March retrospective

Hey everybody!
I’m really enjoying these end-of-the-month round-ups that I’ve been putting out so far, hopefully they’ve been interesting to read, too!

I want to start off with talking about WandaVision, which I have finished and which I enjoyed immensely! From such a weird start, the show progressed incredibly well, with such a wonderful pacing as the mystery unfolds. In particular, I love the fact that we get so many quiet moments in this show, which is fundamentally about family life (albeit the ideal family life that Wanda wants). These kind of glimpses into character are of the sort that we’d never see on the big screen. Marvel have stated that the TV shows that they have on the books are intended to cover those characters who will very likely never get their own film; however, given the incredibe storytelling we’ve seen here, it makes me wonder if that will hold true, or whether they’ll instead branch out into further shows that explore the bigger movie characters in time.

It was a really great show, with an explosive finale that I for one really appreciated for actually staying true to the hints and suggestions of what exactly West View was all about. I think almost from the start it’s been fairly clear that this has all been Wanda’s creation, borne of her despair from losing Vision during the events of the Infinity War.

I do like the fact that we finally get to see Wanda embracing her comic book heritage with the costume and the name Scarlet Witch bestowed. In the tradition of Marvel movies, we get a mid-credits scene that shows Wanda in her astral form learning more about her powers, which indicates great things in store for her appearance in the upcoming Doctor Strange movie.

I haven’t just been stuck in front of the TV, though!

I’ve been able to play quite a few games this month, which has been incredible given the lack of much gaming so far this year! After a very false start with The Circle Undone, I have finally been able to play through the whole cycle now – and what a great run it was! You can check up my write-ups on the games here, here and here. I’ve also started on a much looser idea for a “campaign”, starting with playing Return to Night of the Zealot. My idea here is to play some of the standalone scenarios like Curse of the Rougarou and Murder at the Excelsior Hotel. Of course, I need to create a new investigator deck now, but I think it could be fun – and it’ll be nice to see what I’ve been missing all these years!

In addition to Arkham Horror LCG, I’ve played two games of Warcry! Still playing against myself, sadly, because we’re unable to meet up with friends indoors for the time being, but it’s been a decent way to get to grips with the game, and I’ve played these types of things solo before, controlling both sides of the board and making the best decisions for each, but having the one side that I wanted to actually win.

I’ve had two games with the Cypher Lords, and I do enjoy the way that they play. The first game, I was playing against them, and it was the sort of game that came right down to the wire before they were defeated by the Bloodbound, my warband of choice at that game – the Wrathmaster, with one wound remaining, rolled three critical hits to thoroughly beat the Thrallmaster into a pulp. The second game, playing as the Cypher Lords, I was completely outclassed by the Unmade and the Thrallmaster was again soundly decimated by the Blissful One attacking back to back. Absolutely incredible stuff, I have to say! I definitely need to crack on with painting the terrain for this game, though I have had a hard time deciding on a scheme.

I also want to crack on with getting the Catacombs box built up and investigated…

Following on from my March Plans blog, I’ve now at least built up both the Shardspeaker and the Psychomancer – what an incredible pair of models! The Psychomancer in particular has greatly impressed me, as soon as I get some more Chaos Black spray, I’m sure I’ll be starting work on these.

I’ve been building up some more Ossiarch Bonereapers models, and have made quite a bit of progress here – I’ll be getting another army update blog posted up at some point over the Easter weekend, anyway, so stay tuned for that!

As well as the miniatures side of the hobby, I’ve also been reading more novels set in the war-torn hellscape of the far future. After putting it off for years, I’ve read Fallen Angels, which ended up a much better read than I’d been expecting. I’ve also finished the Ravenor trilogy with Ravenor Rogue, which sadly did not really live up to the rest of the trilogy! Never mind. I’m trying to get back into the Horus Heresy, after Fallen Angels – I’ve started to read the beast that is Vengeful Spirit, and I hope to move through the series a bit more this year, though I have said that a lot with these books, and only read one a year for quite some time now!

I’ve also read the second Darth Bane novel, Rule of Two, which was better than the first one, though I still don’t honestly see what so many people see in this series. The book helped me to see the whole Sith Academy thing in a different light – it was one of my major bugbears about Path of Destruction, as you may recall, the ridiculous idea of having a school for essentially evil kids, but here we have Bane draw attention to the fact that this was one of Lord Kaan’s great failures.

The book is definitely more an exploration of Zannah’s journey this time, although the middle of the book jumps ten years so we don’t have to go through years of her learning how to use the Dark Side. Instead, we have her going on missions for Bane where she is essentially working to topple the Republic by using radical groups on Serenno, the homeworld of Count Dooku. We even have a Chancellor Valorum that makes an appearance, which all just serves to heighten the links to the Prequel era as opposed to work in any real temporal distance. I’ve said it before, of course, but the book is set 1000 years before A New Hope, but it feels like it’s merely a year or two before The Phantom Menace.

At any rate, while Zannah is working to topple the Republic, Bane is trying to figure out how to make a holocron, which seems to take him the course of the book and he still doesn’t figure it out. I’m not properly up on holocron lore, but there does seem to be some conflicting accounts of how prevalent they are in the galaxy. Coupled with this, while raiding Freedon Nadd’s tomb on Dxun, Bane gets covered with weird crustaceans called orbalisks, which render him pretty impervious to any attack (we saw this in the short story Bane of the Sith, of course). However, during the climax on Tython, he is almost killed by the creatures when his Sith lightning is turned back on himself. Zannah manages to save his life, though does tell him that she will kill him when she has no further use for him.

Somewhere in there, there is a really good story. I’m just not struck on Drew Karpyshyn’s style. It feels very simplistic, and a little too much like bad fan fiction at times. Zannah is described as just gorgeous and so on, much like Githany in the last book. It all just feels a bit non-Star Wars-y. Just not really my cup of blue milk, as they say! The actual storytelling, and the temporal feel aside, I think it’s a definite step-up since the earlier book, and I am somewhat looking forward to finishing the trilogy soon.

