Hey everybody!
It’s my 700th blog post! Crikey!

This isn’t really going to be a very long post, but it’s going to be an exciting one, all the same! See, I’ve been doing a bit of an inventory of my Warhamer kits that are waiting to be built, and while I’m continually shocked at just how much plastic I have waiting for me to get round to it, I think that everything I have is fairly necessary. I mean, of course, that I don’t really have an odd kit for an army that I don’t really collect. I have a lot of things that I’ve not really managed to properly do much of anything with yet, like Space Marines, and I have a lot of stuff for well-established armies such as Necrons and Dark Eldar. And I have bits and pieces for the combined Militarum Tempestus/Adeptus Mechanicus list that I’m working on, along with some pieces for a Genestealer Cults army that has been on my mind for about a year now…

Genestealer Cults progress

It’s this last army that I want to talk about briefly today. I’ve got a bunch of kits, along with the stuff from Deathwatch Overkill, that has been in varying stages of completion for quite some time now. I know the colour scheme that I want to use, both on the mining Cultists and the guardsmen Cultists, and I have a vague idea for including a detachment of Tyranids in with them now that I’ve been delving into Index: Xenos 2, but it’s finding the time to work out a proper army list that is proving to be difficult right now!

So far, I’ve decided that I want to have a core of actual Genestealer Cultists for the army, and I’m probably looking at a Battalion detachment, given the number of HQ units that I’ll be doing for these chaps. My big plan is to then have waves of Neophyte Hybrids much like in the picture above, though on a much larger scale. I think I want to get at least two more boxes of these guys – to add to the one box I bought last year, and the contents of Overkill.

Incidentally – how good are the contents of Overkill for starting a GSC army?! According to my calculations, the total points cost for the models you get in the box, for 8th Edition, is 809 points. Now, that does assume a squad of 5 purestrain genestealers, and not the four that are supplied, but it’s otherwise a very good start to the army. I was initially a bit bummed that GSC don’t yet have a Start Collecting box for the faction, but I actually feel that Overkill is such a good place to start, it’s a lot better than a Start Collecting box will be. Though, you don’t get any transports in the boxed game, of course.


I then have a sort of secondary plan to use the Acolyte Hybrids probably in a separate detachment with an Acolyte Iconward. However, I found it quite interesting when working out the points values for the squad of Acolytes that I had built up last year:

The squad that I built up just over 12 months ago now works out at 106 points, by my reckoning – with the weapons forming almost half of that cost. Now, I have 5-man troop squads that have quite a high cost, and something I’ve been thinking about when building my Imperium army has been keeping the cost down in order to get more bodies on the ground, so I’m surprised at just how expensive these things can turn out to be.

The modular flavour of building a 40k army is something that I really enjoy, and drilling down to that level of precisely what I can kit out my guys with is always a lot of fun for me. Especially given how restrictive my first army, Necrons, can be! So I don’t think I’m ever going to go for a boring, basic squad, but I do feel somewhat bad about including such expensive wargear in just one squad!

(I’ve lost some of my miniatures in moving house, and currently can’t find the Neophytes that I had built prior to the move. Once I do, I’m planning to write up a proper “My First Genestealer Cult Army” style blog, so stay tuned for that!)

The Tyranid detachment is something that I’m very much looking forward to adding, as it’ll finally give me the impetus I need to get painting these chaps! I love the look of the Zoanthropes, and have been looking forward to getting them done for a while now. I’ve been thinking about adding these in a Vanguard detachment, just because there are more Elite units of Tyranids that I want to add to the army than anything else. I definitely want to build up my Maleceptor for the list, and add some Venomthropes (along with a Toxicrene in the heavy support slot). It would be more thematic, however, to build the list around a Broodlord and Genestealers, which are troops in the Index, so I suppose the idea of concentrating on a Vanguard because of the Elites really isn’t quite so limiting.

Genestealer Cult

Anyway, I thought this blog would be a short one, but clearly not! Tyranids and Genestealer Cultists always intrigue me greatly around this time of year, so I expect to be talking about them more as the autumn goes on. Thanks for making it this far through the post, and here’s to the next 700!

Hobby Progress, week 45

Hey everybody!
Week 45 has seen some more productive efforts with my hobbying, some more projects finished and some others in the planning stages. Let’s start with the finished stuff:

Hobby Progress 45

My ten-man tactical squad for my Horus Heresy Alpha Legion is now complete! I have to be honest, I’ve really given these a bit of a rush job – which isn’t all that bad, as the scheme isn’t exactly complicated. But I could probably have taken some more time on these things than I ended up doing. That said, there are also some elements where I’ve taken the time for some details, such as the plasma pistol, adding a hint of the pale blue in the muzzle as well as on the coils. Overall, they’re a serviceable tactical squad, and I’m glad to have them done. Especially as I’ve met the pledge of getting them finished in two weeks!

