Hello once again and welcome to March’s edition of the Month in Miniatures, brought to you by the good people (me) at Tiny Plastic People.
Perhaps the biggest news this month is the release of Warhammer Quest: Cursed City, Games Workshop’s latest in the Warhammer Quest series of co-operative board games. Release is on either the next or previous Saturday depending on when this goes up, and though we didn’t receive any news as major as last month’s mega-preview, there’s a bunch of articles discussing it on Warhammer Community.
Some highlights include a look at Night and Day mechanics, a look at the “Journeys”, and a fifteen-minute How To Play video. GW has done one of these videos for each of their recent major releases: previous ones were hosted by YouTuber Becca Scott, with an upbeat and bubbly tone that made a pleasant if confusing change from the usual grimdark. This one falls back into the usual Warhammer Community pattern of Nick Bayton explaining things very fast in front of a grim greenscreen.
GW have also shown off some impressive stuff from their Warhammer Animation team. The biggest news is that Syama Pedersen, creator of Astartes, an original fan series, has been hired to join them to make a follow up.
Three other fan projects have been similarly canonised: Exodite, the first animation to feature the T’au, Iron Within about the Iron Warriors, and Primaris: The Last Templar, about a Black Templar. This is being billed as the Second Wave of animations, which seems a slightly odd thing to say when we’ve essentially seen neither hide nor hair of the first wave after their initial announcement.
The exception to that is more details about the Hammer and Bolter anthology series – for me personally, the coolest-looking animation is In The Garden Of Ghosts, about the Aeldari, but there’s a lot of interesting ideas there. Also of note is the first hint as to how we can watch these shows: apparently they’ll require a My Warhammer account, suggesting that they’ll be shown (sold?) via GW’s own ecosystem, instead of being on Disney+ or something.
GW also seems to have quietly gone back to weekly releases after a few months of a shaky schedule. As well as the major drops, March showed the debut of Kill Team Pariah Nexus (about which more in last month’s news), a new Treebeard model, and the Starblood Stalkers, the Seraphon warband for Warhammer Underworlds
As for those major releases, the first was the Drukhari (previously known as Dark Eldar), along with Piety and Pain, a boxed set pitting them against the Sisters of Battle, and including a new model for classic character Lelith Hesperax. Drukhari are the first non-Space-Marine codex for the new edition of 40k, so this book will be an interesting Litmus test for how the edition will go for everyone else.
Preliminary reports are pretty good, especially with regards to how flexible the army building rules are, and they certainly seem to have been popular – both the Combat Patrol starter army box and Piety And Pain sold out in barely a few minutes. (This seems to be something of a theme this month – GW’s supply issues seem to be somewhat chronic at the moment, with many independent stockists getting far fewer copies of Cursed City than they requested. Perhaps they were stuck in the Suez canal.)
Released alongside that was War Zone: Charadon, the first of what will apparently be many War Zone books for the new edition. It includes narrative and rules for a particular battle between the Death Guard, Imperial Knights, the Adeptus Mechanicus, and the Drukhari, including sets of subfaction rules, plus the Armies of Renown system. This looks to be extra army-building rules to recreate specific narrative forces, and like Specialist Detachments and Formations before it, will presumably be pretty easy for mechanically-minded players to optimise.
Last but not least, Lumineth! Released tomorrow at time of writing, Broken Realms: Teclis, the latest in the Broken Realms narrative, brings with it a massive release for AOS’s take on High Elves, nearly doubling the size of their model range less than a year after their debut. The new models are mostly themed around the “air” side of the Lumineth’s elemental theme, including fox-spirits, kangaroo-mounted archers, and a man flying on a cloud like Goku from Dragonball Z.
The rules have also been released (pro tip, you can see the rules for individual units on their store pages, even when only available for pre-order) and they are Dragonball Z levels of powerful, apparently – the new Lumineth will have access to an incredible range of abilities, including free command points, disabling terrain special effects, blocking enemy capture of objectives, etc etc. Obviously this is all speculative at this time, but it seems entirely possible that they’ll be the list to beat at next year’s tournaments.
At the very tail end of last month, GW announced that the next Broken Realms book will be Broken Realms: Be’lakor. Be’lakor is a big deal in the Warhammer lore – the first mortal to ascend to daemonhood – and is getting a new model fitting that stature, looking to be about twice as large as the last one.
There are very few details on what BR: Be’lakor will contain, but if we follow the pattern from BR: Morathi and Teclis, it will probably see a significant amount of new stuff (models? rules?) for one faction, and smaller rules changes for a couple of others. Be’lakor’s Slaves To Darkness faction will probably be getting the lion’s share of updates, and the next White Dwarf magazine apparently pits them against Seraphon so maybe the lizards will get something too, little as they need it. (Both previous books have included rules that let you build other factions into the Cities Of Sigmar army, and a Seraphon-allied city is known in the lore, so maybe we’ll see that?)
There was also a big reveals stream this month as well, entitled Faith and Damnation. (You may be wondering if these will become a regular monthly fixture – that does indeed seem to be the pattern emerging. Previously these streams were used to replace conventions or conferences when things like this would have been revealed, and it’s convention season right now, so it wouldn’t be entirely surprising if things don’t calm down a bit after the next few months.)
