Getting Back On The Horse

Canis Wolfborn from

Canis Wolfborn from

Today I made an army list for the first time in over a year.

I’ve been away from the hobby for a long time, mainly due to being on a relatively intense Master’s degree course. I have managed to keep an eye on new releases and was pleased to see two of my armies; High Elves and Tau receive an update, while being distressed at the price of the army books. The £30 army books make me reminisce about when I got started in the hobby and you could pick one up for £12! Safe to say I haven’t bought either of the new army books yet. But this post isn’t meant to be about Games Workshop’s prices, I’m sure there’ll be plenty of opportunities in the future for that.

This helped in my decision to use my Space Wolves, but only 700 points of them. A friend and I are combining forces of Ultramarines and Space Wolves against a mix of Imperial Guard and Space Marines. Such a small force was difficult to make with the cost of space marines but it should make coming to terms with the rules again quite easy. Thankfully, we’ll be sticking to 5th Edition for the time being which means I should be able to remember some of what’s supposed to be going on. We’ll be heading to Warhammer World for the battle, which is always a treat thanks to the great gaming tables, miniatures hall and Bugman’s. Taking everything into account it seems quite an easy reintroduction back into the hobby, all I need to do now is find the motivation to pick up the paint brush once again.

I’ll keep my army selection to myself for now, in case my opponent reads this! But perhaps I’ll try to write my first battle report and post it later?


A Closer Look at Horus Heresy Book 1: Betrayal Miniatures

So here’s a few shots from the Forge World website of some of the miniatures that will be released alongside the new set of rules for the Horus Heresy range; including the Fellblade Super Heavy Tank, the Typhon Heavy Siege Tank and the Scimitar Pattern Jetbike.

First up, the Fellblade Super Heavy Tank:







Next up, the Typhon Heavy Siege Tank:














And finally, the Scimitar Pattern Space Marine Legion Jetbike:











Along with a bunch of shoulder pads on the Forge World site. There’ll be more to come and I’ll try and keep you posted…

The Horus Heresy Book One – Betrayal

There’s a new video up telling more about the Horus Heresy series from Forge World, specifically Book One – Betrayal. In the video are a few sneak peeks at special characters, campaigns and a few glimpses of new models including a Space Marine jetbike, tank and varying armour.

The video will show more so take a look…

Dark Vengeance Delayed


Sources within the Games Workshop revealed to me yesterday (and since been all but confirmed by Bell of Lost Souls) that the standard edition of Dark Vengeance will be delayed.

There’s some speculation about why but my source tells me that it’s a combination of the Limited Edition box not being as limited as was originally implied and the sales of said box not being as strong because customers are holding off for the cheaper box.

It’s a rare thing for me to feel sorry for the Games Workshop as the limited edition box was a nice idea. Personally I’d like them to pay a bit more attention to the video games market to understand what a limited edition box should be. One extra bloke a special box does not make. But that aside, they attempted to garner some excitement with the release and it all seems to have fallen…

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The Emperor and the Wolf

Have a read of The Emperor and the Wolf over on The Shell Case.

The rumour mill has been working over time today with chatter that Forgeworld will be releasing a Horus Heresy supplement in the coming year or so. This is of no surprise to me at all. If anything I’m a little surprised it’s taken them this long to do it. But the clues were there with all the power armour and pre-heresy tank variants coming out.

There’s also rumours of a supplement that, basically, is the early years of the 42nd millennium. The Emperor is dead, and his body is in the hands of the Ultramarines. The Imperiuam has been torn asunder and is now a group smaller empires controlled by the Astartes who are at war with one another. Needless to say the Ultramarines and their successors control the biggest chunk of space. Terra is in the hand of the Imperial Fists and believe the Emperor’s body needs to be laid to rest so he may be reborn. The rumours prattle on at length but the point is that the supplement, if it ever comes to light, would take 40k from 5 to midnight to about quarter past. The commercial sense is clear as the majority of players have Space Marine armies and therefore a high percentage of games are Marine vs Marine and it’s just a ‘training exercise’. This would allow players to legitimately play one another.

Anyway, I wonder how the Heresy supplement will tie in to the books. I’d like to think there’ll be rules for Primarchs and, therefore, models. But more importantly a balance needs to be found between what the Astartes were and what they become, especially in respect of the traitor legions. I’m a little apprehensive if I’m honest as the Horus Heresy novels are doing a fine job of fleshing out the events. An IA book, if allowed to, could run roughshod over everything Dan Abneet, Graham McNeill and the others have cultivated.

The talk of the Horus Heresy supplement got me thinking about, once more, the fluff. Specifically about the Space Wolves as I think they’re probably one of the hardest Legions to capture in game and more so for Warhammer 30,000 (as it’ll inevitably be dubbed) – the chapter of the 41st millennium being fairly different from their Heresy incarnation. More than that I started thinking about the Space Wolves and their relationship with the Emperor.

We know that the Space Wolves were the Emperor’s executioners. His attack dogs. It’s also fair to assume that the other Legions were aware of the the secondary role the Space Wolves had beyond prosecuting the Emperor’s Great Crusade. But the question I’m throwing out there is what was the extent that the Primarchs and the other Legions aware? Did they believe that the Space Wolves were given the task because they were eager to please savages or because they knew the strength that the Space Wolves possess.

