Hey, Rab here!
Now, here on the brand new Consolevania website, (with thanks to backers on my own Cast The Bones Patreon!) we’re going to be covering board games too. And there’s no better way to start with tabletop gaming coverage than with the daddy of them all - Warhammer!
I’m going to do my best, over the months and years ahead, to convert all you casual readers into Warhammer fans. Maybe you’ll get deep into Warhammer 40K. Maybe you’ll get deep into Age of Sigmar. Maybe you’ll focus on Warhammer Underworld or Kill Team. But one way or another, I’m going to be Tom Cruising you straight to Operating Thetan Level 8 in Warhammerology.
The newest release from the legends at Games Workshop is Warhammer: Shadowspear - a box set that serves as an expansion to Warhammer 40K’s blockbuster 8th Edition base set Dark Imperium, but also as an introduction to Warhammer 40K, or a way to kick off new armies, or just a cool thing to spend time with as you glue together amazing models and listen to podcasts about unsolved murders and conspiracy theories. I can just picture you listening to those podcasts, by the way. Unbelievable.
The thing that attracted me to Shadowspear was the fact that it was full of beautiful new Chaos Space Marines. For me, the Chaos Space Marines are the heart and soul of Warhammer 40K. They’re the traitors who kicked off the endless war, by succumbing to the temptations of the warp and —
(Right, listen. The lore in Warhammer stuff is beautiful. The main reason why I love Warhammer is all that story stuff - all that dark, scary, funny, satirical, rich story stuff that oozes from every page of every codex and army book. And this Shadowspear takes us to the Vigilus system, where the industrial world of Nemendghast has fallen silent. Why? Because it’s hoaching with CHAOS. And DAEMONKIN. Including THIS GUY!)
Sorry, I was stuck in those brackets there.
Including THIS GUY!
This guy is a Master Of Possession, and he can cause all sorts of psychic mayhem. I won’t go too far into the rules here, because we’ll do all that down the line, but just trust me when I say this fella is really scary and cool, and has a mad heid.
Now, some people are afraid of Warhammer stuff because you need to build the wee guys yourself. They say to me, “Rab, don’t you have to build all the wee guys yourself, though?” I’m here to tell you that building the models is really easy. All you need is a decent pair of clippers to get the pieces off the sprue, a decent bottle of glue, and you’re away. I flung together the Master Of Possession in about 4 minutes. It’s that easy. I’m rubbish at things and I can do this, so you can too. It’s not like when your da bought you one of those Airfix motorbikes when you were a wee guy, and you got glue all over the kitchen table and lost a wheel under the fridge.
Look! Look what I made! What a beautiful miniature. An absolute legend. And an absolute showstopper on the field of battle too. I feel like the Master of Possession is one of those special models that will be a Warhammer all-timer - an iconic bit of design, with a big mad heid.
It’s not all about that M.O.P. V.I.P. though. Shadowspear has a beautiful bunch of miniatures. The Space Marines in the set are the Vanguard Space Marines - the personal highlight of mine being the Eliminators, crack marksmen with sniper rifles who can lay down serious support fire. And check out their mad camo cloaks.
As a long time fan of Warhammer, I feel like Games Workshop have been particularly imaginative recently in their design of new models and units. There was a time, I will admit, when I found the standard Space Marine to be a bit of a snooze - but it’s a different day now. There’s a huge amount of creativity even within the ranks of the Emperor’s own, and the playfulness of this new set continues that trend.
Right, real talk. What I like most about this set on an introductory level is that it features the Primaris Space Marines and the Daemonkin Chaos Space Marines. As far as I’m concerned, that’s a big chewy chunk of the very essence of the Warhammer 40K experience in this box. The miniatures are outstanding - not overly complex to assemble, and with a presence on the table that is second-to-none. There is also, I remind you, a Chaos villain in this box with one big mad heid. And while not everything you need to play a game of Warhammer 40K is inside this set, the rules are inside and you could probably easily find a tape measure and a whole load of dice on your own. (If you’re uninitiated, prepare to have your mind blown - the rules for Warhammer 40K can be laid down, in their most fundamental level, on the tiny wee pamphlet thing pictured below.)
If you’re a Warhammer player already, and you specialise in Chaos? If you’re full-on Black Legion like your boy Rab? Then you need to get these new models inside this set. The M.O.P. The new Obliterators. That mighty-looking Venomcrawler (although time will tell if it’s actually as tough as it looks.) Picking this set up is a no-brainer for Chaos fans. You’ve all probably got it already, nestled safely in a polythene bag full of black spray paint.
What I’m most impressed by is the Shadowspear campaign book itself. It tells the story of the hellish Daemon Forge that has been erected on the doomed planet of Nemendghast, and the Vanguard Marines’ attempt to destroy the industrial hellhole. There’s a measure of sneaky sniping, some last-stand dramatics and a brilliant mission that has the bad guys attempt to perform a ritual while fighting. There is even a mission that can be played solo - SOLO - with rules governing the enemy unit’s AI. Just great, great fun.
All in all, this is another brilliant release for 8th Edition of 40K. There’s a real swagger about Games Workshop at the moment, and it really feels like they have been emboldened by recent successes to play around within their fiction to great effect. I’m looking forward to seeing what they come up with next.
No matter what, we’ll be covering all things Warhammer on the site in the months and years ahead - new releases, painting guides, and stuff. Maybe I’ll see if Ryan and Gerry fancy doing some kind of playthrough of Blackstone Fortress with me. I’ll indoctrinate you one way or another. It’s only a matter of time.
If you’re into Warhammer, or have any questions, comment and let us know what you’re up to. Cheers m’dears!
A review copy of this title was kindly provided to us by Games Workshop - we thank them for their support of independent media. Consolevania accepts no payment or editorial direction for previews or reviews.