Necrons progress

Hey everybody!
So I’ve been playing quite a bit of 40k over the last four weeks – at least, a lot of 40k for me! – as I attempt to get better at the game, though more importantly, getting better with my Necrons!

I’ve talked about this at length on the blog already, of course, but Necrons are my first army, and I always have such affection for them as a result. It’s always around late August/early September when I really feel that nostalgia flooding back, and so I’ve launched myself on something of an offensive to try to play with my beloved first army more, and try to get the proper feel for them in 8th edition. I’d played them three times during the Index days, and then just twice in very small-point games earlier this year, benefiting from the Codex.

All of these games used a basic build of Catacomb Command Barge, Cryptek, two units of gauss Immortals and one unit of tesla Immortals (in varying numbers) as the basis of my battalion. I also chose the Mephrit dynastic code that has been my standard way of thinking about Necron builds since earlier this year, but mainly forgot about its effectiveness – as well as forgetting about my warlord traits and relics. Because that’s what I do!

Game One
So back at the end of July, having moved to the Wirral, I went to check out the local store here with a longtime gaming buddy Kev from my local Games Workshop, and we ended up with a 2 vs 2 game, 500 points each. It was me and my Necrons alongside my buddy’s Harlequins, against the unlikely pairing of Ultramarines and Death Guard.

Outcome: Draw (victory points)
Notable moment: Tesla Immortals taking out a Daemon Prince of Nurgle
Learning points: Keeping Immortals close to the Cryptek to aid with Reanimation Protocols! Also – Wave of Command is too useful to forget!

A four-player game is inevitably a bit of a mess, as everybody has got all of their bits going on. Given the slow speed of the Necrons, compared with the Harlequins, I didn’t have a great deal to do for a lot of the game. My attempt to move my Triarch Praetorians up the field saw them draw all the firepower the enemy could muster at them, which was interesting to me, as I kept hearing the news that they are actually amazing, and need to be taken out as soon as possible. As a result, they didn’t do anything, but it’s useful to hear these sorts of things!

Game Two
At the start of August, I played a game against a relative newbie JP, who was running Word Bearers. 750 points this time, so in addition to my tried-and-tested battalion of Catacomb Command Barge and Cryptek, and three units of Immortals (two gauss, one tesla), I had the Praetorians and an Annihilation Barge, so that was fun!

Outcome: Draw (though it came close to a Necron victory)
Notable moment: Triarch Praetorians wiping out ten marines in one round.
Learning points: Wave of Command is too good to forget about – shame I forgot about it for the entire game! Also, ending the battle with 6 CP is a waste!

This game was a lot of fun! It helped that my opponent and I really got on from the off, so that made for a really good game. I have a (very) nascent Word Bearers army of my own planned, so it was interesting to see what was going on with them! As a relative newbie, though, I quite the fact that the game wasn’t particularly fast-paced, as we had the time to think through the rules and whatnot. Of course, I still forgot Wave of Command, much to my chagrin, but you can’t have everything, I guess!

It was interesting, to me, to think about how I hadn’t appreciated aspects of the rules such as tesla weapons being assault weapons, so I can freely advance my Immortals up the board for the additional range with merely a -1 to hit penalty, (which would have been negated, of course, by Wave of Command!) Time to think about some better tactics…

Game Three
Last week, we upped the points value to 1000, which allowed for a few more interesting units to be included in the list. Well – I basically swapped out the Praetorians for two squads of Lychguard (one of each configuration) and some Deathmarks, which were a bit of a meta-choice as I knew JP included terminators in his list. I was hoping to make use of some of the special rules for these “new” units, to see how they work and so on!

Outcome: loss
Notable moment: Lychguard grouping up to destroy some Chaos Marines – it didn’t quite go to plan, though it was a hell of a moment!
Learning points: Still only used Wave of Command once! Can’t believe it. I still need to remember my CPs and stratagems!

We were playing a Maelstrom of War game this time around, which is something I really enjoy as it hearkens back to my formative days of learning how to play 40k via battle reports. I’ve only been able to convince people to play MoW games twice previously, so it’s always fun to get them in! My cards were just dreadful though, and I think that’s probably why people tend to not play them very often at my store.

The Lychguard sadly got taken out a little in overwatch, so they didn’t get to hit with their full force, but it was as gratifying as it ever has been to see the warscythes make mincemeat of the enemy. I think the sword-and-board Lychguard need to be used more defensively, though, as I wasn’t as impressed with their prowess as I have been with the warscythes. I’m thinking it might be more interesting to have a squad of ten with scythes going out into the wild, while keeping the five with shields back with a high-value HQ or something.

Game Four
My fourth game took place yesterday, and I was playing against Kev’s Harlequins this time. I’ve played Kev often to know that he is a very good player, with armies that run really synergistically. I’d hesitate to call him a power gamer, but nevertheless, his lists tend to be tuned and optimised, so I was a bit hesitant! But he’s also into Necrons, so I found it quite formative to play against him as he knows the army well.

Outcome: total loss (tabled turn 4)
Notable moments: Canoptek Wraiths are amazing!
Learning points: Canoptek Wraiths are too amazing to leave camping objectives. Also, I’m still forgetting Wave of Command. And – OH MY GOD! – I forgot Reanimation Protocols!

My list has changed again, this time bringing scarab swarms and Wraiths in place of the Lychguard and Deathmarks.

Canoptek Wraiths are a unit that I haven’t used since 7th edition, and I wasn’t entirely sure of what I was going to do with them at first. But they were fairly impressive, I have to say! Even if the Wraith Form ability has been nerfed to prevent them from charging through buildings, it is still a hell of an ability, and well worth the inclusion of these gribblies in my list! They are quite a hefty chunk of points, as I had kitted them out with the guns because I was originally planning to go Sautekh with my dynasty. I see a lot of advice with regard to ditching the guns, of course, but it’s always handy to have a particle caster in melee, as it’s just an extra attack if needed, and I think there should be a case made for just one transdimensional beamer, simply because it’s important (I feel) to have the ability to dish out mortal wounds.

I am so annoyed with myself for forgetting about Reanimation Protocols in this game – I mean, it’s like the defining trait of the army! I think I need to think of myself as a total newbie when it comes to playing Necrons, and try to forget about my history with them. Kev suggested making notes on my army list with the sequencing, starting with Reanimation Procols, Wave of Command (or My Will Be Done), and then into the movement phase, etc.

I had two big units of Immortals, both of which were tied up in combat in fairly short order as it happens, nullifying their effectiveness. So annoying! There were a lot of learning points in this game, but I think when playing a melee-orientated army, I need to think about my own melee capability, and not assume that I’ll be able to weather the storm simply through staying true to my nature (massed firepower).