Those that had read the Horus Heresy novels will know that the Wolves were unleashed on three separate occasions. Once against each of the lost legions, the third time against the Thousand Sons obviously to great effect. The thing that has always made the Space Wolves more dangerous than the World Eaters was their self control. Their savagery in combat was always tempered by strategy and an awareness of the violence they unleash. It’s almost a grudging acceptance of their savagery. They see a problem and their mind immediately leaps to the most expedient way of dealing with it. Such as throwing a space station at planet. It’s brutal, mind bendingly violent but the undertone of logic is what makes them so terrifying. Whereas the World Eaters would and did descend into mindless slaughter. The World Eaters were content to wreak havoc for havocs sake. To butcher all before them because they liked it.

The Space Wolves were designed to be able to take on any of their brother legions. They’re psychically resistant, their ferocity and lupine heritage makes them difficult to scare and even hard to put down. Their tactics are uncompromising and unpredictable and their savagery tempered by reason and cold logic. It is a terrifying cocktail of traits. And makes me ask the question; to what extent was Leman Russ truly a brother to the other Primarchs?

All the other Primarchs possess obvious facets of the Emperor’s personality. Some even share traits. Roboute Guilliman, it is said, was almost a straight up clone. I’ve always thought that Leman Russ possessed the animal, bestial nature of the Emperor that lurks within all of us. But the more I’ve thought about it the less I’m sure. Considering the task that the Emperor had in mind when he created Leman Russ and the Space Wolves it would make far more sense for Leman Russ to not share the same familial bonds to make his task that much easier. His loyalty had to be, first and foremost to the Emperor.

It tracks as the Legion/Chapter is fiercely loyal to themselves and the Emperor. They had disdain for the bureaucracy of the Imperium as a whole and although close to his brothers Leman Russ never shared the kind of bonds of kinship that, for example, Fulgrim and Ferrus Manus shared. Granted that didn’t end well…

It makes me wonder what the Emperor had in mind for the Space Wolves after the Great Crusade. Or all the Legions for that matter. It makes me suspect that the Emperor intended for the Space Wolves to be a galactic patrol force. A force brutal enough that it would quell insurrection and keep the other Legions in line.

However the far more likely thought is that the Emperor created the Space Wolves because he always suspected something could go wrong, whatever that may be. The Space Wolves were an insurance policy, for want of a better term. But it all comes back to that decisive moment when the Primarchs were scattered denying the Emperor the chance to nurture the Primarchs into what he needed them to be. But I suspect that Leman Russ was created exactly as he was intended to be. He was the Emperor’s greatest creation and most devastating weapon.

It occurs to me of all the loyalist Legions the Space Wolves would have been most feared by the traitors. As not only were they the most capable to bring the fight to the traitors but they already had experience of doing just that. They would have also been fired by a righteous indignation that the Emperor was defied, rather than the hurt of a brothers betrayed.

The funny thing is that the Primarchs spend an awful lot of time not trusting the Space Wolves because of their tribal nature, unkempt appearance and savagery in combat, but of all of the Emperor’s creations they were the only ones that ever acted with wholeheartedly the Imperium’s best interests in mind, the Emperor’s fullest support and his unwavering approval. For all the power games, manipulations and rivalries that went on amongst the other Primarchs, Leman Russ was the most trusted and equally the most loyal of all the Emperor’s sons. This despite Leman Russ never seeking it out or even acknowledging it. If anything I rather feel that Leman Russ, incorrectly, believed the Emperor tolerated him in the same way a father tolerates a dog bought to keep the children safe. A necessity rather than something to be loved.

I suspect the opposite to be true. He loved Leman Russ precisely because he was the immovable rock beneath his feet. He knew that Russ would do what he could not – to protect his children and his subjects, even from themselves, no matter the cost.

Reflections on 5th Edition

Reflections on 5th Edition over on The Shell Case.

I threw the subject of tonight’s post open to Twitter and the idea that appealed to me most was Reflections on 5th edition Warhammer 40,000 as we hurtle inexorably towards a new (and expensive) version.

The Games Workshop is a touchy subject for most at the moment. Between price hikes, an obvious shift towards a more junior audience and continuing controversy surrounding Finecast there aren’t many who have a kind word to say about them. It’s a company at odds with itself and, in many ways, the Imperium of Man is a metaphor for its bludgeoning approach to business, the protection of its IP and the oft poor treatment of its retail staff – it’s adoring and loyal servants.

With so many rumours flying about 6th edition with it just weeks from release it seemed only proper to talk about the current, soon to be obsolete, edition of the game before the rulebook is consigned to eBay, recycling boxes or loft spaces.

Looking back, I was quite excited about 5th edition, as I was about any new rulebook. There was an awful lot of naysayers at the time slagging the Games Workshop off for releasing another rulebook, especially as the changes were relatively few.

The changes, though, however small made a big difference and signalled an end to the tinkering to the ‘core’ rules that 3rd and 4th editions went through. It’ll be interesting to see how much of those rules change with 6th edition.

