40k Catch-Up time

Hey everybody!
It’s been a while since I’ve properly caught up with all of the goings-on in 40k here on the blog, and it definitely feels like there has been a lot to catch up on, to say the least! At the start of the month, we had GenCon, and some early looks at stuff like Aeronautica Imperialis, which I don’t think is for me, but certainly seems to have a lot of people excited, nevertheless. Of course, while we were enjoying the boxed game goodness such as these previews, as well as the eventual landing of Warcry, things quickly became all about the Space Marines, as GW began to reveal the next wave of power armoured good stuff on the way.

I think it’s been pretty much expected since Heretic Astartes had their second edition of the Codex earlier in the year, but the second edition of the Space Marines Codex seems to have both surprised and angered several folks here on the internet, who keep clamouring for more Xenos and so on. Sure, Space Marines are everywhere these days, and it might feel a little bit like Astartes Overload, but the simple fact remains that these guys are the brand icon for GW, and they’re clearly going to put their main efforts into producing stuff for them.

Despite all of the negativity, however, it’s been really interesting to see how GW are going about the release this time around, with these Codex Supplements that focus on a single Chapter. It does feel a little bit like a money grab, how you need to pick up the main Codex to get the rules for all the generic stuff, then your Ultramarines-specific supplement to get the rules for Ultramarines characters and whatnot. They’re a business, of course, but this is perhaps the first serious time I’ve felt like people may well be priced out of the hobby. It’s cool to get an Ultramarines codex, don’t get me wrong, but not if you need to still buy the main book. Wasn’t 8th edition meant to be doing away with the bloat of 7th? Why are we once again faced with the prospect of carting around most of a library to play this game?

However, there are some very pretty models coming out this time – and by pretty, I mean badass, such as Chief Librarian Tigurius in his post-Rubicon Primaris iteration! White Scars are the first non-blue Chapter to get the Codex Supplement treatment as well, without any kind of biker emphasis which seems decidedly strange, but never mind… Maybe Primaris bikers will be a thing sometime? Who knows…

We are set to get all of the Shadowspear stuff though, which is exciting, along with some more units to more fully flesh-out the Phobos-armour section of the force. Not only that, but Space Marines are now building battle suits! I do quite like this chap, and I’m thinking I might treat myself to one at some point in the future – when I eventually decide what I want to do with the various Space Marines that I’ve picked up over the years!

Kill Team is well over 12 months old now, and is getting a new starter set in celebration. Well, I’m not sure if that was the actual motivation, but anyway! T’au Fire Warriors vs Space Wolf Primaris Marines, battling it out among the ruins of the Sector Mechanicus. Cool beans, though I’m not sure if that is going to prove to be as popular a box as the initial one, simply because of the terrain on offer. But it’s good that they’re recognising the game is popular enough to need the starter box as a range item.

I can’t do a 40k update blog without mentioning the latest reveals from the Battle Sister Bulletin, starting with the incredible new Canoness model. What a sculpture! I suppose the centrepiece model of the army will still be Saint Celestine, but to have a really ornate character model like this to stand out is a real treat, for me. Several people have pointed out the fact that it’s nice for GW to be portraying a more mature lady for the role as well, which I suppose is a good thing, though I wish it was something that didn’t have to be made an issue of. I’m sure she’ll be the subject for many painting competition entries for years to come, anyway!

I was a bit sceptical when I did my Bulletin round-up blog last month that we’d see the Sisters Repentia, but in the very next bulletin, we got the first look at these girls, and they are pretty good, I have to say! The half-naked look has been replaced with one that is vaguely unsettling, but which echoes the purpose of these miniatures really well.

If the canoness miniature is going to form the subject of so many competition entries for years to come, I think the latest reveal is going to be adorning display cabinets across the globe for decades!

The Hospitaller model is stunning. There’s no other word for her, really. She’s got a similar sort of scenic base to the Primaris Apothecary, I suppose, but what an incredible model to include in the army! The rules for the Hospitaller in the beta-Codex are actually quite bland, albeit fairly powerful when used at the right time. I guess the miniature itself seems to suggest a much more grand position than just returning D3 lost wounds / a single miniature to a squad per turn. She costs less points than a swarm of Canoptek Scarabs, but the model is just insane!

Sisters of Battle should be a very cool army once they start to be released, and I’m sure there will be forces cropping up all over the place! My inner-hipster wants to wait out the initial flurry, and see how the land lies and the Codex fares before I go all-out, though. It’s not like I don’t have plenty of stuff going on, after all!

I’ve talked about my Necrons project, the Great Reanimation, plenty of times now – most recently, after the flurry of games that I’ve managed to get in with the army. It’s definitely a work-in-progress, as I try to get to grips with the force and experiment with new army builds and the like. I’ve recently passed about 5 years of being in the hobby, and in sort of a celebration of this, I’ve been trying to rescue my Tomb Stalker, the first Forge World model that I’d picked up in the Autumn of 2014. I wrote up a blog about this gentleman that you can read here, but it’s time to try to bring him up to date with the rest of the force (and, sadly, to repair all of the various breaks he’s experienced over the years!) So far, so good, though there’s probably a lot more to be done before he’s ready for the tabletop once again!

