The Big White Dwarf Review 1

20170703_214531-1It’s been out for a couple of weeks now but I thought I’d have a stab at doing a review of this Month’s White Dwarf.  I’m planning on doing this every Month, hence the rather hopeful number one in the title.

The cover has a cool picture of a Space Marine’s helmet, which I’m fairly-sure is the cover to the new rulebook.  I always prefer proper artwork, rather than a photograph of the model of the Month for the cover.  It’s not that I have anything against GW’s photography, in fact it’s rather nice to look at, but there’s enough inside.

The contents are spread over two pages. Two pages for contents seems a little unnecessary, but it would feel like nitpicking to say it’s a negative; it is undoubtedly page filler though.

The section on this Month’s stuff is, as you would expect, pretty 40K heavy, however there is a reasonable spread of other stuff too.

Some Bloodbowl rules, which felt a little out of place in a section of the magazine usually reserved for new release news, but it was nice to see nonetheless.

Then there’s the new Age of Sigmar skirmish game and although it’s not really for me, at least for the time being, I can see it being popular AoS players.  Releasing it in the same Month as new 40K does seem like a bit of an odd choice though.

There’s some nice-looking Forge World stuff and a few pages about comics, books and games and that pretty much rounds off the whole this Month section.

The letters page is okay, but it’s all glowing GW is awesome kind of stuff.  When they relaunched the Monthly WD, there was a bit of mild criticism, which balanced all the praise out a bit.  I find it a bit hard to believe that every single person that sends them a letter, sends one full of glowing praise.

After this there’s a nice, big 40K designers notes feature, complete with a two page battle scene and an impressive gatefold section, with loads of Ultramarine, Imperial Guard and Nurgle models to look at.

There’s also some nice Imperial Fists artwork lifted from the rulebook, that’s well worth a mention, because Imperial Fists.

A bit about why they felt eighth was needed, nice artwork, bit of a chat about the new rules, wee bit of background.  All in all a pretty good article.

There’s a piece about the new Primaris Power Armour, a smidge about the Death Guard and an ‘Eavy Metal Showcase with some pictures of Primaris guys in assorted Chapter colours.  It’s all a bit light on reading and fairly-standard stuff, but nice enough to look at.

Next there’s an article showing a couple of the GW folks playing a game of new 40K.  Not a Battle Report, but a demonstration of how an average game works.  There’s nothing wrong with it as such, but it comes across as incredibly staged and seems a bit pointless, given that there is an actual 40K Battle Report later in the issue.

Then we have an article about the new Index books.  These are designed for the sole purpose of providing army lists until the codexes are released.  A few guys talk about how well their armies work with each Index and how awesome the new books are.  Despite it being essentially an advert for the new books, it’s a decent read.

It’s at this point that I feel the need to ask a question.  When did the Tau gain an apostrophe and become the T’au?

The Battle Report comes next and is Ultramarines versus Death Guard and minions.  The basic premise is that the Ultramarines are sorely pressed by an inexhaustible horde of Nurgle dudes and need to hold out long enough for the smelly fellers to decide they’ve had enough.

It’s fast paced and an interesting read; a pretty good advert for new 40K.  I wish they wouldn’t spend quite so much time talking about how awesome Roboute is though.  I’m a big fan of the Ultramarines; they’re my main guys in 40K and I’ve got an army of them with models that go all the way back to 1990, but even I’m starting to find it a little wearing.  The battle is generally a pretty good advert for eighth though.

Perturabo, Primarch of the Iron Warriors is front and center in their Golden Demon Showcase and a pretty-spiffy model it is too.  I’m not really a big fan of him from a background perspective; I always thought he came across as a bit of a sulky whingebag, but it’s a spectacular paint job.

All the models in the showcase are fantastically well painted and even though some of the painting styles aren’t to my taste, that’s just me and they are all models that deserve to be there.  An honourable mention does go to the Sigismund model though, as I always like to see Fists.

Tale of four Warlords is always a decent enough read, but it seems to have lost something for me since the earlier ones from years gone by, I can’t quite put my finger on it.  Lack of a budget perhaps?  Cool painting guides though.

I find my motivation for AoS to be lacking and just can’t work up any enthusiasm for it, but there are undoubtedly some awesome models out for the system, a lot of which are showcased in this Age of Sigmar armies article.  It’s always a pleasure to see well painted armies, so this article stands up, based on that alone for me.

The Ultimate Guide to Khorne has some nice artwork and is an interesting read, but Bloodsecrators* is an exceptionally silly name.

After this is an article about the GW artists.  It contains some nice insight into how they work and is a really-interesting read.

The Collecting and Painting article is about a Harlequin army.  It’s an incredibly impressive force to look at and the article contains a handy dandy little guide on painting the diamond pattern that Harlequins use so much.

In the painting guide section, there is a guide on Ultramarines and one for the Plague Marines.  I have little use for the Ultramarines one, having painted loads of Team Roboute guys over the years, but it’s well presented and will be useful to a lot of folks.

The Plague Marines guide however will be very handy for me, as I’ve never painted them before, so it’ll be nice to have something to refer to if need be.

