Having received the first instalment of the Shield of Baal campaign from Rob for Christmas I've only just finished reading it (it's not that long but I've been distracted by old TV shows, more on that later!) so thought I'd put up a quick review.
I was very fortunate to get a copy of the hardback so as most will know it comes in a slipcase for the two books (Rules and Story). Both are full colour and have the usually quality print finishes we have come to expect of these premium products (embossing and spot UV varnish).
The rules book has lots of extra rules for Cities of Death and Dogfighting along with units and formations for the Tyranids. The story is just the background for the campaign but is split into part description and part (super short) stories to add extra character to the key Imperial personalities.
Things I liked:
- The split between rules and background is great as it not only means you don't have to carry the extra pages around when you use the rules but also means that if GW ever needs to update the rules for the campaign they could just replace the rules (plus you can lend someone the stories without losing access to your rules).
- The quality of the book (paper stock and print quality) is brilliant as usual.
- I like the use of formations in campaigns to let you represent the odd armies that will come together during the key battles.
- It was nice to parts of the 40k universe fleshed out rather than just rehashing the sam old stories.
Things that made me go hmm:
- I don't mind the use of lots of images of the models/units in the rules book as it is helpful to know which model the rules refer to but the background book had far too many pointless shots of different angles of the same models over and over using up lots of double page spreads. It would have been more useful to have additional images of the cities and planets in the stories.
- All the art for the characters were almost straight up drawings/paintings of the models that GW sell. I understand that they want people to know what a Guard Commander looks like but to have used the exact same pose and armament/uniform of the model (and then put the model on the next page as well) seems a bit duff. Why not convert one out of the crap ton of parts left over from the various kits, then show you how to build it in the rules book or the back of the campaign book?
- The Cities of Death supplement came with updated Tactical Objectives but as another table, meaning you had to buy two issues of White Dwarf to get the cards, making them nearly £5, for a set of cards that are pretty poor quality compared to the £5 set available for the main game. That said, that table is much improved as the first three sets of results (11-36) are no not just a repeat of each other but require you do hold the numbered objective in different ways. This means you can't just pull the same result three times and get easy points, not that it fixes the real problem with the (completely non)Tactical Objectives as they exist now.
Score: 3/5 Daves - Very nice set of books with some inspirational content in places but too many wasted opportunities to make it a great product.
On a quick side note, I finally watched series 1 of Spartacus which was a lot of fun but I weasels introduced to the Almighty Johnsons, a New Zealand show about the reincarnation of the Norse Gods in NZ and is very funny. It reminds me of the first series of Being Human! Definitely worth a watch if you haven't yet.