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…

So much Necromunda!

Hey everybody,
I recently got to play my very first game of Necromunda, for real, and it was awesome! It was my Delaque vs James’ Orlocks, and it was an absolute blast! We did have to take our time going through the rules, and trying to make sure we were playing properly etc. But the game was really good, I have to say.

I’ve previously played twice against myself, of course, so had a vague understanding of how the game plays etc, but it’s no substitute for coming up against a real opponent. Both games were against Van Saar, as well, so getting to play against Orlocks was good for the variety, too. The game was a basic brawl, with no other objective than to wipe each other out. While I did manage to draw first blood with a simple vaporising one gang member with my champion’s grav gun, I was ultimately defeated when my last guy was seen off.

Interestingly, both our gangs didn’t really draw in to close combat. Delaque weaponry is almost at its best in the mid-to-short range, it seems, and so I was getting perhaps closer than I would normally like, but I was still holding back from properly getting stuck into melee. The Orlock gang was built with the full suite of new rules from House of Iron, whereas my Delaque are still awaiting their update from House of Shadows later in the year, but even so, I didn’t feel like I was particularly outclassed as a result.

Things are a bit on-hold for the time being, as I plunge once more into child-rearing with the secondborn, but once we can be reliably sure that both kids are sleeping through the night, I’m hoping that James and I can make a start on a campaign! We’ve not really made much headway into deciding any particulars of course, but I have so much stuff for this game that I doubt we’ll actually be at a loss.

I’ve decided that I need to pick up some more gangers, so have bought the FW heads to try and get some variety in there. I already have one of the weapon packs, but I’m actually thinking that I could do with more basic-weapon guys in my group! I think the Delaque in particular were a bit of a victim of my over-zealous building with the fancy stuff back in the day, so that when I came to create the gang properly, I found that I couldn’t actually use all 10 in a starting force. So I’m thinking more shotguns and more pistols. Basic stuff, so more bodies from the off.

In terms of the actual ganger bodies themselves, though, I’m going to get the new Hive War box, mainly because it’s only marginally more expensive than buying a gang box and the scenery separate, and for the extra £10 I’d get ten more Escher and the extra gubbins that I could potentially sell off regardless. So that’ll be something to take a look at some time soon. I’ve already got another box of the platforms and stairs, but have held off from putting any of it together because I don’t really know what I want to do with it. I think having the extra columns and walls from the new box will give me even more scope with the terrain that came in Dark Uprising, and so I think I should be able to get some interesting terrain set ups in the future! I’d been playing around with a few configurations prior to the game, and have taken the plunge with gluing some more platforms together, creating a nice bit of modular centrepiece stuff – now, of course, I just need to paint it all! I definitely need something simple, because I’m already looking at a hell of a lot of plastic that needs covering, and have seen a few different schemes now that look interesting enough, so it’s only a matter of time!

Having painted up all 10 of the Delaque to a reasonable standard, though, I’m now turning my attention once more to Van Saar. I do have House of Artifice, of course, and have been quite keenly reading through it of late, to see what these books actually have to offer. It’s a bit like a compulsion for me, to buy the new Necromunda stuff when it’s released, but then not get round to reading it – though I suppose it’s only recently that I’ve been assured of actually using this stuff in games.

I’m actually really impressed with the amount of stuff that is in these books, between the lore and the new rules. I’ve barely scratched the surface for the moment, of course, but I’ll have plenty of time, between feeds, with which to get to grips with it all. Something that I’ve been really excited about is the Alliances stuff, where each House has a set of three other groups with which they have a Strong Alliance. Basically free fighters for the gang, these things are very interesting, and I’m excited at the prospect that we might be getting miniatures for them all when Forge World gets back up and running. I’m half sure that I remember something from one of the Open Days where they showed off artwork for possible upcoming models, or something? We’ll see, I guess, when the world returns to normal.

