September 2022 retrospective

Hey everybody,
The weather is definitely getting colder, and Autumn is definitely here at last. We’re here at the end of September, and I am quite shocked really at just how quickly this month has gone! I know I say this every month, but it really doesn’t seem like five minutes since I was writing my August retrospective blog! And after a very productive August, things seem to have just dwindled for me now, and I’m languishing a bit in a bit of a hobby … not slump, per se, but I’m certainly a bit all over the place when it comes to what projects I’m working on!

To start with, then, I have finished repainting the original group of 10 wyches from my Drukhari army. Back in 2017, I had painted ten to some level, but it wasn’t great. I also wasn’t entirely sure how I wanted them to look, so it wasn’t exactly what I’d call a good unit, and was probably why I have never really been that keen on the Wych Cult side of the army. Well, after getting ten of them done in August, I’ve got these other ten finished, plus the Succubus. I haven’t yet finished the third group (heck, they’re still bare plastic!) but I am kinda excited by the fact that I have been painting Drukhari miniatures again!

Especially because I’ve also been working on painting this Raider! It isn’t finished yet, of course, though somehow it seems to have been pretty quick to paint up to this level, which is nice! Painting it really took me right back to those early days with my Dark Eldar, and I have really enjoyed recapturing that feel. It makes me hopeful that I will, in fact, be able to make some decent progress with getting the army up to a better standard, as for the most part they were all just done to a tabletop standard.

I really want to try to pace myself on this front, though, because I don’t want to miss out on getting any other miniatures painted because I’m spending my time going over old ground – I mean, I still have a massive backlong, regardless of the amount of stuff I’ve got through over the summer!

Now, this came a little bit out of left field, as I think I’d made an offhand comment about having two carnifexes that needed painting, and then promptly dug them out and finished them off! Even though one of them had been mostly done, and it was just a matter of finishing touches and stuff, I feel really pleased at having got these big chunky boys done. The carnifex model is horrible to put together, and the back carapace in particular looks gross when you look at how mis-aligned the pieces are, but I can’t deny the overall effect of them is brilliant, even if I say so myself! It’s very rare that I look at something I’ve painted and think, “this is awesome!” but with my Tyranids (and, oddly, with my Dark Eldar) I really get that feeling.

Tyranids have been on the back burner for what feels like centuries now, of course, and I’m sure at some point I will burst forth with a bug infestation, but not quite yet… I still don’t even have the codex for the army, but it’s so far from finished that I suppose the codex is the least of my worries! I love the look of the army so much though, and even stuff as daft as the feel of some of those big bugs in the hand, it’s just a tremendous force!

I had a week away this month, and so had a week off from hobby stuff (which itself could be contributing to my hobby slump) but did take some Necromunda books with me. The end result is that I’ve spent the last week basically obsessed once again with the best skirmish game out there! I’ve really been fired up with a lot of inspiration for the game, but with the result that I feel a little bit like I have that sort of scattergun approach to the hobby, and I don’t know where I want to turn my attention first. I have some Delaque gangers that I want to paint, I want to paint more Van Saar, and I want to paint my Orlocks. I also want to paint more terrain, and I want to start an Outcasts gang. I have also – finally! – begun to look into the Goliath gang, mainly because I was looking at the new Goliath bikes and think they’re utterly hilarious! I’ve built up two gangers for the time being, and they are quite nice models – although the one who has a cigar in his mouth is just ridiculous. I mean, the cigar is a separate bit!!

So I’m trying to take it a bit slower, and I’m trying to just plan things a little bit, and work out what exactly I want to do here. I still want to get more Necrons and Sisters painted by the end of the year, but the Necromunda resurgence cannot be denied, so I think I need to focus on just the Delaque, as I try to get my sneaky boys finished off. James has started to work on some Enforcers that he is pretty excited for, so with a bit of luck we’ll get more games in there soon enough!

My big Necromunda news, though, is that I have finally decided to go for the Ash Wastes, after all! I am hoping to pick it up sometime soon, and have sold off my Nighthaunt army to finance the whole thing, as there is a lot of stuff that I haven’t yet got hold of. That was a bit of a shame, really, as I do love the models, and even though I hadn’t done anything with them in years, getting them all out again in order to work out what I have etc did make me wonder if I should keep them! But I’m trying not to go too crazy, I haven’t played with Nighthaunt in years, I haven’t thought about them or anything in so long, so it makes sense to just off-load them and turn it into something I will use.

