Warhammer Age of Sigmar Warcry Red Harvest Unboxing and Review
Archaon, the Everchosen is furious. His plan to breach the gate to Azyr by using the infamous realm stone Varanite has been thwarted by the heist planned and executed by Morathi-Khaine after she stole his largest reserve of the substance in her quest for godhood. Fixated on his task, Archaon has determined to bleed the earth of the Eight Points dry in order to fuel his ambition. The inhabitants and tribes of the Eight Points are well aware they can gain favour with the Lord of the End Times if they can deliver to him this dangerous mutative substance…
In Warcry Red Harvest, up for pre order today, two warbands fight over this precious material through the sprawl of Chaos Duardin industry in order gain a chance of recognition and glory!
Massive thanks to Games Workshop for sending us a free early copy to open up and explore with you guys!
If you would rather watch this in video form, then you can check out out unboxing over on our YouTube channel or just below!
Warcry, the Age of Sigmar skirmish system has been going for a couple of years now, and this is the 3rd “big box” released for the system. Whats interesting, and perhaps a nod at just how good the ruleset is, we have not yet received a “2nd edition” with Red Harvest containing the same core rules as the original Warcry set. This is great news for both existing and new players as it means that whichever of these core boxes you have, you are still going to have the latest rules and be able to play straight out of the box. Red Harvest acts as more of an updated core set with some additional content covering how to play battles over the varanite soaked mines that are scattered across the Eight Points.
So just what is in the box itself? Firstly, it is an absolute beast of a box! Jam packed full of sprues, the real showpiece is the 8 frames of scenery inside – just look at how cool this is:
In addition to the barricade and walkways frame from the original Warcry, you get a host of brand new frames that allow you to build the Chaos Duardin crafted machinery and mining equipment that your warbands will be fighting over. Included are 2 massive platformed structures with large areas for you to place your models, 2 Delve engines (Both a Pit Dredger and a Varanite Syphon) that are used to draw the raw varanite out of the ground plus a series of modular sluices that are used to transport the Varanite to it’s destination.
This scenery is jaw-droppingly gorgeous and would work as well for games of Age of Sigmar as it would for games of Warcry. I’d also say it would have uses in order systems too – it would fit a particularly ramshackle mind on Necromunda perhaps!
It is assembled in Modular sections, allowing you to put the entire thing together in different layouts, something that is represented in the included battleground cards that are included in the set – this gives you a large amount of variety and replayablitiy even if you treat this as a self contained game, though thankfully as the core rules remain the same all existing Warcry scenery sets (Something I hope we see more of to continue support of the game)
Next up in the box we see the two new warbands plus their associated cards, and as with all the other Warcry warbands they are gorgeous!
Tarantulos Brood are really sinister looking, sporting additional limbs and spidery features. While a little fragile they have some really sneaky tricks such as the ability to scuttle up scenery without having to count vertical distance, or the ability to summon fresh spider swarms to replace those that have already been taken out. While they may not be able to take on a Darkoath in a one on one fight, as a swarm they are able to be quite tricky to face!
Speaking of the Darkoath, the other warband in the box are the Darkoath Savagers, a vicious barbarian style warband
While the Brood are more sneaky and tactical, the Savages are a little more straight forward in their playstyle, favouring smashing heads in with greatweapons!
Their abilities key off this with ways of granting additional attack actions, increasing their stats or reducing the toughness of their opponant.
Looks wise, these are very much reimagined Chaos marauders, and it wouldnt surprise me if they simply replaced them (the warband is a very Age of Sigmar friendly 10 members too compared to some of the other warbands) we even see lots of nods to old Games workshop models of old, with the Proven with Greatblade being very reminiscent of some classic models and the Hero Quest artwork
Of the two warbands, stylistically the Darkoath appeal to be the most, and I can see myself putting together an Age of Sigmar Slaves to Darkness force built around a core of these (We are now at the point where the entire Warcry range can make a beautiful force for larger games such as AOS)
We’ll follow up with another post once we have these built and painted, and I really cant wait to start work on them – it’s been really hard to resist painting them up before writing this article!