Hobby Goals 2021 – quarter one check-in!
So we’re three months into the year now, and I think it’s a good time for a check-in as regards my 2021 hobby goals! To start with, I wanted to get the Sisters army underway, but up to this point I haven’t actually done anything with these models. At one point, I actually considered moving away from them, as it happens. However, whenever I think about them for any length of time, it’s a project that  really feel excited for, and I want to get it off the ground. I’m not sure if I should try to pare down my goals here though, and think about getting just a couple of units done. Doing this might get me into the swing of things though, and perhaps I might yet get that 500-point list painted up after all! I guess we’ll see. But Sisters definitely remain on the menu for now!

I also haven’t done anything more with my Drukhari since the Incubi back in January. I have plans for the Grotesques here, for sure, and I think I’ll take stock of the situation again once I’ve got those guys finished up!

The Codex is now out of course, though I’ve not picked it up yet… I should try harder!

Working on my Imperium forces now, I’m not sure about the Blood Angels, or the Deathwatch, but I have already thinned-out some of the AdMech models that I’d not quite gotten round to painting yet, thinking I might keep a small force of them just to have some fun with. They are just lovely models, after all. I think the Tempestus Scions might be for the chop, though – I just don’t know where I’m going with the army, and it’s been that way for so long, I think it might just be time to call it a day and focus myself elsewhere.

I still haven’t done anything with Tyranids yet, either, and the Genestealer Cults are a force similar to the Sisters in that I’ve thought maybe they could be something to move away from. Whenever I think about them, at all, I just feel the need to paint up some more Neophytes, or something. I definitely want to have a Genestealer Cult force, so I really need to plot that out.

All in all, then, it’s really not been a very productive quarter, when compared with my hobby goals! However, I’ve produced quite a lot of minis for my new Ossiarch Bonereapers army, which is quite something to be pleased about. I’ve been able to get some more Necrons done, and the Incubi as mentioned before. Things are definitely going well, I think, so it’s nothing to worry about just yet! Maybe at the halfway point there will be a bit more ticked off from here, anyway!

March Plans

Hey everybody,

I seem to be in a bit of a hobby wilderness at the minute, in fact I haven’t really done much of anything all week so far, so I thought it might be a good idea to draw up a plan of attack for the month, before things get too out of hand, and I end up with a March retrospective blog that is devoid of anything!

Let’s start with Necrons. I’ve got these two guys looking pretty good, in fact the Royal Warden has been almost finished for quite some time, already! I’ve got a few finishing touches planned for him, then I’ll hopefully be able to get the Plasmancer finished off in short order for another fairly quick win – just the plasmic lance really that needs work doing to it. I’m particularly pleased with myself for this one, because work only actually started on the model on Sunday. 

I’ve recently decided to sell off a bunch of models, including all of the Primaris stuff that I’ve kept but not had any kind of plan for. As such, I spent some time at the end of February building up the rest of the Necrons from Indomitus so that I could sell the Primaris half including the instructions! In addition, I’d seen Garfy’s Chronomancer painted up and looking fantastic, which really prompted me to get back to painting these guys.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CLzzPtEHJs-/?igshid=1cxnofh59q3zt

Along with the Plasmancer, I’ve now received the Psychomancer model so need to get moving with that! I’ve heard that it’s a difficult build, with the digital skull face thing that he’s summoning and all, and looking at the sprue I can well believe it! It does feel a little fiddly, but I’m looking forward to seeing what I can do with that!

As you can see, I’ve also been stocking up with Fantasy stuff, getting the new Shardspeaker model for the new Hedonites of Slaanesh, as well as the Agents of Chaos “battletome” for Warcry. I’d like to get that Shardspeaker built, if not fully painted too, I’ve got some interesting ideas floating about for my Slaanesh models, which will be nice to explore further. I also want to get at least another game in with Warcry, because it kinda haunts me that I’ve only played that single game! So that’s going to be something else to aim for!

Talking about playing games though, I also want to get more Arkham Horror LCG played! I’ve now started to put up some blogs on my Circle Undone campaign, which has been a long time coming as I think I did start to play this one early in January! I’d not been wanting to play too far into the campaign without getting round to the write-ups, but now that I’m pretty much up to date, I think it’s time to continue on with the witches!

I’ve used this segue before, but speaking of witches, I really need to make more of an effort to catch up with WandaVision. I mentioned briefly the first episode in my January catch-up blog, but have now watched I think up to episode 6, and I’ve been really impressed with how the series has just gone from strength to strength. I think the second episode, where the beekeeper comes through a manhole only to be “re-wound” by Wanda, is truly where this series lit up for me. On the surface, it’s quite a nice retro-feeling show, but there is so much going on beneath the surface that it really sucks you in! I’m toying with the idea about writing more about it, but I don’t really have that much more to offer than has already been shared around the internet! 

I think the last episode is out tomorrow, so maybe it’ll be a weekend of binge-watching to the finale!

https://www.instagram.com/p/CL464FLn2q1/?igshid=1ggklhl0oq12n

I started to read Fallen Angels earlier this week, the eleventh book in the Horus Heresy series. I’ve basically gone back in time, then, as I’ve actually read up to book 29 at this point – but I couldn’t get into the sixth novel, Descent of Angels, so put this one aside as it is something of a direct sequel. After reading Dave’s review of Nemesis over on wordaholicsanonymous, though, I’ve gone back to see what I’ve missed – I’m only about 100 pages in, so it’s still early days, but I’m hesitantly thinking that it is better than the earlier book! The review will of course be coming once I’m done!

Feels like this might be a busy month for me after all…

February Retrospective

Hey everybody,
Another month has been and gone, and it’s once more time for another retrospective blog! I’m quite enjoying this idea, so hopefully that’ll continue for the year ahead! It’s been a pretty productive month as well, with a lot more hobby and stuff to report!

Since last month, I’ve been making terrific progress with the Ossiarch Bonereapers, which was most recently chronicled in my update blog, here. I’ve now got 590 points-worth of the bone-boys painted up in the colours of the Petrifex Elite. It’s been a lot of fun painting these chaps, although for now I’ve taken a small break as I look at what else I have that needs attention.

