Warhammer Underworlds

Hey everybody,
Today is game day once more here at spalanz.com, and today I’m going to talk about my latest obsession: Warhammer Underworlds! It’s been out for years, and I’ve had the Nightvault core set hanging about for a couple of years now, but only recently started thinking about it seriously for the game, rather than the miniatures as part of the larger Age of Sigmar game.

I do love the miniatures though, it has to be said they’re some of the best fantasy sculpts out there!

Anyway, Warhammer Underworlds is heavily marketed as the competitive miniatures game, and you can really tell just from reading the rulebook. Everything is quite strict and laid-out, trying really hard to cut out any room for error or misinterpretation. Of course, some rules can come across a bit thickly, if that makes sense, though subsequent “seasons” have sought to refine the rules to the point where, I believe, they’re in the best shape yet.

Seasons, I hear you ask?
There have been four seasons, as the time I’m writing this. Shadespire, Nightvault, Beastgrave, and Direchasm. To remain competitive, while keeping the bar for entry somewhat low, a system of rotation was introduced to keep only the two most recent core boxes current – something akin to Standard for Magic the Gathering, I guess. Whether additional formats will come in time, along the lines of Modern say, I suppose time will tell. At any rate, the cardpool is kept small enough that it doesn’t become too arduous to build a deck for the game.

A deck, you say? But GW are a miniatures company!
Ah yes, Games Workshop is mainly all about the minis, for sure. But Warhammer Underworlds is a curious mix of miniatures and deckbuilding. When assembling your warband, you build two decks; an objective deck and a power deck. At the start of the game, you draw three objective cards, and five power cards; the objective cards are exactly that, objectives that you can aim to score throughout the game. These can be scored immediately or at the end of the game, and upon achievement they give you “glory” – at the end of the game, the player with the most glory wins.

Power cards are a more immediate benefit, which come in two flavours – upgrades and gambits. Upgrades can, well, upgrade fighters for the cost of the glory that you have earned (this doesn’t remove that glory from your final pool, though), whereas gambits can be more one-time effects. With Nightvault, the game had the addition of Magic, and several gambits come in the form of spells, which can be used only by wizards in your band.

There are of course many rules for deckbuilding, which is pretty much true of any such game of course. You can only have 12 objectives, only six of which can be “surge” objectives (the type you can score immediately once the conditions are met). The power deck must have at least 20 cards, no more than half of which can be gambit cards. Additionally, you cannot use multiple copies of the same card.

So how do you play?
The game lasts for three rounds, which are split into four activations for each player. Perhaps the best thing about this game is that it follows an I go/You go principle of alternating activations, so you don’t have to sit through one person working out their strategy for the whole turn. Warbands come in many sizes, from three to nine fighters, though you only have four activations to work through each round, causing a lot of decisions as to who you use and who you leave back.

Each fighter can move, attack, charge or go on-guard. In addition, there are player activations that you can take, such as discarding and drawing cards. Interestingly, fighters can be activated more than once per round, however once a fighter moves he receives a token which means he can’t perform the same action again. In addition, if the fighter charges, he receives a token which means he can’t be activated again. But in theory, you can move the fighter in the first activation, and then attack with the same fighter in each subsequent activation. Very useful if your warband is reduced to one fighter!

The game uses special dice, which can be a little confusing at first of course, as with any game that uses such dice. The white dice are used for attacks; black for defence, and blue for magic. Each fighter’s card uses a fairly elegant system to show how they move, attack and defend, as well as their wounds characteristic.

On the left we have the weapons, showing the range (in hexes), number of attack dice rolled, as well as what you need to roll for a success, and then how much damage the attack deals. Attack dice have two hammer symbols, one crossed swords symbol, and a critical success symbol. When attacking, a critical success symbol has the potential to cancel out any successful defence roll, and the other way round.

Rather than trying to cover the whole gameplay thing, it might be easier if I just link to the GW video where Becca Scott explains it all:

While you can attempt to destroy your opponent’s warband, the game is all about playing the objectives, of course, and at the end of the game, the player with the most glory is the winner – even if they have no fighters left standing.

I’ve recently picked up the Direchasm box, which I’ve been eyeing up for a while because of the Slaanesh warband, but decided it was high time I actually see what I’ve been missing out on all these years. The short answer, of course, is a lot of fun! Sadly, due to the ongoing coronavirus restrictions, I’ve been unable to play real games, so have been checking things out by playing against myself, but already I’m pretty hooked!

I’ve played one game with each core game so far – although I think I may have sold off the Stormcast that came in the Nightvault box, so instead I used the Godsworn Hunt warband, which I have hanging about because I love the aesthetic so much. As shown up at the top, the Thorns of the Briar Queen warband is the only one that I have fully painted up, though, so it was a pleasure to get those guys out at last!

It’s definitely the sort of game that I can see myself really immersing into. I’m not about to go ahead and plough a lot of money into all the various warbands, of course, but I would like to pick up a few (probably ones that I have already earmarked for their miniatures) so that I can get a wider cardpool to use, and of course having different warbands to try is always going to be a nice bonus!

