Necromunda Book of the Outlands Review and Ironhead Squats Unboxing
Life in the Underhive is deadly, but things don’t get much better when you get out of the hives either! While the Houses battle each other in the confines of the hive cities, there are also riches and glory to be had in the Wastes themselves. As so in Book of the Outlands, up for pre order today, the various gangs head into the treacherous conditions of Necromunda atop vehicles and mounts and face off against new threats such as the Ash Waste Nomads and encounter the might of the Ironhead Squats.
In our full review of Book of the Outlands we’ll be looking at everything added to the game including the 2 new gangs, the rules for adding and creating vehicles for existing gangs and seeing all the other fun things that have been introduced. We’ll also be taking a look at two new kits, the plastic Ironhead Squats and the resin Ash Waste Nomad Stormcaller with our unboxings of both!
Massive thanks to games Workshop for sending us free copies of all these for review purposes. If you would like to help support the site then why not order your copy of Book of the Outlands through our affiliate Element Games and save yourself 20% too!
We have also done a full video review to accompany the written article, so you can check it out just below or over on YouTube
But before we get stuck into the full Book of the Outlands review, let’s take a look at some of the new kits that are accompanying this release!
Ironhead Squats Unboxing
First up we have one of the two new gangs introduced in this book – the Ironhead Squat Prospectors
We knew that Squats in some form were on the way from Games Workshop with the Leagues of Votann for Warhammer 40k, however I was very happy to see Squats also return to Necromunda as a fully fledged gang. Yes, we have had a hanger on and bounty hunter before but it is amazing to see a full Squat gang, and especially one with such a characterful kit
We get a range of weapon options available on the sprue including Power Hammer, Stone Burner, stub gun, autopistol, autogun, bolt pistols, bolt gun and heavy stubber and as the kit is made up of 2 identical frames this means you actually get a couple of each, giving you a nice selection of options for your gang
As you can see from the assembled models they are very characterful and are a nice blend of the modern aesthetic with touches of the old school charm of the original squats!
Ash Waste Nomads Wy’Tari Stormcaller Unboxing
The other new kit we are taking a look at today is the Wy’tari Stormcaller
Now, I have to say that this was a challenging build – it’s got lots of small and spindly resin parts so make sure to take your time as it can be a little fiddly to put together – in particular the legs can be a little tricky to get into place – but the kit is well worth the effort as it is gorgeous!
The mount itself is actually a different design to the plastic ones, so this will look distinct on the battlefield beside them, and the Stormcaller himself adds some nice variety to the plastic sculpts from the Ash Wastes box.
I’ve gone for something similar to the box art, and I found it pretty quick to paint up and something refreshingly weird to work on!
So now we’ve had a look at some cool models, let’s dive into the Book of the Outlands and see what is contained within!
Book of the Outlands Review
So what is Book of the Outlands? Well essentially this book contains the gang lists for the Ash Waste Nomads and the Squats, and also has expanded rules for taking vehicles for any gang (Including rules for creating your own custom vehicles!) while also containing all the core ash wastes environment rules and the full vehicle rules for people who don’t have the Ash Wastes rulebook. In fact, if you are not interested in the Ash Wastes campaign and want to simply add vehicles to your gang and have all the rules for using them at your fingers then this is the book you will want to pick up.
Ash Waste Nomads
The book opens up with some lore regarding the Ash Waste Nomads themselves, we learn that they are hunters that can often lie out in the wastes for hours waiting for the kill, fully concealed with their ash cloaks. We also learn that the people of Necromunda fear them with many superstitions arising for a couple of reasons – firstly, they always take their dead leading to rumours that they cannot actually be killed as you never see a dead Nomad on the battlefield, and secondly due to the fact they never show their faces and their affinity to the insect breeds of the wastes some people suspect that they are not actually human at all and are instead somehow related to the Helamites they ride into battle…
From a gang point of view they work a little differently from other gangs. Firstly, they are predominantly designed for use in Ash Waste games, however rules are provided for making them work in other campaigns such as the Dominion one. This is mostly due to the fact that the Nomads would not be capturing territory for themselves, but instead stripping them of anything of value and from a gameplay mechanic get some cash and leave it as an unclaimed “Old Ruins” territory. The Nomads only ever have a single territory that they can never lose control of, but the opponent gets bonus reputation if they win the outpost assault.
The Ash Waste Nomads can also never take vehicles and non-Nomad hangers on will not work for them, they cannot make alliances and they are always Outlaw.
To represent the fact that there are some members of the tribe that would offer the same services as a hanger on, the Nomads can hire Ammo-jacks, Rogue Docs and Sloppers, but these must be reflected using models depicting them as Ash Waste Nomads (I suspect we’ll get some from Forge World, but these shouldn’t be too difficult to convert up out of the plastics)
Kha’Tragi Chieftan (Leader)
The Kha’Tragi is the gang leader boasting average leader stats with a 3+ in WS and comes equipped with an Ash Cloak that essentially gives him a free respirator and is able to shrug battlefield conditions on a 5+, he also gets a Sky Mantle that allows him to take a double action to hide in the sand!
