August Retrospective

Hey everybody,

August has been and gone, and it’s time to look forward to an autumn with the hobby, usually! Hopefully there won’t be anymore lockdowns happening of course, though with a 10-week old baby to look after, I’m not exactly sure how much I’ll get to do! She’s been quite poorly of late, as well, which hasn’t been much fun for anyone. Fingers crossed for a much more exciting September, anyway!

I’ve found myself in a curious place, lately, where I’ve not really been in the mood to read. Part of this is, I’m sure, because I find it awkward to hold the smaller person and also a book, so have spent a lot of the summer just not reading anything. However, this month I picked up The Rising Storm, the second book in the High Republic series. Well, it’s the second book in the ‘adult’ series; there are YA and junior books in the mix, as well as comics and now audio dramas, but I don’t have the energy to keep up with it all, if I’m honest. The Rising Storm has, so far, been pretty good – there’s definitely the feeling that I’m in the middle of a series (I believe this is only a trilogy, though I could be mistaken), but even so, I’m about 150pp in, and I’m enjoying it!

I’m in a Facebook group for Star Wars novels, and I kinda feel like I should just come out of it, as the opinions in there seem to be wild and I don’t know that I really get all that much out of it. I mean, a lot of the time, if I’ve spoken of my distaste for anything (the Darth Bane trilogy, in particular, sticks out here), it’s almost like a red flag to be lynched, or something. I dunno, anyway, but the latest High Republic book seems to be getting panned in the group, and I’m just a bit down on them all!

I haven’t mentioned the Arkham Horror LCG for a while, as I haven’t been able to play it since I ran through the Return to Night of the Zealot a few months ago, but after trundling on down to my local game store last week, I’ve been able to order a copy of In Too Deep, and have also discovered that the first part of the Edge of the Earth expansion is due imminently, giving us the investigator cards. So that’s all exciting stuff, especially as I’ll finally have the Innsmouth campaign in its entirety!

I think I’m going to save the box for later in the year, anyway. I’m in no rush to play with the new cards, as I have a ton of cards I’ve still never used, after all, so it would make a nice birthday/Christmas present!

This month seems to have been about Warcry in a big way, though. I wrote up a long and rambling post earlier in the month, talking about what I like about it, and where it could be going etc, as well as another post commenting on the downloadable content GW have put out, with a dash of speculation on the future of the game, after the hints of there being exciting news on the horizon. In the middle of these, I also took a look at the Tome of Champions 2020, which had an awesome narrative campaign included. The more that I’ve dived in to Warcry, the more impressed I am with the breadth of content available. I mean, all that free stuff on the Warhammer Community site looks fantastic, and the work that must go into those Tomes is phenomenal. If Necromunda wasn’t a thing, this could be the best!

I’m very pleased to say that I’m almost finished painting the Unmade now – I was hoping to have finished the whole warband, but there are maybe 2 models still to paint the metals. I think I’ve managed to do quite well with the tasteful blood spatter and so on, and I’m very pleased with how the bases are a good match for the main board in Warcry – the old Lustrian Undergrowth texture paint, which I bought a load of back in the day, drybrushed with Administratum Grey. Very effective, in my opinion!

Oh, and I’ve also been building up the Catacombs stuff! I’ve built up the dungeon terrain, and the Scions of the Flame warband, and have had an abortive game with it. I wasn’t entirely excited by it all, if I’m honest, but I want to have a full game with it before I form a proper opinion of it all. Stay tuned for that, of course!

In addition to Warcry though, it’s also been all about the new Kill Team!

This is especially true of the bank holiday weekend, when I finally picked the box up and had the opportunity to get some of it built. Who knows when I’ll be able to actually do anything more with it, of course! I’m going to try and take the opportunity to keep building it up though, and see how far I can get with actually painting it all up, as well. So far, 10 Death Korps of Krieg models have been built, and they look beautiful!

For a long time during the month, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to get it – the price, more than anything, had me wondering if I wouldn’t be better-off using my money on stuff I already play and enjoy etc, rather than buying into yet another game from GW. In the event, my initial thoughts of it being pretty much a board game have won out and I took the plunge, as I have no plans to start an Imperial Guard or Ork army! I am going to keep this as a boxed game, I think, though of course I’ll probably end up buying some add-ons as and when!