I’m really enjoying the Necrons, I have to say – they’ve been enjoying a lot of air time with me recently, and I think I’m getting more and more ideas as to what I can do with them, and so on. They were, of course, my first army, and the attention that they’re finally getting from me is, I think, befitting that status! I’ve got a few more games lined up, where I’m planning to change up my army build to include some (for me) really exotic units, so stay tuned for my further adventures!

Finally, let’s talk about this Psychic Awakening trailer that dropped at the start of the month!

40k Endless Spells seem to be the forerunner for what it means, and while at first I thought the same, I’m no longer so sure. Endless Spells feel a little bit like GW’s attempt to make AoS different to 40k. The fact that they’ve been quite successful, by all accounts, doesn’t make me think they’re suddenly going to port over the idea into 40k just to make more money. I feel like we’re going to be in for another campaign idea along the lines of Vigilus from last winter.

The sigil that forms the main visual interest in the trailer is that for the Adeptus Astra Telepathica, the organisation responsible for finding psykers out in the galaxy and, where appropriate, training them. Such psykers often become sanctioned for use by the Astra Militarum, become astropaths, or sometimes join the ranks of the Inquisition. So far, in the game we’ve got the old Primaris Psykers and Wyrdvane Psykers models for the Imperial Guard, and the Sisters of Silence.

This is where we are, but the announcement that went alongside the trailer promised “a new, galaxy-spanning event that’s going to have a significant impact on every Warhammer 40,000 faction“. The fact that it’s called an event is probably what is causing the Endless Spells speculation, as Malign Portents that introduced them for AoS came with the same tagline. But I’d much rather see something much like the Gathering Storm that came at the very end of 7th edition, which brought out Triumvirate boxes of major characters for a few factions.

I don’t see how every faction can have something linked to a Psyker event, as so many of them are anti-psychic, such as Necrons, Dark Eldar, Adeptus Mechanicus and T’au Empire. So I wonder what we’re going to be getting? Plastic C’tan Shards would be cool, and maybe plastic Grostesques for the Haemonculus Covens that act as Psyker-hunters? I suppose we don’t have too long to wait, if it’s coming this Autumn! At least the Ultramarines got to have a Primaris Tigurius to help them!!

To finish, I thought it worth mentioning the next expansion for Blackstone Fortress that is coming up for pre-order this weekend. Escalation is a sort of traditional big-box expansion for the game, and one that I hadn’t honestly expected to see until much nearer Christmas, if I’m honest!

It’s exciting to see more esoteric corners of the 40k universe being explored in miniatures with stuff like the Primaris Psyker and a third Rogue Trader model. I do wonder if we aren’t in for a full Rogue Trader army soon, given the amount of stuff we’ve seen for this faction since Kill Team Rogue Trader came out last year. There are a lot of possibilities for them, after all!

The next few months are going to be pretty exciting for 40k players, I feel!

A Workshop of Games!

Hey everybody!
So I’m a little late to this party as well, but given the amazing line-up of new stuff that we’ve seen previewed at the New York Toy Fair from GW. I’ve come across quite a bit of negativity towards some of these things while looking around at the online reaction, which is a bit of a surprise to me in some respects, but I suppose you can’t please everybody! At any rate, let’s dive in and take a look at some of the upcoming goodness:

I want to start with Storm Vault, a co-operative dungeon-delving game that looks like it only includes Stormcast Eternals as the playable heroes, from the look of the box. I originally wasn’t even sure if it was a miniatures game, as I couldn’t see any in the promotional shot of the game board, but I think they’re up there in the top right corner:

This does look kinda neat, and reminds me a lot of Talisman, for some reason. They’re both GW IP games, I suppose, but it has the feel, from the scant info we had revealed, of that kind of adventure game. It looks like the four Chaos gods play a part in the proceedings, too, which is interesting…

I’ve still not played Warhammer Underworlds yet, shame on my, but this seems like an interesting take on things. Aimed at new players for the game (so, me) it features what looks like two of the Easy-to-Build kits for Age of Sigmar made into warbands that can be used here with training wheels, and then taken further into the main game. I do love the Nighthaunt, after all, and I am looking to get into Shadespire/Nightvault, so I think this could well be a good buy.

I do see the perspective of those players who already have been playing the game, and perhaps begrudge having to get this if there are unique cards that they will no doubt need for more competitive deck builds, but I think all too often we’re bound up with the loud voices here online who decry such enterprises by game companies – all the while, without realising that they just aren’t the majority target audience for this sort of product.

While there was also talk of the new Funko Pop range, and this Space Marines Heroes thing, by far the most interesting and exciting announcement to come from the event was, of course, this:

Combat Arena appears to take the principle of Gorechosen and supplants it to the 41st millennium, with generic hero-types being thrust into a pit-fight set aboard a space ship. All of them are Imperium heroes, and so a lot of people seem to be a bit confused as to why such folk would be fighting one another, but there we have it.

The game might well be a complete dud, but I’m definitely willing to give it a try. Most importantly, though, the game is bringing to us five new plastic miniatures of iconic figures from Warhammer 40k, from the Primaris Psyker to a third Rogue Trader mini!