The Future
So where do I go from here? First of all, the crib-sheet idea of getting my sequencing down through note-taking is gold, and I will definitely be employing that in future games. Both of my opponents in these games have armies that have some significant melee presence, but I can’t rely on the fact that I might be able to dodge out of combat and stick to shooting people. Praetorians and Wraiths are a decent start – I think Lychguard might be too specialist at lower points levels – but I’m thinking about points efficiencies here, and I might be making some radical changes to my general list soon enough!

Also on Friday, I bought a box of Necron Warriors. Shocking, I know! Well, for my entire 40k career, I’ve written these guys off as being horrible-looking models, and have stuck to Immortals as my troops of choice. However, if I’m going to be playing in the big leagues, or at least if I’m gonna be building out from my core list, I really need to think about these. 110 points for 10, as opposed to 75 points for 5 Immortals, is pretty decent, and there are some intriguing possibilities that I’ve been mulling over for my next couple of games, that might see some decent stabs at a win!

I’ve had the C’tan Shard of the Deceiver built for over four years now, it seems, and in that time I think I’ve managed to prime him and nothing more! I’ve never seriously looked at the C’tan Shards, mainly because the cost is almost prohibitive, but now really is the time to be looking at pretty much the entire book, and see what I can do with all of my little plastic people. The Deceiver has a special ability called The Grand Illusion, which allows me to re-jig my deployment with him and/or D3 other units, so long as they end up more than 12″ away from the enemy. How interesting, given that Necron Warriors are armed with rapid fire weapons: a blob of 10 can be dishing out 20 shots, hitting on 3s and wounding – most likely – on 4s, with -1 AP. Not bad for the basic troop choice! D3 other units guarantees at least one unit of Warriors can be re-positioned for optimum rapid-fire goodness, but the option to also bring some gauss Immortals is also really interesting. The trade-off, of course, is do you move them out of the range of Wave of Command, which could have had them hitting on 2s?

Certainly something to think about!

Rerolls are hard to come by for the Necrons, it seems, but the Triarch Stalker is a model that I’ve talked about before on my blog as being useful for this, as a unit only has to be targeted by the Stalker for other units to then get rerolls of 1 in that shooting phase when they target the same unit. I have two, one of them is having the paint stripped so I can start again, but I think I need to get a move on there!

I’m still really keen to get on with painting my Doomsday Ark as well, a model that I keep hearing so much good stuff about online. Given that this is almost three years in pieces for me now, I think it’s probably the time to get moving at long last and finish this thing off!

I think the only casualty of moving house was the Tomb Stalker, my first Forge World experience and still one of my all-time favourite models. I do have a second one waiting to be built, but I think it would be remiss of me to not attempt to revive this guy and see if I can perhaps bring him up to date with the rest of my army. I’m hoping that I could maybe use lots of thin layers of paint just on the top of the carapace, to bring him into the dark grey and blue scheme I have now, rather than the gold and green of my last attempt at a Necron army!

I’ve only used the model once, and he did precisely nothing but draw fire, so I’m thinking it might be time to try again with this guy on the tabletop.

Necrons

I have a lot of plans for the future for my army, including all of the above but also moving into Destroyers, and even Flayed Ones! I’m actually thinking, much the same as my Drukhari, I’d like to have at least one of every model in the range. So I’ll doubtless be picking up all of the named characters once again! So that’s exciting.

In fact, my entire future with the army is exciting me – I don’t think I’ve felt this way about Necrons since those heady days of 2014! Stay tuned for some serious thoughts on my list building once again, as I delve into the pages of the codex! You know you love my rambling thoughts blogs!

Getting started with Necromunda

Hey everybody!
It’s my 900th post, and I wanted to do something kinda special to mark the occasion. As it turns out, Blood Bowl isn’t the only game I’m finally getting into! I’ve talked about Necromunda a few times on this blog already, so I think it’s about time to take a look at the game in more detail. Think of this as something of a sequel to last year’s brief overview blog!

The Basics
Necromunda Underhive is a skirmish game where players control the members of a gang, vying for supremacy in the Underhive. At its most basic, the game is quite straightforward, consisting of three phases in each round. To begin, players roll off to see who gets Priority for that round, then all the fighters are readied.

The Action phase sees each gang member activated, alternating between each player. Each fighter can take two actions. There are a number of different actions available to players, grouped into basic actions (which can only be taken once in each activation), simple actions (which can be taken more than once), and double actions (which take up both action slots for the fighter). So for instance, moving is a simple action and so can be taken twice, while shooting or fighting is a basic action that can only be taken once, and charging is a double action (though it does allow for a fighter to make a free fight action if he or she ends that charge in base-to-base contact with an enemy gang member).

Resolving both shooting and close combat attacks works exactly the same as regular 40k, whereby fighters make a ballistic skill / weapon skill check, and if it is successful, make a roll comparing the weapon strength to the target’s toughness and referring to the usual to-wound chart. The target gets the chance to save against the attack (unless the weapon’s AP value negates that), and damage is inflicted. If a fighter is reduced to 0 wounds, they are taken out of action. There is an end phase which, in the basic rules, is only there to mark the end of the round.

Advanced Rules
At its most basic, that’s it! There are a number of scenarios in the main rulebook that add a few special rules to the game, but overall victory is still attained by taking gangers out of action. However, there are a number of Advanced Rules that feature in the book as well, which really add a layer of depth to the game that can be somewhat confusing at first, though seem to be well worth adding in to give the game that all-important depth.

Within the Advanced Rules, there are rules for activating groups of fighters at a time – activating up to two additional fighters when you activate a Leader or Champion – as well as a host of additional tidbits that make combat so much more interesting (and deadly!) Rules for running out of ammo, firing two pistols at the same time (flying through the air is optional), stray shots, as well as assisting and interfering in close combat attacks all add to the tactical nuances that make the game so appealing. There are also detailed rules for suffering injury at the hands of rival gangs.

The End Phase comes into its own with the Advanced Rules. If any gang member is seriously injured, the gang will need to make a Bottle Test, which functions similarly to the Morale phase of regular 40k, with the exception that you’re looking to compare the dice roll + number of gang members injured or out of action with the number of gang members who started the game. You then get to make a Recovery Test to see if those fighters can recover or succumb to their wounds. When a fighter is initially wounded, others close by need to make a Nerve Test to see if their bottle goes. In the end phase, those fighters who Broke have the chance of Rallying.

Gang Composition
The main Necromunda Underhive base game comes with two gangs, Escher and Goliath, each of which came with pre-populated fighter cards that dictate how to build the models to make a named gang. When founding a gang of your own, each gang has options for how many of each type of gang member you can include as a start: Leader (usually one), Champion (usually two), Ganger (usually no more than the combined total of other gang members) and Juves (usually unlimited). Each type of fighter costs a number of credits to purchase, and of course their wargear and weapons also cost credits. The main rulebook gives 1500 credits as the limit for a starting gang, though 1000 credits seems to be more normal in the few brief conversations I’ve had about the game.

