Archives December 2021

Phoenix Point game and DLC review

Phoenix Point

In Phoenix Point you control a squad of soldiers on a desperate mission to rid earth of the alien menace that is threatening to mutate all life.

Phoenix Point is a hybrid of game styles featuring isometric movements and third person shooting mechanics. Visually the game is stunning and the transition between play styles is fluid, making me wonder why more games haven’t tried doing this. Snapshot Games have built a dynamic turned based adventure game that centers around an alien virus that is bent on mutating all life on earth. The virus adapts and grows based on your tactics, meaning it will grow defenses to counteract how you are already playing the game. This isn’t the first game to make this but the execution of it is much more natural than most.

When you progress far enough you will unlock the Geoscape, a worldview dashboard that allows you to plan research, construction and your next missions as well. Between the Geoscape and the dynamic mutations the claim claims to never offer the exact same experience twice. I’ve now started the game twice and each stage I played has ended with this claim seems to have proven itself true, so far. Neither play through has been completed but as I alternate between save files it seems to be the case.


20th Century Studios


Recently the fine folks at 20th Century Fox (now 20th Century Studios- their home page is here) had sent me codes to several of the movies I missed so that I could share my thoughts on them with you. Part 1 was all about Underwater and Part 2 focused on The New Mutants. Part 3 we talked about The Personal History of David Copperfield. Part 4 discussed The Empty Man. Part 5 talked about Nomadland and Speed 4K Ultra HD. Part 6 discussed The Night House and Free Guy. Part 7 focused on The Eyes of Tammy Faye and Part 8 had The Last Duel. We have returned for Part 9 and Ron’s Gone Wrong!

Ron’s Gone Wrong

The only thing I knew about this film before watching it was that it was made by 20th Century Studios. They have yet to steer us wrong and so we watched it without hesitation. The film is a look at how society relies too heavily on technology and that you don’t need to always be connected to our devices. The animation quality matches anything we’ve seen these days with a fantastic cast and story to match.

Back 4 Blood is the spiritual successor to Left 4 Dead

Back 4 Blood

Besides sharing a naming scheme with Left 4 Dead, Back 4 Blood shares more than that with the cult classic.

Before we talk about Back 4 Blood let’s take a quick look at the Left 4 Dead franchise. Originally exclusives on the Xbox 360 both L4D and L4D2 brought the ultimate zombie killing experience. Offering more than just well crafted campaign writing the games featured a difficulty called Nightmare and offered Realism mode. The game was already intense before trying these two and together the difficulty was ramped up considerably. I invested more hours into that franchise than nearly any other title I have played. The first of the games did not offer any sort of melee weapon but when they were added to the sequel it was a game changer. Rumors of a third game and a feature film went around for several years before all news ended.

Out of nowhere Warner Bros Games started advertising the game in early builds on computer/steam and the hype started building. Immediately it appeared to be a sequel to the Left 4 Dead games. It wasn’t long before I learned why- some of the same designers were working on this game as well!

The game controls feel very much the same as what we were expecting, the hordes are relentless and the experience feels exactly like successor to the game franchise should feel. The difficulty is either insane or my skills are not what they once were. Despite being so much more difficult than I expected it is still a considerable amount of fun.

Warzone Octarius books 1 and 2

Warzone Octarius

Warzone Octarius has come to give us new rules for Orks and Tyranids as well as for using Rogue Traders and even Kill Teams.

Warhammer 40k is constantly evolving and over this year 9th edition is no different. The Warzone supplements expand on rules for existing factions and share the story of a particular warzone. The second round of this is Warzone Octarius with books 1 and 2. The previous books were based on Charadon but I suspect Octarius was chosen due to the recent release of Kill Team: Octarius which featured exclusive models and terrain.