So far, each gang book has given options for an alliance with a Guild, a Recidivist (criminal) group, and a Noble House. Van Saar has a strong alliance with the Promethium Guild, Imperial Imposters, and House Catullus, and can choose to form an alliance with one of these groups during a campaign. The benefits are free fighters and perhaps other benefits like bonus credits after a scenario, or access to exotic weaponry and upgrades. However, you might get bonus credits, but sometimes the alliance you’re in might result in there being a negative effect, like the noble house taking a huge cut of your profits. It’s really intriguing me, and I’m finding myself hopeful for seeing some new models for these things in due course! The Slave Guild has already come out for Goliath in House of Chains, and I believe the Water Guild is due at some point for House of Blades, so I’m cautiously optimistic. These groups seem to only be two-to-four models, though the Slave Guild is about £40 to pick up. The recent weapons for Goliath and Escher in plastic, though, make me wonder whether the future of Necromunda might well lie in more plastic…

At any rate, Necromunda is a game that has me incredibly excited right now! We’re a few more months away from House of Shadows, at which point we’ll be once more staring over the precipice of what can be coming next. A lot of people on the internets seem to be expect Spyrers at some point, which is one of these storied names about which I know nothing! I’d like to think we could potentially have models for these Noble Houses / Guilds / Recidivists. The depth of this game, though, means that we could be seeing quite literally anything coming out, and it will no doubt be utterly glorious!

Warhammer Fest 2021

Hey everybody,
Warhammer Fest 2021 has been and gone, and there have been some fairly mixed reviews on the internet overall, with a lot of people seemingly disappointed with the fact that the hyped 6 days of previews didn’t live up to expectations. While that is perhaps true, and the event didn’t really have the usual feel of these preview events as being ground-shaking, there’s still a lot to talk about here! So let’s get to it!

Warhammer 40,000
To start with, let’s talk 40k. Over the six days, there were two devoted specifically to 40k, the first seeing a collation of the various Adepta Sororitas previews that we’ve had over the past few weeks and months, plus a few extras of course. Looks like the warsuit thing is coming in a squad of three, and there will be the new Celestian squad with the maces and shields.

The weird thing about all of this is, we’re getting a High Lord of Terra! Weird, right? Well, I guess anything is possible.

It’s always exciting when an army gets new stuff though, isn’t it? So however weird these things are, let’s just enjoy the fact that the Sisters range didn’t just get a plastic overhaul back in 2019; they’re now being fully developed as a faction.

Sisters will be getting their Codex soon, and the next chapter in War Zone Charadon is on its way, and will come with rules for Be’lakor in the 41st millennium, which is pretty exciting, and it’ll be coming out alongside a terrain expansion that seems to have all of the Sector Mechanicus stuff that has been hard to find for quite some time now!

The second day for 40k reveals came on day five, and we’ve got more Orks coming, those squig-riding things and a couple of new characters.

In addition, there is going to be a reboxing of Cadian Shock Troopers to give them more diversity, more faces and the like.

Not a new kit, though, which everybody has been clamouring for for years. Ah well! But we have also seen this little teaser:

I must admit, I’ve been turning away from the light of the Emperor of late, and preparing to embrace the fact that I’m a xenos player through and through. However, now that we’re seeing some Grey Knights on the horizon, however distant that may be, I’m thinking I need to wait and see what’s coming before I do anything too hasty!

That wasn’t all for the 41st millennium though, as day three brought us a bit of a surprise (for me, at least!) – Gaunt’s Ghosts are getting new miniatures!

I did not expect this! There are another raft of novels on the way, including two more Warhammer Crime anthologies! I’m a little disappointed to find out that they’re anthologies – although one apparently had a novella in there – but it’s still very good to have more of this stuff! Grim Repast, “a Quillon Drask novel”, sounds like it should be good though. I just hope that we see Black Library make good on these books that are sold as “a (character) novel” and give us more of that same character in future books.

Boxed Games
Day four was all about boxed games, and we saw some upcoming stuff for Direchasm, Necromunda and Aeronautica Imperialis. The latter doesn’t really interest me, though I do think it’s kinda funny that it’s being marketed as the plastic thunderhawk that people have been asking for for years.

Necromunda previews consist of the House of Shadows, and the Delaque specialists. I am very excited about this particular release, as they really have become my preferred gang! The new models are just as weird as I’d hoped they’d be, with a couple of gribblies such as that weird flying brain thing. Definitely the sort of thing that I’d expected from Delaque!

For Direchasm, we’re getting the Idoneth Deepkin warband, though everyone has been going crazy for the crab mini!

