ICv2 Stars: 4 (Out of 5)
Posted by William Niebling on July 6, 2022 @ 3:09 am CT
Publisher: Games Workshop
Release Date: June 3, 2022
MSRP: $299.99 (Boxed Set); $70.00ea. (Army Books)
Number of Players: 2 or more
Playing Time: N/A
Product #: 60013099001
Age Rating: 12+
ICv2 Rating: 4 Stars out of 5
In a way, there have been two Warhammer 40,000s for a long time: the more familiar one that often sits at the peak of tabletop miniatures games, and a more shadowy prequel version, sometimes known as Warhammer 30,000, but more formally known as Warhammer: The Horus Heresy, which explores the galaxy-spanning civil war that marked the birth of the Imperium of Man. Now this era steps into the light with its own massive starter set: Age of Darkness. But should it have stayed in the shadows?
Available separately, there are currently two Army Books, the Liber Astartes and Liber Hereticus. Each weighs in at 344 pages, and includes all of the game stats and weapon rules for one of the two main factions in Horus Heresy: the loyalist space marines, and the followers of the traitor Warmaster Horus.
Presentation: These days, it wouldn’t be a Games Workshop product if it was not, at some level, a work of art. The box sports dark but evocative artwork, and has a lot of "heft" when you pick it up. The models are highly detailed affairs that will look stunning if painted well, and GW thoughtfully protects the gorgeous rulebook with a poster-sized cardboard sheet showing studio-painted samples. To my surprise, the books have less artwork than I expected. They are text-heavy, and the ratio of rules to "fluff" is generous. The measuring sticks, however, are a bit disappointing, and the dice are pretty standard.
Marketability: The real value of this boxed set is, in a word, its value. For a new player looking to get into Horus Heresy, it can provide a solid foundation for an army collection, whether loyalist or traitor, and at a price that seems hefty but is in truth quite generous. Comparable Citadel models would tally up to well over $400, and that’s before taking the rulebook and accessories into consideration. The Army Books, also, are worthy of their price tag, considering both their length and the fact that each book is almost entirely useable rules, with options for no less than nine legions each.
Overall: My first exposure to the world of Warhammer 40,000 was a game set in the Horus Heresy era: the original Adeptus Titanicus and its companion game Space Marine, so I will always have a fondness for that version of the setting. But some may find the marine-on-marine focus to be limiting. Fortunately, GW has already promised new Army Books with other factions, from the "Mechanicum" to the Emperor’s own bodyguards. Could "Xenos" sets be in store for the future as well? Much of the lore of the game describes the “Great Crusade” against a multitude of alien empires. I for one would be delighted to explore those potentials…
But for now, it’s just Space Marines, and that’s alright, too. For those looking to enjoy a more focused game but who like the Warhammer 40,000 lore, Age of Darkness is a great starting place. Or, if you just want a large collection of beakies and other old-school marines, it’s still pretty hard to beat this deal. And that’s why I’m giving this game 4 out of 5.
Click on Gallery below for full-size images.
- William Niebling
TCG based on Popular Japanese Digital CCG
December 6, 2022
Bushiroad will bring Shadowverse: Evolve English Edition, a trading card game, into U.S. retail.
ICv2 Stars: 3.5 (out of 5)
September 30, 2022
Here's a review of the Warhammer Quest: Lost Relics board game, published by Games Workshop.