The Nighthaunt may be beautiful, but my goodness me, they’re also fiddly as hell! I was almost having palpitations trying to get them untangled from each other! It’s the last complete army that I have wanted to dispose of, really, after selling off the Blood Angels, the Dark Angels, and others, and it is a bit sad to see them go as they are such good models! But it’s just not meant to be, I think. I have the Bonereapers for AoS, of course, although the main thrust of my hobby life is Necromunda and 40k, without a doubt, so it just makes sense to clear out the clutter. I haven’t really bought any models for a long while now, so I don’t feel quite so bad for adding the Ash Wastes box to the pile of shame. Plus, I’ve off-loaded 21 units of Nighthaunt (93 models, including the Black Coach which is much bigger than I remember!) so I suppose I’m making room!

On the whole, though, it feels very much like Warhammer has taken a back seat in September, and I have been focused on my Star Wars prequel re-read. I got through three novels and a half-dozen graphic novels, as well as the final movie in the prequel trilogy, so it was all very much about the galaxy far, far away! It’s nice to have finally made it through all of that, especially as it was meant to be a summer of Star Wars that just started to drag on a bit!!

Interestingly, it has left me feeling a little bit Star Wars-ed out now, though, and I have yet to start watching the new Andor show, despite having been stoked for that to come out! I also picked up a couple of the latest canon hardbacks, but haven’t got the inclination to make a start with those, either!

For the time being, I have started to read Deathfire, book 32 in the Horus Heresy series. I have been neglecting this of late, reading barely any novels in the series the last few years. There’s a definite feeling of lethargy about it now – 32 novels in, and I’m over halfway, but it still feels like I’m a long way from the end! Looking at my recent reading of these books, I finished Scars in June 2020, then Vengeful Spirit in April 2021, and The Damnation of Pythos in June 2021. I made an effort to finish a couple of the anthologies in June as well, which wasn’t too bad as I could cope with short stories while on new baby duty, but that was that! I find the anthologies are a struggle though at times, because there are so many throwaway stories, or tangential stories, and I begin to question just why on earth I’m reading this stuff. I still have 22 books to go before I get to the end of the Heresy series, around 15 of which are novels I believe, so that should help there. With a bit of luck, the storyline will resume somewhat and we’ll have more of a focus as the narrative begins to hone in to the march on Terra.

Deathfire is quite a good book though. I have zero interest in the Salamanders legion, it has to be said – I think it’s along similar lines to the Space Wolves, everything is fire this and pyro that, like the Wolves have wolf this and wolf the other. It’s all a bit blandly boring, really. I know the Salamanders have the reputation for being the good guys, as well, and their whole “caring about the little folk” thing, but that has never been something that appeals to me. I like the Ultramarines, as is well chronicled on this blog, and I always find it interesting how people like the Salamanders for the reasons they dislike the Ultramarines, and it’s almost like it comes down to preferring green over blue, or something! However, in the same way that I ended up liking Vulkan Lives despite kinda dreading having to read that, I am also enjoying Deathfire, so it’s all good for now!

It’s also weirdly nice to get back to the Heresy, as I think I do miss it, despite just how long and drawn-out it has become! It’s been almost seven years since I started reading the series, and while some of the earlier books have stuck with me as being really enjoyable, I really am at the point now where the fatigue has set in. It’s an epic story, and I get that, but some of the stuff that we have in this series does feel incredibly like filler, it’s hard to keep the level of enthusiasm for it! Maybe I should consider a “personal canon” for the Heresy, and start a re-read of just those books that I actually enjoyed…!

