Warcry Catacombs is the continuation of the very popular Warcry, a tactical battle-based wargame built around the foundations of Warhammer Age of Sigmar. And if you don’t know what those words mean, then perhaps this isn’t the review post you were looking for.
What is Warcry Catacombs?
Warcry is a small-scale skirmish version of Warhammer in which two bands of fighters face-off against each other to complete missions. Typically lasting 45-60 minutes—instead of the potential 4-5 hours needed to play Warhammer—Warcry is a perfect jumping-in medium for anyone interested in Warhammer, or if you just can’t commit to the whole day sessions required to play the large scale game. Although Warcry’s models are compatible with Age of Sigmar’s full wargaming rules, the boxed game was based on a new gameplay system designed for close-quarters skirmish battles with small handfuls of models.
Warcry Catacombs is the follow-up to the now out-of-print starter box for Warcry, and acts as both starter set and expansion. Like the first box, which featured the Untamed Beasts and Iron Golem warbands, Warcry Catacombs features two brand new bands of fighters: the stealthy Khainite Shadowstalkers and the fire-wielding Scions of the Flame.
- Two brand new warbands
- Double-sided game board
- Scenery and terrain
- Core Rules
- Catacombs Rules
- Dice, status tokens, and ruler
Unlike the first box set, Catacombs includes a double sided playing board. It has the standard Warcry texture printed on one side, and on the other is the brand new Catacombs lava cavern. This side is part of what differentiates the Catacombs set from its predecessor, and is essential to playing with the new Catacombs expansion rules.
Warcry Catacombs includes the full Warcry Core Book, which introduces the setting of the Bloodwind Spoil and contains all of the game’s main rules. It also features guidelines for open, narrative, and matched play, as well as multiple battleplans and Warcry’s unique campaign quest system. If you already play Warcry then you probably already own this book, but for a starter set I guess it is an essential item to include. However, I imagine there will be lots of people who will soon own two copies of this book. This would be fine, if the second copy included the errata from the first printing. It doesn’t.
However, the Catacombs book is the one you’re probably going to be using more with this set. While this is slimmer than the main rulebook, it features brand new sections on the lore of Catacombs, as well as double page spreads of art, a map, and two beautifully photographed dioramas for the new warbands. The details featured in the art of this book are great for anyone looking for inspiration on how to paint their models and for setting up your games, and the lore additions help to really flesh-out the story behind exactly why your two armies are fighting.
The Catacombs book features five campaigns in total: three for the Khainite Shadowstalkers and two for the Scions of the Flame. Both of the Scions’ campaigns take place wholly within the Catacombs, while one of the Shadowstalkers’ campaigns takes place above ground as well, so even if you just play through using the bits in this box, you’ll make good use of both sides of that playing board. There are also four brand new Fated Quests that any Warcry warband can take part in, giving everyone a reason to fight in the Catacombs.
Scions of the Flame
Not only does this fiery warband look super cool, but it stands apart from the other Chaos warbands because of the leader, the Blazing Lord, and three specialist fighters, the Brazen Champion, Immolator, and Inferno Priest. Not many ranged attacks in this warband, but these guys look extremely powerful in melee where they can make use of their Beheading Strike ability, which is as devastating as it sounds.
Of the two warbands in Catacombs, the Khainite Shadowstalkers are easily the most difficult to assemble. Each has lots of tricky 3-D interlocking pieces that snap with too much pressure. But that makes them all the more satisfying to painstakingly put together—so I’m told. And it’s definitely worth the effort, as in combat these guys will stand their ground against the most powerful groups of fighters. Every combatant in the Khainite Shadowstalkers warband has the enviable Shadow Leap ability, letting them essentially teleport short distances as they flicker between shadows in an instant. This makes them extremely agile and sneaky; the ability essentially allows you to ignore any vertical distances, and leap over deadly subterranean rivers of lava.
In the box you get a set of the ruins and wooden bridges from the original set for the traditional side of the board, and a whole brand new set of scenery for the Catacombs side. This includes 10 doors, some closed, some open, two metal bridges and two wooden bridges, some sarcophagi, crumbled walls, and weapon stashes. Adding an extra dimension to your games, all of these new pieces of scenery have additional rules within the Catacombs. What’s more, they’re far all easier to assemble and paint than the Khainite warriors and look amazing when placed on the catacomb board.
Warcry Catacombs: Is it all worth it?
Yes and no. It really depends on what you want from the box. If you own the original set then you might not need to splurge out just for the two new warbands. But, if like me, you’ve only recently come into the hobby and haven’t got the Core Rules book or any scenery or board yet, then this box is very good value. All of the sprues and models are of the high quality you’d expect from Games Workshop and once assembled the warbands look just great.
Overall I was really happy with this box and can’t wait to get the opportunity to delve into the Catacombs—although first I’ve got the difficult decision of which warband to play as: I do love being sneaky, but also, I am fascinated by all things hot and fiery…
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