In the style of a self-contained game, the box has all the other things you would need in order to play straight away. We get all the cards (Including fighter cards and battleplan cards), a double sided sheet of tokens, a gorgeous double sided playing surface (This is in the same standard size increments as Age of Sigmar, so you can put together multiple of these to make an AOS board!), dice, a range ruler and even baggies to store all the tokens and cards in when you put the game away!
Instructions are clear and keep the same standard as all recent Games Workshop assembly books, detailing how the pieces go together (You do get a number of options for the fighters, so you might want to write a list first before you commit) and even a base size guide to quickly work out which base goes on which model.
Outside of the components, the main attraction is the main Red Harvest rulebook, and I have to say this is an excellent little book!
Diving straight in we get some new lore describing what is happening within the Eight Points since the Era of the Beast started. It seems that Archaon isn’t happy about the loss of varanite that Morathi magicked away, and so has put the Chaos Duardin to task to build him mines to refine what little is left within the Eight Points while also sending expeditions to other realms to mine and corrupt realmstone so that he can use the combined mutative power to breach the gate to Azyr and be able to finally march upon Sigmar once and for all.
This is a great lore development and I really hope we see Archaon achieve his goal over the course of this edition – let’s face it, we all want to see the grand showdown between The Everchosen and Sigmar! There are numerous tantalising mentions of the Chaos Duardin, building on what we have learned of them from the snippets dropped in Dominion – For example. the Chaos Duardin are fusing Daemons and machines together to complete their mining operations, though it seems they do not yet have full mastery over them! I really hope we see a grand reveal of them for Age of Sigmar, even if was initially a Warcry warband for them!
The book also contains the full expanded rules for fighting over Varanite Delves, the varanite mines that the warbands are seeking for riches and glory. Varanite itself is a weapon here with the molten lakes of varanite being deadly and acting as a way of controlling movement around the battlefield.
The aforementioned Delve Engines also get rules – for a double you can turn them on, flooding D6 sections of Sluice with lethal raw varanite that causes damage to anyone unlucky enough to be in the pathway of it! You can also shut off the flow for a triple, again allowing your forces safe passage across the sluice. This will make for some interesting choke points where you will want someone defending the controls to ensure a sneaky opponent doesn’t open the flow and kill your warband with it!
In line with previous warbands we also get 2 campaigns for each of the warbands in the box following the same formats we have previously seen – I really like this way of playing as it gives you a brilliant narrative structure to your games of Warcry without really impacting the other player, something we have seen with Crusade and Path to Glory.
Red Harvest takes this a step further however with a new way of playing – Branching Quests.
These are simply amazing! Basically you get a quest line for each Grand Alliance, and after each mission you get a “pick you own adventure” style decision to make in order to further the storyline.
For example in the first Chaos mission you have to choose between helping a sorcerer open a gate to the realm of chaos, assist a Skaven Moulder with his Varanite experiments or strike a deal with a Khainite who has defected from Morathi – each of these three options unlocks a different branch on your quests, with further branching paths following this.
This is a great additional to the game and adds almost an RPG element to proceedings as the story winds on its way. I very hope this is something that Games Workshop expands further with perhaps a supplement in this style for each grand Alliance giving you a massive pool of narrative missions to play through.
The remainder of the book contains the core Warcry rules, again making this a great jumping in point for both newcomers and established veterans of the Eight Points – in our recent Kill Team review we raised eyebrows about the core rules not being in Chalnath, but that certainly isnt the case here with everything you need for playing the game being in the box.
So is the new Warcry Red Harvest box worth it? Now, this is an expensive set at £130 (Though check out Element Games to save yourself some cash) But I have to say when you factor in the masses of scenery, the 2 warbands, playing surface accessories and the full expanded rulebook then I do really recommend picking this up if you are interested in the game – this has the rare achievement of being usable as a self contained game in a box with everything you need and no need to buy any additional warbands, books or monsters if you don’t want to. Now obviously your experience will improve more if you do dig into the supplemental products, but as opposed to a lot of starter sets for other systems you do indeed get the fully fledged game experience in here without having to pick up anything else.
Warcry is a great game, and with Red Harvest there has never been a better time to fight for glory in the dangerous environments of Varanite Delves!
Warcry Red Harvest is up for pre order today and is released 13th November
Games Workshop provided Sprues & Brews with a free copy of the game for review purposes.