New Unit Pack For Warhammer 40k: Gladius – Relics of War

Well, isn’t this something special! Warhammer 40k: Gladius – Relics of War is adding new units to the 40k 4x game via a “Specialist Pack,” adding… specialists. Each faction gets a unit from this, and they all do wildly different things, from functioning as support units to being straight-up ‘eavy ‘itters, boyz. Here’s what Developer Proxy Studios has to say about the new units:

Astra Militarum – Ratlings
Sniper infantry unit that can move after shooting.
Though less resilient than their human comrades, Ratlings are naturally excellent shots. It is said that Ratling marksmen can take the head off a heretic from over a kilometre away. Coupled with their knack for staying out of harm’s way, this makes Ratlings formidable snipers who can take a surprising toll upon superior enemy forces.

Chaos Space Marines – Dark Disciples
Infantry unit that increases the defenses of Chaos units.
Dark Disciples carry profane accoutrements of their masters’ worship and parrot the fell words spoken in his baleful prayers. Many such disciples have been augmented to better serve in their role–their skin stretched out and inked with grim litanies, or their mouths fitted with Daemon-touched vox-grilles to project their voices into the warp. Amidst the din of combat they join their Dark Apostle’s chants, crying out for the Chaos Gods to manifest their blessings.

Craftworld Aeldari – Warlock
Psyker infantry unit that can teleport around the battlefield and cleanse their foes.
When the Warlocks of the craftworlds join their minds, the fate of worlds can hinge upon their actions. As true sons of Khaine, these militant psykers will plunge into combat at the slightest provocation. Witchblades and singing spears are swung in graceful arcs, leaving coruscating webs of energy behind them as the Conclave carves through the ranks of their adversaries. They do so with joy in their souls, for of all the seers of the Eldar hosts, the Warlocks are the fiercest and most violent of all.

Necrons – Canoptek Wraiths
Extremely mobile infantry unit that passes through terrain and enemies with equal ease.
Canoptek Wraiths flit across the battlefield like the spectres of the restless dead. Using their dimensional destabilisation matrices, these strange constructs are able to phase in and out of reality at will. This unique technology means that, though no more than mindless drones, Canoptek Wraiths have manifold uses in war. Fortifications are no obstacle to a Wraith, and they are able to pass more or less undetected even through the midst of the foe, making them exceptional spies and assassins both. Furthermore, Canoptek Wraiths make effective terror- troops, appearing as if from nowhere to strike at vital targets in the enemy’s midst. Here, swirling through the panicked gunfire of the foe, the Wraiths flicker rapidly in and out of phase with reality, shots and blades passing harmlessly through their indistinct forms.

Orks – Kill Bursta
Super-heavy vehicle with a big kannon and transport assault capacity.
Kill tanks are an Ork heavy tank design based around the twin Ork loves of speed and extreme violence. The Kill Bursta’s main gun is an immense, wide-bore siege mortar mounted in the centre of its forward hull, much in the manner of a Space Marine Vindicator, only much, much larger! The huge rocket-boosted ordnance launched by the bursta gun, while appallingly short ranged, is powerful enough to blast a hardened bunker or defensive bastion to smithereens, and has been observed in direct fire shattering Imperial super-heavy tanks in a single shot, based as much on luck as good judgement by its gunners.

Space Marines – Devastator Centurion
Very bulky infantry unit with massive armaments.
Devastator Centurions pound their enemies with a remorseless, relentless rain of fire. Bloody havoc is wrought upon anything that falls within the Centurions’ targeting reticules. The pilots’ marksmanship is augmented by the grim machine spirits of their warsuits, decimator protocols guiding servo-assisted recoil absorption and oracular auto-targeting to ensure the Centurions maintain a punishing rate of fire. Return fire is a futile gesture, akin to flinging stones at a fortress, for should the enemy launch an assault in an attempt to silence the Devastator Centurions’ guns they must contend with the suits’ massive strength and the pilots’ skill at arms.

T’au – Krootox Rider
Sneaky infantry unit with both ranged and close combat capabilities.
Surging from the undergrowth with their rifles blazing, the warriors of the Kroot Carnivore squads fall upon their victims with feral shrieks. In their midst lumber massive Krootoxes, gunners perched upon their backs as they direct sawing bursts of heavy fire into the foe.

