Warhammer Fest 2022

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It does look tempting, though!

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

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

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

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

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

Necromunda Ash Wastes revealed!

The Ash Wastes have finally been revealed!

This box looks phenomenal, I am very excited. It looks like we’re getting a box similar to Dark Uprising, with two full gangs plus expansions to those gangs, then the terrain and a hardback rulebook, which is very exciting. I mean, I’ve held off buying the book since I had the Dark Uprising softcover, but now it looks like I won’t need to anyway.

House Orlock vs Ash Nomads, with two full gangs but also vehicles for those gangs! If you can call the bug riders for the Nomads “vehicles”. Very exciting there, for sure. I was initially a bit worried about the notion of vehicles in Necromunda, though plenty of the old-timers were excitedly reminiscing about how things were back in the day. I imagine there will be plenty of other insanity coming as other gangs get vehicle expansions, jetbikes for Van Saar maybe?

The terrain, while it perhaps looks a little sparse at first glance, does actually seem really interesting, with a lot of stuff going on with those hab modules and such. I suppose the whole principle behind this expansion is opening the board out though, so it makes sense. Of course, the new Sector Fronteris terrain could also make for a nice board for this particular brand of Necromunda, so I’m excited to see when that will be coming.

I’m very much looking forward to getting my hands on this, even though it’ll probably be a very expensive box, so will need to be planned out carefully. I mean, I’ve just picked up the Nachmund box as well! I do wish GW would slow down with the big expensive box releases!!

Back to the Underhive

Hey everybody,
Last week, I had a game of Necromunda for the first time in ages, my Delaque vs James and his Orlocks! The last time we played was well over six months ago, and not only have we both had another child each since then, but we’ve played a bit of 40k, so it was very much a case of getting back into the rules, etc.

I’m very pleased to say, though, that it went really well, and didn’t seem to take a great deal of time to get back into the swing of things. I think the biggest thing, for me, was remembering all the little bits and pieces like accuracy modifiers, ammo checks, and so on. But once we got into it, we managed to get pretty much through three unhurried rounds where I seemed to have amazing dice rolls, and systematically eliminated the Orlocks until only the leader remained.

It was pretty epic, in fairness, that final battle. James charged his leader into mine, whereupon his servo-claw missed, but my shock staff did some damage. My champion then came in with his web gauntlet and webbed him, then another ganger came along and took off another wound. With him webbed and seriously injured on the ground, we called it a night. But throughout the game, it surprised me how things went.

We were playing Hit and Run, from the Dark Uprising book, and I was the Defender, so set up in the centre of the battlefield. The Orlocks were then arrayed fairly close-in around me, as their guns were better in short range, but it did mean that I had a lot of gangers who could support each other and eliminate fighters where one would shoot to pin them, then the other could charge in and deliver a coup de grace. I think I took out three fighters in this way, and a fourth Orlock was lost to stray shots from friendly fire.

The bottle test was brutal though, as two fighters just immediately fled at the start of the third round, leaving just two active Orlocks left, whereas I had 8 remaining fighters through sheer dumb luck and good dice rolls, so I never had to test!

A learning point for us was close combat, however, where we just assumed a reaction attack would mean the fighter also activates. But it seems the internet tells me otherwise! Seems very powerful, if a Ready fighter is charged, so gets to fight back (if he survives, I guess!) and then can fight as well, though of course if the fighter who charged survives a second attack, he too can then make a reaction attack, and on it goes? Seems like a proper scrap, I kinda like it!

I was trying out one of the new Psy-Gheists, as well, equipped with a Psychoteric Wyrm exotic beast. The psychic element of Necromunda is quite interesting, I think, especially for Delaque, where their native psykers have a high Willpower stat to start with. Psychic Tests are done on Willpower, which is a 2D6 check, but the Psy-Gheists have a Wil of 8+. I don’t think I managed to get it off at all, and ended up using the Wyrm to bite the ankles of one of the Orlocks to pin him, then swooped in with another ganger for the coup de grace.

For the next outing, I’m definitely going to try and build a few more generic ganger-types. A lot of my current 10-strong painted gang have special weapons, as I did kinda go to town a little with the Forge World upgrades, so I’d like to get them a little more playable, and a little more normal! I am going to get the upgrade set so that I have more shotguns and stuff, but I think I need to try and be more circumspect in what I’m doing, as I’d like to have a good setup.

We’re going to play another game before launching into a campaign, which should be very interesting. I’m thinking it might be good to go for more of a straight-up Dominion Campaign as our first taste, but we’ll no doubt be talking about it in the coming weeks and making a better decision then. It’s very exciting though, I have to say!

Merry Christmas, all!

Whatever you’re doing this weekend, have a fantastic time!

I think I’m going to be quite busy for the foreseeable future – between the new Arkham Horror LCG campaign, Edge of the Earth, and also the new Necromunda stuff, it’s been a very nice haul this year! Of course, I still haven’t made any further in-roads with the Innsmouth campaign, after starting that at the end of last month, but the time will soon come, I’m sure!