The next part of my plan for the Bonereapers is to have the Necropolis Stalkers painted, although I’m not sure whether to build them as the Stalkers or the Immortis Guard. It is on my radar to get more troops, although I’m kinda waiting for the inevitable Start Collecting box, which will likely have these guys in there. Unless they go for a cavalry box? That said, with 40k moving to these combat patrol boxes, I don’t know if they’re planning to continue to do these for much longer. At any rate, for now I’m continuing to build and paint what I have, rather than branching out and buying yet more miniature men.

Quite the sea-change for me, really!

At some point in the near future, though, it’ll be the turn of this magnificent specimen, and I cannot wait to get this one built!

In the middle of getting this small army of mine assembled, I did a little work on the nascent Black Legion that I’ve been wanting to get off the starting block for quite some time now! I’ve been inspired by Martin Sivertsen on Instagram and his own burgeoning Black Legion force! It’s a beautiful force, and I think it’s about time that I got somewhere with my own. In addition, I’ve also been hard at work building up the remaining models from the Necron side of the Indomitus box (I’ve decided to sell the Space Marine portion, more money for the stuff I do want!)

I’m still not a huge fan of the new Necron aesthetic of shambling robot zombies, but the army is of course my first love, and I do find myself enjoying the look of the new Crypteks, so have picked up a Psychomancer for the list that I talked about a while back, and I’m planning to start work on painting the Plasmancer pretty soon. That juggernaut of GW painting, Garfy, posted yesterday showing the new Chronomancer mini and it’s absolutely beautiful. Probably going to be a while before this one is released separately, but I suppose it’s at least four more months before we will see the lockdown restrictions removed here in the UK, so I’ve got the time! I’ve got a lot of disparate ideas for 40k floating around, but it seems as though I’m much more likely to focus myself on Age of Sigmar right now.

Slaanesh has been on my mind of course, now that we’ve had the new range of mortals released. I’ve picked up the Shardspeaker, such a fantastic model, but have otherwise reined myself in here. In all honesty, this is a force that is a long way off just now, and I’d rather keep focusing my efforts on the bone boys to get a decent sized force finished.

In addition to the Bonereapers and Slaanesh, I’ve had my eye on the Lumineth Realm-lords, following the latest Warhammer Preview this month. There are some very beautiful miniatures in this range, to be sure, and I’m trying my hardest to resist buying anything just now! There’s definitely something Old World about these minis, that makes me nostalgic for the old days. I keep thinking I might just pick up a box of the basic infantry, just to have a go…

Lumineth Realm-lords

So far, though, I have been a good boy!

Something that I haven’t been able to resist, though, is this:

The “latest” expansion for Warcry is a few months old now of course, but I’ve been thinking on it for quite some time, vacillating over whether to get it or whether it was a bit steep for the content involved.

However, I am glad to have it, despite all the negatives floating around online! Warcry is absolutely one of the things near the top of my list right now. I’ve been wanting to get further into that game recently, although I’ve still not played it after that game back in September. I’ve got the Iron Golem models from the original core set primed and waiting, and I’ve been thinking that may well be the next project to get underway with. Of course, Warcry could be the perfect way to start with Slaanesh when the time comes, and I’m sure I’ll be exploring more of that here!

Arkham Horror LCG The Circle Undone

At least I’ve been playing Arkham Horror LCG, and have managed to get started with recording my endeavours on the blog here! With working from home more regularly during the current lockdown, I’ve found that I have the time while on my lunchbreak to get a game in, which has been quite good for getting to explore the game some more.

Taking a sharp left turn now, I watched The Phantom Menace last weekend, for the first time in what feels like an age. It’s hardly the best film in the series, of course, but it did feel quite wonderful to be watching Star Wars once again, and I did feel really quite nostalgic for the whole saga. I used to watch the prequels almost every Christmas, while reading a selection of the novels and comics set around there – to the point where I had almost developed a set scheme for “my prequel Christmas”. I do quite miss the days when I had nothing much going on, and could read a 400 page book in a day, happy times! I’d like to try and get back into that maybe someday here, revisit the old days and chronicle some of those classic tales here – though much like with the Legacy series I re-read last December, it’ll be interesting to see if these things hold up.

Something that I have finished reading this month is the Warhammer Crime anthology No Good Men. I really enjoyed the first novel in the series, so had been looking forward to reading more. Anthologies can always be a bit ropey, and I think this one is no different. Seven short stories from Black Library alums (including Chris Wraight, author of the inaugural Bloodlines), all set on the world of Alecto and around the hive city of Varanganthua. The thing is, after Bloodlines, and after a couple of stories here, things begin to sound all the same. Probators going about their investigations, etc. There are a lot of missing persons, it seems, in the hive city, and I found myself wanting a bit more variety. I’m not really that down on the book, of course, but things just tend to blur into one at the end. Individually, the stories are pretty good, and very enjoyable with that noir feeling. Some are better than others, of course, but I definitely like the change from space marines and the like.

I’ve got Flesh and Steel, the next Warhammer Crime novel, ready and waiting. But I’m also hearing such good things about the first Star Wars High Republic novel, Light of the Jedi, that I’m thinking I might have to pick that one up sooner than later.

Warcry: Catacombs – first impressions

Hey everybody,

So, it was inevitable really that I’d get this box. I’d been really excited about it when it was first announced, but the initial reports that came in back last November were a bit less than stellar. It seemed to be the price that caused most concern, with much less content provided here than in the original starter set, but it came at an increased cost.

In addition, the production value seemed to be a bit off, with stuff like the box being much less sturdy, no Chaotic beasts, the rule book was the same as the original, taking no account of the faq etc, the Catacombs content was confined to a slim book which felt a bit cheap (the Khainite Shadowstalkers having some content on the back cover, which feels incredibly wrong…) – and so on, and so forth.

So why did I buy it, given all of these complaints?

