Building an Army in Age of Sigmar (3rd edition)

The Age of Sigmar exploration continues!

After looking at the core rules themselves on Saturday, today I’m looking into the other half of that, army building. It’s a part of the game that can sometimes sound a bit too straightforward – you muster an army, then start throwing dice around as per the rules, which is where most of your focus ends up. However, there are some fairly stringent rules as to how you build your army, so let’s take a look!

I’m hoping to get my first game in on Friday, too, so this will be a useful exercise as I build my list for that!

It was first edition AoS that gave us the three ways to play that have become the norm for Games Workshop now; open, narrative and matched play. That’s still true here, and as with 9th edition 40k before it, a lot of the development has gone into narrative play this time around, as we get a new and improved Path to Glory system. Narrative play, as I remember it, used to be “historical” missions that would often stipulate how the game should run, even sometimes which armies should be used for each mission. Path to Glory has existed for the whole lifetime of the game too, first as an expansion book in first edition, then as a part of each battletome. Now, it’s very much like 40k’s new Crusade system, albeit simplified.

Open Play used to be a case of “bring whatever you want, and go smash!” – with correspondingly little time given to it. In third edition, open play uses points and features a battle plan generation system straight out of Warcry, which is interesting!

Matched Play is pretty much the standard though, I would say, with strict rules around points and how many of which unit types you can bring for each level. Third edition goes a bit further and suggests table sizes and number of scenery pieces for each size of game, as well. It’s interesting to see this development, and along with the player code and other bits and pieces, I feel like GW are more than ever trying to tell people how they should be playing the game. Which is a good thing, but being the eternal optimist, I just wish it didn’t have to be such a thing, you know?

For my first game on Friday, we’re playing at around the 600 points mark, because that’s how many points James can muster from his Slaves to Darkness. I’m still back-and-forth a bit, but I’m currently planning a list of Ossiarch Bonereapers. I had been thinking I would try the Khorne guys, but I don’t have their book, and I don’t really want to buy it when it could well be replaced in a year or less! Last year, I did a lot of work in a short space of time to get a lot of these guys painted up, as well, so I think it’ll be nice to get them on the table and see what they can do!

The points limits start at 750, and within this bracket I need 1 battleline unit, and can have 1-2 leaders. Everything else is 0-1 of, so I’ve decided to bring the following:

Mortisan Boneshaper (135 points), two units of Mortek Guard (140 points each), and one unit of Immortis Guard (190 points).

The Boneshaper is a wizard, and can natively cast an offensive spell but I’ve given him a second that improves the combat effectiveness of my other units. He also has the ability to heal units, which may be very handy! My two battleline units are the Mortek Guard (both sword and spear varieties). They strike me as pretty tough for basic troops, making two attacks per model, and with a 4+ save that their sergeant can allow them to reroll with his command ability. They also have exploding 6s that the Boneshaper’s extra spell changes to exploding 5s to hit. Nice! The Immortis Guard have a similar ability, whereby they can attack with their massive shields and dish out mortal wounds on 6s. Their command ability is to pile in and attack again with shields only once combat is finished, which seems kinda bonkers but I do love it!!

I’m going with the Petrifex Elite, which is the colour scheme for my army. Interestingly, their army-wide special ability used to be +1 to save across the board, but I seem to recall that was deemed too powerful so it is now worsen the rend of attacking units that target a Petrifex Elite unit. Could be handy, I suppose!

The big thing with Ossiarch Bonereapers is that they don’t get to use command points or command abilities, but instead generate relentless discipline points which can only be spent on their own command abilities. A recent Tome Celestial in White Dwarf has helped out with this a bit, by giving more options, but it definitely feels like the Bonereapers are getting a rough deal at the moment!

Now, there are a lot of other bits and pieces that go along with list building in Age of Sigmar 3rd edition which I’ll go over now, but which I’m not sure I’m using in this list.

First up, all of the old warscroll battalions are gone, instead we have new core battalions which grant you specific bonuses based on how you build your army. The only one I could use in this force is the Vanguard, which allows me to issue a command ability without using a command point, but both of those things don’t apply to my army, sad face. They’re interesting ways to organise your force, and while I don’t know much about the game yet, I don’t think they’re too broken…

Enhancements are the catch-all term for relics, command traits and all those lovely bits and pieces that I enjoy from list building in the past. Something completely new, though, are Grand Strategies and Battle Tactics. It seems like an effort to incorporate the Objectives stuff from 40k, but as I’m not a huge fan of that, I do find myself a bit lost here. I’ve chosen Vendetta as my Grand Strategy, which is basically Slay the Warlord.

