Hobby Progress, week one!

Hey everybody!
It’s the first Sunday of my hobby update progress blog series thing, where I get to show you all what I’ve been up to this week, and how it will help me to get to my December Goals! It’s been a bit of a quiet week in some respects, but even so, grab a cuppa and come see what I’ve been doing!

So we’re going to start with last weekend, and I’ve still been building up a lot of stuff, including an Akhellian Allopex, mainly because it’s such a hilarious kit:

I mean, it’s two guys riding a shark!!

I’ve been wanting to build up a small raiding party of Idoneth Deepkin for a while now, and last month finally decided to go for it. I’ve got the battleforce box for my birthday, so there will be some significant support on its way soon, but I also have some more Thralls and stuff hanging about as well, so I think I’ll only be getting a couple more bits and pieces to add to this army before I think of it as complete!

I’ve been busy trying to cover up the Annihilation Barge, which had been primed with Caliban Green, to match my current Thokt Dynasty colour scheme of greys and blues. It’s not been going too badly, the twin tesla destructor is looking a lot nicer already, and the main barge chassis has been finished, so it’s just going to be a case of finishing the underslung tesla cannon, then sorting out the crew, and this model should be done! I say that with such optimism…

The Chaos Cultists have taken up most of my time so far this week, however, as I try to get some base colours down on them, and sort out the skin tones. I don’t want to go for models that look too pale, as I would prefer my cultists to look quite normal, albeit a little scarred and stuff. I mean, they are quite clearly hitting the gym more than is necessary, so they’re presumably quite hale on the whole!

I definitely want to go for an eclectic look to the clothing for these guys though – a lot of people seem to want to paint them all the same colour, which is fine when you’re thinking about an army, but these guys aren’t really in uniform, but instead look like they’ve just been throwing on a cloak to go out and purge in the name of Chaos. They’re fairly ordinary chaps, so I want to try and get that feel of them being normal folk who have just turned to Chaos out of desperation or whatever. I think they should look fairly decent when they’re done, anyway!

I’ve built up the next batch of Necron Immortals, so I can start painting them soon as well, but another big focus for me has been the Grey Knights project that I mentioned the other day. I’m building them as Purifiers, because I quite like the lore of them being a secretive sect within the Grey Knights, and being so incorruptible and all the rest of it. I’m currently planning to build five, so the other five of the Strike Squad box will be exactly that, a Strike Squad. I have no idea where to take this army just yet, but my eventual plans for it involve something like adding in Deathwatch, Ministorum and maybe Inquisition, to go for a proper Imperial Agents thing. We shall see, though, as I’m still hoping for some awesome Inquisition models to come for Kill Team in 2019! Possibly a pipe-dream, though I’ve talked before how I think GW would be crazy not to tap into that!

So, not a great deal of painting has happened so far this week, but I blame that on the fact that we (a) put the Christmas decorations up, which took quite a bit of time, and (b) we’re looking after the brother-in-law’s cat while they move house, so hobby time needs to be planned around a small furry entity wandering through. She’s mainly transfixed by the leaves out in the back garden though, so it’s not too bad so far.

I’m getting very easily distracted so far, though, and since looking at the Grey Knights last week, I’ve been thinking as well about getting some Chaos Daemons to play against them – quite where I’m going with that, I have no idea, but I’ve drawn up a list of Bloodletters with some additional support units that should be fun to paint, if nothing else! I’ve got some floating about somewhere, I’m sure, anyway…

In the past, I’ve tried to keep my army focus on just a couple of projects, to stop being so distracted with loads of ancillary stuff. However, I do find that having additional stuff that is either not related at all, or else bears a small resemblance to what I’m doing, helps to keep me refreshed in the hobby. It’s no good thinking I need to sit down and paint 40 Immortals before I can do anything else, as I’d just get bored and pack everything away. At least if I can have that palette cleanse of something different, it should help to keep me going overall.

To this end, I’ve been thinking a lot about my various projects in broad terms of their colour. So Grey Knights and Necrons (and to some extent, the Skitarii) are quite similar with silvers and blues, but then something like the  red of the Bloodletters should help to mix up the focus quite a bit. I’ve also got the Chaos Cultists who should be enough of a disparate bunch that it will help to break things up. I think this is why I was thinking so much about doing stuff with the Deathwing project, as the cream and green is again something completely different to help distract me and keep things fresh.

hobby supplies

While we’re on the subject of the Deathwing, I have bought a couple more things lately to keep me suitably distracted, but still related along the same lines there – Ravenwing! I do enjoy picking up the odd kit like this, and Ravenwing are an element that I hadn’t really considered before, but I think they do look exceptionally cool, so I’m excited to have these join the ranks. While everything Space Marine related seems to be quite expensive at the minute, I’m hoping that next weekend’s Chapter Approved will deliver on the promises of sweeping points reductions, and Deathwing/Ravenwing will be a decent combination to have in the army!

