Games Workshop has kind of a…shall we say reputation among many of its fans for various slights, real or imagined. It ranges from complaints of too high pricing, over detailed models, imbalanced rules, bitterness over the death of rank and file gameplay with the switch to AoS, a lack of attention to maintaining rulesets, a close minded culture, and a distrust of the internet.
There’s a kernel of truth in every complaint, but it has led to a caricature of GW as a relentless fun hating ogre come to steal all your money and ruin your childhood. Some in the community even have what I would consider to be Games Workshop derangement syndrome, leading them to relentlessly flame GW any chance they get, regardless of context. And you know what, I do the identical thing with Mantic (who are awful, artless, bland, stupid, opportunistic failures that make miniature abortions that are an insult to the industry – but their undead set is cheap so you’ll see some of their shit on my table anyhow), so I’m not gonna be too harsh on them for it. But the last few years, GW has done some serious work to repair that image, and my god, is it paying off.
Yes, GW released a ruleset where all the data sheets are available free (though not all the rules, as some will still complain about) where they do annual rebalancing, released an app with an army list builder, etc. Yes, they crowdsourced FAQ questions for once. They have a YouTube page with tons of hobby content, they live steam tournaments (imagine their surprise that e-sports became a real thing, they’re smart to lump their product in with that market), they do a live broadcast periodically with previews and actual quality interviews. They acknowledge and have fun with leaks. They even publish an Onion style imperial Guard newsletter.
Even by this new standard, Good Guy GW delievered the goddamn goods Tuesday.
At GAMA, they announced a new AoS starter set that comes with a vinyl 2 sided game mat for small games, which uses part of the game box as terrain. This is a great sign for future starter releases having a bit more playability out of the box. I may even buy it because I sold all my stormcast but kind of want a few to use for AoS28 stuff, And because I mostly game on my kitchen table right now and enjoy the idea of small scale battles on a compact surface.
Next up, we have Shadow War: Armageddon. A new edition of the rules that powered necromunda, this box set is a new skirmish game system that will cover most if not all 40k factions. Yes, this is basically a starter set and new edition for inquisimunda, the unofficial-but-known-to-be-played-by-GW-staff expanded Necromunda rules that provide a simpler system for playing inq28. With as long as Blanchitsu has run, it’s amazing they’ve taken so long to get around to formalizing these rules. And for those worried about Necromunda’a future, this is still a great deal because the rules are compatible with your old gang list, so you can in fact use it to play necromunda proper.
Oh, and did I mention in addition to having rules for a dozen factions in the box, it also comes with a new modular terrain set?! That’s right, GW is making catwalks again. Whew.
But that’s not all. Nope, GW unveiled April’s Age of Sigmar releases: Kharadron Overlords, or as everyone else will call them: Steampunk Airship Pirate Dwarves. This release is easily the most impressive of AoS’s short history, featuring a swath of new flying vehicles, balloon jump infantry, and all manner of strange armored stunties. The models are exquisite, and even if you don’t like steampunk you should probably acknowledge that it’s a creative and much more fun choice than fireslayers in all their shirtless glory. This will be a boon to AoS, AoS28, and converters alike.
And just when you think “that has to be it,” GW also gave almost no information about one final release…they are calling it Warhammer Undergrounds: Shadespire. They said its a competitive game and that it’s set in the world of AoS, but gave no other details. Amazingly, this is the only thing I can focus on. 3 releases I want and the only thing I’m worried about is what the hell the 4th is. It’s kinda genius.