Overall, it seems like list building in third edition is a bit tighter than last time around. I seem to recall it was a little bit faffy in second edition to find all of the rules that you need, but while there is more to it this time around, I feel like it’s getting better. I suppose I need to wait for my actual battletome before I can fully judge it though, to see what I can do these days!

Learning to play Age of Sigmar (3rd Edition)

Welcome to my first musings on learning 3rd edition Age of Sigmar!

I’m sure there will be quite a few of these posts going up in the coming weeks, as I attempt to figure out what I’m doing with AoS. They’re probably more for my own benefit than anything else, but hopefully by publishing my thoughts here, experienced folks can tell me where I’m going wrong!

Very briefly, I think the game system is really interesting. While the free pdf has been called out as coming across as litigious because of the way each rule is numbered, I think this is perfect and in line with a few other games that I’m familiar with, so it’s not unexpected. Especially with a ruleset that can get cumbersome. It’s quite clear, and I think better than the 40k layout. The fact that the sidebar has useful clarifications is nice, too.

The game seems to broadly follow the same basic premise as 40k, which I think started when Warhammer Fantasy became Age of Sigmar with the famous four-page rules sheet, but has evolved and expanded into a much more filled-out game. It starts out with a player code, which basically amounts to “be nice”, and I like that a lot. While attempts are made to summarise basic rules concepts, I was surprised (like many players, I think) that engagement range wasn’t made a thing here – instead, “within 3” of an enemy unit” is used throughout.

There are six phases to the game. We start with the Hero Phase, which is basically the Command Phase and Psychic Phase from 40k. Generals get a command point for the army, and one hero can perform a heroic action. Wizards can cast spells, and Priests can cast invocations.

Next comes the Movement Phase, where units move up to their move characteristic, they can retreat from combat, and they can run (+d6 to their move). The Shooting Phase is next, where units armed with missile weapons can shoot them. Shooting seems to be very much an exception though, unlike in 40k, and within the rule book, actual combat rules are put into the combat phase. After any missiles have been shot, the Charge Phase allows units within 12” of an enemy to charge at them.

The meat seems to be in the Combat Phase, though. Both players alternate fighting with a unit, and there doesn’t seem to be a rule for all charging units to fight first. Interesting. At any rate, after a 3” pile-in move, fights are resolved with the normal roll to hit, roll to wound, roll to save. A big thing here is that it seems wounds spill over within the unit, so one attack doling out 3 damage can kill 3 one-wound models. Interesting. A unit’s saving throw can be modified by rend (AP) on the attacking weapon, and by cover if relevant. A unit can potentially get a Ward save once a wound has been allocated, which sounds a bit like magical protection or something, and can save against Mortal Wounds as well.

I find the development of Mortal Wounds kinda fascinating, as a mechanic that initially represented such devastating damage that you couldn’t possibly defend against it, to the sort of damage that was coming from everywhere, to suddenly being able to defend against it with special stuff, etc. I don’t know anything about the AoS meta, of course, but hopefully it’ll be a bit more sensible here, and mortal wounds will be a bit more circumspect. We’ll see.

At any rate, we finally have the Battleshock Phase. Here, you roll a d6 for a unit that has lost models, and add the number of models slain that phase; for every point by which the result exceeds the Bravery of that unit, another model flees. Coherency needs to be maintained, and if a unit of 6+ models has any that aren’t within 1” of two other models you must remove models until unit coherency is restored, same as 40k.

Overall, I like these rules. It’s interesting to me, that 9th Edition 40k has been somehow clouded for me, while 3rd Edition AoS feels much clearer and better, but it’s very similar. True, the Hero Phase is very different, but it strikes me that games of AoS would be much faster than 40k, and much more enjoyable, dare I say?!

I remember having this chat with the manager of my local GW back when first edition AoS was out, whereby the rules are quite straightforward but the bulk of the mechanics are within the warscrolls, and I think that holds true more than ever in third edition. With all of the allegiance abilities (roughly analogous to chapter tactics), and the command traits etc, it can become quite a task to work things out! But this comes from practice, I suppose, as you become more familiar with your chosen army.

