Previously, I looked at all the amazing things that Forge World did for Horus Heresy in the first five months of 2018. It’s now time to see how Age of Darkness fared during the rest of the year.
June: The Future’s Bright for the Age of Darkness
After the horrible time we all had in May, Forge World finally decided that maybe assuring us that the game isn’t dead was the right way to go. Granted, the poor Facebook intern had been saying that all along, but who really cares about Facebook-level crap?
That’s why on May 8th, they threw some shreds of information in the general direction of the starving masses. Malevolence, Book 8 of Age of Darkness, was detailed (well, described) and we had a preview of a Blood Angels commander.
And that was that for Heresy in June. But we had nothing to fear for, Forge World had its priorities straight!
…like previewing a massive and ugly dragon for AoS, as big, expensive models are what drives every miniatures business.
July: Frequently Asked
Despite the weather not being the best – high temperatures don’t really help when it comes to spraying – everyone was still working on their projects for the half-alive game, waiting for some news.
Boy, did we get some news.
Out of the blue, an FAQ and errata dropped on unsuspecting Age of Darkness players. I have to say, those were some of the most exciting hours of the year. My heart was racing, my eyes were devouring line after line of text, I was clearly a well-adjusted individual with sane priorities.
It did a shit-ton of good. Sniper Veterans were no longer The Only Right Troops choice, Custodes finally got some badly needed balancing (previously, people hard to resort to running Custodes at 75% of point level agreed for the game), Thousands Sons were possibly reigned in a little… Sure, it didn’t fix all of the problems – that’s unlikely with any ruleset – but it was a major boost in quality of life and for the morale of all involved.
Incidentally, Warhammer 40K Kill Team was announced in July. Forge World reacted to it by doing jack shit, as making a Kill Team list that represented Death Korps of Krieg is too hard. This continued the hallowed tradition started by not giving any FW attention to Shadow War: Armageddon, thus ensuring that people continued to have no good reason to buy Elsyians.
July 15th’s Open Day was OK enough, with more character models being revealed, as well as Solar Auxilia getting a new ugly tank. However, most of the content was focused on
LOTR Middle-Earth – probably the best mass miniature combat game that GW makes and which nearly died under Kirby – as well as Necromunda, Titanicus and Blood Bowl (with more announcements of cheerleaders, which, anecdotally, nobody uses). “Forge World is focusing on the other good games” is not the best consolation for Age of Darkness people, however.
Of course, while a good servant learns to love the lash, the good HH player learns to expect disappointment. That why we were hit with another LCTB wave, this time aimed at Knight players, mostly.
“Hope is the first step on the road to disappointment” is a phrase that was modeled for Forge World.
At least we could fall back to a mobile card game for our Space Marine needs.
August: Betrayal of Prospero, Burning at Calth
August was the month when everyone was bitten by the 8mm bug, as the news were flooded with information on Adeptus Titanicus. Sure, the prices for the Grand Master box were kinda absurd, but in this hobby (described as “buying GW products”), that’s not unusual. Besides, it’s a good game, Brent.
On the other hand, Forge World announced that it will be doing several improvements to its service. No, it wouldn’t let go the wizened blind hag with unnaturally bent fingers carrying out QA or give us actual free shipping. However, it would improve shipping times and would allow customers to pay in their native currency instead of converting everything into Queen Own’s Bong.
This also means that prices will be consistent instead of fluctuating with exchange rates – so that Primarch will cost you the same one day as the next.
Admittedly, the “local currency, constant prices” thing is more of a benefit to Forge World, as looming Brexit wasn’t doing any favors for the pound.
Our trust in FW was not misplaced and when the changes were implemented on August 22nd, the eager customers found out that “local currency” mean an a price increase ranging from 10-20% for filthy, Euro-using Europeans to 30-40% for Australians, who were already paying premium for our favorite unreasonably priced miniatures.
Incidentally, when I was in Japan, I asked a FLGS shopkeeper about ordering Forge World and he just sadly shook his head, because, you know, prices. That’s Forge World!
At least we got to see more Blood Angel characters – as well as their Legion-specific Dreadnoughts, including the first custom Leviathan – and two new Consul choices during Warhammer fest!
One could ask why the previously released Legions didn’t really get much in the way of custom commanders or Leviathans, but who needs that when there are doors to release.
