Saturday, 5 December 2015

Necromunda reboot thoughts

Hello , folks..

So its been a few weeks since we heard the news that GW have created a new studio dedicated to the specialist games.. With Necromunda amongst some of the proposed titles

I am still hoping this is real and not like the inq28 game rumour that happened a while back..

As an aside..I remember reading a while back that the original Necromunda was just part of  a series of games that where to explore the background of 40k .. others where to include black powder worlds and some such..

Instead of hoping that games workshop magically recreates what I would dearly love to see in the Necromunda . I thought I would write down some of my own thoughts on the subject matter ..
in the hopes of prompting a wider discussion about Necromunda.. prompted by a discussion with Weirdingway on the super creative Ammobunker inq28 forums.. after he released some brilliant concept sketches and test models of potential new gangs..

Weirdingways Gothic Spire  laden nobility

reminds me of this wearable scenic model and Blanche Painting

Full disclosure

I have never actually played a campaign of Necromunda and in my mind Necromunda the game will always be inseparable from its earlier cousin Confrontation.. which I also have never actually played..

Tears of Envy Confrontation Blog post..

The Tears of Isstvan Confrontation blog post

Yaktribe ..The Necromunda forum

Palatine  a Necromunda Community edition rules game we played using the aesthetic of Confrontation

Brats in Assleman's  excellent Lead plague Blog 

Ian Miller Scavvies In Axiom's Excellent Magpie and old Lead Blog 

 Ex Profundis piranesis-prisons

Although I haven't played those games as they were published i have always had a fascination with Necromunda.. ever since I gazed upon the background and rules published in WD

For me Necromunda is about humanity in the 40th millennium..  Some people might say civilian life.. but the essence of 40k is a never ending war in a distopian dying Epoc..  so the word civilian doesn't work for me.. feudal serf.. maybe .. indentured ganger most likely.. but not civilian..  that word conjures up thoughts of suburbia and travelling to work and back home to the 3 kids..

of course the vastness of 40k allows any and all interpretation.. and I have said before that freedom is  the heart its appeal for many ..but when i think about it.. The background of 40k is one of ignorance and fear.. closed mindedness and barbarism.. and humanity should be represented as such..

Necromunda is the perfect place for such a setting..

 Illustrations by John Blanche and Jes Goodwin

The Hives

There is a duality within the existing notion of Hives..  When reading the original Confrontation background it becomes clear that a Hive is similar to the notion of termite mound..  with an all enclosing shell structure surrounding it .. but the arguably most famous picture of a hive come from a Ralph Mohr illustration depicting an open built up city like structure..

As the years have passed the open structure seems to have gained dominance as to what a hive is .. but it can be many things in my mind.. a partially structured shell with buildings top it , no shell wall,
or just a smooth shell exterior..  As with all things time moves on and things change.. The current depiction of hives as Gothic cathedral tumbling arcologies are fitting for the entropic 40k aesthetic

  Shell exterior Hive Confrontation Tony Ackland

Hive Primus  Necromunda 

 Original Ralph Mohr Palatine Hive Necromunda commissioned by John Blanche

 Open sky Gothic Hive

A recent Gothic depiction of a  hive on Armageddon 

Hive interiors and exteriors became  more Gothic with the release of the Inquisitor game and the third edition of 40k, subsequent 40k editions evolving our notion of hive cities and the vastness of that galaxy spanning empire

Gaming scenery

( all pictures used without permission .if anyone wants any pictures removed please dont hesitate to contact me )

I love seeing all the varied ways that folk have depicted Hives over the years since confrontation morphed into Necromunda..

Vertical gaming and the humble bulkhead ..

A long held dream of hobbyists like myself is to build a truly vertical Hive environment..

The original depictions of hive interiors saw  cavernous dome  roofs, huge canyon like drops spanned by spindly bridges.. air ducts pipe outflows and a millennia of Junk...

The original Boxed set of Necromunda came with a slightly underwhelming version of a hive interior ..

but it did provide a glimpse of the dangerous pitfalls of Vertical gaming for the very first time..

 Ship bulkheads exposed

Unfortunately the discontinuation of Specialist games and necromunda has seen the humble bulkhead reach significant  rarity and sell for ridiculous amounts on ebay.. hopefully a new edition of necromunda will incorporate some new vertical terrain elements that alleviate this ..

