Hot on the tail of the new Orcs & Goblins release from GW is a long overdue update to the Tomb Kings! These two books are also a good indicator of things to come with WHFB army books. The books have a new format, hard cover, full color, 8th ed. style spell list, and a higher price-tag. These new books are quite pretty. They really create a feeling of craft and depth as compared to the pre O&G army books. I had often wondered at the graphic design, layout, and editorial choices in earlier books. These elements made the earlier books feel like an afterthought to the miniature production (durr… but must it be so blatant?)
Naturally, the big news on the internet has been the price of these books. The last army book I bought (high elves I think) was in the $25.00 range. The new style of books comes in at $37.25 MSRP. A lot of digital ink has been spilled on the subject, so I won’t rehash much of it here. Feel free to poke around dakka, twf, or what have you if you care to catch up on that debate. Both sides have solid points.
The thing about these new books that strikes me, is that it seems that GW is taking it’s product a bit more seriously. That is a good thing. Initial reviews of the O&G book describe it as pretty fair in terms of balance. It’s not silly-powerful (its not another ‘Demon Army Book’ is the phrase I keep hearing), and it doesn’t seem overly soft either. The distance between books like Skaven, and Beastmen, which are also fairly recent releases, is less than some of the previous books in terms of power. I hope this trend continues. It would be nice to see some parity occur between the factions as imbalance is quite an albatross around the neck of the hobby.
I made an attempt to digest some of the changes in the new TK book. I was somewhat successful at this, at least as much as my limited attention span allowed. Some things that popped out at me…
- The general feel of the new book is that all the favorites from the previous books are in there as well as a slew of new options, giving the tomb kings quite a lot to choose from. A lot of the basics changed very little in my opinion. Some items like the Casket of Souls has new mechanics that work in harmony with the more standard mechanics of the game, which is nice.
- Monster-mash: Not unlike many of the new books, there are quite a few monsters, and other large model type items to choose from. Sphinx-critters, snake people, and the like. I have a feeling that this trend may have it’s roots in trying to attract a younger audience to the game. The latest models that GW has been putting out have been pretty fun, so I call this a win win. Their affect on the game has been toned down since 7th ed. as well, which is nice. Monsters are fun, but not the no-brainers that they used to be.
- Ushabti update: For a bit there it seemed that the Ushabti were going to be dropped, at least that seemed to be the rumor. Well, it isn’t true. They are still in the book, and they have a option to take great-bows, which I think is pretty slick. Long range, high strength, and can volley fire like other bows. This in addition to the ‘arrows of the asp’ (or whatever the rule is called, always hit w/o modifiers) has some potential. I can see a 6-9 block of Ushabti being a very versatile (but expensive) unit. I’d run them.
- A particular character stuck out to me… It is some sort of pissed off tomb-prince that when attached to units gives them hatred. I really hope this guy isn’t a special character (simply because they aren’t my style), because I like modularity that this type of thing provides an army build. In any case, I am glad to see GW moving towards a system that employs well tested, common abilities, and traits that are re-used throughout the game, rather than the ad-hoc mechanics that cause confusion, imbalance, and rules conflicts.
- Skeleton Warrior models: As of yet, these aren’t getting an update like the VC skellies did (which are fantastic). This is the only thing I can find to cry about. The existing TK skeletons are a bit long in the tooth. They have the cartoon proportions left over from the accursed red-period. Bah, maybe this will change. The tomb-guard are getting some new models, however.
All in all, I am more excited about this release than I have been about others. The new models are sick… and for the haters out there, give them a chance. GW’s paint schemes on the site leave something left to be desired, but in person, I think they are very solid.