Games Workshop is the creator of some of the finest miniatures and miniatures games in the world. It has ardent adherents and vociferous detractors, but say what you like about it, the company—now in its 5th decade—is still going very strong. Having woken from a complacent slumber, GW is aiming to woo in players from outside its usual circle of fans. Its online Warhammer community team has revolutionized how the company interacts with its customers, making for a fun, informative, and interactive experience. There’s arguably never been a better time to get into Games Workshop games and Citadel Miniatures. Here are 5 reasons to have a Games Workshop Christmas.
1. Warhammer Underworlds: Nightvault
Ok, I’m biased. I love this game. I dedicate much of my free time to it and I’ve already included it in GeekDad’s holiday gift guide. I think Warhammer Underworlds is the best Games Workshop game to share with your children and there’s never been a better time to join in. Games usually come in under 45 minutes and, thanks to a recent ruling that has restricted a number of existing cards, the playing field has been leveled for newcomers joining the game. You can play competitively in organized tournaments or you can just play at home with friends and family. The game supports both types of players.
It’s not just a card game, but it’s also not solely a miniatures game. You don’t have to shell out a fortune and paint a whole lot of plastic before your warband looks good. (Thanks to the varying hues of brightly colored plastic, you don’t have to paint them at all.) Playing Warhammer Underworlds sets small achievable hobby goals and can be played without scenery on a coffee table. The core box has everything you need to start playing and all the miniatures are “push-fit,” so there’s no need for glue. It’s the very definition of accessible.
If you want to know more about the game, pop along to the Agents of Sigmar Facebook page. If you ask a question there, we’ll answer as soon as we can.
2. Warhammer Quest: Blackstone Fortress
Ok, I haven’t actually played this. In fact, it’s going to be under our Christmas tree in a couple of weeks time. Blackstone Fortress looks amazing. It’s the first Warhammer Quest game set in the Warhammer 40,000 universe. Yes, space adventuring is here!
In Blackstone Fortress, a team of adventurers delves into a vast space station in search of Archeotech (treasure). Using similar mechanics to its fantasy counterparts, Blackstone Fortress can pit adventures against a gamemaster or can be played using the game’s AI. It’s suitable for 1-5 players. The miniatures for this game are absolutely amazing—extremely evocative. Taking its cue from the current gaming trends, Blackstone Fortress has some small legacy elements, including a sealed envelope that can only be opened at the very end of all of the game’s quests. Well, I mean, you could open sooner, but that would be cheating…
Blackstone Fortress is on my wishlist because it’s set in the Warhammer 40,000 universe, which my children love, but doesn’t involve the long competitive grind of a tabletop battle. Here the brothers can work together, hopefully without petty squabbles and power-struggles. The game is set to be supported with additional material for some time to come and it looks like it scratches both the wargaming and storytelling itch.
The official Blackstone Fortress website can be found here.
2018 has definitely seen GW focus on the small. A huge (yet compact) release this year was the overhaul of Warhammer 40,000: Kill Team. It’s another great box that brings the entry level of GW games down to a manageable level. The play area is much smaller than a full game of Warhammer 40K, and in the box, you’ll find a gorgeous durable board and some very impressive plastic scenery. You’ll also have two teams ready to start playing with straight after assembly.
Games of Kill Team are much faster to play than its parent game. GW’s 2018 watchword has been accessibility. You should be able to fit a Kill Team match into an hour. The game has many options for expansion too. There are a host of different Kill Teams to pick up and an impressive range of scenery to improve your board layout.
Kill Team has ready to use, out of the box campaign rules. Build your force, send it into the battle, and weep when your heroes die. Replace the chaff, promote the worthy, and build your kill team to legendary status. Kill Team is a brilliant way for a group of friends to play out a narrative campaign in a comparatively short space of time.
4. New Gateway Games
Arguably three reasons on their own, Games Workshop branched out to publishing games that it released and sold through outlets other than its own, or through specialist games shops. Outside of the UK, the company has moved into general retail outlets with three new games.
The pick of the bunch, for that family boardgame feel, is a Lord of the Rings based game, The Quest to Mount Doom. This features 9 members of the fellowship cast in swanky gold plastic, a one ring, and a cardboard Barad-dûr. What more could you want? Thematically, the game is all over the place, but it’s a fun game for 2-5 players, more even, once you have experience of the game. My kids love playing and I’m sure it’s one we’ll have out over Christmas.
For a gentle introduction to the 40K universe, there is Space Marine Adventures. This plays like a beginner’s Warhammer Quest. In the game, players work together to defeat a Necron (implacable killer robot) invasion. The boardgame AI works nicely, and with its evolving decks and advanced rules, overcoming the Terminator–like incursion becomes quite a challenge. Space Marine Adventures is simple enough to allow players from aged around 10 upwards to set things up and play on their own. With an adult helping, my 6-year-old has joined in the fun too. Space Marine Adventures contains 5 Space Marines in different bright colors, like traditional playing pieces. There’s no need to paint them, but you and your family are likely to want to try. The sculpts are excellent.
Do you like Blood Bowl, but find the game a little slow to play? Then try Blitz Bowl, a fast, frenetic cut down version of the game that teaches you the basics without becoming too mired in the tactics of the full game. The miniatures provided come in two teams but cards are provided for several of the existing Blood Bowl teams, so if you have those miniatures already, you can get straight on and play.
5. Warhammer: Age of Sigmar 2nd Edition
With so many quick entry games released in 2018, what happened to Games Workshops two mainstays? Well, Warhammer 40K had a host of new releases, on the back of it’s newest edition, published in 2017. Age of Sigmar came of… errrr… age with the release of its second edition. The Soul Wars release felt as though Games Workshop was convinced its baby could now walk, run, and jump, and its new edition was everything a flagship release from a venerated games company should be.
For beginners, they released a suite of cut down boxes that are perfect for introducing newcomers to the hobby. If you have someone in your house expressing an interest in Warhammer but you’re not quite ready for them to commit the time and resources required, then to check out the Storm Strike or Tempest of Souls boxes. Similar sets, Know No Fear and First Strike, also exist for those starting out with Warhammer 40,000.
For the full GeekDad review of the Age of Sigmar second edition options click here.
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Disclosure: GeekDad received a copy of this game for review purposes.