Warhammer 40,000: Dark Vengeance review

The much anticipated 6th edition boxed game for Warhammer 40,000 is finally here!

The standard version of Dark Vengeance contains 48 miniatures, all of which are snap-fit plastic models (meaning that the use of glue is optional). The box also contains a mini rulebook, an introductory guide entitled “Dark Vengeance”, two quick reference sheets, assembly instructions and all the dice and templates you’ll need to play the game.

The boxed set contains the following models:

  • Dark Angels:
    • 1 Dark Angels Company Master
    • 1 Dark Angels Librarian
    • 5 Death Wing Terminators
    • 10 Dark Angel Tactical Marines
    • 3 Ravenwing Bikes
    • Exclusive to the limited edition (available at launch): 1 Interrogator Chaplain
  • Chaos Space Marines:
    • 1 Chaos Space Marines Lord
    • 6 Chaos Space Marine Chosen
    • 1 Chaos Space Marine Hellbrute
    • 20 Chaos Cultists
Warhammer 40,000 Chaos Space Marines Hellbrute
Chaos Space Marines Hellbrute

All the models in this boxed set are of great quality – the sculpts all being of a standard that would traditionally have been thought of as superior to those expected in an introductory boxed set. The models lack the mono-dimensional aspect of some of the models in the old Assault on Black Reach boxed game – I’m thinking particularly of the Ork Boyz models from the Black Reach box.

Games Workshop continue to improve the sense of depth in their plastic kits with the 8 part Hellbrute being built in layers, making this model extremely intricate for a model comprising so few parts. The thought that goes in to doing this is impressive as I’m sure it needs to be considered throughout the design/sculpting process.

From a personal perspective, I like about 90% of the models in this boxed set, (and am crazy about 50% of them) just one or two of the Chaos Cultist models don’t work for me, but this is just my opinion and I have spoken others that have no problem at all with these selfsame miniatures. The highlight for me are the Chaos Chosen, these are truly beautiful sculpts.

Here are the sprues for you to look over:

Warhammer 40,000: Dark Vengeance Sprue 1 (the box contains 2 of these)
Dark Vengeance Sprue 1 (the box contains 2 of these)
Warhammer 40,000: Dark Vengeance Sprue 2 (the box contains 1 of these)
Dark Vengeance Sprue 2 (the box contains 1 of these)
Warhammer 40,000: Dark Vengeance Sprue 3 (the box contains 1 of these)
Dark Vengeance Sprue 3 (the box contains 1 of these)
Warhammer 40,000: Dark Vengeance Interrogator Chaplain sprue (only contained in limited edition)
Dark Vengeance Interrogator Chaplain sprue (only contained in limited edition)

Just as an observation – I have to say that I am surprised to see the Chaos/Imperial models grouped together on the sprues, making it easier for people to break up the boxed sets and sell individual armies on eBay etc – this reverses the situation with Island of Blood which mixed up the Skaven and High Elves quite extensively. Maybe Games Workshop didn’t want to make life harder for those that wanted to split a box with a friend…

It’s not just about the models however – also included is a mini rulebook that includes the full game rules. The difference between this book and the full Warhammer 40,000 6th edition rulebook is that it doesn’t include all the background and hobby information but more importantly it doesn’t weigh over 2kgs (weighing in at a couple of hundred grams) so is easy to carry around.

Warhammer 40,000 Dark Angels Company Master
Dark Angels Company Master

Also included in the boxed set is an introductory guide to Warhammer 40,000, entitled “Dark Vengeance”. This book helps those that find the 156 page mini rulebook a bit intimidating learn to play. It contains 6 missions, the first focusing on individual elements of the game and the last two represent two larger battles that can be played once the basics have been mastered.

Above and beyond this are the usual accessories you expect from a Games Workshop boxed game, dice, templates etc but an unexpected gem is the  quick reference sheet (of which there are two), these are really useful and will save wear and tear on the rulebook when looking up some of the most commonly used charts and tables.

With regard to value for money – some of the models in this boxed set don’t have a direct equivalent available separately so it is difficult to calculate what they might cost if bought individually, but by using logical equivalents – Hellbrute for Dreadnought, Cultists for Imperial Guard etc the models could be valued at approximately £175. Add to this the mini rulebook – worth £10-£15 of anyone’s money and the boxed set represents great value for money.