There has been some great attempts to recreate these humble 2dimensional card stock gaming pieces into a more satisfying and robust gaming tables..

Dsteingass and Fango ? of dakka dakka have both done a magnificent job of this..



Alongside these facsimiles  other artists have made their own interpretations of the underhive..

The fantastic vertical Necromunda  scenery of Matthew Currier
recreated below by..?

 Inquisitor Hive city

After necromunda we also saw a rise in gothic vertical scenery inspired by the Inquisitor Game

Industrial Imperial wartrain

The Yggdrassiliume Neil101 

( with the Ygg ( a small part of the Ark ) I tried to incorporate Gothic 40k elements spacehulks and the under hive. But the Ark was supposed to more than a Game board it was supposed to be an ideology,
well at least in my mind..
the idea that you can play with any of  your models in a narrative setting that doesn't break the cannon story of 40k..  allowing dark eldar to side with eldar or snotling psyker demons.. anything could go in the warp riding ark so long as you could effectively and convincingly narrate it into the action..

Kari and Mikko of the former The spiky ratpack now Iron Sleet
also added a healthy does of entropy to the cannon with the
 highly anticipated punk moth setting

The Nick Ninja's
Industrial game setting harks back to a classic sci fi

Ferrograd by whiskey Priest

The Excellent leadpile Blog shocased a classic confrontation game recently
using various types of gothic and classic sci fi terrain

the results really capture the early industrial drawings of the confrontation game 

Mr Blanche's distopian 40k settings (like the spiky ratpacks) show us that the
Gothentropic look is achievable  straight out of the box with current 40k terrain.

 the brooding Atmospheric Foundations of Ib-26

is the latest Creative to use his talents to transform how we look at the underhive
successfully capturing a dark twisted and crumbling techno Gothic edifices of the Dark millennium..

who wouldn't want to throw a raving redemptionist off that..!

these last six pictures lifted without permission from the brilliant Recalitrant Daze blog
( again if anyone wants picture removed just ask  ;-) )

last but not least I would like to use the soaring architecture of the warhammer world display board hive structure to showcase the need to embrace vertical gaming again..

Obviously that would coast a fortune  to create .. but how about we get some new gameboards that predominantly designed to be built vertically and not horizontally.. it would take up less table space and gaming at eye level forces you into the action than hovering above the board like a god..

PLEASE GW let us have Awesome stackable  industrial Gothic vertical gaming tables ..with heavy pipelined cable drenched catwalks and hard wired servitorii..  oh and please dont forget about the potential  of the ash wastes .. ;-)

I will just leave these here as potential inspiration...

                                                  Potential vertical terrain concepts..?

Spiders and mass transit systems

The world wide web.. the spider network of pneumatic ?  transtubes that link a cluster of hives..  and the balefull spiders that lurk in empty transonic flow tunnels and the sump..


The Bizzare Baroque

Aspiring Spyral Spyrerer  underhiver sumpbottom archeohunter

Brutal highrise

atrophied relics of the STC age

The citadel from Mad max  uncannily look like the early Hives  shells from Confrontation
see the above Tony Ackland Illustration

underground aqueducts black water from the spires filter clean over thousands of years

Cavernous Domes and Hive shell walls

 Hive of the dead.. 
built upon billions of bones and souls - a recycling ouroboros of death.. 
at its foundations buried beneath a millennia of ghosts lay the original pre heresy expansionists ships from Terra. Its not called Necro- Munda for nothing.. lets up the death imagery for the necropolis

 " machine men with machine minds and machine hearts "

lest we forget that the heart of Necromuda is vast factories/Manufactorums producing stuff for the Imperium. Lets get the Mechanicus fully tied into the tech/Vansaars clans/houses

the ashwastes and the world sump..

Kito Eisaku    the Neuro Tower


  1. I can tell we've got the same standpoint in that it's the background and imagery that's appealing despite (almost) not playing it. I hope GW release something that gets more guys in my group into it as per now I'm pretty much on my own. Still it's not detracting me as I'll still work on my terrain and various gangs that fits somewhere between 'munda and inq28 (and probably not even that).

