Blackstone Fortress is saying goodbye, but it’s going out with a mysterious bang. Let’s talk Spindle Drones.
Blackstone Fortress was a departure for Games Workshop. A longform multi-year Legacy Boardgame with all the bells and whistles. It’s unknown exactly how much penetration it had into the broader Legacy Boardgame market, but it did try, and it gave us a lot of really interesting units and miniatures along the way.
We got Traitor Guard, we got Navigators, we got Ambulls, Zoats, Men of Iron, Kroot Mercenaries, Rogue Traders and the mysterious Spindle Drones. What I like most of all about Blackstone Fortress was that GW seems to have used it to create a nexus of loose ends in the Grimdark. In a galaxy where lots of things have been tied up nicely of late, Blackstone Fortress was one giant mystery wrapped in an enigma.
Who made the Blackstone Fortresses? – Unknown
Is it Sentient? – Unknown
How it is pulling ships from across the galaxy to itself? – Unknown
Why is it consuming them? – Unknown
Is it active, or dormant? – Unknown
You get the picture. But one of the most intriguing enigmas of the Blackstone Fortress are the Spindle Drones – its defenders. At first we saw the little ones, amongst the minor irritants onboard the vessel. But now we are seeing the next size up ones and they are really something. They are not to be trifled with in 40K! What I am hoping for is that GW uses these as a harbinger of things to come.
Examining the Drones
Here’s what I really like about the Spindle and Guardian Drones.
They are alien looking. Whatever they are, it looks like something new and unknown, with a slight edge of horror.
They have strong synergy. While the Spindle Drones themselves are weak, they become real threats when they synergize with their larger brothers.
They have design potential. The game doesn’t have an entire faction that is purpose built around synergy yet. Take a look at Warmachines’ clockwork Convergence of Cyriss faction to see an example. It’s possible to build an entire faction of units that are individually sub-par and arguably overcosted, but with incredibly strong synergies that make them potent as a whole. There are inter-faction combos here and there in 40K, but not an entire faction built from the ground up around the concept.
They are mysterious. Perhaps my favorite part. When I see these units – I am reminded of something. I am reminded of the Necrons from the early 1990s when ther range was tiny and they were of unknown origin – one of the deadly mysteries of the Grimdark. I think that GW could easily take these two units, add another 2-3 and have a micro-faction that strikes randomly across the galaxy with unknown motives and origin.
It would not surprise me to see GW taking several of the miniatures that arrived in Blackstone Fortress and run with them, adding depth, texture, and some dark creepy corners to the universe. And that’s something I think the game could use more of these days. We can’t have Age of Sigmar hogging all the new creative energy.
~Would you like to see some mysterious micro-factions added to the game?