I suppose, first of all, it’s worth mentioning that this is an expansion for Warcry. Much like other game expansions, it brings additional content in a new and interesting way to play the game, and there is actually a lot of new content here for the Catacombs “system”. It’s not just like Kill Team Arena that pared back the rules to provide a much more balanced system – this isn’t what Catacombs is about.

Instead, we get a rule set that has elements of that competitive side of things, with players placing terrain as opposed to playing on a pre-set table, and there are real choices that can be made to your benefit while doing so. Suddenly, the lack of terrain cards here makes a bit more sense, huh?

The terrain that we get is a little sparse, consisting mainly of doors, with some obstacles of rubble. There is additional terrain, some of the ruins from the original starter set, but nothing new, and nothing that isn’t available separately. However, I do like that rubble terrain. I’m such a sucker for scatter terrain for getting the table looking really nice and atmospheric! It’s almost like I bought the box for this, and everything else is a nice bonus!

I think Catacombs is here to stay as a format, too. Several of the quests included in the Tome of Champions and the Grand Alliance books use it as a layout, with every faction (I think!) receiving at least one. I think it’s a shame that we couldn’t have had the system in a box by itself, though. All of the dungeon terrain, the boards (possibly including the two other boards that were released at the same time), and the book (reformatted with quests for all and a proper back cover) and that’s all we need. I’d probably pay more than the usual environment expansion price, too.

But we do get two more warbands in here, and I suppose at least one of them, the Scions of the Flame, do sort of belong in a dungeon setting.

They do look beautiful, of course, and I suppose it fits that GW wanted to make this something like a celebration box by including them to bump the price up. The Scions are the last of the original eight Chaos factions, and the Khainite Shadowstalkers are the first original non-Chaos warband in the game. A sign of things to come, perhaps? Personally, I hope not, as I love this game for being Chaos all the way, but at the same time, it’s good to have a more mass-appeal, so as to ensure its continued popularity and support!

When all is said and done, I am glad to have picked this one up. There’s still a lot of stuff in here, and I’m excited to at least get it assembled and try out some dungeon battles! I’m glad that I managed to get it from my FLGS at a discount though, because even with the bulk of some of the original terrain, I’m still not really sure I’d want to have paid RRP.

My plan is to continue with getting the first batch of the Ossiarch Bonereapers finished for the next few weeks, but look for more Warcry coming soon!!

January Retrospective

Hey everybody,
January has come and gone, and just like that, 2021 is under way. With the world as it is right now, I thought it’d be nice to have a little retrospective blog at the end of each month, highlighting the things that I have been up to, serving to remind myself (if nobody else) that it is still possible to do cool stuff!

To start with, I’ve done quite a bit of painting this month, between the Dark Eldar Incubi (above), and making a fantastic start with the Ossiarch Bonereapers, my new army for 2021! I’m chronicling the army progress separately of course, and will continue to do so as I get deeper into both the lore and the models! I’m currently working to finish off the Mortek Guard, both to get the basic scheme sorted and because troops can sometimes feel like a chore to get through! Contrast paints have been a real boon here, though, so I’m hoping that I can sail through things fairly quickly.

I’ve already been buying reinforcements, which I should probably try to control myself with, but I do find it hard to do so when I’m so excited for a project!

For 40k, I’ve been thinking back to my Dark Eldar days, especially since we have a codex on the horizon, so that will hopefully be good to get hold of! I’m wanting to get more variety in my lists, so I definitely want to get more wych cult models painted up – I’ve been thinking about this for a while of course, but it’s a definite goal for 2021. Fantasy has certainly come back to the fore for me, though, as I talked about last week, although I’m not sure if I could get as many games in with AoS when everything returns to normal. I guess we’ll have to see!

Warcry has come back on my radar, although it had never really left if I’m honest. Still having only played it once, I’m just in love with the aesthetic of the game, and the feel of the whole thing. I’m not all that interested in the plethora of warbands that have come out for it, but I do have my sights set on getting hold of more of the regular Chaos stuff – including, of course, the new Slaanesh stuff that will hopefully be out soon! I’m not going to go crazy with that, but I am looking forward to getting my hands on some of the Slaanesh mortal stuff for use in Warcry.

From games that I’m not playing to games that I have played, now. This month, I’ve managed to get in some games with both Arkham Horror LCG, and the third edition of the board game that I had for Christmas! Blogs on both events are coming, but let me tell you, the new edition of Arkham Horror is quite good. As for the card game, I’ve started The Circle Undone, and I’m really impressed. It leans heavily on witchcraft and the supernatural, something that doesn’t seem to be as associated with Lovecraft as the cosmic horror, but it’s an absolute delight, and while I’m only on the first mythos pack of the cycle, I’m very impressed! Come back this week for more thoughts there, anyway!

Let’s talk about a different type of witch now…

Disney+ has launched their first MCU tv-series this month, WandaVision, featuring of course Scarlet Witch and Vision. I’d almost forgotten about this, but had been getting increasingly intrigued when friends and fellow bloggers started to talk more about it. I do like Scarlet Witch, as well – House of M is still one of my favourite comic lines – so I’m intrigued by it. I’ve only seen the first episode, but it’s definitely got something going on under the surface there to make us think just what on earth is this all about. It’s a delightful Bewitched-style 1950s American sitcom, on the surface, until the dinner party near the end has us asking deeper questions as to what’s going on. I have no real theories yet, as it’s all a bit too early to say for me, but head here to check out a more detailed discussion!

From television to books, finally! In January, I read the first Darth Bane novel, Path of Destruction. The book, now Legends of course, deals with the early years of the Sith Lord, as he moves from a life of hard labour, through his military service on the side of the Sith in their war against the Jedi, to his awakening in the Force and learning to use his power at the academy on Korriban. The novel ends with the climactic battle of Ruusan, which of course is dealt with in the comic miniseries Jedi vs Sith.