Which brings us nicely on to…

Age of Sigmar
I’ve saved this until last because it was probably the biggest part of the week of previews – outside of the crab, of course. Day One saw the remaining previews of the Soulblight Gravelords miniatures, which look truly like the stuff of nightmares:

These models tie in quite strongly with Warhammer Quest: Cursed City, which is quite sad because that game has disappeared entirely in a whimper that wholly belies the ceremony and hype that had been lavished upon it prior to release! A lot of people – myself included – had hoped there would be some kind of official word on this game coming from one of the days, but despite hundreds of comments in the twitch chat asking about it, no mention has been made whatsoever. Shame.

The fourth Mortal Realms book has also been announced: Kragnos is a huge Beastman-type, and the book will be coming with all those cool new models that have been shown off, such as the flying Slaaneshi thing, the new Lord Kroak and more. Mortal Realms then draws a line underneath Age of Sigmar 2nd edition, as the Sixth and Final Day of previews has given us the big news (that so many people had already guessed) – third edition is on its way!

This model is just wonderful, and I won’t lie, it’s got me pondering starting a Stormcast army!

She’s a new type of Lord-Celestant, or something – I didn’t really watch the stream, although I caught bits of this one as I was putting my daughter to bed. The interesting thing, for me, is that the lore has the armies of Order finally reclaiming the lands lost to Chaos and creating outpost cities. I find this fascinating because it feels like we may actually be seeing something akin to the Old World, and the network of cities and whatnot. Of course, there’s still the potential for them to all have daft names, but even so!

The article makes mention of a new narrative play style, which I guess is Crusade from 40k by another name, so we can expect to get updated battletomes for all factions to include those new rules. So long as the Ossiarch Bonereapers get their Mortek Archers and the mace-wielding guys, I’ll be happy!

And that was it! Big news was Age of Sigmar v3, and we have supplemental ranges of Sisters and Orks to look forward to. I think everything else was decidedly of a lower rung of colossal really, though I’m trying not to follow the rest of the internet with complaining too much. New stuff is nice, for sure, but I think this time around, it was definitely over-hyped, and with having everything spread over six days, it meant that individually each live stream was a little disappointing. But we’ve got the promise of more previews to come in May, which may bring us further news of what’s coming – hopefully they won’t be quite so universally decried…

New Warhammer incoming!

My goodness, what a day!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Necromunda thoughts

Hey everybody,

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

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

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

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

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

But never mind!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Such an epic game!

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

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Hope you’re all having a splendid Yuletide – and if you don’t go in for all that, hope it’s been a tremendous Friday!

I’ve had a pretty decent haul this year, mainly focusing on the recent upsurge in Arkham Horror that I’ve had! In addition to getting fully up to date with the card game, I’m quite pleased to have the new edition of the board game, which is a curious beast that I hope to find the time to explore soon!

In addition, I’ve kept a few of my recent purchases back for the festive season, as a bit of a present to myself! Looking forward to getting round to these soon!

In a pretty surprising move, GW has announced some new models coming out soon, starting with Drukhari vs Sisters of Battle, which will serve as a vehicle to show off two new plastic character models, Lelith Hesperax, and the new Lieutenant model for the Sisters, the Palatine:

I think that’s a great looking box and, depending on the price, I’m probably going to get it. I’m feeling a distinct need to get back to my beloved Dark Eldar, so it’s the perfect product! However, some of these things have been priced quite… ambitiously, and I’m not going to go too crazy for it…

We’ve also seen more for the new Slaanesh release, and I’m bowled over at the attention being lavished upon the Prince of Pleasure! New mortal archers, ranged and melee Seeker-riding mortals… and Slaangors!! My goodness, I need a lie down…

What a Christmas!!

Christmas Eve catch-up!

Hey everybody,

The festive season is well and truly upon us, although it’s a stranger one this year because of all the restrictions that are in place. I’ve got five days off work now, so I’m hoping for a bit of a break from things – mainly because there’s so little that we can do!

Of course, being a huge nerd, I feel almost like I’ve been preparing for lockdown my entire life! I’ve got an almost 15 month old baby to keep me occupied during the day, of course, and during naps and the evenings, I’ve got plenty of hobby-backlog to work through!

In an effort to get more models finished before January, today I put the finishing touches to my Necron Overlord from the Indomitus box. It’s a very nice model, even though all the Necrons from that set have got sculpted damage on them, which I’m not a fan of, but I think I’m slowly getting over that now!