One squad down, one to go. I think my second mandatory troops choice is going to be Assault Marines, which means FW resin, but I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.

Hobby Progress 45

The rhino is the second project I’ve been working on this week, and I have to say, I’m not really that sure about a lot of it. First of all, I mentioned last week how the chassis has turned streaky in parts because of the Drakenhof Nightshade – I’ve tried to do some kind of overbrushing with, alternately, Teclis Blue and Sotek Green again, and while it has helped with some of this streakiness on the top, it is still an issue. However, it’s gotten to the point where I’m thinking I’m fine with the overall look – it’s kinda blotchy, but more importantly, it’s pretty much the same as every marine in the army, so I can live with it.

For the headlamps, I’ve painted the bulb with White Scar, then gone over it with Cassandora Yellow to add some depth of shape. I then lightly brushed on some Yriel Yellow, not just on the bulb but also on the surrounding hood and in a cone shape out from the base of the lamp, and finally added some Flash Gitz Yellow as a highlight here. The photo above doesn’t really show it, but I think on the tabletop, the effect is actually pretty cool – even if I do say so myself!

Of course, this is my first ever attempt with weathering a miniature, and I wanted to tie it to the rest of the army by adding some rust-coloured mess to suggest the tank is moving through the same battlefield as the troops. So I’ve stippled on Tuskgor Fur after speaking to the manager of my local GW, and I think, for a first attempt, it is actually pretty decent! I still want to do something more to it, as the Fur doesn’t really look much like Martian Ironearth, but I’m afraid of going too far, so have called a halt for the time being. I’ve also added in some Martian Ironearth to the rear tracks in an effort to make it look like those tracks have clogged up a bit.

Overall, it’s perfectly serviceable I think. I do want to try and get better and improve, and after showing it off to some folks at the store, I’ve been pointed in the direction of weathering powders, so I think I might investigate those next!

So what else has been going on this week?

First of all, my store is also having a bit of a painting competition like an Armies on Parade redux, involving a 160mm base. I can’t recall if I’ve mentioned this already, but it sounds hilarious, so I’m going for it! I’m going to have some of my already-painted Deathwatch marines going up against some Tyranid bugs, so chose the Zoanthrope kit because it looks absolutely hilarious! The initial idea was basically what I posted on instagram: three marines against one Zoanthrope, but I’ve since built up the other two models for the kit, and am thinking I might try to squeeze on the whole brood:

These models are amazing – really easy to build, but those cheesy grins! I love them! I don’t actually know if all three will fit on the base, especially as I’ve also been considering adding more marines, but I’ll certainly paint them up as a threesome. I’ve long nursed ideas for having some kind of Tyranid force, but have never been able to settle on any kind of colour scheme. I love the Behemoth scheme, but have always wanted to try Eumenides. I even bought some cheap Termagaunts to practice on, but that didn’t turn out well at all. Last year, I bought a Carnifex in an effort to break out of a painting funk, and attempted to do my own colour scheme, but having build the monster first, that hasn’t ended well, and he’s still in this condition:

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More #Tyranids progress! Going slow… #Warhammer40k

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However, my current plan is to go with my own scheme, though different to the Carnifex above: pale blue body, and shocking pink carapace. I’m still not sure how I’m going to do any of that yet, but the competition isn’t being judged until 18 December (my birthday!) so I should have enough time to get something ready.


That’s pretty much been it for progress this week! I’ve done a few odd bits, as always, but certainly nothing to write home about. For a few weeks now, it’s been all about the Alpha Legion – or at least, it’s felt that way! So I’m thinking about doing something different next, maybe turning back to some of the many Necron projects I still have ongoing. My legion currently stands at 1270 points with all the fancy upgrades and stuff, so is certainly getting there and all that! I’ve also been thinking about what to do next for that – I know I should do another tactical squad and get the minimum force org done, but I’m thinking instead of an all-flamer tactical support squad. I guess we’ll see!!

Genestealer Cult!

