Mar 18

Necromunda Is Back

Back in June I discussed how much I was wanting Necromunda to return, and had been disappointed that ShadowWar: Armageddon had come out in it’s place.

I was then pretty surprised and delighted to see Necromunda being announced a couple of months later. Having spent months reading all the hype, the brand new shiny has arrived in my living room.

Step 1: Get some terrain

Knowing it would be 2D I ordered some awesome terrain from Wargames Tournaments. This took a wee while to arrive and several nights to de-sprue and clean up. Then more to partially assemble. I still haven’t got any of it painted yet either but it’s a start.

Step 2: Intro to 40K

Knowing that the rules would be similar to 40K I had some introduction games to 40K of around 1000 points. Having Space Hulk, and a pile of models around meant Genestealer Cults were the easiest. Given they were likely to show up in 40K (and now have) and are the only faction I was ever interested in (alongside Tyranids) in 40K made it an easy choice.

Step 3: Review old collection

My older collection consisted of 2 boxes of the core, with one not being complete, and a bunch of models. I checked and it was 32 Orlock, 42 Goliath, 9 Delaque, 5 Pit Slaves and some randoms. These can probably be used as Juves or hired guns in the new one. Looking over the cardboard terrain, as much as people have nostalgia for it, it hasn’t aged well.

Step 4: Get Necromunda

A combination of fear of missing out and knowledge that I spent years scouring eBay and the like to pick up the old Necromunda stuff I have convinced me to attempt to pick up the collection of stuff as it came out. I’m not fussed by the dice (yet) but planned to get 2 boxes of each gang, so it made sense to get two core boxes. This also meant a spare rulebook and enough tiles for 4 foot by 4 foot if that version proves to be fun.

So right now we are planning our gangs for a campaign to start soon, and are hyped now that we have 4 fuller options.

So far all we’ve arranged is a couple of games of Underhive to get a feel for the rules. The game was a lot more fun than I’d expected. And the combat shotgun proved to be utterly broken and overpowered.

There are some downsides to all this though, and it feels wrong to not include them.

The release-model is pretty bad. As great as it is to have the game return for the third time and Specialist Games have a bit of support, it all seems like 2 steps forward, 1 step back.

Looking back at the original box you had 2 books of 84 and 80 pages. So far with the new release we have Core Box (which you must have) and Gang War 1 and Gang War 2. These are 104, 64 and 48 pages. Between them they not only came out separately, with Gang War being needed for 3D combat, the two Gang War Books cost £17.50 each, and still don’t cover all the content in the original two books. The original release books covered all 6 core gangs as the most obvious difference. And sure, with Underhive/GangWar they released a Legacy Gang stop-gap sheet, this only covered a small amount of options, with people crying a lot about the lack of chainswords being one stand-out.

The lack of a proof-reader/editor shows too with the layouts being awful, no index and having to look in multiple places for inconsistent info. The layout of original had a weapon, with sometimes a picture next to it, its stat line and then another section with the Trading Post.

I’m not really familiar with the 40K world so it’s bad enough that each faction has it’s own style of each weapon, making it harder to remember which is which, but if you want to know what an Autopistol is:

In Core Book
Page 68 – shows a picture of the Escher version of Autopistol.
Page 69 – gives its statistics
Page 78 – the special rules for what Pistol and Rapid Fire mean
Page 88 – the cost for an Escher to buy one

In Gang War 1 book:
Page 30 – the cost for gangs to buy one, mentions it’s rarity
Page 32 – the stats for the autopistol

In Gang War 2 book:
Page 11 – the cost for an Orlock to buy one
Page 30 – the stats for the autopistol which have changed

So if you have to scan through this number of sections of these number of books to find inconsistent info, which do you use? If you play someone who has an older book and not the new one you will have inconsistent statistics. It might be ok if the later book acknowledged the changes and they released a FAQ/Errata for the older books changing it. But they haven’t. The books themselves aren’t the best to read either, they have insisted on using some horrible background for the text which gives it poor contrast and makes it hard to read in imperfect lighting conditions. And yes the original used black text on a white background. Quite frankly it’s not good enough.

Sewage Grown Quorn Diet. The super-food for Vegan Underhivers

And sure you can argue that Specialist Games are a small division of a small gaming company up against deadlines etc etc. Except Games Workshop have been being lauded in the press for their massive growth and huge profits. So could all these downsides be forgiven for a small company doing their first release? Yes of course. And there are workarounds to fix these things too. But for a large company releasing it for the third time? Totally unacceptable. The lack of official PDF versions where they could roll out updates and corrections is also a good reason to download the unofficial compendium which collates the info from these 3 books, and the White Dwarf
issues. Is it breaching copyright? Sure. Is it working around problems with a >30p/page book readable? Yes. If GW won’t step up and fix these problems with a game you have to spend over £100 on, minimum, to play in 3D as well as buying a host of terrain, then someone else will.

It does look though like there’s at least a years worth of stuff to come. The 3 remaining core gangs, Chaos Cultists and presumably Outlanders. I would expect a bunch more bounty hunters/hangers-on as well as the guilders and future campaign stuff about Ash Wastes and Hive Secondus, probably with a more detailed Genestealer Cult release rather than a few pages in White Dwarf. And of course the greatly anticipated Squat bounty hunter.

Luckily Necromunda survived for years after Games Workshop abandoned it before so if they do that again, the community at Yaktribe and similar will step up again and create a new Community Rules Edition to continue it.

Game Details
NameNecromunda: Underhive (2017)
BGG Rank [User Rating]3891 [8.18]
Player Count (recommended)2-4 (2-4, 4)
Designer(s)Andy Hoare
Mechanism(s)Action Point Allowance System, Dice Rolling, Modular Board and Variable Player Powers

Edit: And less than 24hours after publishing this post Games Workshop published the FAQ for Necromunda. See the power of this site and it’s huge readership?