I’ve been working most recently on my Delaque gangers, who are finally coming close to being finished! I’m very excited for that of course, though I do think that I’ve taken my time with them, when you think it’s been around 2 years since I first started to build them! I think they’re looking really great, anyway, and as I’m planning another game of Necromunda against myself in the near future, it’ll be nice to have that much more painted up!

Speaking of games, I’ve started to play The Lost Realm for Lord of the Rings, as well, playing the first scenario, Intruders in Chetwood, earlier this week. That was a great game, albeit really quite involved! I’m sure that I played a couple of things incorrectly, as there were a great deal of moving parts to that quest, but I really enjoyed myself – while it definitely provided a challenge, it never felt completely impossible, which was nice to see. So often in the past with this game I’ll have lost due to location lock, where the threat in the staging area is just too high for me to cope with. The encounter deck seemed to be a decent blend of cards, though, which I think is key here. Too many enemies or locations can lead to the game just beating you down hard. I was also playing with Shadow effects, as I feel I’ve been missing out on this aspect for my playing career so far! It probably helped me more than I realised, having that ability to cycle through the encounter deck and effectively discard some locations and enemies without having to deal with them, so I definitely appreciated that!

I think my decks need looking at fairly urgently, though – a lot of the time I felt as though I had too much of a mix of questers, and fighters, meaning that I probably wasn’t dealing with enemies effectively. Of course, I’m still a bit of a novice when it comes to this aspect of play, but I do feel like the decks need to have their balance addressed, so that they fall down either as ‘the questing deck’ or ‘the fighting deck’. That’s not to say that they will fulfil that role exclusively, but just have a greater emphasis, rather than trying to do both equally.

I can probably make better use of Sentinel cards, also!

Hopefully I’ll be able to get more games played over the next few days – I’m hoping to get some Arkham Horror played, as well as more Lord of the Rings!

Hope you all have a wonderful festive weekend, whatever you end up doing!

Happy Solstice

Hey everybody,
Christmas is approaching, for those of you with the inclination, but the recent announcements over lockdowns in the UK has seemingly put a damper on things. This is as much as I’ll talk about with politics, of course, as I try to make this blog more of a haven from such things, but I think I’ll probably be posting a lot over the coming days as I try to take my mind off things – and, hopefully, yours, too!

It was my birthday on Friday, and I had a decent haul of Arkham Horror LCG stuff, which was great! I mean, a couple of those bits I’d kept back from recent purchases, such as the Dexter Drake novella and Guardians of the Abyss. I think the birthday haul is pretty indicative of what is on my radar right now, though – between the card game and Necromunda! I haven’t had a proper chance to do more than flick through House of Artifice, but I’m looking forward to digesting that over the coming days! I do want to get another game of Necromunda in at some point, even if it is by myself, because I’m really hooked right now!

I have started to play Lord of the Rings again, though, thinking that I’d start off with Passage Through Mirkwood, the introductory scenario. And it absolutely brutalised me! I had a very bad series of draws from the encounter deck, and playing two-handed was obviously increasing the cards seen over the course of the game, but jeez!

There are a couple of things that I want to mention here, of course. First of all, playing two-handed is actually a real joy. I had the odd moment of “where am I up to?” of course, but those tended to be in the late game where a lot was going on, already. I think perhaps playing two investigators in Arkham Horror has prepared me well for this one, and I think in part that, in comparison, Lord of the Rings is definitely a much simpler game. It surprised me because there is a much more linear plan for the game: you do the same thing round after round, and the variety of it all comes from the different cards being revealed from the encounter deck. Having played a lot of Arkham Horror lately, which has got that element of a board game from having investigators moving around different locations, and the RPG feel of leveling-up cards etc, it gives for a much more complex game. While there are those elements in common, such as effectively playing against the encounter deck and such, it really surprised me that I had that feeling!

Of course, the decks that I was playing were not really built for this way of playing – each one was effectively a solo deck, so they could have dealt with the majority of the game by themselves. As such, I think I could tweak the decks back to dual-sphere and have each one cover the other better.