Apparently, this is a prequel to the Blackstone Fortress game, and these minis will feature in an upcoming adventure pack. What on earth does that even mean? They’re going to be coming out in a Blackstone Fortress-branded box, so we shouldn’t buy this game if we want the minis? Or will they start to release rules for existing minis to be used in Blackstone Fortress, simply as card packs or whatever? The basing for all of the minis previewed at the event has the same scheme as the other game, so it very much looks like it’s a tie-in, but I’m not sure I quite get it at the moment.

Anyway, the minis look fantastic, and I really can’t wait to get them in my collection. I really appreciate how interesting GW is making their universe through the introduction of new models or re-imagined sculpts for classic models within these sorts of boardgames. I hope we see more stuff like this come out for a long time to come, as we see all manner of weird and wonderful creations for the game. And yes, of course I would like to have rules for 40k included, and maybe even crossover rules for Blackstone Fortress and Kill Team as well. I’ve already been working on building a Chaos force that uses all of the weird stuff from Blackstone Fortress, and I’m still thinking about how to fit the Elucidian Starstriders into an Imperium list – I don’t care if they aren’t competitive, I just love the fact that the lore is being fleshed out on the tabletop, and the more esoteric corners of the 40k universe are being explored in this manner!


You know what else I’m really enjoying about this announcement? The fact that we’re seeing Games Workshop actually beginning to realise the promise of their own company name, and produce a whole smorgasbord of games for us to feast upon. When the FFG licence ended, I was a bit disappointed because I have enjoyed their offerings in the board game, card game and RPG formats for a long while. Thinking that GW might only want to concentrate on their big three tabletop wargames, I was anticipating a lack of anything further. But here we are, with a whole slew of new games as well as new takes on the existing games stable, and I think it’s just glorious! Combat Arena or Storm Vault may well be throwaway games that people only buy for the minis and never once look at the game itself – heck, I pretty much did that with Gangs of Commorragh when that came out, though I have still got all of the game material for that one waiting for me to one day take a better look at it. But there are so many games being produced now with incredible new miniatures that they can probably afford to have a couple of duds on the shelf. If Combat Arena is only remembered as the place where that sweet new peg-leg Rogue Trader first came out, then that’s fine, because we still have stuff like Warhammer Underworlds, Necromunda, Blackstone Fortress and the like that have been, from all accounts, runaway success stories. But if people are still enjoying Combat Arena years from now, and either clamouring for official rules for Sly Marbo to be written, or playing with fan-made rules for using a Genestealer Patriarch, then that is awesome, too. The important thing to take from this, I feel, is that Games Workshop are trying, and I love them for it!

Kill Team: Rogue Trader

Hey everybody!
I’m continuing my week of celebrating 800 posts on my blog by continuing to ramble about all things 40k right now, and thought it about time to get round to the big box expansion for Kill Team that came out in September: Rogue Trader!

Warhammer 40,000 Kill Team

So as you probably know, this box was something pretty special. Named for the space privateers that plough the galaxy under the Emperor’s own Warrant of Trade in search of new planets to plunder for the Imperium, the name not only conjures up adventure and glamour but also hearkens back to the original, first edition of Warhammer 40,000. It was certainly something special that captured the minds of hobbyists all over the world, and while I was away on honeymoon when it actually came out, I wasted no time once I was back home in picking up a copy for myself and getting all of those miniatures built!

While I did manage to get a lot of stuff built in a short space of time, I have only now started to paint up the Imperium half of this box (stay tuned for some progress shots of those models coming at the end of the week!) But I’ve been talking about the expansion (and Kill Team in general) a lot, so I think it’s about time I got round to taking a proper look inside the box here on the blog!

The box is divided into the Elucidian Starstriders, led by the Rogue Trader Elucia Vhane, and the nasty Gellerpox Infected, a subsection of her crew who have been infected by the Gellerpox and now look even worse than some of the Nurgle gribblies. Not only do we have the rules and cards for using these miniatures within the Kill Team game, but GW have also kindly provided two mini-Codexes for each of the teams, so we can use them in regular 40k! I’ll be taking a look at those later in this post. For now, let’s talk about the Kill Teams themselves.

The box comes with 33 miniatures, ten for the Starstriders and twenty-three mutants, as well as two frames of scenery comprising bulkhead doors and computer terminals. The game board features, on one side, the Rogue Trader shuttle Truehawk, and on the other a Ministorum shrine. The narrative booklet that is included features some background on both Rogue Traders and the gellerpox, and tells the story of the shuttle being overrun and crashing on the planet Arcadia Neos. There are enough missions included in the book to allow you to play through the storyline, as well as more generic mission types that allow you to use the maps and scenery included for one-off style events.

New rules include fighting in close confines, a first look at the Commanders rules that later came out as a separate expansion, and the new Strength specialism that currently only applies to one model as far as I can tell, Vulgar the Thrice-Cursed. Finally, there are some advanced rules that let you combine Kill-Zones and link missions together to create a “Historical Campaign”.

For a 56-page booklet, it crams a lot in!!

The models are, as you’d expect, stunning. The Gellerpox Infected faction look disgusting in the tradition of Nurgle, but whether due to the fact that I was building them all up at the same time or if something else was at work, I really found these miniatures to be difficult on the eye when building them. I mean, they’re Nurgle-y, so it’s to be expected, but still. Something about them just put me off, so I can’t imagine I’ll be doing a great deal with these anytime soon! The entire warband comes to a total of 258 points in Kill Team, if you use all 23 models (193 points if you leave out the Commander).