September: Start Collecting Money
While Forge World would like you to remember September as the month they dedicated to Specialist Games (and an ugly tank), we have something more to talk about.
Specifically, the quiet, unannounced axing of the Betrayal at Calth and Burning of Prospero boxes. Simply put, these were the only economical and legal choice for someone who wanted to get into Age of Darkness/Horus Heresy. And now, they were gone. In fact, I had placed an order with my FLGS some days before it it happened. GW wrote back something to the tune of “sorry, lol.”
With Betrayal at Calth, you could build a 1K+ army for about €125 (and some people claimed it was a good game by itself). After the axing, the price of entry jumped about 200%.
Just another way of keeping your flagship game healthy and your fans happy.
In October, the patient fans of Horus Heresy finally received a preview of the other kind of Land Speeder.
Previously, the Beakie version of the Proteus Land Speeder was only available as an event exclusive/Warhammer world thing. Now, we could all buy our expensive copy in MK IV armor and with several weapon choices! Maybe they would even be cheaper than the Javelins!
With Age of Darkness fan placated, FW then proceeded to unleash two of the most requested and needed models of all time: Design Disaster’s Bigger Brother The €465 Dragon and Stupid Necron Construct €200 Before Weapons.
November: Remember THESE Guys?!
November started out well. The Proteus Land Speeder – using the already existing rules in the Age of Darkness Army List, but finally giving it a 30K model – came out, costing €12 cheaper than the Javelin. Hooray, I guess?
We also had a blast from the past, as the Alpha Legion praetors also went on pre-order. The power armored dude costing €27 and the termie going for €31, it’s a great deal when compared with paying €44 for a pair of generic prets!
First seen in May (the AL Learnean termies were previewed in February), they at least came out in a timely manner.
Most of the rest of the month were taken up by hilarious nonsense. For example, Forge World announced a new weapon kit for the AT Warlord… except that it wouldn’t be available separately – you’d have to buy an entire new Warlord to get it.
The backlash was so bad, they announced that the weapon kit would be sold separately the next day.
Bouncing back from this failure, Forge World continued with their Fall line of Expensive Huge Models Nobody Asked For by introducing a new titan to the 28mm line. The Wabringer Nemesis titan (not to be confused with the Nemesis Psi titan from 30K) is an ugly artillery platform that was so well known in the lore of the Warhammer universe that people never stopped clamoring for a model… never started clamoring for it, either.
At the same time, we saw the release of the Blood Angel Praetors, Blood Angel Dreadnoughts as well as the two bitchin’ consul models. While we’re happy it only took them 4 months between preview and release, one wonders if these releases couldn’t have been spread out more to keep the fans from going desperate.
December: A Very Fat Christmas
Having shot their Horus Heresy load in October, Forge World didn’t have much to offer in December. However, they did have one surprise model to reveal on Christmas. I guessed right and it turned out to be Hvar Redblade.
The Tartaros armor looks great, though the axe seems like a bad third-party bit. Still, compared with the other Space Wolf release of the year, it’s a quality product! Awuuu!
To Sum It All Up
2018 was a very good year for Necromunda players, who received all of the missing House gangs, their weapon kits, a rulebook that collects everything printed in the Gang War books and more. It was great for Middle-Earth players, what with a new rulebook, starter kit, and new models being released. It wasn’t even bad for Blood Bowl and the AT, the newest Specialist Games’ babby.
However, it was a deeply perplexing year for people playing Heresy. On one hand, you had the FAQs both big and small, as well as new Land Speeders, new Legion Praetors, Centurions and so on. On the other hand, Book 8 was first switched from Angelus to Malevolence and then set to be printed in… whatever uncertain point in the future.
Meanwhile, the miniature range was gutted, removing a lot of customization choices (Legion Torsos, nooo), Special Weapons and an entire Mark of power armor. It was a huge blow to the community and an unmitigated disaster no matter which way you cut it. Losing Burning of Prospero and Betrayal at Calth doesn’t help.
And even FW’s improvements to their service were either horrible (the price increase to account for local currency) or insufficient (free shipping for orders over €90). The fact that they had to be screamed at to release the Warlord weapon kits separately from models (as was promised basically from the get go) is just the cherry on top.
Hopefully, 2019 will see more rulebook releases and more gaps in existing unit line-ups filled. We really can’t hope for more.
After all, hope is the first step on the road to disappointment.