Kick the Galaxy in the shins.....

We've established by now that Shadow Wars Armageddon is essentially just Necromunda dressed up in a new suit, given a fashionable new haircut and a shave and sent off to play in the big brash world of skirmish wargaming. And as I mentioned in a previous post, it's almost exactly what a whole bunch of us have been doing with Necromunda all along. Necromunda is the 2nd choice ruleset for old school, make it up as you go along, gaming. Part of the reason for this is that the rules are flexible enough to allow you to mess around with them easily enough and get the kind of game you want. The other reason for it is that GW gave us all the help we needed in order to squeeze everything we wanted into the games by giving us an awesome expansion and equally awesome 'sister' game and then added an even awesomer expansion to that. I'm talking.....

I must admit something here. I never got to play these games when they came out. Through my own shortsighted, teenage, uber-coolness, I was not a true devotee of all things GW at the time (in fact when a friend reintroduced me to the hobby with a copy of 40K 4th Edition my response was 'What was wrong with the first one?') so I have come late to all of these but that doesn't taint my love for them.
Outlanders contains rules for a whole slew of new gangs, Ratskin Renegades, Redemptionists, Spyrers and my beloved Scavvies. It adds new hired guns in shape of psykers and pit slaves and Characters plus news scenarios and trading. What is even more handy when you are moving beyond the narrow confines of the original game, is the stats and costings for various 40k archetypes. Want some Orks in the hive, sure. Genestealers? Of course. Chaos Space Marine? Why not. Outlanders was essential if you were going to start using the Necromunda in the broader universe and as a slicker (but still imperfect) replacement for Rogue Trader's universe (where Radio 4 farces are populated with aliens and resolved through superior fire power) then it was damn near perfect.

Then of course you have the glory that is GorkaMorka. This game is as near as you can get to a crossbreeding the joyful nonsense of trolls in the pantry with mad max and is almost the only game that GW have ever made that makes more sense the drunker you get (seriously, try downing a shot every time someone rolls a Thruster check!). The sheer idiot brilliance of the game is what makes it so fun but the rules are essentially exactly the same as Necromunda. What Gorkamorka brings to the party is the simplest and most straightforward set of vehicle rules that the game (in any guise) has yet seen. Wanna add zooomin bikes and vrooming civilian transport to your RT or Necromunda games without having to do complex maths or digging out diagrams and cellophane targets? Here you go. Wanna do drive by on some marines at high speed with your squats while yelling DAKKA! DAKKA! at the top of your lungs? Why the hell not? Want your characters to be able to commandeer civilian vehicles and race off laughing at the Arbites before crashing in a fiery ball of death as they ram into a grox transporter? Of course you do.

I'll be honest here about Digganob. It doesn't add a whole lot top the soup pot and I mostly included it cos I love the poignancy of the Mutie Raiders and their sad story. Oh and Digga's are pretty cool.

But here is the great thing.

Because Shadow Wars Armageddon is the same ruleset as Necromunda, which is the same ruleset as Gorkamorka, all the rules already work together. You already have written proof that it is entirely feasible that all the other races of the 40k universe will plug into the SWA/Necro system and will give you workable and fun outcomes.

All it takes is for gamers to step outside the suggested scenarios from the SWA book and for that matter in the new 40k (or all version of 40K really). I really want to see the average GW gamer move away from the set up instructions in the books and start using the folk memory that is built into the hobby. That part where some bearded weirdo sat behind his screen and rolled the dice for you and told you what was happening. That part of the hobby where the worlds were made up by the players and the scenarios wrote themselves as protagonists chased their nemesis around the planets of our imagination. That part of the hobby where the creativity was in the story telling and the adventure rather than just in the newest amalgamation of disparate plastic parts.

Games Workshop makes fantastic miniatures.
Games Workshop write great books.
Games Workshop write good rulesets.

Games workshop do not own your imagination. Break out of your power armour. See what mischief you can have. Explore the galaxy. Give it a good kick in the shins and see if it'll chase you.


  1. I'll put on mah special boots! (They have rockets in, mmm-hmm).

  2. I'm in!

    Though to be fair, I always have been, but you put my thoughts into words exactly. ;-)

  3. The trouble is I only meet people with this mind set once a year at BOYL.
    And no one likes you if you just go around kicking them in the shins the rest of the year :0(

  4. Great pep talk, I'm all fired up now. Diggas in SWA is rather a fine notion. I am a big old fan of Gorkamorka, and I loves me them diggas.