The rotation thing that I mentioned before does give me pause, though. The Nightvault game that I had yesterday was played using cards and warbands from that season – kinda like Block Constructed for MtG, I suppose! The way that rotation works, all the Warbands currently out there are still legal, including any warband-specific cards they have. But each warband is sold in a pack that includes 60 cards, roughly half of which are “universal” – when a season rotates out, those universal cards go with it. If a card is then featured in a new, current season after being printed in the older one, you can use the old printing if you like. I’m not sure how many cards that affects – there are probably sites out there that crunch these sorts of numbers! – but it’s something I find interesting insofar as longevity of the product. I’m not trying to say that I’m against rotation per se, especially when you think I’m trying to get into the game during its fourth season, so would otherwise have quite the task ahead of me to do so! But while I like the look of the Beastmen warband from Beastgrave, I’m probably not going to buy that set because it’s going to be rotating out this year…

Obviously, rotation only affects tournament play and I don’t think I’m likely to be playing in any such events with a baby due in two months’ time, but I’d like to get as much play out of my stuff as possible. Luckily, Direchasm seems to have the greatest number yet of warbands that I’m actually interested in – along with the Slaanesh Hedonite warband from the core box, there are Slaves to Darkness and Ossiarch Bonereapers, Idoneth Deepkin and even Seraphon.

I’m two games in, and already I can feel myself getting sucked in to the whole thing. I’m finding myself pondering deckbuilds, and wanting to read up on all of the Glory Points articles in White Dwarf that I have, up to this point, been ignoring. The rule book covers all kinds of different scenarios and has rules to cover supporting other fighters during activations etc. There is a lot of depth to the otherwise basic gameplay that I tried to summarise earlier! I think it’s pretty safe to say that I’m going to be talking about this game again, and most likely soon!

Oh, GeeDubs…

So the new Warhammer Quest board game is no longer available online. I mean, it’s not even out yet, this is being written during the pre-order week. But they’ve been hyping it for months, and now have sold out. I believe they’re making more, so it’s probably not going to be a problem – the quote is something like, they’re going to keep the base game in stock as they have done for Blackstone Fortress, which is still available as I write this.

But the way this sold out during the pre-order window, much like Piety and Pain, and Indomitus, and the plastic Sisters box, makes me baffled, for sure!

It feels very much like GW are increasingly all about the big splash releases, selling big boxes in small quantities rather than just letting people access their product in a more reasonable fashion. There is internet cynicism abound, of course, which blames shareholders and so on, but it definitely feels like GW has at the very least, shuffled a little away from being all about public engagement. On the one hand, they’re giving us incredible releases like Cursed City, but on the other they’re not really giving everybody the chance to experience that. An actual pre-order system, whereby you register your interest to buy the product and then they go ahead and fulfil that, would perhaps have been better, going up right at the start of the hype season.

I mean, they’re a fairly large company. They should be able to deal with that, right?

As it is, my interest was kinda waning anyway, but now I’m just thinking, I have enough plastic to keep me going. I’m fine with this. I don’t really have the energy for big splash releases anymore…

/grumpy old man rant 🤣

March retrospective

Hey everybody!
I’m really enjoying these end-of-the-month round-ups that I’ve been putting out so far, hopefully they’ve been interesting to read, too!

I want to start off with talking about WandaVision, which I have finished and which I enjoyed immensely! From such a weird start, the show progressed incredibly well, with such a wonderful pacing as the mystery unfolds. In particular, I love the fact that we get so many quiet moments in this show, which is fundamentally about family life (albeit the ideal family life that Wanda wants). These kind of glimpses into character are of the sort that we’d never see on the big screen. Marvel have stated that the TV shows that they have on the books are intended to cover those characters who will very likely never get their own film; however, given the incredibe storytelling we’ve seen here, it makes me wonder if that will hold true, or whether they’ll instead branch out into further shows that explore the bigger movie characters in time.

It was a really great show, with an explosive finale that I for one really appreciated for actually staying true to the hints and suggestions of what exactly West View was all about. I think almost from the start it’s been fairly clear that this has all been Wanda’s creation, borne of her despair from losing Vision during the events of the Infinity War.

I do like the fact that we finally get to see Wanda embracing her comic book heritage with the costume and the name Scarlet Witch bestowed. In the tradition of Marvel movies, we get a mid-credits scene that shows Wanda in her astral form learning more about her powers, which indicates great things in store for her appearance in the upcoming Doctor Strange movie.

I haven’t just been stuck in front of the TV, though!

I’ve been able to play quite a few games this month, which has been incredible given the lack of much gaming so far this year! After a very false start with The Circle Undone, I have finally been able to play through the whole cycle now – and what a great run it was! You can check up my write-ups on the games here, here and here. I’ve also started on a much looser idea for a “campaign”, starting with playing Return to Night of the Zealot. My idea here is to play some of the standalone scenarios like Curse of the Rougarou and Murder at the Excelsior Hotel. Of course, I need to create a new investigator deck now, but I think it could be fun – and it’ll be nice to see what I’ve been missing all these years!

In addition to Arkham Horror LCG, I’ve played two games of Warcry! Still playing against myself, sadly, because we’re unable to meet up with friends indoors for the time being, but it’s been a decent way to get to grips with the game, and I’ve played these types of things solo before, controlling both sides of the board and making the best decisions for each, but having the one side that I wanted to actually win.

