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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).

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Adam Smith

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