Leadership and Savant Primary skills are handy, as is the wide range of weapon options available to him including a rapid fire Heavy Blast Pistol with Shock (natural 6 to hit auto wounds – a trait shared by most Ash Waste Nomad weapons!)
Naku’Taari Watcher (Champion)
The Champion has a similar stat line to the leader, though is better at shooting than fighting and has access to all the same weapons arguably making these the go to choice for your heavy weapon options. They also have the new Wastelands skill tree as Primary meaning you can equip these to be able to shoot through low visibility when your Stormcaller summons a sand storm…
Wy’Tari Stormcaller (Champion)
The other Champion option available to the Nomads is the Stormcaller, this guy doesn’t get group activations, but instead can use his Stormcaller Staff (Just make sure to buy him one, as he doesnt come with it by default!) in order to reduce visibility across the board! The first time he uses it max visibility is 24″ and then this is reduced or increased by 6 for each following turn he uses it. You could actually use a pair of these in conjunction to drop visibility massively turn 1 while still allowing your gang members with the new Eyes of the Wasteland skill to be able to shot up to 6″ past max visibility, making the Nomads very tricky to face
Tarh’noki Dust Rider (Prospect)
The Dust Riders from the Ash Wastes starter rules returns, but now can be promoted into a Watcher or Champion! they also get quite the list of weapon options including Venom-Casters and Web guns
Tarn’runi Warriors / Run’Taani Dust Runners (Ganger / Juve)
The basic Gangers for the Nomads are interesting in that they can take Long Rifles as a basic weapon, making a couple of these armed as such a pretty good shout for a starting gang. The Juves act as you would expect with a limited assortment of weapon options but can promote up into specialists.
If you like bugs but want something a bit bigger then you can take Arthromite Duneskutlers as a brute – these are big creatures used as shock troops and are pretty scary!
The Nomads get a unique Hanger-on that can only be taken by them, an Arthromite Herder, who is basically the giant insect whisperer! He stops your Athromites from getting lasting injuries and can be used to grant them extra XP after a battle by training them.
Ironhead Squat Prospectors
The other new gang in the book are the Ironhead Squat Propectors. The book tells of how they arrived on Necromunda just after the Horus Heresy and their technological skills were used to restore much of the damage caused by the civil war. We also get a tantalising glimpse into their vehicles, though sadly we dont get any rules for Squat specific vehicles in the book, we do learn of mining rigs on tracks as part of a massive land train. I do wonder if we will get some models for these in a later book.
Charter Master (Leader)
The Squats are pretty tasty, with the Leader rocking Toughness 4, 3 wounds and both 3+ for BS and WS these will be rather tough. On top of that, they can be outfitted with an insane amount of wargear options including Heavy Carapace Armour for a 3+ save from the front and 4+ in every other direction. Obviously this gear doesn’t come cheap but gives you the potential for a small super-elite gang
Drill Master (Champion)
Stat wise not quite as impressive as the Charter Master, but they can take exactly the same list of weapons. They get Primary access to the Squat skill tree “Wisdom of the Ancients” where 2 out of the 6 skills all revolve around generating extra credits (Very handy for fuelling your gear hungry gang!)
Drill-Kym (Ganger) / Prospector (Juve)
Even the basic Squats get access to a massive range of gear with even the Juves having access to Light Carapace Armour (4+ save) and Boltguns as a basic weapon! Credits will start running dry very quickly, but you can absolutely go for a well equipped gang.
The Squats also have access to their own unique crew that can be given vehicles, sadly we have no Squat specific vehicles (yet) but they can take Ridgerunners, Rockgrinders, Wolfquads and Custom vehicles (More on this later!) with the crew themselves able to take Ironhead weapons.
The Squats also get access to their own Brute, the Vartijan Exo-Suit. These rock a 4+ save, start with a heavy flamer and can be upgraded to take a heavy bolter – they also are always deployed as a sentry and can see 3″ past visibility making them handy for picking our anyone lurking in a sandstorm
Outland Beastmasters (Millisaurs and Ripperjacks!)
Old school Necromunda fans will be excited to see the return of Outland Beastmasters and their various animal companions! This also hopefully means we will see Forge World models for these guys soon too! Each beastmaster can pick one of 3 Exotic Beasts (Rats, Millisaurs and Ripperjacks) and can have up to 3 of them at a time (With them having the option of buying replacements if they ever have less than 3 at the start of the post battle sequence). Rats basically get a free replacement at the end of the battle if they die, Millisuars can move under impassable terrain, and Ripperjacks can move over any other terrain, never fall and can drop the initiative of anyone they are engaged with.
100% going to have to add these to my gangs!