Tyranids – Venomthrope
Infantry unit with poisonous attacks and a protective spore cloud.
The Venomthrope serves as a living chemical weapon dispenser for the swarms of the Tyranid hive fleets. Its whip-like tentacles drip with a multitude of alien poisons. Indeed, so potent are these toxins that it is believed that a Venomthrope’s very touch means certain death.

It’s always nice to see games still get some love from devs several years after launch. I personally haven’t played Gladius, but it is in Joe’s words, “a fun game,” and I trust his judgment. You can find the unit pack here, and the base game on Steam here.

-Jack Trumbull

Warhammer 40k Battlesector: The First Six Missions

The embargo is lifted and I am free to report on my time spent with the latest press build of Warhammer 40k Battlesector! While the core mechanics remain mostly as they were in the previous preview, we now have access to the overarching campaign, or at least a few missions of it, allowing me to ramble on about how I think the game will hold up on release. Oh, and there’s also a sexy photo mode which has been used to embellish this article. No, no, I’m not a trained photographer, thank you, thank you.

Story Time on Baal Secundus

Having access to the first six missions in chronological order finally allows me to dig into the burgeoning narrative of Battlesector. Don’t worry, there won’t be any spoilers here. The story revolves around the integration of the new breed of Primaris Space Marines into the ranks of the Blood Angels. The Blood Angels and their homeworld of Baal have just been devastated by the terrifying Leviathan Tyranid Swarm, during a battle that was so fierce it opened portals to Chaos and unleashed demons across the planet. Only a last second intervention by everyone’s favourite goodytwoshoes Roboute Guilliman and Primaris Marines saved the day.

Now some of these new marines have been assigned to 8th company and the cleanup of Baal Secundus. That’s where you come in. It’s up to you to test their skills as they’re led by grumpy old regular marines. The narrative fits into that comfortable warhammer 40k game narrative niche that doesn’t really do anything crazy, but also doesn’t have to as long as it gives us gruff space marines talking about the grimness of war and how unpleasant the xenos are. We certainly get that in the narrative. There is some room for interesting things to develop with the threads that have been left to us in the preview, so I hope things play out in an interesting fashion, but I’m not super keeping my hopes up for anything groundbreaking.

The Campaign Layer

This is the most tabletop part of Battlesector. Between missions you are free to add or subtract units from your army from a stable of Space Marine favourites like Aggressors, Intercessors, and Land Speeders. Each of these cost points and each mission has a point limit, so you won’t be able to take everyone with you each time. Each squad has the option to change out their weapons, but I didn’t really get to experience that in the preview.

Completing objectives and bonus objectives grant you tokens that can be spent on tech trees for each of the Commander characters in your army. These tech options range from passive abilities like increased heath, to active abilities like the option of calling in air support. I personally like the added depth of the campaign layer and actively tried to preserve my squads, especially those who had served with me for more than a couple missions. It’s a light campaign layer, but I like it.

The Game So Far

I still like how Battlesector plays. There is a lot of tactical consideration to be had on every turn. It may seem like the tyranids are a push over, but any real mistake will see your space marines splattered. I like the emphasis on ideal ranges for weapon types and the management of abilities to maximize damage.

The objectives have been pretty varied so far with the exception of the final irksome objective in each map: Kill all remaining tyranids. I wish that weren’t such a constant. They do a good enough job of getting in close so you can kill them, but in general it promotes a very methodical style of play where each encountered unit is dealt with in turn. Some variety here could go a long way in mixing up how missions feel. At least there is no turn time limit.

Aside from that quibble, I’m enjoying myself and I’m sure at this stage that I’ll enjoy the full game. I’m honestly just waiting to see where they take the mission structure and if the gameplay will develop well as more units and challenges are introduced. There is definitely a lot to pull from for inspiration, and what they have here is solid to say the least.

Oh, and there’s a sexy Photo mode. Refer to cool pictures again.

-Joe

Slitherine Home of Wargames, Battle Sector Preview, and FOG II Medieval: Reconquista upcoming!

