Thursday, July 9, 2020

REVIEW: Indomitus Boxed Set and 40k 9th Edition Rulebook

The newest edition of 40k is nearly upon us, and with it comes a special edition boxed set, the Indomitus set! This "sorta" starter set comes packed with a ton of awesome stuff, including the full rulebook, so let's take a look!

Games Workshop has said multiple times that this is just a limited edition boxed set to kick off the new edition, so it's not a proper starter set. I have to imagine that a more slimmed down version of this will be coming out soon with less models that will be the "proper" starter set. This means no dice, no rulers, no quick start rules, or any of that. What you get in a trade off though are lots and lots of models. We also still get the full hardcover rulebook. It even has a limited edition cover!

I'm going to start off with the models. Like I said, you get a lot of them. On the Necron side you get an Overlord, Royal Warden, Plasmancer, Skorpekh Lord, 3 Skorpekh Destroyers, 2 Cryptothralls, 20 Necron Warriors, 6 Scarab Swarms, and a Canoptek Reanimator. On the Marine side you get a Primaris Captain, Primaris Lieutenant, Primaris Chaplain, Judiciar, Bladeguard Ancient, 3 Bladeguard Veterans, 10 Assault Intercessors, 3 Eradicators, and 3 Outriders. Both of these are great starters for either army. In fact, they both come out to be close to 50 power level, so you have a Incursion force already!

These models are all push fit, but I would say they're even better quality then the push fit from Dark Imperium or Soul Wars. They're divided up by faction, so you don't have any of the weird situations of Necrons and Marines on the same sprues that we used to see in past starter sets. So far I've put together most of the Necrons as well as the Marine Captain and I think they're some of the best push fit models yet! Generally I clip the pegs off the push fits and just glue them together, which I still did on parts of these, but there are other parts where I didn't even use any glue because the connection was so tight and clean.

For the Primaris Captain I left several parts unglued so I can take him apart into subassemblies when I paint him. I know some people want multi pose models for everything, but I personally really like this monopose plastics. The sculptors are able to get so much more character into them. On the Necron Warriors for instance, the cables on the guns and hanging out of their chests hang in a way that fits each pose. If they were multi-pose you would have to make them much more generic. I honestly won't be surprised if this Necron Warrior sprue is the one sold seperately for the new unit, just like what they did with the Chainrasps. I would be fine with that too. There are a ton of options even with only one pose per model. There are two gun options, plus each one has two head options. As far as I can tell, you should be able to mix and match all of the heads if you want as well, giving you even more options.

We also get another booklet in here called The Edge of Silence. This has the lore for this particular battle in it, plus a quick generic overview of both the Necrons and the Space Marines for those who aren't familiar. The datasheets for the units are in here as well. There are no points though, only power levels. Also, some of the rules just refer you to the Codex, like with Reanimation Protocols for the Necrons. It's not a starter, I get it, but it would have been nice to have all of the needed army rules included in here with the box so people can start playing right away. I don't have the current Necron Codex and I won't be picking it up since I'm sure they're about to get a new one, so I couldn't play any games with them even if I wanted too at the moment.

The main rulebook is everything you expect in a 40k rulebook with a shiny new layout and design. The first half of the book covers the lore of the setting. Giving a brief overview before diving back into the past and working our way forward. Each major time period gets covered here, from the Dark Age of Technology, through the Heresy, and into the events of Psychic Awakening. As someone familiar with 40k lore already there wasn't a whole lot new here, but it does a great job at covering it all for anyone completely new to it. There are several story elements in here as well, including a story about an Iron Snake Space Marine fighting an entire world of Orks on his own which I particularly enjoyed. After the main setting is covered, each playable faction gets covered as well. Some get a full two pages, while others only get one page. Again, these are very high level overviews, but it does cover some of the newer stuff. For instance, I was interested in reading about the 5th Sphere expansion for the Tau since I haven't been following the story of this past edition super closely. There's a model gallery with all of these as well, showing the armies in action on the battlefield. Several key warzones also get detailed, like Armageddon, Vigilus, and the new Pariah Nexus.