Book 1 brings us rules Cadia, Tyranids and the Armies of Renown: Kill Team. Now with the branding of Kill Team I originally assumed this would be the squads from Kill Team: Octarius but instead these Kill Teams are part of the Deathwatch and are comprised of Space Marines. Book 2 however brings the Kill Team flavor with rules for the Blood Axes, the Ork team from the Octarius box, along with Rogue Traders (Astra Cartographica) and the Speed Freeks Speed Mob as this book’s Army of Renown.

These books are less for casual or competitive players but more for those that like to follow an official campaign. Charadon did not see a Kill Team release but with Octarius receiving it’s own warzone books so soon after it’s Kill Team release I am fully expecting that the next warzone will be centered around Chalnath.

Warhammer 40K Shadow Throne and the codex precursor

Shadow Throne

The Genestealer Cults are facing off against the Adeptus Custodes on Terra in Shadow throne from Games Workshop for Warhammer 40,000.

About once, sometimes twice a year, Games Workshop releases a new starter, typically surrounding a specific theme. To end 2021 they brought us Shadow Throne and it is centered around the Genestealer Cults infiltrating Terra. These days it seems like there is some form of Genestealer Cult activity on nearly every planet so it was only a matter of time before some reached Terra. You would think that there would be ways of preventing this in a place where the Emperor of Mankind himself resides.

Originally this release was meant to coincide with the release of codices for both the Genestealer Cults and the Adeptus Custodes but due to delays with production they have been delayed until January of next year. Currently the Shadow throne boxset is on preorder and will be released this Saturday. Games Workshop also promises that any preorders made beyond their initial run will be done as part of a second production run! The majority of this box has been released previously but that doesn’t make it any less worth picking up. For the GSC the Genestealer Patriarch is by far one of the greatest sculpts released thus far for the army and is joined by an exclusive Reductus Saboteur. The GSC though are not the only ones to get a new model- enter the Blade Champion for the Custodes! This is possibly the MOST dynamic model we have seen in quite some time for them and the pose reminds me of the Black Templar’s new champion.

What I am most looking forward to with this release though is the fact that I get to revisit one of my favorite armies from 40k- Tyranids, if only slightly with a single model. Additionally though both factions come with nearly enough to be full kill team patrols for the aptly named Kill Team.

Maggotkin of Nurgle are the next to receive a battletome

Maggotkin of Nurgle

With the recent release of Dominion and the more recent release of Battletomes for Stormcast Eternals and Kruelboyz Games Workshop is releasing the next tome and this is for the Maggotkin of Nurgle!

At the time of writing/publishing the new Battletome for the Maggotkin of Nurgle is officially available for preorder and the official release date is December 18th, just in time for my birthday! Games Workshop was kind enough to share the tome and even a few models with us to prepare you with the pending release!

To start with we will be focusing on the Battletome itself. The cover art is amazing and only Games Workshop can take a truly revolting army as the Maggotkin, really anything that is Nurgle based, and do it so beautifully! I mean look at that ugly Rotbringer on the there, he not only looks fantastic but there is even a matching model available for preorder as well! There are already more exclamation points in this article than most I write, that should tell you something about this release. I have always been a fan of Grandfather Nurgle and that hasn’t changed but I’ve been focusing my Chaos forces to be more Undivided because of the amazing Warcry warbands but nothing makes disgusting fun like a Nurgle based army.

The tome has many new rules as well as others that have been tweaked. My favorite of these new rules is Diseased. Basically for each diseased model near an enemy you add one disease point (up to seven) and at the start of the Battleshock Phase you roll a dice for each point and on each 4+ the enemy receives one mortal wound. Just walking around the stench and viral output of the Maggotkin is so high that you can kill your enemies by just being close to them. If only we could do this with a horde style list.