Fighters can sometimes have access to skills that give them additional options during the fight. Weapons have traits that can give even more options. It all begins to feel a little bit confusing (and not a little unlike 7th edition 40k!) In this respect, then, I think it’s a really great thing that GW have given us the basic rules to use as something of a primer, to get used to things before adding in all of the more complex stuff. Of course, Necromunda has had so much released for it up to this point that it begins to feel much like a sandbox game, but I’ll get to that in a bit!

There are also Tactics cards available for each gang. These cards are split between generic gang tactics, and gang-specific cards. You create a deck of them at the start of the battle, shuffling the generic ones with those of your chosen gang, then the scenario you’re playing will dictate how many you can use, as well as whether you get to choose your cards or have to choose them at random.

Of course, I say these cards are available for use – GW has not been able to keep them in stock, and most of them are no longer available for purchase. While sometimes the card packs and dice sets they put out with a new release are somewhat bonuses to the main event, these cards actually have new and additional rules to them that make it quite difficult to get into the game if you haven’t been there for each release. I suppose it’s always possible that there are just supply problems and GW are trying to put these right, but for now at least, it’s going to be difficult for newcomers.

Necromunda makes great use of terrain, and while the base game does involve some scatter terrain placed onto a tiled board, with all the rules needed for encountering it in a variety of ways, there are rules for multi-level gang skirmishes that take place among the gantries and chains of environments such as the Sector Mechanicus terrain.

With the release of the Palanite Enforcers last weekend, there are now seven gangs available to use in the Underhive. GW have also given us rules for Genestealer Cults and Chaos Cults in the game, two of the more convincing factions from regular 40k that make the most sense for use here! I’ve talked at length in previous blogs about just how much I love the more regular factions like these, which consist of just average folks (if Genestealer Cultists can be called “average”!) that have that indescribable grim-dark feel to them. I mean, it’s arguable that these factions are more 40k than Space Marines or Tyranids! All of which just adds up to yet more reasons to love this game!

While each gang was being released across 2018, they were accompanied with a Gang War book. The first Gang War featured advanced terrain rules to allow for the famous 3D-style games, while subsequent books included the rules for the new gang as well as a Trading Post featuring new and exotic weapons that your gang can come across during campaigns. These books formed something of a treasure trove of ideas and really bring out the RPG-style element of the game that so many people love it for.

These supplements were combined into the Gangs of the Underhive hardback book that came out last Christmas, and the updated hardback Rulebook, much to the annoyance of players who had been buying these products as they came out. Personally, I was of the opinion that these softcovers did at least allow for players to, you know, actually play with their miniatures for a year or so, which can only be a good thing.

So far this year, we’ve seen a pair of hardback campaign books released alongside the new plastic kits each quarter, The Book of Peril and, most recently, The Book of Judgement. While featuring rules for the new releases, there are also campaign rules and a whole smorgasbord of additional bits and pieces that can colour games of Necromunda in new and interesting ways. The Book of Peril is possibly most noticeable for introducing the idea of the Guilds of Necromunda as factions, something that has been teased for a while now…

Necromunda Underhive is a game that I’m hoping to play soon, having convinced a couple of people at the local club to give it a try. While the base game is decent enough, of course, there are so many additional moving parts and rules that add so much depth to the experience that it becomes something closer to a traditional RPG than a simple boardgame. The game is so customisable that it really boggles my mind, and I find myself just itching to play it whenever I think about it!

So I’m finally going to be playing some games with this very soon. I’m intending to feature the game quite a deal more on my blog hereafter, as it’s a game that has really captured my imagination right from the outset. Look out for more content as the months go on, and hopefully I’ll even get to try a campaign or two! It’s going to be an exciting few months as the year draws to a close, let me tell you!

Getting somewhere with Genestealer Cults

Hey everybody!
So the Codex has been out for a couple of months now, and I’ve been finding it a bit difficult to work out just how I want to build my Genestealer Cults army. I mean, there’s a lot going on here, with it being a new army with a whole slew of new models to try and get my head around and see how they work with the units that I was somewhat familiar with from leafing through the Index and stuff.

While I’ve been leafing through other codices, it’s usually my game-plan to start with a single model, or a single idea that requires a couple of models, and build out from there. With the Cult, however, I’m still at something of a loss! I think the first problem I encounter is always wanting to include the Broodcoven in my list, simply because of the coolness factor. The three HQ choices of Patriarch, Primus and Magus are something of a holy trinity, though, and I do feel like they should be at the forefront of my list. With that in mind, then, I suppose it’s time to try and build a Cult!

The Patriarch is a melee monster with some real psychic punch, as well. The Psychic Phase is not my natural home – I’m a Necrons & Dark Eldar player, after all! – and I think this could also be part of my downfall with these guys. Knowing when and how to use the best of the Broodmind Discipline is going to be a steep learning curve for me, I feel. The Patriarch knows two psychic powers and can attempt to manifest one per turn, though any familiars he has with him can lend him the power to try for a second. That could be very useful, I feel. He’s also something of a commander for both the Cult at large (allowing friendly models to auto-pass Morale if they’re within 6″) as well as adding one to the hit rolls for friendly Genestealer models within 6″. With 6 attacks of his own, he’s going to be up close and personal with the Genestealers, rather than hanging back with a screen of chaff to protect him (though that chaff will be useful, regardless!)

The Magus has a new model, I’m pretty sure we’re all aware of that by now, but I still love the classic model that came out with the first batch of miniatures for the army. The Magus is actually quite underwhelming as an HQ choice, I feel – he can allow units within 6″ to deny psychic powers as if they were themselves psykers, but if you’re not playing a psychic-heavy enemy, this ability is fairly redundant. He does know two psychic powers however, and can also benefit from familiars allowing him to attempt another one per Psychic Phase, which is quite nice. I’m guessing that’s where his main focus will be, either through buffing friendly units or else denying Overwatch with Mass Hypnosis. There are some more offensive Psychic powers in the Broodmind Discipline, but I think I prefer to keep my Magus further back than they perhaps require him to be…

A lot of Genestealer Cult players have been a bit miffed – and rightly so – that Purestrain Genestealers do not gain a Cult Creed. Indeed, I’m sure I’ve read somewhere that the Cult version of Genestealers are strictly worse than their Tyranid counterparts, though I don’t know a great deal about such things. At any rate, I feel like I can’t have a Genestealer Cults army without at least one squad of these little critters, and they do have the unique Stratagem that gives them a random buff that feels like it may go some way to compensating for the lack of a Cult Creed.

