fray for the Bonereapers’ leader! A very cool aspect of this narrative campaign is the sense of travel given during the Aftermath sequence – the Lumineth player is trying to get to the Gates of Paradox to prevent the Bonereapers from enacting a ritual to corrupt this realmgate. During the Aftermath, the Lumineth player rolls a d6 and consults the relevant chart, adding 1 to the roll if they won the previous battle, and subtracting one if they lost; on a 1-3 they suffer a setback, and on a 4-6 they gain a reward. These tables have different effects depending on whether the warband “errs to the east” or “errs to the west”, which is a really nice idea that I like a great deal!

3. The Depths of Sylontum

Unleash the Soulblight Gravelords in Your Games of Warcry With These Free Fighter Cards – Warhammer Community (warhammer-community.com)

The Depths of Sylontum narrative campaign features Chaos Daemons vs Undead (Nighthaunt and/or Soulblight Gravelords), making for an excellent introduction to the new warband while also tying into the third Broken Realms instalment, Be’lakor. This is a 4-6 player campaign, where the players form a team to play each other individually (no grand melee). Each team gets to select tactics that determine deployment etc, before the final battle where the teams join together in grand melee style. The Agents of Be’lakor are trying to complete a ritual, represented by controlling objectives, while the Emerald Host of Lady Olynder is trying to stop them; at the end of each battle round, Chaos get D3 ritual points for each objective, but they subtract D3 points for each objective controlled by the Host. If Chaos get 10 ritual points, they win! It’s a very interesting game idea – I’ve not got a lot of experience with big multi-player games like this, but I can imagine there would be a lot of back-and-forth as there are only three objectives out on the table. It’s also a very interesting match-up, purely Daemons vs zombies and ghosts, I can imagine that would lead for some very interesting interactions.

4. A Fool’s Trove in Ulfenkarn

Hunt Treasure in the Cursed City With This Free 4-Player Warcry Campaign – Warhammer Community (warhammer-community.com)

Within the forsaken city of Ulfenkarn lies the Ven Silveren estate, and its lure of riches untold has led many to seek it out for plunder. Tying into the Warhammer Quest: Cursed City boxed game (that came and went in a heartbeat – but I’m not bitter), this narrative campaign features a strong theme of horror, with warbands unable to add reinforcements between battles, and potentially turned into zombies, meaning it is that much more brutal and grim! Rather than the team game that we saw in the Be’lakor tie-in, this is a free-for-all campaign where players are competing with each other to find the estate’s riches. To further the horror-story feeling, there is the Nightfall mechanic, which acts as the Twist for every game in the campaign. A d3 roll at the start of the game determines how many rounds of daylight are left, before night descends, and the Restless Undead come out – basically roving monsters like the chaotic beasts from the starter set. Another interesting mechanic happens during the Aftermath section, where you can choose to send out a fighter into the night, and roll on a d6 table to see what happens – maybe they’re slain, or perhaps they will be able to add to your progress? Progress determines the level of bonuses your warband will get during the final battle, where the warbands all converge on the crypt of Ven Silveren – entrances to which are denoted by objective markers, which are removed one by one at the end of each battle round, until the player controlling both the final objective marker and the key token wins! Sounds very atmospheric, I have to say!

5. War of the Morruk Hills

The Warriors From Dominion Arrive in Warcry With Free Fighter Cards and a New Campaign – Warhammer Community (warhammer-community.com)

The most recent campaign is based around the Dominion starter set for Age of Sigmar, and has a decidedly different feel to it than the others we’ve seen. It feels very much like a war, fittingly! One player controls the Thunderstrike Stormcast, while the other takes the Kruleboyz, and each side is led by three heroes, who each surround themselves with a warband of varying size. There are a number of locations being fought over, and each hero is sent with their warband to one of those locations. When the location of the battle is revealed, the warbands are then deployed, and battle is joined! There are either three or four battles in the campaign – once a player has one two battles, the final battle begins. In this battle, all of the leaders are involved in warbands of 1300 points, and the objective is to take out all of the enemy fighters. Quite straightforward, in all honesty, though there is the unique mechanic of Victory at All Costs, which you can declare once in the battle and gain two wild dice, which you must declare how they are to be used (and then receive no further wild dice for the game). There’s a definite pitched-battle feel, as opposed to the normal skirmish-feel of the game, but it’s quite nice to have that sort of thing as an option for the game, really!

Overall, there are some really good ideas here – as well as some great expansions for warbands such as the Lumineth and the Soulblight. It’s an interesting take on narrative campaigns, to have them so prescribed and such. The Tome of Champions 2020 has the excellent narrative campaign that is based on the silent city of Soroth Kor, though obviously any warband can take part there. So I suppose a lot of people who play Warcry may not be set up to use this content – but perhaps GW are treating these campaigns as a way to lure AoS players into the Warcry camp?