Necromunda remains high on my list, as ever, and I’m really pleased to have begun painting the Zone Mortalis terrain. I am planning to make a semi-permanent market feature, gluing the stalls to the walls as opposed to trying to keep everything modular. I think the terrain could potentially stand up to having a little more permanency, after all…

The folks in Nottingham are already hard at work trying to get my money once again, though, with a new Battleforce box coming out that features new plastic Eldar and more new plastic Heretic Astartes! Just look at these Chaos Chosen! Beautiful models. 2022 could well see me finally put some serious work into these guys!

September Retrospective

Hey everybody,
Well, we are three-quarters of the way through 2021 now, and it seems pretty crazy to think that I wrote my January retrospective blog as potentially a one-off to cover all the random rubbish I’d been doing at the start of it all. It’s actually been a really great motivator, for me, to have these retrospective blogs now form a part of my monthly pattern, because it makes me want to do stuff to then report on at the end of the month. At any rate, September has been fairly busy for me, as I’ve had a couple of weeks off work that have enabled quite a bit of recreation – if you can call looking after two children under 2 “recreation”!

To start with, September is the month that I traditionally think of as my hobby month, as I have a lot of fond memories of really getting into the 40k thing way back when during this month. As such, I’ve tried to really recapture that essence, as far as the paternal duties would allow, and ended up with a fair few random projects on the go!

Let’s talk about my Zone Mortalis terrain progress first! I’m very pleased with this, and I think it’s all coming together really quite beautifully! I talked about the colour scheme that I’m using last month, so won’t go over that again here, but I’ve now expanded my repertoire into other bits like ladders and water tanks! The ladder was just painted Averland Sunset, shaded Agrax Earthshade, then drybrushed like everything else to give it that worn, lived-in look. The tank I’d wanted to paint orange, as I think it makes sense to have it follow the same pattern as the Water Guild big boy, but in the end it turned out more red. No matter, other tanks I’m thinking about painting different colours, anyway, so it’s not like it’s important to remember their colours. I’m very excited to get more terrain painted up – whether I end up getting more done by the end of the year, who can say, but to have any of it painted so far is, frankly, a miracle!

I’ve been doing odd bits with genestealers and have recently finished the Necron Triarch Praetorians, but my main focus has shifted to the Genestealer Cults, as I have decided that I really want to get some of these things painted up, finally! I’ve been working on ten Neophyte Hybrids this month, and slowly but steadily I have almost got the squad finished – a huge achievement, considering the amount of detail on them! They’re tiny, and the scheme that I’m following doesn’t allow for speed painting when it comes to these chaps – the armour, the fatigues, the cloth, the padding, the weapons, the skin (actual skin, and carapace), the dangly-doodads, it’s all just so time consuming!

But I think I’m really getting somewhere now, having finished the first of my ten-man squad, and I’m ready to move on to my next project in the list! Since writing the linked blog, however, I’ve reorganised all of my Cultist miniatures, and have a different ten-man squad make-up, so there are ten more shotguns coming my way soon! Once all the Neophytes are done, though, I should have a fairly straightforward task of finishing off the Metamorphs and the Truck, so I think I can definitely get this first part of the list painted up and ready by Christmas. Ready for what, precisely, I’m not yet sure, but still – it’ll be ready!

I’ve been generally immersing myself in 40k across the month, anyway, and have been enjoying myself immensely. I finally picked up the Drukhari Codex as well, and have been investigating that to build my first proper list for that army in 9th edition. I think Necrons are still edging out the Dark Eldar in my affections for 9th edition, though I am definitely looking forward to playing both armies when the time comes. I’m at that point in the year where I’m now thinking about what I can accomplish prior to the year-end, and in addition to the GSC, I’ve got 5 Wracks and 3 Grotesques on my radar. Though everything is a time-sink, so we’ll have to see how things pan out!

GenCon surprised me this month by, well, taking place! I always thought it was August, but I guess the pandemic has been causing chaos. There hasn’t been a great deal of anything that is exciting me, if truth be told, but I think that could be symptomatic of my relationship with the whole board game scene right now. I wrote a very long ramble about that yesterday, but basically I feel like Kickstarter games have been taking over somewhat, and I’m increasingly disappointed in how FFG have diminished over the years. GW have put in a decent showing at GenCon, announcing a few exciting projects that has my wallet in palpitations.

I do feel like I have been quite gloomy on the board game front, but it’s not really the case! I’m hoping to get in a game day with my buddy Tony some time in October, and I also have plans to once again check out the Hellboy board game, after thinking on that one quite a bit of late, also. So there should be some interesting bits and pieces coming to the blog in the coming weeks! I’ve also finally been able to pick up In Too Deep for the Arkham Horror LCG, so I am thinking about an Innsmouth campaign for the autumn – assuming that I have the time, of course!

All in all, it hasn’t been that bad a month – fingers crossed that I can keep up the pace into the final quarter!

August Retrospective

Hey everybody,

August has been and gone, and it’s time to look forward to an autumn with the hobby, usually! Hopefully there won’t be anymore lockdowns happening of course, though with a 10-week old baby to look after, I’m not exactly sure how much I’ll get to do! She’s been quite poorly of late, as well, which hasn’t been much fun for anyone. Fingers crossed for a much more exciting September, anyway!