I’ve had two games with the Cypher Lords, and I do enjoy the way that they play. The first game, I was playing against them, and it was the sort of game that came right down to the wire before they were defeated by the Bloodbound, my warband of choice at that game – the Wrathmaster, with one wound remaining, rolled three critical hits to thoroughly beat the Thrallmaster into a pulp. The second game, playing as the Cypher Lords, I was completely outclassed by the Unmade and the Thrallmaster was again soundly decimated by the Blissful One attacking back to back. Absolutely incredible stuff, I have to say! I definitely need to crack on with painting the terrain for this game, though I have had a hard time deciding on a scheme.

I also want to crack on with getting the Catacombs box built up and investigated…

Following on from my March Plans blog, I’ve now at least built up both the Shardspeaker and the Psychomancer – what an incredible pair of models! The Psychomancer in particular has greatly impressed me, as soon as I get some more Chaos Black spray, I’m sure I’ll be starting work on these.

I’ve been building up some more Ossiarch Bonereapers models, and have made quite a bit of progress here – I’ll be getting another army update blog posted up at some point over the Easter weekend, anyway, so stay tuned for that!

As well as the miniatures side of the hobby, I’ve also been reading more novels set in the war-torn hellscape of the far future. After putting it off for years, I’ve read Fallen Angels, which ended up a much better read than I’d been expecting. I’ve also finished the Ravenor trilogy with Ravenor Rogue, which sadly did not really live up to the rest of the trilogy! Never mind. I’m trying to get back into the Horus Heresy, after Fallen Angels – I’ve started to read the beast that is Vengeful Spirit, and I hope to move through the series a bit more this year, though I have said that a lot with these books, and only read one a year for quite some time now!

I’ve also read the second Darth Bane novel, Rule of Two, which was better than the first one, though I still don’t honestly see what so many people see in this series. The book helped me to see the whole Sith Academy thing in a different light – it was one of my major bugbears about Path of Destruction, as you may recall, the ridiculous idea of having a school for essentially evil kids, but here we have Bane draw attention to the fact that this was one of Lord Kaan’s great failures.

The book is definitely more an exploration of Zannah’s journey this time, although the middle of the book jumps ten years so we don’t have to go through years of her learning how to use the Dark Side. Instead, we have her going on missions for Bane where she is essentially working to topple the Republic by using radical groups on Serenno, the homeworld of Count Dooku. We even have a Chancellor Valorum that makes an appearance, which all just serves to heighten the links to the Prequel era as opposed to work in any real temporal distance. I’ve said it before, of course, but the book is set 1000 years before A New Hope, but it feels like it’s merely a year or two before The Phantom Menace.

At any rate, while Zannah is working to topple the Republic, Bane is trying to figure out how to make a holocron, which seems to take him the course of the book and he still doesn’t figure it out. I’m not properly up on holocron lore, but there does seem to be some conflicting accounts of how prevalent they are in the galaxy. Coupled with this, while raiding Freedon Nadd’s tomb on Dxun, Bane gets covered with weird crustaceans called orbalisks, which render him pretty impervious to any attack (we saw this in the short story Bane of the Sith, of course). However, during the climax on Tython, he is almost killed by the creatures when his Sith lightning is turned back on himself. Zannah manages to save his life, though does tell him that she will kill him when she has no further use for him.

Somewhere in there, there is a really good story. I’m just not struck on Drew Karpyshyn’s style. It feels very simplistic, and a little too much like bad fan fiction at times. Zannah is described as just gorgeous and so on, much like Githany in the last book. It all just feels a bit non-Star Wars-y. Just not really my cup of blue milk, as they say! The actual storytelling, and the temporal feel aside, I think it’s a definite step-up since the earlier book, and I am somewhat looking forward to finishing the trilogy soon.

Hobby Goals 2021 – quarter one check-in!
So we’re three months into the year now, and I think it’s a good time for a check-in as regards my 2021 hobby goals! To start with, I wanted to get the Sisters army underway, but up to this point I haven’t actually done anything with these models. At one point, I actually considered moving away from them, as it happens. However, whenever I think about them for any length of time, it’s a project that  really feel excited for, and I want to get it off the ground. I’m not sure if I should try to pare down my goals here though, and think about getting just a couple of units done. Doing this might get me into the swing of things though, and perhaps I might yet get that 500-point list painted up after all! I guess we’ll see. But Sisters definitely remain on the menu for now!

I also haven’t done anything more with my Drukhari since the Incubi back in January. I have plans for the Grotesques here, for sure, and I think I’ll take stock of the situation again once I’ve got those guys finished up!

The Codex is now out of course, though I’ve not picked it up yet… I should try harder!

Working on my Imperium forces now, I’m not sure about the Blood Angels, or the Deathwatch, but I have already thinned-out some of the AdMech models that I’d not quite gotten round to painting yet, thinking I might keep a small force of them just to have some fun with. They are just lovely models, after all. I think the Tempestus Scions might be for the chop, though – I just don’t know where I’m going with the army, and it’s been that way for so long, I think it might just be time to call it a day and focus myself elsewhere.

I still haven’t done anything with Tyranids yet, either, and the Genestealer Cults are a force similar to the Sisters in that I’ve thought maybe they could be something to move away from. Whenever I think about them, at all, I just feel the need to paint up some more Neophytes, or something. I definitely want to have a Genestealer Cult force, so I really need to plot that out.

All in all, then, it’s really not been a very productive quarter, when compared with my hobby goals! However, I’ve produced quite a lot of minis for my new Ossiarch Bonereapers army, which is quite something to be pleased about. I’ve been able to get some more Necrons done, and the Incubi as mentioned before. Things are definitely going well, I think, so it’s nothing to worry about just yet! Maybe at the halfway point there will be a bit more ticked off from here, anyway!