Of course, I haven’t yet played it, so I could be barking up the wrong tree here. I think I played a couple of games with my Nighthaunt at the start of the last edition, and that was pretty good! I think there’s a huge attraction to fantasy for me, because it’s how I got started and all. Each time I find myself in this situation, it somehow feels like coming home for me, and I feel really positive about it all. So hopefully it’ll be a good time for all!

Converting miniatures (an opinion)

This is something that I’ve had bubbling around in the back of my brain for quite a few years now, and seeing as how I’m churning out all manner of blog posts right now, I thought I might as well try to get this idea on the virtual paper, as well.

The hobby of building, collecting, painting and playing with miniatures is diverse, and we’re all in it for our own reasons. There may be many overlapping reasons, but ultimately, what you do with your money and your time is entirely your own business (so long as it’s not illegal). In more broad terms, everybody has a right to be happy, so long as what makes you happy doesn’t infringe on anyone else’s right to be happy.

Hopefully you’re still with me, so far…

Something that I see and hear a lot, especially around new releases of miniatures, is “I would get one of those to convert up”, or words to that effect. That’s fine, converting models to make them more personal to you is a big part of the hobby, and for a fair number of folks, it’s almost the whole reason they’re in the hobby. I have no problem with people who convert miniatures, indeed some of that stuff is incredible to see. We see conversion guides in the pages of White Dwarf quite regularly as well, where alums of the Warhammer studio show off their efforts (always using 100% Citadel parts, naturally).

I think what bothers me is when people adopt a sort of hipster attitude to it, though, and try to make out that they would improve the original model because they have a better design vision than professional miniatures designers working in the studio. I remember it being a big thing particularly with Lauka Vai, Mother of Nightmares, above. She’s a very weird model, for sure, but that’s kind of the point. When it was shown off, I loved the fact that it’s literal nightmare fuel, but was told off by a fair few people because it needed converting up.

It’s the sort of attitude that is prevalent to a wide degree, with the half-joking “is this an Archon?” and “every new model is a Necromunda model”, which are both somewhat jokingly meant. I don’t watch his stuff much anymore, but I remember Kirioth would enthuse a great deal over new model releases with an immediate “I’d convert that”.

And I would always think, why?

What’s wrong with getting a model because you like how it looks? Well, apparently it means I’ve drunk the GW kool aid, or something, but I happen to like the look of a lot of the models that I own. It’s actually the reason why I bought them

I think it really bothers me when people make the announcement in that way, like they’re expecting praise for seeing the possibility for making it into something else. Sure, if you’re wanting to build a model to represent something, and then GW produce something else that would get you maybe 30% of the way there, then I get it. But the knee-jerk attitude of “I will get this and make something better from it” really bothers me.

Now, there’s I think a legitimate argument to be made about the lack of poseability in a lot of the new miniatures, which I do find rather baffling. I used to love the fact that Tactical Marines could be posed, and that they came with a variety of extra bits and bobs that you can you to further customise your force. But this is more about customisation, not conversion. At its most basic, a different paint job is customising your minis, but whether it’s adding bits and pieces, or hacking a model apart to make it look like it’s running, that’s all fine. When people complain that monopose miniatures make it harder to convert them, I just tune all that nonsense out. There are some great looking monopose miniatures out there – why would you want to convert the Master of Possession? Are you saying you’re better than Jes Goodwin?!

You might retort, but I don’t want my Master of Possession to look like all the rest. Well, that’s a very valid point, and I don’t really have a rebuttal for you. But then, this rambling post isn’t really aimed at that aspect of it. Wanting a miniature to look different in the scheme of your army is one thing – and if you want to include two of a miniature, but don’t want clones, then I get that too – but if you’re going to tell me that you have a fully-converted 2000-point Guard army that uses parts from 6-billion other kits to make something that doesn’t look like a Guard army, I’m not going to be impressed. Cue RDJ rolling his eyes so damn hard it hurts.

I think I resent the fact that I’m apparently not supposed to enjoy a model for its own sake, and can only like it for the opportunity it presents to make something completely different. That’s really what bothers me, and I think I’d the crux of this whole post. It’s like you’re being told off for having a lack of imagination, or something. I don’t buy a car because I think it would make a great spice rack.