Speaking of which, I think I should probably talk about that for a moment, as well. All of my Genestealer Cults units painted so far have been in the colour scheme of The Bladed Cog, which gives an improved invuln save, and negates the penalty for Infantry units moving and firing heavy weapons. Which is alright, but given my thoughts of going heavily into melee, I’m wondering if The Pauper Princes might not be a better choice, giving re-rolls to hit rolls for melee weapons on the charge. For now, I think I’m going to stick with my original plan, because so often with chapter tactics-type rules, I feel that you really need to play them to get a feel for how good they actually are.

I definitely want to include some Aberrants in the list. I’d been keeping away from these models for some reason – I think I had in my mind the idea of a relentless wave of cultists, much like my plans for Chaos. With 2 attacks each, hitting on 3s and the potential to be dishing out some serious damage, they look like a melee powerhouse. Their Bestial Vigour ability allows them to reduce the damage they receive, and also gives them a decent enough chance to shrug off wounds anyway.

It also gives me the reason I needed to buy the Biophagus, which is such a great looking model, but had firmly dropped off my radar because of the fact his only special ability is really to buff the unit.

The Primus is another useful HQ that will give +1 to hit in the Fight phase for units within 6″, as well as providing a useful buff for nearby units when they target a unit he has designated as the quarry. Very thematic, I like it!

When thinking about what to bring as a bodyguard for the Primus, I hear a lot of chatter about people using Acolyte Hybrids for their versatility. I’m not about to get all power-gamer and equip the whole squad with heavy rock cutters, or whatever the current meta has decided is the best weapon of the moment. Indeed, I’ve got a lot of Acolyte Hybrids from Deathwatch: Overkill that are bare-bones with autopistol and cult knife, and as a cheap troops choice, they’re pretty great for that!

Of course, a lot of Cult units are very squishy, with most of the hybrid Infantry being T3. This is perhaps where the mechanised portion of the list will come into play. I’ve had a Goliath Truck half-painted up for years, but I really want to add the Rockgrinder to the list, for that insane drilldozer blade! There are now some fairly good options for the Cult to get around the board, with the new bikes and the Ridgerunner. I’m thinking a lot of these things can be used to soak up Overwatch fire, which is always something of a concern for me with units like this. I do love the idea of mass-infantry, don’t get me wrong, and the thought of unstoppable waves of cultists just coming and coming at the enemy does have some appeal (I feel like I have enough miniatures that I could fairly well-replicate that idea, too!) but there are practical considerations to bear in mind!

Finally, I love the hilarity of the Tectonic Fragdrill, and would love to include it in the list. At 75 points, it should be able to find a home, and if for no other reason than it looks fantastic, I think I do need one in my life. As the centrepiece for the army, it really does look the part:

So I think I’ve been wittering on long enough now – I suppose I should actually share the list ideas that I’ve come up with!

This is something of an evolution of one of many, many attempts to make a Genestealer Cults list that I have been through so far this year! At 1500 points, I didn’t have the room for a Fragdrill, instead opting to go for more customisation on the Neophytes and take a second squad of Atalan Jackals to provide me with an Outrider detachment. While I do have four detachments in this list, I think I’m really only allowed to have three, and so there will be a number of things shifted into the main Battalion detachment, with then the Vanguard and Outrider providing the additional benefits.

While I was particularly excited about pretty much everything prior to the release, I actually ended up with just two of the new character models and a box of Atalan Jackals. These bikers really impressed me with how they can be customised, but I wasn’t sure if I was going to include them in the army from the off. Well, that soon went by the wayside! I’ve grown to love their dirt-bike aesthetic, and I think they’ll be really useful for harassing the enemy with their 14″ movement, as well as potentially tanking Overwatch as mentioned above.

It might just be me, but there’s almost a Wild West vibe that comes off these guys, as well. The name, plus the quadbike Wolfquad they use, as well as the tomahawk-wielding guy in the image above… it puts me in mind of prospectors out in the deserts, which I suppose is what the intention is – the Codex talks of these bikers using the cover of searching out new seams of ore in order to further the infestation of the Cult.

All gaming considerations aside, I think I am really in love with the Genestealer Cults as a faction, for the simple reason of their flavour being some of the strongest we’ve yet seen for any army in 40k. The idea of a band of everyday chumps forming a revolution against the Empire is terrific, and when paired with the idea of the Genestealer Cults preparing the way for the Tyranid invasion, I think it really leads to some of the best storytelling in the game. The new Elites choices that we’ve seen, from the vox-hacking Clamavus to the tactician Nexos, bring to life some of these fantastic elements from the army and it’s in-universe methods. All of the new models fit in seamlessly with the already-established mining aesthetic from the first releases back in the day, giving us one of the best, most fully-fleshed-out forces in the game right now.

I can’t wait to get started painting more of these guys!!

Dark Imperium: Plague War

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It’s taken me almost a month to finish reading this book, but I feel like I need to point out that I haven’t been dragging my feet because the book is bad – far from it, it’s a really great 40k story in what I’m coming to think of as the “iconic” mode, as opposed to all of the throwaway stories that I’ve read in the past. But, as I’ve said already, I’ve been moving house, so time has been at a premium!

Plague War follows on from where Dark Imperium finished off, with the stage set for a Guilliman vs Mortarion showdown. In many ways, Plague War is a much better book, as it doesn’t really come with all of the baggage of the new edition that its predecessor had. Rather than reading the book to find out what would be in store for the new Primaris range, we can instead enjoy it on its own merits, and while I think I’ll most likely re-read them both when the inevitable third part comes along, I do think that the second act is definitely stronger.

The first couple of hundred pages feel like they are very deliberately setting the scene for the showdown on the planet Parmenio, presenting us with a number of small vignettes focused on several major characters to the story. We meet Frater Mathieu, who has settled much more into the role of Militant-Apostolic to Guilliman, and is continuing his schemes to make the Primarch a true believer in the divinity of the Emperor. We follow the Guard, as always, alongside some Sisters of Battle as they investigate the presence of a potential Imperial Saint in the city of Tyros, who first appears at the turning point in the battle against the forces of Nurgle. We meet several of Nurgle’s daemons, we catch up a little with Mortarion, and we also get to catch up with the Primaris marine Justinian Parris, who is seconded to the Novamarines following the events of the earlier novel. It’s all a little bit of a jumble – Guilliman himself doesn’t even appear until well over 100 pages, to take delivery of a curious strongbox.

