Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Musings On The Horus Heresy Thus Far: Part One.

G'day loyal followers, Macca here with the fourth 'Macca on Tactica' article. I thought with the Forge World Open Day just gone, as well as the release of the full trilogy of Istvaan now out of the way that I would give a few of my personal thoughts on how the series looks so far.

So, where to begin? I guess we should start with Istvaan III and "Betrayal". This book dropped late in 2012, and at the time, nobody knew quite what to expect. I had recently built a Thousand Sons force, using the MK II power armour, and found this to be a very rude shock as I knew then and there that my lovingly converted models with parts from around the globe would be soon superseded... or would they? I was serving in the army at the time, so I was away for much of the time between the announcement that the Horus Heresy was being done and the actual release. In truth, I expected the Heresy to be a cool niche, and in fact I was more concerned with the new Chaos Space Marine codex being released at the same time. 6th Edition 40K was brand new and I had high hopes of a competitive codex. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending how you look at it) the chaos codex was the worst codex since... well, the last chaos codex.

(This sucks, unless you like dragons and zombies/cultists)

(This one was just as bad, but that's it's own sad story)

Needless to say, I was unimpressed, and ANYONE who knows me knows that if there is one topic that will always set me off, it's this piece of shit codex. (Also, for anyone who is curious and wants to debate this, 1. I suggest you don't, my mind is set; 2. I have written well over 1000 words on in a dot point format comparing units and costs as to why.)

Ok, back to the topic at hand. So, I had ordered Book 1 Betrayal from Forge World, and my good mate Cat had ordered the 'Limited Edition' piece of shit codex from Games Workshop. They arrived the same day, and he and I met up at his house to compare. For those of you playing at home, Cat is as passionate about things he dislikes as I am, and his 'Limited Edition' Codex actually cost MORE then Book 1 by $10! It is half the size, if that, and had far less love and care put into it. We couldn't believe it. You see, Forge World had done things like the Badab War, and we rated that series, the books were fantastic and well detailed, but this book was AMAZEBALLS! Alan Bligh, if you ever read this, you outdid yourself mate, you and the artists who detailed this book outdid yourself.

This is the first thing that really appealed to Cat and I, quality. For what us here in Australia consider as 'cheap' for this hobby, they had made a phenomenal book. The lists were great, and we could already see a real uniqueness to each Legion. I went home that night and began planing for a new army, which that Christmas materialised in the form of the Death Guard. Here's some shots containing most of that army.

This was the first 'realistic' army I had painted. It's a good army, above 'table top' standard, but you can see it has some flaws, and it has amateurish weathering because I didn't know what I was doing at the time. Not that many tutorials existed in late 2012 dealing with weathering, except the ones where people had taken it to extremes. Nowadays, I think I have a better grasp, and I have used what I have learnt since to write many of the tutorials on this blog.

(as a side note, I just sold this army for $700 Australian, which I think is 5 British Pounds if GW's prices are anything to judge by.)

I really got into the Horus Heresy around September/October in 2012, and I have to say, I have been hooked ever since, because unlike 40K, it seemed like the writers and sculptors at Forge World gave a damn, (this is personal opinion, but the sculpts and rules coming out seem A-class to me) not to mention, they were giving the FANS what they wanted. What was this? Primarchs and Legions. Yes, the Legions, glossed over by Games Workshop for 10 years as side units in the Chaos Undecided, er, Undivided Codexs. Here was the chance to take fully themed armies for our most beloved Legions in all their glory, led by characters who really were up to the task. Take a look at Kharn in the Horus Heresy, I mean, the guy is a total badass, and compared to his 40K counterpart is fantastic. (Apparently in 40K, at some point someone robbed Kharn at knife point and took all his good wargear. I shudder to think about what happened to Ahriman.)

"So," I hear you saying, "will you stop ranting about 40K and get to the point? Nobody cares about 40K, this is a 30K blog!" Well, you're right, it is, and nothing is more annoying then 30k being mixed up with 40K continuously, but my point here is contrast. I am comparing two products, released at the same time, both taking advantage of a new rules system. One, succeeded, and has bloomed and brought book after book with extensive rules and fantastic units, bringing the hobby to a new level. The other, sadly, has defined an entire Edition of 40K by failing in multiple areas, and set up the pogo-stick of codex power jumping up and down, possibly leading to the failure of 6th itself and the early release of 7th Edition. Just let that sink in for a second.

Anyway, I have ranted at length here, and I promise to be far more positive in the second part of this topic, where I will discuss the units, lists and all that goes with it. To be fair, I couldn't just get to the good part without describing how we got there, can I?

Until tomorrow, I leave you with this parting thought; If 40K 6th had been more balanced, would Horus Heresy have succeeded to this extent, or would it have been a niche like all the other Forge World books?



  1. Nice article. Beeing a 30k Hobbyist and player too, I still think that 30k is more about the Hobby side than the gaming side. Like you said they gave us fan some really hard on and we just couldn't resist painting and collecting all the models GW and BL been telling us about for years. So I still believe that it's kind of niche game but more and more people are jumping in and it's great. I started my army when Betrayal was released and there were really few people in my area collecting and playing (living in France). Now it's a bit easier to find people to play with, but there is always one thing stopping it from being a huge success at the moment in my area. It's money. Here, FW product are really really expensive and it's harder to justify for some people to spend that amount of cash on minis (I don't even want to start counting how much my force is worth). But I realized that my enthusiasm about 30k really helped people around me to start collecting (even if just a bit a the time) minis from FW and I think with time this tendency will spread around the country

    1. There are a few really good points you make there Palakir, I actually cover a few things in part two of this mini-series regarding them. The biggest things that people seem to have to overcome are:
      -the price
      -the lack of Legion custom parts
      Unfortunately, I live and game in Australia, and the hobby here is between 30-50% more expensive then the hobby in the US. This is a big factor in deciding whether people play, however, I have noticed that due to the power gaming antics in 6th edition, a lot of people hopped over because they saw the Heresy as inherently more balanced.
      The second point, the lack of Legion custom parts is discussed in depth in part two, but not many people want to do too much work on Legions which are years away from release. They want the real look and feel of that Legion, because they ARE hobbyists, and frankly, they don't want to be left high and dry. I know Emperors Children players who built whole armies thinking they would release a transfer sheet, and now they either have to remove all their shoulder pads and replace them with embossed sculpted ones or freehand them all. To me, that's an issue.
      Thanks for the feedback too Palakir, if you have any more thoughts, do keep them coming!

  2. Looking forward to more of your thoughts on this topic Macca. I love my FW books though my pace of purchasehad slowed right down. You are spot on about the quality. Even my missus finds it hard to complain about the FW gear after she had a good look at my Badab books compared to the stuff GW was putting out at the same time.

    FW had always been pricey but it used to be a special thing to have a single FW model as a stand out centrepiece for your army. With the Heresy stuff, I dearly wish they had such a plastic production deal with someone to help manage costs for the bulk filler units. Even someone like Wyrd who on the back of know real evidence I would suspect had similar scale of market penetration can manage plastic sculpts these days.

    Anyway., look forward to the rest of the posts.

    1. Yeah, I have a feeling part two will appeal to you. I find it odd that they haven't made the swap to plastic, at least for the MK II, III and IV power armour, let alone the vehicle kits. GW managed to do it with the Baneblade chassis, and most of the kits are less detailed then that 5000 rivet monstrosity.

      I think the kicker with cost is also where you live. In Australia, it's about on par to buy FW as it is to buy G-dub, but hey, I talk about that more in part two, so I can't give too much away!