Rotbringer Sorcerer

I don’t recall the last time, in Age of Sigmar, we saw new releases for the forces under Nurgle, with the exception of the Great Unclean One and a few other daemons which also worked for 40k. This is the first Rotbringer of any sort I have seen since returning to the hobby about five years ago and the sculpt is fantastic. Not only that but it comes with two alternative heads, one is a fly head. I understand why flies are so prevalent in the Nurgle forces but I have never been a fan of the fly heads themselves, they always looked a little goofy to me BUT this one is by far one of the best I’ve seen so far. Of course if you were to also purchase the next item we will discuss you will have many other heads to choose from.

Vanguard: Maggotkin of Nurgle

The Vanguard box is the Age of Sigmar third edition version of the Start Collecting Box. Both featured the two Pusgoyle Blightlords and the five Putrid Blightkings. The difference between the two is the Start Collecting Box, while still available, comes with these and the Lord of Blights but this Vanguard box includes ten Plaguebearers of Nurgle and Spoilpox Scrivener. Literally every item in this box was something I wanted to get my hands on to build and paint as is but with all the customization options I think two boxes will be necessary.

Perhaps this is also the perfect time for me to get myself that Feculent Gnarlmaw I’ve been trying to justify picking up?

The Lord of the Rings Battle in Balin’s Tomb

Battle in Balin's Tomb

Battle in Balin’s Tomb is the latest board game from Games Workshop for The Lord of the Rings.

Recently my kids watched the first first Lord of the Rings movie and within an hour of watching the scene in Balin’s Tomb I received the press release for Battle in Balin’s Tomb. The timing could not have been more perfect and Games Workshop sent us a copy to play and share our thoughts.

Players take turns moving the heroes around the tomb, killing each orc and troll they meet. Each wave a card is played to determine the current list of foes added to the mix, some quite deadly. The box comes with a single troll and I saw at least one cart that forced you to fight two of them, thankfully it kept on in a holding area until the other is defeated but things can get pretty harry. Thankfully in our playthrough this card didn’t come up.

When playing we opted for three players, two to field the Fellowship and one for the Orcs and Troll. The cards were mostly in favor of the Fellowship and were able to prevent a majority of the forces from overwhelming us, things got a bit hectic when the Cave Troll was first unleashed but working together we were able to remove the threat. The combat system was very similar to that of Warhammer Underworlds in that attackers rolled a certain number of dice and defenders rolled their defense dice, subtracting the defense die from the attacks.

We found the game easy to pick up, the models very easy to build and the pacing to be quite quick. For those that play the Lord of the Rings Strategy Game may want to pick this up for the decreased cost of getting the minis here. Likewise fans of the films will want to collect these miniatures for their collection.

A New Gang Enters the Underhive- the Outcasts Gang

Outcasts Gang

The Outcasts Gang joins the denizens of the Underhive with their own house book and a new terrain feature!

There are displaced residents all throughout the Underhive of Necromunda and now gangs of these Outcasts have started banding together, even worse they are taking their fighting to some of the Underhive Markets! These gangs are comprised of either those removed from the traditional gang houses or those that are less desirable. Many of these dregs of society are looking for a way of living outside the social hierarchy of the planet and doing so will usually leave them with shorter lifespans, but so does simply living on Necromunda. Check out our thoughts on the latest releases:

Underhive Outcasts Gang

What makes this team stand out is the randomness of their uniforms and that there is no unifying theme. Weapons, armor and clothes have SOME similarities but are more of a hodgepodge of all things that are found in the Underhive. I love how the heads have a lot of unique properties compared to the other gangs that look so similar to each other. One guy even has a faux-hawk!

The Book of the Outcast

This book contains the rules needed to run the new Outcasts Gang along with all their support options, weapons and gear available and even the hired guns they can, well hire. Everything you need to take them on to the table is contained here. All that’s left is finding an opponent and a table.

Zone Mortalis Underhive Market

Speaking of finding a table, the Underhive Market is here to help with that. Necromunda, when at it’s best, gives players a many tiered table to play against each other on. The more levels, passages, buildings, archeotech or just plain rubble on your table then the more on brand your game will be. This set changes that way of thinking, forcing players to have fights that are mostly in the open and for added personality you could add Sloppers to try and sell food to the gangs while they fight among the stalls. There will still be plenty of cover but no where near enough for most players. Combining all of the different Zone Mortalis, or at least the ones that are available, should make for quite the interesting board and this addition adds some very different flavor to the table.