Genestealer Cult

Well, I’m more excited for this than I first thought I would be, I have to admit! When I first got my hands on the Deathwatch: Overkill game, my attention was mainly drawn to the space marines, and while I did build up a couple of the genestealer cult models, I haven’t done anything with them yet. The Deathwatch were formally launched into 40k in August, and I kinda threw myself behind that release, and while a lot of the internet has been excited for these cult minis, I can’t really say I feel the same way. I think a lot of that excitement is based in the nostalgia for the genestealer cult from back in 2nd edition (early 1990s), replete with cult limousine…

Obviously, I can’t speak for this nostalgia myself, having only become interested in Warhammer 40k in the last couple of years, but I have to say, I really like the mining aesthetic that the models have from the Overkill game, even though I don’t tend to go for that kind of grungy look for my miniatures. I’ve started to assemble a lot of the minis from Overkill, at any rate, partly after being inspired by a post from a Facebook group earlier in the week.

Genestealers are linked to some of my own nostalgia for 40k of course, as one of my first experiences with the setting was the 4th edition Space Hulk boardgame released in the autumn of 2014. Blood Angels vs Genestealers in the narrow confines of a derelict space hulk, the game features a horde of the tyranid vanguard, and if I hadn’t already become so enamoured with my Necrons, I would very likely have bought into the new tyranid bugs that were released around the same time…

So I’m not going to go all-in on genestealer cults, but I am thinking about getting some more models to build up and paint. All of this interest, however, has got me thinking about these cultists, and what the story is all about. So sit back, while I educate myself about all this stuff!

Genestealer Cult

The genestealers are the vanguard for the invading tyranid forces, sent forth in advance of the massive hive ships to subvert a planet to make it ready for conquest. The genestealer infects hosts with its DNA, causing hybrids to be born when that host reproduces. For a generation or two, the offspring will appear vaguely like its parent, though further generations will reveal more of the genestealer look – more arms, tails, bulbous heads and blue/purple skin.

I find this kinda fascinating, possibly due to having enjoyed the Shield of Baal series so much. Genestealers are fairly intelligent for a tyranid lifeform, able to operate away from the hive mind or synapse creatures for extended periods thanks to its own form of brood mind, directed mainly by the Broodlord. With enough genestealers operating under this brood mind, the tyranid hive fleet can sense the planet ready for conquest through the warp. Which brings us to Genestealer Cults!

These cults are formed from the first offspring of infected hosts, and band together into a vague sort of family that has a vague sort of worship of some kind of figurehead – sometimes referred to as the four-armed emperor, I’ve heard? Anyway, by banding together like this, the psychic resonance they create attracts the hive fleet, and the cult attempts to sow dissent against the Imperium to ease the way for the tyranids to then invade and digest the planet.

While a Broodlord is the military leader of a genestealer force, a distinct entity referred to as the Patriarch is the head of a genestealer cult, and provides the psychic link for the rest of the cult members. The Patriarch itself is a powerful psyker that can last for hundreds of years, readying the way for the approaching hive fleet. It sounds like a wonderfully creepy way of leading the little bugs, with more, well, cultish overtones than the Broodlord itself.

The Patriarch is served by the Magus, another psyker though almost human in appearance. Its primary role is to serve as the public face of the cult, and relays the orders of the Patriarch to the members. By the time of the Magus’ birth, the cult will have grown significantly, allowing a more widespread control of the planet. This is achieved by the powers of hypnosis and mind-control possessed by the Magus. The Magus is a fourth-generation hybrid, but any children it has will first be purestrain genestealers once more. A pretty horrendous thought, giving birth to six limbs and chitinous exoskeleton…

Something that I’ve found interesting, in the run-up to the Genestealer Cults release from GW, is how/why they can ally with Imperial Guard, never really seeing the link between the two. Well, as it happens, there is a further element of the cult referred to as Brood Brothers – the original infected hosts that started the spawn cycle. When these folks have their hybrid babies, that hybrid psychically dominates its parents, enslaving it to the cult and the whims of the Patriarch. Being normal humans in any other respect, they are able to operate the machinery of the Guard or any Planetary Defense Force, and so open the door for all these types of ally shenanigans that I find really interesting.

Genestealer Cult

So there you have it, the results of my research into these subterranean cults and why I think they’re so cool! I’m definitely going to be picking up the Codex next week, along with a box of ten more neophyte hybrids!

Post #345, or A Catch Up

Hey everybody!
It feels like a long time has passed since I’ve written a non-game-day blog, so thought I’d write something meandering and wonderful today as a sort of catch-up. Like the tradition of Age of Sigmar posts that I wrote over the summer for each release week, I guess!

Getting right into it, then, I’m kinda pleased to see the emphasis on Tau coming from Games Workshop, as it really gives my wallet a rest! Having invested heavily in Age of Sigmar during the summer (as you all know!) I’m glad for the respite here, though the models do look really nice. Something particularly impressive is the Tidewall, a terrain piece that, should I collect Tau, I’d most certainly be drooling over!