Here’s the official Let’s Talk About Wargames post reminding you all to check out Slitherine’s upcoming live event “Home of Wargames Live 2021+” a full afternoon event covering a bunch of new games from Slitherine. While there are a few we know about, like Warhammer 40k Battlesector, Distant Worlds 2 (YES!) Starship Troopers Terran Command, we also get first looks at four unannounced projects!

LTAW has also gotten its hands on a new preview of Battlesector, and from May 11th will be featuring written (and if I can figure out my settings) video content about what to expect from the full game!

Finally, Field of Glory Medieval: Reconquista is just around the corner and you can expect a full review, some more battle reports, and some streaming/video content of multiplayer matching going foward!

Check out the event and stick around for a lot of new content coming down the pipeline!

-Joe

Warhammer 40k Battlesector Preview Impressions

I’ve recently had the pleasure of taking the preview of Warhammer 40k Battlesector out for a spin and thought I’d spend a little time going through what I liked and didn’t like, to hopefully give you prospective Primaris Space Marines out there something crunchy to think about (just don’t tell your Chapter Librarian, this might count as heretical thinking.)

The Story So Far: Warhammer Ham Cooked Right

I had access to a tutorial designed to show me the ropes and two missions from the 20 mission single player campaign. Each mission took part during a different part of the story, so I can’t comment on the narrative much at this point. Suffice it to say that the snippets I did get to experience are exactly as ’40k’ as I expected them to be. Be ready for large men talking loudly at each other in angry voices about their emperor, their duty, killing things, and all the usual goodness that goes with it. Tack on some Blood Angel specific lore, like dealing with a perpetual closeness to heresy, the thirst for blood they’re always lamenting, and the dire straits of this particular Tyranid infestation and you’ve got yourself some top of the line grimdark content. Just don’t be expecting any serious science fiction. Warhammer has always been over the top and the games are best when they embrace the silliness of the universe with a straight face. Battlesector, so far, does this, and I’m happy with it. I don’t expect I’ll be remembering this story for years after I’m done, but I might be concerned if I did, truth be told.

Warhammer 40k Battlesector: How Does It Play?

This is a tactical game where players take control of a suspiciously tabletop accurate ‘army’ and try to accomplish objectives in a turn based, action point driven combat system. It’s nice to see armies broken up into their roles like the tabletop game, with Landspeeders classed as Fast Attack and so forth. Each unit has an ability bar with movement, attack, and special options that are all hot keyed. It’s immediately intuitive. Each unit has a set number of movement points and action points and can spend them in any order to position themselves, activate free actions, or attack with action points.

I love that the user interface offers statistics and damage information on top of clearly indicating what it will cost to get a unit to do what you want it to. You can move extra spaces, for instance, but doing so uses up action points and the map highlights these extra spaces in red. After a few turns it became very easy to maneuver units without having to check for any hidden numbers, something I find important in a fast paced wargame like this. There are tactical considerations, like overwatch, extra damage from rear attacks, and a lovely fog of war system that brings in sound as a hint for where enemies might be coming from.

So the core is fun, fast paced, and easy to get your head around, but I have some minor worries about what was not shown during this preview. Since the main enemy this time around are the Tyranids, a swarming race of alien bug types, your Primaris Space Marines are always going to be outnumbered, and the AI’s primary method of engagement will be to rush your positions. Thematically it works fine, but I’m hoping to see how intelligently the AI handles the sometimes complex tactical situations it faces. Enemy AI is definitely capable enough to prioritize damaging weak units, but I did catch it occasionally targeting something farther away from an important objective because it was wounded, rather than meaningfully try to stop me from accomplishing my goals.

It remains something to keep an eye on. If there are non-Tyranid enemies in the final game I’d expect them to act more intelligently, but I won’t be able to tell until we get there.

Objective and Unit variety were also pretty good for a preview. The Tyranids have some standard troopers yes, but battlefield controlling Venomthropes create poison clouds that obscure shooting and inflict damage in an area and flying Gargoyles shake things up. For the Space Marines, jump pack equipped assault troops complement the heavy and slow aggressors, and Land Speeders act as squishy recon. I was happy with what I saw and am really looking forward to customizing an army during the campaign.