The subject of add-ons is an interesting one, of course, because I do find myself idly wondering where they’re going to go from here, specifically. We know we’re getting new Kill Zones per quarter, but does each quarter simply have a new big box and then some articles in White Dwarf? Or can we expect an expansion-type deal in a month or so, where we get Elites or Commanders? Death Korps Commissar, be still my heart! I firmly believe that we’ll see an expansion with more regular 40k models from here on out, and while initially I’d thought we could be seeing new units for existing armies, as the initial rumours seemed to suggest we’d be getting a new Sisters unit for the rumoured Sisters vs Tau box, I’m now thinking that we will most likely be getting re-packs with, perhaps, an upgrade frame. This is basically how the Krieg models work – the two main A sprues are the 10 infantrymen, with the B upgrade sprue having specific fancy parts. There are still fancy parts on A, but stuff like the medic on B is a lot more involved than the medic on A, if you see what I mean. So I could see a box of 10 Sisters being packed along with an upgrade frame to give access to more weapons (though the Sisters, being dual-purpose with Dominions and Celestians, already have a good breadth of bits available to them). There are quite a few kits that exist in the 40k range that would very easily port over, and if they were to just throw in some Sector Imperialis sprues as well, you’d quite easily have the bulk of a new box, right there.

It’s not all been about skirmish games though! I’ve started to think about my Tyranids again, and have been planning up my next steps to getting that army up to scratch. I’ve mainly been trying to recapture my paint scheme, because I didn’t make a note of it anywhere (like a fool!) I think I’ve been able to deduce that I used Death World Forest for the green, and I think Straken Green might be involved as a highlight; the carapace is definitely Rakarth Flesh, shaded with Agrax Earthshade, and highlighted with Ushabti Bone (and possibly Screaming Skull). I’m working on some genestealers while I recover the scheme, anyway, though I’ve seen online a potentially easier way of doing this with Contrasts, which might work for the gaunts, so I want to try that at some point.

I’ve been painting some of the walls from the Dark Uprising set for Necromunda, as well, and I’m really pleased with the results! This is a fairly quick scheme that I’ve seen on a facebook group a couple of months ago. Spray the model with Mechanicus Standard Grey, then paint the inner arch bits with Tallarn Sand. Shade the whole thing with Agrax Earthshade, then drybrush Dawnstone and Deepkin Flesh, and that’s basically it! The details will obviously vary, but for the metalwork I’ve been painting the silver Leadbelcher, and the copper Castellax Bronze, all shaded with both Nuln Oil and Agrax Earthshade. It’s intentionally patchy and crappy, because I’m trying to make it look gross! I’ve then gone in and dabbed some Dryad Bark along the bottom as kicked-up dirt, and in places (though it isn’t always apparent) I’ve put some Athonian Camoshade to simulate moss/mould. It does work better on a lighter stone, but never mind. As a base, I’m quite pleased, but there’s always room for improvement and adding in some details, but for now it’s definitely good to see the walls coming together! I’m looking forward to getting more of the zone mortalis structures painted, the stairs and things, and seeing the whole hive come together!

As I said up at the top, September is very much a hobby-focused month for me, as I harken back to the good old days when I was first discovering 40k in a big way, so I’m excited to see what I could possibly accomplish on that front – here’s hoping next month’s retrospective blog will be choc full of good stuff!

Warcry DLC

Hey everybody,
Earlier in the week, the Warhammer Community website put out an article for Warcry, covering new rules for the miniatures released as part of the Dominion box set for Age of Sigmar. It was the last of these “Call of the Everchosen” articles, which has prompted me to look back at what they’ve actually covered in this series since it began in February. By my count, there have only been five, more’s the pity, but that’s a good number to allow for us to take a dive through and see what is on offer!

1. The Purge of Anvilgard

Relive the fall of Anvilgard in this free Warcry campaign – Warhammer Community (warhammer-community.com)

Stormcast Eternals vs the Blackscale Coil, a shadowy criminal enterprise in Anvilgard, around the events in Broken Realms: Morathi. There are a series of linked narrative battles where the Stormcast leader, Keiser Ven Brecht, is gathering clues on the activities of the criminals before the final showdown. The Blackscale Coil player musters different warbands throughout the campaign, finally playing with the Coil (made up from Dark Elf units, including a chariot and Hydra/Kharibdyss!) Ven Brecht is searching for clues, and will automatically lose the campaign if he fails to uncover 10 over the course of the linked battles. It’s a really cool concept, narratively, and I think it harkens back a lot to the anthology of short stories that I read a while back, where the cities of the Eightpoints are alive with criminal elements and not just bloodthirsty chaos cults vying for dominance – I know this particular campaign is set in Anvilgard, of course, but it’s very interesting to see how these types of stories can be told through the game system, and it’s not all just warbands fighting for the sake of it.