While Mortarion is cooking up something particularly disgusting on Iax, which we got some clues about in book one, his feint on Parmenio is intended to bring Guilliman to his knees, and so the main portion of the book deals with the battle there. There’s only so much disease, filth and ichor that I can really take, but nevertheless, I felt it was somewhat toned down compared with previous Nurgle-centric novels. The Novamarines manage to destroy one of Mortarion’s clocks on the planet, which means that when the daemonic incursion takes place, the Neverborn are at a distinct disadvantage, due to the lack of any Warp power on Parmenio. They still put up a good show, of course, and Guilliman is almost destroyed by Mortarion’s scythe Silence, but at the crucial moment, the Battle Sisters bring the Saint onto the field of battle (defying Guilliman’s express orders) and her mere presence manages to send most of the daemon’s back to the Warp. Mortarion escapes to fight another day, calling out to his estranged brother to follow him to Iax and pretty much setting up the third novel, and the Imperium forces are left to gather their thoughts and their dead.

The fairly ambiguous end sees Roboute Guilliman open the strongbox, and begin to read possibly the only remaining copy of Lorgar’s Lectitio Divinitatus.


I said before, this is a much more enjoyable novel than Dark Imperium, and I suppose part of that has to do with how I approached reading the earlier novel. There is still an element of seeing these sorts of novels as miniatures catalogues, although there aren’t any new miniatures hinted at that I recall. The Astraeus super-heavy tank gets a mention, though, which I suppose was new at the time this book came out!

The novel did feel a lot like a short series of disjointed events for probably the first half, which didn’t really help me get into it too much. It became easy to pick up and put down after a single chapter, rather than wanting to read through for a good period of time. Nevertheless, once the story got underway, it was very enjoyable – though my personal disinterest in Titan warfare meant a particularly long chapter about 3/4 of the way into the book was just tedious to get through.

I thought it was really interesting how the Imperial Saint, Kaylia, was handled, though. She seems to have been just a regular girl who happened to have, to all intents, the Emperor act through her, bringing the cleansing light of His majesty to the disease-ridden battlefields of Parmenio. One of the daemons actually refers to her as “the anathema”, their word for the Emperor, though once this power has proven to be too much for a mere mortal to contain, and she expires as a result, Guilliman writes her off as an unsanctioned Psyker and berates Mathieu for planting the seed that enabled the Battle Sisters to take possession of her. The war between the Primarch and the Ministorum is clearly not over yet!

I do wish that more had been explored of that, but I suppose it’s possible that we’ll see more of it in the next book, which I hope will follow up on a lot of this stuff. Will Roboute Guilliman become a believer? I don’t know what to make of it – and I really don’t know what to make of him. Throughout this and the last book, we are led to believe that Guilliman, once he had come out of stasis thanks to the help of the Ynnari, had a chat with the Emperor on Terra. During the confrontation with Mortarion, however, it is implied that Guilliman did not, which makes me wonder what’s going on there. Is he trying to create some kind of cult of personality around himself, and maybe eventually declare the Emperor to be dead at last? I think he is now aware of the reasons for the Primarch project, and their eventual redundancy, so maybe his loyalty has shifted a little. I’m not trying to say that he is about to fall to Chaos, of course! I’m just wondering if we might be setting up for a further schism on the side of “good”, with the Ministorum heading up a pro-Emperor faction, and Guilliman at the head of his own? Like an Imperium Secundus, but for the modern age? Who knows!

I was a bit disappointed by the actual Guilliman/Mortarion confrontation however, and while inevitable, the fact that pretty much all of the Nurgle commanders escaped to fight another day was disappointing. I suppose it’s difficult to have such a confrontation where, presumably, the author isn’t allowed to kill off such a hugely important character (with a £90 miniature that was only released a year and a half ago…) In addition, the battle involving Typhus was almost entirely a bit of a sideshow, and I can just imagine the Herald of Nurgle twirling his moustache with a snicker and a “until we meet again!”

“You haven’t seen the last of me, muchachos!”

Overall, it’s definitely worth the read, although as the second part of a trilogy it both benefits and suffers, by having a decent story to build out from, albeit with no real sense of closure quite yet.

New Sisters of Battle

Sisters of Battle

Hey everybody!
We’ve had quite a few of these Battle Sister Bulletins come out from the community site now, and with this week’s reveal of quite a few from the troops squad, I thought it might be time to finally sit down with you all and take a look at what we’re being promised from the new Adepta Sororitas.

It’s an army that I’ve had a sort of tangential interest in for years now, especially since I’ve started delving deep into the history of the game. While I’ve had that interest, however, I’ve always eventually channeled myself elsewhere, mainly into the xenos races. There is something very, very fascinating about the Imperial cult, though, and I find myself drawn time and again to the smaller Imperial factions, wanting to explore things like the Inquisition line in more detail. Plastic Necromunda has brought us House Cawdor, with their own fascinating vibe, and I think it’s this aspect of the game and its lore that keeps drawing me in to the Adepta Sororitas. Back in 2016, I wrote this piece on the Sisters, when they were being embroiled up in Codex: Imperial Agents for 7th Edition, and while I wanted to be excited for a Sisters release, the fact that they were in all-metal just turned me off no end, and I’ve pretty much been in this half-state of kinda wanting to be excited, but just being totally burnt out (and absorbed in loads of other projects, of course!) But we’re getting plastic Sisters at some point in 2019 (apparently), and GW have been drip-feeding us news ever since.

Before the Bulletins commenced in February this year, we did get some teases from the range, such as the heads revealed at the Nova Open and a range of weapons shown off at Warhammer Fest Europe.

The weird crossbow-bolter seems like it might be a step too crazy, though this is 40k, and I don’t think you can ever get too crazy when it comes to the religious zealotry of the Sisters! Of course, whetting the appetite like this just means we’re hungry for more!

The Battle Sister Bulletin

We started with a look at some iconography, which was interesting but perhaps not what fans were expecting/hoping for. This was followed by some notes on the feedback GW received from the beta Codex that was included in Chapter Approved 2018. It was a little bit like the FAQ, though only telling us what they want to change, without going into details of how it would change.

We had to wait until the third update before we actually got anywhere near the new model range, and even then, we got to see some of the pieces for the army, and not whole models.

Which is fine – I mean, the pieces they showed off were quite something, I have to admit!

This update was almost certainly the one that got me thinking. As I said earlier, there is just so much bound up with the Sisters, these weird techno-baroque touches that I just find so incredible about the 40k aesthetic. It was really, really good to see that they were going to be bringing this out in the new range.

If seeing the bits was exciting, then the fourth bulletin was even more so, as we got to see a whole model for the first time!

This Seraphim was criticised at the time, but that’s mostly because 40k fans are never, ever happy, I think. Taking a lot of stylistic cues from the Geminae Superior that accompany the plastic Saint Celestine model, these miniatures do look really nice, and I’m interested to see how they will work as miniatures. I mean, the Geminae Superior are held aloft on the scrolls of parchment trailing behind them, which is quite the elegant touch, while most jump infantry seem to end up with plastic flying stands, so I wonder if they’ll end up looking much like the Primaris Inceptors…

The fifth update was all about the vehicles, and I think this is also where things begin to get interesting, as we’ve had confirmation that the Rhino chassis that will form the basis for their vehicles will be the Mark I Deimos-pattern, with the circular doors, rather than the more familiar Mark IIc Mars-pattern rectangular box. We’ve been promised a level of detailing that should allow for some really beautiful models, such as the shrine in the front armour panel:

It’s shaping up to be a release that is full of gothic promise!