I’ve found myself in a curious place, lately, where I’ve not really been in the mood to read. Part of this is, I’m sure, because I find it awkward to hold the smaller person and also a book, so have spent a lot of the summer just not reading anything. However, this month I picked up The Rising Storm, the second book in the High Republic series. Well, it’s the second book in the ‘adult’ series; there are YA and junior books in the mix, as well as comics and now audio dramas, but I don’t have the energy to keep up with it all, if I’m honest. The Rising Storm has, so far, been pretty good – there’s definitely the feeling that I’m in the middle of a series (I believe this is only a trilogy, though I could be mistaken), but even so, I’m about 150pp in, and I’m enjoying it!

I’m in a Facebook group for Star Wars novels, and I kinda feel like I should just come out of it, as the opinions in there seem to be wild and I don’t know that I really get all that much out of it. I mean, a lot of the time, if I’ve spoken of my distaste for anything (the Darth Bane trilogy, in particular, sticks out here), it’s almost like a red flag to be lynched, or something. I dunno, anyway, but the latest High Republic book seems to be getting panned in the group, and I’m just a bit down on them all!

I haven’t mentioned the Arkham Horror LCG for a while, as I haven’t been able to play it since I ran through the Return to Night of the Zealot a few months ago, but after trundling on down to my local game store last week, I’ve been able to order a copy of In Too Deep, and have also discovered that the first part of the Edge of the Earth expansion is due imminently, giving us the investigator cards. So that’s all exciting stuff, especially as I’ll finally have the Innsmouth campaign in its entirety!

I think I’m going to save the box for later in the year, anyway. I’m in no rush to play with the new cards, as I have a ton of cards I’ve still never used, after all, so it would make a nice birthday/Christmas present!

This month seems to have been about Warcry in a big way, though. I wrote up a long and rambling post earlier in the month, talking about what I like about it, and where it could be going etc, as well as another post commenting on the downloadable content GW have put out, with a dash of speculation on the future of the game, after the hints of there being exciting news on the horizon. In the middle of these, I also took a look at the Tome of Champions 2020, which had an awesome narrative campaign included. The more that I’ve dived in to Warcry, the more impressed I am with the breadth of content available. I mean, all that free stuff on the Warhammer Community site looks fantastic, and the work that must go into those Tomes is phenomenal. If Necromunda wasn’t a thing, this could be the best!

I’m very pleased to say that I’m almost finished painting the Unmade now – I was hoping to have finished the whole warband, but there are maybe 2 models still to paint the metals. I think I’ve managed to do quite well with the tasteful blood spatter and so on, and I’m very pleased with how the bases are a good match for the main board in Warcry – the old Lustrian Undergrowth texture paint, which I bought a load of back in the day, drybrushed with Administratum Grey. Very effective, in my opinion!

Oh, and I’ve also been building up the Catacombs stuff! I’ve built up the dungeon terrain, and the Scions of the Flame warband, and have had an abortive game with it. I wasn’t entirely excited by it all, if I’m honest, but I want to have a full game with it before I form a proper opinion of it all. Stay tuned for that, of course!

In addition to Warcry though, it’s also been all about the new Kill Team!

This is especially true of the bank holiday weekend, when I finally picked the box up and had the opportunity to get some of it built. Who knows when I’ll be able to actually do anything more with it, of course! I’m going to try and take the opportunity to keep building it up though, and see how far I can get with actually painting it all up, as well. So far, 10 Death Korps of Krieg models have been built, and they look beautiful!

For a long time during the month, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to get it – the price, more than anything, had me wondering if I wouldn’t be better-off using my money on stuff I already play and enjoy etc, rather than buying into yet another game from GW. In the event, my initial thoughts of it being pretty much a board game have won out and I took the plunge, as I have no plans to start an Imperial Guard or Ork army! I am going to keep this as a boxed game, I think, though of course I’ll probably end up buying some add-ons as and when!

The subject of add-ons is an interesting one, of course, because I do find myself idly wondering where they’re going to go from here, specifically. We know we’re getting new Kill Zones per quarter, but does each quarter simply have a new big box and then some articles in White Dwarf? Or can we expect an expansion-type deal in a month or so, where we get Elites or Commanders? Death Korps Commissar, be still my heart! I firmly believe that we’ll see an expansion with more regular 40k models from here on out, and while initially I’d thought we could be seeing new units for existing armies, as the initial rumours seemed to suggest we’d be getting a new Sisters unit for the rumoured Sisters vs Tau box, I’m now thinking that we will most likely be getting re-packs with, perhaps, an upgrade frame. This is basically how the Krieg models work – the two main A sprues are the 10 infantrymen, with the B upgrade sprue having specific fancy parts. There are still fancy parts on A, but stuff like the medic on B is a lot more involved than the medic on A, if you see what I mean. So I could see a box of 10 Sisters being packed along with an upgrade frame to give access to more weapons (though the Sisters, being dual-purpose with Dominions and Celestians, already have a good breadth of bits available to them). There are quite a few kits that exist in the 40k range that would very easily port over, and if they were to just throw in some Sector Imperialis sprues as well, you’d quite easily have the bulk of a new box, right there.