    You got any particular projects in mind as it seems weirdingway has sparked the good old inspiration :)

    1. Hey Tommy, Yeah It would be fair to say that the imagery is the most important aspect to me.. I was excited about seeing the new warhammer art website a few days back actually..

      whether a new munda / inq28 game is successful or not i will be interested to see what ideas and models come out of GWHQ .. The release of the Citadel mechanicus and forgeworld mechanicus is enough to keep me happy for years .. but i am excited to see the company embracing and updating it history.

      but yes gaming is not a prerequirement to enjoying the hobby for me these days . ..but meeting up with friends is great and its always nice to go pew pew pew .. your dead..! with our toys ;-)

      Yes weirdingways conversation sparked a new train of thought ..regarding Munda.. as did migsulas inquisitor actually.. I have a few projects on the go at the moment.. but settling on just one is always an issue for me..

      but a small feudal medieval Grey knight Mindwipe cell is most likely next.. thanks for asking .. what about yourself..?


    2. That sounds pretty awesome and close to what I'm doing (Red Skullz on bunker). Can't wait to see some new work from you :)

  2. some of mi favourites all in one place - lets face it theres a core of us thats been doing this for ever ........

    1. That is true.. so much more to add to this discussion.. but where do you stop...

      exciting times..

  3. Great article! I heard about the resurrection of the specialist games, and i hope your thoughts will be heard. With the new technology and the old imagery, they could bring wonders, and also more players in less crowded games.
    Your imagery references are really rich - and i'm honored to see my terrain with all this =) What is that last thing with the rusted orrery? I love it!

    1. Hey Nico.. so much potential.. but even if we dont get new scenery , i would still be happy to see new miniatures..

      the model is by the Japanese model maker Kito Eisaku the Nerve Tower..

      I have a blopost in my head about some brilliant Japanese Model makers..of which he is one..

  4. Replies
    1. Cheers Classic.. kinda started to ramble a bit..haha .. but nothing new their..

  5. Nice stuff, Neil! I too flipped out when I heard about the new Specialist arm of GW, with Necromunda mentioned as a strong contender for a reboot. Necro is one of my fav GW games, and affordable/time-friendly for the lighter hobbyist.

    There's a lot of imagery and design that is still quite good in the original game, so I would imagine that a lot of that stuff will more or less be updated, staying quite similar, re-realised better (well, this is what I hope will happen...!). I suspect this will be the case for most of the gangs, in most ways. All of the original gangs sport unique design languages with strong narrative identities, and really make a statement.

    A few things I can imagine will likely receive much-needed polishing. I can see how the Van Saars could have some new design motifs as some of the features in the original versions were a little vague (some suit greebles come to mind). The original Ratskins are far too tame for the modern GW design sensibilities, and so I can see them being boosted with much more striking silhouettes, like more spiky pelts and Ratskin cultural gubbinz. Delaque's will need something more with all of those plain trench coats. Orlocks might actually be shaken up a bit... Jean-claude Van Damme isn't a force in pop culture these days! Haha ;-) Cawdor and the Redemptionists are still pretty strong, and the Goliaths need updated muscular anatomy badly... The Escher are virtually timeless, and if re-released as a rejigged plastic kit, should be a real hit.

    The terrain in the original box was very impressive to my 12 year old self, but falls flat now because it comes from a time before the 40k aesthetic was as developed as it is now... You would certainly agree that it lacks the gothic element, but also a sense of each structure's purpose on a narrative level, having no real ostensive role other than textured shapes for game mechanics. Still, it was excellent for '96!

    There are loads of great terrain kits already out that are virtually Necromunda ready, but I hope there will be a few new kits to really sell the hive setting. Indeed, more modular stuff. Maybe the Forgeworld/intermediate-hobbyist thrust of the new Specialist Game wing will push for a more DIY side to terrain again? It's a fairly terrain-heavy game, generally on a smaller board, so I'm sure they'll whip something up.

    It's all rather exciting.