I was disappointed with this book. I’m in a Facebook group where people have given high praise to this trilogy, but I can’t see what all the fuss is about. Putting aside the fact that Darth Bane’s birth name is Des, I think the book fell into the same trap as Tim Zahn’s new canon Thrawn trilogy, showing us an evil genius when he’s at school. There were strong echoes of Kevin J Anderson’s Jedi Academy trilogy as well, which felt a bit banal. The whole thing just seemed so silly, somehow. Set against the backdrop of the war, I thought the best parts were definitely those that showed us the fighting there, although even that got a bit ridiculous after a bit.

This was, of course, part of the problem with the comic book (for me) was a lack of any kind of historical perspective, as we don’t know how the war started, or do we get any context for what’s going on. We’re just plunged into this situation, although it is perhaps good in that the book is definitely better than the comic in that it has more breadth to tell its tale, it still feels like we need more.

I also think it’s worth mentioning that the book didn’t seem to take great pains to distance itself, temporally, from the main movie periods. It takes place a thousand years before A New Hope, yet the tech feels, at best, similar to Phantom Menace era. No effort is really made to do anything more, which is quite sad, really. At least the Tales of the Jedi comic books actually felt like they had ancient tech in comparison!

What I did like was the way the book had me guessing throughout. Bane’s relationship with his fellow student Githany led me to wonder if she would become his famous apprentice, Darth Zannah, but suffice it to say – she doesn’t!

Bane is a big part of Star Wars, created by Lucas during production of Phantom Menace, and while I didn’t exactly enjoy the first book in this trilogy, I’m willing to give it the benefit of the doubt and carry on with Rule of Two soon, as I’m really intrigued as to where the story is headed next!

For now, however, I’ve moved back to 40k for something completely different:

Warcry!

Hey everybody!
It’s been more than a year, but I’ve not only finished building up the 2019 starter set of Warcry, but also I’ve had my first trial game of it at the bank holiday weekend! I’ve become really quite obsessed with this game of late, hence my push to build up the terrain etc, so I’m pleased to report that the game is actually quite a tactical one – brutal, swift, but really enjoyable!

Warcry

It’s quite straightforward to play, once the warbands have been built according to the 1000-point limit and any campaigns decided upon, etc. There are four decks of cards from which players choose the battle they’re about to play – these cards give you the map you deploy the terrain to, show where each warband is going to be deployed, what the victory condition of the game will be, and then any twist that will provide additional rules. The players the roll six dice, and count up any singles rolled – these determine who has the initiative for the battle round.

Warcry

Any multiples rolled then count as the ability dice that you can use during the round – the warband card will show these abilities and their cost, either doubles, triples or quads. In order to improve your chances, you get one wild die, which you can use either to seize the initiative or to add to make your singles into doubles, etc. So in the above example for the Unmade, there was a triple (the 2s), a double (5s) and a single rolled; the red wild die then made that single into another double, giving greater scope for the round to come. Wild dice are extremely useful, and can be kept from round to round if you decide not to use them.

Warcry

The battle itself is quite brutal, with almost all of the “genuine” Chaos warbands having predominantly melee attacks, meaning that a lot of the first battle round is about moving and positioning. However, there are quite a few warbands ported-over from Age of Sigmar who have more ranged attacks that can mix things up. At any rate, once things get down to it, the combination of attacks and abilities that the warbands can bring to bear mean that models can be taken out almost in one hit.

Of course, there are tiers of fighters, with the regular grunts, along with champions and the leader. The basic principle follows that of Games Workshop’s other games, with a strength vs toughness mechanic, albeit adding in critical hits that deal bonus damage. It keeps the game moving at quite the pace, to the point where I was able to play my first game, with all of the false-starts and rules-checking that entails, in the time it took my 11-month old to have her morning nap. Really good going, there, I have to say!

Where the game really comes alive is through the campaign system, however. Warcry is primarily a narrative game, with each of the Chaos warbands striving to earn the attention of Archaon, and thus the honour of joining his army. The campaign system formulates this as a series of games that are organised around three “convergences”, with victory in these allowing you to level-up your warband, of sorts. Each warband, including those non-Chaos ones, has specific campaigns that they can play through, which allows you to personalise your own narrative through the game.

I’m only one game in, but I’m hooked already!

Warcry

There is still a lot of tactical play involved here, though. I think it’s a classic example of those games that are simple to learn, but difficult to master. The flexible set up afforded by the terrain cards, victory conditions and twists means that it is the sort of game that will never really get old, as well, despite the core rules being fairly straightforward. It’s also interesting that fighters basically all have hand-to-hand combat and that’s it. The abilities mechanic is intriguing, and Jervis Johnson recently wrote a column in White Dwarf talking about how that all came to be that is well worth a read. I suppose it lends that streamlined approach to the whole thing, where you aren’t cluttering up the game with tons of different abilities depending on the fighters you bring in your warband.

In terms of expansion, the game has already seen seven Chaos-themed warbands, each having their own set of rules, as well as different environments that you can play in, much like the Kill Team model. There have also been card packs that have given the various Age of Sigmar armies their own deck of cards that you can use to play with your Nighthaunt, Stormcast or Flesh Eater Courts, etc. At the most recent reveal, it has also been shown that a new “starter set” is coming, which will feature two new warbands and a dungeon-style of fighting, which is a curious way to expand the game, but I’m all for it, all the same!

I do find myself wondering, though, what the future could hold for the game, long-term. All of the different warbands and environments etc are just basically more of the same, which is fine, but there will undoubtedly come a point where the game will have to find some new ground.

We’ve had some new ways to play come from the Monsters and Mercenaries book – something that, again, seemed to be following the Kill Team model, whereby we could add other, pre-existing units to our warbands, albeit we had to first fight the monster we wanted to add in, to best it in combat. That’s a neat idea, and super thematic for the game as a whole. The Tome of Champions, which seems to be very much a Chapter Approved-style book for the game, brought us new quests to play, and gave the rules for all of those armies where the card packs that were published had sold out within moments.