It’s not all been about skirmish games though! I’ve started to think about my Tyranids again, and have been planning up my next steps to getting that army up to scratch. I’ve mainly been trying to recapture my paint scheme, because I didn’t make a note of it anywhere (like a fool!) I think I’ve been able to deduce that I used Death World Forest for the green, and I think Straken Green might be involved as a highlight; the carapace is definitely Rakarth Flesh, shaded with Agrax Earthshade, and highlighted with Ushabti Bone (and possibly Screaming Skull). I’m working on some genestealers while I recover the scheme, anyway, though I’ve seen online a potentially easier way of doing this with Contrasts, which might work for the gaunts, so I want to try that at some point.

I’ve been painting some of the walls from the Dark Uprising set for Necromunda, as well, and I’m really pleased with the results! This is a fairly quick scheme that I’ve seen on a facebook group a couple of months ago. Spray the model with Mechanicus Standard Grey, then paint the inner arch bits with Tallarn Sand. Shade the whole thing with Agrax Earthshade, then drybrush Dawnstone and Deepkin Flesh, and that’s basically it! The details will obviously vary, but for the metalwork I’ve been painting the silver Leadbelcher, and the copper Castellax Bronze, all shaded with both Nuln Oil and Agrax Earthshade. It’s intentionally patchy and crappy, because I’m trying to make it look gross! I’ve then gone in and dabbed some Dryad Bark along the bottom as kicked-up dirt, and in places (though it isn’t always apparent) I’ve put some Athonian Camoshade to simulate moss/mould. It does work better on a lighter stone, but never mind. As a base, I’m quite pleased, but there’s always room for improvement and adding in some details, but for now it’s definitely good to see the walls coming together! I’m looking forward to getting more of the zone mortalis structures painted, the stairs and things, and seeing the whole hive come together!

As I said up at the top, September is very much a hobby-focused month for me, as I harken back to the good old days when I was first discovering 40k in a big way, so I’m excited to see what I could possibly accomplish on that front – here’s hoping next month’s retrospective blog will be choc full of good stuff!

July retrospective

Hey everybody,

Well it doesn’t seem like five minutes since I was here with my June retrospective, and already July has been and gone! With everything going on in real life right now, I have (unsurprisingly!) been a bit busy to be doing any fun stuff, as holding a baby to get her to sleep (and all the other associated activities!) don’t really allow for anything else. But I have been reading, which is probably going to be the main focus of this post!

I’ve been reading a lot of Necromunda books, both the current range of hardcovers and also the old Gang War supplements that were released three years ago now. Perhaps because of the fact that I’m now outnumbered by women at home, I’ve been taking a long look at House Escher for the game, and did actually manage to find a spare moment to paint some miniatures earlier in the month! So hurrah for that! I haven’t managed to get very far though, and haven’t managed to do so again, either. But never mind. I think, having a second child, it’s easier because you know there will come a time when the stars align and you get your free time back in the evenings – it isn’t suddenly a black hole of having no available time for the foreseeable future!

I’ve been reading a lot about campaign play as well, and seeing how that all works out for the game. It’s really exciting, and I think it’s going to be at the top of my list when I’m able to have something like regular gaming once more!

The roadmap for Necromunda was recently updated, to show the plastic weapon upgrades for Orlock, Van Saar and Cawdor are coming in the next quarter, and a new gang in Q4! This is very exciting, I must say. A lot of speculation is being made around classics such as Ratskins or Skavvies, but I do recall hearing at one of the Open Days that they also had plans for totally new gangs, which of course we have seen already with the Corpse Grinders, so I’m very excited to see what’s coming. Very exciting times in the Underhive right now – and it’d be even better if we had the Delaque weapons!

The new edition of Kill Team has been announced, with GW making a very big deal of it coming out next month. I’ve been back and forth so much on this one, but I think I’m still at the point where I’m really excited for the new system. Whether I am able to get my hands on the new box or not is, of course, the big question, but I think it looks like it should make a really interesting board game style of game, even if I nevermake up another team. But, who am I kidding? Of course I’m going to be making more teams!

The thing is, though, I’m really feeling the narrative focus this time around, and I know people have been losing their literal minds on the internet by the fact that it now uses movement templates rather than inches, but I do find myself quite liking the fact that the rules have changed to a more bespoke system. However, it’s the narrative, for me, that I’m keen to dive into, and I’m really looking forward to assembling a team of spec-ops to use. Furthermore, I think I’ll most likely be assembling a team or two that are purely meant for Kill Team, and not simply taking a bunch of models from my 40k collection to use in this game, which I have done in the past. The Krieg models are a perfect case in point, and I think I might be keeping a few Tempestus Scions for the game as well. We shall see!

As I said, though, I’ve mainly been reading this month, and have managed to make my way through two of the anthologies for the Horus Heresy, Shadows of Treachery and The Primarchs – so I think I’m reasonably now up to date on everything that I’ve missed! As ever, anthologies are a bit of an uneven experience for me, so rather than going through them both story-by-story, I thought I’d pick out my absolute favourites to talk about from each.