The Market is by far the item that has me most excited, and leaves me hopeful we will see some vastly different terrain options in the future. Same goes for the gang itself, perhaps this is the precursor to us getting a Scavvies, Ratskin or Wastelands themed gang in the future.

Black Templars join Ninth edition of Warhammer 40k

Black Templars

Over the last two months Black Templars have released not only their codex but also a huge selection of models to compliment it!

Since Gen Con this year Games Workshop have been ramping up their releases for the Black Templars, starting with a collector’s edition Army Box. This Army Box even featured a special edition of the codex with art by John Blanche. Even better is this is the same art that was featured on the Third edition starter of Warhammer 40k! For me that made this box even more special because that was the first starter I ever played of the game so this box was a must have for me (see the featured image). The Templars have always been the only “good” Space Marine faction I’ve ever been interested and it’s not just because of all the black armor (I use a lot of black in my painting for uniforms). It’s all about that classic Templar knight aesthetic. I’ve always been fascinated by the Templar knights from the Crusades in history and their iconography. The fact that you get all the black armor AND the iconography on these soldiers is a win.

Black Templar Start Collecting box

Features 16 units and a Primaris Impulsor! This box is the first time I will have ever built an Impulsor and I can’t wait to do so. The Impulsor is the only model that was NOT a new release that came in this box. This includes the Crusader Squad which is available by itself as well- see below.

Crusader Squad

Sword Bretheren

This is by far one of the most intimidating Space Marine squads (that fight for the Emperor anyway) and I kind of want to paint the one like Wolverine- you know the one I mean.

High Marshal Helbrecht

This is a massive improvement of the original sculpt and is an amazing model on it’s own. I have seen some recent conversions using this that made for a fantastic Stormcast Eternal- I’m leaning towards doing the same with mine.

Chaplain Grimaldus & Retinue

Grimaldus doesn’t seem to have that standard Skull helmet that we usually see on Chaplains but his retinue are what REALLY make him stand out. I love the fact that the standard itself already has those details on the model and it is not done freehand, it gives me hope that I will do this model some justice when I paint it.

Black Templars Castellan

Out of all of the new sculpts this was probably the one I was most excited to receive (Games Workshop provided each of the items listed on this page for our review) because it is based on the artwork by John Blanche and is the FIRST time this model has been officially created. The porportions are more along the lines of the classic chunky Space Marines and I don’t even care. Between the massive axe and the skull-engraved shoulder pad, this is one bad ass model.

In summary I am ACTUALLY looking forward to building and painting my first ever Space Marine army and can’t wait to see what else they might come out with for the Black Templars!


20th Century Studios


Recently the fine folks at 20th Century Fox (now 20th Century Studios- their home page is here) had sent me codes to several of the movies I missed so that I could share my thoughts on them with you. Part 1 was all about Underwater and Part 2 focused on The New Mutants. Part 3 we talked about The Personal History of David Copperfield. Part 4 discussed The Empty Man. Part 5 talked about Nomadland and Speed 4K Ultra HD. Part 6 discussed The Night House and Free Guy. Part 7 focused on The Eyes of Tammy Faye and we are back with Part 8 and The Last Duel!

The Last Duel

This film features a talented cast and follows the story of two French squires, their lust for power and wealth and the rape of one of their wives. The first two-thirds of the film is told from the perspective of each of them as they each experience the same events slightly differently. The direction and effects were masterfully done, showing how each person views themselves as the hero and victim of this tragic tale. My only complaint regarding this film is the pacing, seeing the story retold from each perspective left it feeling quite slow until we reached our climax. Despite this the film was well done and the cast were fantastic.