The Starstriders, however, have just got a delicate grace about them that really excites my imagination. They feature so many design references to the larger Imperium, and what makes 40k so incredibly interesting to me as a setting, that I can’t begin to say just how much I like them. There are three named characters within the Kill Team that each have a set specialism, but each of them does not count towards the total number of specialists that you have – an interesting point that I thought it worthwhile mentioning. The total team comes to 145 points (100 points exactly without the Commander).

We only get ten of them – nine people, and a dog – which is such a shame, and has led to me really wanting to see more models in this style. When Blackstone Fortress was originally announced, I’d hoped we’d get a second Rogue Trader style crew that could potentially be combined with this to create a decent-sized force, but obviously now we know we’re only getting one Rogue Trader in that box, with the only other mini related to this style being the Navigator. It’s a shame, but the fact that GW have said they’re using these kinds of releases to explore hitherto unexplored corners of the setting does give me hope that we’ll be seeing more of them in the future.

As it stands, I don’t even think I want them particularly for regular 40k – I just want them because they’re an amazing band of miniatures!

But we can use them in regular 40k, thanks to the mini-dex, and that’s something I want to talk about now.

The Gellerpox Infected are all Chaos, and have the Nurgle keyword that will allow you to ally them in with a bunch of regular Nurgle daemons for added disease and disgust. They form a patrol detachment that is built around Vulgar the Thrice-Cursed, which comes to a total of 238 points. As a complete detachment, they are set up en masse when Vulgar is set up, and not only does the Thrice-Cursed give you access to seven distinct Gellerpox Infected stratagems, he comes with a warlord trait that gives you +3 command points to use on those stratagems.

There are only a couple of stand-out units in the Gellerpox Infected list, for me – the Eyestinger Swarms that allow you to keep adding slain models back to the unit at the start of every turn sounds annoying, but they’re probably more annoying than actually dangerous. The Glitchlings could similarly be annoying, as they subtract 1 from ranged attacks that target them, while the Hullbreakers, with S5 AP-2 weapons, could be quite the bothersome unit. If I were to take any of these in an army, I think it would be the Glitchlings and Hullbreakers, with the inevitable Vulgar tax to make it work.

Kill Team Rogue Trader

On the other hand, the Starstriders are a much more interesting force, for my money. Much like the Gellerpox, there are rules that allow you to set up the whole detachment at the same time as Elucia hits the table, and gain +3 Command Points for using Elucidian Starstrider stratagems (of which there are eight). The Rogue Traders have the Inquisition rule that allows them to use any Imperium transport vehicle, which is nice and fluffy.

Elucia Vhane herself feels like a much more useful HQ unit than Vulgar, allowing friendly units within 6″ re-roll hit rolls of 1. She’s fairly decent in terms of BS/WS, though otherwise has generic human stats with 4 wounds. The Voidsmen are generic soldiers, though the heavy rotor cannon is a nice addition. The Lectro-Maester, Larsen van der Grauss, provides a nice buff to the force, giving everyone a 5++ who is within 6″. He also has a unique stratagem that allows him to better hold objectives. There’s also a healer, and the Death Cult Assassin for some added meat, both of whom also get their own unique stratagems.

All of this comes in at 145 points. It’s definitely a smaller force, but it feels a lot more tight-knit than the Gellerpox, and I can see it working fairly well within a larger Imperium army. Unfortunately, there is a real mix of keywords here, meaning that you can only slot them into an existing army within their own detachment. Larsen van der Grauss will also fit within the Adeptus Mechanicus as a Tech-Priest, while Knosso Prond will fit into a Ministorum faction list as an additional Assassin should you feel the need. What’s even more disheartening, the new models from Blackstone Fortress won’t really slot in here, either – Janus Draik is basically Elucia Vhane with different grenades (and his multi-spectral auspicator only works on himself) but he could fill in as a second HQ if you wanted (you can’t use this to create a Rogue Trader battalion, sadly, as the only troops on offer – Nitsch’s Squad – have a limit of one-per-army) while Espern Locarno the Navigator, who would fit in the army on theme with no problem, has no keywords in common besides Imperium, so he’d currently have to sit in his own detachment. If you wanted to add in these two, though, it would only be an additional 70 points, so still not bringing it up to the realms of the Gellerpox!


I am incredibly guilty of demanding more of these miniatures to create an army for 40k – both here and with Blackstone Fortress – while almost overlooking the fact that this box has got so much to commend it. Kill Team has felt to me recently like it was getting bloated, with all the Commanders stuff that has been released lately – but I failed to see past the initial fact that yes, there may well be 108 individual products on the webstore for Kill Team right now, but all of these are merely adding in options to the game, and it really is something of a toolbox for you, to do with as you will.

I think this is a valid point that I need to learn – new GW isn’t always using board games to stealth-release new models into the tabletop game. Even things like Deathwatch Overkill were decent enough as regular board games, they just get a bit overshadowed by the fact they herald a new range of miniatures. While there have been a lot of releases for Kill Team that repackage existing miniatures and have led to something of a flooding in the market for content, I think it’s important to note that, to date, Kill Team as a game has only got two actual expansions in the traditional, board game sense: Rogue Trader, and Commanders. The army expansions are more like additional bits, nice-to-haves that aren’t really required to play the game (certainly not if you’re only using the starter box armies). The environment expansions are maybe more in the vein of a traditional expansion, although again, they only offer variations on the core theme. When you look at the line more as a traditional board game, I think it feels a lot more contained and, actually, quite a fun experience.