New Warhammer incoming!

My goodness, what a day!

There are some very interesting models coming our way in the next few months! The Faith & Damnation preview came out of nowhere, at least to me, and has shown off quite a few models that I’m excited for! Let’s take a look…

Of course, a lot of the stuff is Soulblight Gravelords, who must be coming pretty soon given that we’ve seen so many new units already. The Blood Knights have been redesigned, and look very fancy! Whether they’ll be an extortionate £61.50 for a box of five though, who can say? We’re also getting more Skeletons and Zombies, who fit in nicely with the stuff that we’ve seen from the upcoming Warhammer Quest: Cursed City. I’ve been back and forth on the new stuff, but right now I’m holding off getting into the new Vampires: I think I have enough on my plate without adding yet another army into the mix!!

The Ossiarch Bonereapers are getting their Underworlds warband and I WANT THIS NOW! May isn’t too long to wait, I guess, but still… I’m very excited for this! I also hope that it means we’ll be getting some more Bonereapers units in the future – archers would be lovely, and how about some mace-wielding chaps as well? But how nice would it also be to have some executioner-types as well? Massive axes and all!

I still haven’t played Underworlds, of course, and I don’t know if I will anytime soon, but I am very excited for this band!

We’re off to the 41st millennium next, and there are yet more units coming for the Adepta Sororitas! We’ve already seen the walker and the lieutenant-type, and now we’re getting a Predator-type vehicle as well! This is very nice, I must say – I wonder if this is it, or whether we’ll be seeing more for the Sisters before they inevitably get their 9th edition codex.

This is long overdue, for sure. Another army that has been getting new units that are bursting out of its current book. The Skitarii Marshal is probably the last we’ll be seeing for the army for a while, I’d guess. After the wave of models that came out in the Psychic Awakening release, I can’t see anything more coming over the hill, but I suppose you never know! At any rate, it’s good to see an army that has been spread apart like this come together, so I’m pleased to know that they’ll be getting their book soon.

Of course, I have a small-ish Mechanicus force of my own that I still don’t quite know what to do with. Maybe I’ll keep them, but I do want to try to thin out my plastic addiction!

Third starter set coming for Necromunda – who saw this coming?! Escher vs Delaque with some of the plastic Zone Mortalis stuff, though I’m expecting it to be quite expensive, regardless. Can’t think it would be the same price tag as Dark Uprising, of course! It’s good to see a hopefully more affordable starter set on its way, and Delaque is a nice choice, I must say!

The next House of book is coming up as well, House of Faith, featuring the Cawdor gangers having their update. Do we have a box with prospects and leaders? Not sure, but we will be getting these fine gentlemen:

We’ve already had one spoiled, but it’s lovely to see the whole box. Six miniatures, three times two, but with some very nice options regardless. I’m liking these guys a lot, anyway, I must say! And it’s always wonderful to see what’s coming next for Necromunda!

All in all, this has been a very exciting preview – if the Bonereapers warband is scheduled for May, then I’m guessing that it won’t be long until we see all of these coming out!

New Army update two

Hey everybody,
My new Ossiarch Bonereapers army is coming along really nicely so far! I’ve managed to paint well over 500 points of stuff, which is quite exciting for the time I’ve been doing this! Contrast paints have definitely proven to be a big help here. I don’t think I’d be anywhere near to what I’ve got if I were painting these entirely the traditional way.

I’d talked about the first unit of Mortek Guard, on the left there, in my first update. Since painting these guys almost as testers, I’ve been able to see where I can speed things up, and make sure I’m not spending forever getting bogged-down in detail. As such, the second unit of Mortek Guard, on the right, were painted up pretty quickly, alongside the Mortisan Boneshaper, my first hero miniature!

Now, all of these models are done up to a tabletop standard, and I’m not going to be winning any Golden Daemons for my efforts, but I think they look good enough, so that I can have a painted force that is ready to play, whenever the restrictions are lifted and we’re able to meet up with other folks again! And I can always come back to these guys and add in extra detail, if I need to, in times to come. The Boneshaper in particular, I had no idea what to do with that stream of magic, or whatever it is, forming the skeleton in front of him – the box art has it as a sort of pale blue-green, but with me using teal for the cloth I don’t think that would have worked. In the end, I went for pale blue to provide a bit of a contrast, but I know I want to come back to this at some point.

Even so, I’m really pleased with how the army has turned out up to this point. I’ve been following the guide for Petrifex Elite in the battletome, and it’s working well for me so far. The skeletons are done with Basilicanum Grey, the cloth with Terradon Turquoise followed by a drybrush of Kabalite / Sybarite Green, and the armour is Flesh Tearers Red followed by edge highlights of Wazdakka / Wild Rider Red. I think this is the first time I’ve actually been edge highlighting for real, and it does produce a nice effect, given the sharpness of the armour plates.

The weapons have been a particular success, I think! It’s just Terradon Turquoise again, this time with a drybrush of Temple Guard Blue to help give a different feel to the cloth, taking the turquoise colour more towards blue than green. I think the drybrush technique helps to give the weapons a magical feel, as it’s much less precise than edge highlighting.

