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Brother Tyler
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Mine turned up today at my brothers, just got to get him to send it over now.

 

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If possible, please post a review, unboxing, or first impressions in the Other Games forum using the Space Marine Adventures: Rise of the Orks tag.

 

Since this is starting to drop into lucky gamers' hands, I'm moving this topic over to the Other Games forum.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I received my copy yesterday and took the time to punch out the tokens and read the rules (I haven't assembled the minis yet), so I figured I'd post a short "review" (actually more of a "first impressions" since I haven't actually played the game).

 

The object of the game is for the Terminators to protect the shield generator. The overarching story is that the planet Vertex is under attack by an Ork Waaagh! and the Terminator squad has been tasked with protecting the vital Gamma-9 shield generator (or all will be lost).

 

Each round consists of three phases:

  • Ork Wave - A number of new Ork tokens are placed on the board, the number depending on the level of difficulty you've selected. Orks arrive at randomly determined locations on/near the numbered spaces on the map.
  • Terminator Action Phase - Each of the Terminators acts in turn, from fastest (highest Command) to slowest (slowest Command).
  • Ork Action Phase - Each of the Ork tokens moves and attacks, with a simple AI system guiding these actions. In cases where two or more different actions may be taken, the players get to choose.
Each of the Terminators has unique rules, weapons, and wargear, so each plays differently. Terminators attack Orks in the ways that their weapons indicate. There is only 1 die in this game, and it is used to resolve the Terminators' attacks against the Orks.

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Similarly, there are ten different types of Ork tokens. The composition of tokens used depends upon the level of difficulty you've chosen. At the Novice level, for example, you only use 20 Boyz, 5 Nobz, and 5 Kommandos. At the Commander (most difficult) level, you use 20 Boyz, 5 Nobz, 10 Kommandos, 8 Burna Boyz, 5 Meganobz, 1 Big Mek, 1 Weirdboy, 2 Meks, 1 Painboy, and 1 Warboss.

 

Terminators have a damage tracker that starts at 0. Each time an Ork attacks a Terminator, it deals a number of damage depending on the type of Ork (a boy deals 2 damage while a Warboss deals 4, and some of the Orks have special attacks). That damage may be adjusted depending on the Terminator model's rules. The Terminator's damage tracker is adjusted based on the actual amount of damage it suffers. Each Terminator's tracker progresses up through 5. After that, the Terminator has a skull marking, indicating that it is 'out of action' and placed on its side (Orks won't attack an 'out of action' Terminator). Each time a Terminator is taken 'out of action' the team's Grit tracker is moved (it starts at 3). The next turn, though, the Terminator will be stood back up and its damage tracker placed on the 5 spot.

 

The Orks' objective is to destroy the shield generator, which they do by destroying power reactor tokens. There are six power reactor tokens scattered around the board, each one in the grey hex with the small blue/black marker adjacent to one of the red control panel hexes on the map.

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Orks being Orks, though, they'll always be up for a good scrap. So if a Terminator is near, they're likely to attack the Terminator rather than the shield generator.

 

Scattered around the map are six supply tokens. These represent special rules for the Terminators. If a Terminator finishes its movement in a hex with a supply token, the player may draw the top 2 cards of the supply deck, choose 1 of those cards, and discard the other. Some of these cards are exclusive to a certain Terminator, as indicated by that Terminator's Chapter badge icon in the top right corner. If the player chooses a card that is exclusive to a Terminator, the card is given to the player that controls that Terminator. If the card isn't exclusive to another Terminator, the player keeps the card. There are 32 supply cards, so this represents one of the more interesting decisions in the game, especially if you draw 2 cards that you want to use.

 

The Terminators (players) win if they can kill all of the Orks before soaking up too much damage. Under any other circumstances (the Grit tracker is moved to 0 or the Orks destroy all six of the power reactor tokens), they lose.

 

Something many players key on is the unlikely mixture of Chapters. From a game play perspective, the five differently colored miniatures are a smart thing. Even though each is in a unique pose and has a unique set of weapons/wargear, the different colors make it easy to tell at a glance who is where. The explanation given in the rulebook is that each of the five Chapters deployed to the Vertex Sector dispatched a single Terminator to perform this mission. The more likely outcome would be that a single Chapter would dispatch a squad or two of Terminators to perform this mission - if GW wanted different Chapters to be represented, the most likely scenario would have been to involve the Deathwatch Chapter. However, something to be kept in mind with the Space Marine Adventures series of games is that they have so far been used as a way to make the miniatures from the Space Marine Heroes line available. They didn't design these models for the Rise of the Orks game (or the power armoured counterparts for the Labyrinth of the Necrons game), instead taking existing miniatures and aggregating them. So the mix of Chapters is a flimsy explanation to justify the practical aspect.