Final Thoughts

I was pleasantly surprised by what I saw in this preview, and I’m expecting great things from Black Lab Games if they continue down this path. The only thing that caused me any concern was the tactical responses of the enemy AI, and I’m worried how much the ‘Tyranids are swarm aliens’ will be used to cover up unresponsive AI. Holding off hordes of aliens is fun, don’t get me wrong, but I want to see that there will be variety in the encounter types available in the full game. For fans through, this is shaping up to be a no brainer. Fun 40k narrative, fast paced tactical gameplay with clear UI, beautiful models on grimdark battlefields.

I had a lot of fun, and I’m not just saying that because the inquisitor behind me is reading what I type…(help!)

-Joe Fonseca

Let’s Talk About Wargames received a preview key from Slitherine Games for the purposes of this Impressions Piece

Also: Apologies to those looking forward to youtube coverage. I disastrously lost my footage twice over, including the rest of the footage used in the battle already started on our channel. A new system might be in order and has been requested from the machine cults on Mars.

Warhammer 40k: Battlesector’s Space Marines

Battlesector, a new turn based wargame from Black Lab Games and Slitherine set in the grim darkness of the dark grimness of the far future of Warhammer 40k, is fast approaching. With it comes the digitization of a good chunk of the new forms of Space Marine goodness that have been gracing tabletops for a few years now. Here’s a primer on all the best new forms of battlefield destruction for the uninitiated.

Now, I’m an old school 40k player. My Plague Marines are mono-posed pickelhaube sporting statues sized about 3 times too small for the current battlefields of the 41st millennium. So, I’m a little behind the times. Back in my day, Cadia was a planet, Necrons were 1 dimensional terminators, and Abadon the Dispoiler was attempting his 13th crusade for only the second or third time. (Who remembers?) But, and I say this with as much seriousness as anyone can when they’re discussing ‘roided-out space Nazis and their poor diplomatic choices: I. Love. Warhammer.

Warhammer was one of my first fantasy worlds. As a grade schooler fresh out of a showing of Fellowship of the Ring in theatre, I saw a shiny starter set for Games Workshop’s Lord of the Rings game in a hobby storefront. Entering saw me bowled over by the colour, the character, the majesty of Warhammer in a way that I think only grade-schoolers can feel. There were rat monsters, hulking armoured warriors covered in spikes, resplendent elves and dirty humans. It was awesome. Then I found the sci-fi section and was blown away again. Orcs, in space? Yes please. So began a life-long interest in the hobby and the silly fantasy worlds of warhammer and 40k. They are silly, extremely so, but silly in the best way. So, for those who have no idea what I’m talking about but are interested in what looks like an excellent upcoming tactical wargamer, prepare to get educated, straight from the publisher:

Primaris Space Marines in Battlesector

The Primaris Space Marines are a new breed of the Adeptus Astartes, genetically-engineered super warriors and defenders of the Imperium. They have been developed in secret by Archmagos Dominus Belisarius Cawl, on Mars, on order of Primarch Roboute Guilliman. They are bigger, more resilient, more powerful and are faster compared to the original Astartes.

Inceptors

Inceptors fill the role of spearhead troops. They hit the enemy in one sudden and overwhelming blow, leaving them reeling as follow-up waves of Space Marines drive home the attack. It can use its Jump Pack to move rapidly across the battlefield and leaping above obstacles, and even use its ability Death from Above to jump and dive into an enemy, dealing armor-piercing splash damage. They can be armed with either Assault Bolters or Plasma Exterminators.

Aggressors

Clad in heavy Gravis armour, Aggressor Squads advance on the foe as walking fortresses of ceramite.  An elite unit with a squad size of 3 of heavily armed and armored Primaris Space Marines, they are capable of unleashing devastating fire on their enemies with their ability Hail of Fire. They are armed with either Boltstorm Gauntlets or Flamestorm Gauntlets, and Fragstorm Launchers.

Furioso Dreadnought:

The Furioso Dreadnought is death incarnate, a towering war machine whose fearsome weaponry is guided by a pilot buried deep within its shell. It is capable of using its Frag Cannon to fire 3 grenades in a single turn and Furioso Fists for powerful melee attacks. It will explode on death, dealing ample damage to all nearby units. It can be armed with either a Storm Bolter, a Heavy Flamer or a Meltagun.