Summary

All the models in this boxed set are of great quality – the sculpts all being of a standard that would traditionally have been though of as superior to those expected in an introductory boxed set.

Also included is a very handy mini rulebook that is much more portable than the full hardback rulebook.

The models could be valued at approximately £175. Add to this the mini rulebook – worth £10-£15 and the boxed set represents great value for money.

The only potential downside is if you don’t want to collect either of the included armies…

Overall score: 10/10

10 out of 10

Warhammer 40,000 6th Edition (2012) review

Well, the long awaited Warhammer 40,000 6th Edition Rulebook has landed at Big Orbit Games and we’ve spent the day pouring over it.

As expected, the book is absolutely huge and a single day isn’t anywhere near enough time to read it cover to cover, but if we waited to write a review until we’d finished going through the thing you wouldn’t be reading this until well after release.

The Book

The 6th edition rule book is 40% thicker than the previous edition, running to 432 pages, all rendered in glorious techni-colour, with loads of new artwork.

The book comprises of:

  • 130 pages of rules
  • 101 pages of background information
  • 63 page miniatures showcase
  • 29 page hobby section
  • 45 pages of example missions, details of the various expansions and information on running campaigns
  • The book is capped off by a comprehensive reference section

The book has a black ribbon bookmark to help you keep your place.

There  seems to be increased use of headings and bold text which makes flicking through to find those all important rules mid-game significantly easier, it certainly helped with the writing of this review.

The Rules

Warhammer 40,000 6th Edition Rulebook Rules
6th Edition Rules Pages

The core game rules (before special rules) only comprise 30 pages – which is nice and concise and will help new players ease themselves into the game.

Below is a run down of some of the main changes to the rules in Warhammer 40,000 6th Edition.

Though core principles such as unit statistics and the basic turn sequence remain the same, there are some significant changes; fortunately the game remains recognisably Warhammer 40,000.

Rules – Core Game

On page 4 is one of the main differences to the core game “You can always check any distance at any time”, basically introducing pre-measuring like in Warhammer Fantasy Battle 8th Edition.

Rules – Army Selection

The Force Organization Chart (FoC) is still in use, but with the addition of new sections Fortification & Allied Detachment (a reduced FoC for a secondary army attached to the primary one).

Fortifications are static defences / weapons that are not included in current Codexes but some are presented in the 6th Edition book and more are promised for White Dwarf later.

Allied Detachments must be from a different codex from the  primary army, so no using this rule to double the number of a particular unit in your army. There is a complex grid that shows which armies can ally – it is too complex to summarise here.

Rules – Movement Phase

Movement is pretty much the same as in 5th edition with infantry able to move 6″, Jump Infantry 12″ and so on. Unit coherency rules also remain the same.

Rules – Shooting Phase

The basic rules for ballistic skill and rolling to hit remains unchanged, as does rolling to wound and using AP to either ignore a save or leaving it unmodified.

That said, there are substantial changes to shooting in 6th ed.  Saving throws are now taken before wound allocation, wounds are then allocated to the target unit member closest to the unit that it shooting at it. Additionally only models within range and visible to the shooting unit can be removed as casualties. These rules must inevitably result in a screen of standard troopers being used to protect special weapon troopers and unit leaders.

A completely new rule is “Snap Fire”, primarily allowing some heavy weapons to shoot on the move and units being charged can also get off shots before they are assaulted, in both these case firing is resolved with a Ballistic Skill of 1, meaning a roll of 6 is required to hit.

Other rule changes affecting the shooting phase:

  • Rapid Fire weapons can now fire at their maximum range whether they move or not – that said they can still only fire twice at targets up to 12″ away.
  • When shooting at a unit that is only partially in cover a player may choose to “Focus Fire”, targeting only those models that benefit from a lower (or no) cover save.
  • Most grenades can now be thrown up to 8″ in the shooting phase, this is limited to one grenade per unit per turn.
  • There is also a new weapon type “Salvo”, these can  fire at maximum range with a full number of shots if the model carrying it doesn’t move, or at half range and with half the number of shots if the model moves.
Rules – Assault Phase

Although many of the core tables, to hit, to wound etc are the same as 5th edition, the assault phase is significantly changed.

