So I went to my friendly neighbourhood Games Workshop (or Warhammer Nottingham, as they've renamed themselves) for the usual Thursday gaming night, expecting to play a few games with my Tau. Instead, I found myself signed up for a campaign of the latest GW release, Shadow War: Armageddon. Or as some call it, the rebooted Necromunda. I'll stick with SW.
So, first impressions. I made a kill team of Tau Pathfinders, because Tau was all I had with me at the time and pathfinders are the only choice Tau get in SW. Ok, as the campaign goes on you can recruit specialists like Stealthsuits, Fireblades and an Ethereal (why he's in a kill team, I do not know), but they only last one game then you're back to pathfinders and drones.
My first thought was "Wow, it's like Kill Team with less customisability!" Seriously, it's a small scale skirmish game of up to 10 models and my force is literally called a Pathfinder Kill Team. Didn't they just release a Kill Team supplement a year ago? At this stage I was having trouble seeing why I would want to play SW instead of that.
Anyway, the game. The first reason to choose SW is that it's not 40k. It shares some similarities (like most of the stats) but otherwise it's a completely different game. There's save and Bs modifiers, movement values, short and long ranges for guns, ammo problems and a lot more. I've only had one and a half games, so I don't know the rules off by heart (give it another couple of games, less if I can find a pirate copy of the rules), but the core mechanics seem solid. Shooting armies seem to have an advantage in knocking enemies down, but if you want to keep them down permanently it's a lot quicker and in some ways safer to do so in melee.
There's a lot more to do stealth-wise, as there are rules for hiding that let you stay hidden without being completely obscured to True Line of Sight. As a Tau player, I haven't really tried using this to sneak into melee, but I suspect it'd be hard to run a pure melee force without relying heavily on cover. I might look into a non-Tau team to try see how effective a pure melee or hybrid team is. So far, I'm thinking that mostly shooting with a few quick melee specialists to finish off downed foes might be best.
The final thing I can talk about is campaign rules. The biggest reason to use play SW instead of KT is that SW seems to have been designed from the outset to be played as a campaign. There's rules for lasting injuries and gaining skills. Also, after each game you earn "Promethium Caches" (1 for losing/drawing, d3 for winning). These Caches can be traded in for either 100pts of new recruits, 100pts of new wargear (no, you can't mix and match, so if your basic new recruit cost 60pts then that sucks for you), or hiring a specialist for your next game.
There are various mission that I haven't tried out yet, and the standard campaign works on the basis of first to 15 Caches wins, leaving you to decide between spending your caches to become more powerful, or saving them to reach the goal. I won my first campaign game, but annoyingly I only got 1 Cache for it (damn d3s...)
I may see about writing up some reports for the campaign at some point. In the meantime, I think the rulebooks are sold out but individual army rules are available for free on GWs website.
Any of you tried it out? Anyone have any questions?