Tau Tidewall

Fortunately, I collect Necrons, but I really hope this means we’ll be seeing more diverse scenery kits in the coming months, and perhaps we’ll get something for the undying legions soon! Amazingly, the pre-order for this has already sold out within an hour of going up on the webstore, so it looks like we’re back to End Times/Shield of Baal shenanigans once more… At any rate, they look cool!

Games Workshop have also produced a sort of campaign box set but not, in that they have also put out for preorder two box sets, one for Tau and one for Space Marines. They look like the expansions to the Warhammer 40k starter set, Dark Vengeance. What’s interesting is that these have the “Damocles Warzone” icon on the boxes, which could be suggesting we’ll be seeing a lot more of these mission-orientated boxes in the future. Though the price tag isn’t exactly all that inspirational – I’m assuming they’re priced so high due to having vehicles as well as infantry models, but it’ll be interesting to see what comes next for 40k. Damocles was between Raven Guard and Tau, and the second such warzone supplement, Damnos, was fought by the Ultramarines and Necrons. So we’ll see what turns up next…

While I am still very much excited about pretty much anything that comes out of Nottingham these days, I’ve been feeling that my painting skills have atrophied since the spate of painting Stormcast Eternals over the summer. In an effort to try to revitalise my interest, I bought myself a Tyranid carnifex just over a week ago, thinking that having something completely new to paint would help re-inspire me or whatever, and for a time it did, as I was considering various paint schemes for the guy, but sadly I built the entire model up before painting, meaning that a lot of him is particularly difficult to get to now:

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More #Tyranids progress! Going slow… #Warhammer40k

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So I’ve kinda lost interest there. I’ve been trying out a new scheme for them, and alongside the carnifex I have the broodlord from the Space Hulk game that I’ve been fiddling with. Progress has come to a standstill, anyway, and I’m currently thinking I might just move back to some Necrons and see if I can’t recapture some of the patience and skill from the summer. Stay tuned!

With so much Warhammer going on, it’s perhaps no surprise to anyone that this has made a come back in recent weeks, too:

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#SpaceHulk #gamenight

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Stay tuned for more here, as I will be once again featuring this in a game day blog next week!

On the subject of board games, anyway, I’ve not really been that inspired by some of the latest stuff from Fantasy Flight, sad to say. We’ve had the Tyranid deluxe expansion for Warhammer Conquest (there’s just no escaping those bugs!) and Imperial Entanglements for the Star Wars LCG, along with some previews for the new Runebound and, most recently, Warhammer Quest. Of all of this, I’ve been most intrigued by the latter, which is shaping up to look like a really exciting card game, with elements of both Lord of the Rings LCG and Rune Age coming through (to me, at least). Very excited for this one, I must say!

For the most part, however, I seem to have been ploughing my money into Magic: the Gathering. I mentioned this on a blog back in July, where I’d finally discovered it and it looked like a really great game. Having tried it out a few times with my usual gaming buddy, I can confirm that initial reaction was correct, though I haven’t gotten to play all that much with it, proportionate to my investment in the game to date. While I’ve been buying the odd bits to make up a couple of Standard decks, I’ve also been delving into the recent past, buying cards from the past 9 or 10 years of sets just because they look cool.

This has, in turn, made me reconsider how I actually store my games in general. Having looked into the Magic community only a little, something has nevertheless come through very clearly, and that’s the time and effort that goes into protecting the cards as an investment. I’ve always thought of games as just games, and something to pass the time rather than anything more serious, but having spent a fair bit of money now on individual cards, my whole paradigm has shifted! I’ve not only been double-sleeving my Magic decks to ensure they remain as pristine and neat as possible, but I’ve also bought some pro-binders to keep my Lord of the Rings LCG cards in, as that’s certainly the game I’ve played with the most, and the cards – while I take good care of all my games – are in danger of seeing wear soon.

I never thought I’d spend so much money on gaming accessories…

So anyhow, that’s that! My latest degree module has now begun, Myth in Greece and Rome (I think it’s called), with the first essay due next week. In the final year now, so that’s getting real. Nevertheless, I’m hoping I’ll still be posting here with more frequency than of late – it’s always quite upsetting to see just one post a week in my history, whether anyone reads them or not…!

Shield of Baal

The deadly worlds of the Cryptus System, always beset by the gravitational and radioactive forces of their twin stars, have come under a new threat – the xenos might of the tyranids. A tendril of Hive Fleet Leviathan has reached the Cryptus shieldworlds. The Imperium musters its strength, for the aliens must be stopped here, as next in the hive fleet’s path is the home world of the Blood Angels Space Marines, Baal itself.