    1. Just trying to imagine a 40k entropic Gothic Jean-Claude Van Damme... ha haha

      great points well made as usual Mate, you are right of course we dont need new terrain game in as johns recent underhive board shows.. but it might be nice to get a few dedicated necromunda stamped bits , like you say to sell it.. the same could be used for inquisitor..

      although i do like those individual games .. I think a new generic skirmish game scenery -- or even a new standalone 40k skirmish game that incorporates a lot of the aspects of necromunda and inquisitor might be the way to go .. coming back to the hobby five years ago.. it was obvious to me that 40k lacked a dedicated skirmish driven game game could be used to simulate a hive setting and a inquisition setting in my mind. or any other setting. make the game a vertical scenery heavy game with scenery being just as important to the gameplay as the models and i think a new type of skirmish game might emerge.. one that sits alongside 40k and enhances its appeal.. i have spent more money on scenery than models over the past five years .. but i am still spending right..?

      like you say its all rather exciting...

    2. I think it makes good sense to go with a property, a particular IP, in order to get anything like this off the ground. Since Necro is an existing quality IP and doesn't need a full-blown ground-up realisation, development time and costs are likely less of an ordeal, so I can really understand how Necro would look like attractive for a skirmish release. Throw in a hibernating fan-base and an untapped market for small GW games, and the decision's probably not too hard to make...!

      And once Necro is out, maybe a kind of Inquisitor expansion is all that's needed to suit the INQ fans... perhaps rules inspired by the original Inquisitor game will make it into the new Necro? After all, the new Necro will likely get rid of Sustained Fire dice and various other relics.

  6. Yep.. I think your on the money.. I Guess so long as you name it necromunda or inquisitor.. any changes that are made would be easier to digest.. It just seem such a turnaround for GW .. I have heard time and time again on the forums that the reason necro was pulled was because it was cheaper and easier to play then 40k .. lets hope things have changed or those folks were wrong..

    I haven't been this excited about seeing new models since they dropped the mechanicum on us..

    I am loving so much of GW releases this past few years .. from necromudan style chaos cultists to the primarchs .. new 40k terrain- assassins Knights and titans and the mechanicum.. if they never brought anything else out again ... i think i would have enough to last me .. for years..

    1. It's a crazy turn-around, but I think it makes sense. Those folks were right about Necro being cheaper and perhaps easier to play, but the thing that has really changed over the last 10 years is the rest of the miniature games market. There's a section of the gamer-base that can't afford 40k for time/money/attention span, and so have (begrudgingly?) gone to another system to get their toy soldier skirmish fix, and that's got to be a big part of what's been powering the rise of these other companies (a beneficial thing for the hobby and industry, may I add). With WFB giving way to a smaller, more dynamic AoS, it's probably a smart thing to reopen the armoury of smaller games. All up, the investment for GW could mean the same growth and return they once had, but with more titles available to a wider customer base...?

      But of course, what really gets me frothing are all those new models! I totally agree with you about this latest era of GW releases. I feel it's a kind of a golden age. Their design sense is unmatched and the production quality is always advancing. You get what you pay for with GW, I really think that.

  7. it would be kinda cool to see all those specialists games on the shelves of GW again..
    i guess only time will tell if the move is successful..

    who knows if that works we may get plastic sisters or other smaller organisations under the spotlight..

  8. A 40k based skirmish game which focuses on the Imperium sounds amazing. I remember when Confrontation was serialised in WD and loving the gothic imagery and wonderful weirdness of it all. Sadly Necromunda felt a bit tame after the incredible character concepts included in Confrontation and that would be my fear this time. The dark, gothic edginess that I used to love in 40k seems to get more diluted with every iteration.

    The ray of hope is the possible involvement of the Forge World team. Everything they do smacks of being a total labour of love. Perhaps some core plastic kits, supplemented by FW resin conversion parts and characters is the best way to go with this?

    Ultimately my wish list would be for a game which delves into Imperium society. Something bigger and broader than just gang fights. A game where gangs and inquisitors can go toe to toe with chaos cultists, genestealer cults, mechanicus eplorators and things I've yet to hear of. A game which encourages and provides a framework for people to invent their own bands of Imperial denizens. A game like that could churn out steady releases and become a hobby in its own right, while serving as either an add on or a gateway to 40k.

    Potentially exciting times.