You’re allowed to like what you like!

I would actually go one step further, and say that people are allowed to paint their Space Marines as Ultramarines, but I know that might be a step too far for many! (Ultramarines are great, remember!)

Of course, I’m not trying to tell people off if they also want to buy a model to make it into something else – as I said, conversion is a great part of the hobby. I just dislike that snobby tone where people seem to think they’re Truly Special (TM) for doing it, and the rest of us plebs can build our models according to the instructions, and presumably eat mud for dinner as well. I bought that Keeper of Secrets because I loved its pose, its insinuated deadliness, and not because I thought I could make it look better by using an Onager Dunecrawler for its legs, and a Treeman’s sword, and parts from a pewter model that was initially released at Game Day in 1995 (because I’m that cool).

Yeah, I know, I’m kinda ranting, but it’s all tongue in cheek. The main point that I want to make is that converting a miniature isn’t always some kind of brilliant move that ought to result in everybody bowing down before you.

If you start talking about “looting”, though, I’m going to have to walk away entirely…

Throwback Thursday

I don’t normally get into this sort of thing, but for a variety of reasons I felt the need to do so today! I think talking about a return to Age of Sigmar yesterday, more broadly about Fantasy in general, has put me in the mood, somewhat.

When playing Warhammer Invasion, I would almost always play as Chaos, and it’s a faction that I really enjoy a great deal. When it came to the miniatures, though, it took a lot longer for me to fall in with the ruinous powers. I’ve recently begun to work with some gusto on the Khorne Bloodbound models as a second army for Age of Sigmar, and I’m also still chipping away at the Black Legion for 40k. So I’m definitely feeling Chaotic at the current time!

The models tend to be absolutely beautiful though, whether it’s in the baroque majesty of the Khornate armour, or the lithe beauty of Slaanesh Hedonites. Which reminds me, I’ve got some of those mortal units still boxed up somewhere…

For me, there is a definite appeal to the Fantasy miniatures, I think mainly due to the fact that it was Warhammer Fantasy that initially got me into this mess. True, I never played the game, but there’s a lovely sense of nostalgia attached to these things, for me. I’m not about to do a complete 180 and throw my lot fully into AoS, especially because most of my gaming buddies are more 40k-centric. But I’m definitely leaning into the fantasy setting once again. And with stuff like Warcry and Warhammer Underworlds, it’s hard to stay away from the mortal realms!!

Age of Sigmar, too?

Well, that didn’t take long, did it?! I’d only talked about this on Monday, and two days later, I’m changing my plans! Well, kinda…

There’s been a bit of chatter going on around me recently as regards getting into Age of Sigmar, and James in particular has been off-and-on keen since getting the Slaves to Darkness box at Christmas. I already have an Ossiarch Bonereapers army of not insubstantial proportions, although I believe I may need more battle line units, but I’ll get to that in a bit.

However, I also have some Khorne Bloodbound models from a project that I had picked up just over twelve months ago, but was sort of abandoned when my second daughter was born.

I really enjoy the Khorne models for Age of Sigmar, I think it may have something to do with the nostalgia because they of course came out with the original AoS starter box, which was a glorious time in my memory… They do look great, though, particularly the Mortal units, like over-steroided barbarians. Glorious stuff!

I’ve talked about the Khorne models before, and it’s a project that I did make some efforts to start, but unfortunately stalled with. But now I’m really enthusiastic about getting an army underway! I’m not intending to go crazy with them, however. Famous last words, of course, but I’m in the process of thinning down the ranks, after all! I actually have quite a lot of models to start with, anyway, so it would be kinda redundant to just buy more when I’ve got so many. I’ve got the starter box, plus an additional box of the guys in armour (I think they’re called Blood Warriors?) so at this point I have quite a substantial force!

I have downloaded the rules for AoS 3, but I’ve not yet been able to really digest them. Army building is something that does confuse me a little, because I’m not sure how any of it works these days! I will definitely need to take a proper look at the rules, I think. If memory serves, though, you need two or three battleline units in the army, and certain things are made battleline when you take certain units… it’s all quite confusing to me, so I need to get a better understanding there.

I have plenty of AoS terrain, thanks to all the Warcry stuff, so I think when it comes down to it, actual games should be pretty good! Just need to arrange some dates, I guess!