Shield of Baal

That’s right, folks – time for a review of the Shield of Baal series of novellas and e-books from Black Library! These stories support the recent Shield of Baal campaign from Games Workshop that has helped to publicize the recent releases of Tyranid and Blood Angel models, which culminated in the Deathstorm box set. I don’t play Warhammer 40k, of course, but I do enjoy the setting, and part of that enjoyment has come from this series!


Shield of Baal

Shield of Baal began back in November, with the publication of the campaign supplement Leviathan. Selling out within the first hour of being available for pre-order, it was either this or the Khaine supplement for Warhammer Fantasy’s End Times series that appears to have prompted GW into re-releasing these things in paperback. Anyhow, Leviathan was the first of two hardback supplements, the other being Exterminatus, both of which framed the box set release itself.

Shield of Baal

These books have some absolutely gorgeous art – for more on that, check out my tumblr posts here and here! The slipcase for each features two books, of course – the fluff and the crunch. The latter provides all of the rules for the models, including those for the new Tyranid releases that began in October/November. Anyhow!

Shield of Baal

These three novellas form what I suppose is the overarching storyline of the campaign, and function very much like the End Times novels we’ve been seeing in Fantasy. The fluff books in the campaign supplement releases can be seen as the history books of the time, so we see virtually everything that occurred, while the novels/novellas dramatise the story much like a historical film might present the events.

here be spoilers!

So we start with Tempestus. This story features the Adepta Sororitas fighting a heresy on the world of Lysios, before the arrival of an Imperial Inquisitor and his Tempestus Scions, on the trail of a new xenos threat. It’s a really nicely-crafted story, particularly interesting (to me) for featuring the Sisters of Battle so prominently – the fan community seems to bang on about these girls like they’re the most short-changed of all the factions, so it was interesting to see what they’re all about. The leader of them, Canoness Magda Grace, is a particularly compelling character, though unfortunately the story largely hinges around Inquisitor Ulrich, who annoyed me very early on for his attitude of career-advancement-at-all-costs. The story ends with Ulrich abandoning the Sisters and the Scions on the planet, just as the Tyranids begin their invasion, though whether he actually gets away is another question entirely…

The next short story is a bit longer, and coincides with the box set itself. Deathstorm begins as the Tyranid invasion is getting under way, and introduces the Blood Angels First Company, under the command of Captain Karlaen – the Shield of Baal himself. Karlaen is tasked with retrieving the Governor of Phodia, whose bloodline might hold the key to curing the Blood Angel’s Red Thirst. The story follows Karlaen and his men as they follow the trail of the governor, who holed himself up in a private bunker shortly after the Tyranids arrived. I enjoyed this one immensely! I was particularly impressed by the way Reynolds writes the Brood Lord as a point-of-view character, given the fact my previous encounters with 40k novels have had the xenos just as the antagonists. The twist at the end is also amazing, and actually really well-written (I think!) The other thing I really liked was the way all of the major players in the meat of the story (excepting the governor) are models from the Deathstorm box set – for me, this just goes to show the power of thematic, scenario play, where you can take a collection of models and spin an entertaining story out of them!

Shield of Baal

From there, we then have a couple of e-books, starting with Wraithflight. This brings the Eldar into the storyline, though quite gratuitously, in my opinion. Nothing seems to be added to the overall tale, it’s very much a sideline to the main event. If you’re an Eldar fan, it might be worth downloading – it also follows on from a previous novel, so you might like to read it if you’ve read Valedor, also. But to me, it didn’t really contribute anything.

The Word of the Silent King was a big thing for me, however! It was released for download a couple of days after the Exterminatus previews went online, where we finally had confirmation that the Necrons would be coming into the campaign, so it was an insta-download for me! While I was naturally predisposed to be favourable to it, nevertheless I thought it was a nice story, considering the e-books feel almost like filler than the main thing. It details the alliance between the Necrons and Blood Angels against the Tyranid threat, and is told from both sides, through one of the space marines and one of the Praetorian Guard. It feels quite important, as the story features both Commander Dante and Szerakh themselves, and the general sense from the story is that this is setting up the endgame for the campaign. Which brings us to…

The third and final novella (it seems), Devourer was released with Exterminatus, and was just far too exciting for my Necron-love, as it has Anrakyr the Traveller on the cover! Oh yes, this one promised to be excellent! Unfortunately, that promise didn’t quite hold true, in the end. Anrakyr is trying to awaken a tomb world amid the Tyranid invasion, without realising the world is already awakening. We follow the reactivation through the eyes of a Cryptek and her Lychguard, as she discovers the Flayer virus has crippled the Lords and Overlords – and the Phaeron herself! Unfortunately, the Tyranids prove to be too much, and Anrakyr is forced to flee the world, no great loss when he realises the extent of the virus.

