With a banner year behind it, and the prospect of reaching an ever-wider pool of players ahead, Games Workshop is taking its three new board games (on display at this year’s Gen Con) to the unwashed masses.
Get ready for teeming throngs of the proletariat folks, because the latest games we’re seeing are meant to bring those people in–but they also sound like amazing games in and of themselves. Let me walk this one back just a little bit, so that you understand where all these anarcho-syndicalist peasants are coming from.
Look any excuse for a Python reference
If you’ve been following GW and/or Gen Con related news over the last couple of days, then you’ll know that GW is going to show off three new board games at the expo. Which makes sense, Gen Con is one of the biggest board game conventions in America–ironic given that it started out as a wargame (and later role-playing) convention. But life, uhhh, finds a way, and conventions evolve. And now we’re seeing three new board games: Space Marine Adventures (Labyrinth of the Necrons), Blitz Bowl, and Quest to Mount Doom.
I don’t even need an excuse to run this pic
And each of these board games is aimed at those new to the various Warhammer worlds (and also there’s Lord of the Rings, which everyone knows, but not everyone has encountered GW’s version of it), which means that you won’t be finding these games in the traditional FLGS, but rather mass-market retailers–including those famed booksellers Messrs. Barnes & Noble.
Which is an interesting place to see GW take its product. They haven’t really done something like this outside of their work with Milton Bradley and maybe the Battle for Vedros–it seems like an interesting experiment to try while they’re still flush with record profits and looking to grow their brand. And it makes sense, you want to provide as many rabbitholes as you can for people to get drawn into their IP. And folks will be looking for more about them, so it’s a chance to reach people that wouldn’t otherwise know what the heck a Necron is, or why the Emperor protects, or why we should even care about Space Marines, whatever their preferred pronouns.
And the premise of Space Marine Adventures: Labyrinth of the Necrons is about as basic as it gets. Featuring five marines pulled from the Japan-exclusive Space Marine Heroes line, you’ll assemble a team of Marines and brave a Necron Tomb Complex (and its guardians) as you descend into the titular labyrinth full of alien horrors and probably a whole bunch of tomb spiders and maybe a lych guard as a boss or something.
You’ll also find in the box no fewer than three double-sided game boards that will make up the labyrinth your heroes battle through, along with a host of cards, counters and dice, and a 16-page book which introduces the game and teaches you how to play, then shows you how to advance to levels 2 and 3 once you’ve mastered the labyrinth and want more of a challenge. With this, the five different Space Marines to choose from and nearly 30 cards for wargear and abilities, there’s a ton of replayability.
There’s a lot of customization to the game–you can kit out your Marines for whatever task you want, try the Tomb with different tactics and loadouts–I want to play this game. But I’m a sucker for squad-based games in general and have built three kill teams so far, which probably means it’s time to dive back into X-Com.
But if Space Marines aren’t your thing, there’s also Blitz Bowl, which is a lighter, faster version of Blood Bowl–it’s like a touchdown jam (which is I guess like a dunkfest but for football) only you’ll probably try and murder the opposing team.
The box includes push fit models – six Human players and six Orc players – plus rules to use Skaven, Dwarf, Chaos, Goblin and Elven Union players as well if you want to expand your collection. You’ll also find a beautifully illustrated double-sided game board and two dugouts, plus 70 cards – 7 drill cards to help you to learn the rules of the game, 23 player cards and 40 challenge cards with various criteria for scoring extra points in games.
You can find both of these games at Gen Con (which means we’ll probably have a closer look for you before too long), or in retailers near you later this year.
Those Space Marine Heroes minis do look amazing though. Might be worth it just for those.