But what could be next? What should be next? I’m always happy with more of the same, although I think I would like them to create more new content for the game, rather than just giving us the rules to add a Terrorgheist into our warbands, and calling it a day. The way that fighters work, with the system of runemarks and so on, makes me think that they can go down the route of Necromunda, and give us a new box of fighters for existing warbands like the Cypher Lords or the Unmade, and increase the options there. I don’t really know what else could be done, but I’m finding myself hoping that they don’t let the game lapse into a sort of forgotten cousin, much like Kill Team seems to have become. I don’t want them to turn it into something competitive like Kill Team saw with the Arena expansion, because I think the immense emphasis on the narrative is one of this game’s strongest selling points, but I do hope they find a way to provide more exciting content for Warcry for years to come, because it has fast become one of the most exciting games I’ve played in a long time!

The Warhammer Preview!

Hey everybody!
Another weekend, another Warhammer Preview! I suppose it’s been a while since the last one, of course – though those last few Previews did feel a little bit lacklustre when compared with what we’ve seen today!

Let’s start with Necromunda, which has seen the House of Blades for the Eschers go up for pre-order today. The next book in the series, House of Iron, has now been previewed, and is coming out along with some wonderful models! The Orlock Arms Masters and Wreckers box looks amazing, and I’m excited to see the variety of stuff that we’ve seen in the Escher and Orlock boxes – we’re getting juves, which seems to have been the main draw for this second round of releases, but also these champion types, and now crazy animals as well! Makes me excited to see what’s in store for Houses Delaque and Van Saar!

We’ve already got more new Necrons coming out, it’s just crazy how many new things are on the way for this faction these days! Now, I’ve actually been really disappointed with the new Necron models so far, having seen the sculpted battle-damage on those from the Indomitus box that makes even the HQ models look like they’re falling apart. I mean, I get that they’re supposed to be kind of space zombies in an everlasting horde now, but I’ve always tried to have my own army as a kind of pristine force, due to them having that sort of incredible tech and stuff. Anyway! I’m sure, in time, I’ll give them a go and include the new stuff in my army, but for now I’m kinda giving things a wide birth.

Now, this is interesting. Mission Packs for the new Crusade narrative system, which makes it all feel almost like a role-playing game. It all sounds pretty great, although I do wonder how long they’ll continue to support these things for. It’s all shiny and new for the moment, of course, and they’re pushing the Crusade stuff real hard, but we’ll see if it’s still a thing in a year or two, I guess.

Now, I was not prepared for this! Of course, we knew that the Scions of the Flame were still on the way, and while I’d forgotten about them, the Khainite warband had been previewed a whiles back too. The interesting thing about this expansion is that it looks an awful lot like Kill Team: Rogue Trader, with it being very much more a dungeon-crawl type of game rather than the multi-level skirmish we’ve had so far.

The terrain this time around is mainly doors, with the odd bridge and a bunch of scatter terrain – and just the two warbands, no Chaotic Beasts. Whether that means it’ll be a lower price point than the original starter set, which had an MSRP of £100, who knows – I certainly hope so! That said, the Kill Team: Rogue Trader box was £80 MSRP, and would perhaps be a closer analogue, so it might not be that much lower…

I am so obsessed with Warcry right now, I can’t wait for this box, regardless!

I mean, look at it! I think this photo hits the nail on the head, with that “Warhammer Quest charm”, having a bunch of doors and that’s it! Looks like a lot of duplication as well, though, but the scatter terrain is always something I enjoy seeing, so if nothing else, I’m looking forward to it for that. Available in the not-too-distant future, too – I need to start raising some funds!! Though hopefully this might stay in stock for longer than previous boxes have – I’m still sore over having missed out on the Corpsewrack Mausoleum!

The fourth season of Warhammer Underworlds is almost upon us! I’ve still never played a single game, though I do always like seeing the warbands coming out for this game. Hedonites of Slaanesh and the new Lumineth Realm-Lords go head to head, and the promise of a Seraphon warband coming out as well – splendid stuff! Who knows, maybe I’ll actually get to play this game one day soon. Shame my only fully-painted band is the Nighthaunt one from Nightvault! Anyway…

Speaking of Hedonites of Slaanesh – I’m very excited for this box! In the last couple of days, I’ve been thinking again about starting a Daughters of Khaine army, and of course I’ve always wanted a Slaanesh force, so it’s kind of ideal really!

It looks like it’s in the same mould as stuff like Looncurse, with having two opposing armies led by a brand new hero model. Hopefully it won’t sell out in seconds, as I’d like to get my hands on both forces here!

I think it’s especially exciting to see more of the mortal side of the followers of Slaanesh. The new Lord of Pain is a fitting HQ choice for the Hellstriders, although I wish we’d seen an updated Lord on Steed, but hopefully we’ll be getting some more stuff like this in the future!

The finale to this Preview was Broken Realms, what seems to be the AoS equivalent of Psychic Awakening. Does this telegraph AoS third edition next summer? Well, who knows. I’d like to think the world will return to normal soon enough so that I can actually play some more AoS before we lose everything that I’ve been building up so far, though I suppose that could be a little hyperbolic! I’ve only actually played AoS twice, after all, so it would be good to get some more games in!


This Preview was definitely full of some exciting stuff! I’m really looking forward to the new Warcry box, even though it doesn’t seem to compare terrain-wise with the original starter. The AoS battle-box is also going to be an exciting one, as I hope to get started with a new army and all. More Necromunda is always a delight, as well, and I’m really excited to see how this line of miniatures and books continues through all of the House gangs!

Definitely an exciting time to be in the hobby – and definitely time to start thinning out the ranks of the unwanted miniatures!!

The Third Warhammer Preview

Hey everybody,
Today has seen the third online preview from Games Workshop, these online previews taking place instead of the usual seminars that would have taken place at the various events and tournaments if we weren’t in these crazy times. The previous two such previews didn’t honestly excite me all that much, though in the intervening days since we saw all that stuff, I have come to realise that there are some really cool things in there.

This preview, however, has been pretty good, if I’m honest, and I’m fairly excited about a lot of this stuff!

To start with, we’ve got the new Giants for Age of Sigmar, the Sons of Behemat, which have been a name for a couple of months now, but we’ve finally seen the new kit in all its massive glory! I’m not about to rush out to start a Giants army, but the multi-part kit does look like a lot of fun. And huge. Very, very huge.