I’ve been through a bit of a walk down memory lane since I started looking at the Deathwing stuff once more, and I’ve really re-evaluated my appreciation for the Dark Vengeance box from 7th edition. Not only does it have those wonderful Cultists, but there are so many good-looking, unique models in there that you just can’t get anymore, I’m really glad to have these in my collection now, at any rate. Looking forward to adding more to the Dark Angels army in due course, but that will definitely be a project for 2019…

In other exciting news, I went to Warhammer World again this weekend, for the now-traditional pre-Christmas pilgrimage! I couldn’t really spend a great deal though, so confined myself to picking up the new Delaque models, as well as Inquisitor Coteaz, a model that I’ve been wanting to pick up for a long time simply to paint. Now that I’ve been looking into the Inquisition more, and have some vague plans for the Imperial Agents army, I’ve finally got a reason to pick him up!

The Delaque models are quite wonderful, anyway. I’ve got three built up so far, but they are a wonderful addition and I’m looking forward to getting those sorted for games in the new year! I think I’m going to do a sort of Necromunda retrospective soon, looking at all of the models released across the last twelve months, and hopefully showcase some of my own painted creations! That’ll give me the excuse to actually get painting them, anyway!

In other news, I started reading Crossfire, the first book in the Shira Calpurnia omnibus, Enforcer, and so far it’s really good! I think I’m four chapters in right now, and I’m enjoying it a lot! It’s always fun to read about the more mundane, human side of the 40k universe, and I think a lot of my attention has currently been thrown that way lately as far as hobby projects go. The novel’s central protagonist is one of the Adeptus Arbites, the law enforcers of the 40k universe, and the story seems to be following her search for a would-be assassin on the planet of Hydraphur, set against the background of preparations for a religious festival. So not only do we get the Arbites, we also get the priests and officials of the Adeptus Ministorum, and even some Mechanicus in there, too! Like I say, I’m not far into it, around about a third or so, but it’s been really good – and a nice change of pace from all the Iron Warriors who have been cropping up in the books I’ve been reading of late!

I’m reading this as part of a buddy read with fellow blogger wordaholicsanonymous – check out some of his fine work here, and just wait for the reviews!

The Grey Knights, and more!

Hey everybody!
It’s been an interesting couple of days for me, as I’ve been trying to implement my plans to get stuff painted – so far, so good, but I have been noticing the fact that I’m actually feeling in the mood to try different things all the time, and I’m finding it difficult to stay focused. It’s always the trouble, I guess, when trying to do something like this, as you risk not being productive because you’re instead in the mood for something else.

For me, right now that something else is Grey Knights!

I’ve talked about my Deathwatch plans here not too long ago, of course, and I’ve been thinking a lot about that army and maybe making some addition to it, trying to incorporate the more weird and wonderful elements of the Imperium. Something that always attracts me to 40k is the gothic grimdark look of it all, and the smaller factions of the Imperium such as the Adeptus Ministorum and the Inquisition really pull me in for their weird and wonderful aesthetic. We’re probably another year away from getting anything associated with the Adepta Sororitas, which I would imagine to include all manner of Priests and other wonderful bits, but the 40k-adjacent stuff like Blackstone Fortress has provided us already with some of the more obscure stuff, with the promise of more to come, and I love it! But today, after about a week of turning it over in my mind, I went and bought the Codex and a Strike Squad.

I’d originally bought a Purifier Squad in 2016, but only got as far as this bad boy before selling it off as another abandoned project (though I did use the swords for some Alpha Legion Chosen back when I was building an army of those sneaky chaps). I had some serious painting issues in 2016, as I kept going wider and wider with my projects, and ended up selling off a whole load of things I’d partially finished or finished entirely. It wasn’t really until I wrote that blog about the Inquisition the other week that I began to think about doing anything remotely linked to Chapter 666.

I’ve played against Grey Knights in Kill Team, and it was shocking (though I was playing as Genestealer Cults, so there is that…) I’m definitely looking forward to making up a small detachment of daemon-hunters to add to my xenos-hunting Deathwatch, anyway!

Mention of Genestealer Cults brings me on to today’s preview of the new Vigilus Defiant campaign book over on the Community site. The book is bringing out some specialist detachments for armies in all three branches of play, and it sounds amazing. Rather than having the crazy special rules of 7th edition, or merely having points attached to them like Age of Sigmar, detachments in 8th edition are bought using Command Points, and merely unlock further Stratagems, Relics and Warlord Traits that you can give to your units within that specialist detachment. It’s a bit early to say, for sure, but it sounds like it should be a really nice addition to the game and, so long as they don’t use this as an excuse to drive sales of miniatures that aren’t doing so well at retail, or try to balance the meta by bringing out more and more insane detachments, I think it should be good.