Rogue Trader adds to that experience by bringing with it two extremely thematic teams that make use of the Commanders rules while providing additional content for the close-quarters fighting. I believe that Commanders was supposed to be released first, but somehow the image of Rogue Traders fighting Gellerpox Infected was leaked too soon, forcing a switch-up of the release schedule. Ignoring the fact that there are rules for Necrons and Deathwatch and goodness knows who else to play in this game, if you just bought the core set, the Commanders expansion, and this, you’d have a really thematic set that would provide a whole lot of fun and enjoyable gaming for a long time. The modular expansion model of new armies with their own tactics and terrain to fight over, and the Kill Zone expansions that change up the battlefield, these are all really nice to have, but I think it helps tremendously to see these as very much ancillary to the main product.

If you think of it as a board game line that just happens to use existing GW products, it helps a lot!

Don’t forget to come back later in the week to see how I’ve been getting on painting up the Elucidian Starstriders! I’m posting every day this week to celebrate 800 posts, so come back soon!

Kill Team Expansions

Warhammer 40,000 Kill Team

Hey everybody!
So the Kill Team train has been going pretty much full speed since the game dropped over the summer, and in addition to the main box and the first major expansion, we’ve seen a whole ton of re-packaged models alongside this, comprising, to date, four waves of models. I’ve picked up a couple of these things now, so thought I’d come here today and ramble for a bit about my thoughts on the way Kill Team is moving so far.

Warhammer 40,000 Kill Team

As you can see, I’ve picked up some of these boxes that most fit along with existing armies that I have – I’m going to get the Necrons box at some point as well, for sure! I suppose I’ve been looking at KT almost in the opposite way to perhaps how GW wants me to look at it, and building teams out of existing armies that I own, rather than going for models that I’ve always wanted to paint just a couple of, and then sliding into a full-blown army. But I suppose I’ll get to that point a bit more shortly…

Warhammer 40,000 Kill Team

Each of these boxes includes a plastic infantry squad, a plastic terrain piece (or pieces), and the necessary rules bumph that allows you to use the plastic in your games. So in the above photo, we have a Drukhari infantry squad, which happens to be Wyches, alongside some Deathworld Forest terrain, and all of the tactics cards, squad cards, and tokens that we’d need to use these folks. There are also two mission cards included that make use of the terrain – notably, they tend to include a requirement for more terrain than comes in the box – and a little booklet that has some fluff and a few photos of the fully built and painted kill team.

Interestingly, the Drukhari kill team that they suggest you build – The Slicing Noose – is only 86 points in matched play. The T’au team is 94 points, and the Scions team 58 points. I find this interesting that the suggested teams don’t aim to maximise the 100-points available, though I suppose something like a five-man Scions team could never be very points-effective, given the costs of the units you can make with just one box of Scions. And it’s something that has been there since the core box, where the Ad Mech and Genestealer Cultist teams were not exactly points-efficient.

This brings me on to a minor tangent that I’ve mentioned before, of course,  but I’m still bemused to see mentioned around the internets. A lot of people seem to be genuinely baffled as to why GW are releasing the kill teams that they are – why not include more variety in the models? It’s been very clear since the core rules box came out that the “official” Kill Teams are comprised from single kits that are already available for 40k, so we won’t see a proper mix of units if you can’t make that unit from the whole kit supplied – I suppose in the case of the Necrons box, it got a bit confusing because there were Deathmarks and Immortals in the team. But enough of this rant!

Warhammer 40,000 Kill Team

The boxes are, I think, pretty decent in terms of value for money. At MSRP, you’re getting a five or ten-man squad, all of their rules, plus some terrain, for a lot less than it would cost to get these things separately. The above Tempestus Scions box costs £30, and you get roughly £51-worth of models (I say roughly, because the Munitorum Containers box contains three sprues of containers, while you only get two of them here). There is a lot of value to be had by getting these things, and I’m really excited to see these sorts of products being made.

There have been a few issues of course, notably the coloured plastic they use for the infantry feels somehow softer than the plastic of the regular kits, and the Scions in particular have some really terrible mould lines.

Warhammer 40,000 Kill Team

Re-packaged kits aren’t the only expansions to come for the game, of course – Rogue Trader landed last month while I was on honeymoon, and I managed to finally pick it up a couple of weeks ago. The set contains a whole load of new models – 33 of them, to be precise, along with some small-scale terrain that is mainly in the form of bulkhead doors and the odd treasure chest. I suppose the biggest thing about this is the fact that it happened at all, and brought the Rogue Trader, an iconic character class from the very earliest days of 40k, into the game with new models.