We also had confirmation that the Penitent Engine will be redesigned, which I think is a huge boon as the current model is just awful. When you think that we have such beauties as the Ironstrider for the Adeptus Mechanicus, which features a servitor hard-wired into the vehicle, I’m sure they can come up with something suitably macabre yet clear of the crucifixion flavour of the old model.

Who knew vehicles could be so exciting! Well, I suppose the promise of plastic Deimos-pattern Rhino models will do that to you…

The sixth update was all about the lore, as we see some of the artwork and history that will be making its way into the Codex. It’s cool and all, getting to read about some epic Sororitas vs Tyranids violence, but I suppose I’m all about the new models at this point!

Which is why the seventh installment of the Battle Sister Bulletin was so exciting, as we got to see not only 3D renders, but the first actual plastic Sisters model, fully painted!

Of course, this model is now familiar because of its release on Warhammer Day at the end of June (though I still haven’t received mine!) Sister Superior Amalia Novena was given quite the run-down in this update, with the article going into detail on how the various parts of the model were painted. It’s worth bearing in mind for when we all get our hands on these new miniatures – although there are some principles that will be quite useful, no matter what is on the painting schedule.

The eighth update brought us a first look at another unit from the army, the Retributors. These are the heavy weapons teams for the Sisters, akin to the Space Marines Devastators, or the Heretic Astartes Havocs, and will supposedly have options for heavy bolters, heavy flamers, and multi-meltas.

I really like the fact that we’re getting the full range updated, rather than a replacement range, which is a thought that crossed my mind at one point. With the new Primaris releases having a single weapon option for each squad, I was a little concerned that we might have a similar situation with the new Sisters. I’d heard it was something to do with GW trying to make things straightforward for newcomers to the hobby, and prevent the sort of analysis-paralysis of how to equip a new squad. Well, it’s good to see that we’ll be able to get the full panoply of wargear for these girls, at any rate!

I really love the small details on all of these models. Hopefully they won’t turn out to be quite the madness that we have from ranges like the Death Guard, but it’s nice to have models that have so many details on them that will allow you to really invest in painting them up. It’s also nice, as with the Rhino talked about earlier, to see the Sisters getting their own distinct wargear, rather than just being females in power armour with the basic flamer/melta, etc.

The ninth update was simply an announcement that Amalia Novena would be available to purchase at the end of June, while the tenth was an interview with Darren Latham, the incredibly talented chap who designed her miniature.

That little tease at the end! I hope it is brilliant, though from what we’ve seen so far, I don’t think we’ve got anything to worry about!

All of this brings us to this week’s update, and the 3D renders of more of the regular Battle Sisters squad.

I know we can’t really compare these to the old models any more, because let’s be honest, they’re worlds apart now, but I just wanted to add in this image from the older metal sculpts to illustrate how far removed from the older models we are now:

All of the design cues are there, but things have just come along so much that we can now get something in plastic that has just so much more elegance than the blocky metal miniature. It’s really exciting to see these things coming out, and how the range has the potential to really bring us something truly special.

The Sister with the Simulacrum Imperialis is a personal favourite, as it has so much of the gothic detailing that we can find elsewhere within the Imperium, helping to really tie these forces together, while still remaining its own thing. I have images of running some Sisters alongside my Tempestus Scions, and I think they’ll provide a really nice counterpoint between the hefty, utilitarian flak armoured stormtroopers with their own gothic grace and splendour. Really looking forward to picking some of these up when they’re released, though depending on the actual release date, I don’t know if I’ll have a lot of time for hobbying as the first born will be arriving around mid-October!

Another fully-painted miniature from the range! Bulletin 11 really was a treat! These miniatures do look fabulous, the flowing robes and sleek power armour having a really arresting look overall. The bulletin also went into depth on the colour choices with ‘Eavy Metal’s Max Faleij, another really useful resource for when we get our hands on these miniatures and start to paint them up for ourselves!


So far, then, we’ve had almost five months’ worth of Bulletins, and along the way we’ve had some really exciting stuff shown off. I think the most exciting for me have been the vehicles update, followed closely by this week’s update with the regular Battle Sisters squad. I’m a sucker for the regular infantry in many armies, and seeing these warriors has really gotten me interested in collecting a force of Sisters. I think the promise we’ve seen from the vehicles bulletin really cements the idea that this is going to be an actual army, and not just a couple of new kits that will use some existing stuff, re-packaged with an upgrade sprue.

So far, we’ve got the Battle Sisters squad, the Retributors and the Seraphim, alongside a new Sister Superior (I’m assuming she’ll be a special character HQ choice) and promise of the three Rhino variants coming as Deimos-pattern, plus a new Penitent Engine. That’s a good solid core, but what else can we hope to see as part of this release?

Going from the top, I’d assume a generic Canoness will be coming, with the possibility of a new Dominion Squad. I put this as a possibility because Dominion teams are made up of regular Battle Sisters, all of whom wield special weapons. So in theory they may market the Battle Sisters as a dual kit for the Dominions, I don’t know. (It’s difficult to tell based off the current range, because they’re all metal, and you can very often buy these specialists as single miniature blisters to upgrade a regular squad, anyway).

The Command Squad will hopefully also be upgraded – I’m guessing it will be done, given the vox-hailer we had previewed in the third bulletin, but I suppose you never know! They were all separated out in the beta Codex as individual Elites choices, much like we’ve seen with the Primaris stuff. Of course, Battle Sisters aren’t Space Marines, so maybe the fact that Astra Militarum forces still get a Command Squad will mean they’ll be reunited in their actual Codex release. I’m going to put a question-mark over the Repentia squad, because of the weird nature of that particular squad. Half-naked Sisters wielding chainswords, urged on by a whip-toting Mistress of Repentance? Not sure it fits with new-GW, but maybe they’ll find a way to make it work. I suppose you could have them just clad in flowing robes, and no power-armour? Hm.

Of course, this all assumes that they will merely content themselves with updating the existing line, and leaving it there. What if there were to be some new squads brought out as part of this? Thinking about the Space Marines line, we don’t have Sororitas Scouts, for instance. Would they be a thing? I don’t think we’ll get Dreadnoughts per se (and I suppose there’s an argument that the Penitent Engine fulfills that role, anyway), but what about bikers? Of course, I did just say that Sisters of Battle are not Space Marines, so maybe this isn’t the right comparison to make.

