Warhammer 40,000: Forgebane Review

Those of you who may have been busy fawning over Guilliman and his Imperium or pursuing Mortarion and his Death Guard might have missed some recent events. Forgebane is merely around the corner! In this box players take control of a battle between Adeptus Mechanicus and the ancient Necrons over a mysterious material named “blackstone”. We’ve managed to acquire a copy and are going to do you guys a solid and let you know what we think about this box of diabolical robotic warfare.

What Is Forgebane?

Forgebane is a new battle box for Warhammer 40,000 which sees the focus turned away from Space Marines, for a welcomed change. As stated on the Warhammer Community site

In Forgebane, two venerable empires clash for supremacy on a forge world that was revealed to be a Necron tomb world following the opening of the Cicatrix Maledictum. In the boxed set, you’ll find two armies, along with rules for playing them and a new chapter in the lore of Warhammer 40,000, as the Adeptus Mechanicus discover the secrets of blackstone – a mysterious material with the potential to neutralise the powers of Chaos or even amplify it to a horrific degree.

Sounds good! Of course, these sorts of boxes typically serve two purposes. To educate/entice new players and to bolster the forces of existing players. Does Forgebane accomplish these things? We’ll see. It looks as though Forgebane also pushes the narrative of Warhammer 40,000 onward, another very welcome addition. Let’s look what you get for your buck.

What’s In It?

The box, upon opening, is a generous offer right off the bat. It comes with a sizeable portion of Adeptus Mechanicus and a chunky serving of Necrons. You get some Skitarii Rangers, a Tech-Priest Dominus, some Necron Immortals, Lychguard and Wraiths. But the real treats within are the new models exclusive to this box set for the time being. You get the brand new Necron Cryptek and two Knight Armiger Warglaives for the Mechanicus side. For the price in GBP and USD, I believe it works out that you pay less for all of the existing models within the box as they’d come individually. That’s particularly hard not to like as theoretically you’re getting the new Cryptek and Armiger Warglaives for at no cost.

Alongside the models within the box you also get build instructions, a core rulesheet for Warhammer 40,000 itself and a Forgebane rulebook. The rulebook has the rules and point costs for the models as well as some missions to play. It’s a nifty little set up that allows you to play a sort-of mini-campaign. It’s got context for their setting that isn’t just “good guys versus bad guys” and the missions themselves look fairly diverse. There’s various differing deployment set ups, objective game types, plenty to keep people rolling dice over their brand new models. It is also, of course, filled with wonderful artwork laden with murderous automatons and zealous robots. The ‘Eavy Metal guys once again making us hate ourselves and our inability to get on their level of painting skill…well, most of us.

The Models

The existing models that come are more or less unchanged. The existing models within this box appear to come as they would in their individual boxes, which means plenty of options for most units inside. However, there’s something that strikes me as a double-edge sword in the box. Some of the units come with the options to build them as different units entirely that are not featured within the game.

For example, Necron Immortals come in their standard sprues which means they include the options to make Deathmarks. Deathmarks have no rules in the rulebook for Forgebane. Should a particularly new player go with the models they think look the coolest this could cause confusion as the Deathmarks are not in the rulebook. The Skitarii Rangers themselves also come with the option for Skitarii Vanguard in which a similar thing could occur. It’s a small thing and I’d rarely complain about getting more options but I feel like it’s something that could befuddle new players. New players, apparently, being a portion of the audience the box is targeted at. On the other side of the fence, existing players looking to reinforce their current armies will not see this as anything but a plus, I imagine.

Anyway, let’s look at some of these exciting brand new models with our eyes.

The Cryptek

First up, let’s look at the core bad guy of the box. There’s not too much to it but I find the sculpt to be a vast improvement from the older/current one. The fact it’s in plastic and not finecast is worth it in its own right.

Quick and easy to build, plenty of character. As a Necron player I’m very happy with this. It’s still a soulless, life-despising, ancient robot of death but now it has a little more character. One could say that it, ironically, has a little more life to it. The nifty base-decoration helps, of course. I look forward to putting paint to plastic on this one. The Cryptek statline seems unchanged but, thankfully, he comes with some new rules and wargear. Worthy of note is the Canoptek Cloak which grants him the Fly keyword whilst increasing his movement. I look forward to fielding him and seeing if he can keep up with my Wraiths.

But, of course, plenty of you lot reading this are likely more eager for the next segment. Let’s set our eyes upon the stars of the show…

The Armiger Warglaives

The kit was swift to build and quite fun. I would almost say it looks cute next to its larger counterparts. Upon completion these guys stand at just over 4.5-inches tall. The arms can be left free-moving/pose-able if glued (and not glued) correctly. If you’re not paying attention it’s really easy to get those arms stuck in position with some stray or over-zealous gluing. Experienced wargamers will have little difficulty at all putting these guys together, but they do add an inconsistent layer of complexity compared to everything else in the box. This may or may not be an issue for the younger hobbyists amongst us.

Speaking of the arms, the loadouts are static, sadly. Each one gets a Thermal Spear and Reaper Chain-Cleaver. The only weapon option that can be changed is the top-mounted weapon which can be a Meltagun or Heavy Stubber. It may not be a versatile beast where its weapons are concerned, but it seems to have all the important bits where they count. 12 wounds, a 3+ save with a 5+ invulnerable save against shooting, 14-inch movement at full wounds. It’s a great model for someone who wants something intimidating but not too dominating.

These guys would be an ideal point to begin with for someone who maybe wants something akin to an Imperial Knight but not at that price point or size. Let’s not forget that you get two in this box! Thanks to the Vehicle Squadron rule you can take up to three of these in a single Lord of War slot.

The Verdict

Seeing these hulking walkers almost makes you feel sorry for the Necrons. But the Necrons are no slouches against vehicles as many of you may know. With the Immortals rocking Guass Blasters being Rapid Fire 1, strength 5 and AP -2, it’s not as one-sided as you’d assume. Get the Skitarii Rangers tied up by the Wraiths and there’s definitely a fair fight to be had. Don’t forget the Lychguard for the Necrons either who happen to be some of my favourite models in the Necron range. Guardian Protocols make them great bodyguards for the Cryptek but they can handle themselves just fine should they get stuck in.

For the pricing being akin to that of a regular starting box, you certainly get great value with Forgebane. Shaving off a considerable chunk of the cost compared to buying each kit individually there’s something to be had here for bargain-hunters. Whilst Forgebane may not be my first recommendation for new or young hobbyists, it’s great for what it is. If you’re looking to flesh out your existing Necron or AdMech forces, it’s a superb buy for what you get. Throw in the fact that you get exclusive models that are yet unattainable elsewhere, and it’s not a difficult sell. Those still fresh to Warhammer 40,000 may wish to grab Dark Imperium first and come back to this when they’re a little less green. Though, if you really can’t say not to clashing armies of war-honed robots, I won’t try to stop you!

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