The core rule changes affecting the assault phase are:

  • As in Warhammer Fantasy Battle 8th ed, charge distance is now slightly random, in this case 2D6 inches.
  • A unit can shoot in “Overwatch” if being assaulted, this is a passive ability, basically “Stand and Shoot” for Warhammer 40,000 using the snap fire rules, discussed previously.
  • Units declaring multiple assaults are now deemed to have performed a  “Disoriented Charge” and do not get the bonus attack for charging.
  • Individual close-combat weapons now have AP values.
  • Models that are in base-to-base contact with the enemy are removed as casualties before those that are not in base-to-base contact.

Rules – Vehicles

One of the main changes to the vehicles rules is the introduction of hull points as the vehicle equivalent to wounds – a vehicle reduced to zero hull points is considered wrecked. Consequently the wrecked result has been removed from the vehicle damage table, to be replaced by an increased chance of a crew shaken result ( now on a roll of a 1-2) with all other results shuffling up the table i.e. 3 =  Crew Stunned, 4 = Weapon Destroyed, 5  = Immobilised & 6 = Explodes. Most vehicles have 3 hull points but light vehicles, Space Marine Lander Speeders, Eldar War Walkers etc with just 2 hull points and the likes of Space Marine Land Raiders & Necron Monoliths with 4.

Another significant change is that most weapons can now be fired most of the time. The classification of vehicle weapons as defensive or primary weapons has been removed, players can now fire all weapons on a vehicle at any time. Moving over 6″ in a turn (i.e. at combat speed) means that only one weapon may be fired at normal ballistic skill, the remainder using the snap fire rule, that keeps cropping up in 6th ed rules, so shooting on these is resolved at ballistic skill 1.

There are many changes to the vehicles rules in 6th edition – here are a few highlights:

  • Full, and comprehensive rules, for flyers are now in the main rulebook.
  • To accompany the new vehicle damage table (mentioned above), modifiers are also changed on AP2 weapons adding a +1 modifier to rolls on the table, AP1 weapons add +2, AP- no longer results in a -1 modifier.
  • The full strength of blast weapons is now used even if the central hole is not over the vehicle.
  • Disembarking infantry can now be placed up to 6″ from the vehicle access point.
  • There is a new vehicle type, Chariot – the rider may fight any model in base to base contact with the chariot.

Rules – Other Rules

Psykers now have a Master Level, the level can be either one or two, for each level the psyker gets one warp charge counter, the number of warp charge counters a model has dictates how many psychic abilities a model may use per turn.

Warhammer 40,000 6th Edition Rulebook Space Marines
6th Edition Space Marine Artwork

Another significant change to psychic abilities in 6th edition is the introduction of 5 new psychic disciplines, each has 7 powers and each army has access to different disciplines, if it has access to psychic powers at all.

In 6th edition, the HQ model in your army with the highest leadership becomes your Warlord. Warlords get a roll on a one of three tables, there is a choice of Command Traits, Personal Traits or Strategic Traits – these abilities can significantly change the outcome of a battle. For example, the Warlord and his unit may gain the outflank special rule or enemy units may have to use the lowest leadership in a unit within 12″ of the Warlord rather than the highest.

The 41st Millennium – Background

There are nearly 30 pages of history and 2-7 pages of background per army.

The history section has a 10 page illustrated time-line covering the age of the Imperium.

Warhammer 40,000 Miniatures Showcase

This section is pretty self explanatory, we have a brief introduction followed by 61 pages crammed full of beautifully painted miniatures.

Warhammer 40,000 Hobby

This section comprises 29 pages of hobby advice, giving useful advice on building Citadel miniatures to those new to the hobby.

I use the word Citadel intentionally here as a couple of the pages are essentially adverts for Games Workshops products, shops, Warhammer World and events, such as Golden Demon.

Warhammer 40,000 Battles

Warhammer 40,000 6th Edition Rulebook Missions
6th Edition Scour the Starfort Mission

This is section provides details of 5 example missions illustrated with some beautifully produced battlefields – this section contains some real eye candy as well as ideas for novel games, the highlight for me being “Scour the Starfort” (The Bane of Daemons). Following these is a list of more mission ideas and 11 War Zone Traits, special rules that can be applied within games to add variety.