The rules are divided up into the core rules, followed by Open Play, Matched Play, and Narrative Play. I've only played one game of 8th edition, and it was back when Dark Imperium first came out, so I'm not the best source for looking at what's changed between editions. One thing I can comment on though is the layout. This is a brilliant way to layout a rulebook! Each rule, such as how measuring distances works, gets a lengthier description, covering all of the intricacies, followed by a bullet pointed list picking out the main points from it. As someone who is passingly familiar with 8th, as well as how modern GW games work in general thanks to AoS, I was able to get away with just reading the bullet points for the most part. Then when I came across something I wasn't familiar with, or didn't make sense in just the bullet points, I went back and read the full rules description above it. Not only does this make reading the rules much faster, but it will make looking up rules in the middle of a game way more streamlined. 80% of the time the bullet points will cover it, and when it doesn't you can get into the nitty gritty of it in the longer description. Brilliant.

There's also been a pretty major change to Command Points and how armies are selected. Now Detachments cost command points to use, but some of them refund that amount as long as your Warlord is part of it. This means that usually your first Detachment will be "free" since you'll get refunded the amount, but any additional one will cost you command points. So if you wanted to do a Marine force with a Detachment of Sisters of Battle, the Sisters detachment will cost you some command points since your Warlord will be in the Marine one. This is a pretty nice way to still give people options to mix and match armies, which was a really cool addition in 8th, but limit the gaminess of it during play.

The Open Play section has three scenarios to pick from, as well as rules on how to pick your army, but as the name suggests, it's a lot more open. I am excited for the Open War cards though. I really loved the Open War cards from AoS 1. They were a great way to get in a game when you're not trying to be super competitive. It ends with a list of suggestions on how to theme your Open Play games.

Matched Play is much more structured. To start with, it uses points only instead of power levels. Personally, after playing AoS mainly for five years, I'm more fond of power levels. I don't need to know how much this guy's pistol costs, just give me a cost for the unit and I'm good to go. Games of 40k are now broken down into one of four sizes, Combat Patrol, Incursion, Strike Force, and Onslaught. These go up in size from 500 points, to 1,000, then 2,000, then 3,000. Each size of game has specific missions to pick from, with Incursion and Strike Force having 6 each, and the other two having 3 each. This makes sense since Incursion and Strike Force are the two more common sizes for games. Again, I didn't play in 8th really, but this seems finely tuned. Knowing how closely they worked with Tournament Organizers in the 40k scene on designing the scenarios I'm sure they're all really good as well. Each of the different sizes also tells you the minimum sized board to play on. I know it says minimum size, but I like the new smaller board sizes for 40k. It's essentially multiples of Kill Team boards. Not only does this make it easier for people who already have Kill Team boards, but it can now fit on a normal table. I'm unlikely to be playing Warhammer indoors for awhile with the whole COVID situation, but I do have a picnic table in my backyard, which can now easily fit a 40k table on it if I want to play some socially distanced outdoors 40k. The scenarios all have their distances for deployment zones and objectives measured from the center of the board, instead of the edges, meaning it can easily fit any board size and still play more or less the same.

The Narrative Play section is all about Crusade. This lets you build your army in a narrative way and have it gain experience along the way. It's essentially a lot like the Campaign system from Warcry, where it's unique to your force and not dependent on other players. As long as you're both okay with playing a Crusade game then you can use all of the upgrades you've earned along the way. I really like this method since it's next to impossible to keep a traditional campaign going, but this way you can still invest in the individual narrative of your own army, even if you can't game as often. The missions part of this is divided up into game size just like with the other ones, but it uses power levels (yay!). The different size of games each have the same number of scenarios as their Matched Play counterparts to pick from. There are also Agendas, which are essentially Secondary Objectives, for you to pick from for each game. Matched Play has its own version as well. The Matched Play scenarios each have a mission specific Secondary Objective you can pick as well, which is cool. After this, the rulebook finishes up with a Designer's Commentary, some rarer rules that won't come up in every games, and a glossary of rules terms.

If you want either of these forces then this is definitely a really cool boxed set. The models are tremendous and you get a good starter force for each army. You can watch my unboxing of the set in the video above for a quick overview of all of its contents. I definitely plan on expanding my Necrons, but will probably focus on getting the models from this set done first. If you're not a Marine or Necron player and don't intend to collect them, then you might want to wait for the individual rulebook. If you're brand new to wargaming in general as well I'd wait for the more basic starter set. This is a great set for 40k fans familiar with the game as well as AoS players. There's enough commonality between the two systems that I think it would be easy enough to make the jump, and you probably already have all the dice and rulers you need. Now, I'm off to expand my Tomb World...

Until next time,

Tyler M.

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