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The Terminators represented in the game are:
  • Brother-Sergeant Angelus - Blood Angels Chapter (red), equipped with a thunder hammer and storm shield (Brother-Sergeant Victorno in the Space Marine Heroes Series 2)
  • Brother Etrus - Imperial Fists Chapter (yellow), equipped with an assault cannon and power fist (Brother Feurran in the Space Marine Heroes Series 2)
  • Brother Lucian - Ultramarines Chapter (blue), equipped with a storm bolter, power fist, and servo-skull (Brother Dyrael in the Space Marine Heroes Series 2)
  • Brother Magnus - Salamanders Chapter (green), equipped with a heavy flamer and chainfist (I don't see this one in the Space Marine Heroes Series 2 rules, so someone else will have to name the model if he was in that series)
  • Brother Stormheart - Space Wolves Chapter (blue-gray), equipped with a storm bolter, power fist, and cyclone missile launcher (Brother Ebellius in the Space Marine Heroes Series 2)
The game itself has very limited replay value. Unlike the Labyrinth of the Necrons game which included double-sided map boards and multiple scenarios/missions, this game has only one mission played out on a single map board. The replay value comes from three different elements:
  • Difficulty level
  • Placement of Terminators
  • Supply card choices
One really great thing about the game (other than the models) is the storage insert. Both of the games in this series have great inserts for storing all of the components safely. The insert for Rise of the Orks is an improvement over that for Labyrinth of the Necrons because each of the Terminator models has its own space (Labyrinth of the Necrons had a single large space into which all of the Space Marine models were placed). The Space Hulk game didn't have an insert, leaving players to come up with their own solution (often requiring them to buy third party products) if they didn't want to just throw everything back into the box for storage. The insert for this game is a huge improvement over what GW has done (or more often, not done) for previous games.

 

The game itself plays out like a puzzle. There is some randomness in terms of where the Ork models arrive, the attack dice (used by the Terminators), and which supply cards the Terminators get. Much of it, however, is a matter of maximizing the Terminators' movement to both open lines of fire at Orks and drive the Ork AI to keep them away from the power reactors (or allow the Terminators to choose the least dangerous options for the Orks).

 

The rulebook also has a section with the lore for the game, giving basic information on the Orks, Space Marines, each of the Space Marine models, and the Vertex Sector.

 

Overall, this is a lite filler game. It's not difficult to learn, nor does it take a long time to play. The production value is very high, as you would expect from Games Workshop. The game will serve one or both of two purposes for most people. For most of us, the game offers five unique Space Marine Terminator models at a very nice price. These are push-fit monopose models, but each is characterful and generic, lacking anything to indicate a specific Chapter. These allow many of us to spruce up our Space Marine armies a bit. The other purpose is as a gateway game. Available through more common retailers, people that might not otherwise be aware of the Warhammer 40,000 hobby might enjoy the game and models enough to get sucked into the larger hobby.

 

If GW releases expansions for this game as they did for the Labyrinth of the Necrons game, we might see other models from the Space Marine Heroes Series 2 added to the game, expanding the Chapters represented and the special rules for the models, and likely some new supply cards with one or more cards exclusive to each model. This would go a long way towards increasing the replay value of the game. The Space Marine Heroes Battle Game rulebook shows five other Terminator models that aren't represented in this game (and there may be more that aren't shown in that rulebook, as the Brother Magnus model allows), and each of these could be brought into the game via an expansion. I'm sure that many players would love to see how Brother Sanyctus and his twin lightning claws would fare against the Orks.

 

Something I'll probably do will be to kidnap these models for use in my regular Space Marine army. I'll replace them with similar models representing a squad of Deathwatch Terminators, preserving the Chapter distribution and character names. If I have enough gumption, I'll make custom datasheets that use images of my Deathwatch Terminators.

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A few more thoughts on this (still before actually playing the game)...

The models are fairly easy to assemble; and the push-fit assembly is good for the non-hobbyists that the game is intended to reach. Each of the models has the option of being assembled with or without a helmet (I'm a helmet guy, so the bare heads have gone into the bits box).

Interestingly enough, the heavy flamer/chainfist model's special rules really only represent the heavy flamer. That's a real shame because it makes the chainfist a non-issue. Assuming that's correct (I'll check the character's card again to be sure), I would have given the model a power fist and saved the chainfist for another model so that the chainfist could have an actual effect.

