Waaaaghface! Warhammer 40k: Sanctus Reach released

Warhammer 40,000: Sanctus Reach [official site], the turn-based wargame of grimdark futurewar and wacky fun orky waaagh!, launched last night. It’s not quite an adaptation of the tabletop ruleset but I do hear it feels like a streamlined version, which is nice. For all the Warhammer 40k games we have growing on trees, showering the waaaaghpavement with waaaaghfruit and waaaaghleaves that make careless waaaaghchildren slip and break their pretty little waaaaghfaces, they rarely get too near tabletop territory.

Sanctus Reach pits Space Marines from the Space Wolves chapter against those cheeky orks. The orks are having a lark in another big ol’ waaagh!, merrily fighting and killing their way across a system, but the Space Wolves are being total buzzkills.

It’s turn-based, grid-based action, with army building a bit like the tabletop game. Each unit has a point value and you’re given a point cap, meaning you can put together an army as you please as long as it’s below the cap. A handful of robuts might look impressive but, y’know, perhaps it’d be more sensible to diversify.

Sanctus Reach is made by Straylight Entertainment and published by Slitherine, built upon Slitherine’s own shiny new 3D engine. It may not look as pretty as even 2009’s Dawn of War II but hey, it’s a step!

You can nab Sanctus Reach on Steam for £22.99/27,99€/$29.99 or from Slitherine for a bit more.


  1. Byrnghaer says:

    Damn, this needs some better animations.

  2. 3man says:

    That’s some bad dialogue right there. Waagh indeed. The Magic Roundabout-style animations didn’t inspire confidence either.

    However, it seems to be reviewing OK online – will it be reviewed on here?

  3. Gothnak says:

    Animations, particles, dialogue all admittedly very poor. Hopefully they spent all the budget on the gameplay.

  4. keefybabe says:

    Millions of 40k games and nearly all about the boring space marines and boring orks. Necrons or gtfo

    • NetharSpinos says:

      Astartes are the flagship faction of the game, and Orks are the most common/numerous enemy for anyone to fight. You want ‘crons, play DoW. Or disagreeable individuals on the tabletop who don’t believe in taking models off the board.

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      phuzz says:

      I assume necrons were added after I stopped playing 40k, so as far as I’m concerned they don’t exist (but squats still do!).
      2nd edition 4eva!

      • horus_lupercal says:

        ha. I’m in the same boat. Took a long hiatus from the hobby after some scumbag stole one of my army boxes at a GW game day (yes, I’m still pissed off about it. When i started paying attention again there were Necrons, Tau, Dark eldar and this Sanguinor nonsense. pfft I say. pfft!

      • Danarchist says:

        I used to play allot of tabletop and even had a fully fleshed out imperial army. Regrettably when I decided to go back to it all my friends had switched to a game called Warmachine and I was not about to buy and paint an entirely new army. Tried a few games at the local shop with some rando’s and found they spent more time angrily reading rules out loud than actually playing. Maybe a virtual version of the game can be fun for awhile, I will wait for it to be on sale though ;)

  5. Landiss says:

    Why are they focusing on showing units models and animations, which are completely subpar compared to other AAA strategy titles? Why they don’t show mechanics or how clever AI is? Unfortunately I’m not hopeful and I suspect they did show the best bits…

  6. Benratha says:

    This game, plus Relic’s touch in the animation department could be the perfect combo.
    That, and a few more races that aren’t packaged as ‘Day 1 DLC’….

  7. access.denied says:

    I am not overly bothered by the animation or effects quality (and they are certainly better than previous Slitherine efforts), but…
    Is it really difficult to match runinng animation with the speed of a sprite moving across the terrain? In the trailer, all of the running models, from Marines to Orks to Dreadnaughts seem to glide across the surface, as if they wore slippers on a newly waxed floor.
    I admit, I know nothing about animation, so maybe such synching would be a major accomplishment in the engine they are using.

    • Gothnak says:

      I’ve worked in the games industry for 20 years and it just needs a communication from the coders before the animators start work, and then it is all down to decent animators knowing the in game move speed. It isn’t tricky if you have been doing it for long.

      The particles are worse tbh, my placeholder ones are better than those, and i’m a designer.

      • Phil Culliton says:

        Speaking as an in-house 3D game engine programmer, I’d say “Slitherine’s own shiny new 3D engine” probably has a lot to do with it. There are a huge number of non-trivial tasks involved in making it so your decent animators can do their job easily / smoothing corner cases in the animation system, or make your placeholder particles look okay, and all of THOSE tasks butt up against every other game engine task: making it work on a variety of PCs, delivering smooth gameplay, building AI frameworks, etc.

        Any place that isn’t gearing for that from the get-go, or doesn’t have a massive amount of resources to throw at it, is going to have to balance and juggle, and generally “game stuff” will win out over making things look nice.

        In a race to the Moon, these guys are starting in the Marianas Trench with a wrench and some coral.

        Unless the story is wrong and they’re using a pre-built engine, in which case… WTF. But if they’re rolling their own, yeah, I’ve definitely been there.

  8. Carlos Danger says:

    Still a better 40k strategy game then DoW 3 will ever be. I will take wonky animations in a game that has tactical mechanics, like cover, over a pretty turd any day of the week.

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    buenaventura says:

    I’m happy it’s ugly, perhaps it will work well on my laptop. I wish more games would just cut all the shiny crap.

  10. sneetch says:

    Wolves. Space marines on bloody wolves. As in, actually sitting on actual fucking wolves. Bloody hell.

    • Haplo says:

      Yeah, it’s rather extreme, isn’t it?

      I hear the Space Wolves weren’t always like that- the wolf part was a theme related to their Nordic origins as well as their traits of being isolated from other Imperial factions, including other Marines (lone wolves, geddit?). But at some point (maybe recently) they became all about Dat. Wolf.

      They now have wolf lords leading the wolf priest and the wolf guard into battle on the advice of wolf scouts, backed up by the, as you can see above, Thunderwolf Cavalry.

      It’s far more present in the tabletop game than it is in the fiction books, where they have a more solidly Nordic theme. But what can ya do? You got giant superhuman spacemen riding giant… Mutant human wolves.

      Space marines on bloody werewolves? I guess.

      • Captain Narol says:

        They kinda “jumped the wolf” !

      • sneetch says:

        Yeah. They used to just be Space Marines who recruited from a harsh world full of vikings, essentially, who developed longer canines because of their primarch and had bigger squads, iirc. Before someone went mad pasting the word ‘Wolf’ around that is.

        Always preferred the Dark Angels myself… they’re probably “spooky ghost marines” now or something. :D

        • Haplo says:

          The Dark Angels are, thankfully, not spooky ghost marines. Their thing is (and probably has been for awhile, maybe…) that they have a terrible secret and that is that a bunch of them went heretical ten thousand years ago, and they’re still hunting the survivors of that heresy and NO ONE MUST EVER KNOW. And they make sure no one suspects this by being as erratic as possible, ditching entire battlezones just to hunt a single Fallen Angel. It’s really great for their relationships with literally everyone.

          So they’re just secretive assholes without a lick of reliability to them.