The expansion is pretty much what I think a lot of us were expecting from the off for Kill Team expansions, if I’m honest. The main rule book includes the rules for fielding regular troops that we can already purchase, whereas this box is full of all-new stuff that we’ve never seen before. I suppose I was hoping for something a bit like Shadespire, where we get new bands of miniatures that come with everything we need to play them – whereas we get everything we need to play with pre-existing sculpts. It’s a weird situation because, for the most part, we’re buying these expansion boxes in order to get the tactics cards and (perhaps) the scenarios to try. There are doubtless people who will benefit from these boxes who have not got the models either, for sure, but it does feel a bit weird when it comes to established players. I guess there’s an assumption that established players will be invested enough that buying five or ten more guys for an existing army is no big deal if they also want the tactics cards and scenarios. But I’m no business expert!

So are the tactics cards worth shelling out £37.50 for? Let’s take a look at the Drukhari box again. In the core book, there are four tactics available, which play into the theme of the army being lightning-fast, as well as being vicious reavers from outer space. The box gives us six more tactics that can be used by Drukhari teams in any warzone, and one that is specific to there being an Eldritch Ruin on the game board. More on this in a bit.

The six new tactics are a surprising bunch – two of them are specifically for Wyches (only one actually says it, Bloodied Grace, though there is the Hyperstimm tactic that affects any unit with the Combat Drugs ability – so, only Wyches). There are three more tactics that play into that lightning-fast theme of the force, and one that buffs Power from Pain, which both Wyches and Kabalite Warriors have access to. They’re a good mix, for sure, and they definitely give you some nice options that could potentially keep your guys alive, but I’m not sure if I would pay a premium to get them. Of course, the argument has already been made that you’re basically getting most of the terrain and all of the accompanying paper stuff for free when you buy these boxes, but that isn’t the only way we should be looking at these things, after all.

I think a lot of the Kill Team experience boils down to just that – the experience. We’ve seen GW selling us this sort of thing before when they have major new army releases, where we have to get the exclusive codex and the dice and all the fancy stuff. The fact that Kill Team comes with so much more gubbins than we’re used to in regular 40k is perhaps making this more obvious, as we have the faction-specific cards and tokens as well in these boxes. It’s in this respect, I think, that Kill Team comes very close to Shadespire, as we have the opportunity to make that sort of statement with our collections – we want to play Kill Team using our faction-specific cards and dice and tokens and all the rest of it, because we are that faction. It’s a really interesting way of selling these sorts of games, to me, because I am so often sucked-in to this whole experience! I’ve been collecting everything for Necromunda since day one, so have all of the gang-specific stuff even for those gangs I have no interest in playing! I just want that experience (and of course, I am a completionist).

Something I’ve talked about previously on my blog is the possibility that GW will do another round of these sort of repackaged kill team expansion boxes, where they give us more of our chosen faction’s options – for instance, I could totally see another Drukhari box with Kabalite Warriors, or T’au box with Pathfinders, and because I’m heavily-invested in both of these armies at this point, I would most likely buy them as well. It’s a really quite effective way they have of making money off something that basically already exists – that is, the miniatures. Not to discount the length of time that goes into designing a ruleset here, of course…

This post has been really long and quite rambling, so I’m going to draw it to a close now. Suffice it to say, I feel both excited about how much we’re seeing to support Kill Team, while at the same maintaining a decent cynicism about the whole repackaged theme that GW have got going on here. I really hope that we can see more unique products for Kill Team in the future, once the initial flurry of releases is over and each faction has had their kill team specific box. They don’t have to be particularly huge expansions like the Rogue Trader box, either, but just unique sculpts for existing bands of minis. Maybe that’s how we’ll eventually get new models such as new Chaos Space Marines, or plastic Flayed Ones. I’m really hopeful that Kill Team: Inquisitor will turn out to be a thing, and I would love to see similar styles of releases in the future, with specific warbands pitted against one another.

Kill Team Commanders

Before I do close this blog, however, I feel that I have to mention this bad boy. Up for pre-order this weekend, there’s a significant part of me that feels like this is getting a bit out of control. Gone is the idea of having a small team of five or ten models – games are now running to 200 points, and being led by such luminaries as a Genestealer Patriarch, or a Necron Overlord. What, now?! What happened to the small-scale skirmish?! I mean, for sure, it’s entirely plausible that kill teams can be led by these HQ choices – you can come up with all manner of fluff such as the big guy is out with his elite bodyguard cadre, or whatever, but as many people have already said, where is this going to end? Is the next thing going to be vehicles? Will I end up being able to bring an Annihilation Barge?

I’m a huge hypocrite, for I’ve already pre-ordered the book anyway, but there is a part of me that is just bemused by how this game line is progressing, cannibalising regular 40k as it goes…

Rogue Trader

Hey everybody!
It’s a bit of a retro-40k week here on spalanz.com, after my look at Necromunda (albeit in its latest incarnation) earlier in the week. So I thought I’d stay on theme for this post and look at the original rules for Warhammer 40,000 from way back in 1987!

Rogue Trader

Last year, 40k turned 30, and there were of course a number of celebrations of that fact, including the new 8th edition, and of course a facsimile reproduction of the original 40k rulebook, Rogue Trader. Sold exclusively at Warhammer World, the reproduction is pretty much entirely faithful to the original book, albeit with a revised publication history, and shows us latecomers to the game just where it all began.

I’m not going to go over the rules in great detail here, but I just wanted to share some of my initial thoughts and reactions having been leafing through the book of late.