Giving a select few units access to some cool new stuff sounds like a fun idea, anyway, and from the look of the preview article, it sounds like they’re definitely aiming for theme more than anything else. Of course, that can always go one of two ways, so I suppose it will just be a case of waiting to see how all of this pans out…

That’s not all on the Community site today though – we also got a pdf with Kill Team rules for the miniatures within Blackstone Fortress, which is really nice! While there have been no firm promises to provide Blackstone Fortress rules for the Kill Team Rogue Trader stuff, it’s still good to see the level of crossover within these games, and I like the fact they’re available for free.

While the explorers all have specific armies they slot into (mainly Imperium ones, though obviously Tau and Eldar feature), the adversaries all slot into their own Servants of the Abyss faction, and I’m definitely going to be looking at building a list with these guys soon enough!! I’m thinking a Rogue Psyker, some Negavolt Cultists, maybe a Black Legionnaire, and a few Traitor Guard to round it out to 100 points. Should be interesting – I’ve played against psykers in Kill Team of course, but the psychic phase in general is one that I tend to avoid!

Finally, I started to read the Enforcer omnibus the other day – so far, it’s been excellent, so I hope that the quality continues! I’m probably only going to read the first book in the trilogy for now, as I’m also itching to get back to the Horus Heresy, but had been reading far too much about the Iron Warriors lately, so felt the need for a palette cleanse before I get back to it with Angel Exterminatus!

Look out for my review soon, anyway, along with progress with the Grey Knights!

The Horus Heresy

Hey everybody!
It’s Game Day here at spalanz.com, as I try to re-establish the old favourite series of blogs for the month of December. Today, I’m sticking within the now-established theme of being obsessed with Warhammer 40k, and taking a look at possibly the most expensive two-player game I’ve ever bought – it’s The Horus Heresy, from Fantasy Flight Games!

This massive box was originally suggested to me by my erstwhile gaming buddy Tony, who was I think intrigued by the lore of the thing, and suggested we give it a go. Well, give it a go, we did, back in 2013, and what an incredible gaming experience it was! I mean that insofar as it was quite the juggernaut of the board game, coming in that huge coffin-box full of cards and miniatures, and of course the 3D game board!

I honestly don’t remember a lot of the intricacies of the rules from more than five years ago, and I think the fact we only ever played it once is probably quite telling there. Notably, of course, this game stems from the time before I actually started to build and paint (and play) the GW miniatures, so my exposure to this sort of thing came exclusively in card- and board-game formats like this. The video above does a fairly decent job of explaining the rules, which include card-based combat in the same manner as Mansions of Madness, something I do quite enjoy from a game.

I think the main problem with getting this to the table more is the sheer size of the game, though. It took me almost an hour to set up before the game (not an uncommon occurrence, as you can see from fellow blogger Roemer’s Workshop, when he took a look at the game!) and pretty much an entire weekend to get the rules straight in my mind. I must say, though, once we got going, I seem to recall it was pretty straightforward to play the actual game. While being no strangers to card-based combat games like this, I think there is still a strange element to playing this sort of game, as we probably just prefer to use dice!

FFG Horus Heresy

Fantasy Flight always make wonderful games, of course, and while the miniature quality is of course nowhere near that of Citadel miniatures, they are nevertheless decent enough for gaming pieces. The Primarchs themselves are cardboard stand-ups, however, which is slightly disappointing, though they do use some classic art, which I suppose isn’t a bad thing! Returning to Roemer’s Workshop, you can get a better idea of the game and its components in his follow-up blog, here.

As a board game telling the story of the Siege of Terra, I think the game does a really good job of keeping on-theme while still allowing for the game to actually play itself – you’ll never be doomed to eternal defeat if you play Horus, but you’ll certainly get the sense of what the story is all about. In my game with Tony, I was playing the Loyalist side, and actually lost due to a Spaceport victory (though Horus was on the brink of death when that happened, I’d like to mention!) so it is definitely possible.

FFG have, of course, stopped producing Games Workshop games, so this is no longer available. GW have themselves started making their own board games set during the Horus Heresy, although have not yet made an attempt to capture the iconic events such as the Siege. Maybe when the novel series reaches this point, they might? I recently sold my copy on ebay, as it had been so long since I played it, I just couldn’t ever see this game coming back to the table. That isn’t to say it’s a bad game, at all, it’s just a very particular type of game, and I think it somehow belongs to the older Fantasy Flight style of game, when they made things that were pretty heavy-going and gamer-centric, rather than being the more accessible sort of thing they produce these days. But that’s probably the subject for another blog!