- First big reveal was the Soulblight Gravelords. Previously, Soulblight was the name given specifically to Age Of Sigmar’s Vampires, but this looks to be a broader range than that, spreading across a general fantasy undead theme – shown were Vampires, Skeletons, Zombies, giant bats, and my favourites – Blood Knights, Vampires riding skeletal steeds. It seems likely that Soulblight as an army will be replacing Legions Of Nagash, which may mean they inherit some of the mechanics from that book, such as resurrecting units of Skeletons or Zombies. I have an entire Vampire-themed Legions Of Nagash army buried at the back of a cupboard somewhere, which I may have to unearth. See what I did there?
- The other Age of Sigmar reveal was Broken Realms: Kragnos, the follow-up to BR: Be’lakor*. There’s almost no information at all about who Kragnos might be – the video shows a centaur, but there’s a couple of Centaur archetypes in AOS so it’s all up in the air! If Age of Sigmar 3rd Edition comes out in June**, Kragnos will probably be released just before then, so maybe he’s part of a new faction related to that?
- They showed off the Ossiarch Bonereapers for Warhammer Underworlds. Of note: a real big skeleton man.
- The Redemptionists for Necromunda had already been teased, and this stream made them official, including confirmation that they’re the allies for House Cawdor as yours truly predicted. They’re expected some time in Q2 this year.
- The other news for Necromunda is a new starter set, including rules, terrain, cards, and gangs for both the Escher and Delaque. This is a very good thing, I reckon – there’s no easy way into Necromunda right now, and anything that smooths out that process can only be good for the game. Hopefully they’ll also release the updated core rulebook separately.
- A new codex is coming out for the Adeptus Mechanicus, including a single new model, a neato Skitarii leader. All the other 40k characters they’ve previewed since the start of the edition have first been available in a boxed set like Piety and Pain so I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that we’ll see this guy in one of those.
- Speaking of Piety, the Sisters of Battle are getting a new tank – similar to the Predator that Space Marines can take, but covered with holy greebles, and carrying a massive canon (pun intended) similar to the Leman Russ. Between this, Piety and Pain, and the warsuits seen last month, it seems a pretty safe bet that Sisters of Battle are getting a new rulebook before too long – perhaps they’re next up after the Adeptus Mechanicus.
- Finally and most surprisingly, the Orks are getting an entirely new set of units, the Beast Snaggas. They ride massive Squig Pig things, and have a neat techno-barbarian look. I would imagine most Ork players will be combing through the video for clues to other models, so maybe I’ll just be getting everyone’s hopes up by saying that some of those animated Ork Boyz are armed with gear that the current models don’t seem to have available – look at that shoulder-mounted gun! I can but dream, can’t I? The final shot, in particular, seems absolutely filled with possible new models.
The “And In Other News” Section
And in other news:
- The Word Bearer characters that were previewed yonks ago have come out, marking the very last thing that was previewed for the Horus Heresy range. Some are rumoring that this lack of predictions means a major change like a new edition: equally possible is that it’s just going to be a fallow period for that game for a while.
- Forge World have previewed rules for War of the Ring era Dain and his son Thorin III. Given that the other upcoming Middle-Earth release is for the Easterlings, and that the Easterlings and Dwarves fought against each other in the War of the Ring, perhaps that’s where the next book will be set. (Side note: Thorin III will be a great sequel to Thorin II: 2 Tharst 2 Thurious.)
- Adeptus Titanicus is getting Volkite weapons. They’re specialist shield-bursting weapons for the Warlord, Reaver, and Warhound, due to be released as upgrade kits by Forge World.
- As well as the redemptionists above, the Water Guild has been announced for Necromunda: a trio of allies for any gang including a massive diving suit, a leader type, and a “Syphonite” who can apparently drain all the water from a person.
- Another branded 40k video game was announced – Necromunda: Hired Gun, by the creators of EYE: Divine Cybermancy. There have been a lot of less-than-impressive 40k games but this one has definitely piqued my interest – you play as a Bounty Hunter in the underhive. There’s only the one trailer, but so far it looks like you move like Dishonored and shoot like Borderlands, which is a very interesting combination.
And thus March draws to a close. There looks to be a lot of exciting stuff on the horizon: Be’lakor, Gravelords, Sisters Of Battle, whoever Kragnos is, Orks… If the release schedule stays solid at once a week, we could be looking at a very eventful April, May, and June. Personally, as the guy who has to write it all up, I’m dreading it.
*I’ve spent the entire article trying to find a joke about BR: Be’lakor and B.A. Baracus but nothing’s coming. This footnote is me passing that curse on to you. BR: Ba’rakus? You see. Can’t be done.
**GW tends to make big releases on the same week each year, since they compare weeks year-vs-year in their financials – 40k 8th, AOS 2, Warcry, and 40k 9th were all the same financial week in concurrent years. As such, you can kind of predict the date that future edition changes etc will come out – though given that we’re cursed to live in Interesting Times, who knows if that will stay as planned?