Prince of Crows

Published in Shadows of Treachery, this follows on from Savage Weapons, where Konrad Curze was wounded by Lion el’Jonson during their duel. With Curze lying comatose, First Captain Sevatar re-forms the Kyroptera advisory council of the Night Lords, and plans how to save the Legion as the Thramas Crusade draws to its conclusion, with the Dark Angels poised to annihilate the VIII Legion. The Legion commanders each take a portion of the fleet to raid Imperial space, while Sevatar himself uses his nascent psychic ability to bring back the Night Haunter from his coma, and lead a retaliatory strike against the Lion’s cruiser. While this attack ultimately fails, it does allow for Curze to hide himself in the bowels of the Invincible Reason.

I really enjoyed this novella – it’s probably one of the best Horus Heresy stories that I’ve read for some time, actually! The Night Lords haven’t really had a novel properly dedicated to them, they’re always just on the sidelines – I’m not sure if that changes, as I’ve only just broken into the 30s in the series, but I feel like they’re something of a forgotten Legion, really! There are a couple of short stories though, which somewhat culminate with this novella, joining the dots as to what’s happening out on the fringes before Curze then makes an appearance in The Unremembered Empire. I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before, but it’s nice to see the Legion structures and compare / contrast how each works. The Night Lords, for all that they’re said to be a band of ruthless murderers, still have that similar command structure, the Kyroptera being roughly analogous to the Mournival of the Sons of Horus.

We also get an extended flashback/memory sequence from Curze, detailing his early life on Nostramo, which was nice to get that full story in print, as it’s a fairly major part of the lore, etc. It’s a fairly lengthy novella, and gives a lot of action as well as some of the quieter moments to allow for a bit of Legion lore to get in, as well. Overall, I definitely enjoyed it!

Shadows of Treachery is otherwise a bit bland, with a couple of shorter stories that just felt dull and unnecessary when talking about the Heresy as a whole, but we also have The Crimson Fist, which was a bit of a drawn-out explanation for why the Imperial Fists didn’t make it to Isstvan V. I wasn’t a huge fan, truth be told.

The Serpent Beneath

This is another fantastic novella-length story, published in The Primarchs and this time dealing with the Alpha Legion. My favourite of the Legions, the story is actually quite fascinating as it deals with the Legion infiltrating Tenebrae Station, which is controlled by their own brother legionaries. The station is being used to create the warp storms that are keeping the White Scars at Chondax, but several security leaks have been traced to the installation and Omegon decides to form a team to neutralise this threat.

The narrative is really quite cleverly constructed, as it keeps slipping back to the planning meeting that Omegon held with the team, and then into the action of their infiltration. It poses the very intriguing question, what happens when you need to infiltrate your own Legion, and so know your own tricks? 

There are so many twists and turns along the way that it is virtually impossible to summarise them all, but the story takes a hugely interesting turn at the very end, where Omegon and Alpharius discuss the situation. It seems Omegon had fabricated the security leak as a means to destroy the station, a gift from the Cabal, and it is possible that he is trying to subvert his twin’s plans – is Omegon a secret loyalist? Who the hell knows, this is the Alpha Legion, after all! It was a great story, with a look at the wider universe outside of the space marines – when Omegon is recruiting his team, we get something almost akin to a film noir sequence of the hooded marines stalking a Mechanicum operative. This is just one of many cases in point, though, as the story was exceedingly cinematic, and it read really well as a result.

The Primarchs is essentially four novellas that tell stories about Fulgrim, Ferrus Manus, Lion el’Jonson, and Omegon. The Fulgrim story actually turned out to be fairly important, bridging the gap between Fulgrim and Angel Exterminatus, and clearing up some minor points that had be a little confused at the time. The Iron Hands story is notable for being a tale with Ferrus Manus front and centre (considering he is killed in book three of the series), and I thought it posed some interesting questions about the Legion, notably how easy it would be to overcome the warriors if you can disrupt their bionics.

In addition to reading, I’ve also been watching more TV, starting to make my way through The Expanse on Amazon Prime. It’s been years since I first read Leviathan Wakes, and I’m still a little put out that I’ve not yet made it to the next book in the series! I really need to pull my finger out on that front. I’ve watched the first series, and I was really impressed by the look of it, and the feel for how they’ve translated the book to the screen. I do find myself increasingly impressed at how good TV shows have become in recent years – watching WandaVision earlier in the year, I was continually blown away by how the production values made it feel very much like a part of the MCU. The Expanse is in a similar vein, with a big-budget feel to it. I did feel lost for the most part, because the storyline has been mixed up, I believe, with some of the more political storylines from Cibola Burn. So I did find it a little hard to follow at times, but that was only because I was thinking of it in terms of the book! I think that adding this political dimension in right away has been the best decision, though, because it greatly enhances the world-building – in my initial review of the book, I did mention the fact that we don’t get a lot of that as a downside to the story.

It’s a great series, anyway, and I think in general this is some of the most believable sci-fi that we have out there. Definitely looking forward to diving into more of this!

