Have you seen the new White Dwarf? Have you? It’s awesome. Why? Because it’s chocked full of Necromunda goodness. I am a very happy underhive bunny (though could you imagine what an actual underhive bunny would look like? A roided up, cyberised rabbit wielding a high voltage carrot gun while wearing a fox-skin cloak. Scary rabbit yo). But some young’uns were in the store when I picked up my White Dwarf and they were asking “What’s so good about this game? The new miniatures look cool, but it’s just a boxed skirmish game, right?”. Ah, the youthful, innocent unknowingness that can be so charming (while making some of us feel so old). I almost envy them, as soon they will get to enjoy the nightmares that can only come from just above The Sump with fresh, un-mutated eyes.
So, because of these younglings (I think they were about 18 but that’s still childlike as far as an old, greying fart like myself is concerned) and their questions, and because I am downright excited about this game coming out (could you tell?), I’m doing a Top 5 list today. Specifically, the Top 5 reasons that Necromunda is a cool and unique game, and what I’m looking forward to when the latest iteration is released later this month. Also, I get to sprinkle in some classic images of minis and illustrations because these too are awesome. Let’s roll…
When you’re playing Necromunda, you feel penned in. Despite the sprawling nature of the Underhive, you feel trapped in the narrow corridors and cramped walkways. The debris, detritus and industrial waste hem your miniatures in, and it’s real fight or die stuff. Think films like Alien, or games like Doom. You’re gang are isolated, in the darkness of the underworld, and you don’t get this in any of GW’s games except for the obvious exception of Space Hulk of course. But you can’t rely on assault cannons and tactical dreadnought armour here. Here, you’ve got a spiked bat, a scavenged gun that doesn’t work half the time, and a few scraps of “armour” to keep you alive. When you get deep into a game of Necromunda, one of the things you’ll feel most strongly, is a sense of confinement and claustrophobia, and because it’s happening to your little toy soldiers and not you, you can really enjoy the adrenalin it will dose you up with.
When you play a game like 40K, it can be hard to find genuine personalities in your army. Your HQ choices and perhaps a sergeant or two might have what you’d call a personality, but it’s rare to have idiosyncrasies run through every miniature in your 2000 point list. In Necromunda, you know each member of your gang, and the more you play with them, the more those personalities come through. I used to have a Cawdor Heavy with a big ol’ stubber back in the day who was useless in open warfare, but as soon as he got backed into a corner, he became unstoppable. If you gave him time to shoot, he couldn’t hit a superheavy tank while standing inside it, but with a close combat fighter one turn away from cutting him up with ease, he’d never miss. That’s how he used to behave and it meant that I got to see a personality. He was lazy and slow-witted until the chips were down and then his panic made him a far better shot. And he wasn’t the only one who embedded themselves in my memories of the game. The entire gang had their quirks and peculiar traits. You can get something similar with Blood Bowl, but in Necromunda, you’ll know your gang better than any other force that you run with. Only a few games in and you’ll know the brand of wax your Van Saar ganger uses in his moustache, or the shade of nail varnish your Escher champion prefers.
Can’t find time to knock out a 3+ hour game of 40K? Then grab some Necromunda action. It’ll be interesting to see how long the games take with the new ruleset and the alternating actions, but the old game, you could knock out a quick brawl in 30 minutes once you had the rules down perfectly in your head. More gangers, different weapons and an interesting scenario could mean that your games were closer to 1.5 hours, but it was rarely any more than that. And the more time you put into it, the quicker the games will become. You could knock out a little campaign with a couple of mates in a weekend!
What’s more, if I recall correctly, like GorkaMorka, it had solo games – quick missions you could play by yourself. Ok, so that’s not the most sociable way to enjoy the game, but if you were stuck indoors, you could have a quick little bit of fun with your miniatures taking on something random. No reason why, if this isn’t included in any of the new material, you couldn’t write something like this for yourself. Why not, right?
Technically, you can introduce almost anything (within reason) into any games from GW. As long as everyone agrees to the rules for new things being added, you can do what you want. It’s one of the reasons that games set in any of the Warhammer settings are so great. But in Necromunda, you can really let your imagination go wild, with the added benefit that because it’s a smaller scale skirmish game, actually creating the terrain, objectives, characters or even rival gangs takes far less effort, and has a far greater impact on the play. I recently worked on my Slaaneshi Dark Mech miniatures. I have three of them, and while creating an army of these guys would be a daunting task, I can take these 3 and use them in Necromunda straight away. Or my Ordo Xenos Inquisition force – you can take anything really. Create a scenario, pen some fun rules, and you can get right into it. And imagine the monsters you can have in the Underhive. Hunting them with your gangs can be a huge amount of fun.
The True Grimdark
No game captures the downright awfulness of the 41st Millennium like Necromunda. Just off the top of my head, the list of horrors include drug abuse, mutants, the aforementioned claustrophobia, the dirt and grime, the murder, the gang warfare, the hopelessness, the broken class system, the vermin, poisonous lakes and clouds, unceasing violence… it’s all so horrendous. You would never, ever want to be here in person. And you won’t see any modern Necromunda miniatures being based with green flock and fake flowers (the old ones from the Eavy Metal team had the old Goblin Green bases and I’ll never really understand why). Nature doesn’t exist on the underhive. Oh, there are all sort of animals down there, but none of them are truly natural. Playing this game will make you thankful that you’re living in the 21st Century and not the 41st Millennium. I mean, I know we have our problems right now, and things could be a lot better for most of us, but at least you don’t live near to a toxic swamp with no access to real food or sunlight, and not everyone is trying to kill you right now. Well, I hope not anyway. If that is the case, you have far greater priorities than reading this blog post! Run!
So, there you have five reasons why I’m excited about this game coming out. In truth though, there are many more reasons why I’m so happy about all of this. If all goes to plan, I will purchase and paint everything that comes out for this game – gangs, characters, and terrain even. The new ruleset looks like plenty of fun as well. I hope you’re looking forward to it with as much glee as I am. Onwards!