I always enjoy reading Temporal Distort, it’s a nice trip down memory lane.  It’s yet to feature a WD that I didn’t read when it was new though, so it can make me feel a bit old.  As an aside, Abaddon is showcased in that particular WD; he really needs a new model, he’s tiny.

The readers models section is always nice to look at and I always cool to see models from people on my Twitter feed turning up there.

In the Bunker is always an interesting look in to who’s doing what and is always a decent read.

Generally, a solid issue.  It could still do with tightening up a bit here and there, but it’s head and shoulders above anything they’d put out for a long time, before the relaunch.  If I was to mark it out of ten, I’d probably give it a nice respectable eight.

*Bloodsecrator sounds like the name of a Dethklok song.

Dark Imperium Starter Set Review

Dark-Imperium-Box-ENG

Warhammer 40,000 eighth edition was released yesterday (17th of June for those of you reading this in the future) and I got the Dark Imperium starter box and I’m bloody chuffed with it.

The box itself is really nice and particularly well put together; opening it is almost an experience in itself.  Whereas previously it’s been a matter of just popping the lid off and rummaging through the contents, this one has a slip cover before you even get to the main box.

Once the cover’s off, there’s a box in a box that contains the models, which you lift out to get to the rest of the stuff.  I particularly like that they’re in their own box; breaking a little purity seal to get to the miniatures is a nice touch.  There’s certainly thought gone into how it’s all been put together.

I haven’t done anything with the miniatures yet, that exciting prospect is looming large though and I expect to be getting stuck in to the Death Guard over the next couple of weeks.  One thing I can say, after poring over the sprues at great length, is how awesome they all look.  Taken at face value, they look like they’re all going to be a treat to work with.

All the things you’d expect in a starter set are present and correct.  The little getting you started books for the Primaris Marines and the Death Guard, dice and whatnot.

One thing that does deserve a mention is the death of the range-rulers of doom.  They’ve been replaced with a flexible see through ruler thingy, which is probably for the best, given how much trouble those deadly, red sods have caused over the years.

The rulebook is one of the full size, hardback beasts and as far as I know, the same sort you’d buy if you were to purchase it separately and on that alone is a mark in Games Workshop’s favour.

It has loads of lovely looking artwork, both old and new.  A good deal of it is the sort you can spend time looking at, soaking up the multitude of things going on.  There’s a particularly nice Imperial Fists piece that deserves special mention, which I think I would have to say is one of my favourites.

As far as the background is concerned, there is loads of it.  This is great if you’re new to the hobby.  Unfortunately, an awful lot of it covers the same ground as previous editions and if like me you got in at the ground floor as far as 40K is concerned, you will have seen a lot of it before.  Whereas this is inevitable up to a point; history of the Imperium and such, there are what I would consider to be missed opportunities.

The section detailing the races of the Warhammer 40,000 Universe is an example of this.  The description of each race is generic and apart from a few instances, doesn’t contain much in the way of new material.  It would have been nice to know how each race is dealing with the changes wrought by the Cicatrix Maladictum, Gorks Grin, or whatever the chosen name of it is for each race, for example.

Also, unless I’m being particularly dense, there is a large continuity error regarding Roboute and the Blood Angels.  I won’t say anything more with regards to that, as it would be spoilertastic for those yet to read it.  Suffice to say, as somebody who likes the background material as much as I do, mistakes of this sort bother me.  As I said, I might be missing something, but I don’t think so.

Something else they need to work on, as far as the background is concerned is their obsession with the Ultramarines in general and Roboute in particular.  I’m not an Ultramarine hater, I have an army of them that I’ve been collecting on and off for close to thirty years now.  But I can understand where a lot of the resentment comes from and some of the stuff in here is likely to exacerbate the strength of feeling against them.

They’ve been pushed hard for a long time now and with the return of Roboute it seems to be getting worse.  Some of the stuff they’ve done is so overblown and cringeworthy that it can read like fan-fiction at times.

I won’t say more about the background, otherwise I might end up coming across as a grumpy old sod who doesn’t like anything and I’m not, honest.  The truth is, the background isn’t awful, but it is, as I said earlier, in part at least, a missed opportunity.

I’ve already touched on the artwork, but the photography also deserves a mention.  There are some fabulous models on show in the book, both in terms of sculpt and paint job and as somebody who has taken lots of pictures of my own models, I can safely say that Games Workshops photographers deserve a pat on the back too.

As far as the rules are concerned, I can’t really go into much detail about them yet.  I’ve read the core rules and cast an eye over the advanced stuff and the scenarios and I like what I’ve seen.

It seems like they’ve removed a lot of the clutter and whereas the core rules are wee, I wouldn’t say they’ve been dumbed down, more streamlined.

Matched, narrative and open play are something I’m happy to see.  A lot of my games will probably be matched play, but I can certainly think of instances where I will play using narrative, or open play as well.

All in all, it seems to be a solid release.  A great starter box with ruleset that seems ripe with potential.  The issues with the background are a little problematic, and whereas it does mar the finished product for me a bit, it’s not a deal-breaker.

This, however is just how feel about it as a crusty old 40K dude and the background certainly won’t be an issue for a newcomer to the game, which is arguably who the starter set is aimed at.  It’s a good box for anyone into Warhammer 40,000, but perfect for newcomers.