Of course, it’s usually the other way round, and I think the Anvilgard campaign is a case in point, where you can use the Start Collecting contents for the Blackscale Coil warband. But I suppose it goes both ways, as the Soulblight, Lumineth and Dominion campaigns are all designed to let existing AoS players use their minis in Warcry. Hm.

It’s a shame about the way that Cursed City was handled, because the campaign using that game’s contents is pretty good, I feel! The nightfall mechanic is very interesting, and lends a definite air of dread to the game – if only the board game hadn’t disappeared so quickly, it would have been a perfect excuse, as a Warcry player already, to pick it up! I retain some level of hope that they’re planning to re-try when the world has returned to normal, though as some people have speculated already, some of those Soulblight characters do look very much like the sort of thing that you’d expect to see in an expansion, like the Ambull or Zoat expansions for Blackstone Fortress. Perhaps the design studio is already hard at work picking another locale for the next iteration of WHQ though, and we’ll see something in a couple more years.

Before I finish rambling though, I thought it might be interesting to speculate on what’s next for the game, given the little tease in the Dominion article about the “exciting things in store” for the game. Looking at how things have been shown with the new Kill Team, and the focus on warzones and seasons of the game, with the promise of bespoke teams and the like, I think we could see a move away from the purely Chaos-driven theme and blow it up to include more AoS factions. In a similar manner to how the Dominion narrative campaign had the feel of a small scale war, rather than the skirmishes between rag-tag warbands, I think we could be seeing this as the next stage. I’m not entirely sure how I feel about that, because the appeal, to me, of this game has been in the fact that it’s almost purely Chaos vs Chaos, with the other warbands very much bolt-ons to the existing game system. Going forward, I think we could expect to see seasons of the game, with a couple of warbands specific for this game, though from any faction in the Realms, and maybe a campaign book or something that deals with the background and stuff, a bit like Soroth Kor in TOC20.

I could be entirely wrong, of course, and a big part of me does hope so! Catacombs was something that I had not expected, so it could also be the case here! I guess we’ll have to just wait and see what GW has to offer us next!

Musings on Warcry

I’m really into Warcry right now. I think the fast-paced gameplay is a real big factor, because time is definitely at a premium for me at the minute. Having a game that can be played during a lunch break is a huge draw, and it helps that the whole thing is actually really enjoyable, of course! GW models are mostly amazing, after all, so the whole thing is quite a feast for the visual senses, and with that fantastic scenery you can get some incredible cinematic moments. Of course, it would help if I’d actually got round to painting mine up!

I’m very slow at painting, not helped by the fact I’m definitely a hobby butterfly, but also of course I don’t have time for much of anything right now! I’ve managed to grab a couple of moments – possibly an hour and a half in total, spread across a few days – where I’ve been able to do some painting as well, so I’ve been really excitably working on The Unmade, who have always performed pretty well amazing in my games of Warcry, so definitely deserve to have some love. They’re so weird, and that Blissful One is possibly the most disturbing model GW has ever produced, but I love just how disturbing they are. I’m still very much early days with them all, but I think things are coming together now, and once the basing has been done, I think I’ll likely be daubing liberal amounts of blood all over the place.

For a while now, I’ve had just the four warbands built – Iron Golem, Untamed Beasts, Cypher Lords, and Unmade – with only two of those in varying stages of painted. While I really don’t want to go off the deep end with having so much stuff, I also feel a bit like I want some more variety, and have been thinking about building up some more minis, as time allows. I have all of the Warcry warbands, and for a while have been considering either the Corvus Cabal or the Spire Tyrants, just for a bit of variety in games. However, after playing two games recently where the minis have been primed black, I realise how drab that can make the game feel. It’s difficult to make out any level of detail, and so you feel very much like you’re playing with a lump of plastic – it’s like the Chaos Black spray sucks all definition out from a distance! The Iron Golem look like they should be very nice to paint, too, so I’m thinking I might give them my attention once I’m done with the freaky Unmade.

Of course, there is all this terrain, as well.

I have the Defiled Ruins terrain set as well, and I’d like to get cracking and build some of that so that I can try out different environments, but again, I’m very mindful of the fact that I have a ton of the stuff from the original core set to get a grip with! Then there’s the Catacombs box, which I suppose I could try out at some point because the terrain there is mainly doors and bridges, and I am quite curious about giving that a try. But I guess we’ll see. I need to rein myself in, generally, so for now I think I’ll plod on with painting the Unmade.

Playing Warcry, and painting the models, has naturally got me thinking more about the game in general, and I’m curious as to where this is headed. It’s obviously not meant to expand like Necromunda, where we have codex-like books for each gang. Though I suppose the case could be made that the Grand Alliance books effectively are the House Of equivalents). With the advent of a new gang for Necromunda, though, I do wonder if we’ll get more new Warcry warbands, as I feel that would be a natural way to go.