  5. I'm I'm the same boat as Riot.

    I was telling this story just the other day about how bad it can be: but back in 2007 I was trying to get my local group (I've since moved away) to play a modified version of necromunda with more 2nd Ed. troop types to tell better stories with the games. It was roundly rejected for not being official. I just checked with one of the guys I still keep in touch with and what are they all playing right now? Shadow war armeggedon 😕.

    Unfortunately, some people's imaginations are owned by the companies that produce the games.

  6. Yes, yes, yes, and um...YES! I have recently binge bought all three original Necromunda books and the 2nd Edition Necromunda book, hedging my bets and then won them all. I've also been invited to a Gorka Morka game next year at Kublacon, time to find my Trukk and Wartakks. I think that using ideas from these skirmish games is a great way to focus hobby time and fire the imagination for the hobby. I gave up on trying to get people to play what I want locally. In fact I never had a group locally to play table top miniatures.

  7. Vroom Vroom that's me rushing off to re-check out Gorka Morka. LOL

  8. "Through my own shortsighted, teenage, uber-coolness, I was not a true devotee of all things GW at the time (in fact when a friend reintroduced me to the hobby with a copy of 40K 4th Edition my response was 'What was wrong with the first one?')"

    I was that same too cool for room ass back when Heroquest and Space Crusade were released (including their advanced versions) and had the same response to 4th edition WFB being released. Looking back I bet I'd have had a lot of fun with some of the games I flipped off, especially considering how much material was added in White Dwarf for them.

    "That part of the hobby where the creativity was in the story telling and the adventure"

    Nothing new with those sentiments when it comes to gaming. People were writing about too much spoon feeding by manufacturers back in the day too. Actually though GW are trying to push players to play narrative games again and to think about back story and all that. Obviously it's all couched in the AoS and 40K fluff but it seems they really want players to not just think of the game as pure competition. I think plenty of gamers though struggle to see a game as anything other than a contest. The hobby does attract people who like numbers and lists and quantifiable results.

  9. Well said sir. Well said indeed.

  10. May just check out Gorkamorka now - I had an idea to play 2nd edition size battles using the Shadow War: Armageddon rules - vehicle rules that can be bolted on have just ramped up my motivation.

    1. Gorkamorka vehicle rules dont work. It would be just a simple to pick your favourite vehicle rules from and edition of 40k and use them instead. Or house rules. Gorkamorka sort of works on the level of "its crazy orks are crazy!" but your vehicles are VERY hard to destroy and tend to carom wildly over the board. This would not work for a rhino driven by a marine! Or eldar grav tanks. It would be awful.

  11. Yeah drop those truth bombs

  12. I'm a massive fan of Necromunda but was disappointed by my brief experience of SWA. I felt the armies didn't balance very well because of the sheer variety in skills, stats etc. In Necromunda, having a bit more WS or Ld could give you the advantage and was worth getting: in SWA, the sides start with such different stats it's hard to feel that you're getting an edge.

    Still, maybe they'll bring something like Gorkamorka back...

  13. Yup Goliath is the only way to go. Steroid monsters with mohicans. Oh and Enforcers... Dredd hits the mean streets of the underhive.

  14. I really enjoy posts like this. Well though out and expressed ideas about what drives your hobby, and where you are coming from really are inspiring.

    It made me think a lot about my own approach and what I find most rewarding. I have to think more on all this and possibly post a like item on my own blog.


  15. As I write this, I'm 14 models shy of the entirety of the (original) Necromunda range. Still missing the Outlanders rulebook though, after ebay let me down (some people don't understand shipping labels apparently).
    I began sci-fi gaming with Necromunda, and its still my favorite, even if I haven't played a game in some 15 years. Good to see people giving them some love, even if its a slightly different direction.

  16. Awesome posts! When I got SWA this year, the first thing I did, was getting out my old Necromunda and Gorkamorka books. Sadly I haven't played it yet, but your inspiring words are having a nearly religious effect on me. Follow the light! :)


Post a Comment