This is then followed by a series of entries detailing various Warhammer 40,000 expansions including Apocalypse, Planet Strike and Cities of Death.

Finally, in Iconoclasm, there is detailed information on the battles that were fought for the cathedral world of Eydolim – Lots of resources that would allow players to create a rich setting for their games.

Our Opinion

As with most Games Workshop books, the Warhammer 40,000 6th Edition Rulebook is great to look at and well presented. There seems to be increased use of headings and bold text, which makes flicking through to find those all important rules mid-game significantly easier than the previous edition.

All in all, you definitely get your £45 worth here. Calling this simply a rulebook does it a disservice – as detailed above the rules only take up the first 130 pages. The remaining 300 pages contain more background, hobby and gaming ideas than a whole series of source books. However, this is potentially a problem, as many would be happy with just a copy of the rules, which could retail at say £20, as they have all the details of the game background in their previous rulebooks / codexes.

I do feel that Games Workshop do need to start thinking about breaking away from this case of tome-creep they seem to be suffering from – maybe selling rulebooks and sources books separately. However, I feel certain they won’t as I’m sure they see the rulebook as a great way of selling everything Warhammer 40,000 to their target audience – expect 7th Ed to be at least equally weighty… These books just aren’t of a size that you want to lug around from game to game, many players may want to wait until the  6th edition boxed games has been released to get a pocket sized rule book (assuming one is included) along with a whole host of models – details on what these might be are unknown right now.

As with the recent Warhammer 8th Edition Rulebook it could be said that a couple of dozen of these pages are simply advertisements for other Games Workshops products but, at the end of the day, Games Workshop are a business and they are hardly going to recommend that you use a different companies range of paints, for example.

With regard to the rules, there have been some very significant changes and the way people play the game will change significantly. There will be winners and losers, but all in all I like the sound of most of the new rules concepts, hull points & warlords particularly – as with any rules changes,  individual opinion is likely to hinge on how they impact your particular army.

Summary

In terms of content and book quality the new Warhammer 40,000 Rulebook cannot be faulted – it is an excellent tome.

There have been some very significant rules changes and the way people play the game will change significantly, as with any rules changes, individual opinion is likely to hinge on how they impact your particular army.

The only downside is the price, the book is well worth what Games Workshop are asking for it but the question remains should all this content form part of a single book or should a cheaper “rules only” book be made available. This isn’t a deal breaker by any means, as any fan will lap up the new full colour art and gaming ideas, even if they are now reading the background for the 6th time. That said it does stop us being able to award a full 10 stars, therefore the Warhammer 40,000 6th Edition Rulebook gets…

Overall score: 9/10

Magnets, the magic little objects that stop gravity spoiling all our hobby fun. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes from flexible sheets, to 3mm diameter disks. Never used them before? well maybe you should read this!

MOVEMENT TRAYS

Have you got a banner bearer? Holding out his arm in a heroic fashion… sun glinting on his battle standard…. and then falling on his face for the 10th time today, because the model is so horribly unbalanced. Well magnets can fix that.

I use Blue Demon Basing Kits, it comes with a flexible magnetic matt that you can cut to size, you can stick this inside your movement tray.

Also included are a set of small magnets, these can be attached to the underside of a models base.

Now its going to take a lot more to knock your banner bearer over, infact you can turn the whole unit upside down with no casualties.

Coin & Magnets modelling guide - Magnetizing Conversion with magnets warhammer 40000 (2) modelling guide - Magnetizing Conversion with magnets warhammer 40000 (3) modelling guide - Magnetizing Conversion with magnets warhammer 40000 (4)

REPLACEABLE PARTS

Putting a plastic kit together? Stressing over what parts to use? Well why not use all of them! An increasing amount of kits are including many additional parts for all the options the model can carry in game. Make the most out of your model and magnetize the snot outa him!

The basics here are to attach one magnet to the static piece, and another to any interchangeable piece so they attract each other holding the model together instead of using glue. You can even place magnets inside plastic components, they will still attract other magnets through the plastic! Just make sure you get the magnets the right way around to attract each other otherwise they’ll repel each other and that could be embarrassing!