Interestingly, I went back to basics on this one as well, and read through the instruction manual, as well as watching the tutorial stuff again, and tried to get it right. Back when I first started playing this game, in 2011, I had incorporated a couple of house rules I suppose, to make it more manageable for actual solo play, and I just kept playing it that way. The ‘Basic Game’ as explained in the rulebook does suggest not revealing shadow cards while you get into it, and I’ve played that way pretty much ever since! I was also playing the game whereby if I had optionally engaged an enemy, I would attack it first rather than allowing for all enemies to attack me first, regardless of who engaged who. In my mind, it made sense that I would be able to do this, because otherwise it’s the equivalent of going up to someone for a fight, and letting them hit you first? Of course, there are player cards that allow you to dodge attacks and the like, but it always struck me as really odd that I couldn’t natively attack first when it was my choice to engage with that enemy!

Anyhow, playing the game correct, I thought, would be a lot of work, but as it happened the first game was over in 5 rounds, as I was just unable to overcome the threats in the staging area, due to bad draws from both the encounter and player decks! Any allies that I had were dying to enemy attacks as I threw them under the bus to just try to deal damage to the enemies engaged with me, but as time went on, I had to throw my heroes at them as defenders, meaning I was in a holding pattern of doom until round 5, when four of my six heroes were killed off. It was shocking!

I did later that same day play again, after briefly considering trying out the official Easy Mode of removing some of the encounter cards, but in the end went for a straightforward shuffle-up-and-reset, and I managed to prevail. The game was a lot longer than I’d expected, though I think that was in part because of the two-handed thing, but also simply because I was trying to defeat Ungoliant’s Spawn, which was the fourth card from the bottom of the deck. Still playing without shadow cards, I wasn’t drawing as many encounter cards as perhaps I could have been!

It’s interesting though, to me, that playing without shadow cards can be such a dual-edged sword; on the one hand, you’re potentially buffing enemies when they can already be a bit unwieldy, but almost in return you get to cycle through the encounter deck quicker, and can potentially avoid having so many locations or so many enemies coming into play. I suppose this is something to think about when we’re talking about implementing house rules or whatever – the game has been tested to play in a certain way, and is as balanced as possible based on its own rules. Adding to these, or changing things, can tip that balance and sometimes lead to a less-than-optimum experience. Certainly something I need to bear in mind when I’m complaining about “how tough is this game?!”

Lord of the Rings LCG

I’m still going to be playing through one of these cycles over the Christmas period – at least one, maybe more! – so look forward to hearing more of my musings as I properly get back into what I have always been calling my favourite game!

I picked up the latest White Dwarf this morning and, as I have the day off (yay!) I had a fairly leisurely breakfast while flicking through its pages. There’s a lot of Age of Sigmar stuff in there, which I kinda glossed over because I’m not big into Spiderfang Grots, but I was reading Robin Cruddace’s column on the new 40k rules, and it was quite interesting to see why they changed some of the rules from 8th to 9th edition.

I’ve talked briefly about this recently, but in some ways I think 9th edition coming out in the middle of a global pandemic, when there are so many restrictions in place that the GW stores themselves can’t even run demos of the game or have people in there for any longer than absolutely necessary, does seem to be a bit of a swing and a miss. Any sort of excitement around the new edition has been, for me, tempered by the fact that I couldn’t immediately play it, and the few games that I have managed to play since it arrived were a weird sort of hodge-podge of rules, in part because I was playing an 8th edition codex in a new game. Granted, it wasn’t massively different, though for something like Necrons, trying to play with the army when Reanimation Protocols had changed, but we didn’t have the rest of the rules yet, was such a weird experience. Now, I know plenty of other folks will have been through the pain barrier between editions where they’re using a book from an edition or two ago, but it’s difficult to get my head around!

It’s curious, although perhaps not totally unexpected, to see how I’ve almost gone off 40k in recent weeks. I think the lack of any outlet to play has a lot to do with this, as I’ve got no real motivation to paint anything up while there’s no end in sight to these lockdowns! I’ve moved into solo-able games so much that 40k has almost been left behind, but I do think it’s about time I used some of the down-time to get some projects finished, so that I can play with fully painted models when this is all over! I’m sure there’ll be more on this to come in the next couple of weeks – if only from the now-inevitable Hobby Resolutions blog! Now is not the time for a retrospective on that one, of course, but it’s definitely been a mixed bag in 2020, with some successes as well as some that have fallen by the wayside. Stay tuned for that blog, coming up sometime next week, no doubt!