I really wanted to like this story, given how the Necrons are centre-stage for it, but it sadly fell a bit flat for me. I really don’t mean to sound sexist when I say this, but I was surprised at how many female Necrons there are – I’d always just thought they were beyond such things as gender-recognition post-transformation, and all. The fact that we get inside Necron heads also seemed to destroy the mystique a little too much for me – ironic, given the fact that I’ve wanted to read a story with them for so long! However, my main issue is the fact that the story just doesn’t seem to go anywhere, and has such an inconclusive ending. Not to be too harsh, but the actual storyline is one I think that should be more suited to an e-book – Anrakyr tries to wake a tomb world, and finds them all infected with the Flayer virus, so flees the surface for the next one. The novella would be better-served with more of a conclusive ending, when he finds a tomb world and it’s all set and ready to smash the Tyranids!

There’s a side-story of Blood Angels guarding the dead planet Perdita, but following a Tyranid sortie they crash on the surface and have to fight their way through the caverns, latterly with the assistance of the Necrons. I feel that the story in Devourer is setting up something else, though as it’s (ostensibly) the last in the series, it appears to go nowhere… However, it’s not all bad – what we do get is a nice look into the reactivation of a tomb world, some excellent scenes that sent a little shiver of goodness over me as I read descriptions of my favourite army, including the Tomb Sentinel of all things! And there are some pretty awesome set-piece battle sequences to enjoy!

There is a third e-book worth downloading, called Shadow of the Leviathan, which features the Ultramarines in a different sector of space. The story centres around the Chief Librarian Tigurius and his struggles with a new psyker Tyranid monstrosity – never identified by name in-story, it’s not difficult to see it as the new Maleceptor model that was part of the wave of releases in November. It’s actually a nice little story, and definitely worth checking out if you’ve enjoyed any of the other tales in the Shield of Baal series!

Shield of Baal

Final Thoughts

These stories are lots of fun, for a variety of reasons, with Deathstorm by far being the best of the lot. There are some excellent battle descriptions, possibly my absolute favourite being Tigurius’ aristeia in Shadow of the Leviathan. And, of course, it’s always fun to have stories where you can imagine the goings-on through models on the tabletop!

Being a campaign supplement for the wargame, I suppose there is necessarily an open-ended feel, as people will be playing through these scenarios, and the Tyranids might win there. However, part of me wishes that a canon-ending could have been adopted, much like in the Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic games, where you could play it where you end up a Sith Lord, but the actual story is supposed to see the Jedi triumph. Perhaps GW don’t want to see the Tyranids defeated, of course, but throughout the series I feel we’re led to believe that the Space Marines will triumph.

The Necron thing is still a disappointment, of course. A large part of me still hopes we’ll see a fourth novella in the new year, once we have the new Zarathusa the Ineffable miniature available. Indeed, there is an oblique reference to this chap in Devourer, and I did feel a little cheated when nothing came of it! Time will tell on that, I suppose. There is also the fluff from both campaign supplements that can be read through – as this is intended as a review of the novellas only, I haven’t yet made my way through the bigger books; once I do, I’ll come back and add a post-script or something.

Before I close, I can’t help but mention the pricing. Tempestus and Devourer are £12, with Deathstorm £15. These are short books – less than 130pp for the first and third, and 175pp for the middle one. For £20, Black Library have published full novels of 400+pp, so it does feel like a terrible money-grab. It might be more worthwhile downloading them as e-books for £5, but I’m one of these people who prefers a proper book in my hand to anything else. It’s obviously my choice to have the tangible hardback, but it seems a little excessive markup there…

I don’t want to end on a low point, though – this campaign is really enjoyable, and worthwhile reading through for anyone who is interested in the setting. The three novellas take various facets of the 40k universe and showcase them to good effect – Blood Angels, Adepta Sororitas, Necrons, Tempestus Scions, etc.

Shield of Baal

Ah, Sunday!

Morning everyone!
It’s a sunny day here in the UK so far, which is good for the Remembrance Day services taking place throughout the country. It’s actually quite sedate and quiet in my little corner of the realm, too, which is very pleasant!

