Necromunda

necromundabox

My friend Randy recently got me into Games Workshop’s new version of Necromunda.  It’s been decades since I’ve played a GW game (I fell heavily for 2E epic scale Space Marine back in college), so I wasn’t sure how I’d take to it.  I don’t have a lot of patience for fiddly rules any more.

Overall, I really like the game, to the point were I’m probably spending too much money on it.  But I love the setting and, for the most part, I love the components that come with the base game.  And while there are some fiddly rules, for the most part they aren’t too bad.

However, it’s not all wine and roses in the Underhive.  Necromunda has traditionally been a game that really emphasizes WYSIWYG modeling.  To that end, the sprues for the figures are insanely customizable.  As in way too customizable.

 

orlocksprue

The Orlock sprue; note all the little individual heads.

 

Trying to glue a tiny Orlock head to its body is a very frustrating process.  It was almost enough to make me give up on the game.  The fact that I haven’t (yet) is a testament to how much I like it.  But I’d have been much (much) happier if they’d just included five or six standardized bodies and then let us glue on the appropriate weapons, because this level of minute customization really adds nothing to the game (imo).

And while the rules aren’t too bad, there are still a few fiddly things that set me off.  One is the Stray Shot rule, which is convoluted, easy to forget and exploitable.  Something else are the skills ganger’s can acquire through experience.  Most of them work well enough, but there are some that require a dice roll for something to happen.  More dice rolls just slow the game down, and when a ganger has a bunch skills it can be easy to forget about them in the heat of the action.  Frankly, they remind me somewhat of Pathfinder feats, and I’m not really a fan of complicated, situational feats to begin with.  It really feels like they layered on extra complexity to give some of these skills meaning.

Which leads to yet another annoyance.  Originally, Necromunda only had one “mental” stat, called Leadership.  The new version adds three new mental stats:  Cool, Willpower and Intelligence.  Of these, only Cool plays much of a role, to the point it now even diminishes the importance of the original Leadership stat.  But Willpower and Intelligence are barely used, and it feels like GW went out of its way to add more rules (and thus, complexity) to justify these new stats.  However, I imagine Willpower will play a bigger part in the game when they eventually get around to adding psykers.

One final, minor, gripe:  the game shipped with a beautiful set of map boards (called “Zone Mortalis”).  As you can see, the boards have a grid on them.  Unfortunately, the grid is 2″ instead of the standard 1″.  Which means it’s difficult to use them for other games, and makes it more difficult to use the boards for a converted version of Necromunda.  On that note, it might have been nice if a “basic” version of the rules was released that did indeed use those grids.  It just seems like a lost opportunity, and would have made the game more accessible to new players.

underhive-09

Also, if you’re a fan of the original Necromunda, this version does not come with 3D terrain.  The vanilla rules only include 2D battles on the aforementioned “Zone Mortalis” boards.  You need to purchase a separate supplement (Gang War) to get the campaign rules (which really make Necromunda shine) and the rules for 3D terrain (which GW calls “Sector Mechanicus”).

So, despite spending most of this write-up complaining about Necromunda, I actually really like the game.  The components are top notch, the models look great (once you assemble them) and it plays fairly quickly.  We’re still mastering the rules, so we often forget something, or get the rule wrong, but that’s really just a matter of playing more.  I can’t wait to play a campaign, though preferably a map-based strategic campaign rather than the abstract campaign rules that come in Gang War (but that’s easily house ruled).

And as for a “basic” version of the game, well that’s something else I can work on after I’ve had more time to master the rules.

Cheers.

 

 

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