It is not often that a war game encompasses so much more than a simple battle between two players. “Warhammer 40,000: Dark Vengeance” is played without the traditional game board, the playing pieces can be hand painted to exacting specifications and there are numerous war missions available all in one package. In addition to the components included in the game box, there are loads of optional accessories available, including new armies, an uncountable number of additional figures, vehicles, weapons, scenery, paints, a figure case, special gaming surfaces, books, supplements and various expansions. It is simply an amazing game concept.
The best part of “Warhammer 40,000: Dark Vengeance” is that everything you need to begin playing the game is included in this one box. This is critical for new players, plus it is a tremendous value even for more seasoned players. We at Toys Bulletin had not played the game before, so we were especially anxious when we opened the box.
The game includes 48 miniature plastic models, all of which can be snapped together, although glue is recommended to insure they stay together. The models are very intricately designed and each one has its own distinct appearance and weaponry. The models represent two opposing armies, The Dark Angels versus the Crimson Slaughter/Chaos Cultists. To insure the most realistic game play, the figures can be painted using the recommended Citadel paint set ($39.00) along with the Citadel starter hobby kit ($60.00). To do this right, it may well take several hours to paint just one figure. Pre-painted figures are also available on E-Bay or from other collectors, but there is a healthy premium for well-painted models. We even checked with our local game store and they had names of hobbyists who would paint the models that come with the game to whatever specifications we might desire. Again, the costs varied but were generally very high.
Yes, we did paint one of the models ourselves. We found it to be time-consuming but rewarding to see a model we had painted become part of the game. Because of time constraints, we decided to play the game with the unpainted models (except for the one). There is an extremely handy assembly guidebook that helps piece together all of the models using reference numbers and pictures.
There are also several rulebooks included in the game box. One is a very comprehensive 168 page “Warhammer 40,000” rulebook, another is a very helpful 50 page “How to Play” book, and there are two “Quick Reference Sheets,” which also include complete rosters for each of the armies. Lastly, there are 7 dice and several measuring templates.
It is imperative for new players to first read the “How to Play” book. It contains step by step instructions on how to set up the game, position the armies, and how to move, shoot, charge and fight, using fantastic color photos. Since there is not a game board, we set things up on a large tabletop, and followed the directions page by page. The great thing about the “How to Play” book is that you can actually play the game immediately, following the examples in the book. It provides even more specific instructions on how to roll and interpret the dice rolls, how certain figures are wounded or eliminated, and how to determine the results of a battle. The templates provided are used to measure movement distances, as well as assist in determining which opposing figures might have been impacted by an assault. Of course, the best scenario would be to play with painted figures, scenery and a real battleground.
“Warhammer 40,000” is an astounding achievement in gaming. “Games Workshop” may have said it best when they first welcome players to the “grim darkness of the 41st Millennium.” They go even further by stating that “Warhammer 40,000” is far more than just a tabletop game, but rather it is a launchpad to an entire hobby. We could not agree more.
As we complete this review, we are looking directly at our lonely single painted figure, and we are going to spend the next couple of hours painting number two. This game may have gotten into our blood. We have to play again, and we are going to take a long look at the accessory line as well.
The “Warhammer 40,000: Dark Vengeance” boxed game set retails for $99.00. It can be purchased at the Games Workshop website.
— RJ Cullen