In other news, I managed to play a couple of games with the new edition of Arkham Horror, which really is a lot of fun! It’s a surprise to me, because I did enjoy the second edition of the game, but this new one really is great! I think having a story mechanic is a real plus, and adds to the overall feel of the game. I have now bought the Dead of Night expansion, which gives us more of the same stuff, but haven’t had a chance to play with it yet. I want to try and get more big games played in October, so hopefully I can play at least once a week with games like Arkham Horror, Eldritch Horror, and A Touch of Evil. Whether my long-suffering wife will join me, who knows! Though she does like Eldritch Horror, and I think I can persuade her to try A Touch of Evil. We’ll see. I have so many favourites though, and I haven’t played these things in years, so it would be nice to try and get more games in with them!

More board games, more painting, potentially more Necromunda… I don’t know when I’m planning to sleep during the next month…

Rumours and Reveals

Well then! We had a fairly exciting set of reveals from Games Workshop at the weekend, though as seems to be the standard for them these days, it ended with more teases…

To start with, we’ve now seen the new Warcry box in its full glory, and my goodness it looks good. It’s very different from what we’ve had up to now, which has been very firmly set in civilisation (albeit a ruined one, for the most part). We’re heading into the swamp, and they have really managed to get the kind of jungle theme of rope bridges and bamboo platforms down well. There are also weird statues, which I like, but it could probably do with more levels to it – it feels very much like the recent Ash Wastes box for Necromunda, actually, with a lot of platforms connecting to two treehouses.

The warbands do look good, even if the online community seems to be less than enthusiastic. However, I feel a bit sad to be saying it, but I think I’m going to pass on this box, as I have done on the Necromunda box. I have far more Warcry stuff than I have time to play it, so as the game moves forwards into the realm of beasts, I think I’m going to stick behind at the Eightpoints. Though I’m thinking I’ll pick up some Horns of Hashut when they release separately…

Speaking of Necromunda, the other houses will be getting their vehicles it seems, starting with the Goliath. They look suitably over the top with roid rage, so that makes perfect sense! I wonder what Delaque will have…

The next warband for Underworlds has been revealed as a Witch Hunter and his crew, and Blood Bowl are getting an Amazons team. The preview ended with this, however:

The Space Hulk preview from the other day has been shown as a bit of a red herring – we’re getting close-confines games, of course, but it’s Kroot vs Imperial Navy, of all things!! I’m really quite excited for this one, as I feel the Navy guys will be similar to the Elucidian Starstriders from the last Kill Team close quarters box, and show us another side of the Imperium that we rarely otherwise see. I’m glad it’s not Space Hulk with Primaris marines, because like many people, Space Hulk means something very specific and very precise to me.

However…

The last week or so has seen the beginnings of what I suppose is much more serious speculation about 10th Edition 40k, rather than idiots like me jokingly talking about it in terms of “aren’t we due a new edition soon?” and so on. If these rumours are to be believed, then the new edition is coming out next summer, and will be launched with a Tyranids vs Space Marines box, with the bugs getting a range refresh much like the Necrons had for 9th. There are all manner of rumours about plastic Dante and Primaris Furioso Dreadnought, as the poster boys will be the Blood Angels this time around.

Tyranids will get new Genestealer sculpts, and a bunch of other bugs, with what I guess will be a Silent King equivalent.

Now, the rumours have already proven to be false, because they were prefaced with the news of a new Kill Team box set on a space hulk featuring the new Kasrkin models vs new-sculpt Genestealers. Which obviously isn’t happening. In the past, though, rumour mongers have claimed to be talking from pictures rather than text, and the Navy sculpts do bear a similarity to the Guard models, so maybe the spiky crests of the Kroot were mistaken for scything talons? Who knows.

Personally, I hope we can get some more mileage out of 9th edition before they go shifting things around again. There’s no real need to do this, as we lost certainly one full year to the pandemic, so I would imagine that very few people were actually able to play this game for its entirety. I’ve spent quite a bit of money on this edition, codexes and the like, but it’s continually baffling to me when GW had been releasing actual gaming supplements when the majority of the world couldn’t get together to use them, and then promptly outdated them with yet more supplements. 9th edition has been such a weird time, hasn’t it?

However, the fact remains that 9th Edition is two years old this month, and recent editions of 40k have only lasted three years, so it’s possible…

Primaris terminators and Primaris devastators? Primaris Death Company? Primaris Dante? Who knows… but it’s going to be an interesting time seeing if there is any substance to these rumours…

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…