So, as you know, there have been some pretty major developments in the LCG world, starting with the introduction of Rotation a la Magic into the tournament scene. Of course, it’s not quite as bad as Magic, where players pretty much need to change their entire card pool to stay current. But still, while it’s a sensible move that should help lower the bar of entry for new folks, there is a part of me that sympathises with folks who are suddenly seeing their cards with finite lifespans now. As a non-tournament player (hell, I barely get to play at all these days!), it doesn’t really affect me, but still.

A Game of Thrones is also moving to a 2nd Edition, which I will in all likelihood not buy into. I’ve spent far too much money on the game already to want to start over, plus for all the time I get to play it, it’s just not worth it. It is, to me, a very good game as it stands, so given how I don’t play in tournaments, I have no real need to buy it all over again.

There hasn’t been a whole lot of other news coming out of Fantasy Flight this past week, however. Lord of the Rings LCG has had two very exciting announcements, but beyond that, it’s largely been taken up with the Worlds hoopla.

So first of all, Heirs of Númenor is getting its Nightmare Mode decks, which look like they’re really great. Something that particularly appeals to me is the new Peril in Pelargir, which sees a situation similar to that introduced in the nightmare Hunt for Gollum. In both cases, the nightmare mode introduces a much more aggressive encounter deck that actively works towards its own win condition, rather than passively waiting for the players to lose. Looking forward to seeing these!

The Treason of Saruman

The next Saga box has also been announced, The Treason of Saruman. Taking us through the first half of The Two Towers, we get a Fellowship version of Aragorn, as well as the possibility of new Hero versions of Gimli and Legolas, characters who haven’t seen an update since the Core Set. Of course, they’re both great cards, so whether they need an update is debatable, but it seems that fans of the game expect one, given how many times other heroes have seen new versions (Fellowship Aragorn will be that character’s fourth incarnation as a hero). It looks like it should be pretty amazing, anyway, with 11 new player cards that will hopefully add some more to the Rohan trait, so I’m really looking forward to this!

The Treason of Saruman

New packs for Warhammer Conquest and Android Netrunner have also been announced, and we’ve seen another preview for Imperial Assault. As far as new releases go, we’ve finally got our hands on some of the new LCG stuff in the UK…


Ah, wonderful! I’ve not really looked into these cards yet, but take a look here at a very brief overview of the Descent stuff!

Y’know, I talk a lot about upcoming games and new releases here in this blog, but it seems to me that I never go into great detail over playing games, except in my Game Day blogs. Well, this past week I’ve only managed two games, due to one thing or another, but still! The other day I played Space Hulk: Death Angel again, adding the Tyranid expansion for a bit of variety. You may not be aware that Games Workshop are currently releasing more Tyranid monsters, but I’ve found myself somewhat enamoured of these big bugs, and have been thinking about getting myself a second army. I haven’t – heck, my Necrons are still troop-less – but still. Playing Space Hulk: Death Angel was therefore a useful way of getting my fix, I suppose!

Space Hulk Death Angel

If you haven’t already read my blog linked earlier, you really should take a look! Then come back here and laugh at how badly things are going in the above picture! The Tyranid cards are a lot more brutal than the Genestealers from the base game. Some of them have abilities on them, which can make the game so much more difficult than usual.

Space Hulk Death Angel

As a pretty difficult game anyway, this can be quite torturous! The way the swarms kept leaping around, however, made my best-laid plans crumble right before me. However, this is only my second game, so I’m hopeful that things might get better…

Speaking of Tyranids…

More bugs are on their way! Following last week’s big bug news, we’ll next be seeing some rather beautiful drop pods for the Tyranids – the Tyrannocyte/Sporocyst kit!

These things really are the sort of repulsive monstrosity that would make me fear the Tyranid army more than anything.

I’ve mentioned before how some of these models have the xenomorph look to them, of course, and something that really terrifies me about the Alien films is not the actual alien itself, but the breeding-chamber sequences. This latest kit seems to really draw on that kind of fear as well. A lot of the xenos stuff tries to play on these sorts of primal fears, it seems, including my own Necrons, with kits like the Tomb Stalker and Canoptek Acanthrites.

So yeah. The Tyrannocite is the drop-pod of the Tyranid army, fired at a planet in order to disgorge the Tyranids inside directly into battle. Alternatively, you can make a Sporocyst and Mucolid Spore:

Delightful, no? The Sporocyst is essentially an armoured bunker that spews forth spore mines, and the Mucolid Spore floats around the battlefield until it explodes over its enemies. Ah, bio-warfare!

It’s been mentioned before, of course, but I’m always a little surprised by the GW “web bundles” as being exactly the same price as the individual models. It seems odd because I would have thought almost any other company would have given a small discount for the bulk-buy, but evidently not!