Heres a conversion on the SANGUINARY GUARD kit for detachable arms, I used really small magnets here.

modelling guide - Magnetizing Conversion with magnets warhammer 40000 (5)modelling guide - Magnetizing Conversion with magnets warhammer 40000 (6)

This is a gun from the DREADKNIGHT kit, allowing detachable barrels. notice one magnet is completely inside the gun body, the other is held in the barrel by green stuff.

modelling guide - Magnetizing Conversion with magnets warhammer 40000 (7)modelling guide - Magnetizing Conversion with magnets warhammer 40000 (8)

Finally my Ork DEFF DREAD, loadsa weapon options, all magnetized. Very killy!

modelling guide - Magnetizing Conversion with magnets warhammer 40000 (9)

This guide was written by Owen from Painted Legions, visit his blog for more great guides: Painted Legions

Citadel Finecast review

The introduction of resin miniatures by the World’s largest tabletop wargames manufacturer is arguably the most significant event in the hobby this year, with over 100 resin miniatures released in a single day, it is certainly the biggest event of the year.

What is fine cast?

Finecast is the name Games Workshop has given it’s new range of resin miniatures.

Many miniatures that were previously produced in metal are now being produced in resin.

Why move to resin?

The reason given by Games Workshop is that resin is easy to work with. Being softer than metal it is easier to cut, and being lighter resin makes the need to pin parts together a thing of the past.

The other reason given by Games Workshop is improved miniature quality.

So what are the new miniatures like?

Citadel Finecast compared with metal
Left: Finecast – Right: Metal

Resin miniatures are most definitely easier to work with and the detail on the new Finecast miniatures looks very sharp indeed.

The image to the right shows a comparison between the axe handle of the new resin (on the left) and the old metal (on the right) Chaos Exalted Hero. The wrapping on the handle of the resin axe certainly seems significantly  crisper.

Is there any thing else I need to know about resin?

As mentioned, resin is easy to work with, but it is also much more delicate than metal and care needs to be taken during building and gaming to ensure that thinner parts aren’t broken.

There are also differences in the manufacturing process. Metal moulds come in two parts whereas resin moulds can come in may parts, this means more dynamic components can be created in resin but that there are often more tabs and mould lines on resin models. This means more preparation work is required.

Are there any problems with Finecast?

Finecast resin can suffer from bubbles
Detail lost to air bibble circled

Bubbles sometimes occur in resin models, these may be buried deep in the model but, if on the surface, they can result in loss of detail or small areas of the model.

The Chaos Exalted Hero we used in the previous example has suffered from this in a few areas, most significantly on his armour just near his head, see pic to the right.

Anything else I should know?

The price of these miniatures is going up. Many have voiced disbelief over this but while resin is cheaper than metal, resin moulds have a shorter life than metal ones, meaning they need to be replaced more often, pushing costs up.

Can I see a pic of the metal and resin side by side?

Yes.

Finecast Resin: Left - Metal: Right
Left:Resin – Right: Metal

Conclusion

Detail on the new Finecast range is certainly superior to metal equivalents, it is also easier to work with, although more delicate.

There are general issues with resin that impact these miniatures. More model preparation is required and the models are prone to suffering from air bubbles.

The miniatures are significantly more expensive, some up to 30% more so, but many have gone up by much less than this headline grabbing figure, and 2 haven’t gone up at all. The price rise is unfortunate as Citadel miniatures were already the most expensive in the tabletop wargaming marketplace. This rise can potentially be justified if the cost of replacing moulds outweighs savings in material costs. However, it does raise the question of whether consumers will pay this premium price and therefore whether the change to resin will work….

Giving a score to something as general as a whole new range of miniatures is very difficult and we were tempted not to do so. But, what the heck…

Overall, the move to resin is positive. Resin is easier to work with and has great levels of detail. Issues with bubbles etc are found in all resin models and results in the loss of a star as does the increase in price, so, all in all, Citadel Finecast scores….

7/10

7 out of 10

You can pick-up Citadel Finecast now from Big Orbit Cards at up to 20% off*:

Warhammer: Citadel Finecast
Warhammer 40,000: Citadel Finecast
Lord of the Rings: Citadel Finecast

*Price correct as of 28th May 2011.

Post update – 3rd June 2011

As requested, here is a photo of the undercoated metal Exalted  Hero. Note: graininess on model was caused by undercoat.

Metal Exalted Hero Undercoated
Metal Exalted Hero Undercoated