Age of Sigmar will hopefully be coming to the blog again this summer though!!

Warhammer Fest 2022

Oh man, this was an exciting one! Four days of previews that are really pretty great, for so many in the hobby. Let’s try to break down some of the new stuff and see what’s coming our way in the next few months!

To start with, Chaos is back on the menu! We’re getting a lot of new Cultist varieties, including a ten-man squad, a sort of command squad, and mutant cultists of various stripes. Delightful! There’s also going to be new Possessed, which will presumably be accompanied by the Chosen and the Warpsmith when the big release comes.

Oh yeah, and there’s also gonna be a new Daemon Prince!

Points values will be made available for free, but the upcoming Chapter Approved will be tinkering with the rules, specifically around command points, and giving everyone new secondary objectives. There has been some outcry about why CA is coming out when armies like the Guard still don’t have their Codex, which I think is pretty valid, but 9th edition has been so strange to me, I suppose I’m not really surprised.

World Eaters will be getting a Codex, too, but it’s too soon to show off any new models. And the new Squats are getting a trike, which people seem to be excited for. I’m still underwhelmed with the Squat news – I’m happy for those players who have wanted this to happen, of course! I’m just happy, also, that I don’t feel the need to get any!

Next up, we have Age of Sigmar! Leaks from the Slaves to Darkness book have been on Facebook for about a week already, but it’s great to see these big lads in high definition glory! There’s a new Skaven model coming out, and Sylvaneth are getting a lot more new models!

This has been quite a surprise, to me. Seems like each iteration of the game grows this army, and they’re getting further away from their Wood Elf origins. It’s great to see, and I think I’ll need to exercise some restraint because Sylvaneth are an army that I really would love to try out. I mean, the Treelord mini is one of my absolute favourite sculpts of all time!

Big news from AoS is that Cities of Sigmar will be getting what I suppose we’re now calling “the Battle Sisters treatment”, and there will be updates for the redesign online. Could be interesting…

Big news in Specialist Games comes once more from the Squats, as we’ll be getting them in a new gang of Ironhead Squat Prospectors. Interesting, seems like 2022 is going to be the year of the space dwarf.

The next Kill Team box has been announced, Moroch, and will be Phobos Marines vs Traitor Guard, with the new Sector Frontieris terrain! I’m unsure about this one, as I don’t want the Marines, and I already have the ogryn and commissar models from their release in Blackstone Fortress, so I’m thinking that I might sit this one out. That terrain is, of course, wonderful, but given that they split these boxes up eventually anyway, I think I might just wait.

It does look tempting, though!

New logo and new location for Warcry, as we head into a cursed jungle for what many seem to think will be a soft version two. I’m not sure about the jungle, because I personally love the aesthetic of fighting in these abandoned cities (or mines!) and can’t really see that translating well. I’m prepared to be wrong, of course!

We also have a new warband preview – the Horns of Hashut – which is odd because it feels like they’re half of the suspected new box… We also have the centaur dude who looks pretty great – I hope this is going to mean we get more unique crazy sculpts for these sort of mercenary allies as time goes on!

I have to say, though, I’m disappointed to hear that the new setting is going to bring with it more AoS races “to the fore”. I don’t think Warcry is good when we have just any old fantasy race; I much prefer it as a Chaos vs Chaos game. Don’t get me wrong, I know why they’re doing it, and adding in the whole AoS catalogue has probably kept interest in the game to the point where we’ve been able to have so much amazing content for it. But I really preferred it when we were seeing bespoke, weird Chaos warbands unique for this game…

The final day, yesterday, brought the big news about Horus Heresy 2.0 that has been teased and spoiled and goodness knows what for a long while now. We’re getting a new box set, which is huge, and new MkVI marines. New plastic tanks, and a slew of plastic weapons upgrades to try to muscle in on people who have been 3D printing their own. It’s an interesting move, and I wonder if they’ll start to do these kinds of weapons packs for other armies, giving Kabalite Warriors a second blaster, etc? It’ll be interesting to see whether these Necromunda-style upgrades have any traction into 40k, anyway. Without being a Heresy aficionado, however, the final day was otherwise a bit of a whimper, to me.