Looking forward to seeing these come out, and I’m intrigued as to whether any more is going to come out for the army…

Now, this next one is a bittersweet one. The “last expansion” for Blackstone Fortress, Ascension. It looks like the expansion is giving us Mummy and Daddy spindle drones, which do look really great! It’s just… the last expansion? It makes me quite sad.

I think that my one main hope is that this is merely the last expansion of this ’round’ of the game, and we’ll see effectively a new core set, or a set much like Escalation, which brought us new explorers as well as new enemies. Blackstone Fortress is a setting that is too good to leave – the possibility of having all manner of weird and wonderful denizens of the 40k universe.

Here’s hoping.

Keeping to the skirmish games, Warcry is getting a new warband, and it isn’t Chaos related. The Dark Elves are coming to the Eightpoints, and they look… cool! When I first saw these, I thought they looked a bit weird, as though there was some kind of spell-effect moulded onto the sculpted, but now I’m not so sure. At any rate, they look great in my opinion, and I’m hoping that we might see some more in the way of these kinds of bespoke warbands for the game, rather than the repurposed stuff that we saw for Nighthaunt and Stormcast.

There is a new team coming for Blood Bowl, and we’re getting another Horus Heresy character in the shape of none other than Saul Tarvitz. He doesn’t quite look as I’d imagined him, but even so, he does look good!

Finally, though – new Necrons!! We had rumours of Illuminor Szeras being a new model way back, but seeing the final rendition is actually really lovely. Sure, he’s a bit busy in the way that many other new models are, but I think it’s really cool to see us getting a new centerpiece kit, and even though I’ve not finished painting the finecast version, I think I’ll be picking this bad boy up as soon as possible!!

Also accompanying Szeras is a new Inquisitor model, which looks really quite wonderful! I’m always intrigued to see these things come out, because the Inquisition seems to be a forgotten faction. But yeah, we get a new Inquisitor model. Cool!

All in all, I’m quite chuffed with the models that we’ve seen here. Looking ahead, it seems as though this might be the way we get these previews for the foreseeable future…

February Hobby Retrospective

Hey everybody!
It feels like the last couple of months have just flown by in a haze, and I hadn’t found much time to either hobby or come here and ramble about all manner of junk – I’m sure you’ve all missed that! I’ve been in a bit of a hobby slump of late, though, and haven’t been much in the mood to do anything. Feels like I’ve lost my hobby spark, and was struggling to get it back. Well, I recently took a major shift and decided to work on some Age of Sigmar stuff, as fantasy miniatures always feel like something of a breath of fresh air when I’ve been painting 40k for a long while, and I think my work on some Warcry stuff lately has begun to get me back in the saddle!

I mean, who couldn’t love that face, right?!

At the start of the year, I’d been thinking that I’d like to get a Slaves to Darkness army at last, and so had some vague ideas following my purchase of the battletome, mainly involving at least one Warcry warband, possibly two – the Cypher Lords, and maybe the Unmade. I had the idea of using a lot of rag-tag cultist-types, so also threw in the Godsworn Hunt, but the actual Chaos Marauders kit does put me off a little bit, so I had thought I might pick up some of the Bloodreavers as stand-ins, but I think that’ll be a long way off. I then thought about picking up some Wrathmongers to use as Chaos Chosen, as while I love the look of the kit, it is finecast, and so I doubt will stand up to the rest of the army now that the Warriors have been re-done. With that, though, I had begun to think that this could be the first time I look at creating a Chaos army with a distinctly Khorne feel! Normally I go Undivided or Slaanesh, but this could be interesting!

It definitely helps, having something I’m not normally into!

I’m still playing around with the Slaves to Darkness idea, as I’m not entirely sure how I want the army to look. I’ve got vaguely 900 points (or thereabouts) plotted out, with the units I’ve mentioned plus a Chaos Warshrine (because that model is just so iconic!)

But yeah, I’ve started now to really go heavy into Warcry, and I’m interested in getting a warband finished so that I can play a game. The Cypher Lords are probably the models I’m furthest along with, having done some experimentation with Contrast paints back in January, so that could be a plan. I think I have all of the monsters released so far, too, so could see myself adding in a Mindstealer Sphyranx at some point (more for the theme, than anything!) So it’s all definitely quite exciting!

I suppose I just need to look into the rules now, and see if I can get a game sorted!

However, it’s not been all fantasy-related this month!

I’ve been slowly chipping away at this gent for a week or so now, having gotten some of the silver done, as well as thinking about the overall scheme that I’d like to have for it. When I first painted a Triarch Stalker, the results were decidedly different!

I’m hoping to get the two of them painted up for the army soon (the older model has been stripped, and is ready for re-painting as soon as I get my act together!) I might even get a third, not sure yet. That targeting relay rule is just so good, I feel as though they should be staples of the army!

I think the Necrons are possibly going to be my 40k focus for a while, as I’d really like to get my army up to scratch now. They are my first love, and I definitely enjoy playing them when I get them to the table, so it makes sense that I should have more toys to field than just waves of infantry! As fun as waves of infantry can be, of course!

The old bête-noir of the Doomsday Ark has also been at the back of my mind, and I think I’d like to get that painted up sometime soon, too. Though that’s probably going to be a long project, as well, so I suppose we’ll have to see how I go with that one!

As much as I do still enjoy the hobby and the game, I think I’d like to break out of the Warhammer thing more, though, and play more of a variety of games. I’ve sold off so many of the old favourites that it’s a little bit scary to think about, but I do still have plenty to enjoy. Stuff like the Ghostbusters kickstarters, all of that Hellboy goodness, and the classics like Eldritch Horror and Lord of the Rings LCG – I’m hopeful that this year will see a resurgence in my non-Games Workshop gaming, anyway!

It’s always good to have a variety, after all!

New Stuff from Games Workshop!

Hey everybody!
It’s been a while since I’ve had time to catch up with what’s coming over the hill, but with the news coming from the Nuremberg Toy Fair today, I thought I’d better make some time to wax lyrical!