2. The Forlorn Hope

Bring the Lumineth to Warcry with Free Fighter Cards and a New Campaign – Warhammer Community (warhammer-community.com)

This is an interesting one, adding 21 Lumineth fighters to the roster, and gives us a narrative campaign of the Lumineth Realm-Lords vs Ossiarch Bonereapers. The campaign allows for the Lumineth to be led by the Light of Eltharion model, which is itself quite something, while the Bonereapers are able to use Mortisan Boneshapers, Soulmasons or Soulreapers, they can attempt to summon a Nightmare Predator. Much like the previous campaign, this one follows along the Broken Realms: Teclis book, and is fought over three games. The rules are much for flexible for the first two, but the third has a specific battleplan that brings none other than Arkhan the Black into the fray for the Bonereapers’ leader! A very cool aspect of this narrative campaign is the sense of travel given during the Aftermath sequence – the Lumineth player is trying to get to the Gates of Paradox to prevent the Bonereapers from enacting a ritual to corrupt this realmgate. During the Aftermath, the Lumineth player rolls a d6 and consults the relevant chart, adding 1 to the roll if they won the previous battle, and subtracting one if they lost; on a 1-3 they suffer a setback, and on a 4-6 they gain a reward. These tables have different effects depending on whether the warband “errs to the east” or “errs to the west”, which is a really nice idea that I like a great deal!

3. The Depths of Sylontum

Unleash the Soulblight Gravelords in Your Games of Warcry With These Free Fighter Cards – Warhammer Community (warhammer-community.com)

The Depths of Sylontum narrative campaign features Chaos Daemons vs Undead (Nighthaunt and/or Soulblight Gravelords), making for an excellent introduction to the new warband while also tying into the third Broken Realms instalment, Be’lakor. This is a 4-6 player campaign, where the players form a team to play each other individually (no grand melee). Each team gets to select tactics that determine deployment etc, before the final battle where the teams join together in grand melee style. The Agents of Be’lakor are trying to complete a ritual, represented by controlling objectives, while the Emerald Host of Lady Olynder is trying to stop them; at the end of each battle round, Chaos get D3 ritual points for each objective, but they subtract D3 points for each objective controlled by the Host. If Chaos get 10 ritual points, they win! It’s a very interesting game idea – I’ve not got a lot of experience with big multi-player games like this, but I can imagine there would be a lot of back-and-forth as there are only three objectives out on the table. It’s also a very interesting match-up, purely Daemons vs zombies and ghosts, I can imagine that would lead for some very interesting interactions.

4. A Fool’s Trove in Ulfenkarn

Hunt Treasure in the Cursed City With This Free 4-Player Warcry Campaign – Warhammer Community (warhammer-community.com)

Within the forsaken city of Ulfenkarn lies the Ven Silveren estate, and its lure of riches untold has led many to seek it out for plunder. Tying into the Warhammer Quest: Cursed City boxed game (that came and went in a heartbeat – but I’m not bitter), this narrative campaign features a strong theme of horror, with warbands unable to add reinforcements between battles, and potentially turned into zombies, meaning it is that much more brutal and grim! Rather than the team game that we saw in the Be’lakor tie-in, this is a free-for-all campaign where players are competing with each other to find the estate’s riches. To further the horror-story feeling, there is the Nightfall mechanic, which acts as the Twist for every game in the campaign. A d3 roll at the start of the game determines how many rounds of daylight are left, before night descends, and the Restless Undead come out – basically roving monsters like the chaotic beasts from the starter set. Another interesting mechanic happens during the Aftermath section, where you can choose to send out a fighter into the night, and roll on a d6 table to see what happens – maybe they’re slain, or perhaps they will be able to add to your progress? Progress determines the level of bonuses your warband will get during the final battle, where the warbands all converge on the crypt of Ven Silveren – entrances to which are denoted by objective markers, which are removed one by one at the end of each battle round, until the player controlling both the final objective marker and the key token wins! Sounds very atmospheric, I have to say!