For a while now, I’ve been wondering how it could look if we had a warband that is properly dedicated to each of the Chaos gods. I know we have the AOS stuff to use for this, of course, but I would really like to have a proper, bespoke band that maybe comprises a couple of cultists, a wizard (or priest, for Khorne), and a daemon. I think it could be interesting, seeing as how the original bands were all pretty much Chaos Undivided, fighting for the attention of Archaon. Getting God-specific, Warcry-specific warbands could be an interesting way to take things?

I think it would be good, as well, to have a sort of narrative book, a bit like how Tome of Champions 2020 focused on the narrative with Soroth Kor and built up a real sense of the locale etc. Incidentally, Tome of Champions 2020 has got some really good stuff in it, I’m just gearing myself up for a proper look through that sometime soon.

Maybe we can see this kind of thing really expanded upon? New terrain, maybe a new warband, and a new narrative campaign focus? A bit like the 40k campaign books, with lots of fluff in there, and then new narrative rules that would support the wider release? I don’t know – I’m sure, whatever I do think might happen, we’ll have something totally different!

Of course, all of this useless speculation assumes Warcry should have the kind of aggressive release schedule as Necromunda. The initial box was released in summer 2019, with a small flurry of expansions to give us the new warbands and terrain, with Catacombs released at the end of 2020 with the grand alliance books, although it is believed that the pandemic had pushed that back from the summer. Can we expect anything more in 2021? It seems that we’re all about Kill Team right now, with a rumoured new Horus Heresy box set due in the November slot for the year, which makes me think we don’t have anything big coming out this year. I’d hope for a Tome of Champions of course, as those books are pretty great. I think we’ve had a few Warcry features in White Dwarf now, which might be good to have collected into an Annual of sorts.

I suppose it doesn’t need a slew of releases all the time, though. It would definitely be good to have more Warcry, just because the game has brought us so many incredible miniatures as it explores such a unique aspect of the Mortal Realms. I really hope GW don’t just let this one slide.

New Army update four

Hey everybody,
Today is the day of the long-awaited fourth new army update! While this has pretty much been covered in both my April and May retrospective blogs, I thought I’d keep the tradition going and provide a proper update for the force, mainly so that I can share some fancy pictures!

Since the last update, I’ve painted up the three Endless Spells for the Ossiarch Bonereapers, as well as some more hero models. Vokmortian and the Mortisan Soulreaper are both wizards, something my army was otherwise lacking (considering I’d painted up the spells with only the Mortisan Boneshaper to cast them all).

I really enjoy the Vokmortian mini. He was the original Bonereapers character, of course, coming out in Feast of Bones back in the day, and under the current rules, he has that spell that can outright kill a model. His miniature design is also pretty bonkers, a skeleton clerk holding out a contract and wearing a tombstone strapped to his back. I mean, what’s not to love?! I can probably make him look a lot better, particularly in terms of his staff, but I think I principally wanted to concentrate on getting the model finished.

That’s been a theme across pretty much the whole army, though, I suppose – having a colour scheme that is quick to replicate across all the models, to get them tabletop ready, and then I can come back in as time allows to properly finish off odd details when necessary.

The Mortisan Soulreaper was an interesting model to paint, because of the ghostly stuff going on around that massive scythe he’s got. Again, there’s really nothing new on this model that I haven’t painted before, the ghostly bits being similar to the hafts of the Immortis Guard weapons. I’m quite pleased about the way I’ve been able to get the screaming ghost blending in with the scythe blade.

The main boy in this procession of heroes is Arch-Kavalos Zandtos, who is a named character for the Mortis Praetorians that I’ve painted in the colour scheme of the Petrifex Elite. But I suppose my use for him is as a Liege-Kavalos. I built this model up in its entirety to start with, which didn’t feel like it would be a problem until it came to painting and discovered that it was more difficult than I’d anticipated! The shield is connected to the arm and harness, meaning it can’t really be left off to paint, so led to some issues, but I think I managed to pull it back and get him looking reasonably fancy! I decided to paint the weapon as metallic rather than the usual scheme I’ve been using for the nadirite weaponry, but on reflection I’m thinking I might change it – it’s called the Dark Lance, after all!

I’m trying not to get too much into the rules now that AOS 3 is on the horizon, but Zandtos has some very nice abilities, allowing for re-rolls of wound rolls and the like, plus dishing our mortal wounds to nearby enemies when he finishes a charge, as well as a command ability that adds 1 to the attacks of a unit within 12”. The Liege-Kavalos has these last two abilities as well, and clocks in at 20 points cheaper. What’s 20 points, I hear you cry? Well, it’s the difference between a stock named character and a generic character that you can give additional relics and command abilities to, allowing you to tailor your approach. 20 points is also the cost of the Soulstealer Carrion, the massive bird endless spell.

So this is where I’m up to, anyway! 1380 points (if I’m taking the mounted hero as Arch-Kavalos Zandtos), and I’m very pleased with my efforts to date!