What particularly interests me, however, is all of the Sisters-adjacent stuff that is also included as part of the line-up. The Preachers, Missionaries, Arco-Flagellants and Death Cult Assassins. I wonder if these will also be getting upgraded as part of the army? While the Preachers could, I suppose, be thought of as a part of the overall force, units like the Crusaders and the like feel a little more… odd. I think they’re all fine to be part of an Inquisition force, and there’s a significant part of me that hopes that model range gets a plastic update along the Sisters lines very soon! But in all honesty, I feel like these aspects of the army might be overlooked at this time. At least most of them are in finecast resin, rather than the dreaded metal!

Of course, we have had one plastic Death Cult Assassin, as part of the Rogue Trader box set for Kill Team, so maybe such things aren’t actually so far away after all? I’d like to think that these weirder aspects of the 40k universe will continue to be explored through releases like the Kill Team box, and also Blackstone Fortress (which has already given us a Ministorum Preacher, as well as a Missionary Zealot). Who knows, maybe the Sisters upgrade will naturally evolve, through units like the Crusaders and the Preachers, into a plastic update for the Inquisition, as well? To tie in with the much-requested Kill Team: Inquisition? Surely the upcoming rules for Eisenhorn in Kill Team are simply a testing bed for another boxed game to come out later this year?!

There is a lot of stuff that I would like to see come out for 40k, even if my wallet would disagree. Plastic Sisters have been a wonderful start to that, as well as the weird and wonderful releases from Kill Team: Rogue Trader, Blackstone Fortress and the like. I can only hope that these things continue to add diversity to the game, while we continue to see the main-line factions get their updates in the same way.

For now, though, I’m excited to see what else we might be getting from GW in the next Battle Sister Bulletin!

Mid Year Hobby Check-In

Hey everybody!
Things have been a bit sparse here on the blog in recent weeks, due to the fact that I’m moving house again at the end of this week. Two moves inside of two years isn’t really all that bad, if I’m being honest, though it’s still one move more than perhaps I’d like! Well, anyway – we’re having lots of fun because Jemma is now six months pregnant, so can’t do a great deal of anything when it comes to packing and moving stuff, but the heir is apparently developing beautifully, so that’s the most important thing!

Anyway!

I’m a bit late to the party on this one, for sure, but I wanted to check in with how I’ve been doing, hobby wise, especially in comparison with the hobby resolutions that I made back in December! So let’s get cracking, and see how widely I’ve strayed from these goals…

First of all, though, let’s take a look at what those resolutions were to be:

So then! I think the easiest thing would be to just run through the list quickly and see, one by one, what I have managed to do…

Build and paint a third Ravager
This one is still a work in progress. But it’s on my mind, which is good!

Build and paint an Imperium tank of some sort
I was hoping to do a Predator or something – you know, something that really looks like a tank? But I haven’t gotten anywhere with this yet.

Buy, build and paint Inquisitor Karamazov
None of these things has happened yet.

Continue to build up and paint the 1500 point Grey Knight List
This project has well and truly stalled!

Finish off painting the Deathwatch models that I have
This project has also well and truly stalled!

Work out what to do with those Tyranids, if anything
Finally, something that I can tick off! Check out this blog post for those plans! I’ve had several thoughts, plans and ideas since then, as well, though I don’t think they’ve yet made it into blog form. But give it time…

Work out what I want to do with the Tau army, if anything
Another big tick in the box – I’ve sold the whole lot on ebay, including the Codex. That Tau bridge has been well and truly burnt!

Paint 10 more Neophyte Hybrids, and paint 5 Hybrid Metamorphs
The models are built and primed, ready and waiting. I just need to get myself sorted out! This has actually stalled in favour of the next bullet point, however:

Paint 10 Skitarii, the Tech Priest Dominus, and the Dunecrawler
Well, I haven’t quite managed the Dunecrawler yet, but the Skitarii are coming along quite nicely, as it happens!

Paint some Ravenwing Black Knights, and the Deathshroud
Okay, so this has also well and truly stalled, but my buddy Matthew has been recently sharing some progress he’s made with his Dark Angels, which has in turn started me thinking once again about a return to the First. Watch this space on that one!

Paint at least one proper terrain piece (not just an ammo crate)
Well, I have plenty of terrain pieces that are built and primed – it’s just finding the time, at the moment, to get anywhere with them! I think I’ve just been much more focused on getting dudes painted, their surroundings have kinda lapsed into nothing for me at this point. Though I have started painting four more ammo crates…

Paint some Nighthaunt and see what AoS is all about
Okay, so this is probably the biggest one for me thus far – I’ve painted up quite a decent chunk of spooks at this point, and have had three games of AoS, which has been really positive overall! I’ve had some hiccups with it, whereby I’ve almost been branching out too much again, but I think I’m now contained to just Death and Slaanesh armies, keeping my AoS adventure much more understated and in keeping with the factions that hold the most interest to me.

Hopefully when I move, I’ll be able to get some more games in!

Paint the Doomsday Ark
Well, this one is still in pieces somewhere, so let’s move on…

Try out ShadeVault and Necromunda
Again, not managed to do anything here except paint gang members, so let’s continue…

Play more games, dammit!
Well, I’ve managed to play 9 games so far this year, across 40k, Age of Sigmar and Kill Team. Bearing in mind that I only managed to play 11 games in the entirety of 2018, 9 games in 6 months isn’t bad at all! So I feel quite good about this one, even though it isn’t as good as perhaps it could be!


So far, then, I’ve not been doing that well, but I think that’s partly because I was so focused, back in December, on getting my Deathwatch and Grey Knights painted, that I somehow thought I could do it to the exclusion of all else. Now, my buddy Kev has often said I just need to be focused here, but I do tend to lack that over a long stretch. I mean, if I had two weeks where all I painted were marines every day, then I might actually come out with a few hundred points of army at the end of it. However, I’ve been painting for one or two nights a week, for one or two weeks per month, and my focus is diffused over a wide variety of projects. Inevitably, I just end up doing nothing, or very little, and I think I need to get better at that aspect.

Last month, I started painting Skitarii like there was no tomorrow – at least, by my standards! And while it might not sound that impressive, I managed to get fifteen Skitarii Vanguard, a Tech Priest Dominus and a Tech Priest Enginseer painted up! That’s not bad, considering I’ve also been slowly packing up the house!

So I think I need to really try to hone myself into just concentrating on one project at a time, and going from there.

However!

Lack of concentration is one thing, but there has also been a number of new releases that have just grabbed my attention, and I feel now like I really need to alter my original resolutions in order to take account of them!

First up is, of course, Slaanesh. I’ve been a great fan of the Dark Prince since my Warhammer Invasion days, and I am thinking more and more about the need to start painting more of these things, and soon! I did also get a new Keeper of Secrets, which is just glorious but, due to the impending move, I haven’t yet made a start on it. So I’m thinking that might be a good project to keep for later in the year – we’ll have a small person to contend with, but I’m sure I’ll be able to cope with a centrepiece miniature! Ha!