Wasteland Gangs and Vehicles
So what about all the other gangs with no vehicles available? Book of the Outlands includes full and expanded rules for adding vehicles to any gang (Other than Nomads) – at Gang creation you get access to an additional 400 credits that can be spent on fighters with the mounted trait or vehicles. There is nothing to stop you using credits from your initial 1k on vehicles, but anything left from the 400 credit vehicle allowance cant be kept, so you pay as well use it all!
Every fighter in the game gets access to a new piece of wargear “Waster’s Dirtbike” which allows you to stick any of your gang members on a movement 4 bike! The rules even suggest that this could represent something a little more out there such as a ridable cyber-animal too! I suspect a lot of people will use Genestealer Cults bikes for these, but it wouldn’t surprise me if Forge World eventually do some gang specific models too.
As for vehicles you first hire crew – you have a choice of hiring someone from the Guild of Coin or a Scum racer to act as your driver – which is essentially forking out the cash for a competent crew, or instead hiring the lad that lives near the sump who says he knows how to drive a HGV for half the cost. Orlocks also get the option to hire their own Iron Riders which sit between the two stats-wise.
After this you then select a vehicle for them to drive (some of these are crew specific though) – Options available are:
Outrider Quad (Orlocks only)
Ridgehauler (Guild of Coin only)
These can then be modified further through a host of upgrades!
These are limited by the type of vehicle, with bigger vehicles getting access to more upgrades but there is some fun stuff available such as improving handling, or making it more difficult to harm and each vehicle can pretty much take whatever weaponry is available on the parent kit, which is a nice touch – obviously a fully tricked out vehicle is a lot of points, but its a nice way to use up your 400 point allowance with something really fun that you can go to town on customising to fit your gang.
If you don’t want to use a stock GW kit and would rather build your own vehicle though, Book of the Outlands has rules for doing just that! The book recommends building your custom vehicle first, and then adapting the rules to fit it, rather than trying to “min/max” it using the rules and then go and build it. There’s a lot of cool stuff available here, but essentially there are 4 vehicle “bases” that can be selected from – Light, Medium, Heavy and Walker – these are then upgraded further by using the same system used for upgrading the “stock” vehicles – the main difference is that any custom vehicle can take any upgrade which really opens up the possibilities. You still do have some limits on the number of upgrades you can give, and this is based on the size of the initial body.
So for example if you wanted a Sentinel with a Mining Laser to accompany your Escher gang then you can absolutely do that! Or what about some classic trikes for your Squat gang? And by sticking on the Grav upgrade you could get away with using the upcoming Leagues of Votann bikes too!
I love all thee vehicle rules and I suspect we might see this expanded further in future supplements – for those disappointed with the lack of vehicle rules in the core Ash Wastes book then the Book of the Outlands certainly has you covered – though it is a shame that this even in a more basic form wasn’t included in the Ash Wastes book.
Battles in the Ash Wastes
The last section of the book contains the rules for playing games within the Ash Wastes in case you do not have the updated rulebook from the Ash Wastes box
Firstly, we get an abbreviated version of the Battlefield Conditions rules from the Ash Wastes book – condensed to 3 pages this gives a much more basic way of generating the different environmental effects and can be used if you either dont have the Ash Wastes box or if you want some more straight forward effects compared to the more complex ones in the core book.
We also get complete reprints of the “Rolling Roads” rules and the entire Vehicles rules from the Ash Wastes rulebook. While this is good for those who didn’t pick up the Ash Wastes box, it is a shame that both of these books hadn’t been combined in some way (Even if the vehicle profiles and upgrade rules had been in the Ash Wastes book leaving the new gangs as separate to their own supplement book)
As with all other Necromunda supplements we also get all the relevant weapon and wargear stats along with their corresponding rules and special abilities in addition to Ash Waste Nomad, Squat and Orlock Vehicle gang tactics for those that do not have the optional cards.
So what do I think of Book of the Outlands? I am a massive fan of all of the Necromunda supplements, each of them focuses on a different area or gang and breathes new life and expansion into them. While we have 2 new gangs introduced in the Squats and Nomads, the real theme of this book is vehicles with the full and compressive stats and options for using vehicles in any Necromunda gang, along with the full rules for using vehicles in your games. If you are a player and have no intention of running Necromunda campaigns yourself then this book is everything you need to add cool vehicles to your game. For arbitrators, while a good chunk of this is reprinted vehicle rules, there’s lots of great stuff to get your teeth into from the new gangs adding loads of cool options for your games, to having the ability to construct some really unique vehicles and spring them upon your players.
With this very much being a “players guide” for Ash Wastes, I really do think this is the book to pick up if you want to play games out of the confines of the wilderness. With the core vehicle rules now available in an easy to pick up format, I hope that future supplements go back to the narrative and arbitrator tools that made some of the previous supplements so compelling for arbitrators – But even for those running their own campaigns this is a great thing to pick up.
Necromunda Book of the Outlands is available to pre order now and is released Saturday 25th June
Games Workshop provided Sprues & Brews with free review copies