Warhammer 40,000 War Zone Nachmund: Vigilus Alone
The Nachmund Gauntlet is once again under attack from heretic and alien alike! As the one stable path through the Cicatrix Maledictum, the Nachmund Gauntlet is a key position that the Imperium must hold – and one planet at the entrance is once again on the brink: Vigilus.
War Zone Nachmund: Vigilus Alone is up for pre order today, and in our review we will be looking at what is contained within from the lore, crusade content and full campaign system!
Massive thanks to Games Workshop for sending us a copy to review
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We have also done a full video review and walk through of the new book, so check it out below or over on YouTube
So ready your faith and grab your lasgun as we head to War Zone Nachmund in Vigilus Alone!
War Zone Nachmund: Vigilus Alone
Recently, Games Workshop announced that they were moving to a season structure for it’s Warhammer 40k supplements. In short, every 6 months we would get a new story arc set in a different location or “War Zone” and that each War Zone would be backed up with supplements covering both Matched Play and Narrative Play. The current season “War Zone Nachmund” kicked off with the Chapter Approved Mission Pack, but this week it is the turn for Narrative Play to get some love with Vigilus Alone!
If you are not up to date with the backstory on Vigilus, here’s the short version! After the destruction of Cadia ripped the galaxy asunder, the Nachmund Gauntlet was the sole safe route through the Cicatrix Maledictum from Imperium Sanctus to the nightmarish Imperium Nihilus. Abaddon the Despoiler, Warmaster and all round wrongun tasked Haarken World Claimer with taking the planet in his name and over two Vigilus supplements we saw victory almost land in the claws of the Warmaster before a defiant defence of the planet led by Marneus Calgar resulted in a stealthed ship full of Deathstrike Missiles getting smashed into the Vengeful Spirit leading to it making an emergency jump out of the system to escape. Calgar, for the insult is almost killed by Abaddon before he retreats and was spirited away by the Ultramarines for emergency medical procedures! The defenders of Vigilius believe Calgar lost his life defending them, and his heroic sacrifice led to Abaddon leaving them alone – leading to the spark of hope flare up for them! Alas, it seems that Vigilus wouldn’t be safe for long…
As I know a lot of people will want to read this for themselves, so not going to go too deeply into spoiler territory, but we see what Abaddon Abaddon has been up to since he left Vigilus and the fate of the Vengeful Spirit, along with the tale of the continuing defence of Vigilus from brave defenders caught up in a religious fervour to keep the planet in the hands of the Imperium. Keep a close eye on the maps and the ending of the story and we also get a hint at what factions might be involved in the next season too in months time.
I thoroughly enjoyed the story, however I do feel it was lacking the kind of world shattering revelations that we saw in the Broken Realms series for Age of Sigmar. Now, I imagine as this story arc progresses we might start to see some major events, with this book really acting as the setup and introduction, but I do wonder if some might tire of Vigilus a little after us already having two supplements set there already. What we do see however are some great set pieces that translate well to being recreated on the tabletop, and anything that inspires ideas for gameplay always is a plus in my book!
War of Faith Campaign
One of the big selling points for this book is the War of Faith Campaign. This is a full campaign system that let’s a group of players of any size battle to determine the state of events within War Zone Nachmund (You can even play this with just 2 players). Players are arranged into two sides, the Imperial Alliance and the Chaos Alliance. Any faction can be on either side, but from a narrative point of view it is based to place any Xenos races where it would make sense in the grand scheme of things. For example, the Aeldari would be aiming to repel the forces of Chaos and so would fit in the Imperial Alliance, where the Genestealer Cults while not directly being linked to Chaos, the subterfuge and corruption would play into the goals and further the advantage of the Chaos Alliance. Over the course of the campaign both of these sides will be fighting for key locations – two of which are on Vigilus itself, or the nearby planetoid of Heartlack which without giving anything away becomes somewhat of a visual icon in the sky of the growing faith and resistance in the war. The control of the three core locations will shift over each campaign period and in order to represent this visually the book actually includes a campaign poster with ascendancy tracks to record the position of each location as the campaign continues. This is a great touch and really adds to the quality of the campaign module.