But it was definitely an exciting few days, and here’s hoping that I am the lucky one to win everything they’ve previewed here!! 🤣

Warcry Updates

The Tome of Champions 2021 is here, and it’s quite a hefty book in comparison to previous years! This is mainly due to the enormous appendix though, which has the Bladeborn Fighters rules.


The book is split into the usual Open, Narrative and Matched play, and incorporates all of the stuff we had for free on the WarCom website back last year, such as the Cursed City content, the AoS Dominion content, and so on. Open Play is a very short section, giving the rules for Siege Battles and using the example battleplan of the Siege of Carngrad. Narrative Play can be split into two, really, giving four more Branching Quests for each faction, different to those initially presented in the Red Harvest book, and four more Fates Quests, again one for each faction. The second part of the Narrative Play section is Narrative Campaigns, and reproduces the online content while also giving another one, which can be played co-op or solo, where you play against marauding Skaven in the city of Excelsis. It’s an interesting idea, although does require players to have 1200 points of Skaven and the Agents of Chaos book that shows their profiles. However, I imagine it could be quite easily adapted for Nighthaunt or something, as you’re trying to clear out an infested city. Matched Play introduces a new tournament pack, The Fell Nyroth, but without being a tournament kind of player, I can’t really offer much in the way of comment there.

There is a lot of content here, and it’s interesting to see how the various battleplans continue to make use of the vast array of stuff that’s out there for Warcry. There are points adjustments across the board as well, making this much more akin to the General’s Handbook for AoS. In the Appendix, we get the fighter cards for the Lumineth Realmlords, Soulblight Gravelords, Dominion armies, and Bladeborn Fighters, which I’m sure will be the big draw for the majority of folks picking this up.

The rules for Bladeborn Fighters allow you to include the fighters from Warhammer Underworlds warbands within your games of Warcry, which is kinda fascinating as it opens up so many more options for playing the game. The way this works is to align each band to their Age of Sigmar faction, and then presents fighter cards that can be used when mustering a Warcry warband from that faction. So for example, the Thorns of the Briar Queen belong to the Nighthaunt faction, which means they can be added into the mix just like any other Nighthaunt model that has a stat card for games of Warcry. Each warband has one or two unique abilities that can be used, although they have access to the full suite of abilities from their parent faction, anyway.

I find this approach quite interesting, because it means that the Underworlds warband can be split up, they don’t come as a unit as I had initially expected. I suppose that makes sense, because some warbands are only three fighters, so could potentially have a very hard time going up against other warbands in the game. But it somehow loses a bit of the flavour that I like about those guys, and I think if I were to ever play with Underworlds warbands, I would try as much as possible to keep the band all together, if you know what I mean. Even the larger warbands are only around the 700 points mark (the Thorns are closer to 800, but still) so would need some bolstering from the more “regular” models from the range.

That said, I think I still prefer to keep things to the Warcry-specific warbands whenever possible, anyway, so it probably won’t turn into that big of an issue for me!

In other news…

I’ve finally built up all of the Tarantulos Brood miniatures! I think they’re one of the bigger Warcry warbands, which should be interesting to see how they play as they have a lot of lower-level fighters, it seems. I do love the look of these models though, and I think I might try and get them painted up sometime this year, rather than letting them languish like the rest of my Warcry stuff! However, I did kinda decide around summer last year that I would try to get the Iron Golem painted up next, so I don’t quite know how it’s all going to fit in! Unfortunately, I do seem to have stalled a bit with my Tau painting project, since I spent the beginning of the year painting nothing but Sa’cea Sept colours – I think I could well be due a change!

I think I’m going to try and get another game of Warcry in soon, as it has been quite a while since I last played. I think it could be fun to try out the new Red Harvest stuff as well, so hopefully I’ll be able to report back soon on that!

Warcry: Red Harvest terrain

Hey everybody,
I’ve finally finished building up the terrain from Red Harvest, and I’ve just had to come here to write about it because this stuff is just amazing!!


It’s gonna look even more stunning when painted…

The board is really quite full with this stuff, as well, which I’m quite impressed by, considering there are only four structures and then a host of sluices. I thought it would lead to a table that feels more open, but maybe that’s just the configuration, or something.


