Friday, 10 April 2009

Imperial Armour V: The Siege of Vrak Part 1

Imperial Armour V: The Siege of Vrak Part 1

This is a 190 page expansion book for Warhammer 40K that retails for £38 from Forge World or Games Workshop (see my sidebar for Forge World website link). It has many colour plates inside and these are the first thing to catch the eye. The standard of the graphics, both colour and monochrome, is of a very high calibre. The binding on the book is adequate, which is not always true of the larger Forge World supplements.

The book fills a genuine void in the 40K universe, namely rules and ideas for trench warfare or, to put it another way, modern siege warfare. This includes rules for siege artillery pieces and scenarios for trench raiding and so on.

It also offers two more novelties. The first is a full army list for the Death Korp of Krieg and includes some novel vehicles such as the centaur, which is based on the mechanised carriers that European armies built in the 1940s. The second is a rebellious planetary militia army list that has been touched by chaos but is not yet a deranged mob. Forge World offer tie-in models for both armies.

The militia attracted me and I have built up a colourful army, which is my current favourite. In this army, squads have variable morale that you determine the first time their morale is tested (D6 + 4). This is OK for small games but it is immensely tedious trying to keep track of everybody’s morale in large scale scenarios.

There are various alternatives:
1. You test once for the whole army. This makes the battle unbalanced if you roll an unusually high or low result. It works for campaigns OK.
2. Use Imperial Guard equivalent morals. This works fine but takes away some of the flavour of the army.
3. Roll to determine moral before EVERY morale test. I like this one as it is great fun and it does replicate what happens in untried, semi-trained militias. Sometimes a squad fights impossible odds with suicidal bravery and sometimes the same squad is spooked by a stray round. One of the objectives of training professional soldiers is to achieve predictable reactions under pressure.

The only criticism I have is in the writing. Forge World and the English Language clearly have been introduced but the relationship is not yet intimate.

This is a great supplement and worth every penny. I highly recommend it.

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