For any weapon hilts, I’ve gone with Skeleton Horde to help break up the model a bit. For the spears, I’ve used Snakebite Leather for the hafts, which has a beautiful coverage, by the way. The light grey armour, as different from the bone, I’ve washed with Nuln Oil so that it stands out as different.

The last detail, really, is the jewel. In the lore, I think this is a bit like an Eldar spirit-stone, it contains the essence of the warrior spirits used to recreate the construct. They’re usually black, but given the dark nature of the bone, I went for green – Warpstone Glow and Moot Green, with a Biel-Tan Green wash to help bring out a certain vibrancy. It seems to look okay, anyway, and I think the green fits in well with the teal while providing a nice contrast with the red.

For the big lad, I basically ramped this scheme up, and I’m pleased to say that it seems to work fine on the bigger models. I tried to give some visual interest by drybrushing some parts of the skeleton with Administratum Grey, while others around the cage on his back I gave a heavier wash of the contrast paint. Any bone that he’s collecting I have left as Skeleton Horde, because otherwise it could have just been a mass of grey!

So there we have it! The first steps in collecting the bone-tithe for Nagash have begun!

I’m thinking that I might have a break from these chaps, and paint either some Warcry or Necromunda. Or maybe something totally different. But it won’t be too long before I’m going to tackle the next unit, the Necropolis Stalkers!!

Warcry: Catacombs – first impressions

Hey everybody,

So, it was inevitable really that I’d get this box. I’d been really excited about it when it was first announced, but the initial reports that came in back last November were a bit less than stellar. It seemed to be the price that caused most concern, with much less content provided here than in the original starter set, but it came at an increased cost.

In addition, the production value seemed to be a bit off, with stuff like the box being much less sturdy, no Chaotic beasts, the rule book was the same as the original, taking no account of the faq etc, the Catacombs content was confined to a slim book which felt a bit cheap (the Khainite Shadowstalkers having some content on the back cover, which feels incredibly wrong…) – and so on, and so forth.

So why did I buy it, given all of these complaints?

I suppose, first of all, it’s worth mentioning that this is an expansion for Warcry. Much like other game expansions, it brings additional content in a new and interesting way to play the game, and there is actually a lot of new content here for the Catacombs “system”. It’s not just like Kill Team Arena that pared back the rules to provide a much more balanced system – this isn’t what Catacombs is about.

Instead, we get a rule set that has elements of that competitive side of things, with players placing terrain as opposed to playing on a pre-set table, and there are real choices that can be made to your benefit while doing so. Suddenly, the lack of terrain cards here makes a bit more sense, huh?

The terrain that we get is a little sparse, consisting mainly of doors, with some obstacles of rubble. There is additional terrain, some of the ruins from the original starter set, but nothing new, and nothing that isn’t available separately. However, I do like that rubble terrain. I’m such a sucker for scatter terrain for getting the table looking really nice and atmospheric! It’s almost like I bought the box for this, and everything else is a nice bonus!

I think Catacombs is here to stay as a format, too. Several of the quests included in the Tome of Champions and the Grand Alliance books use it as a layout, with every faction (I think!) receiving at least one. I think it’s a shame that we couldn’t have had the system in a box by itself, though. All of the dungeon terrain, the boards (possibly including the two other boards that were released at the same time), and the book (reformatted with quests for all and a proper back cover) and that’s all we need. I’d probably pay more than the usual environment expansion price, too.

But we do get two more warbands in here, and I suppose at least one of them, the Scions of the Flame, do sort of belong in a dungeon setting.

They do look beautiful, of course, and I suppose it fits that GW wanted to make this something like a celebration box by including them to bump the price up. The Scions are the last of the original eight Chaos factions, and the Khainite Shadowstalkers are the first original non-Chaos warband in the game. A sign of things to come, perhaps? Personally, I hope not, as I love this game for being Chaos all the way, but at the same time, it’s good to have a more mass-appeal, so as to ensure its continued popularity and support!

When all is said and done, I am glad to have picked this one up. There’s still a lot of stuff in here, and I’m excited to at least get it assembled and try out some dungeon battles! I’m glad that I managed to get it from my FLGS at a discount though, because even with the bulk of some of the original terrain, I’m still not really sure I’d want to have paid RRP.

My plan is to continue with getting the first batch of the Ossiarch Bonereapers finished for the next few weeks, but look for more Warcry coming soon!!

More New Warhammer!

Hey everybody,

At the weekend, we had the latest Warhammer preview, showing off some of the new stuff that’s coming up in 2021, and some of it is very exciting, to say the least! I really hope this year brings us some awesome new toys, because let’s be fair, it’s been pretty grim these last few months, and we currently don’t have any sort of end in sight…

First off, we have the Sisters of Battle version of the Nemesis Dreadknight. It’s a little silly looking, in particular when you try to imagine the dimensions of the pilot and imagine how long her neck must be. But new models are always cool, even when they’re not necessarily the new models you’d have hoped for. No Biker Sisters? Hm. I’m curious as to whether, between this and the Palatine model, we have enough to warrant a new Codex already? Will we be seeing even more new kits? Hm.

Next up for 40k is a new expansion for Kill Team, showing that skirmish 40k hasn’t entirely been abandoned. I believe that this set is in addition to the re-vamp promised for the system later in the year? I’m a little sad that it seems we may need to wait longer still before getting the Chronomancer and Flayed Ones as separate kits, though I guess it’s possible people might be splitting these sets on eBay.