House of Blades (part two)

Hey everybody,
Over the past few days, I’ve been managing to juggle looking after my now two-week-old daughter while also deep-diving into the House of Blades for Necromunda, I honestly don’t know how this has been achieved, but I’m just going with it and somehow managing to help keep a tiny person alive (full disclosure: my wife does the lion’s share!) and also throw around ideas for a starting gang. Having now picked up the Escher reinforcements, as well as the Escher plastic weapons set, I feel like I’m now poised on the brink of greatness here!

So this is very much my first effort at creating an Escher gang. Back when I first picked up the boxed game, I built up the Escher side of the box pretty much as the instructions told me, without knowing anything about anything. So I already have ten gangers built, but I don’t really want to play that type of gang, as I feel as though it’s a bit boring. As an aside, I can’t believe how non-descript the Escher sprue is – the weapons are all pretty basic things, there are no special weapons beside the chem thrower and combi needler! I’m so glad that GW has finally brought out an affordable upgrade sprue, because these gangs really need it! I just hope they actually produce such things for the other gangs (wouldn’t it be awesome if the reason why the Enforcers and Corpse Grinder Cult hasn’t had any Forge World upgrades is because they’re going to make them in plastic instead?)

Now that I have Hive War, I’ve got ten more Sisters to build, and I definitely want to make sure that I’m building them the way that I want!

In the above list, there are only three more gangers to build: the needle rifle, the autogun, and the Little Sister with autopistol and stub gun. Only the autogun comes in the base gang set, so let’s give another cheer for the plastic upgrade set!

This gang is the first time that I’m including juves – for the Escher, we’re now calling them Little Sisters – and I have to say, I don’t know why I didn’t do this earlier. While the leader is always going to be a touch on the expensive side, having juves does allow you to then include either a couple more special types, or just more bodies in general. As an aside, I’ve gone for the needle rifle on my specialist Sister (ganger), which is only a slight extravagance – I think my very first thought of including a plasma gun in the list meant that one ganger cost 160 credits! Far too extravagant! I have given her flak armour, to at least try to ensure she stays with me, but after talking it over in the Escher facebook group, flak armour (most of the time) is a bit of a waste of credits across the whole gang, because it will work so rarely, but can be the cost of a whole other ganger if you cut it entirely!

I’ve also picked up the reinforcements kit (are we calling them that?) with Death Maidens and Wyld Runners, and the cats. I love the variety that these things give, especially how the earlier kits like that for Escher are basically just more of the same, albeit with much more exotic options. I do feel that stuff like Van Saar and (particularly) Delaque have had some very weird reinforcements, but anyway. I wanted to include one of the Death Maidens because I find them utterly fascinating, and I think it’ll be an interesting sort of game to have an undead Sister running about. The lore on these things is very creepy, and I think it definitely adds depth to the House.

While I’ve mostly been plotting my list and reading up on the lore while giving my wife a break from dealing with Freya, at the weekend I was actually able to grab about an hour’s hobby time during the day, so built up the Death Maiden as well as threw a bit of paint on some gangers! I’m still not 100% sure on the sort of colour scheme that I want to go for – I had been considering a violet and maybe green theme, then I thought maybe about doing something with orange, but now I’m leaning more towards having a grungy sort of look, and only picking out things like the feathers in brighter colours. I mean, this is the Underhive still, and I’m not entirely convinced that the gang would be able to keep their boob armour that pristine yellow on the box art…

I’m also not convinced by that almost-purple skin tone they use for the models, although given the lore of chem-cults and so forth, I suppose it might fit with the notion of some gangers being almost drug-addicts. I’m going to stick with my more “normal” skintones, anyway, and see how far I get.

So there we have it – my starting gang, nine models strong, with some fairly interesting things going on (hopefully!) I still need to think about skills for the champions and leader, but I’m currently dying from a cold (it’s not COVID, honest!) so I don’t really have the wherewithal to make those sorts of decisions yet! I’m hoping that I’ll be able to have some more hobby time before I go back to work in two weeks, and maybe I’ll have some completed gangers to show for it!

But let’s try to keep things real here…

June Retrospective

Hey everybody,
It’s already time for another retrospective, and we’re suddenly already halfway through 2021! That soon happened. June has been something of a slow month for my blog, because I had the fairly huge event of my second daughter being born on the 18th of the month! Freya came into the world only a couple of days early, although completely unplanned as she couldn’t wait to join the world, so was delivered on the bathroom floor 😳 She’s been doing great though, and her big sister Phoebe is hopefully going to be a big help to us all, despite being only 21 months old, herself 🤣

I’ve been reading quite a bit, and was able to schedule a couple of book reviews to make sure that my blog didn’t just shut down for a few months as happened with the birth of the Firstborn. Master and Apprentice was a little disappointing, but I’m aware that I seem to be almost routinely bashing the new canon stuff, so I need to try to be better and approach these books a little more positively. Hopefully when I get round to stuff like the Alphabet Squadron series, I’ll enjoy them as much as I did Alexander Freed’s Battlefront novel.

I’ve really been on a bit of a Horus Heresy bender, though, partly because I’ve grown tired of continually making statements here along the lines of “I just want to read five more books in the series this year” and “I just want to make it to x, that’s only 4 books to get through”. I’ve been going back to read some of those anthologies that I skipped over back in the day, thinking I just want to read the actual story, and I’ve also been progressing forwards, getting to book 32, Legacies of Betrayal.