  9. Lots of robes and hoods then .. ;-)

    Good points . ... I am pretty easy to please with regards to 40k myself ..i feel like i could enjoy many aspects .. of it really i dont see any part off limits.. I love much of all the races.. but my heart like yours it sounds is the Imperium.. scholastika psykana arbites.. administratum... so much potential within 40k.. i could happily create a new group a week based on existing tropes .. before going off on wild xeno tangents.. same for the heresy ..null sisters .. equeries..technobarabarians ..and even before that is tempting, the war of the AI robots /titans vs man etc.. so much good stuff to explore..

    but yes a game based on exploring as much as fighting within the imperium cool.. i like the idea of 30k legion building as it reminds me of the artwork i grew up with but the reality and expense of creating a army is off putting.. although calth is a good start for most ..i prefer my marines looking ancient and heavy..mk3 or iron hands i think .. although i soft spot for the beakymarine

    i suppose we can do all that stuff you just mentioned already really .. in fact that is what i have been doing with pdh and Molotov for a while.. at least in my head i have.. haha..

    quote "Perhaps some core plastic kits, supplemented by FW resin conversion parts and characters is the best way to go with this?"

    that sounds like a great idea to me .. that would keep production costs down to have a basic generic imperium robes sprue .. with resin updates for factions...

    qoute " A game which encourages and provides a framework for people to invent their own bands of Imperial denizens"

    I hear what you are saying i have become used to living out my 40k fantasies without official support so i dont mind so much.. but it would be nice not to be treat like a bad smell for not only wanting to make war with huge armies.. and for liking the idea of skirmish games and dungeon character driven style exploration stuff..

    i actually think the tide is slowly turning with the attitude towards gamer modellers like myself..

    either way it doesn't stop me from building and buying stuff i admire.. i used to wish games workshop would release loads of stuff .. mechanicum being at the top of the list actually.. and they have i am pretty content..obviously i would be cool to see a constant support of the smaller weirder stuff.. but equally i need space to do stuff other people haven't yet.. or rarely do.. enslavers.. grox.. etc..

    Most recently i was stoked to see the release of the tau scenery.. i know Tau is not that popular.. but for me it represents classic 1970s scifi..the dome roofs remind me of all those seventies and 80s sci fi books .. with a little bit of gundam thrown in for good measure..

    like you say it has potential...

  10. Great article and discussion there, Neil. Really awesome collection of images, too.

    I think it's pretty well known that Confrontation and the planet of Necromunda is my one undying love, so there's little more for me to add - thanks for linking to my old article, though, I've been re-reading that a lot recently.

  11. Cheers Mate,Glad you liked it..I thought you might..

    It kinda became a bit of amble about scenery/architecture really but I guess that's where my head goes these days when I think about 40k.. I just thought it was worth noting that our memories of necromunda and confrontation are at a fixed point .. but the universe archetecture and style has moved on .. neither better or worse just different.. and i would hate to see a new version of necromunda that didn't take all those changes into account.. facsimilies are good but i dont an veiled copy of 1995 .. i want new ideas and new ways to game .. new architectural gothic industrial modular heavy duty walkways.. and steps... and ..etc.. etc.. haha.. just thoughts..

  12. Neil, thanks for the excellent write up, as well the amazing art and terrain showcase!

    The one thing I would add is how important I feel the houses are to Necromunda. In fact, I'd argue this is probably the biggest core component alongside with the terrain.

    What I'd love to see from GW is to fully flesh out the houses, something that really has never truly been done, despite Necromunda existing for 20 years now. However, I think fully formed houses also goes along with adding new factions and units.

    For instance, the main houses may not always be doing to fighting down in the hive. While we've always seen House Van Saar represented is 90's IT dudes in skin suits, why not have sub factions of tech cults or hacker guilds selling secrets to the highest bidder. You could build multiple gangs off a single core House list.

    I feel this is where GW can bridge the gap between the hardcore hobbyists, like all of us over at the bunker, dreaming up all manner of bizarre 40k insanity, as well as bringing in the casual player who may just want to grab a box of gangers off the shelf and play with their 40k terrain.

    We need core lists for the Houses, minis released along with this, and somehow the rules should also allow depth and exploration for sub factions, lots of new mercenaries and hired guns, which I think should expand beyond the single model hired guns of the past.