First of all, the book feels entirely too much like a Role Playing Game, rather than a tabletop wargame. The black-and-white illustrations are highly evocative of the old Star Wars RPG from West End Games, and there are pages and pages of table of weapon stats that read a great deal like they’re for use in a RPG setting, in my view.

Rogue Trader

There is a lot of lore in this book, as well, which again adds to the RPG feel. Unlike with the recent editions of the game, where the lore comes first, the book is organised with all the rules in the opening chapters. The Age of the Imperium chapter then goes into great detail over all manner of things, such as the Imperium’s organisation and structure, before travelling over other alien races such as the Tyranids, Eldar and Orks. Notably, Genestealers are a separate race to Tyranids, and of course, we get the classic Squats as basically Space Dwarves, and Slann as Space Lizardmen. We also get a whole bunch of rules for different plant and animal life with which we can pepper the game.

There is a recommendation that games use a GM to keep track of all these myriad rules, which crops up in several parts of the book. There’s a nice little section on collecting miniatures, where the book recommends you plan your purchases before just buying lots and lots of shiny new toys – itself such a different tack from the current way of doing things! – and there is the suggestion that the GM will buy or convert all of the weird and wonderful NPC-like monsters and aliens that your armies can fight.

Conversions seem to be actively encouraged, with whole sections talking about suitable materials with which you can scratch-build terrain and the like. Whereas one person may just see leftover plastic yoghurt cartons, Rick Priestley sees a control tower just needing assembly! It’s all pretty fantastic, and feels just incredibly geared towards giving us the tools we need to really immerse ourselves in The Hobby as a whole.

Of course, the lore is a bit different then to how it is now. Of course, we have the Space Marines as the defenders of mankind, all bedecked in (MkVI) beaky helmets, but no mention of the Horus Heresy or Chaos in general. The basic backbone is there, for sure, but there is a lot that is missing from the established storyline in this book.

Rogue Trader

I said I wasn’t going to talk about the rules, but it is worth mentioning that the game otherwise feels quite similar to how it remains. The turn sequence is still move-shoot-melee, though there is a separate Reserves phase that follows melee combat, and the Psychic phase follows that, with the Rallying phase coming last (analogous to the Morale phase).

There are, of course, the whole host of byzantine charts that explain how to wound in close combat, etc, and vehicle firing arcs are gloriously a thing in this edition. I do miss that – it feels a bit weird that a vehicle, whose guns are modeled pointing away from the action, can still be a part of things. But I guess it does allow for speedier gameplay.

Rogue Trader

Anyway!

Overall, I love the look of this book. It reminds me so much of the old Star Wars RPG, as I’ve said, but on closer inspection, it has so much in common with British comics of the era such as 2000AD. I’m not 100% sure, but I think my brother may have actually had this book when we were growing up. If he didn’t, then it was certainly something very much like it. It harkens back to a time when gaming like this was very much the province of the nerd squad, and so they could be as complicated as you liked, because nothing had to have mass-market appeal. Does that sound elitist? Probably. But I do find myself resenting, at times, how simplistic some games have become nowadays, and how generic fantasy and sci-fi often gets, in order to appeal to the larger market. But I guess that’s a discussion for another time.

Did you used to play with 40k in the Rogue Trader era? Have any fond memories of those days? Leave a comment, and let’s talk about it!!

A Service Announcement

Hey everybody!
Have you seen the exciting Rogue Trader Kill Team announcement over on the Community site? I’m so excited, I really can’t wait! It’s definitely out a lot sooner than I’d been expecting, anyway!

In addition to the Kill Teams themselves, we’re getting a bunch of new missions and two new Kill Zones, which seems like a decent way to go about these kinds of big-box expansions. Reminds me of the way regular board games get expanded.

Of course, it’s not so much for the missions and game boards that I’ll be primarily snapping up this box as soon as humanly possible! These models look beautiful, I cannot wait to add them to my collection – which brings me on to the second part of this exciting update, that they’re including mini-Codexes in the box so that they can totally be played in 40k!

Definitely time to get a move on with my Imperium army, as I’m guessing these will be used as some kind of allied detachment… Really wasn’t expecting this development, I have to say! I’m really hoping that the Warhammer Quest: Blackstone Fortress game will do a similar thing, with either a mini-dex or at the very least datacards for the new models. I realise that I’m expecting that box to also have a bunch of Rogue Trader models in it, though a few online peoples have been suggesting we’ll get a more disparate group of heroes to play, rather than having two factions per se. But I hope for the latter, as two boxed games fleshing out the Rogue Traders in advance of, maybe, a true Codex: Imperial Agents would be pretty fabulous. But I’m getting ahead of myself here!

Excellent news, all round!

At any rate, I have yet more exciting news of a non-gaming variety to share: later this week, I’m getting married! So there will be a few scheduled blogs going out during my time away on honeymoon, and then normal service will likely resume towards the end of September. Hope you’ll all be good without me! 🙂

So much Warhammer news!

Hey everybody!
It’s been a bit crazy for Warhammer news during August, I’m not entirely sure if I’ve managed to digest it all yet! With the reveals from Warhammer Fest two weeks ago, and now the NOVA Open reveals, we’re going to be in for some amazing times as hobbyists and gamers for a good while to come!

