Today we look back 21 years at the brutal hive warfare that waged across tabletops in 1995. Do you remember the minis of Necromunda?
I can hardly believe that Necromunda is now legally able to drink in Texas – it’s 21! What an amazing game it was. Necromunda is a fan favorite that took us out of the “big picture – important people fighting important people” games of Warhammer 40,000 and threw gamers into the claustrophobic dark underbelly of Hive Primus of Necromunda.
It was skirmish level action and unlike 40K was unapologetically a continual “serial” of a game. Individual battles were not only fun but a means to a greater end – to grow your gang from a bunch of hapless kids (juves) all the way to the top spot in your play group. It was a king-of-the-hill, dog-eat-dog game and so many of us have fond memories of the glory and tragedy of guiding our gangs along the path to glory or annihilation. I still remember those tragic games where you won the day – at the cost of a dear model built up over months…
The main boxed set had three major set of plastic mini included, two opposing gangs and some of the most iconic terrain GW ever made.
Here we see the plastic sprues for the House Orlock gangers. Look as how much empty space used to put on sprues back then! A lot of these bandana wearing minis ended up being pressed into duty with the Imperial Guard armies around the world.
Opposing the Orlocks were the brutes of House Goliath. Giant bruisers through and through, you needed to keep your distance from these guys. Is it just me, or do you think the sculptors wore out their VHS copies of Road Warrior while making these dudes?
OK, these are the real deal. Necromunda was played on a modular multi-level underground environment and these bulkheads were the key to the whole system. They are stackable (note the slots and tabe at the top and bottoms) and connected to each other with the included heavy card floors. Here’s a pic of a sample layout to give you an idea.
These things gave the game it distinctive vertical 3-d feel and you you better belive all the 40K players back in the day pushed these into double duty on tabletops across the Imperium to mix things up.
Onto the Great Houses of Necromunda
Enough of the basics, you came here to see the minis. Now this isn’t even close to ALL the minis for Necromunda. The game had numerous expansions with tons of new factions – but these are the “big six”.
House Cawdor Also called the House of Redemption is one of six Hive City Houses in Necromunda‘s Hive Primus, known for its rigid adherence to the Cult of the Redemption, though the connection to the Cult’s outlawed crusades is one their leaders are careful to minimise. This mysterious House is perhaps the second most populous after House Orlock. If you love fire and fanatics – this is your gang.
House Delaque benefits from a special understanding with House Helmawr, providing not just materials but also information to the rulers of Necromunda. Delaque spies are said to operate throughout the hive, observing the activities of the other Houses. It is rumoured that some of the ruling family members of the Houses, and even some Noble Houses are in the pay of the Delaque. Like being sneaky and shifty? Look no further than Delaque.
House Escher The House is populated almost entirely by females, who are said to look down on and pity all males. Almost all Escher are female, making them unique and perhaps the most strikingly different of the Houses of Necromunda. The few Escher males are physical derelicts; shrivelled and imbecilic, perhaps due to a genetic defect in the House bloodline, or the after effects of a plague which many believe was the same as that which decimated the population of House Aranthus several centuries ago and ultimately led to its downfall. Sisters are doing it for themselves!
House Van Saar The house are well-known for the superiority of their arms and equipment. The House’s manufacturing procedures are clear-cut and its completed products are of the utmost quality. The Noble Houses of the hive are known to pay handsomely for Van Saar-made goods; as a result, the House is undoubtedly the wealthiest in Hive Primus. Like the other gangs of Hive City the Van Saars have a style of clothing which distinguishes them from others. In their case this equates to a close-fitting body suit intended to defend and sustain the wearer in the harsh hive environment. If you like having the best gear Van Saar is for you.
House Orlock is one of the six families who make their home in the “Hive City” part of Hive Primus, the capital of Necromunda. The Orlocks, as house members are commonly known, are responsible for the production of the majority of the iron in Hive Primus, which has led to the house earning the sobriquet of “House of Iron”. The Orlocks have a longstanding rivalry with the mysterious House Delaque, and are on surprisingly good terms with the matriarchal House Escher.
House Goliath is one of the six houses whom make their home in the “Hive City” part of Hive Primus, the capital of Necromunda. The Goliath’s domains are situated unfavourably in the Hice City, occupying the lowest and harshest areas, close to the Underhive. As a result, most Goliaths are notoriously tough and robust by necessity, and they view everybody else as soft and weak.
The members of the house are often seen as barbaric by everybody else in the Hive, the members of House Escher being the most vocal in this belief. Do you find yourself watching body-building competitions a bit too much? House Goliath awaits.
The Future of Necromunda
With what we have seen out of GW recently with Blood Bowl, and the loving attention things like Genestealer Cult have received – I’m SUPER EXCITED for a new rebooted Necromunda. I can’t wait to see what the design studio can do 21 years later with the 6 Great Houses of Hive Primus. Latest rumors say look to 2017 for it’s triumphant return!
Next time we’ll get into Ratskins, Skavvies, Enforcers, Redemptionists and the dreaded Spyrers!
~Thanks for this trip down memory lane folks. What is your favorite House of Necromunda?