November Retrospective: goals and ramblings

Hey everybody!
I don’t know about you, but I’ve had a blast this last month here on the blog, there seems to have been so much stuff to talk about, it has been really great to talk about all the upcoming stuff, the current projects, theory-craft about the future and so on. It’s been really productive for me, and hitting that 800-post milestone was just the icing on the cake there. I published a new blog every day for the week in which post 800 arrived, though looking at the little calendar over on the right there, I actually posted for nine consecutive days, which is definitely more productive than I’ve been for a long time here! Which is interesting to me, as I love a good stat.

However, the month is now at an end, and so I thought I’d ramble instead about the upcoming projects that I have on the horizon, and see where I’d like to be at the end of the year – it’s something I have thought about lately, and as we launch ourselves at December this weekend, I think it’s about time to lay out some groundwork!

This month, I’ve managed to paint quite a lot, as it happens, between the Thorns of the Briar Queen warband, the Fulgurite Electro-Priests that I’ve been wanting to paint since they came out, and the recent batch of Necrons and Dark Eldar chaps. Starting work on the Elucidian Starstriders has, I feel, knocked me a little as I had been trying to focus instead on painting just one unit and getting that finished. It was fine when I could focus just on the Electro-Priests, or just on the Immortals, but I do feel that I have once more been branching off and, sadly, it’s no good to anyone! I’ve recently been feeling really annoyed at having so many partly-painted miniatures out on the desk, so I think I need to pare things down and just work on the unit I want to finish, then move on.

Which brings me on to the units that I want to work on!

Necrom Immortals / Annihilation Barge

I had been talking earlier in the month about Necrons first and foremost, and wanted to paint up some more Immortals and some Deathmarks. Well, I have finished the unit of Deathmarks now, so I think I will indeed go for the heavy armour and add the Annihilation Barge to that list, alongside some more Immortals. For the Great Reanimation project, I currently only have 15 troops painted, while my list requires 25, so I think I need to get moving there. I have, actually, nearly caved on a couple of occasions and bought some Warriors for the army – sculpts that I dislike so much, but I can see myself perhaps eventually adding in the new year. Never thought I’d see the day, but there we are! I’m still considering it, though, so haven’t pulled the trigger yet. We shall see.

I’m hoping that the fact the Annihilation Barge is partly painted already will give me a good head-start on this!

Total so far: 5 Immortals and an Annihilation Barge

Before I move on, I thought I’d just mention my Dark Eldar, and the fact that I’ve recently managed to finish off a couple of things that have been hanging around the painting table for a while now, such as a Venom and the Sslyth. I’m quite chuffed that I’ve finally painted up a full Court of the Archon, which looks so gloriously weird that I love it! I’ve enjoyed getting these final few projects completed, to try and fully round-out the army, and have been trying to get more of the special-weapon Kabalites painted up as well. I now have the grand total of two splinter cannons and two shredders in the army – yes, that is apparently all! It’s surprising, really, that I’ve otherwise managed to get a silly amount of dark lances and blasters, when I try my hardest not to listen to the internet meta and go for these things! But there we are. I’ll probably continue to paint up odd warriors like this – I think I have at least three squads built and primed, so I suppose it’s inevitable that some of those will find their way to the table eventually. I wanted to experiment with taking huge blobs of Kabalite Warriors without relying on Raiders, so using 20-man blobs that include a dark lance, a splinter cannon, two shredders and two blasters (the max load-out). Not sure if that would be any use, as it would be a huge points-sink (200 points, without kitting out the Sybarite with any special weapons).

At any rate, I have no plans to paint anything further for the army this year, though that could change as I decide to try something new!

Skitarii Vanguard / Tech Priest Dominus

Let’s talk about Skitarii, though. I’ve been thinking about getting back into Kill Team with a force of the robot-men, and have been reading some short stories/novellas that feature them, so it’s probably natural that my attention would be turned that way. I’ve now got a grand total of 10 models painted for the AdMech army that I’ve been thinking about for years, so I think it’s time to really try and add some more to that. I’ve mentioned recently wanting to add in either some Rangers or Vanguard (probably Vanguard), and the Tech Priest Dominus, and while I think that’s definitely the goal, I don’t know if I’ll manage to get them all finished in December. The Tech Priest is such an amazing kit that I really want to try to do it justice, and so would need to spend a lot of time with it, picking out all the details of cabling and such. I’m fairly confident I can get some troops rattled off fairly quickly, though, so fingers crossed they won’t be too much bother. I recently built up some Vanguard with a lot of special weapons in the team, so I may actually try and get those painted as well, but for now I’m sticking to just five regular dudes with radium carbines.

