Hey everyone! I know I haven’t written a lot lately but, I’m back in the action. I want to let you all know that my good friends over at The RPG Academy have once again been nominated for an ENnie Award for Best Podcast! You would make me the happiest bearded guy if you’d saunter on over and throw a vote their way. Here’s where to go and VOTE. Under each option are the numbers 1-5, be sure to mark The RPG Academy number 1 before voting! While you are there please also consider a vote for Spirit of 77 — A Very Special Episode: Masterpiece 77 under Best Electronic Book as well. Lastly, in the absence of my own blog, sadly no nomination this year, I’d gladly recommend Gnome Stew as an option :). Now, on to my review of the excellent Grymkin line of Hordes!
Privateer Press has given us some new toys. That’s right, the new Hordes faction that has been teased at conventions and online has finally come to fruition and I have to say it’s grabbed my interest. The characters in the Grymkin line look ripped from the darker recesses of nursery rhyme lore, a child leading a beast named “Dolly”, pigs astride wasted men, and a carriage cart adorned with ringing bells. Yeah, this stuff is pretty dark!
One thing Privateer Press does, that I feel overshadows any other tabletop wargame, is carefully address the lore of their world. Everything has immense backstory, and it all fits well in the world without getting too wildly out of place. When I first saw the package that had arrived at my door, with these strange looking models and the Forces of Hordes book with dark fantasy artwork adorning its pages, it took me a moment to realize it was a Hordes faction. I was kind of concerned, I thought it looked a mite out of place for the Iron Kingdoms. Once I dove into the source material though, my fears were immediately assuaged.
Cast down to the hells of Urcaen by Menoth long ago, the Defiers and their grymkin armies have risen again to punish the wicked across all of Immoren. Freed by the Old Witch, Zevanna Agha, the Defiers now work toward their own ends. Each is a self-made godlike being who wields uncanny power to reap what is due from the corrupted denizens of Caen. The harvest of the damned will not end so long as the hearts of humankind remain tainted and debased.
Basically what the smart folks at Privateer Press have done is to weave a living nursery rhyme into their world. Perhaps cautionary tales the small folk of the Iron Kingdoms told their children at night to teach them lessons about disobedience. I especially love the mention of how people would issue worship to these Defiers in order to hopefully appease them into leaving them be. So in the end I find myself loving the lore as much as I always have.
In any event, as much as I can find myself enjoying the well written backstories of these models the main question comes to mind, how well do they stand on the battlefield? Thanks to the new Card Database I can look up every unit (currently availiable) now, not just the models given to me for review! One of the biggest changes people will notice comes from the fact that Grymkin Warlocks (the Defiers) do not come with Feats. Instead they have what are called Arcana. Each Warlock is issued three Arcana at the start of the game, one must be an Arcana unique to them while the other two are chosen from a list of available ones. With rare exception Arcana is something triggered by an event on the enemy turn and are typically less powerful effects than Feats, but you get three. I like this variant of the Feat because it gives some variety that you don’t always see with Warlocks and Warcasters.
The units, solos and warbeasts are not just cool looking nursery rhyme horrors that want to scoop your eyes out with spoons, they also pack a punch on the table! I was personally handed two Grymkin model sets. The Hollowmen & Lantern Man and a lil’ ol’ Glimmer Imp.
First up, the Glimmer Imp
So fresh off the floor that Privateer Press doesn’t even have a blurb about them yet. The Glimmer Imp is very scary in theme, I mean he scoops eyes out with spoons (and you thought I was joking above). This solo has a pretty good Def and four boxes of health but it’s not really meant to be around for long. It has a Paralyzing Gaze that gives enemy units in its command range a -2 to Def and when successful on attacks the debuffs granted by Eye Thief are nasty. It gives the model Blind for one round. With only a MAT of 5 the chances of hitting someone is somewhat slim, add in a PC of 4 and I’m not entirely sure how often you would field this model but jamming it into the ranks of a high Def unit to lower their Def by 2 might just be worth it.
Next up, Hollowmen & Lantern Man
Available as of 07/19/2017
From Privateer Press’ site:
Cowards who flee their posts in war their comrades do betray. Lured by golden lantern light, they die while off astray.
Deserters often follow the alluring glow of a strange lantern as they stumble through the dark—and perish. They rise again as empty husks, stripped of hate and fear. Now they bear rifles and march beneath that lantern in the ranks of the Hollowmen.
This unit and its commander are an interesting lot. I’m wondering if Grymkin are going to thrive on mostly cool abilities over high MATs and RATs, remains to be seen as I haven’t delved into every card just yet. Our Hollowmen have a low MAT of 5 but do get to make use of Apparition to get them 2″ closer to their prey and Brutal Charge to give them that +2 to damage rolls after using a much needed charge. The addition of the Lantern Man, who of course also packs Apparition, is where they get interesting though. He grants his unit a special effect called Blood-Bound that essentially allows for destroyed models in that unit a chance to come back into the fray if they star killing off enemy models. The Lantern Man can also use his Ghost Light special magical attack from up to 10″ away to take control of a living model (non-warcaster\warlock) for the turn and even move it up to 3″ before doing whatever nastiness is intended. To top things off the Lantern Man can keep using Obscuring Mist to conceal the unit until the moment they want to strike, ensuring they aren’t immediately the targets of ranged fire before they can close in. Certainly a unit to worry yourself over if it’s up against you. The only thing about this unit that scares me personally (someone who still crumbles under timed turns at times) is using Apparition, moving an entire unit 2″ in my Control phase seems a mite daunting.
I love this faction, love it so much I might abandon my plans to make my Hordes faction be Legion of Everblight. Though, I must admit at this point my love might be pure shininess of a new toy and admiration of the lore. I need to take a deeper dive to see if the way these guys play will be my style or not. I have no doubt they will slip into play easily alongside the other factions available. Kudos Privateer Press, your new faction looks great!
Find all your new Grymkin products at Miniature Market (located in my hometown of St. Louis!) and if you want to buy me the Army Box just let them know I can pick it up in person ;P