Looking forward into the New Year one thing we’re particularly excited about at BritRollerSix towers is the Games Workshop/Wizkids deal and the announced upcoming Warhammer 40,000 Dice Masters set.
We can’t speak for the rest of the world, but Game Workshop are an immensely popular brand over here in the UK and we’ve got dreams & aspirations of potentially attracting some noobs to the game through the new set. That excitement has ramped up even more since some juicy sneak peek press landed, with pics and a little info, such as this one from ICV2 (click the pic for a link to their article):
My podcasting better half Andy (aka “Not as handsome as Chris”) has been a 40K player for some years, and I’ve dabbled a little in the past with the 40K universe in the form of Necromunda (First Edition)and as we said in our latest podcast episode – we’re very excited for this new release.
So what is 40K and what’s it all about?
The Real World – Games Workshop
Let’s start with Warhammer 40k’s publisher – Games Workshop.
I doubt there’s much I can tell you about the history of Games Workshop that you can’t find on their Wikipedia page really, but I can tell you off the top of my head that the founders were Ian Livingstone and Steve Jackson (Not THAT Steve Jackson, the OTHER Steve Jackson) back in the mid-70s. As I mention in the podcast; I first became aware of them as a child in the 80s when my Dad used to buy me the “choose your own adventure” books they used to write. These were novels where you would choose a course of action at the end of your current chapter and this would then determine which chapter you went to next. You know – “If you want to fight the Dragon; turn to chapter 2, if you want to run from the dragon; turn to chapter 3” stuff.
I’ve still got one on the book shelf that I came across in a stash of books in my Mum & Dad’s attic once.
These books were for me, as I imagine they were for many others of my generation, the gateway experience into “gaming” and led to Steve Jackson & Ian Livingston’s other endeavour as the founders of Games Workshop. I didn’t stick with them, but my podcasting partner in crime did, as did many, many others.
Go to any UK Town or City centre and you’d be hard pressed not to find a Games Workshop Store nearby. They exclusively sell their own products, of which Warhammer 40,000 is one, and usually have display cabinets of painted models and gaming tables set up for demonstrations in every store.
The core of their products are tabletop miniature games all centred around their two main IPs: Warhammer Fantasy and Warhammer 40,000. These range from large scales War gaming with big armies or models to smaller skirmish or novelty games like Blood Bowl and Necromunda.
So What is Warhammer 40k?
It’s a science fiction universe set in the 41st millennium; a dystopian future where humanity has spread across the stars and the central “Imperium” seeks to unite all humans spread out across the galaxies.
Throughout this universe many other extra-terrestrial life has been discovered too (affectionately called “Xenos” in 40K player parlance). We reference some in the podcast episode. Here’s a run down of the key “factions”, starting with those set to appear in the initial releases:
The Space Marines are genetically modified super-soldiers and the Centre-Piece of the Human Empire’s forces.
They wear bulky power armour and are traditionally kitted out with Bolter rifles and energy enhanced melee weapons. Some Space Marine veterans wear bigger power suits and are described as “Terminators”.
They are divided into chapters and their armour is painted in the colours of their respective chapters. The initial set releases are going to focus on two specific Space Marine chapters: the Ultramarines (blue & white) and the Space Wolves (grey). These sub-sections bring with them additional, specific thematic elements to the Space Marines – the Space Wolves, unsurprisingly, have a lupine feel to them, wearing wolf furs, strategically adopting a “Wolf Pack” approach and possesse genetic modifications such as canine fangs.
It’s going to be interesting to see how the factor in these thematic nuances. We’ve seen from the preview artwork some of the key figures from the lore for these factions are to be included, so there could be some tribal game-text going on in the team packs. What we believe we can expect is tough defence numbers, something “shoot-y”, and maybe some stuff like ‘Iron Will’ keywords.
Known as “Greenskins” in 40K lingo the Orks are a Sci-Fi twist on the classic fantasy Orc.