One thing that is recommended to have is a “Campaign Master” – essentially this is someone who runs the campaign, manages all the stats and paperwork, ensures all games are played each campaign period and can also through some curveballs into the ongoing story by inventing additional rewards, bespoke missions and plot twists!
The entire campaign section is quite comprehensive with different abilities that come into effect depending on what location you are fighting over, Legendary Missions that can be dropped into the game by the Campaign Master to recreate some of the specific story beats of the narrative. Also included are optional rules for concealed deployment where CP can be used to deploy using secret tokens in order to hide which unit is deployed where. Think Genestealer Cults deployment, but with each unit deploying on a specific token by flipping it over and deploying the unit with the same number as the token!
I really feel this system really cries out to be used with Crusade forces, and I suspect the Crusade Supplement that is also up for pre order today would be perfect to use for your games (Sadly this has not arrived in time for this review, but we’ll take a look as soon as it arrives!) To support Crusade the Legendary Missions offer additional Crusade specific rewards and a page of new relics is also offered, these being tied to the Imperial Alliance or Chaos Alliance – what’s really cool is that any model that takes part in the crusade gets the new Imperial Alliance or Chaos Alliance key word added to its sheet, and this stays even after the campaign is compete to act as a reminder of what the veterans of Vigilus have achieved!
Within the book we also get a Space Marines supplement covering the rules for the two new models also up for pre order today the Captain in Gravis Armour and the Primaris Ancient – The ancient has a new weapon option and the Gravis actually has different rules that it gains based on what weapon it is armed with! In a great move these datasheets are also available on Warhammer Community for free.
We also get a new Army of Renown the Vanguard Spearhead – This lets you create an army of vanguard specialists clad in Phobos armour to represent the kinds of armies that operated during the battles leading to the events of the original Vigilus books. As long as you only take units in Phobos armour, Suppressors, Impulsors and Invictor Warsuits then your units gain the Vanguard Spearhead keyword giving them access to some cool unique relics, vanguard upgrades and stratagems. There’s some cool stuff to be found here such as the ability to give an Incursor a Markman Target-Track that can be activated for 2CP to allow the unit to ignore Look Out, Sir or arm Infiltators with explosives that can be deployed when they fall out of combat dealing mortal wounds to vehicles and monsters. Lots of fun stuff here that adds to the guerrilla war feel of the Vanguard.
Vanguard units also get some cool buffs in the Army of Renown such as counting as being in light cover when outside of 18″ of an enemy and adding 1 to hit as long as they have moved at least 4″ towards the target
Order of the Bloody Rose
In Vigilus Alone we also get a new Codex Supplement for the Order of the Bloody Rose. As with other recent suppliments we get a couple of new pages of rules here, so are in no way compulsory for Adepta Sororitas players but add some nice extras for Broken Rose players!
3 new Warlord traits are included: One that gives your warlord +1 to wound when fighting characters and gives them 2 miracle dice whenever they defeat a character. One that them a 5+ wound shrug and the ability to shoot or fight when they are wounded and finally the third warlord trait automatically makes any miracle dice into a 6 if the warlord destroyed any units that turn!
The Bloody Rose also gets a trio of relics, A Power Sword with +2S AP -3 and 2 Damage that does 2 Mortal Wounds on a wound of a 6, a suit of armour with a 2+ save that gains you miracle dice if the wearer is wounded and an Imagifier upgrade that gives you a miracle dice every phase a friendly unit is destroyed near them!
As with previous narrative supplements we also get a range of stratagems to give the Order of the Bloody Rose some cool abilities such as giving Paragon Warsuits an additional hit on each unmodified roll of 4+ for a bargain 1CP or increasing the damage characteristic of each wound roll of 6 in melee by 1 on your infantry units!