There are three big names in the offing here, let’s start with Aeronautica Imperialis and the new box, Imperial Guard vs T’au!

I’ve not played IA, and if I’m honest, it doesn’t really interest me a whole lot. But I am really quite intrigued by seeing the xenos races coming to the game. I wonder if we’ll see this explored further, with Necrons maybe? Is this how they’re going to re-implement Battlefleet Gothic? Hm!

Adeptus Titanicus has got a new box, too. Another game that I’ve not had any interest in, if I’m being honest, though I have had a game of this at least! At any rate, it’s good to see more for the game, as I’ve seen a lot of folks getting a bit antsy for more! Notably, battlefield structures!

Wonderful stuff, even if it isn’t a game that I’m going to be rushing to buy!

Something that I will be rushing to get, however, is new Necromunda!

Now, then. Of all the House gangs, Goliath are the ones that I’ve not yet been tempted enough to build. Well, I take that back – I’m interested in them, but I think they’d look better with some of the Forge World upgrades on them, such as the massive hammer and heavy flamer:

The other thing, of course, is that the other gangs just interest me more!

However, we’re seeing a new book, House of Chains, along with an upgrade pack for the gang, featuring massive hulks, or Stimmers, and some juves seeking to prove their worth in the gang.

As with a lot of Forge World paint jobs, I’m not entirely sure about these models when we see them like this – indeed, a lot of recent Necromunda publicity photos don’t really do the models justice.

The preview article tells us that several of the core gangs will be getting reinforcements along the way, so I’m really excited to see what else is going to be on the horizon in 2020. Particularly with regards to Van Saar, Delaque and Orlock.

Speaking of which…

I’ve been feeling a bit down of late about my own painting, as I was trying to get the Orlocks finished but feeling really unhappy with them. After the above photo, I ended up stripping these models and starting again – I’ve finished building up the full gang, finishing them off with a heavy bolter from the Forge World kit, so I’ve primed all ten of them black (rather than the grey recommended by Duncan). So far, I’ve not done a great deal with them, but I’m hoping that I can get them painted up before I start browbeating people into playing games with me!

Nuremberg isn’t the only set of reveals though, as we’ve recently had the excitement of the LVO last week, as well!

Oh, wow. AdMech flyers, and AdMech cavalry. This, I did not foresee! I’m not sure right now what I want to do with my AdMech, truth be told, but I’m considering getting some of the mechanical horses because I like the idea of all of these weird things, and they remind me of the Genestealer Cult bikers. Might be interesting to have as a sort of mirror for those guys, anyway.

The next Psychic Awakening book has also been revealed to be all about Knights, AdMech and Daemons! Engine War does sound intriguing, I have to say, though I’ve got no plans to go for Knights anytime soon!

Age of Sigmar is finally seeing High Elves return, the Lumineth Realm-lords. Alongside new units that have a distinct feel of the Old World about them – perhaps more than any of the new Age of Sigmar stuff yet – we’re getting a new Teclis, though I’m not a big fan of it.

It’s been out there for almost a week now, and I just can’t get round the fact that he’s just floating there, really lop-sided on the wing of this flying tiger-thing. It’s just weird, in a way that I can’t quite get my head around. The flying tiger bit is glorious, don’t get me wrong, but why is Teclis just floating there like a weird pin-badge…

What else is there…?

New warbands for Warhammer Underworlds, and most excitingly of all, Zoats are coming back to 40k in the next expansion for Blackstone Fortress!

Well, it’s just one zoat, it seems, which is a bit of a disappointment, as the Ambull at least had those borewyrm models as well. Unless it’s huge, in which case I can understand! The article talks about how they were the vanguards for the Tyranid Hive Fleets back in the day, so I’m guessing that connection will stay. In which case, I wonder whether they’ll have some special affinity with the bugs in their 40k rules (assuming they get some!)


There is a lot of good stuff coming out of Nottingham right now, it must be said! Of course, the new-style High Elves are interesting, though I’m more interested in the Slaves to Darkness release that I still hope is coming. There must be more to it than just the Start Collecting box, right? Also, what’s next for Warcry? Scions of the Flame still haven’t even been teased, outside of their name, while the Spire Tyrants are getting released this coming weekend.

These guys are very much making their way into my Slaves to Darkness force – there’ll be a blog on this soon, no doubt, but I want an army of Chaos renegades and rabble, and they fit the bill perfectly!

The first of the big beasts for Warcry is being released at the weekend also, and I’m quite excited for this! Again, it’s for the Slaves to Darkness that I’m most thinking for this guy, but even so! I think I’d like to get in at least one game of Warcry in 2020. I’ve got several warbands now, of course, and have recently made a start on painting the Cypher Lords… Hopefully I’ll get to try them out soon, anyway!

Blackstone Fortress is looking exciting right now, as it continues to be supported with the Zoats, though I find myself wanting more – as ever! I think I’d like to see a bigger box expansion, much like last year’s Escalation, though maybe even bigger still. More of the same is always fun, more explorers and more gribblies, of course, though I’d like to see something different – like a new big baddie rather than continuing the story of Obsidius Mallex. Whether we’ll see something like this, who knows, but it’s definitely something I’ll be keeping an eye on!

Necromunda The Eightfold Harvest Lord

Necromunda, though, is looking really rosy for the time being! The Corpse Grinder Cult is getting their standalone box this coming weekend, as well as the expanded terrain from the Dark Uprising box. I’ve not made great progress getting that box built up – I had a loose timeline in my head, where I’d get it all built in January, then painted in February into March, in time to start getting games in. Well, maybe half the terrain has been built, so I’m getting there. I do like the look of these Cultists, and have been building up a few with a look to getting at least some of them painted, if not yet the full gang. Though apparently they don’t work well for a starting gang, so it might be better off sticking with the main six gangs for the time being.

The possibility of new models for these gangs is really exciting me, though, and I’m looking forward to seeing how the year goes on.

What with getting into Sisters of Battle, too, I feel like it’s going to be a busy year!!