They are a warrior race of somewhat low intelligence who like loud explosions and smash-y tech. They are a tribal species and move as vast conquering hordes across the galaxy whenever a particular Warlord can unite the tribes and keep them from in-fighting. They are not the… brightest of the races; they call their guns “Shootaz” and call “Dakka Dakka” when the fire their weapons. and yet they have an extraordinary success when it comes to warfare and conquer.
There are also some other sub-species in Ork hordes, such as Gretchins and Snotlings, who serve other functions in the army that are lower in the social hierarchy of their species.
It’ll be interesting to see how the tactics of Orks are factored into Dice Masters. As we say on the ‘cast; we imagine it’ll be something that acknowledges the overwhelming numbers of their hordes (‘swarming’ Snotlings) and their violent nature.
Outside the realm of the known Universe lies another dimensional space known as ‘The Warp’ which houses the Realms of Chaos – a turbulent place fuelled by the Physic energy of the sentient life in the core realm. Here live Daemonic creatures, led by the Gods of Chaos, who feed off negative psychic energy and seek to convert beings into their worship to strengthen their existence and foothold in the Universe.
The Death Guard in the Campaign Box are a group of ex-Space Marine worshippers of the Chaos God Nurgle, who have betrayed the Empire and been seduced by the power of Chaos.
They are slow going but hard to kill and prefer a good, close combat melee. Their Chaos God is the Lord of Disease & Pestilence, so it’ll be interesting how these factors are acknowledged in their cards.
Here’s some other factions from the Warhammer 40,000 universe that aren’t in any of the products yet, but we could we’ll see in the future…
The Imperial Guard are another fighting force in the Human Imperium. Unlike the Space Marines they are not genetically enhanced or use power armour – they are more traditional army composed of ordinary men & women who have signed up to protect humanity against its enemies.
There are light & heavy infantry units, cavalry, armoured divisions and support functions that make up an Imperial Guard force and if they ever make a team pack I’d anticipate some tribal benefits type of gameplay Element to these guys. (Ie providing stat bumps to one another)
Like the Orks, The Eldar are Games Workshop’s Sci Fi twist on the traditional fantasy Elf. They live in enormous “Craftworlds”; giant space craft that have replaced their home World since it became uninhabitable.
They are sleek, agile, Elvish looking humanoids who are highly attuned to psychic powers, and if they ever come to Dice Masters it would be interesting to see how that thematically ties to their game-texts. Perhaps we’ll see some ‘Fast’ keywords and some direct damage psychic stuff…
The Tau Empire, although named after it’s founding species the T’au, is actually an alliance of species who’s territory borders the Human Imperium.
Their sizes & shapes vary, but one consistent feature is that they are high tech and use armour, battle suits and ranged weaponry as a result. In the past they were seen as one of the lighter, more optimistic elements of the 40K universe but recent iterations have developed a more Orwellian feel to them.
If they ever come to Dice Masters we expect we’ll see Battle Mechs and game-texts that reflect their technology and superior ranged firepower.
The Tyranids are an alien hive-mind species that I would broadly describe as the Games Workshop take on the HR Geiger Xenomorph species from the Alien franchise.
They seem to have one agenda – to propogate and reproduce – and consume planets in great numbers to gather material to feed the Queen and continue the species.
Tactically they take a “strength in numbers” approach – moving in vast hordes made up on different Tyranid species. They also have Specialist species, like the Genestealers, who Infiltrate & infect their enemies with Tyranid DNA to begin their takeover.
‘Swarm’ , stat bumps and ‘Intimidate’ could all have a good home in the Tyranid Cards should a team pack come down the pipeline.
There we go folks – a quick run down of GW stuff.
As a side note: all the models pictured were painted by the MoD’s very own Andy aka The Artist. Quite the talent – if only he brought the same skill to his podcasting. 😜
How do you feel about the Game Workshop IP? Is it a good thing for Dice Masters? Any particular faction you hope them do a team pack for? Let us know in the comments below..