Phwoarhammer: Warhammer 40K: Armageddon

By Craig Pearson on May 23rd, 2013 at 8:00 am.


I’ve been all around the world. I’ve worked in the Australian desert, getting up in the middle of the night and toiling until the sun’s heat boiled the sweat off my skin. I’ve stood within a few hundred metres of the man-made hole to hell in Chernobyl, pondering the invisible fire that lay under the crumbling concrete sarcophagus. I’ve visited an island on a Scottish loch that has a colony of wild wallabies. But I’ve never actually been inside a Games Workshop. So don’t expect any puns based on Warhammer franchises in this story. That’s for Alec, who is away this week. With me you’ll get raw facts like these: Slitherine’s recent joining of the Games Workshop family picnic has resulted in Warhammer 40K: Armageddon, a turn-based, hex-based strategy game based on Games Workshop’s “Battle for Armageddon”. It’ll be released next year.

It’s the first turn-based 40k game for over 15 years, further facts tell me. There will be 35 scenarios, with 100 unit types, drawn from the Imperial forces of the Armageddon Steel Legion and Space Marines from the Ultramarines, Blood Angels and Salamanders Chapters, fighting the Ghazghkull Thraka’s Ork Waaagh! There’s a promised branching campaign with hints of dynamic story-telling, and additional maps for Slitherine’s PBEM++ system.

And now I’d be quite interested to hear from those that play Warhammer and also enjoy PC turn-based strategy games. Are you excited? Are Slitherine a good fit for this sort of thing? Is this a good scenario? Are you enjoying any play-by-emails games at the moment? We don’t have any art or screenshots, so here instead is a photo of a wallaby I took.

You may also ask questions about my time on the Scottish wallaby island.

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82 Comments »

  1. John Connor says:

    Armageddon, no Black Templars. Wut?

    • Jorum says:

      Sounds like the 2nd War for Armageddon (would be silly to base game on third) – so no Black Templars

      • Sami H says:

        Correct, the board game is based on the second war (and the video game is based on the board game), so no Black Templars.

        Nobody mentions the first war, because it didn’t happen and anyone suspected of thinking otherwise is liable to be carried off by the Inquisition and flushed out of an airlock.

        • SgtDante says:

          Don’t mention the war?

        • bakerman says:

          I’ve wanted a game based on the First War ever since I read this awesome excerpt about it in White Dwarf. Must have been around the time the Daemonhunters codex came out.

      • MrThingy says:

        Does this mean we get a Commissar Yarrick in the game? :)

        • Salix says:

          It’s Armageddon, Yarrick is a goddamn requirement.

          • Antonius says:

            If we do get Yarrick, can we hide Baneblade Super Tanks behind single trees and then hide 400 foot tall Warhound Titan’s behind that Baneblade?

            Otherwise, it just ain’t Yarrick…

            :D

      • vanosofmanos says:

        Kind of too bad that they weren’t doing the 3rd War, though, as there’s some really nifty stuff there. Done in a DoW Dark Crusade style campaign, it could be really, really fun. Throw in some random events to simulate things that actually happened in the fluff (Captain Tycho’s last stand is a personal favorite), give a decent selection of races to play and all would be good.

        Though, I can see why they wouldn’t do that. A big Army vs. Army based game would probably skirt too close to Dawn of War, and whoever’s got that license now ( my brain is cloudy this morning ), and doing it too close to the tabletop system would definitely provoke the ire of GW’s Money Machine. Going with the board game seems to be Slitherine’s current M.O., and I’m down with that, but only if it means we’ll eventually get Space Crusade, or some of the other old gems locked up in GW’s solitary confinement.

    • Everblue says:

      I don’t normally like to do this, but here I feel I must. I totally called this about a month ago – see this article, and my comment and link to Battle for Armageddon in the comments, half way down.

      http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2013/03/18/waaagh-face-slitherine-announce-turn-based-40k-game/

      You may all now shower me with adulation.

      • JToTheDog says:

        I hate it when people are modest about such things. Credit where credit is due.
        And you were spot on. So, Haza!

  2. Yemala says:

    I’ve enjoyed the other Slitherine games I’ve played immensely. Not the deepest wargames ever, but pitched at a really playable and fun level.

    It would be nice if they could step away from matrix’s abysmal pricing policies… but that being said, I can see myself giving this one a punt as well.

    It is an island. You are likely to be eaten by a scottish wallaby?

