Shadow War Armageddon

I have been playing a bit of Shadow War: Armageddon recently.

“Gork!” they hollered. “Mork!” they screamed. “Dont fall!” I encouraged.

The core rules in Shadow War: Armageddon are the same as in Necromunda, which in turn is a slight variation on the second edition Warhammer 40,000 rules.  SW:A has been tweaked here and there, but essentially its the same game that I played in the 90s, but with a broader faction focus.

Hive world terrain was a good opportunity to give my “Terminus Segments” mats a run out.

I didn’t play a lot of 2nd edition 40k.
The rules were not suited to games that featured more than ~20 models per side and second edition was essentially rules for a skirmish game shoehorned into a battle game.
So I didn’t play it.

Busting out old miniatures like my Iacon Craftworlders is an appealling part of playing SWA for lapsed 40k types like me.

Necromunda was released in 1995 and that was how I got my toy soldier fix from 95 to late 98.  Its essentially the same rules as in 40k 2nd Ed, but with a smaller focus.  It had problems as a ruleset, but I also got a lot of fun out of it.

Da Bigdogz have received a memo from ork high kommand recently. It sated “Do not under any circumstances travel above ground level”. They ignored it. They fell and fell and fell…

I know the rules pretty much inside out.
As a sort of “common language” for a cohort of ageing grognards, Necromunda has been put to good use in games that I have played at Bring Out Your Lead and with other hobbyists that I have become friends with over the last five years or so.

But I dont love the ruleset, I tolerate it.

theottovonbismark got his Mark Copplestone era Imperial Guard on the table, which was retrotastic.

And yet, here I am, having played four games of Shadow War: Armageddon over the last few weeks and thoroughly enjoying them.

“Argh!” cried the poorly photographed ork as he was ambushed by Eldar of the Iacon Craftworld.

To be fair, SWA has knocked some of the corners off the Necromunda rules, particularly in the campaign, but its still a creaky, old style rule set.
The thing is, goodwill for the setting and familiarity with the mechanics make it easy for my gaming buddies to get interested.  On top of that a SWA force is an achievable hobby project for busy old farts.

A potent (but not too potent, I cant handle too potent any more) cocktail.

Tony Harisson runs screaming at the (proto) Dire Avenger exarch, incorporating a less than graceful leap into his stikkbombing run. It even almost worked. He subsequently fell, of course.

So what it comes down to is that my internal idealist wishes for more, but my internal pragmatist is having fun talking about, planning for and painting and gaming SWA with my buddies.

Which is the entire point, isnt it?

“And now a word from our sponsors…”


Just John sent his adorable ratlings on their inaugural trip to Hive Bottom.


Warboss Frangk regularly leads from lying down. He says that he finds it easier to project his voice that way.


I dont think that those models have been gamed with since 2002.


Orks run homicidally past the unpainted bulkheads of Acheron hive, only to swear loudly when their targets “Jump Back” skill is revealed.

I really didnt think that I would end up using the old card and plastic Necromunda terrain again though.

Funny that.


15 Responses

  1. I wish I still had all my old Necromunda terrain! Glad to hear you’re having fun being tolerant!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Im glad that you approve Barks!

      I’m so middle-of-the-road and wishy-washy now that I voluntarily listen to “Genesis”*

      The Necromunda terrain has suffered a bit in storage over the years, but with a bit of TLC its fighting fit.
      I thought that I would find it a bit too cheap and tatty compared to modern equivalents, but I found that I was broadly smiling to myself when I set it up.

      As for tolerant, gotta get my jollies where and when I can and ideological issues with SWA mechanics shouldnt hinder opportunities for fun.

      (*not true)


  2. Looks good to me pal, great to see these old minis getting gamed with again. I can’t wait to get stuck into SWA myself – I largely missed out on Necromunda first time around as no-one in my little valley was really playing it, (though I did get to try Confrontation a few times). I have high hopes 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I like the broader, galactic scope of the factions in SWA. The sci-fi gang fighting in Necromunda was fun too, but I enjoy that the various factions in SWA as it gives more model variety.

      SWA is a leaner, more short term experience than Necromunda. If you enjoy the core 2nd ed mechanics, then you will almost certainly have a few laughs with it.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Interesting how a game can be considered a success if it convinces your buddies to join in and play it! Glad you guys are having fun. I entered the wargaming hobby with 2nd edition 40k so I’m looking forward to a heady dose of nostalgia with SWA.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Some games stick and some do not. Like cinema releases, a lot of factors are at work beyond the objective quality of the system.
      The games that I love most are the ones that I have had the most fun playing, not the ones that I wish that I played sufficiently.

      If second ed was your gateway then SWA is almost certainly going to be a hit if you have like minded buddies in your gaming group patrickwr.

      I hope that you have all sorts of fun with it.


  4. Great to hear us Necromundan’s will be getting more players to join our already legion ranks. Yak Tribe has a couple very good rulesets that differ only slightly from the original (our group has played both and settled on the community edition). We only just completed a long running campaign where the Van Saar proved their worth and would likely kick butt even against the new version’s aspiring gangs.
    The introduction of official new gangs is much appreciated after many years of silence from the Fatherland, I must say. You may find the rules clunky but this is now, and always has been, the best thing GW ever produced in my humble opinion.
    Love the new scenery and only wish I could afford it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • If I had a local gaming group playing Necromunda regularly then I would certainly play it. The setting is marvellous and while the rules are not my favourite mechanically, I would get over it.

      Check out the minor change in Parrying in SWA. It’s a great fix for an irritating bug in Necromunda.

      Thanks for the feedback Brendan 🙂


  5. As engineers say, “Good enough is perfect.”

    That is an excellent terrain set up.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The terrain is fun. It’s less holistically planned than I try to make my terrain these days, but it works.

      Would I like SWA to be heavily modified from Necromunda, possibly even a totally different ruleset? Yes, but I won’t let it stop me from enjoy g myself.

      Rumours of a new Necromunda persist too… who knows what direction those rules will take?

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Your ambivalence towards the rules, balanced against the joy of playing with toy soldiers with your friends pretty much defines my entire relationship with Games Workshop.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am definitely not a GW hater. I have had far too much fun via their products etc to be like that.

      I have opinions on various aspects of how things have been managed for years, but I rarely bother talking about that. Who cares?

      As you say Maj Guiscard, if it allows me to get together with friends and laugh away afternoons and weekends, then why sweat the details?


  7. Always nice to hear when fun and enjoyment trump any other rules issues. Great post as always. Thanks for your input.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I went from the clunkiness of Rogue Trader to the more streamlined but slightly less clunkiness (mmm grammar!) of 2e back in the day, and Necromunda worked the same ruleset much more effectively and without the Herohammer of 2e that was just not fun.
    We played a hell of a lot of Necro in a series of Friday night FLGS campaigns back in the day, so I’m looking forward to resurrecting it in spirit with some SW:A games sometimes hopefully soon. I missed the boxed set because of GW’s ridonkulous production, so at the moment I only have the *cough* digital rules, but plan to pick up the printed ones in a couple of weeks to go alongside. I like my books, regardless!

    Your rather awesome collection of in-action photos, especially those featuring the old-school models in them are quite inspiring.

    Liked by 1 person

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