Each of the characters has two supply cards that are exclusive to them. Most of the other cards appear twice in the deck (one appears three/four times and one appears only once). So the agony of deciding between cards isn't quite as traumatic as it could be (i.e., if I ditch this non-exclusive card, there's still another one in the deck somewhere).

After looking more closely at the character cards, I'm pretty sure that GW will publish one or two expansions with the other models from the Space Marine Heroes series. The key clue to this is the Command rating, which drives the sequence in which the Terminators act - highest Command rating goes first and so on. The Brother Sergeant has a Command rating of 9. The others have Command ratings of 5, 3, 2, and 1. The Space Marine Heroes series (2) also includes:

  • a Captain (who will have a Command rating of 10 in an expansion)
  • a Terminator with twin lightning claws
  • another Terminator with a thunder hammer and storm shield
  • another Terminator with a storm bolter and power fist
  • a Terminator Ancient with storm bolter and power fist.

It looks like GW has assigned the Command ratings with an eye (and a plan) towards subsequent additions. Five more models allows them to fill the 4, 6, 7, 8, and 10 spots. The Captain at 10 is pretty safe. If I was going to guess on the others, I'd put either the twin lightning claws or ancient at 8, the other at 7; the other storm bolter and power fist at 6; and the other thunder hammer and storm shield at 4. I'm not really committed to any of those, however, so we'll see what GW will do.

I'm most interested in seeing which Chapters they're going to represent and what their special rules will be. None of the models looks like a member of either the Deathwing (Dark Angels) or Black Templars. The Raven Guard seems like an obvious choice for the twin lightning claws model. The Iron Hands seems like an obvious choice for the thunder hammer and storm shield model. Both of those are "black" Chapters, though, so I doubt we will see both. GW went with some less prominent Chapters in the expansions for the Labyrinth of the Necrons game, though. The Recon Mission expansion included a Celestial Lion (gold), White Scar Captain (white), and Hawk Lord (purple). The Rescue Mission expansion included a Crimson Fist (dark blue), Silver Skull (silver) and Dark Angel (dark green). I'm hoping to see GW give some loving to other Chapters. Without focusing on specific models, it would be nice to see Chapters like the Emperor's Spears (light blue), Iron Knights (silver), Mantis Warriors (lime green), Raptors (olive drab), Exorcists (dark red), Sons of Gryphonne (orange), Minotaurs (bronze/gold), Executioners (dark blue), etc. We could go on forever if we all listed specific Chapters that we'd like to see, so I'll summarize it as Chapters that we haven't seen in either of the Space Marine Adventures games (including expansions).

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Here are the assembled miniatures. I've opted for all helmets. Note that I've only push-fit them together in these pictures. This should be sufficient for those that are just getting them for the Rise of the Orks game. Those of us that plan on using them in Warhammer 40,000, Kill Team, or Space Hulk will likely drill barrels, file rough spots, fill gaps with putty, and glue the models. You can click on the images for larger versions.

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BROTHER-SERGEANT ANGELUS

Blood Angels Chapter

In Space Marine Heroes Series 2, he is Brother-Sergeant Victorno.

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BROTHER LUCIAN

Ultramarines Chapter

In Space Marine Heroes Series 2, he is Brother Dyrael.

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BROTHER STORMHEART

Space Wolves Chapter

In Space Marine Heroes Series 2, he is Brother Ebellius.

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BROTHER MAGNUS

Salamanders Chapter

In Space Marine Heroes Series 2, he is Brother Maeklus and was released exclusively in Japan.

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BROTHER ETRUS

Imperial Fists Chapter

In Space Marine Heroes Series 2, he is Brother Feurran.

Please pardon the crap-tastic pictures - I couldn't find my camera so I had to use my cell phone.

Edited by Brother Tyler
Updated Brother Ebellius description.
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Ah, so he is. Gydeon Maeklus (found that on Lexicanum).

 

So in addition to being a decent way to get some generic Terminators at a decent price, it's a good way to get the Series 2 models without the gamble of blind boxes and you can get the Series 2 model that was released exclusively in Japan.

 

All the more reason for Adeptus Astartes players to get this game, even if they don't want the actual game.

 

Thanks for the heads up. I'll edit my above post.

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Ash (aka @Achilles) from Guerilla Miniature Games posted a Let's Play! video for this game on his YouTube channel last month. You can see it here.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J0o7s-mrfGU

One mistake he made was that he forgot about the Heroes All rule. It's an easy rule to forget since it is about the Terminators, but appears on page 11 in the section on Orks. I don't think that the omission affected the outcome of the game (the dice gods hated him that day).

Despite that error, it gives you a much better idea of the game play than the text review I gave above (and he actually did the Deathwatch thing that I mentioned :thumbsup:).

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