Total so far: 5 Immortals, Annihilation Barge, 5 Skitarii

Let’s talk about Chaos for a bit!

Dark Vengeance Chaos Cultists

Blackstone Fortress has inspired me so much as regards getting into the Ruinous Powers, but my thoughts had turned from the Light of the Emperor with the Necromunda rules for Chaos Cults. I’ve currently got a bunch of these guys built up ready, having found my Dark Vengeance stuff as well as picking up some more off ebay, so I’m ready to get moving there. I currently have just five miniatures plus the gang leader (I think he was called Tetchvar in Dark Vengeance?) primed and ready, so I’m looking forward to getting round to those. I’d like to spend some quality time painting these guys, as well, as I think the miniatures look fantastic, and there is an element of wanting to do the models justice given the fact they are so scarce now!

However, Blackstone Fortress is also a thing, and I’m thinking about adding some of those miniatures to the fray, also. I’ve bought additional Rogue Psykers, as I thought it would be a good model to use as the Cult Witch in Necromunda when I get round to that, so I might add those to the roster. Some guys in my local group have also started on the Traitor Guard, and their results are amazing, but the feedback is they’re so detailed models that it’s taking longer than expected to paint them. So I might not move on to them just yet, as I’m trying to go easy on myself here!!

Between everything, I think there should be some excellent fodder for my budding Chaos warband.

I think the sensible thing to do would be to re-evaluate the situation once I’ve gotten going with my painting projects during the month. So for now, we’ll just stick to the Chaos Cultist models and see about adding in Traitor Guard later.

Total so far: 5 Immortals, Annihilation Barge, 5 Skitarii, 6 Cultists

Now then, let’s bring ourselves back from the brink and return fully to the Light of the Emperor, with some Space Marines! I’ve talked recently about two of my favourite projects from back in the day, Deathwing and Deathwatch, and I am quite keen to do some Imperium projects alongside all the Xenos and Heretic stuff I have going on! I had been thinking about trying to finish the Deathwing Knights, which have been hanging about half-finished for years, but I’m already feeling a little overwhelmed at this point, that I’m moving away from this idea a little bit. Similarly, I’d thought about trying to paint up some characters for the Deathwatch, but again, it feels like those models would require too much time to do them proper justice.

So I’m thinking that I’d prefer to hold back a little, and see how the month pans out before going too crazy here. I’ve got almost twenty models that I want to get painted during December, already, so I don’t want to just keep adding to the list and risk not getting anything done! But I shall definitely re-evaluate the situation once the month is underway!


This blog is already running quite long, but you’ll be pleased to learn that I’m not far from done now!

Now that I’ve outlined all of the stuff that I would like to get painted during the month, I thought I’d waffle a bit more about my thoughts for getting it done in time. I’ve really enjoyed the focus I’ve been able to maintain on the hobby during November, and I was talking about this sort of thing with my mother-in-law at the weekend, who is herself a very crafty person, doing all sorts of sewing stuff. Anyway! She was saying that she’s taking part in some kind of long-term thing whereby you commit to doing a little crafting each day for 50 days (at least, I think it was 50 days), and it has really helped her to get some projects moving along. So I’m planning to adopt this approach myself, and so every day during December, I’m intending to paint for at least an hour a day.

I think that a lot of my success during November has been due to painting miniatures as a wind-down before bed (though it hasn’t helped my sleeping much, given that I’ve been excited about getting projects moving!) So I’m hoping to continue that, and while I suppose I can probably write-off Christmas Day due to the usual family commitments, who knows if I may well still manage a few brush strokes?! I do have some time off though, so can always make up for lost time!

I think this approach of ‘a little, often’ should do quite well, and if I can keep the focus on getting units finished at a time, I should be fine! That’s the theory, at any rate!!

I’ll be documenting my progress over at my instagram account, with daily updates of what I’ve done (hopefully I’ll stick to this list, but you never know!) and, every Sunday, I’ll be reinstating the Hobby Progress blogs for the month, with a special one on New Year’s Eve that showcases all of the stuff that I’ve managed to paint throughout the course of the year. It’s surprisingly more than I had thought!!

So stay tuned for all of this and more, as we throw ourselves at December!

Warhammer Quest: Blackstone Fortress – first impressions

Hey everybody,
Had my first game with Warhammer Quest: Blackstone Fortress at the weekend, so thought I’d re-institute the Game Day blogs while we run up to the festive period by looking at this beast!

Blackstone Fortress

At its heart, Blackstone Fortress has a lot in common with the earlier Silver Tower game. We have a co-operative adventure for four heroes delving into the labyrinth, with the mechanics of destiny dice and activation dice being common to both iterations. There have been some tweaks, which has led to many people calling Age of Sigmar in general something of a test-bed for 40k and its related games.