This is a bit of an odd duck, to me, being a collection of lots of short stories that previously saw release as audio books, or as part of the BL Advent Calendar that usually has shorter-than-normal stories. It kicks off with Brotherhood of the Storm, which is a novella prequel to the excellent Scars, and one story that I enjoyed quite a bit, even if at times it felt a bit superfluous. There are some interesting shorts in here that give us a tiny insight into how the war is going, such as Strike and Fade showing a group of Salamanders ambushing some Night Lords on Isstvan V while the dust settles. Veritas Ferrum is a short prequel to Damnation of Pythos, and shows the Iron Hands rescuing the Salamanders before they escape the Isstvan system – the sort of story could (should?) have been included as a prologue to the parent novel, but anyway. There are a couple of World Eaters stories by ADB that were quite good – I particularly enjoyed Heart of the Conqueror, which showed the internal conflict experienced by the ship’s Navigator – aware of the fact the Legion has turned against the Emperor, who she sees as a kind of saviour/patron figure, she kills herself and thus pulls the flagship out of the Warp. The stand-outs though, were Censure, which showed us the Ultramarines vs Word Bearers on the irradiated world of Calth (I had no idea that Kurtha Sedd was a character before the box set!) and Kryptos, which featured the Raven Guard/Iron Hands stealth assassin team from Angel Exterminatus. These stories were of a more traditional length, and were able to give a more proper development to the actual storyline they had.

So it was a curious book, overall, having a lot of short, forgettable, dare I say pointless little side stories, but at least I’m ploughing through – only another 23 books to go! 😳

There was some very exciting news about Arkham Horror LCG at the start of the month, with the change to how they’re going to publish cycles from now on, and last week we had the news that there’ll be a revised core set doing the rounds, which will feature a complete playset of the player cards, as well as some of those cards from later expansions to give new folks a better experience right out of the box. Otherwise, it’s still the same 5 investigators (albeit with new art) and they’re going up against the Night of the Zealot as before. I find it interesting that they’re choosing to do this, full playset of cards etc, as it seems to be indicating the shift of the LCG model away from what it has been, and instead making it more like the board game that it pretty much was anyway. I think it’s really exciting, especially if they can pepper the year with stand-alone scenarios to keep the attention on the game, rather than just relying on one, potentially two release events in a year.

Of course, there’s a part of me thinking perhaps this could be signalling the end of the game, as Call of Cthulhu went to a similarly concentrated release schedule of deluxe boxes only before it folded. But even if that were to happen, I think I’m pretty confident that this game has got enough content and playability in the existing cycles that I’ll be playing it for years to come!


Speaking of playing with old stuff, I suppose Lord of the Rings can now be counted as an older game that has finished! I’ve recently had some time to have a few games with this old favourite, playing the first three scenarios in the Angmar Awakened cycle. I was initially planning this for Christmastime, of course, but better late than never, I suppose!! I’ll post something next month going over these, anyway!

June has been pretty much all about rediscovering Magic the Gathering, after I’d found some cards in the attic that I have no real memory of buying! I’ve written a couple of posts where I’ve caught up with the recent sets, here and here, though I’m still trying to be a little circumspect with it, not flying off the deep end with buying cards left and right! I’ve got a couple of deck ideas that I want to share, too, so stay tuned for more on that front!!

However, the biggest game news from June came from Necromunda, when I was finally able to play a real game with James, my Delaque vs his Orlocks. That was a lot of fun – I knew I’d enjoy it, having previously solo played the game at the back end of 2020, but it was a whole load of fun with another person, and we’re planning to get more games and hopefully a campaign in once Freya is settled and the kids are sleeping through the night!


As a consequence, I’ve picked up the new Hive War box set! I knew I wanted more Delaque models anyway, and after playing with the zone mortalis stuff, I think it was clear that the Dark Uprising stuff, while excellent, wasn’t going to be enough for a 3×2 board. The cost of more Delaque and more terrain would be around the £58 mark at my local store, where I could also pick up Hive War for £71, netting me more Escher for just £13, as well as the new book and stuff. So that was pretty much a no-brainer, I thought!

The set is actually quite nice as a starting set, coming with enough terrain to play some games, but I’m pretty sure that even GW themselves tell you it’s only intended as a starting point, and you will get more out of it with more terrain. Which is fine, after all! The rule book, specific to this box, has got the basic rules in it, as well as some “starter” gang rules for all six House gangs, allowing you to build a gang using the box only and these rules. It feels pared-back, but this is the point of this box, remember!

When the Hive War box came out, we also had plastic weapon upgrades for Escher and Goliath (the original two gangs, remember), which seem to be a blend of weapons from the Forge World weapons kits for both gangs. I’m really hoping that, when House of Shadows comes out soon, we’ll also have plastic upgrades for Delaque, so I’m holding off from building too many more gangers for the time being! As I mentioned at the start of the week, though, I’ve started to poke my nose into House Escher, so I could well be making a move there in the coming weeks!

