The first expansion for Games Workshops Warcry is finally here, the kind folks at the Warhammer Community team sent us a box to have a play with (threats to dispatch the Deathmaster unless we received a set are strongly denied).

For those of you completely unfamiliar with Warcry in general I’ll briefly explain. Warcry is a skirmish based miniature game set within Games Workshops Age of Sigmar system. The focus with Warcry is on small warbands rather than the usual grand armies of Age of Sigmar. Warcry takes place at the Eightpoints, a nexus point that allows access to all the realms. As such the realm is highly prized and it’s where the Everchosen unleashes the forces of Chaos. 

The Eightpoints are rife with conflict and Warcry features more factions than those usual presented in the Age of Sigmar, as well as allowing you to use the more traditional forces you may have in your collection. Catacombs gives us two new warbands to unleash death and suffering with, but more on those later. 

Originally Warcry battles took place on the surface of the Eightpoints and the game enabled some fantastic use of scenery not seen in the regular Age of Sigmar. Catacombs takes scraps underground into a horror filled subterranean nightmare-scape that is both fantastic narratively as well as opening up new gameplay opportunities and challenges. 

You may be wondering why anyone would enter such a horrid place and well, frankly, all the factions have their own reasons, be that to plunder dungeons of powerful relics, harvest molten Realmstone, or just to have a good old scrap. 

This brings us nicely to the two new factions that are included in the Catacombs box. The Khainite Shadowstalkers. Despatched by Morathi, each death dealer hand-picked and blessed with the ‘Shademark’ granting them supernatural abilities, including the power to become on with shadow. They are agile, quick, skilled and merciless and all of this is reflected on the tabletop, they are able to dispatch anyone foolish too slow to run. However, being of elven blood they are fragile, or squishy to use an old table top gaming term. Shadowstalkers need to hit hard and fast, because tie them down and neutralise their speed, their natural fragility means they wont be around too long. 

Khainite Shadowstalkers sound impressive, so who is unlucky enough to be boxed with those killers, well, They are called the Scion of the Flame, and boy, they do like them some fire. Fanatical followers of Choas (Is there another kind of Choas follower?). They worship chaos in the form of ‘The ever-raging flame’, they are devoted to the belief that the Everchosen (hehe I can’t type Everchosen without thinking about Grimgor, if ya know, ya know.) and his wars will cover the realms in a devouring flame, as such they seek to earn his favour so they can help such an end come to the realms. 

I’ve been wargaming a long time and NEVER have I seen minis that more perfectly fit their fluff (lore) than the Scions of the Flame, you don’t need to read a thing about them to understand who they are, the models sum it up perfectly. Having said that, they don’t earn the honour of Game Hypes favourite model from this set. That goes to the leader of the Shadowstalkers, the Shroud Queen. Just look at it. It’s easily one of my all time favourite models. Everything about it, the featureless inhuman mask perfectly portrays her lack of mercy, the serpentine shadow that forms her lower half demonstrates she is indeed a chosen of Morathi. 

So, that’s the fluff and minis sorted, but how does Catacombs play?

Well, the game itself functions just like ordinary Warcy but it has its own set of exclusive missions and even gives some factions unique abilities to help balance them (looking at you Corvus Cabal) for battles in confined spaces.  Not to mention things like fighting in the arms stash that adds to your fighters attack characteristic during play. These subterranean landscapes also feature pits of molten magma you can attempt to hurl opponents in to. In short, Catacombs offers a host of new and exciting gameplay experiences for you and your warband, the only real question is if you and your followers are brave enough to go below.

One thing that’s always asked when new sets come out is “Who’s it aimed at?” Which is shorthand for, is it for beginners or more accurately is it worth buying if you’ve already bought the previous Warcry boxed set. 

In short, that’s down to you, that may sound like a cop out but at the end of the day it’s a question only you and your wallet can answer. Yes, it comes with the core Warcry rule book that you may already own, and much of the terrain is that same as that first set. I don’t think you can ever have too much terrain, as for the rule book, sell it, give it to a friend, after all, it may get them into the hobby! To actually provide an answer though, I’d say Warcry Catacombs is fantastic value if you’re entirely new to Warcry. If you’ve already heavily invested in the system maybe wait for the contents to be released separately, although, the models are amazing and I doubt you’d have trouble finding a friend willing to split the box.