I still have a few models to get moving on, specifically those Kavalos Deathriders, as I’d like to get a mounted contingent started for the army, and give Zandtos some friends! The catapult is an absolutely stunning model, as I’ve said previously, but I’m still a bit wary of it for the time being! One of my principal concerns is that I don’t actually have a proper storage solution for the army sorted yet – so they’re all pretty much stood up in a storage box, which is already full!

Longer term, I’m going to get myself another 20 Mortek Guard, and bulk out both of the squads that I’ve already got going on. Of course, with everything about to be going on in my life, I’m not in any rush, so can probably afford to wait and see if we do get a Start Collecting box when the new battletome comes out!

It’s probably incumbent upon me to mention the faction focus that came out the other day, looking at how Ossiarch Bonereapers are going to play in the new edition. I have to admit, I didn’t really take anything away from it as I’ve not been following the news with gusto, so aside from the fact Nagash is a powerhouse of Arcane Bolts now, the biggest thing for me was the fact that the Gothizzar Harvester counts as more than one model for holding objectives, because it’s a monster. Excellent!

The facebook group seemed to be going crazy about how the Bonereapers are now nerfed into the ground, though, because of the way command abilities work. The army still collects Relentless Discipline points, which are used for using command abilities as normal. I hear things about not being able to use more than one command ability per phase though, but I don’t know if (a) RD points work around that, as we don’t appear to have seen the whole rule yet, or (b) if I’d even find myself trying to use multiple command abilities per phase? It has been on my mind to properly sit down and work out the kind of battle plan I’d like to affect, but now that the game is in flux I don’t really see the need anymore!

Things do seem a little bit up in the air at the moment, but hopefully when the time comes for me to look again at this army, we’ll have a new book and know more about any potential new units coming out – Mortek Archers, I want you!

May retrospective

Hey everybody,
Well this has soon come round again, hasn’t it? Doesn’t seem like five minutes since the last retrospective blog, does it now?! I’ve not actually been posting all that much on here throughout May, unfortunately, and I doubt that June will be very busy at all, given that we’re eagerly awaiting the birth of baby number two, but I hope that I’ll be able to do something. At any rate – it’s not the time to look forward right now, it’s time to look back!

May has seen the temporary culmination of my Ossiarch Bonereapers army, with three heroes joining the ranks of the rest of the models that I’ve painted up for the army. Arch-Kavalos Zandtos, Vokmortian, and the Mortisan Soulreaper have been a nice way to finish things off, I think!

I’ve got somewhere in the realm of 1400 points painted up now, which is very exciting, though I do think I need to get more basic troops done before I can call this army done. I’m hoping that the new edition of Age of Sigmar will bring us some more models, as I’d really like to get a unit of those archers, if nothing else!

So the start of the month was almost consumed with Age of Sigmar and getting the Bonereapers into shape. I’ve also got some more games of Warhammer Underworlds in, which has been really nice, including with the original Shadespire set.

It’s been really nice getting to play the game, and I’m hoping that I can pick up some of the Direchasm expansions when the world returns to normal and they’re actually available to buy again… fingers crossed!

It’s not all about the Mortal Realms, though, as I’ve also made a return to the grim darkness of the far future. Specifically, with the Sisters!

Sisters of Battle

It’s been far too long, of course, but I’m really glad to have finally made an effort with these ladies. I’ve gone for a custom scheme, though intend to play them as Order of the Sacred Rose – I’ve written at length on my plans for the army, here and here, so please do check those blogs out!

I very nearly had a game of 40k the other week, though my buddy JP had a drunken night and figuring out the rules for a system we’ve barely played was not to be! I’ve got a game of Necromunda lined up with James next weekend, which should be good because I’ve only ever played it solo up to now! So gaming is slowly coming back on the radar, even if it will be curtailed while I look after a newborn again!


Jemma and I have started to watch the MCU again, working our way through Phase One during May. There’s probably a lot more to talk about with these things, although at the same time I feel like there isn’t really a great deal that I can add that has already been said. Two Iron Man films, Thor, Captain America, and the Avengers movie. I do find origin films to get a bit same-y after a while, and this is very true of the MCU, where you get to feel like they’re just giving us yet another superhero who comes into his or her power (actually, I guess they’re just male) and fights the bad guys, gets beaten down, comes back stronger and saves the day.

There is a definite élan to the first Iron Man, which updates the action from Communist China to Afghanistan during the War on Terror superbly well. Indeed, that’s one of the great things we see during the series as a whole, the way that they’re updated and made relevant, almost. For sure, they all exist as pure escapism, and they’re all just great adventures that you can sit back and bask in the effects without needing to really think. But I do find it quite fun to watch the development of Iron Man, the one that started it all.

The Avengers is also an amazing film for the fact it managed to pull together so many A-list stars and not feel like it favoured one too heavily. It was nice that we’d been having hints and shadows of SHIELD since the very beginning, but that film very definitely exists in a SHIELD world. It’s almost ten years old, and I still can’t quite believe they managed to pull it off!