I’m not going to call Blackstone Fortress a re-skin, as there is more to it than that. But there are enough similarities between the two so that, if you’re familiar with one, then you’ll be able to get cracking with the other quickly enough. Once I got going with this, I certainly had no problems running the adventure along.

Blackstone Fortress

The biggest draw, for me, was definitely the miniatures. I try not to buy these games purely for the minis, as I want to enjoy the game aspect of the box. I am extremely guilty of having been suckered into this game purely for the fact that the minis look amazing, and so very different to anything we’ve had so far. Negavolt Cultists and Traitor Guard are just fabulous, while plastic Ministorum Priests and Navigators are just phenomenal! One of my driving reasons for picking up the game was that I have a concept for Armies on Parade that a lot of these miniatures really fit into, so in a way I dropped a lot of cash on picking up some minis that look fantastic.

However, the game itself is actually really quite good!

There are some very specific set-up instructions that I don’t remember from Silver Tower, which help to balance the game somewhat and introduce you to things slowly as you begin with the prospect of lower-level adversaries to fight. The game features an in-built levelling system whereby, each time you end an adventure, you add in a Legacy card that either gives you more enemies to fight, or increases the difficulty of the current selection. Combat is not always a given, either – during set-up, you create an encounter deck, which are split into combat and challenges, and it just so happened that I drew a combat to start things off. Challenges are almost out-of-game things where you need to build a tower of dice in 20 seconds, or whatnot. I suppose this is what GW meant when it came to the RPG aspect of things.

Blackstone Fortress

Something else that has an RPG element is the cleanup step at the end of the encounter, called the Precipice step as it involves returning to the main space station where all the adventurers’ ships are docked. There, you get to trade the strange archaeotech you discover for some upgrades – there are six ships included in the core set, and each of them has a distinct flavour, such as bizarre xenos tech on the Rogue Trader’s vessel, military hardware on the Kroot Mercenary’s ship, Prayers and such on the Priest’s vessel, etc. It’s all quite thematic, but I wasn’t entirely sure of the value of a lot of the upgrades – possibly due to the fact it was my first game…

I’d been hoping this game would be something akin to Shadows of Brimstone, though with a better quality of miniature and a much slicker implementation. The gameplay itself is actually really straightforward, and like I said earlier, it wasn’t a huge concern for me once I got going. The structure of the turn is fairly straightforward, if a little packed with stages, and there are some bits that I found myself forgetting at first, such as the Event phase at the end. The main problem, I found, was that the rulebook feels very much like it has been separated into three separate booklets for no good reason. There is the actual Rulebook, which only includes the rules for set-up, and then some advanced rule stuff; the Combat book actually includes most of the rules you’ll need to reference during the main body of the game, and the Precipice book has all of the after-game stuff like buying stuff and whatnot. It felt clunky for the amount of booklets I was leafing through each time, and I do believe it could have been organised much better, with just one big book that also includes the Background material included within a fourth booklet.

Blackstone Fortress

This isn’t a dungeon-crawl in the sense that Silver Tower is, as the Combat cards re-invent the board each time you draw one, and place adversaries for you to overcome. The AI that drives these adversaries is, if I’m honest, fairly basic – being a hex-based map, there are often a lot of decisions to make as to where best to move the adversary, and I can imagine a lot of players would position them in such a way as makes it easier on the explorers. I did like the Reinforcements idea, though, whereby enemy models can potentially always come back, even if you’ve gotten rid of the entire group. I was seconds from getting all of my explorers clear of the maze near the end, when a group of six Traitor Guard reappeared and blocked Thaddeus from joining the others, causing the game to continue another couple of turns. Talk about dramatic!

Blackstone Fortress

I think this is where the game is really going to shine, though, in terms of the storytelling and the drama that it can create when getting these moments in-game. There are a lot of moving parts to this game, and a lot of things to keep track of. While it does work fine as a pure co-op adventure, the rules state that for five players, one will take on the role of a GM almost, and control the adversary groups as well as the additional stuff like Initiative. Doing that, I can see the game being a lot more involved and, dare I say, enjoyable as you feel more like you’re actually fighting against the fortress. But these are my initial thoughts, and increased familiarity with the game might see me change that idea.

Blackstone Fortress

Overall, I think the game is a really good implementation of the Warhammer Quest core ideas. It doesn’t really feel that much like a simple re-skin of Silver Tower, but instead there is so much going on that you really feel in the 40k universe. If you’re already familiar with the setting, then there’s a lot to enjoy as you work your way through the adventure.