To round up the book we also get a nice Crusade section with some absolutely excellent additions to the Crusade system!
First of all we get Banners of Renown a system that lets your Space Marine Ancient models gain experience points for their banner, and then gain bonuses and rewards as the Crusade continues to represent the affect it has on the morale of the army in seeing a banner that has lead the army to glory! In a great move however when the banner bearer suffers an out of action roll there is a chance the banner is damaged which itself also applies a detrimental affect to the aura. I absolutely love this and hope we see more things like this added for the Marines!
We get full rules for the awesome looking new Fronteris terrain set – what’s really cool is that in addition to the terrain traits we also get some Narrative Play rules that allow your units to interact with them during the battle – for example your can send a character to the antenna and have him perform an action in order to deliver an inspiring broadcast to his troops – this then gives those troops a re-roll to charge rolls! I really like this as it makes these scenery pieces something worth fighting over and adds to the narrative of the game!
The final Crusade addition is a surprise, but an amazing one – A brand new Crusade army!
Over the course of the Vigilus Alone story we see the fractured defenders of Vigilus band together in a religious order dedicated to Calgar’s heroic sacrifice (come on guys, it’s only a flesh wound!) and Vigilus Alone gives you rules for creating an Army of Faith.
An Army of Faith is a special Crusade force that represents these fractured scraps of armies bound together into a new fighting force in their faith of the Emperor. We see Space marines, Sisters of Battle and Imperial Guard fighting together side by side singing hymns and shouting out glories in His name to drive themselves into a religious frenzy in order to smite His enemies.
Each component part of the Army of Faith keeps their full Detachment abilities, but also gives each unit the Army of Faith keyword allowing you to combine them together in a single detachment if you so wish! The entire army gets access to a new resource “Religious Fervour” which they gain and lose over the course of the Crusade to represent their religious zealotry – while building this resource the army gains +1 leadership and the ability to reroll a hit per unit each time they attack, while also giving them access to some bespoke agendas and requisitions. Once their fervour reaches a certain threshold the army can then shift into Retribution status. While in Retribution the entire army gets +1 movement and the ability to reroll a wound each time they attack – they also get access to a bank of abilities they can spend their Religious Fervour points on in exchange for bonuses such as ignoring hit modifiers or increasing damage. Once these points drop below 5 the army switches back to Fervour stage and the loop starts again. This is really cool and captures the feeling of this army of fragmented factions working itself up into a frenzy over the course of a campaign before going mad in a frenzy of retribution – I really hope we see more Crusade expansions like this as there’s lots of cool mixed armies that could be created for Crusade without then needing to be something that has to be balanced for Matched Play!
If you are a fan of Crusade then I really do think that Vigilus Alone deserves to be in your collection! From the awesome campaign system that looks to be designed around allowing you to play through this story arc over the length of the season to some amazing additions to Crusade such as the Army of Renown or expanded Crusade rules for Space Marine banners there is a lot to love here.
While the story never hits the highs seen in the Broken Realms books, this is a decent story arc with some cool beats and insight into what Abaddon has been up to recently. I do hope that we start to see some earth-shattering revelations as the story continues, but this gives me hope for the season structure that GW have moved to from a narrative point of view.
If you only play Matched Play then this really depends on if you want to give Narrative Play a try – there’s some great stuff in here and quite a tool kit for perhaps trying out your first Crusade! Certainly from a rules point of view the Phobos sub-faction for Space Marines and the Order of the Bloody Rose is usable in Matched Play, though admittedly that style of play isn’t the real focus of the book – that said if you are interested in the developing story of the universe and want to see what is up to on Vigilus since we last visited it then you will want to add it to your collection!
War Zone Nachmund: Vigilus Alone is up for pre order today and is released Saturday 5th February
Games Workshop provided Sprues and Brews with a free copy for review purposes.
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