Anyhow, these models do look really good, and should form a wonderful basis for a Tyranid swarm. Still not entirely convinced I want to get a second xenos army though – I bought last week’s White Dwarf thinking it might be handy if I come to get into Tyranids, but I’m not 100% sure. Even so, I love just how much new stuff they’re getting right now, and hope Tyranid players are as excited as I am!

I find myself hoping that my beloved Necrons will see a similarly awesome release when their time comes around. Which will hopefully be sooner rather than later!

The rumours still have more Tyranids on the horizon, however, with wave three consisting of the plastic remake of the Zoanthrope kit. Also, we have yet to see the rumoured new HQ for the Tyranids, so maybe there will be a fourth wave? November appears to be shaping up into quite the Tyranid month! Assuming Blood Angels really are next, then, I won’t likely be getting a Necron codex until the new year.

At least that gives me plenty of time to paint up my models…


Yesterday, I got in a game of Runebound. This game is truly excellent, as I’ve already mentioned here in my blog. It’s currently in something of a limbo, however, while a possible third edition is in the works, making it very difficult to get hold of. It’s one of my all-time favourites, at any rate, and I always enjoy escaping into Terrinoth for a while!


Runebound is also one of these games that works well as something of an event. Last year, in the run up to Christmas, I played a series of games on Saturday night as a series of “Big Game Saturdays” – Runebound (Mists of Zanaga), Arkham Horror (Kingsport Horror), Fortune & Glory (with all the expansions), leading up to A Touch of Evil on Christmas eve, and then Eldritch Horror on Christmas day. Fantastic times, I feel! Not sure whether I’ll be doing that again this year, but I had so much fun last night that it’s a distinct possibility! I think one of the big appeals for me was that I used a character I don’t normally play, and a small adventure variant I don’t normally go for, and really just went forth on the adventure!

I really hope FFG haven’t completely abandoned Runebound. At GenCon this year, they made the very cagey reply that yes, they did still have plans for Runebound, before moving very swiftly on, but then they work a couple of years in the future, so we may not be seeing anything for a while. Or we may see something sooner, and that’s one of the reasons why Descent has suddenly slowed down. Who knows? We’ll just have to wait and see.

Unlike A Game of Thrones, however, I’d very likely snap up a third edition of Runebound simply because it’s Runebound!


So the bugs are back! Seems like the End Times II have run their course with today’s Glottkin release, and if the rumours are true, we’re getting set for a protracted release of 40k stuff, centred around a campaign box similar to the Stormclaw release for the Sanctus Reach. Rather than Space Wolves vs Orks, however, we’ll be seeing Blood Angels vs Tyranids in what struck me initially as Space Hulk 2.0. Of course, that could be wildly off the mark, but anyway!

Sanctus Reach was expanded after the initial release to also encompass Grey Knights, roughly around the same time as that army received its new codex. The current rumours I’ve come across this morning have indicated that the new campaign will be expanded in a similar way, to involve the Necrons!

Of course, this isn’t to suggest these rumours have anything to them. It could be a case of putting together the fact that we have a new Tyranid release, we’re expecting a new Blood Angels codex any day now, and the new Necron codex is supposed to be similar to that for Grey Knights earlier in the summer. So my hopes are not up, but it would be nice!

Anyway, I want to take a look at these new Tyranids today, because they look really awesome!

You may recall I posted this back in September, when I was still amid my Space Hulk frenzy? Well, Tyranids do still hold something of an allure, I can’t deny. Indeed, I sometimes think they could have been my army of choice, had I not discovered the Necrons first! These new models look quite horrid, anyway – the Maleceptor (above) and Toxicrene (below)

And if you’re wondering how to paint these guys…take a look!

Anyway. Something that has particularly struck me about this release is just how exciting it must be when your army gets a new release. I imagine, if I played Tyranids, I’d be rushing to preorder these guys as soon as I found out about them! I hope that the Necrons might see some love like that, but something tells me they won’t anytime soon. But it would be nice to have that sense of… I don’t know, identity, almost, for your army. From what I understand, Necrons haven’t had anything like this released since the main glut that came out with the codex two years ago. The Tesseract Vault being an exception, but that’s hardly the norm for regular games, I believe.

I’m not advocating masses of new stuff all the time, of course. I just think it’d be nice to have that sense of having new options every once in a while. I suppose this betrays my card gamer mentality, though, insofar as I like seeing the shiny new stuff!

Tyranids may yet win me over, but I have a lot of Necrons to get through yet!