    I think it's a tricky line to walk, but that gets me to my next point, which is that I feel Necromunda is much better served by core released in resin from FW than large scale plastic productions from GW, at least initially. I think we need an expansive core rules set, which covers both Houses, as well as the Outlanders factions, and open ended rules for building subfactions off the core forces. With this we need new models for all the main factions, and this can be done much more quickly by FW. I feel the production of multipart plastic sets would push this back years. While that may be well worth the wait in the long run, I'd rather see quick releases now, GW can gauge it's potential, and offer plastic box sets later to draw in a larger audience. Or these could be done concurrently, but by the time the plastic stuff is done, we'll have had plenty of time with the FW stuff already. :)

    Anyway, I feel I could ramble on here for hours, so I'll stop for now. I think I"m going to post a discussion thread over at the bunker, because I've seen scattered discussion around online, but I'd love to get a long term discussion going about this, and I feel the bunker is where we all congregate for the most part. Hopefully it will lead to a lot of good ideas and ongoing discussion.

    1. Aye up starfarer, smashing points .. you sound like you know your stuff and have given this plenty of thought..

      The houses do have a lot of potential as you say.. Open them up with a family tree like structure.. whack in a few dozen tantalisingly rough concept sketches for an extended clan structure that utilizes existing citadel kits and bobs your uncle .. each clan/family house could be extended infinitely by tying them to existing boxsets /sprues .. like John's concept artwork did for the chaos marines back in day..

      we get all the potential of weird and wonderful ideas without actually having to buy every boxset out there to see what would work..

      I have to say .. A forgeworld release would be exciting .. I suspect they have there hands full with the HH though..

      wouldn't it be great to get necromunda models in resin as well as plastic ..the ability to release upgrade kits ad hoc would keep me hooked eternally..

      I think you make a sound point about the resin first release though.. i think you have given this more thought than I have.. either way i think we are years off though..

      I too could ramble on for hours.. maybe the Bunker is the best place for this discussion.. i had feared that the inq28 forum mods might get a bit funny with a new necromunda thread in there though.. which would be a shame because we all know the inq28 forum is the most exciting place on the net regarding this sort of 40k skirmish stuff.. wherever the discussion lands i be happy to take a part in it.. i have loads of ideas for terrain and clans.. i think i am going to knock up some paper vertical game boards to see if i can help navigate that thorny vertical gaming problem..

  13. Great article Neil!

    Me and my friends actually played quite a lot of necromunda back in the day. It's the most fun I've had with any GW game except perhaps for Bloodbowl. When it comes to the setting Necromunda wins hands down of course.

    The thought of even the remote possibility of new Necromunda models makes my fingers itch - especially given the quality of the plastic kits these days. I'd personally love a return to gangs a bit more like the ones in Confrontation - something more open to personal interpretation. Then you could have one or two plastic kits augmented by fw parts ( or by mixing in other plastic kits). Oh well... Probably a long time off.

    1. Thank Johan, :-)

      I have to say i am jealous of those folks who have played a decent necro campaign from scratch.. i would dearly love to buld that sort of connection with my models .. history and tactics.. cool stuff.. I alwsy liked the idea that the novitiate/ youths could mature into seasoned vets .. that continuity is missing in current 40k aesthetics and its a shame we have to go to fantasy flight to get similar character progression in my eyes..

      Confrontation renascence baroque plastics twined with industrial gothic entropic urbex.. now that is something i could fall in love with.. weirdly enough i made a few confrontation models based on old blanche thumbnail sketches yesterday inspired by this post..

      Personlly i would be happy to see all the confrontation stuff melded with the necromunda stuff and maybethe new madmax to bring out a new visual language.. but i think much of the confrontation stuff is timeless.. where as some of the necromunda stuff has dated somewhat.. whacj in a healthy dose of inquisitor and adaptus mechanicus too though..

      the thought of you with plastic munda figures sends a shiver down my spine.. oh man.. plastic easchers ..

  14. Jesus, that's the mood board for gaming heaven, I'll come back to this one a lot but it really is everything I like and want in my games.
    Thank you so much for this and cheers for the link and nice words. ;)

  15. Your welcome mate , yeah in retrospect I have to say , I think gw have done a sterling job with the re release