Phase One has got some great stuff in there, though. I think it’s possibly because of the fact that they’re starting off, and so all the big names are being established. Things are definitely getting more niche in some of the post-Infinity Saga stuff that we’re hearing about! There’s a lot to enjoy in this first act, I found myself in particular enjoying Captain America more than I remember, and Jemma was appreciative of Thor as a sort of classic fantasy movie merged with the conspiracy-theory stuff based here on Earth. Things definitely began to get unwieldy after this, although I do think Phase Two managed to keep a fairly decent lid on things until it all seemed to go nuts in Phase Three. But that’ll be for another blog!


Now then. I was up in the attic recently, trying to choose my next book, and I came across a stack of unsorted Magic cards, which seem to have been my last purchase from maybe 12-18 months ago? Feels like it might be longer, though I’m not 100% sure. Anyway, it brought back a lot of memories, and I have been doing a bit of tinkering with some things, in the hope that – as I said before – real-life gaming may well be on the cards once again.

They’re mostly from Ikoria, though some M20 in there as well. I need to get to grips with what I’ve missed since I was last interested in all this stuff. Was it War of the Spark, last time I paid attention? Can’t remember… It’s been a long time, anyway, though seeing these things, and flicking through them, and even the smell – it’s all triggering those fond memories, and it’s got me wanting to build decks again! Let’s hope that it won’t all be for nothing, though…

I think it’s a pretty safe bet that you can expect to see some more Magic blogs here, as I attempt to catch up with what I’ve missed!

Age of Sigmar: Dominion

The new box set has been previewed! This thing is choc-full of interesting goodies, featuring Stormcast vs a new breed of Orruks, the Kruleboyz. We’re firmly in the realm of beasts, and we have some swanky new Stormcast models, the first (I think) since Soul Wars updated the range a few years ago.

The new Stormcast look like they’re a tougher breed than the wizards we had last time, but this addition has got to be making their battletome really quite bloated. Interesting.

The new Stormcast do look nice, of course, and I really like this character, as I think I have mentioned before:

She looks utterly amazing, don’t you think?

However, these are what has got me most interested in the box. The Kruleboyz have got a cunning look about them, and seem much more intelligent than the regular greenskins. I’m intrigued because it’s always nice to see a new race involved in these games, and there is an element of world-building that will be interesting to explore.

The big hero miniature is quite something, for sure, and I love the dynamism of the pose, with his big battle cat leaping down off the ruin. The draping filth off these things is really evocative of the swamp, and these guys are just brimming with character!

The sorcerer chap looks particularly funky, with his sous-chef assistant there.

There is a very interesting mix of guys, although of course they all follow the established pattern of having some leaders, a heavy group of warriors and a larger mob of more runty chaps.

This doesn’t seem to be all that’s coming though, as we’ve seen previews for a few more units for each force, including a Stormcast chariot (like the olden days! Chariots for all!) and this for the Kruleboyz:

It’s a wonderful piece of artillery, though they’re also getting a very angry troll:

The Mirebrute Troggoth looks wonderful, and I can’t imagine being able to resist this dude when he is released into the wild!

However, I’m finding it very hard to get excited for this box, because of the paragraphs towards the end of the article. It’s up for pre-order in June, but it’s another of these “while stocks last” thing. I don’t understand it. I was able to pick up Soul Wars about six months after the launch, but this is the same language as Indomitus, and that box disappeared at a rate of knots. Given the way things have been with the big boxsets of late, as well, I really have no faith in the Dominion box being any different – it’ll be available for pre-order for maybe 20 minutes, and then it’ll disappear. Which will no doubt make for good reading for the shareholders, but is disappointing because the odds are it won’t be available for the people at whom it’s intended.

But lets not end this on a downer. The new Orruks look wonderful, and it’ll be interesting to see how third edition changes the game – and whether we’re in for any more new races!

Warhammer Fest 2021

Hey everybody,
Warhammer Fest 2021 has been and gone, and there have been some fairly mixed reviews on the internet overall, with a lot of people seemingly disappointed with the fact that the hyped 6 days of previews didn’t live up to expectations. While that is perhaps true, and the event didn’t really have the usual feel of these preview events as being ground-shaking, there’s still a lot to talk about here! So let’s get to it!

Warhammer 40,000
To start with, let’s talk 40k. Over the six days, there were two devoted specifically to 40k, the first seeing a collation of the various Adepta Sororitas previews that we’ve had over the past few weeks and months, plus a few extras of course. Looks like the warsuit thing is coming in a squad of three, and there will be the new Celestian squad with the maces and shields.

The weird thing about all of this is, we’re getting a High Lord of Terra! Weird, right? Well, I guess anything is possible.

It’s always exciting when an army gets new stuff though, isn’t it? So however weird these things are, let’s just enjoy the fact that the Sisters range didn’t just get a plastic overhaul back in 2019; they’re now being fully developed as a faction.