I think a lot of people may be a little bit confused, or misled into thinking this is a Legacy-type game, with a lot of mileage out of your actions in one game spilling over into the next. This isn’t a Legacy game in the sense that Pandemic has made us understand it. There is the opportunity to not so much level up your character, but certainly to create a narrative around them in the spirit of an RPG, and you can buy upgrades to add to their abilities.

The confusing aspect, I think, is that there is a Legacy card deck, and GW have made a big thing about the sealed envelope that signifies the hidden heart of the fortress, to be opened only after you’ve defeated four strongholds (basically a more narrative, drawn-out Combat step). Once you’ve done that, you get to open the envelope and find what was waiting for you all that time. I’ve notheard of anybody who has opened one without completing the adventure yet, so at least it has captured some people’s imagination, but this is really where any similarity to the Legacy genre ends.

It’s definitely an enjoyable game, and there are a lot of storytelling possibilities within the game, but the main roadblock for it is the same as that for Silver Tower: you’re paying £95 for a type of game that you can get for probably half that price elsewhere – and where the miniatures come pre-assembled! Unless, like me, you’re invested in the lore, and you love the look of these new miniatures, then I can imagine you’d be better off going elsewhere for your space-faring co-op adventure.

Games Workshop have recently come out to say that there will be expansions, more news of which will be coming in the new year. This is an exciting prospect, as they’re using this game as a way to explore the dark corners of the 40k universe, and based on what they’ve done with this already, I cannot wait to see where they go next with it. I hope we will see some rules to add selected pre-existing miniatures as adversary groups to the game – possibly through card expansion packs, as we only really need the Legacy cards, the Adversary stat cards, and maybe a themed mission or something to bind it all together. I’ve talked in the past how they could use this to introduce something like plastic Flayed Ones, but I don’t know if this could actually happen. However, I also hope we won’t have to wait 12 months before we see another big box for the game. I’d like to see something that basically expands the game with a smaller-scale version of the core set: a couple more explorers, with a couple more adversaries, and maybe a mission or two with the appropriate tiles, etc. It’s certainly going to be interesting to see just how much love they give this game, though!

Join me next week for another Game Day blog, where I’ll be shining the spotlight of awesome on another game from my collection!

Deathwatch Army thoughts

Hey everybody!
I seem to be in a bit of a reflective mood of late, looking through a lot of the armies that I’ve had built but not necessarily ones that I’ve been doing a great deal with for some time now – today sees me turn this attention on the Deathwatch, a force that I was really excited for back when they first arrived on the scene with the Overkill boxed game. Having painted up a number of units rather quickly, they’ve since been left to gather dust, so I thought I’d take a look at what I have, and see where I can potentially take them!

Imperium armies for me have, for some time now, been confined to the smaller-scale things like Tempestus Scions or Skitarii. Certainly, I don’t think I’ve painted a single marine since I moved house 18 months ago…

My Deathwatch force is pretty much as you see it above, anyway, and on paper looks something like this:

My Deathwatch army is a bit of a mix of a couple of squad ideas that I’ve built up initially, then picked a couple from each to paint. So there’s the original Kill Team Cassius from Deathwatch: Overkill; there are the veterans from Death Masque that came alongside Watch Captain Artemis, along with the Vanguard Veterans and Venerable Dreadnought from that box; there are also a group of Veterans that I built to represent Kill Team Excis (the original Kill Team from the Overkill storyline, who had stats in White Dwarf back in September 2016), as well as some odd bits like the Deathwing Terminator and the Black Templar that I built out of bits from their upgrade kit that I found online. So it’s quite a mixed bag!

I do have a number of unpainted miniatures, though, which I have been thinking about returning to at some point, as I would like to make these guys into something more like a playable army. Having played against Deathwatch a couple of times, I would like to wield that kind of power rather than be coming up against it, for sure!! The kind of army I think I’d like to have would be something along the lines of this:

It feels, to me, like a well-rounded force, capable of doing enough interesting things to, well, keep me interested!

So it’s a little over 1000 points, but hopefully that won’t be too overbalanced if I want to try it out in some games once I’ve gotten going with it. Pretty much all of these models have been built and primed, as well, with just the Watch Master that needs building. I think, of the 20 models in the army, I’ve got 9 of them painted, so 45% completion isn’t too bad! It’s certainly a good start, I feel, although I may well find myself swapping out things as time moves on.

I’ve also got another Veterans sprue that I can build, so I’m thinking that I might wait for a bit, get some games under my belt with this army, and see how well it works and what I might need to add in to the force before I go and build those. I do like the idea of building up the sergeant to have a xenophase blade, though, as it has become quite an iconic piece of wargear since it has now featured on the cover of both Codexes!