    • killias2 says:

      The guys from Matrix/Slitherine just spent a few weeks making the round screaming that they didn’t want me and people like me as customers. They don’t think we’re serious enough about wargaming, and that we wouldn’t respect the games.

      So fuck them. Seriously, as much as I’d love this, I’m not buying from Matrix/Slith any longer.

  3. Koojav says:

    WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!

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      Earl-Grey says:

      MO’ DAKKA!

    • mouton says:

      Humies to kill! HUMIES TO KILL!

    • Antonius says:

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  4. SentientNr6 says:

    “It’s the first turn-based 40k game for over 15 years, further facts tell me.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Warhammer_40,000:_Squad_Command

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      PoulWrist says:

      “for the PlayStation Portable and Nintendo DS” – it might as well not exist.

      • Grey Poupon says:

        Space Hulk should at least count though.

        • JimboDeany says:

          Squad command was very good if a little shallow. If they could just remake this with a bit more depth and a story then it would be great. The actual gameplay was very much how I’d want turn based games to be, had a similar feel to XCOM:EU but with better line of sight determination.

          • apa says:

            I’m still playing the campaing…couple missions per year when I remember to charge the PSP :)

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        darkChozo says:

        To be fair, between Fire Emblem and Advance Wars the DS has kinda been one of the biggest TBS/T/whatever platforms in the last couple of years.

    • Everyone says:

      Hmm … I distinctly remember beta testing a turn based squad level 40k game on the PC in 1998 when I was living in Nuremberg. I think the beta CD was sent from California. Chaos Gate? Something like that.

      • MadMatty says:

        Yeah Chaos Gate… i think it was one of the best rated GW games at the time.. i only played it for a few hours back then

        • Scilantius says:

          Chaos gate had a ‘meh’ soundtrack?! You, sir, offend my sensibilities with your baseless condemnation! Or, to put it otherwise, I loved, and actually still do, the Chaos Gate soundtrack. And the unit quotes, e.g. “Starfire shall devour your black soul!”.

          I don’t know, is it nostalgia rearing its gnarled old head? Anyone else loved Chaos Gate?

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    PoulWrist says:

    Why are there wallabys on a scottish island? And is this island normally visited by people, or do the wallabys live in seclusion?

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      Craig Pearson says:

      Years ago, when it was inhabited, the owner of the island imported them. Then she passed on and the animals stayed. It’s Inchconnachan on Loch Lomond. It’s now uninhabited, but can be visited by those with a boat.

  6. Jorum says:

    Could be very interesting if they put the work in.
    The setting has lots of scope – immense vehicle battles in deserts, brutal city fighting, enormous sieges of mega-cities.
    And the “historical” narrative has lots of invasions, counterattacks, heroic last stands etc to play with.

  7. neonordnance says:

    initial thoughts:
    -OH HELL YES
    -slitherine are well regarded; this could be rock solid
    -please respect the lore
    -hopefully it won’t zoom out too much, warhammer is about up-close-and-personal, not division-level battles
    -no black templars? boo
    -armageddon is a GREAT setting! so badass! plus the steel legion are some of the coolest IG ever!
    -i wonder how graphics-y they are making it. given that its taking just a year to make, probably not overly detailed… in that case, how about custom colors? that was a huge part of the appeal of DoW multiplayer
    -are they going to stick to stock GW models, or go for some cool forgeworld stuff too? is air power included?

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    RedViv says:

    Slitherine are known for, uh, either Voldemort and his scheming friends and dark stuff, or really fun and accessible but not too deep strategy games. I always get those confused.
    Either is fine for a WH40K game!

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    drewski says:

    Wallabies make great pets but are very needy.

    I am actually significantly excited about a true TBS 40K game. I miss Chaos Gate.

    • Noelemahc says:

      I miss Space Crusade and Final Liberation. Chaos Gate had a meh soundtrack. Both SC and FL had soundtracks that would haunt you in your dreams for years afterwards.

      • Scilantius says:

        Chaos gate had a ‘meh’ soundtrack?! You, sir, offend my sensibilities with your baseless condemnation!

        Or, to put it otherwise, I loved, and actually still do, the Chaos Gate soundtrack. And the unit quotes, e.g. “Starfire shall devour your black soul!”.

        I don’t know, is it nostalgia rearing its gnarled old head? Anyone else loved Chaos Gate?

        • tobecooper says:

          I think Noelemahc must be misremembering something, because Chaos Gate’s soundtrack was quite simply phenomenal.

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        imperialus says:

        I still play the crap out of Final Liberation.