I feel like Necromunda is in a very exciting place right now, as we’re poised on that brink of “what’s next?” once the Delaque get their book.

That pretty much sums things up for now, anyway! I’m hoping that I can do a proper catch-up of the hobby goals sometime in early July – I had planned a mid-point check in for this blog, but I think I’m running a bit long here already. But stay tuned for that!

House of Blades

Hey everybody,
I’ve been reading the House of Blades, the codex-like book for House Escher in Necromunda, while on duty with the second born this last week or so, and I’m really quite impressed so thought I’d come here for a bit of a ramble about it all! I’ve not really had a chance to look at the proper nitty-gritty of the rules, so this blog is very much broad strokes, and first impressions. Hopefully I’ll have the chance to come back soon with more of the actual rules and my thoughts on them, though!

The House of books for Necromunda are really great. They started last year with the Goliath book, House of Chains, which was followed by the Escher tome soon after. I think the idea is to give updates to the gangs, now that all six House gangs have been released, and in a way follow the old Gang War books that came out back when the gangs were first coming out. Along with the books, GW also released a box of new recruits for the gang, and a new pack of tactics cards and new dice.

The books all have stuff in common, insofar as they all have new rules along the same lines, and some very gang-specific stuff that makes them feel very individual. There is now such an incredible depth of rules and gameplay here, it’s incredibly exciting. Especially for me, now that I’m finally playing the game!

The amount of lore in the books is also amazing. A full fifth of the book is devoted entirely to the lore of the gang, with much more sprinkled throughout as we get the new rules, it’s just great.

We also have an enhanced gang roster thanks to the new models that have come out. Somewhat confusingly, the fighter types have got individual names now, so we don’t just have ‘leader’, ‘champion’, ‘ganger’ and ‘juve’, but a variety of names that are different for each gang, helping to make them more individualistic but slightly confusing all the same! I do like the fact that each fighter type is arrayed across two pages, and each has its own equipment list, so it does make things a bit more obvious. The hangers-on and brutes are pretty much copy-pasted across each book, although there are the House specific exotic beasts etc.

The Regular Stuff
So all the new House of books have some stuff in common, which I’ll go through here. To start with, there are the Alliances. Each House can attempt to enter into an alliance with a group from one of three strands of Necromundan society: Guilds, Recidivists, or Noble Houses. You can only have one alliance at a time. Each faction comes with a list of benefits and drawbacks; you might get access to new and exotic weapons, or special abilities, but you will have to give up some (or all!) of your share of the creds at the end of a game. You can try to get around those drawbacks, but you’ll need to test your alliance with the faction, which runs the risk of them withdrawing support. Each book gives you a selection with which that House is said to have a “strong alliance”, meaning that the first time you’re asked to test that alliance, you don’t need to actually do so. But you’re free to make an alliance from any of the House of books, in practice.

For the Escher, the alliances are with the Water Guild, the Cold Traders, and House Ulanti. Each of these factions has the possibility of giving you free fighters, as well, usually between 2-4. So it can definitely be worth your while getting into this aspect of things – especially when Forge World are busy creating the models to go along with these allies! The Water Guild minis are up for pre-order as I type this, though at £42 for three miniatures, it does feel a bit too expensive. I mean, the regular gang boxes, and the new recruits boxes, are £26 (or less).

At any rate, Alliances are a very nice aspect to the game, and I like the fact that they’re giving us expansions by the back door, almost.

Faction terrain involves traps of varying sorts, and chemical drums, etc. Nothing too fancy, but I suppose this is more about customising an oil drum, or whatever, rather than trying to replicate something like the Corpse Grinders’ protein reclamator. Escher get a new skill, Finesse, which can be quite useful. There are also two Escher-specific scenarios included, although you don’t 100% need to play them using an Escher gang. The bulk of the rest of the book, however, is taken up with the weapon profiles and traits.

The Fancy Stuff
House Escher are known for their association with the chem industry on Necromunda, and they have a rules section that goes into detail on how you can create a variety of toxins and stimms. For all that people complain GW is getting too kid-friendly, this section tells us how fun it can be to mix and match the various effects of these combat drugs, and encourages us to name our potions accordingly!

These drugs can be used to enhance gangers or create poison rounds for weapons, and you can potentially get some for free by rolling well on the House Favours table. That’s a nice touch, by the way, giving gangs different effects that, to some extent, scale with the gang’s reputation.

Of course, the book came out with the new kit of Death Maidens and Wyld Runners, which looks quite wonderful and I do want to get my hands on it. Hopefully soon! The book puts a corresponding weight behind these two new aspects of the gang, going into a lot of the lore around both fighter types. Death Maidens have got to be the creepiest by far, reanimated corpses going about their business until death finally claims them anew. They’re a really cool and interesting aspect of the gang, and I think when they first came out, it was a surprise to me that GW were going in that direction. Wyld Runners do make sense within the context of the House, but having now read through the book properly, it is a very cool addition, and helps to make the gang a bit more unique.

I’m loving Necromunda right now, and while it’s true that I was intending to work on my Van Saar as soon as I had the chance, I’m now thinking instead that I might have a go with the ladies of House Escher, having had these miniatures built up since the original box set came out in 2017…