I do enjoy these guys, as the models are so wonderfully detailed, and the results of the gold and other bits against the black armour is really quite striking. There are definitely a lot of options for painting these guys to look really good – I think the black base really lends itself well, in that respect, and it makes not only the gold pop out, but also the chapter iconography that adds some colour to the force.

I’ve not yet played an Imperium army in 40k, despite having several on the go, so I think it could be fun to try out something different for a change!

Rampant Speculation, and more!

Hey everybody!
It probably hasn’t escaped anybody’s notice that tomorrow is the start of the Vigilus Weekender, a two day event at Warhammer World, where GW are going to announce “something big” for us all. Intrigued? Well, I am!

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Vigilus Calls. The Imperium will answer…

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This “something big” could, of course, be anything. I’ve been reading a lot online where people have suggested it could be the return of Abaddon, or it could be Marneus Calgar as a dreadnought, based on the teaser video GW posted yesterday. Frankly, both of those things could well be true, as it wouldn’t be a massive stretch of the imagination to learn that the Black Legion has shown up on the hotly-contested battleground, and given how sidelined Marneus Calgar was during the Dark Imperium novel, I think it would be so cool to see him come back as a relic dreadnought to really kick some ass.

I suppose the problem with that last could be that it feels like such a huge event, it should be in a novel. Calgar’s last stand, his heroic death and eventual reincarnation in the sarcophagus of a dreadnought – it’s too much to just bring out the model and say, “oh yeah, he’s in there now”. Maybe they’ll announce the tie-in book, though something just feels a little off about that. Sure, there has been a build-up for months now, with all the box sets coming out! But who knows?!

Abaddon and the Black Legion are a very safe bet, as it feels like the Blackstone Fortress stuff is going to be heralding a new age for Chaos. If we don’t get more Chaos Space Marines in the mould of those chaps from the boxed game, then I don’t know anything, anymore! I’ve talked about this extensively in the past, but I would love to see GW come out with a full Black Legion release, making use of the new minis as well as the Chaos Renegades such as Traitor Guard and Beastmen, with maybe some sort of campaign book rather than a full Codex. A Black Legion Codex just seems like a silly thing, to me. I am really excited to see how GW progress with the new models from Blackstone Fortress, however, so I’m probably talking about them a great deal because I’m just so interested!!

Personally, I would love to see the announcement of the Genestealer Cults Codex come out of this weekend. We know that they’re an active force on Vigilus, and while they have only recently had Tooth and Claw devoted to them, I would like to see this be a major thing to come out of the weekend. Preferably with a pre-order to boot! But between a Codex, the new Aberrant models, maybe the new Abominant, and of course the gunslinger Primus, this is a Codex release that would actually feel like a new army release once more. It’s the last of the regular Codexes from 7th edition to have the 8th edition treatment, so why not go out with a bang? We could even be seeing more new releases for the army that we hadn’t been expecting – I mean, who was expecting that Abominant?

Equally, I would love it to be something entirely out of left field, that comes as a complete surprise to us all. Codex: Dark Mechanicum, with a whole new line of models after the Negavolt Cultists!

But it’s most likely to involve Primaris Marines, so there is that…

Anyway! Whatever is involved this weekend, I’m just rubbing my hands with anticipation!

In other news, I’ve picked up my copy of Blackstone Fortress today, and have put together a little unboxing video in the way that I used to for these things! I haven’t made a youtube video for a while now, though that is at least partly due to the fact I was moving house so didn’t get a chance to keep going there. Might get back into it all sometime, once things calm down again! Of course, it feels like there are enough miniatures in the Blackstone Fortress box to keep me busy until Christmas, so I may have other things to occupy my time!

I’ve been busy building some units for the Ravenwing portion of my Dark Angels army that I talked about in some depth the other day, so I currently have the bikers from Dark Vengeance (that I eventually bought from ebay, as I couldn’t find my own – they were a nightmare to fix up, but got there in the end!) and a Talonmaster that was built out of a landspeeder and the Ravenwing upgrade sprue. I’ve also put together this little beauty:

I’ve had this kit for years, and have been recently on the fence as to whether to keep it or not, but having now built it up, I’m really chuffed that I did! It looks amazing, and I can’t wait to get it painted!

I’ve also been building AdMech stuff, which is exciting – I’d previously built a Tech Priest Dominus, but the model broke, so it’s nice to have another one to get painted.

While building both the Tech Priest and the Darkshroud, I was thinking about how amazingly detailed these models are, and how I really want to do them justice. So I’m really looking forward to getting started on them, as a little winter painting project. This hopefully won’t impact too much on the plans I talked about the other day, of course!!

Anyway, it’s been a busy time for building, and with the arrival of Blackstone Fortress, it’s going to be even busier! But I’m really looking forward to seeing what comes next from this weekend’s event!!