Dark Age: Unboxing the Kukulkani

Dark Age has come a long way in the year and a half since I last covered the game. Today I’ll be showing off some minis from the game’s newest faction.

 If you’re not familiar with the Dark Age setting, you can read my quick primer from early last year. No time? All right, here’s the elevator pitch: the humans of the planet of Samaria, abandoned by the collapsed superpower formerly known as the United Worlds, eke out a harsh existence on a planet hostile to human life. Every day is a struggle for survival against the alien forces of the Dragyri, the savage cybernetically-augmented cannibals known as the Skarrd, the nightmarish biological creations of the Brood, and the reawakened robotic killing machines known as the Core. Also some of the humans are trying to kill each other too.

So where do the Kukulkani come in? Turns out this isn’t the first time humanity has come in contact with this ancient starfaring civilization. That whole Pre-Columbian aesthetic they’ve got going on isn’t a coincidence. The Kukulkani that are ravaging Samaria now were doing just that to their neighboring tribes in Central America millennia ago. They were so good at it that the Coatl, a highly advanced reptilian race chose to enslave them and fold them into their society. Using them as warriors just made sense. The Coatl got to stay out of harm’s way, and the humans got a chance to impress their new “gods.” This arrangement worked out so well that the Coatl took their new friends along for the ride when they left earth in the ninth century. They’ve spent the last few thousand years slaughtering other alien civilizations.

So what brings them to Samaria? Well it probably has a lot to do with the fact that to the Kukulkani, Samaria basically looks like one big gas station. Their entire technology is based on using the life force of sentient creatures as an energy source (don’t ask me to explain it I’m not a scientist). This is the reason the race scours the galaxy in search of… sacrifices. With no central authority to mount a defense, Samaria’s humans must seem like easy pickings.

The planet also offers a diversified energy portfolio. While the numerous gibbering abominations of the Brood must make for a fascinating prospective fuel source, there are also the robust Trueborn warriors of the Dragyri to consider. It turns out the latter already have a history with the Kukulkani. The two races clashed on Samaria centuries ago, when the Dragyri were still calling themselves the Althegrans. And if that weren’t enough, long range sensors have detected a familiar energy signature in use on Samaria. The robots of the Core have integrated a debased form of the Coatl’s bio-energy technology into their Entropic drives. Such power is for the gods alone, and the Kukulkani will not rest until the Core have been wiped from existence.

Here’s the first item on the list for today’s unboxing. Before I go any further I must direct your attention to the words “Preview Box Set.” The plan is that all seven Dark Age factions will get a new boxed set fairly soon. I’m not certain if this means resulpted models or not, but I do know that the plan is to price all the starter sets the same: $45 bucks. In the interim, this one will serve as a good foundation for all those that simply cannot wait to get their hands on the Kukulkani.

In this box you will find a War Priest, two Honored Dead and three Kukulkani Warriors.

Let’s start with the War Priest.

Here is our War Priest. For now, these guys are literally an essential part of any Kukulkani force. Any Kukulkani army must be led either by a Supreme War Captain, or one of these guys – and no Supreme War Captains have been released yet. But hey this is definitely a good thing. This guy pretty much rocks. With the technomancy ability he can teleport units around the battlefield keep dead units fighting a little longer and all sorts of other cool stuff.


Next let’s do these Honored Dead.

They’re pretty self explanatory. Why let perfectly good warriors go to waste? The Kukulkani are more than happy to reanimate their veteran fighters and send them back to the battlefield – as long as they weren’t too bady damaged.

Here’s a close-up of some of the bits so you can see the techno-mayan coolness.

And check this out. All the Honored Dead come with one of these clear resin “crystal” skulls. These things serve as a potent weapon in the game allowing the honored dead to unleash a mean little spray attack.

Last in the box are the Kukulkani Warriors.

Last in the box we have the Kukulkani Warriors. These guys are still mostly human with just a few cybernetic enhancements. This seems to make them a fairly even match for the tough-as-nails badasses that call Samaria home. And if you only follow one link in this article make it this one. These warriors just don’t look right without all their crazy frills.

A close-up of one of the warriors.

And another.

Last one.

Here’s a close-up of their ornate shields…

and their Macahuitls. Some of you guys may remember how much I love a good Macahuitl.

Lets move out of the box now and look inside one of the blister packs.

 

 Living Ancestors are Kukulkani veterans that have survived so many battles that they get to join the ranks of the Honored Dead without the inconvenience of actually having to die.

This guy is easily my favorite of the bunch. That mask… those claws…

In fact I like him so much I flipped him over so you can see his reverse side.

And here’s our last mini.

If one of those Kukulkani Warriors from above shows exceptional skill on the battlefield they may find themselves promoted to become one of these guys. The additional physical augmentations the War Captains receive are so extensive that all their old modifications have to be removed before the process can begin. That’s right, despite how alien he looks, this guy is actually just another human.


And here’s our Captain.

I have to say, I really like the look of this new faction. The techno-Mayan aesthetic really appeals to me and I think the designs do a great job pulling it off. There’s a lack of the tubes and hydraulics that you kind of expect to see on minis with cybernetics, and the hard lines you get instead definitely help push the theme. It also makes the Kukulkani feel more advanced than their Samarian counterparts who often sport their own enhancements.

I also think it’s good to see Dark Age continuing to steer away from its Brom roots. Don’t get me wrong, there are some great minis derived from his artwork in the game’s range. But the three factions that are the most Brom-derived (Brood, Forsaken, and Skarrd) lack visual unity to me. I’ve always felt like their limited source material was to blame. If your first priority is to make minis based off Brom’s artwork, then making them look like they fit together on the tabletop comes in second. The Kukulkani don’t have that problem. They all look like they belong together – and yet the War Priest is quite distinct from a Warrior who doesn’t look anything like a Living Ancestor, who in no way resembles a War Captain.

I got most of the background information in this article from Ravage Magazine #5. If what you’ve seen so far has piqued your interest in this faction, you might want to grab a copy. There are plenty of them left in the Cool Mini or Not store, but they’re also easy to get through a local retailer. If your store doesn’t already stock it they should be able to special order it. And this issue also has articles about Dust, Malifaux, Infinity (including a template for making cardboard buildings), a unique scenario for X-Wing, and a new scenario for Zombiecide. Here are some pics of the art for some unreleased models:

 
This thing is called a Kabrakan. It wouldn’t be too wrong to think of it as the Kukulkani equivalent of a tank. It collects tokens from enemies slain around it and gets stronger. I want one.

Quetzol here is currently the only named character for the Kukulkani. He does more than just look cool. He’s no slouch in combat, and like so many other Kukulkani, he packs a nasty stream weapon. Think of a stream as a longer, skinnier spray or flamer template.
~ I hope you enjoyed those minis as much as I did. Is there anyone out there who owns these guys already? Anyone just want to talk Dark Age?

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