5. War of the Morruk Hills

The Warriors From Dominion Arrive in Warcry With Free Fighter Cards and a New Campaign – Warhammer Community (warhammer-community.com)

The most recent campaign is based around the Dominion starter set for Age of Sigmar, and has a decidedly different feel to it than the others we’ve seen. It feels very much like a war, fittingly! One player controls the Thunderstrike Stormcast, while the other takes the Kruleboyz, and each side is led by three heroes, who each surround themselves with a warband of varying size. There are a number of locations being fought over, and each hero is sent with their warband to one of those locations. When the location of the battle is revealed, the warbands are then deployed, and battle is joined! There are either three or four battles in the campaign – once a player has one two battles, the final battle begins. In this battle, all of the leaders are involved in warbands of 1300 points, and the objective is to take out all of the enemy fighters. Quite straightforward, in all honesty, though there is the unique mechanic of Victory at All Costs, which you can declare once in the battle and gain two wild dice, which you must declare how they are to be used (and then receive no further wild dice for the game). There’s a definite pitched-battle feel, as opposed to the normal skirmish-feel of the game, but it’s quite nice to have that sort of thing as an option for the game, really!

Overall, there are some really good ideas here – as well as some great expansions for warbands such as the Lumineth and the Soulblight. It’s an interesting take on narrative campaigns, to have them so prescribed and such. The Tome of Champions 2020 has the excellent narrative campaign that is based on the silent city of Soroth Kor, though obviously any warband can take part there. So I suppose a lot of people who play Warcry may not be set up to use this content – but perhaps GW are treating these campaigns as a way to lure AoS players into the Warcry camp?

Of course, it’s usually the other way round, and I think the Anvilgard campaign is a case in point, where you can use the Start Collecting contents for the Blackscale Coil warband. But I suppose it goes both ways, as the Soulblight, Lumineth and Dominion campaigns are all designed to let existing AoS players use their minis in Warcry. Hm.

It’s a shame about the way that Cursed City was handled, because the campaign using that game’s contents is pretty good, I feel! The nightfall mechanic is very interesting, and lends a definite air of dread to the game – if only the board game hadn’t disappeared so quickly, it would have been a perfect excuse, as a Warcry player already, to pick it up! I retain some level of hope that they’re planning to re-try when the world has returned to normal, though as some people have speculated already, some of those Soulblight characters do look very much like the sort of thing that you’d expect to see in an expansion, like the Ambull or Zoat expansions for Blackstone Fortress. Perhaps the design studio is already hard at work picking another locale for the next iteration of WHQ though, and we’ll see something in a couple more years.

Before I finish rambling though, I thought it might be interesting to speculate on what’s next for the game, given the little tease in the Dominion article about the “exciting things in store” for the game. Looking at how things have been shown with the new Kill Team, and the focus on warzones and seasons of the game, with the promise of bespoke teams and the like, I think we could see a move away from the purely Chaos-driven theme and blow it up to include more AoS factions. In a similar manner to how the Dominion narrative campaign had the feel of a small scale war, rather than the skirmishes between rag-tag warbands, I think we could be seeing this as the next stage. I’m not entirely sure how I feel about that, because the appeal, to me, of this game has been in the fact that it’s almost purely Chaos vs Chaos, with the other warbands very much bolt-ons to the existing game system. Going forward, I think we could expect to see seasons of the game, with a couple of warbands specific for this game, though from any faction in the Realms, and maybe a campaign book or something that deals with the background and stuff, a bit like Soroth Kor in TOC20.

I could be entirely wrong, of course, and a big part of me does hope so! Catacombs was something that I had not expected, so it could also be the case here! I guess we’ll have to just wait and see what GW has to offer us next!

Warcry: Tome of Champions and more!

Hey everybody,
Following on from last week’s rambling blog about Warcry, I wanted to ramble today about the game some more, because why not?! I’ve been leafing through the Tome of Champions 2020 recently, and thought it about time I took a thorough look here on the blog!

This book is just incredible. There is so much new stuff in here that, when you start to read it and see just what has been included, it’s actually pretty amazing value for money. I picked it up for £16, and for that you get a bajillion new rules to support so many different ways to play – it’s really quite incredible. Let’s go through it.

So, as normal for these things, the book is divided into the three ways to play, open, narrative and matched play. The open play section is quite short, and introduces a new variant on the Triumph & Treachery multiplayer battles, called Pit Fights. Catacombs is supported as well, as you can also play dungeon pit fights. Nice!