Let’s start with Warhammer Fest, as it was so long ago now. The news that the Horus Heresy series is coming to an end before the actual Siege of Terra itself I find quite interesting, and I’m a little bit worried that it means we’re going to be in for another drawn out series as we see the culmination of Horus’ betrayal. It’s also really weird that the series The Horus Heresy doesn’t actually conclude the events of the Heresy, if you know what I mean. But James Swallow is a good author, and I did like his Flight of the Eisenstein, so I’m hoping for good things as he draws the proceedings to a close.

Of course, we’ve had a lot of stuff for Adeptus Titanicus coming out this month, so I suppose it’s about time I addressed this point now: I am not a fan of this game. Betrayal at Calth, while it’s Space Marine on Space Marine violence, was nevertheless an interesting game. Adeptus Titanicus, being hulking war machine vs hulking war machine, just doesn’t interest me in the same way. I get the sense that it is appealing to those with more nostalgia for the olden days, and the original iteration of the game (those at my local store are all part of the Old Guard), but it just sounds far too boring and bland, and I don’t think the fact that it’s a completely different scale is helping matters – at least Betrayal at Calth and all of the other boxed games they produce have included miniatures that could be used in regular games.

Something in its favour though – I love the fact that we can talk about Games Workshop and “all the other boxed games they produce”. They really are becoming a Workshop of Games now, and I love it!

Rogue Trader! The big box expansion for Kill Team is coming out in September, and I’m really very excited to get my hands on what look like amazing, weird, and very different minis. Perhaps most excitingly of all, though, is the little paragraph at the end of that announcement, saying that we can use both the Rogue Trader crew and the mutants in regular 40k! Didn’t see that one coming!

Codex: Imperial Agents, anyone?

So, even though I already have quite a lot on the go with regards painting projects, I’m looking forward to this quite a bit. It’s that sense of borrowed nostalgia once again. I wasn’t around for Rogue Trader back in the day, of course, but it’s something that looms so large in the background lore, and indeed, the meta world of the game as a whole, that I can’t help but feel excited at the prospect of something so iconic to the grim darkness of the far future finally coming to the tabletop!

So October (sorry, Orktober) is going to be the month of the greenskins, and it’s likely the Codex will be coming then, too. With the Space Wolves getting theirs last weekend, does this mean the Genestealer Cults will get theirs in September, maybe? Anyway. I’m not a big Ork fan – I play against them often enough, so it’ll be fun to go Codex-to-Codex against them now, but there’s very little else about the release that I can say, if I’m honest. It’s always good to see new models that replace the older ones with stuff that looks this good, so there is definitely that!

Speed Freeks seems to be a bit like the Gangs of Commorragh boxed game, in that it involves pure vehicle combat within a single faction, but is including a lot of new models – it seems GW likes to launch new kits this way nowadays, which isn’t always a bad thing, as it allows you to flesh out an army while getting the new stuff, usually with a decent saving.

Something that unites both sets of announcements, though, is the new Adepta Sororitas stuff coming – Emperor willing – next year. From Warhammer Fest, we got to see some renders of the weapons – exciting enough, for sure, but I can’t say as it really interested me. Well, maybe the fact that they’ll get a crossbow is hilarious, but still.

The NOVA Open announcement gave us a look at the heads of these girls, and they’re looking like they have a good amount of movement there to suggest some pretty dynamic poses within the kits. Interestingly, the 2018 Chapter Approved will include a mini-Codex for the Sisters that will allow for a decent amount of playtesting feedback to be gathered before the Codex itself lands. Ever get the feeling that they’re almost going too far with this? I get that people are keen to get plastic Sisters, and they want the release to be a memorable one – hell, I’ve talked about this myself years ago – but it’s almost like they’re getting too much special attention. Why should one army get so much playtesting, while others get landed with a copy-and-paste Codex just so as to get the book out there? Hm. It’s always going to be a difficult one, for sure, but it struck me this morning when I was reading this stuff, it just seems to be making this too much of A Thing.

Anyway, clearly I’m now one of those old farts who is just never going to be happy!

I’ve been quiet about Age of Sigmar for a long time now, for the simple reason that I’ve been moving away from the game, and focusing more completely on 40k. However, what looks like the return of Slaanesh to any of the game systems simply cannot go un-mentioned! It has always been my favourite of the Chaos Gods (don’t judge me!) so I’m always going to follow what happens here with a keen eye. Expect more blogs when we have more information on this, including one devoted to just why I like Slaanesh so much…

Now, what the hell is this, when it’s at home?! Is it really going to be the new Battlefleet Gothic? The fact there are ships in the announcement video seems to have a lot of people assuming so, but the announcement compares the game to Silver Tower in a way that makes me think we’ll get a similar line-up of infantry-based miniatures battling through the impossible halls of a Blackstone Fortress. Indeed, it’s being described as a dungeon crawl game over on the 40k facebook page, so I reckon we’re definitely getting people miniatures, and not starship miniatures.

(As an aside, I don’t really know if I’d be into Battlefleet Gothic in the same way I’m not into Adeptus Titanicus – I guess cross-compatibility might be an issue for me, after all!)

Intriguingly, the protagonist/voiceover chap in the video seems to be another Rogue Trader, so it may be possible we’ll see some sort of merging of the miniatures from the Kill Team expansion and this in the future…

I am really excited for these two boxed games, if nothing else, so I’ll be saving the pennies from here on, for sure!