Sisters will be getting their Codex soon, and the next chapter in War Zone Charadon is on its way, and will come with rules for Be’lakor in the 41st millennium, which is pretty exciting, and it’ll be coming out alongside a terrain expansion that seems to have all of the Sector Mechanicus stuff that has been hard to find for quite some time now!

The second day for 40k reveals came on day five, and we’ve got more Orks coming, those squig-riding things and a couple of new characters.

In addition, there is going to be a reboxing of Cadian Shock Troopers to give them more diversity, more faces and the like.

Not a new kit, though, which everybody has been clamouring for for years. Ah well! But we have also seen this little teaser:

I must admit, I’ve been turning away from the light of the Emperor of late, and preparing to embrace the fact that I’m a xenos player through and through. However, now that we’re seeing some Grey Knights on the horizon, however distant that may be, I’m thinking I need to wait and see what’s coming before I do anything too hasty!

That wasn’t all for the 41st millennium though, as day three brought us a bit of a surprise (for me, at least!) – Gaunt’s Ghosts are getting new miniatures!

I did not expect this! There are another raft of novels on the way, including two more Warhammer Crime anthologies! I’m a little disappointed to find out that they’re anthologies – although one apparently had a novella in there – but it’s still very good to have more of this stuff! Grim Repast, “a Quillon Drask novel”, sounds like it should be good though. I just hope that we see Black Library make good on these books that are sold as “a (character) novel” and give us more of that same character in future books.

Boxed Games
Day four was all about boxed games, and we saw some upcoming stuff for Direchasm, Necromunda and Aeronautica Imperialis. The latter doesn’t really interest me, though I do think it’s kinda funny that it’s being marketed as the plastic thunderhawk that people have been asking for for years.

Necromunda previews consist of the House of Shadows, and the Delaque specialists. I am very excited about this particular release, as they really have become my preferred gang! The new models are just as weird as I’d hoped they’d be, with a couple of gribblies such as that weird flying brain thing. Definitely the sort of thing that I’d expected from Delaque!

For Direchasm, we’re getting the Idoneth Deepkin warband, though everyone has been going crazy for the crab mini!

Which brings us nicely on to…

Age of Sigmar
I’ve saved this until last because it was probably the biggest part of the week of previews – outside of the crab, of course. Day One saw the remaining previews of the Soulblight Gravelords miniatures, which look truly like the stuff of nightmares:

These models tie in quite strongly with Warhammer Quest: Cursed City, which is quite sad because that game has disappeared entirely in a whimper that wholly belies the ceremony and hype that had been lavished upon it prior to release! A lot of people – myself included – had hoped there would be some kind of official word on this game coming from one of the days, but despite hundreds of comments in the twitch chat asking about it, no mention has been made whatsoever. Shame.

The fourth Mortal Realms book has also been announced: Kragnos is a huge Beastman-type, and the book will be coming with all those cool new models that have been shown off, such as the flying Slaaneshi thing, the new Lord Kroak and more. Mortal Realms then draws a line underneath Age of Sigmar 2nd edition, as the Sixth and Final Day of previews has given us the big news (that so many people had already guessed) – third edition is on its way!

This model is just wonderful, and I won’t lie, it’s got me pondering starting a Stormcast army!

She’s a new type of Lord-Celestant, or something – I didn’t really watch the stream, although I caught bits of this one as I was putting my daughter to bed. The interesting thing, for me, is that the lore has the armies of Order finally reclaiming the lands lost to Chaos and creating outpost cities. I find this fascinating because it feels like we may actually be seeing something akin to the Old World, and the network of cities and whatnot. Of course, there’s still the potential for them to all have daft names, but even so!

The article makes mention of a new narrative play style, which I guess is Crusade from 40k by another name, so we can expect to get updated battletomes for all factions to include those new rules. So long as the Ossiarch Bonereapers get their Mortek Archers and the mace-wielding guys, I’ll be happy!

And that was it! Big news was Age of Sigmar v3, and we have supplemental ranges of Sisters and Orks to look forward to. I think everything else was decidedly of a lower rung of colossal really, though I’m trying not to follow the rest of the internet with complaining too much. New stuff is nice, for sure, but I think this time around, it was definitely over-hyped, and with having everything spread over six days, it meant that individually each live stream was a little disappointing. But we’ve got the promise of more previews to come in May, which may bring us further news of what’s coming – hopefully they won’t be quite so universally decried…

April retrospective

Hey everybody,
It’s the end of another month, and we’re already a third of the way through the year! After quite an eventful March, I feel as though my April doesn’t really measure up! Lots of real-world stuff going on, sadly, but as this blog is being published, I’m coming to the end of a very relaxing week away, which is hopefully going to help propel me to new heights in May! Well, we can but hope!

