Tabletop Review: White Dwarf, Issue #47 (Warhammer: The End Times/Warhammer 40,000/The Hobbit)

White Dwarf, Issue #47 (Warhammer: The End Times/Warhammer 40,000/The Hobbit)
Publisher: Games Workshop
Cost: $3.99
Page Count: 32
Release Date: 12/20/2014
Get it Here: The Black Library

So this is a day later than I usually get a review of White Dwarf in. This is because I usually download the magazine on Friday – a day earlier than the print release. Issue #47, however, had a physical goodie inside (Part 1 of the “Cities of Death” cards) and I wanted those, so I had to track down a physical copy. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get to my local Games Workshop store this weekend, and it isn’t open on Monday, so I had to find another place that still had one in stock on Monday. That happened to be Hobby Works. So here I am with my review. Honestly though, the “Cities of Death” cards were just a bonus for me, as I’m not a big 40K gamer. No, as a Warhammer Fantasy gamer I was excited because this issue promised not one, but two LIZARDMEN articles. As a player of Lizardmen (and Bretonnia and Tomb Kings), it was great to see my favorite army FINALLY get mentioned in a White Dwarf for the first time in god knows how long. So I had to buy a copy just to support the Slaan and their might reptile warriors. More Lizardmen articles White Dwarf! Keep them regular! Now, let’s look at the contents of this issue.

First up is the quick “Opening Salvo,” which plugs the “Cities of Death” cards, four exclusive Shield of Baal: Exterminatus formations that can be found in the magazine. This is awesome if you are a 40K fan, and a showing of why White Dwarf has really become something amazing this year. After that, we have a three page four game called, “Hunt of the Arkenstone” forThe Hobbit. Of course, you’ll need that massive $500 Smaug figure to play this, so while the enclosed game sounds fun, expect to have to pay out a lot of cash to be able to actually play it. I mean, I am utterly in love with that dragon sculpt, but if I had $500 to spend on miniatures, I’d rather get something I could use. I don’t play The Hobbit and Smaug would just sit there unloved with a mediocre paint job on him. To play “Hunt For the Arkenstone” you’ll need a deck of cards besides figures of Smaug and Bilbo. The goal is to see which character can find the arkenstone amongst the spread out cards on the table. The goal for Bilbo’s player is to find the Ace of Diamonds, while the goal of Smaug is to eat Bilbo. Again, it seems really fun, but I’m not going to pay $500 to find out. I might use one of my giant Bones dragons in place of Smaug to give the game a try.

There aren’t any new models from GW this week, so two pages are wasted with the “Hall of Fame” article, where Prince Althran on Stormclaw is talked up as innovative and groundbreaking. I definitely agree it’s the best piece in the Island of Blood boxed set that came out in 2010, but I don’t think two pages need to be spent on this miniature. These are pages that could be devoted to an article of substance instead. We also get two pages devoted to Forge World, which DOES have new minis this week. The Auxila Medusa and the Auxila Bailisk – both beautiful looking tanks.

After that we get our second game in this issue, along with our first LIZARDMEN article. Whoo hoo! “Hunt the Sacrifice” is another card based game for two players. One player is the Lizardmen, which get three packs of skinks with eight figures each and one Carnosaur ridden by an Old One. Player two gets… a single Hell Pit Abomination. The game’s story is that a Hell Pit Abomination needs to be wrangled and brought to a temple for sacrifice. The Lizardmen need to subdue the creature, while the Abomination needs to get away quickly. Besides your figures, you’ll need that pack of cards again and ten dice. The game ends when the abomination is unable to make a move turn. The hunter counts up the number of turns it took for this result to occur, and then the two players switch roles and have to see if they can capture the Abomination in as many turns or less. Another cute game, and one I can actually play… if I buy a Hell Pit Abomination.

“Codex Apocrypha” is the next article, and in this issue of White Dwarf it is a two page piece of fiction about the Lizardmen during The End Times. In this story, the second eldest Slaan, Lord Adohi Tehga, prepares for the Great Exodus. Hopefully this Exodus doesn’t mean Lizardmen will be no longer available in Ninth Edition, as that would probably make me leave the game. The story does discuss Exodus Engines, which can lead to a lot of speculation. Will Lizardmen be getting some new huge models? Could we even see them rocket into space and join 40K (That might actually make me care about that game more!). We’ll have to wait and see exactly what an Exodus Engine is and how it will affect the Lizardmen armies (if at all). Until we know for sure though, I’m going to have to go paint a golden crested skink in anticipation.