I’m very impressed, anyway. There are, as I say, four big structures that form the cornerstones of the terrain: two multi-level platforms, and two “delve engines”, the Pit Dredger and the Varanite Syphon. The Syphon is the beam engine thing that has that beautiful daemonic head at the top, while the Dredger is the winding gear with the ore buckets on it.


I particularly enjoyed getting the Dredger built, despite its reputation that I’d heard about with getting those buckets to line up! The winding capstan has got three poor unfortunate skeletons on there who have seemingly died in service to those Chaotic bands who are plundering the Varanite Delve, which I think is a beautifully creepy touch to this piece! Both platforms have got a lot of character to them, as well, with manacles and skeletons hanging around them. I’m really looking forward to getting these painted, even if all of the metallic barding is giving me palpitations!

In game, these engines have got rules whereby fighters can be pushed into the moving parts, dealing damage to them, and fighters within 1″ of its moving parts can turn the machine on, which damages fighters who are on or within 3″ of any sluices connected to the machine. It’s a nice way to interact with the scenery, and I love that kind of thing – even if, when I’m playing, I usually forget all about such rules!


Each machine comes on its own sprue, and the platforms likewise have their own sprue each. The sluices are doubled up, with two sprues of six sluices each. I can see this stuff being released separately at some point, either packaged as a machine and set of sluices, or also with a platform. It certainly seems to have been produced with an eye to re-packaging, anyway, the way these things are so self-contained.

The set also includes the barricades that were in the original set, which is nice to have as there are plenty of elements in common with the new stuff that keeps everything in the same aesthetic mould.


The two warbands, though, while they have each really grabbed my attention, are still in the process of being built. I’ve got a fair number of the Tarantulos Brood fighters built up, though only one member of the Darkoath Savagers so far. I really like both of these warbands, for different reasons, and I’m very much looking forward to getting them all built so that I can try them out. Hopefully I’ll be able to get some more games in with Warcry now that all of the lockdown measures appear to be easing, and the country is getting somewhat back to normal! Not many in my gaming circle have been too taken with it, sadly, so I think it might well need to be pickup games for the time being, but I guess we’ll see.

It is such a good game, so fast-paced and brutal, I really do love it. The terrain in this box is so different to anything that we’ve had so far, and lends quite an oppressive atmosphere when you see fully-painted tables of it. I find myself hoping that we might have almost the equivalent of 40k Sector Mechanicus stuff for Age of Sigmar, with more daemonically-possessed machinery to supplement this. Although of course, what we have in the box is entirely suitable for games of Warcry. I love everything about this box, though, and I’m so glad GW are continuing to bring out stuff like this for the game.

Tome of Champions 2021 is also out now, of course, which seems to have bundled in the DLC from last year with rules for the Warhammer Underworlds warbands, plus more quests and so on. Sounds like a cracking book, and one that I really need to get my paws on!

Hobby Update 2021!

Hey everybody,
It’s New Year’s Eve, which can mean only one thing – let’s evaluate the past twelve months, and tot up all the places where I succeeded and where I missed out on my hobby goals that were projected a year ago! Spoiler alert: I don’t think I did very well…

Paint up the Sisters of Battle 500-point list (well, it’s a little more than 500 points, but the point stands!)
Hm. I did make some efforts with the Sisters during the year, and I think I have a colour scheme that I like now, but I have not made massive in-roads here, as the project was fairly quickly abandoned, if I’m honest! I don’t want to get rid of these models though, so I think I might give it some more thought in 2022 and see whether I can make more of an effort to get some models finished.

Finish up the Drukhari models – 5 Wracks, 3 Grotesques, 5 Incubi and Drahzar.
I did actually paint up 5 Incubi, and I’ve done the skin on both the Wracks and the Grotesques. But that’s pretty much as far as it goes. I don’t know if it’s been the lack of games, or something else, but I just haven’t really been feeling the Dark Eldar in 2021.

Paint up at least 2 Tyranid units, at least one of which is a big bug!
Well, this one failed pretty badly! I have sort of painted five Genestealers, but I don’t think that’s even a minimum-sized squad. Tyranids have been big on my radar during this year, but for whatever reason, I’ve just not really found the inclination to actually make this one come through, either.