While perhaps not as much has happened in April, I think what I have been able to do has been pretty big! I want to start with Warhammer, because why not – indeed, most of this blog is probably going to be taken up with plastic crack! After a few years of having the game, I have finally made it round to trying out Warhammer Underworlds, and I think I’ve become obsessed…

In these coronavirus times, I’m still playing games with myself, so stuff like this and Warcry has suffered a bit, but nevertheless, I can say that I wholeheartedly love the idea and the playstyle and I cannot wait to play against a real person! The only warband that I have painted is still the Thorns of the Briar Queen from the Nightvault set, though I have recently made efforts to get the Godsworn Hunt warband painted as well, having made a start back when Contrasts were new and all. Very small progress, but progress nonetheless.

I definitely think I’m obsessed, though!

I’ve also been making some very decent progress with the Ossiarch Bonereapers! In my latest New Army Update blog, I showed off some Immortis Guard, as well as the plans for the Endless Spells and Arch-Kavalos Zandtos. Well, the Spells are finished, and while everything is just done to tabletop standard, I do like how these things have turned out! I must say, I struggled with each one to think of a good colour scheme for them – I wanted something different to the ghostly-green of the box art, but I never knew what! In the end, I went for ghostly-blue, in the main,as a nod to the Mortisan Boneshaper.

The army is definitely coming along, though. I’m trying to not get too distracted with Underworlds and other projects, so that it won’t be too long before I’ll have a fourth update blog with yet more finished miniatures! Although it is exciting to think that I’m only one model away from having that 1000-point list fully painted!

Of course, the Ossiarch Bonereapers are due for their own Underworlds warband to come out soon, talk about worlds colliding! So that’s definitely something to look forward to.

While we’re talking about new miniatures…

The next Broken Realms book is going to be accompanied by a slew of huge model releases, it seems, not least of which is a new Lord Kroak for the Seraphon, and this fabulous thing for Slaanesh! If I was excited for the plastic Keeper of Secrets back in 2019, I don’t even know where to start with this beauty! Slaanesh is, of course, my favourite, and I keep talking about how much I want to have a Slaanesh army. Well, given that they’re quite possibly now the most-supported of the four Ruinous Powers, it seems like I need to make a start with these glorious things! I do need to try and control myself at times, of course, but when things like this come along, I just don’t know what to do…

The Keeper is a big model, but these things look huge, due to the wings and everything. I really didn’t see this coming, but I definitely want at least one!

Moving away from the Mortal Realms now, I’ve been reading quite a bit of the Horus Heresy this month – mainly catching up on some of those books that I had left out up to this point.

Prospero Burns is the 15th novel in the series, and tells the story of the Burning of Prospero from the point of view of the VI Legion. Now, the book is by Dan Abnett, one of the Black Library’s greatest, and it deals with one of the most critical moments in the Heresy that has already had a fantastic novel covering those events. What’s not to like? Well, it’s Space Wolves, and if there’s one Legion I just cannot enjoy, it’s these. In all fairness to him, Dan does a great job and the story feels very much like a sort of Viking Saga. It’s told from the point of view of Kasper Hawser, who functions a bit like a Remembrancer for the Legion. He’s a noted academic from Terra, and we get to see some of his backstory investigating sites and the like. He seems to have a particular specialism in the Imperium’s past during Old Night, which was particularly intriguing. However, during one of these academic investigations, he is seemingly turned into a sleeper agent by the Thousand Sons, and sent to Fenris to live alongside the Space Wolves Legion, acting as an early warning system for Magnus to ensure Leman Russ is never sent against him.

What? Why would Magnus even think such a thing? Well, he is perhaps the only psyker on a level with the Emperor Himself, so maybe he had a premonition. Anyway, the Wolves keep Hawser in stasis when they discover his identity, before deciding to study him as he studied them, in an attempt to discover more of his intentions. We revisit a lot of ground covered by Graham McNeil’s book, including the Council of Nikea, where Hawser’s role as spy is revealed to him by Russ. Hawser and the Wolves attempt to discover what exactly is going on, and it eventually transpires that he was in fact possessed by a daemon of Chaos, with the purpose of ensuring the mutual annihilation of both Thousand Sons and Space Wolves. The Thousand Sons’ psychic potential had no room in the plans of the Ruinous Powers, and the Wolves are the only Legion to pose a real threat to Horus and his Sons. Makes sense, no?

The Burning of Prospero happens as we all know, with Russ and the Wolves decimating the Thousand Sons, and Magnus fleeing with his Legion into the Warp to the Planet of the Sorcerers. Hawser agrees to go back into stasis so that he cannot be used against Russ again.