Techmarine

Primaris Techmarines stride selflessly through oncoming fire to soothe the machine spirits of wounded war engines, deftly peeling back damaged armour plates to repair burnt-out cabling and bending warped panels back into shape with their servo-arms and mechadendrites. He is capable of invoking the Omnissiah’s help to heal mechanical units and vehicles, increase the armor of nearby units and even buff a single nearby mechanical unit by giving it more accuracy and damage through their Invoke the Machine Spirit unique ability. He is armed with a Bolt Pistol and a Power Axe.

Librarian

Through many years of learning and practice, a Librarian is a potent Space Marine Psyker capable of channeling the Warp. He can use the Wings of Sanguinius, and temporarily grow blood wings which will allow him to leap across the battlefield. Through Vision of Angelic Fury he can terrorize all enemies within a certain radius, and even conjure and throw a Blood Lance which will damage all enemies on a straight line. He is armed with a Bolt pistol and a Force sword.

Seems a lot has changed since my days on the tabletop battlefields of Warhammer, but I’m actually really interested to see how these new units shake up the gameplay of Battlesector. I’m a fan of Armageddon and Gladius, but both were a little more couched in the lore that I remember, so this is a whole new can of space worms for me. What do you think of the new lore direction and the new units?

Warhammer 40,000 Battlesector will be available on PC in May 2021, and on Xbox/PlayStation some weeks later.

News and Upcoming Articles: More from Slitherine, JTS, and Indie Developers

I thought I’d take a moment to look at some of the news stories circling around and give everyone an update about what will be showing up on the blog in the next couple of weeks.

Panzer Battles: Moscow After Action Report

Wargame Design Studio

Like many who keep their finger on the pulse of the wargaming world, I was happy to see a new blog post from Wargame Design Studio, who have been working with John Tiller Software on some excellent titles, about their latest: Panzer Battles Moscow. I’m personally very excited for this, and the blog post, which included a playtester’s AAR, did nothing to dampen my enthusiasm. Here’s hoping development progresses smoothly and we can all get our hands on it sooner rather than later

Here’s the blog and AAR. Definitely give it a read!

Warhammer 40k Battlesector Announced

From the developers of Battlestar Galactica: Deadlock comes Warhammer 40,000 Battlesector, a new battle level turn based wargame that sees the Blood Angels face off against a Tyranid swarm. I’m a big fan of the two other Slitherine Warhammer games I’ve played, Warhammer 40k: Armageddon and Warhammer 40k: Gladius, so I’m keen to see what Black Lab Games can do here. With a 20 mission campaign, a skirmish mode, and (my favourite) both live and asynchronous multiplayer, it looks like there’s a lot to offer. I’m going to be keeping an eye on this as more information becomes available.

Here’s a link to the steam page for Warhammer 40k Battlesector.

Lets’ Talk About Wargames Upcoming Content

We’ve got a lot coming up in the next couple of weeks so be sure to check back in for daily content across here, our YouTube channel, and our podcast.

Reviews & After Action Reports

We’re looking at getting four reviews published in the near future, including a look at John Tiller Software’s Wellington’s Peninsular Campaign, Indie titles Maneuver Warfare and GemWizard Tactics and, next week, the latest expansion for Slitherine’s Fantasy General II.

We’ll also be positing another History-Gaming After Action Report, this time form Wellington’s Peninsular Campaign, and perhaps one from an undisclosed tabletop game. Only time (and my flagging sanity) will tell!

For video content, today, Friday February 12 at around 6PM EST we’ll be playing War of Rights with members of our discord and (maybe, if I can think and march at the same time) talking about the American Civil War and its representations in videogames. That will be on our Twitch channel, but will also go up on YouTube next week.

Lastly, stay tuned in the next week or two as we’re about finalized our latest podcast episode. I won’t say exactly what’s going on, but Jack and I are very excited to share it with everyone.

Teaser!

Thanks for all your support across the blog, YouTube, and our Podcast. We’re so excited to see our number of visitors shoot up and are inspired to keep delivering the kind of content you want to see. Really, thank you.

All the best!

-Joe Fonseca