  10. cocoleche says:

    Please post more wallaby pics! Totally love the idea of a scottish island with kangaroo things.

  11. Mhorhe says:

    I’d say that turn based games lend themselves very well to Warhammer, both fantasy and scifi iterations. Even taking into account the Dawn of War saga, the turn based warhammer games reign supreme (for me at least) – Space Hulk, Final Liberation, Chaos Gate, Rites of War..

    And Slitherine has a promising record so far.

    I wouldn’t have chosen Armageddon as setting, but anything both Warhammerish and turn based makes me happy. Muy happy. At least if it’s Armageddon a good Apocalypse clash is mandatory. Titans, m’boy, Titans!

  12. MadMatty says:

    “Are you excited?”
    no im definetly meh about GW´s franchise operations the past decade or two.
    The 40k tabletop game has a truly great ruleset tho, but it will never make the computer screen, because theyre too worried it might outcompete the boardgame, and those miniatures or something.
    My main problem with the ol´ Dawn of War was the hitpoint system. The tabletop games only use a slight bit of hitpoints, instead relying on armour deflects, which i find much more enjoyable and realistic. No more, 20 guys shooting at 1 Opponent at a time, to zap its hitpoints fastest. It looks ridiculous.

    As for the Armageddon game, could be anything couldnt it.

    • SanguineAngel says:

      I really enjoyed DoW and particularly DoW2 but I do concur on the hitpoints issue. That’s something I think has plagued many games.

    • Reapy says:

      How do armor deflects work? You have to roll over a certain number to do any damage? So the mechanical difference is more you have a percentage chance to kill someone rather than have to exceed X amount of damage?

      I think you’d still get the focus fire effects though if you use HP or a low chance to hit someone. Also seems odd that the armor wouldn’t break down over time after getting shot, but then again it is sci fi, so eh.

      Either way if that is the case that is an interesting difference, just curious about what made one feel wrong vs the other.

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        Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

        I’m just guessing here, but I suspect it is that one is an awesome futuristic suit of nearly-impenetrable powered armour with tiny, hard-to-hit vulnerable points, the other is a man who takes precisely 5,000 bullets to the face to kill.

        I realise we’re splitting hairs about gameplay systems to model fictional people and fantasy equipment (which may be as close to antiwork as is humanly possible) but something in me prefers the first option.

      • tormos says:

        What you miss here is the single thing which makes armor saves so awesome: after the attacker rolls to see how many models he has hit and wounded, he hands the dice to the defender, who must hit a certain number (based on armor and attack strength) or higher to negate the damage. In the right circumstances, this raises the tension unimaginably high.

        • MadMatty says:

          The main point, incase you havent noticed, and many other traditional RTS´ follow this Template: what you see in DoW is, 20 space marines, firing at 1 Eldar Warrior at a time, for like 3-4 seconds, then moves on to the next. In WH40K proper tabletop, aswell as in real war, every shot is potentially fatal, ie. every man would be mostly aiming at a different enemy, making it look much more realistic. I did play DoW a little bit, and its great to see the art side of things in motion, but its definetly dodgy looking in regards to that!

          The tabletop game had 2 deflect saves, after getting hit: 3+ on a six- sided die to deflect a Bolter shot against space marine power armour, then a Toughness save (if the schwarznegger like bio-modified Marines just shake it off) on 4+ for normal marines. If any shot gets thru, the marine is dead. Only MMMMajor heroes can take up to about 4-5 of these shots penetrating before they die… and they can be kittet out with an additional deflect save, like a Holo-field or Magnetic Shield gizmos!

          It also opens up to catastrophic events, like your super expensive tank, getting shot in the first shot, of the first round of the game! makes things a bit more unpredictable, and i thought that spiced up the game considerably, instead of this beancounter management of Hitpoint bars

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            Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

            I once had a game in which my Boyz managed to get the first shot of the game (with an ‘Eavy Bolta, back when Orks could use bolters, which might date me) to penetrate a Leman Russ (or it might have been a Chimera, my memory is a little fuzzy and consists mostly of screaming), which exploded, flipped high into the air, and came down on the Imperial Guard Command Squad.

            The Commissar survived, earning him a painted commendation, a remodeled base consisting mostly of a blasted crater with a Leman Russ track-link, and my undying terror.

  13. MadMatty says:

    can Wallabys be trained to fetch beers like Kangaroos?