Slaanesh has been a big deal for me for years, so I’m really looking forward to getting some of those daemons painted up – both the new stuff, and the old!

Towards the end of last year, I got into Chaos Marines again in a pretty big way. All of that Blackstone Fortress stuff was coming, and it really fired my imagination. Well, Shadowspear brought us loads more, and we’re currently on the cusp of Traitor Command for Blackstone Fortress, so it’s probably little wonder that, with so much heretical good stuff coming, I’m once again feeling the pull of the dark gods. I really fancy having a Word Bearers army, and have made some fairly slow progress in getting these things planned out. Chaos was one of my three “going bigger with” blogs from February, as I really fancied getting a Chaos force to the table sometime this year. The way that real life has intervened, I don’t think that will be possible now, but it’s something that I have on my mind at the moment, along with some other bits and pieces for a Chaos army, so I really hope that I can at least get a few more things painted before the end of the year!

I think I need to take a minute to talk here about the new line of Contrast paints from GW. They came out last month, to much fanfare, and I was actually pretty surprised at the results when I finally managed to try them out myself. The genestealer above was painted using Gryph-Charger Grey, and the blotchy appearance it left was really quite a surprise, and quite an eyesore. I’ve had that finish before with washes, and haven’t always managed to remedy the situation with some drybrushing or overbrushing, but considering these paints are supposed to get the model ready for the tabletop with one thick coat, I think the results are very poor.

Maybe it’s just because I’ve been doing it wrong, but even when mixed with the medium, that seems to tone down the pigmentation, while still leaving this blotchy finish. Is there some secret to it? I’m applying the paint as I think I’m supposed to, but it’s just leaving this horrendous look that I’ve yet to see work well.

I did try it on some space marines today, while I had some small dose of calm amid the flurry of cardboard boxes, but they just look bad. I’m particularly annoyed at this, because one of them was the 30th anniversary Primaris Lieutenant, which is actually a very nice model. Very annoying!

So I’m not a fan of contrast paints, which is just as well because I’ve only bought four of them. I think I’ll stick to the usual methods, but I’m quite pleased GW have brought out so many more base and layer paints, as it means I can start exploring new territories with them! I’ve already been thinking of a new Tyranid colour scheme after getting my hands on some of the old Forge World colours, so that’s exciting!

I’m also keen to continue painting up units for my Dark Eldar army that I’ve not had as a part of it so far. Incubi and Mandrakes, as well as Scourges, have been on the table as I inch closer to getting these chaps finished! So that’s all encouraging stuff.


In the middle of all of this, however, is my desire to just improve as a painter. There is so much that I can do to get better, top of the list being calm down and have more patience! A lot of the time I see myself rushing through things and getting sloppy, only to then need to go back and revisit the whole thing. I think I also need to try and get better with my brushes, as I usually wear them into the ground, while still using tufty things as if they were XS artificer layer brushes. While I have no problem replacing them when they wear out, I’m still a little nervy about starting to use a new one. I think I need to get over that, as it’s holding me back a bit.

There have been a few miniatures that I’ve churned out in the recent past where I’ve thought: yes, this is actually a decent looking mini. The one that immediately comes to mind is that Rogue Psyker from Blackstone Fortress, which is really quite neatly painted, and while the majority of the miniature is actually just basecoat and shade, I still look at it and think it’s come out pretty well. I suppose I’d like to try and capture that more and more as I go along, and paint in an unhurried manner but still get to make decent progress. It’s the dream, for sure, but I’m fairly positive that I could actually make it happen! It does help, of course, that the Rogue Psyker is one model, and did not require any sort of batch painting nonsense that I’ve recently been encountering as I’ve been doing the Skitarii, or preparing myself as I look down the barrel of the Chaos Marines from Shadowspear!

As the year goes on, then, I’m thinking I’ll be doing some much smaller-scale projects, five marines here, five daemonettes there, maybe a vehicle if I can manage it. Certainly from October, when Junior will arrive, I can’t see me getting much of anything done this side of Christmas 2020! But hopefully there will be bright spots on the horizon, as I can begin to get some things finished in the small hours while on the night shift!

But I don’t think I’ll get 1500 points of Grey Knights finished in 2019…!

The Apocalypse is here!

Hey everybody,
So, Apocalypse is coming on the horizon for Warhammer 40k. While I’m not really all that into playing such massive games, I’ve actually surprised myself at how interested I’ve become in this latest format for the game, after watching the brief run-down video from Becca Scott over on the  Warhammer TV channel. In case you haven’t taken a look, I’ll link it here:

My very first impressions after watching this were of just how similar it sounds to card-based combat games like Battlelore. I find this interesting, as I had originally had the impression this scale of game was literally just for people who wanted to spend an entire day playing a single game of 40k, or else wanted to play with all of their massive Forge World stuff that required remortgaging in order to buy, or possibly both. The video, in fact, makes the game seem a whole lot less complicated than that, and I can actually see me giving it a go sometime in the near future!

Right off, something I really like about this system is the way the army building works. Building a force using detachments is nothing new for 40k, but here we see that the detachment functions as a singular entity, activating at the same time, and relying on its commander for in-game leadership. In regular games of 40k, I find myself (and see plenty of others) building armies where the HQ which goes into a Vanguard detachment never has any in-game link to the Elites within, and is almost seen as a tax. Here, it sounds like it might be a lot different, and I like that!

Here’s something huge: movement trays! Apocalypse isn’t Epic, and so troops units still have a vital role to play. However, moving about dozens of units model-by-model will be arduous for anybody to watch, so we’re seeing movement trays coming back, and the internet rejoices!

We’ve got an Index of faction focus articles that show pretty much all of the regular factions will be making an appearance – and it’s nice to see the Sisters of Battle included here, ready for their big plastic release that is hopefully coming later this year!

It’s probably the fact that it feels like such a new and interesting way to play the game, but I’m really quite keen to pick this one up! I’m also a bit of a sucker for this style of box set, with all the fancy dice and tokens and cards. It sounds like it should make large-scale 40k games much more bearable than some of the horror stories of playing Apocalypse from back in the day, so it’ll be interesting to see how much of that is true. I never played Apocalypse back in the day, of course, but still…

It goes up for pre-order on Saturday, along with a bunch of other stuff (including, naturally, a bunch of battalion boxes to help you flesh out an existing army ready for the new system, or maybe to start off a new one). If I do find my way to playing, I will pretty much certainly be playing with either Necrons or Dark Eldar, depending on how the army composition works. I mean, I’ve got loads of painted Dark Eldar ready to go, so hopefully they’ll turn out to do me well!