What a weekend. Games Workshop not only sends Dungeon Bowl my way (and you can check out an unboxing post for Dungeon Bowl here) but they also sent me the new Necromunda releases to enjoy and review as well! And I have been waiting with baited breath for this release – it’s perfect for me, and so I’m here to tell you if it lives up to the hype. Let’s take a closer look at the Book of the Outcast, and the kits that accompany it.
Why Outcasts? Why Now?
Necromunda is, hands done, the best world-building game that Games Workshop produce. It is a game that lives most comfortably in campaigns and creativity, and though it’s a fun one-shot sort of game too, it really shines when you can build a world to live in and occupy for several games (or even several years) in a row. And we have been provided with all manor of legendary fighters and gangs already, from the houses of Goliath, Escher, Van Saar, et al, all the way through to having the ability to create swashbuckling bounty hunters that help to forge the legends of the Underhive.
But we’ve never just had basic dudes. Just folk. People who live here and have to put up with gangs of religious zealots, spooky spies, poison-perfecting femme fatales and all the other lunatics, punks and psychos that Hive Primus can produce. The average Joes and Jolenes who might eventually get completely sick of having to deal with all of this and one day pick up an old lasgun, a blunt knife or an autopistol and form their own gang. That’s what this release gives us – the basic blokes, hard-grafting girls, and other simple, decent folk of Hive City. And I love that.
The books itself is amazing. Absolutely jam-packed with lore that helps to flesh out the setting beyond the famed houses. I could point out hundreds of examples of this being done here in this book, but I really like these pages that define the differences between outcasts, outlanders and the rest:
That right there. That’s the good shit. That’s the sort of thing that makes this book magic. For gaming purposes, your gang might not change too much, but when it comes to defining how they are, how they act, the society the dwell within and even how they look, this is gold dust. When I first read that piece, I spent a good couple of hours debating what I’d go for if I was going into a campaign with a posse of loners, desperados and last chancers. And in this book, you have so many ideas to work with and get inspired by.
And when you start to create your gang, further choices have been incorporated into the rules for building a band of underworld outcasts. You get to choose their affiliation, and the choice you make will affect how your gang interacts with other gangs, resources and rules in a campaign and you have five options to choose from ranging from the unaffiliated ‘clanless’ who represent the untrustworthy elements of Hive City, to a criminal organisation who are, well, even more untrustworthy to be fair. But the heart of this mechanic, is for me, in the ability to be aligned with Clan Houses, Noble Houses or a mercantile guild. Why not have your house affiliated with House Delaque and make them shifty, ranged weapon specialists? Or make them brightly coloured Escher enthusiasts? Whoever you pick, you get access to their house weapon lists, and potentially alliances with them, so pick wisely.
That’s such a great way to further theme your gang, and as a hoarder of bits myself, it’s a great way to use up some weapons, heads, and other paraphernalia from the Bits Crate (upgraded from a box – I got a lot of bits, man). And what’s more, the get access to hangers on that you can add to your gang, adding yet more flavour. So if you want a criminal gang affiliated with House Orlock that hangs around with an underhive trader and a slopper, you got it! Or would you prefer some deviant outlanders that keep an eye on things in the Underhive for House Ty? You’ve got some great options in these pages.
There’s a lot more to this book too, with the Outlander campaign looking particularly juicy, and the Wyrd Powers very entertaining (if terrifying in some instances). There’s a whole mess of cool looking character profiles and personalities available too. There is so much in this book that I love, that it’s almost impossible to find any negatives!
…And yet, I do try and bring a little bit of balance to my reviews, so I do go looking for them. In truth, within these pages, there are no negatives that I’ve spotted, but what’s starting to concern me about Necromunda, is the amount of pages. I like that every gang gets its own book – that works great for me. But Necormunda is not 40k or AoS, and in this game, details and planning, especially on the part of the arbiter matter a lot more, and so said arbiter needs access to all of these books. If someone wanted me to play in a Necromunda campaign tomorrow, I would 100% say yes. If someone asked me to plan a Necromunda campaign, I would politely decline at the moment. There are so many books that you need now to run a campaign and for many that is a great deal of fun, but for me, it feels like too much. What I’d really like is an Arbiter’s Helper sort of book – a tome with all of the scenarios, trading posts, skills and a glossary of all the rules from all the books so far. If that sort of book comes out, I’d be prepping a big campaign tomorrow. As it is, I don’t have the patience to pour through that many pages.
So with that out of the way, I just want to reiterate that I love this book, it’s probably my favourite lore-building resource for the game so far, and I cannot wait to start thinking of more gang ideas based on these pages. Well done to the entire team who put it together.
Then there are the kits and there is an awful lot to be happy about here. As mentioned, I am a huge fan of having these simpler fighters in the Underhive setting, so let’s start off with the Outcasts gang kit.
I really like the ingenuity here. What you get in the box is three small, identical frames with lots of mix and match parts. There are plenty of heads and weapons to help you create 12 fighters just from what’s in the box. They fit the setting masterfully, and yes, if you want to make some more Chaos Cultists, they’ll probably do a very good job there. If I’m being honest, I probably expected just a little more from this kit. I think of how Necromunda sprues are usually bursting with options and while you have plenty of choice here, it’s not quite on the same level. That being said, these are generic Underhivers – they do not need to have the same sort of frames that the Gang Houses get – this works absolutely fine. I’ve built a few already and here’s one that I had the chance to paint.
I kept the paint job quick and easy (there’s no need for this guy to look to fancy for me), and I know for sure that this lasgun-wielding dude will be providing back up for some of my more expensive Bounty Hunters one day in the near future. It was a very intuitive and simple build – each character is made up of 5-6 parts. Great if you just want to get some grunts glued together. So it’s not a super special kit, but it does the job it needs to do very well and you get enough options to keep things interesting.
Next up is the market. I knew there was a reason I’d been stashing all those guns that didn’t have hands on them! By far my favourite thing about this set are the weapons racks, but the whole kit is full of fun. The market stalls look excellent, and the crates and containers work really nicely. There is a minor scale-issue with the coins and mugs in that they’re a bit big for the minis, but if you made them the same exact scale as the minis, you’d not be able to see the coins and the mugs would be daftly tiny. I like to think of these as mugs and coins for Ogryns – makes tonnes more sense then, and they too look great.
If you are building your own physical slice of the Underhive, you 100% should get this kit just because of the variety it adds. Also, there are some super fun rules for using this scenery in the Book of the Outcast so it will certainly be a real pleasure to work with.
So there’s my in depth review of the Book of the Outcast, and the kits it comes with. A great little release for Necromunda this, and I’d say the book especially is a must have for anyone who loves to create the grittiest and grimiest of the Underhive. Another ‘well done’ to all involved. Until next time; Onwards!