  14. LordMidas says:

    I’m listening to the audio books (Horus Heresy), painting my first army (Chaos Space Marines) and reading the rulebook. I’ve also played only DOW2 and Chaos Rising. This all leads to me being stoked about what Slitherine can produce. I simply love the W40K universe. The more the merrier.

    • MadMatty says:

      It was much better in the 80´s up to about 1997, the GW universe, unfortunately it seems to have been dilluted more and more recently, more heavily marketed and less creative.
      Still ok…… but some of the crazier stuff from the 80´s is insane… the Chaos Warband rulests in the two hardback books “The lost and the Damned” was the second one. John Blanche doing fine work as an illustrator. Don´t think its nostalgia allone…… companies (and musicians too) seem to work their asses off, when theyre “up and coming” then ease off into a fairly mechanical routine once theyre comfy.

    • Commissar Choy says:

      HH is incredible, some absolutely brilliant characters in it.

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        Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

        It certainly does a tragic fall from grace better than the Star Wars prequels.

        • vanosofmanos says:

          Tragic fall from grace? In the 40K universe? Isn’t that nearly major character ever?

          Though, Eisenhorn probably wins the prize for potentially most epic personal face plant. The last book of the first trilogy is pretty painful to read through just for how enormously screwed over he gets.

        • MadMatty says:

          Lord C is right as always :) its still not barffest, the GW stuff. Prices have gone waaay up tho, but arguably quality of the miniatures and paint are better, but again waaaay more expensive, than when they started out. It also reeks a lot more of Corporate production pipeline, than the Ol Andy Chambers & Crew nihilistic anarchist miniature epics….

  15. Capt. Eduardo del Mango says:

    A straight-up computer game of the tabletop game would be great. For something that’s supposed to involve tactical, action packed combat, 40K always seemed too fiddly to me – all the measuring and moving individual units, placing templates, etc, seemed to make it so slow-paced and awkward for what it was trying to recreate, so having a computer take care of all that stuff seems like it should be good.

    • BTAxis says:

      Plus you don’t have to spend all your money on props, nor your time on making said props look good. A proper computer version of WH40K? I’d be all over it.

      • Snids says:

        But then how could you give all of your money to GW?

      • solidsquid says:

        “Plus you don’t have to spend all your money on props”

        Dude, what do you think DLC is for? Basic game includes a literal table top to play on.

        DLC for a green “turf” cloth to cover it: $10.
        DLC for a pack of 5 hills: $20
        DLC for a pack of 10 trees: $15
        DLC for industrial ruins: $25
        DLC for single industrial building (intact): $10

        This is Games Workshop after all, they pretty much invented micropayments

        • MadMatty says:

          i kno were niche, but a lot of us kinda enjoyed making the little buildings, painting and converting the models… but i gave up on it, it can be a massively time consuming hobby to do right, when its most rewarding. Let me know if they ever re-release Necromunda, only 4-16 man teams. Also, theres the medieval style Necromunda, reminscent of the old Warband rules: Mordheim – again, small teams, so you can paint a “team” in 2 days instead of 1 year.

    • Arglebargle says:

      Way too fiddly indeed.

      I recall watching a shot during a tabletop 40k affair: The two players rolled the dice 10 times, with numerology and other additions from the game referee — and nothing happened. That seemed pretty par for the course.

      Muchly prefer Warmachine/Hordes.

  16. -Spooky- says:

    WH40k goes Hex on PC? Shut up and give me a tableversion of this. :/

    • ZephyrSB says:

      Couldn’t you just replace ‘inch’ with ‘hex’ anywhere it appears in the rules and pretty much do this yourself? I hear that the lastest editions allow pre-measuring ranges now, removing that whole ‘guesswork’ aspect that a hexboard would invalidate. Sounds like it could be pretty cool actually.

    • Snidesworth says:

      Given that Slitherine has made tablet games before I think there’s a decent chance that we’ll see this on portable pokey screens too.

      Looking forward to this. Hopefully it’ll be sufficiently bombastic (and slightly silly) in its presentation.

  17. lordcooper says:

    Yet another thing Craig hasn’t played :p

  18. wodin says:

    Slitherine have been working on this for awhile now well longer than we all knew about the deal anyway….also I know it isn’t going to be like the tabletop game as GW refuse to do anything that may compete with tabletop sales (which is wrong I feel)

    What I’d like to know what scale will it be and is it based on an existing engine. I don’t want to see a Panzer Corps WH40K mod. Now I imagine the new Battle Academy 2 engine might work, I’m sure I read they where going hex rather than squares in the next engine, though I may be imagining it.