I don’t know what it is, but I just dislike the Space Wolves, particularly in how they’re handled in the fiction. I get it, they’re Space Vikings, and everything is wolf this and wolf that, with pelts all over the place, and the battle brothers drinking mead and eating raw meat with their special fangs. If Chaos’ plan had worked, and the two Legions had destroyed each other, I don’t think I’d have been all that concerned with the loss of the VI Legion. Dan Abnett does a wonderful job of creating some truly atmospheric scenes, and we get a very interesting look at the Legion like nothing we’ve had before, but I found myself most often feeling that they worked particularly well when read as some kind of Viking story, and not as Warhammer.

But that’s just me!

I suppose it’s difficult to get away from the fact that the book just feels a bit superfluous, and really we could just have A Thousand Sons and miss this one completely, and the whole Heresy story wouldn’t suffer for it. I think this gets worse as the series moves along – I’m actually about to start on book 30, and I believe it gets a bit rough at times as the books range wider and wider, with more and more superfluous entries in the series. Prospero Burns was an interesting book in some respects, showing us marines in a different light, and it actually gave me the strange feeling of actually being a bit like a serious, grown-up novel, at times. No mere bolter porn, for sure! But ultimately, I just wasn’t that into it, and it really felt like a chore to get through it.

To help me get through it, I actually started to read something else, with a kind of reward system going on. Bad, isn’t it? Never thought I’d say that about Dan Abnett, but honestly I think it’s really just my own personal hang-ups about the Legion, and not the quality of the writing, that are colouring this review.

I read this book alongside my fellow bloggers Jenn and Dave, although I think I started a bit early and finished first, but you can now check out Inquisitor Jenn’s thoughts on the book here, and Dave’s review is now here! Be warned, though, punches have not been pulled!

I also read book sixteen, Age of Darkness. The second anthology in the series, I thought this one much better than the first, Tales of Heresy. Perhaps because more has happened by this point in the series, and so there is more for the short stories to tie into? At any rate, there are nine stories here, written by all manner of Black Library alums, including Dan Abnett who wrote Little Horus – the story of how Horus Aximand of the Sons of Horus Legion had his face cut off. Delightful! The stories all feel quite important, though I think that might be due to having read so far into the series now, coming back to this book has helped me make sense of how a lot of them fit into the overall series to date.

I thought Liar’s Due, by James Swallow, was a good story. Different, in that it dealt with a lone Alpha Legion operative as he sows discord throughout the normal people of the Imperium. It really shows how the XX Legion wage their wars, through intrigue and subterfuge, without needing to fire a shot themselves. Savage Weapons is a story that I’ve read before, by Aaron Dembski-Bowden. It deals with a parlay gone wrong between Lion el’Jonson and Konrad Curze, and is I think the first time in the Horus Heresy that we get to seriously see the Night Lords (though I could be wrong there!) It is set during the events of the Thramas Crusade, which is notable for being an attempt to keep the Dark Angels from Terra by having the Night Lords run amok in Ultima Segmentum. The story is mainly told by ADB in this and Prince of Crows, one that I’m looking forward to reading at some point soon!

Little Horus and The Last Remembrancer directly link to the 29th novel, Vengeful Spirit, which I have covered in its own blog here. That is definitely worth the read, and I am still impressed with the breadth of that book!

Darth Bane Trilogy

It’s not been all Warhammer, though, as I’ve finally drawn to a conclusion with the Darth Bane trilogy! Not my favourite, by any stretch of the imagination – you can read my rambling thoughts on the final book, and the trilogy as a whole, here!

I’ve finally started to read the hardcover sensation that is Light of the Jedi, as well – the inaugural novel in the High Republic series. Be sure to check back for my review when that goes up!

It seems to be an exciting time for Star Wars, with the announcement of the “special event series”, Obi-Wan Kenobi. Originally slated to be a movie along the lines of Rogue One, it was announced as a series in 2019 but put on hold due to “script problems” a year later. With the announcement of the cast, though, we’re well on the way to getting this series in 2022, I believe, and I’m really intrigued to see what it’s all about. The Mandalorian has really shown just how good Star Wars on the small screen can be, and while I don’t know what the significance of “a special event series” will be, I would like to think that we’re in for something really special.

I just hope Obi-Wan and Vader never actually meet…

Lots going on right now to be excited for, though! The Cassian Andor spin-off series has already been filming since December, although we don’t have a release date yet. The Book of Boba Fett is set for release in December this year, though, and the third season of The Mandalorian will be out sometime after that, maybe this time next year? Definitely a lot to look forward to, at any rate!! I do wonder if we’ll get many more movies, with the way the TV series have been a success for Disney+ so far. I suppose it does hearken back to what I was talking about with WandaVision though, in that the series can show a lot more of the slow moments, whereas the movies seem to have to deal with just one big adventure. The upcoming Rogue Squadron movie is probably going to be something along these lines, I’d guess…

Oh yes, and I turned 7 on 21 April!

Anyway, I’m rambling here! Time to wrap things up. It’s been a slower month for sure, and I haven’t had the time for as much as I’d have liked, but things are definitely ticking along with the hobby, and you can definitely look forward to more Underworlds content as it continues to take over my life!!