The bulk of this book is devoted to narrative play though, with the Soroth Kor campaign system taking centre stage. This is very similar to the Dominion campaign for Necromunda, which involves the warbands fighting for control of territory in the mausoleum city of Soroth Kor. The idea is to have a group of players (ideally three or more) who are all in it together, and not following their own campaign. There are three convergences that are set as part of the campaign, and after an indeterminate number of battles in the first phase, followed by a convergence as normal, and so on.

The campaign is divided into three phases, as the warbands fight for control first of the outer city, then an industrial complex, and finally a tower at the heart of the city. As each phase progresses, the number of territories available to dominate increases, and each territory grants certain effects and boons. Following convergence battles, players are able to gain control of artefacts of power as usual. It all sounds pretty great, even if it is largely a port-over from Necromunda.

In addition to the campaign, there are six scenarios that you can play under the Narrative Battles heading, which provide some useful fodder for the campaign, as well as for one-off battles. Champion Mode is an additional layer to campaign play that gives you critical injuries for your fighters, you can search your dominated territory in the aftermath sequence of a game to gain additional bonuses, etc. It’s stuff like this that adds additional depth and layers to the game that I just love. I mean, Warcry in its core form is a pretty straightforward game to play, but when you bolt on some of these additional bits and bobs, it becomes wonderful. Like the sort of game that I could quite easily limit myself to playing and never tiring from it.

There are 8 more Fated Quests in the book, some of which use the boards and terrain from Catacombs, and then we have Challenge Battles, which function a bit differently this time around in that they are team-up battles where warbands go up against Wild Fighters. This is effectively solo play rules, as these Wild Fighters have rules that govern their behaviour much like the adversaries in Warhammer Quest, which I find quite interesting! The fact that this book came out during another national lockdown is perhaps fitting! There are five battle plans included, which include battles against the Dead, against the Gloomspite Gitz, against a Mega-Gargant and his chaotic beasts, against a Lord of Change and his Arcanite followers, and against more Chaos cultists. The narrative play section ends with more tables of Lesser Artefacts for each grand alliance to choose from.

Bringing up the rear, gives us six Pitched Battle profiles, alternative hidden agendas, and rules for Escalation tournaments with artefact tables. Last but not least, we have an appendix with fighter profiles for squigs and chainrasps that can be used as roaming beasts, and “open play terrain” rules that basically reprint the rules from Tome of Champions 2019. It’s not essential by any means, but I know lots of people like to actually have it in print that they can do stuff like this.

All in all, Tome of Champions 2020 is pretty amazing. A lot of it does feel like an expansion to the 2019 book, though adding so much more depth. Don’t get me wrong, 2019 was a great book that had some very useful content in the shape of the original fighter cards and the quests etc. But yeah, 2020 is quite the tome, and I can’t recommend it enough!

I’ve also been looking at the Catacombs book, having played regular Warcry a couple of times lately and feeling in the mood for a change! I’ve not done anything with this box since buying it last February, though I suppose that’s not surprising as I’ve been focused elsewhere anyway. Now that I’ve come back to look at it, though, I do have something of that sinking feeling, that the production value in the box isn’t exactly up there, as it was for the first starter set. I mean, the miniatures are still beautiful, but I’m not sure why we had so much of the terrain from the original set re-introduced here. It feels as though it should be properly a box for the Catacombs system, and focus more on these underground/internal battles. More terrain is always nice though, so I can’t really complain too much.

I have assembled the Catacombs terrain features, so far, and have made a start as well on the Scions of the Flame, which look like an interesting warband to play. There are eleven different fighter types, which is quite the surprise really, although a lot of the different options for their basic troops don’t seem to be incredibly different to each other. Their universal ability is a double that allows them to add half the value of that double to their strength characteristic for any attack at range 3 or less. There are some nice abilities in there, some similar to other factions’ for sure, but it’s nice that they can do this stuff, and it’s all very flavourful!

I’m looking forward to trying the Catacombs thing, as it looks to be quite an interesting system. I’m still a bit disappointed in the way it has been sold to us, but I’m not one to allow such things to get in my way!  

Musings on Warcry

I’m really into Warcry right now. I think the fast-paced gameplay is a real big factor, because time is definitely at a premium for me at the minute. Having a game that can be played during a lunch break is a huge draw, and it helps that the whole thing is actually really enjoyable, of course! GW models are mostly amazing, after all, so the whole thing is quite a feast for the visual senses, and with that fantastic scenery you can get some incredible cinematic moments. Of course, it would help if I’d actually got round to painting mine up!