On a separate note, I’m really pleased to see the Psychomancer up for preorder soon! It seems like ages since I wrote my Necrons list with that guy in there!

The new Kill Team box is likely going to be a pass from me, price depending, but it’s interesting to note that this bundle gives new players who picked up Indomitus, or any of the new starter sets, a nice little expansion to those armies while also getting a different sort of game. Nice one!

We’re off to the Mortal Realms now, however…

I am categorically not about to start an army of High Elves, but I think it’s really neat to see how GW have taken the old classic elf fantasy trope and combined it with something a bit more eastern/otherworldly, with these huge animal-spirit-type forces-of-nature thing they have going on. Very Studio Ghibli. The Teclis model is strange as all hell, for sure, but I do like these big mountain spirit things!

We’ve seen some of the Vampire previews doing the rounds, but finally the new Soulblight Gravelords are making an entrance into the game with a new warband for Warhammer Underworlds, and they do look very nice! Just to reiterate, I’m not about to start yet another new army, but I could see me picking up this warband, to actually try out this game!

We’ve recently seen the update for Warhammer Underworlds, with the Slaves to Darkness warband going up for preorder soon, and what looks like an Ossiarch Bonereapers warband coming up in May. Direchasm is shaping up to have a lot of nice warband options, that’s for sure! It’s definitely time that I tried this one out, I’m thinking!

The big news, for me, is this. We’ve got a new version of Warhammer Quest coming out, and it’s once again in the Mortal Realms. However, this one miniature has got me completely drawn in – I’ve been trying to calm myself in regards to buying new stuff, but look at that guy! If we think back to Silver Tower, and all of the Tzeentch-y weirdness that we had there, this has the potential for unspeakably good zombie minis along the lines of this gravedigger lad.

Time will tell, but this is definitely one to keep an eye on, as the miniatures design shown off in just this one guy, combined with everything they’ve doubtless learnt from Blackstone Fortress, will surely make for an incredible experience!

It vaguely surprises me how, in recent weeks, I’ve moved back into what I suppose is my first love from Games Workshop, the fantasy stuff. 40k is still up there, don’t worry, but I do find myself increasingly enamoured of the Age of Sigmar miniatures line, and I think going all-in on the Bonereapers army recently testifies to that.

I’ve been worried recently that my drive to hobby has been waning, in part due to lockdown stopping me playing games, but seeing stuff like this coming over the hill has started to fire me up once more!

Necromunda thoughts

Hey everybody,

I’m fresh from reading the anthology Uprising, so thought today that I’d come along and talk a bit about things in the Underhive!

The book is a little uneven, as with any anthology really, and is mainly built around the novella Low Lives, which is a tale of a conman in the ash wastes. The various short stories that make up the collection often feature the gangs from the miniatures line, and three of them actually involve some of the named characters that you can buy in glorious Forge World resin! I thought that was pretty neat. There are a lot of Orlock stories, with one Escher, one Cawdor, one Van Saar, and one Corpse Grinder Cult. Although the Escher story is more about the Palanite Enforcers and Servalen.

On the whole, I did enjoy the book, although I did only give it three stars on goodreads, mainly because where the stories weren’t so engaging, it became a chore to get through them.

I was also disappointed there were no Delaque short stories (though they are in the Van Saar tale, as the faceless pursuit).

I mean, it was okay, and I do enjoy getting to experience the Underhive in print, as well as plastic! I was very disappointed, though, by the fact that none of the stories really dealt with the idea of the Uprising as detailed in the Dark Uprising boxed set. Having the Enforcer on the cover also felt a bit like a red herring…

But never mind!

I’ve been fairly productive on the Necromunda front as regards the actual game, I must say!

I’ve been chipping away at the Delaque gang for a while now, and they’re definitely coming on, at last! Still got quite a bit to do around the weapons and bionics, but in the main I think it’s going fairly well!

I’ve built up a few more Van Saar, too! I’ve made good use of the weapons upgrades, but I have yet to actually start painting them. One step (or gang!) at a time, I guess!

I’ve also been working on building the Gang Stronghold up since Christmas, of course, and I’m very pleased with how it’s taking shape so far! Everything is fully modular, so each section of wall can be moved about to fit any kind of configuration, which is something that is nice! I’m not sure if I should try to glue things to make it a little more solid, particularly the corner piece at the 90-degree turn, but I think I’ll wait for now, and maybe play about with it all a bit more. The floor platform at the corner I mentioned can be supported with one of the many struts included in the set, so it doesn’t seem too bad.

I’m really excited to see how it fits together with the zone mortalis stuff from Dark Uprising, as I have a lot of the platforms left over, somehow, but they are all fully compatible, so it’ll be really interesting! I recently picked up another box of the stairs and platforms, so I’ve got a lot of plastic available to me now, for sure! It does look really good, I think, with the corner stairwell I’ve attached in the above photo, but I’m sure I could combine things to come up with yet more permutations!

I don’t think I’m about to create something quite as wonderful as the stuff being put out by Owen Patten, or Leonard Dime (Rapid Tabletop), however, but it should be nice, and allow me to create some very cool looking battlegrounds!

Excitingly, I’ve also managed to get another game of Necromunda in shortly after Christmas! I built up a Sector Mechanicus board, using the Kill Team boards and a bunch of terrain that I’ve had for years, and once more pitted my Van Saar against my Delaque! (We’re still locked down here, and my wife has no interest in 40k games, sadly!)