Continue rescuing Necron models – Triarch Praetorians, Canoptek Spyder, etc
Okay, so I have painted some Necron models, but I haven’t really rescued all that many. They’re on my list – heck, some of them have been on my painting station for a long time! – and while I still have a lot of affection for the undead space robots, I haven’t managed to get all that many models painted this year. I did paint the five Triarch Praetorians that were a rescue job around two years in the making, and I have painted up a couple of the character models from Indomitus and the Psychomancer, so it’s not a complete failure on this one.

Paint more Grey Knights! At least three more units, maybe a vehicle too.
Well. I’ve not actually finished any further Grey Knights units just yet, but my goodness, I’ve been playing with them, and it has been great! I’ve started work on my second Strike Squad, but I really want to do these models justice, so I’m just slowly taking my time and working through them, and I hope that eventually I’ll have a good force fully painted up. As ever, stay tuned for this one!

Also paint more Chaos Marines! At least three units, and perhaps a bigger thing, as well.
I haven’t painted anything for the Heretic Astartes this year – shocking, I know! I believe there is a huge new release due for them in the new year, however, so I imagine there might be some more movement on this one soon…

Make a decision about the Scions, Deathwatch and AdMech models! Do I want to keep all of those Space Marines kits?
I don’t know! I really don’t know if I want to keep all of these extraneous models. I just want to have them, but I can’t really imagine myself ever playing games with them, really. AdMech I can possibly see myself playing as allies for maybe the Grey Knights or something, though I just don’t know yet… These are mostly just kept in the loft still, though. Shame!

Paint more terrain – mainly for Necromunda, but also general 40k stuff.
While I haven’t painted any more terrain (certainly not to completion), I have built up plenty. The Gang Stronghold from last Christmas, the new Kill Team box, the Sanctum and the associated ruins… There is a lot of terrain that has been constructed in 2021, and I think I need to be better at chipping away at this sort of thing, though without a real plan for it I do find myself floundering at times! All that said, I have done myself proud with the Zone Mortalis stuff, getting a few walls and columns painted up there. So it hasn’t been a complete waste, at least!

Okay, so if that’s all of the stuff that I had planned to do – what have I actually been doing with my time?!

To start with, I painted up a fairly significant chunk of Ossiarch Bonereapers, I think the final count has it around 1500 points of models there, not quite sure. I do love those models, and I’m thinking I might come back to them in 2022 if there are more models promised for release – archers, maybe?! I also painted up some of the Sigmarite ruins scatter terrain, a fairly quick job across some small pieces, and finally finished the Unmade warband for Warcry. That game has informed a lot of my time in 2021, I feel – and a surprise discovery of Underworlds meant that I spent a good chunk of the early part of the year in the Mortal Realms – which, of course, I hadn’t planned for!

Back in September, though, all of my hobby plans were slightly de-railed when I decided to throw everything out the window and focus almost exclusively on my Genestealer Cultists, having had the models since their initial release in 7th edition, but never really making any serious effort to paint them. Well, I’m currently around the 1200 points mark with these guys, which is just great, so I’m looking forward to getting their codex in the new year, and hopefully getting some games in with them!

Speaking of games, I’m surprised at how many times I was able to play GW games this year. True, a lot of these were solo affairs while we were stuck in one of the many lockdowns, but I’ve still managed to play Necromunda, Warhammer Underworlds, Warcry and Warhammer 40k during the year! Underworlds, as I mentioned, was a surprise at how much I enjoyed it, and while I might not necessarily be following it in the new Harrowdeep season, I do like the fact that I have a good collection of stuff to have (hopefully!) many fun and enjoyable games in the future. Warcry is a firm favourite, and the recent Red Harvest set has just bowled me over once again at how much they put into these releases. I’m still in the process of building this up, so I haven’t yet been able to try out the new mine terrain etc, but I am very excited to get it all finished, etc!

40k has been good, as well. I’ve played a lot of games with Grey Knights, both small and large, and I think I’m getting to grips with the way these guys play now. It’s been a lot of fun to play the smaller scale games with James and his Black Templars, as we’re both learning these armies, but by extension we’re finally getting to cement the small rules tweaks of 9th edition in our minds, as we’re not playing particularly rushed or competitive, but instead taking the time to ensure we’re doing things properly. James is a great thinker about the game, too, and he watches more battle reports than me, so I enjoy the post-mortem afterwards as we go through what had happened.

Come back tomorrow, though, as I run through some of my hopes and dreams for the hobby in 2022!

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…