I’m very slow at painting, not helped by the fact I’m definitely a hobby butterfly, but also of course I don’t have time for much of anything right now! I’ve managed to grab a couple of moments – possibly an hour and a half in total, spread across a few days – where I’ve been able to do some painting as well, so I’ve been really excitably working on The Unmade, who have always performed pretty well amazing in my games of Warcry, so definitely deserve to have some love. They’re so weird, and that Blissful One is possibly the most disturbing model GW has ever produced, but I love just how disturbing they are. I’m still very much early days with them all, but I think things are coming together now, and once the basing has been done, I think I’ll likely be daubing liberal amounts of blood all over the place.

For a while now, I’ve had just the four warbands built – Iron Golem, Untamed Beasts, Cypher Lords, and Unmade – with only two of those in varying stages of painted. While I really don’t want to go off the deep end with having so much stuff, I also feel a bit like I want some more variety, and have been thinking about building up some more minis, as time allows. I have all of the Warcry warbands, and for a while have been considering either the Corvus Cabal or the Spire Tyrants, just for a bit of variety in games. However, after playing two games recently where the minis have been primed black, I realise how drab that can make the game feel. It’s difficult to make out any level of detail, and so you feel very much like you’re playing with a lump of plastic – it’s like the Chaos Black spray sucks all definition out from a distance! The Iron Golem look like they should be very nice to paint, too, so I’m thinking I might give them my attention once I’m done with the freaky Unmade.

Of course, there is all this terrain, as well.

I have the Defiled Ruins terrain set as well, and I’d like to get cracking and build some of that so that I can try out different environments, but again, I’m very mindful of the fact that I have a ton of the stuff from the original core set to get a grip with! Then there’s the Catacombs box, which I suppose I could try out at some point because the terrain there is mainly doors and bridges, and I am quite curious about giving that a try. But I guess we’ll see. I need to rein myself in, generally, so for now I think I’ll plod on with painting the Unmade.

Playing Warcry, and painting the models, has naturally got me thinking more about the game in general, and I’m curious as to where this is headed. It’s obviously not meant to expand like Necromunda, where we have codex-like books for each gang. Though I suppose the case could be made that the Grand Alliance books effectively are the House Of equivalents). With the advent of a new gang for Necromunda, though, I do wonder if we’ll get more new Warcry warbands, as I feel that would be a natural way to go.

For a while now, I’ve been wondering how it could look if we had a warband that is properly dedicated to each of the Chaos gods. I know we have the AOS stuff to use for this, of course, but I would really like to have a proper, bespoke band that maybe comprises a couple of cultists, a wizard (or priest, for Khorne), and a daemon. I think it could be interesting, seeing as how the original bands were all pretty much Chaos Undivided, fighting for the attention of Archaon. Getting God-specific, Warcry-specific warbands could be an interesting way to take things?

I think it would be good, as well, to have a sort of narrative book, a bit like how Tome of Champions 2020 focused on the narrative with Soroth Kor and built up a real sense of the locale etc. Incidentally, Tome of Champions 2020 has got some really good stuff in it, I’m just gearing myself up for a proper look through that sometime soon.

Maybe we can see this kind of thing really expanded upon? New terrain, maybe a new warband, and a new narrative campaign focus? A bit like the 40k campaign books, with lots of fluff in there, and then new narrative rules that would support the wider release? I don’t know – I’m sure, whatever I do think might happen, we’ll have something totally different!

Of course, all of this useless speculation assumes Warcry should have the kind of aggressive release schedule as Necromunda. The initial box was released in summer 2019, with a small flurry of expansions to give us the new warbands and terrain, with Catacombs released at the end of 2020 with the grand alliance books, although it is believed that the pandemic had pushed that back from the summer. Can we expect anything more in 2021? It seems that we’re all about Kill Team right now, with a rumoured new Horus Heresy box set due in the November slot for the year, which makes me think we don’t have anything big coming out this year. I’d hope for a Tome of Champions of course, as those books are pretty great. I think we’ve had a few Warcry features in White Dwarf now, which might be good to have collected into an Annual of sorts.

I suppose it doesn’t need a slew of releases all the time, though. It would definitely be good to have more Warcry, just because the game has brought us so many incredible miniatures as it explores such a unique aspect of the Mortal Realms. I really hope GW don’t just let this one slide.

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!