Game Reviews

Legions Imperialis is nice, however exposes Video games Workshop’s huge weak spot

Video games Workshop is increasing its catalog as soon as extra, and this time from a place of energy. With its marquee Warhammer 40,000 tabletop miniatures recreation promoting like hotcakes and the reboot of its well-liked Previous World setting on the horizon, the gaming firm is doubling down on a revitalized 28-millimeter-scale Horus Heresy line with Legions Imperialis, a diminutive 6-millimeter-scale wargame set in the identical time interval. The religious successor to the cult traditional Epic 40,000 is extremely anticipated by the group.

Polygon has spent the previous few months noodling round with Legions and we’re impressed. Battles have the feel and appear of a grand technique board recreation, however with dozens of particular person infantry and armor items engaged at a number of factors on the map. The system permits for technical, tactical battles with the pliability to area completely different unit compositions with drastically completely different capabilities. And but, the tempo of play strikes rapidly — particularly for having this many items on the desk. However whereas Legions’ excessive mannequin rely has the capability to recreate the form of massed battles discovered solely on the pages of the Black Library’s finest novels, it additionally exposes the United Kingdom-based producer to its largest risk — the ubiquity of consumer-grade 3D printers and the usage of proxy fashions on the desk.

Legions Imperialis is a recreation performed on a 4’x5’ desk, which is barely smaller and extra sq. than those these video games are sometimes performed on. Nonetheless, the miniatures themselves are only a fraction of the scale. Simply how teeny are these little guys? Effectively, you must stack up 4 of them, one on prime of the opposite, to even come near the peak of a regular Warhammer 40,000 or The Horus Heresy Area Marine mannequin.

Four tiny space marines stacked up next to a large one.

Picture: Video games Workshop

This hyper-miniature scale lets you area armies many instances bigger than could be sensible in a standard, 28-millimeter wargame. So giant are these armies, in truth, that every aspect can comprise a number of allied factions on the desk at one time. At launch, these combined forces will embrace the Adeptus Astartes (Area Marines), the Photo voltaic Auxilia (the Horus Heresy’s model of the Imperial Guard), and the Adeptus Titanicus — towering robots able to crushing gargantuan battle tanks beneath their toes. On the desk, matches are certain to be spectacular and evocative of the franchise’s deepest lore. Gamers will lastly be capable of re-enact, for example, the legendary Betrayal at Calth at scale, or relive the bloody drop web site bloodbath on Istvaan V intimately.

It’s simply that so as to construct all these tiny little conflict machines, you’re gonna need to huff a complete hell of lots of plastic cement fumes.

Whereas the sport because it’s been proven to the press nonetheless has just a few practical holes in its design — complete lessons of items, like Area Marine vanguard items or cavalry troops of any variety, have but to even be revealed, for example, thereby making some military compositions not possible to even speculate on — it’s clear that gamers may require 200 or extra particular person miniatures so as to area a full 3,000-point military. And despite the fact that most of these items are smaller than a U.S. quarter, all of them should be constructed from the identical fashion of multi-part plastic mannequin package that each different Video games Workshop product is constructed from.

We’re speaking inch-long tanks with 40 or extra particular person items. That’s insanity.

These are all of the components equipped for the one tiny Baneblade proven above. The total-size model of this tank is among the largest items of armor in all the Warhammer universe. The almost 10-inch lengthy mannequin will set you again $170. You get two of them in an growth field for Legions Imperialis, and so they’re anticipated to price $20-$25… every.
Photograph: Charlie Corridor/Polygon and Photograph: Charlie Corridor/Polygon

Whereas I like the eye to element in these fashions — which include alternate weapons, troops poking their heads out of hatches, and even tiny decals — I bored with constructing them nearly instantly. Do we actually must spend a day affixing all 40 particular person smokestacks to the ten Rhinos within the transport firm when every of these smokestacks are smaller than a grain of rice? Simply mildew them along with the aspect of the hull. Or — I don’t know — mildew all the factor as a single piece so I can get on with the portray and the enjoying of the sport!

The method of constructing these fashions is so tedious, and the sport itself so bursting with potential, that I believe quite a lot of followers of Legions might search for proxies simply to keep away from the effort. Will they be as delicately detailed as Video games Workshop’s personal kits? No. Isn’t there worth in with the ability to use all these little bits in inventive methods — say, utilizing them for intricate micro-miniature scatter terrain and different scenic components? Certain, and that’s what makes Video games Workshop’s miniatures vary so spectacular. But when I should purchase (or print) a tank that’s a single piece, I’m a lot much less prone to aspirate a smokestack whereas making an attempt to get the glue to dry. And I’m more likely to maintain enjoying the sport — and maintain shopping for the miniatures to make new and larger armies.

Hear, the core of “the interest” is making fashions. I like making fashions. However Video games Workshop may have discovered a strategy to make Legions fashions as singular, pre-assembled figures — the identical means that Catalyst Recreation Labs does with BattleTech, and Fantasy Flight Video games does with its pre-assembled, pre-painted ships for Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Recreation. Video games Workshop didn’t, and in a means, I respect that call. However that call on no account respects my time — or the scale of my fingers.

A bunch of painted miniatures for Legions Imperialis, including tanks, troops, and towering titans.

The boxed set contains two small armies, one every for Area Marines and Photo voltaic Auxilia, plus two Warhound Titans.
Picture: Video games Workshop

In fact, the variety of the Legions Imperialis mannequin line-up — which incorporates many alternative sorts of infantry, tanks, planes, and mechs in addition to artillery and different logistics items — opens up another choice fully: Now you can theoretically construct a 6-millimeter-scale military to be used with The Horus Heresy’s personal wonderful new ruleset. That chance alone makes the Warhammer: Legions Imperialis launch day boxed set, due up for pre-order quickly, one of many best offers in all of Video games Workshop historical past. The choice for small-scale play, whereas it is going to have to be workshopped by newbie guidelines legal professionals {and professional} hobbyists, may actually embolden the extra creative aspect of the group. Merging the identical form of abilities wanted to create award-winning dioramas with those essential to create sturdy, practical terrain and cohesive, thematic armies may create one thing actually inspiring.

Within the meantime, should you plan on selecting up Legions Imperialis any time quickly, go seize your self one other pot of glue and a few sharp blades in your interest knife — and perhaps an excellent magnifying glass whilst you’re at it.

Warhammer: The Horus Heresy – Legions Imperialis boxed set was reviewed utilizing a retail copy supplied by Video games Workshop. Vox Media has affiliate partnerships, however not with Video games Workshop. These don’t affect editorial content material, although Vox Media might earn commissions for merchandise bought through affiliate hyperlinks. You will discover extra details about Polygon’s ethics coverage right here.

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