GW recently released this new Boxed Game called Shadow War: Armageddon, and although they really underestimated how popular this game would be – and thus how quickly it would sell out – my husband and I managed to nab a copy from our FLGS.
Overall, Shadow War: Armageddon comes with 10 Space Marine Scouts – 5 with sniper rifles and 5 with chainswords and boltpistols – and 10 Ork Boyz with a Knob – at least I think (my Ork is not the greatest). They are the standard models, and if this is GW’s way of getting rid of all the constipated-Buzz-Lightyear scouts, than I commend them for it. The scouts are not the prettiest things. I have not seen orks in sprue before, and they look quite amusing and well-cast to me.
The real shining gem in the set, to no one’s surprise, is the terrain. Even compared to GW’s normal terrain, this new stuff is surprisingly thick and sturdy. The potential options that come in the box are quite diverse; from my and the internet’s reckoning, it comes with one each of all the component boxes that GW is going to sell separately. The component boxes are quite expensive – $50 for most and $75 for the more extensive ones – but with the increased quality of the terrain, I would say it is pretty worth it. The components are quite large and the plastic has some very nice details.
The only problem is that, while you get enough models to reasonably play a game right away, there is nowhere near the amount of terrain needed to make the board optimal for both Ranged- and Melee-based armies.
Although I can appreciate the concept of the game overall – as someone with no experience playing Necromunda or Second Edition 40k, I knew nothing going into this – GW really fell down on some of the rules writing in here. The book is not very friendly to people trying to learn as they play and did not give much in the way of useful examples (seriously, if GW is going to insist on including examples, they should pick the most complicated thing possible to showcase how all of the rules interlock) or concise descriptions of what to do. Something that I have been noticing of late is that GW’s rules team seems to love overcomplicating things and being overly wordy. There seems to be not a lot of effort going into making the rules easy to follow and understand. So, I would recommend taking the time to read the whole rules portion of the book cover to cover before giving the game a whirl. On the fly, it was quite difficult for me to figure out exactly where what happened and when.
Overall, I do enjoy the game. It works pretty well on a basic level, and even taking an almost entirely (I did buy one Shuriken Pistol that I never used for the whole game) melee-based army, I did not do too shabby in the first game I played. The games are quite quick, especially for those of us used to the day-long affairs that most other 40k games turn into, and the rules are thankfully kept to two books for now. I did not get the chance to go through the level-up or end-game wound systems, so I am going to wait to pass judgement on that until I figure it out later.
I should note that I say two rulebooks because the extended rules for other armies were released as a free PDF separate from the printed rules book that comes in the box. Thankfully, it seems GW is going to push out a fully combined verison of the book (for purchase of course) shortly into for those that missed out.
For now, the extended rules for including other armies can be found on the GW page for Shadow War: Armageddon as a giant pdf or as individal army pdfs download-able from Warhammer Community.