The ability to go to ground suddenly gave armies like Imperial Guard a fighting chance when slogging through no man’s land, facing disciplined fire from Space Marines and other armies with high strength basic weapons. It’s a very cinematic rule and depicts infantry hurling themselves into foxholes, craters or against low walls as bullets, shells or plasma bolts explode all about them.

Running meant that agile armies were actually as agile as they were supposed to be. Horde armies could surge across the battle field. Combined with going to ground, forces could become a rippling, seething, mass of horror on a board whilst a static gun line tried to contain them.

Using vehicles became far more tactical and a little more straight forward with varying speeds. Defensive weapons were reclassified so Land Raider Crusaders stopped being the most horrendous vehicle since Warhounds were introduced to the battlefields of Warhammer 40,000. However as with the addition of any new rules it meant  more rule flicking than I’d like but did away with a host of special rules to represent more agile craft.

The assault phase went through some changes that were published in the White Dwarf just prior to 5th edition coming out and the finished result was a little on the confusing side and even now I still have to refer to the book for resolution. The funny thing was that unless you could isolate and overwhelm a faction or counter attack, assaulting the enemy line with anything less than force strength was suicide.

The most significant change was true line of sight. It meant that models had to be positioned correctly. Gone were the days where you could justify cramming your blokes into a tiny building but arguing the whole squad could see out because there was a tiny view port. A simple enough change that had wide-reaching implications on how the entire game was played. And, in many ways, our expectations from other games. True line of sight brought with it a degree of purity to game play quite at odds with so many rules, particularly in the Codices that promoted the wankiest of gaming.

5th edition codices themselves were simultaneously great and allowed for some of the most ridiculous exploitations of rules ever. I spent half my time being annoyed at all the mad as bat shit rules and loops holes that kept popping up as the codices went through the latest iterations. I suppose, in many ways, that’s why I embraced the Ultramarines way of doing things so whole heartedly. It cut out a lot of the crap as the game became increasingly bloated with special rules to the point that you couldn’t assume anything about the models arrayed before you on the board. There’s a lot to be said for keeping things simple.

Despite all that I’ve always felt that 5th edition was the strongest to date. By no means perfect, but it was also the edition that was brave enough to shift the background along a little bit as well as firm up the rules. It made long term gamers start to fear that the Imperium would not prevail. It was also the backdrop for some of the best Black Library novels to date – Horus Heresy not included.

So as the 5th age of Warhammer 40,000 draws to a close I find myself strangely sad at its passing. Partly because I worry about what will happen with 6th edition but because 5th edition has given me more hours of entertainment than any version of the game before it. It also saw me set my sights on, and achieve, collecting two companies of  Ultramarines.

What fate awaits the brave warriors of Macragge and the Imperium of Man, I wait with bated breath to find out.

More 6th Edition 40k Rumours

More 6th Edition 40k Rumours over on The Shell Case.

“The rumour mill has been chugging away and produced this little lot that I found on Blood of Kittens. Some of it seems a little out there so, as always, take it with a pinch of salt.

Changes to the fluff:
The Imperium is fracturing and the Space Marines are starting to separate themselves from the Lords of Terra. The heretical and xenophobia has gotten to a tipping point causing many chapters to take actions against the “best wishes” of many in the Imperium.
A discovery of galactic importance has happened.
At a time before right before the Horus Heresy the Emperor had intrusted Roboute Guilliman in the protection of one Xenos race that was completely immune the temptations of Chaos and would prove the ultimate key to the destruction of Chaos. The Horus Heresy ended such plans. Fast forward to today with discovery of these lost correspondences, it is believed by the Ultramarines and others that the Tau are that lost race. So now instead of being charge with their destruction the Astartes are the Tau protectors.

Now I’m all for moving the story along but that last point seems a little much. The rest of it seems roughly along the lines of what my own GW sources are telling me though. But it’ll be interesting to see what happens as pretty soon changes to the canon will start to impact on the fiction. Plus the it’s always supposed to be ’5 to midnight’ – midnight being the end of the Imperium as we know it – and if the rumours above are accurate it seems a little more like ’2 minutes to midnight’.

Changes to the Rules:
Every unit gets a 6+ save vs. all Psychic Powers.
Random Charge Lengths are in.
Pre-measuring is in.
Random Battle field effects are in.
All armies can purchase buildings for placement on the battlefield.
Psychic powers are selected during deployment. (except Grey Knights)
Deployment and Missions types have doubled.
Allies are back and this will be according to fluff and will have certain restrictions. So for instance Tyranids will not have any allies. Tau with all Space Marine Chapters. Necrons with Blood Angels. Imperial Guard with Space Marines. Chaos Space Marines with Demons. If it fits the fluff it will be done.

I’m not sure how I feel about allies. I suppose it’s reasonable and allows for players to take more narrative driven armies. Random charge length seems a strange thing to introduce considering the standardised movement rule and doesn’t take into account things like Space Marines being super human power houses. Which will probably mean yet more special rules or exceptions in the book that single them out and make non-Space Marine players hate them even more. But I guess we’ll find out end of June.”