The next article is “Cities of Death.” It runs two pages and gives us eighteen Objective cards to punch out. The Object cards can be broken into three categories: Capture & Control, Take & Hold and Storm and Defend. There are six of each, and they each relate to a different objective marker. It’s fairly standard stuff, similar to any other mission objective offerings, like the recent Altar of War: Cryostorm piece. What is different is that in “Cities of Death,” you don’t recycle objectives, you discard them once they are completed.

After that, the 40K coverage continues with “The Rules: Shield of Baal Formations.” Here we get four new dataslates. There are two for Blood Angels, one for Flesh Tearers and one for Necrons. “Angel’s Wrath Intervention Force” is for 1 Vanguard Assault Squad and 2 Assault Squads. The entire formation is placed in Deep Strike Reserve and comes into play together. Once deployed, any enemy within 6″ suffers a Strength 4 AP hit. That’s each model in that range to boot! In addition, those units must then move as if they are in difficult terrain until the end of their next turn. The other Blood Angels dataslate is “Angel’s Fury Spearhead Force.” This is for 3 Tactical Squads (comprised of at least 10 figures each) and 3 Stormraven gunships. When using this dataslate, the Sergeants of each squad get a free teleport homer upgrade in addition to all troops in this formation having the Objective Secured special rule. If that’s not enough, any friendly units arrived from Deep Strike Reserve within 12″ of this formation does not scatter AND it can charge the same turn it enters. Finally, when making reserve rolls, you can re-roll for the entire formation if you choose.

The Flesh Tearers’ dataslate is for 1 Death Company Squad, 1 Vanguard Veteran Squad, 1 Assault Squad, Stormraven Gunship and one Dreadnaught Terminator. This formation gives all involved the Crusader special rule. When the formation disembarks from the Stormraven, all that do gain Rage and can re-reoll failed charges. When this formation arrives from Deep Strike Reserve, they gain Counterattack and Fearless until the end of their next turn. Not bad. Finally we have the Mephrit Dynasty Resurgence Decurion, which is the Necron Formation. This formation calls for two units of Necron Warriors, 2 of Immortals and 1 Monolith. With this formation the Monolith can repair fallen models. At the start of each turn, you can nomination on of the three units that are within 6″ of the Monolith. Roll d6 for the Warriors or d6+d3 for the Immortals. Add a number of units equal to the roll up to a maximum of the unit’s starting size. In other words, keep the Monolith safe as it keeps these guys alive for freaking ever! A great set of dataslates and well worth the cover price of this issue alone if you’re into Blood Angels and/or Necrons.

“Undeath and Decay” is the battle report of this issue and it pits Nagash and his Undead Legions against the Glottkin and its warriors of chaos. Usually the battle reports are a highlight of the magazine, but unfortunately, that’s not the case with this issue. We don’t get a list of either army involved and the person playing Nagash’s crew made some pretty obvious mistakes to the point where I wondered if they played Undead ever. I mean, I play Tomb Kings, not Vampire Counts but I was like, “Wow. Who would make these kind of blunders with the undead?” From my perspective these were boneheaded decisions like putting Khalida with a group of skeleton warriors, not archers. It would be easier to make this call with an actual army list for both sides, but there’s no way the undead should have lost this one. With Nagash, Mannfred and Arkhan on Undead’s side, there should have just been constant summoning of new troops. It didn’t happen. Ick. So yes, a terrible battle report with no army lists and one side being completely ignorant of how to play their army. That’s not something you want to see in an issue of White Dwarf. Oh well, at least it’s the only real bad article this week.

After that, the magazine ends with five pages devoted to the filler throwaway crap that is “This Week in White Dwarf.” You have a list of six ways to end the year, some pictures and “X of the week” snippets. Nothing at all to care about. Again, five pages that could be put to better use, but I’ve been saying that for a long time and it doesn’t seem like White Dwarf will ever put full articles in there. Aside from these pages and the lackluster Battle Report, White Dwarf, Issue #47 is pretty terrific and well worth picking up, especially if you are a Warhammer 40,000 player. I got my money’s worth just out of the two Lizardmen pieces, but I also loved all the extra 40K bits, even though I don’t play any of the armies in this issue. It’s just some great content this week and I love see how White Dwarf is giving out extras and really focusing on substantive articles as of late. The writing and editing team has turned it around and made it into something I look forward to reading on a regular basis.

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