Burns Night: Warhammer 40K Armageddon Expansion

Warhammer 40K Armageddon [official site] is a solid wargame – Panzer Corps with Orks and stonking great Titans – and the new ten-mission campaign will make for a pleasant evening of hex-bothering. The Salamanders Chapter of Space Marines are the focus. They’re the ones who use volcanoes as jacuzzis and gulp down magma as if it were fizzy pop. They consider fire such a central part of their faith and philosophy that many members of the Salamanders’ Promethean Cult don’t consider themselves ready to face the day until they’ve taken a blowtorch to their stubble, and then splashed their face with Nocturne-brand Napalm. Invigorating.

I expect the campaign itself will be more of the same. My full review is here and the paragraph below is a good summary of what Armageddon gets right:

Now that I’ve wrapped the campaign up neatly, I can say one thing about the Second War of Armageddon – it makes for good wargaming. Most scenarios have simple objectives – capture victory points before a number of turns have passed – but the maps and enemy forces are often cleverly laid out. There are frantic pushes through enemy lines, deceptions to draw heavy units from defensive positions, and plenty of last minute panics as a plan falters with only a couple of turns between success and failure.

It also gets the Warhammery-stuff right. The voice acting in between missions isn’t stellar and the graphics are rather plain, but every unit and weapon type sent me scurrying to the 40K wiki to learn more. I almost read the entire entry on the Salamanders when Alice sent me news of this DLC, until I realised there are around 30,000 words. 206 of those words are (or contain) ‘fire’. I thought 11 of them were ‘grim’ but it turns out most of those are false positives, relating to an ‘orrible bastard called Fulgrim.

Clicking ‘random page’ on the Wiki is great grimdark fun. Ever read about Torture-class Dark Eldar Cruisers?

All these similarities are only skin-deep, however. Unlike their Eldar cousins of the Craftworlds, the Dark Eldar care little for practicality or aesthetics in their starship design. Instead, the Dark Eldar create their starships to be as horrifying and destructive as possible, designed purely for sating their perverse lust for brutality. Ships often bear corridor upon corridor of torture chambers and “arboretums” filled not with trees, but with bloody rows of still-living impaled victims whose life is slowly sucked out by the void.

Grimdark indeed.

The Vulkan’s Wrath campaign is available now (£3.99).

5 Comments

  1. emperor_nero says:

    The game felt too much like a reskin of Panzer Corps to me. The unique stuff wasn’t unique or interesting enough, and the only thing that it was pretty much was a lore cash in. It didn’t feel like 40k. It didn’t give me that grimdark feeling that things like the Dawn of War games did.

  2. protorp says:

    As a huge fan of both 40k lorefluff and this style of game (the original panzer general was my first TBS and I’ve played most of its ilk on and off over the years) I was wishfully hopeful but pragmatically dubious about Armageddon given the proliferation of license cash-ins GW have been dishing out recently.

    I’m very pleased to report that I’m enjoying it a LOT more than I expected. One of the big surprises is how much better 40k units seems to “feel” in panzer general style tactical battles. Panzer General always required a bit of suspension of disbelief with its varying scale between missions, making the individual unit icons seem quite representational. The fantastical nature of 40k, its vehicles and guns sidesteps this, giving, I think, more personality to units through the variations in their stats and ways than can be used.

    I find myself getting more attached to my campaign units than I ever did in Panzer General / Corps, and I can definitely envisage playing through the campaign again with more themed unit sets (rough rider, ratling and sentinel hordes?) as a challenge-by-choice.

  3. Bfox says:

    Btw how’s the soundtrack to this game?

  4. Da5e says:

    I started at GW as a copywriter recently – writing stuff about GRIMDARK TORTURE BRUTALITY and being paid for it is basically the best thing in the world.

  5. fuggles says:

    I made a salamanders mod for dawn of war – voice acting and everything.

    link to moddb.com

    Got to love Dow, 10 years and counting.