It was an absolute joy, I must say! I didn’t play with the additional rules for Sector Mechanicus boards that were published in the Book of Peril, mainly because I am still trying to keep the core rules clear in my head! I think I need to work on making a sort of ‘rules primer’ that will help in these situations, because I spent far too long flipping back and forth in the rule book.

During the game, I was controlling both sides equally, but wanted the Van Saar to come out victorious, as I still think of them as my first gang, and all. Well, it seemed like that dream would come to nought as the Delaque gangers were picking them off with ease. I rolled so many Out of Action results this game compared with last time, it was untrue!

Things looked really grim for Van Saar, despite constantly winning the roll off to act first each round. In the fifth or sixth round, they failed a Bottle Test and barely managed to make it through, passing the subsequent Cool check to act normally. And that was really the clincher, as the Leader was able to dispatch the remaining trench coats from his lofty perch with ease, but it absolutely came down to the last man standing!

Such an epic game!

And it’s such a great game, too! Playing solo like this is fine to scratch the itch, of course – if gets me rolling dice and playing with my plastic – but this kind of game had so many epic, cinematic moments in it that could easily form part of campaign legends, this is really where I miss being able to play with friends! Hopefully we’ll begin to see an end to the restrictions by the time my gangs are painted, though, and I can be bringing news of my campaigns in the Underhive to the blog!!

Hobby Goals 2021!

Here we go again, folks! It’s a new year, and the time is right to go through some of my goals for 2021, so we can see what I can accomplish in the next twelve months. I’ve been thinking a lot about what I have on the books, and thought I would go through the inventory and see what I have to work through. So let’s get to it!

 https://www.instagram.com/p/CJb-xStHHRc/?igshid=11u1wvjkf55x4

I would like one of my main focuses for 2021 to be getting the Sisters into some form of playable shape. I’ve had the box since November 2019, of course, and was adding to it with some of the additional releases to come out at the top of 2020, but I’ve barely made any kind of dent in actually painting these models, so I really want to change that for 2021!

I’d drawn up a 500-point list back before the edition change, and everything has sneaked up to the point where I’m now quite a way over that! But rather than cut things, I’m planning to keep working to this until it’s done. 23 models shouldn’t be so insurmountable, I keep telling myself!

From here, I’m planning to expand outwards with Retributors and more Battle Sisters, as a start. I also want to get the rest of the contents of the box set finished up, although some of those feel like they’re a strange mix and I’m not all that sure how to integrate them into the rest of the army, but if nothing else, it will be good to have the whole thing finished off!

I’m very tempted to get the new Drukhari vs Sisters box coming out, but I’m holding back a little simply because I don’t really need all of the Drukhari side of it, having a massive amount of models for that army already. But another Immolator, and more Retributors, would be very nice – and I really want that Palantine model! I suppose that’s what is giving me pause, really; I’m sort of expecting it to be in the £80-£90 range from my FLGS, which would be about as much as the individual Sororitas kits would cost if you factor in the Palantine, so I’d essentially be getting the Drukhari half for free anyway. I guess we’ll see what happens in a few weeks when it’s released!

Speaking of Drukhari, though…

I recently took inventory of the dark kin that I have still to do things with, and was quite surprised at how many kits I still have! Top of the list for actually completing this year are Incubi and Drahzar, 5 more Wracks and the pair of Grotesques. I do actually need to treat myself to a third Grotesque soon, as that is the minimum unit size. Not a massive amount of models, this time! Other than this, then, I think I’d like to get some more models finished, like odd Kabalite Warriors that I have here, and perhaps another Venom or Raider. I’m not sure where I got to with the Scourges, either, so could do with taking a look there.

I probably need to inventory the actual force that I have! Back in the day, I had well over 3000 points fully painted, which should really get more outings! I think 8th edition put me off, to some extent, because I disliked having to force my list into Kabal, Coven or Cult. During the Index days, I enjoyed playing a mixed force, and I think 9th edition will be bringing that back, to some degree, so it’ll be interesting to see the sort of lists that can be done once the new codex drops!

What else?

I think I need to properly work out what I want to keep, from my Deathwatch, Tempestus Scions, Adeptus Mechanicus and Blood Angels forces (I know I’ve barely even started the latter!) I said back when 9th edition was landing, that I wanted to thin out a lot of the collection, and while I have taken some strides in that regard, I do need to try and be better! I’m thinking about wiping the slate clear with a lot of these small projects that have never really gotten off the ground, and just focusing myself where it matters! I keep getting suckered back in with the AdMech though, as I keep thinking how wonderful some of those models are! I might, therefore, just keep a token force to ally in with something like the Sisters, or the Grey Knights. While I’ve not really known what I want to do with everything, I’ve held off, but now I think it’s becoming quite clear that I ought to just cut down and focus on a few armies, rather than spreading myself so thin…

Larger collections of models include the Tyranids and Genestealer Cults, and I want to try and sort myself out here, as well. I’ve recently decided to thin out some of the Cult, as I was looking at far too many models there, but I am fairly certain that I’m not going to get rid of them as an army, as I love them as models so much. Of course, they were going to be my big army project for 9th edition, but that never really got off the ground, did it? I’m such a fan though, that they’ll no doubt be worked upon as time progresses!

The Tyranids were looking quite precarious at one point, but I enjoy those models a bit too much, also, so I think I’ll be keeping hold of those too – I want to try and play more with them, when that kind of thing is possible, as the couple of games that I have played with them were very interesting. Of course, I have the Grey Knights as a pure psyker army, but I do love the fact that the bugs have got a good mix, allowing for a nice balance during the game. Definitely need more time spent with the bugs, I think!

I also think that I had a fairly decent paint scheme for the Tyranids, easy to replicate across vast swathes of the things, but I did sort of stall back when my daughter was born, for obvious reasons! I think it would be good to get back into these guys, though, so hopefully I can make a bit more headway with these, too! It’s been nearly two years since my “Going Big With Tyranids” blog, but I think that will most likely form the jumping-off point.

I am in danger of making things a bit unbearable now, though – getting the Sisters army off the ground might turn into quite the task, after all, and I’ve not even mentioned the Necrons in this blog! At least the Sisters are the only project that has an actual list attached to them – Drukhari and Tyranids are just “paint up some random miniatures” for the time being!

Anyway, it’s probably time to enshrine some actual hobby goals for the year ahead!

Paint up the Sisters of Battle 500-point list (well, it’s a little more than 500 points, but the point stands!)

Finish up the Drukhari models – 5 Wracks, 3 Grotesques, 5 Incubi and Drahzar.

Paint up at least 2 Tyranid units, at least one of which is a big bug!

Continue rescuing Necron models – Triarch Praetorians, Canoptek Spyder, etc

Paint more Grey Knights! At least three more units, maybe a vehicle too.

Also paint more Chaos Marines! At least three units, and perhaps a bigger thing, as well.

Make a decision about the Scions, Deathwatch and AdMech models! Do I want to keep all of those Space Marines kits?

Paint more terrain – mainly for Necromunda, but also general 40k stuff.

In addition to all of this, I’d like to be less impulsive with buying stuff, and see if I can stick to only buying things that I want to actually use, etc. I’d also like to improve my painting, so I think I need to be better at doing it more often – not necessarily for the whole day, but try to do an hour more often in the week, than only one or two times in that week. I’m almost afraid to say this last one, given that we’ve just moved into full lockdown again, but I would like to play more often, and have more of a plan for when I do! I still tend to go in with the idea of “let’s see how this turns out”, so I think it could be good to get more of a game plan in place for when we are able to meet up with people once more!

So there we go! Let’s see where I stand this time next year!

Hobby Update 2020!

Hey everybody,
It’s that time of the year once again! Let’s dig into the progress that has been made over the last 12 months with my hobby, comparing it with my hobby goals from the start of the year – although I’ll warn you now, it’s not as extensive as I’d like!!

Paint up those Grey Knights!
This hasn’t actually been too bad, although of course I’m nowhere near to having even half of an army!

I’ve got the first Strike Squad painted up, which is quite exciting, as I’m sure you’ll agree! I also painted up the Chaplain model, and finally finished the first unit I started for the army, the Purifiers!

So at this point, I have two units of infantry painted up, and two characters. I’d like to do more as 2021 grinds on, as well, so hopefully I’ll keep churning out the psykers!

Finish off the odd Drukhari stuff that I have hanging about
I’ve not painted any Drukhari in 2020. I have, however, sold off some of the Kabalite Warriors in an attempt to clear the decks a bit. So I can hopefully get some of the backlog cleared as the next year approaches!

Necromunda, generally!
Okay, so this one has been quite successful of late, if I do say so myself!

I have played the game twice, solo, and loved it! I think I prefer Zone Mortalis to Sector Mechanicus, although it’s still early days and all that! I’ve been making pretty decent progress with painting my Delaque fighters as well, but I think I’ve been a bit all over the place in my excitement, and need to try to focus my efforts and get some stuff actually finished!

Blackstone Fortress – play a full campaign
Well, this didn’t happen. I did get the box down at one point, but didn’t get very far. Never mind!

Try to thin out the unpainted / unwanted models
This has actually worked out quite well for me, so far! As I said, I’ve got rid of some Drukhari bits, and have thinned out some others as well. There’s still a long way to go of course, but I’m considering my options with a lot of different bits and bobs… we’ll see how 2021 goes!

Finally – try to work on what I have had lying around for ages!
Yes, this hasn’t really worked out very well for me, either! I’ve splashed a bit of paint on some Genestealer Cult models, a few Necrons, and a few skirmish game bits and pieces such as Warcry and Necromunda. But not a great deal of models have been finished, I’m ashamed to say!

Looking through my instagram, I have fully painted five Necron Immortals, two Necron Overlords (including the new Indomitus model), five Blood Angels Devastator Marines, the Grey Knights Chaplain, Grey Knights Strike Squad, and a couple of things that I’m very pleased with:

The Ferratonic Incinerator has been hanging about for years, and I think back in 2019 one of my hobby goals was to paint a piece of terrain, so I feel pleased that I’ve finally made good on that point! I’m hoping that I can get more done, now that I’ve developed more of an idea of how I can get stuff like this painted, so we shall see on that one!

Finally, I’m really happy with this guy! So far, it’s the only model for the Black Legion that I have painted, and this is yet another army project that I’ve not yet gotten off the ground. However, it’s a project that I am rather excited to do, and Chaos is something that I keep coming back to, so I will no doubt have some updates on this development soon!

So there we have it – not the best of years, but not the worst!