This new boxed set has just popped up on my desk, and people have been going a bit dippy about it since the rumours started appearing. After all, if you are going to buy a Knight Warden anyway, you can now just pay a few quid more, and get a new game, some scenery and a whole second Knight!
So, aside from the obvious cost savings, is Renegade worth a look?
First impressions count, and this one comes in a big box, perhaps a little deeper than Deathwatch and Calth, if my memory serves me well. Opening it up… and you see a lot of plastic!
Actually, one impression is that the box is not entirely fit-to-bursting in the manner of, say, the old Warhammer Quest, which unleashed a veritable wave of plastic when you opened it. However, if you have picked this up, it is likely that you knew exactly what you were getting in terms of models, and there is really nothing to complain about.
The Knights are the primary reason most people will pick this game up, and you get two of each basic sprue, plus the extra weapons on the Warden sprue. Even if you completely ignore everything else in this box (and I expect to see a lot of rulebooks on their own for sale on eBay), there is enough here to do pretty much any weapon combinations you want aside from, of course, two Warden-types.
There are three sprues for buildings, and the game itself suggests you make two separate structures. However, being based on the Cities of Death designs, you can do pretty much what you want with these, perhaps going for one building that is larger and more impressive.
There are two instruction books for construction. The Sanctum Imperialis is, I think, the same booklet (folded sheet, really) you get with the standard box set, while the Knights booklet is new and full colour throughout.
Two dice (different colours) and a Renegade transfer sheet wraps up this side of things.
There are two A4-sized reference sheets. Each provides a ‘hit location’ chart for each Knight used in the game, plus weapon stats on the back. Fairly thin card will not survive years of use without wrinkles, but they are pretty enough and, as mentioned earlier, the game itself is not really going to be the point of this set for most people.
Then we get to the rulebook. This is 8 pages in length, but don’t kid yourself. Only two of those are used for the rules, and two form the front and back covers.
There is a short background piece explaining the premise pf the game – a Freeblade went a bit wonky and turned to Chaos. A loyalist Knight has been sent to stop him. Fight!
Players choose in secret from a basic set of actions (move, aim, charge, rotate shields, etc) every turn – and I think it is notable that these are written down on scrap paper, rather than having counters provided that are placed face down. It is very difficult to criticise cost-cutting when you are getting such a good deal on the miniatures, but it does serve to suggest that this really is a two-Knight box set, rather than an actual stand-alone game. Alternatively, you could argue that GW really knows its audience (people wanting Knights) and the game itself is just intended for a few minutes fun once in a while.
Who performs actions first is dependent on which actions were chosen (so a Snap Attack is resolved before aimed shots), with dice deciding ties.
Attacks are resolved using the hit location charts, with players picking a point that may scatter – veteran players of older editions of 40k and Epic will be very comfortable with this. If you hit something, you try to get past its armour and then resolve damage. Once a location is reduced to 0 hits, Something Bad happens. This might be a weapon getting blown off or a leg limping, and when you have done this to 6 locations, the Knight is destroyed.
Three more paragraphs add rules for cover and ion shields.
The rules are very simple but they are not completely without depth. The order in which actions are resolved gives opportunity to ‘play’ your opponent, and there is some strategy in choosing what locations to go for when you shoot (aim for the centre of the Knight will guarantee a hit but this is where it is most heavily armoured, whereas hitting a weapon will reduce incoming fire but is more likely to miss).
Another page gives three missions to try out; Search and Secure, Breakthrough and Duel of Honour, with the mission objectives being the main variable factor.
I suspect most people, however, will just skip past those three pages, as the next three are all dedicated to 40k!
A Forsworn Knight Detachment brings Knights to Chaos armies as if they were Chaos Space Marines (in terms of allies), and if you get one more Knight (for a total of 3), they all get Preferred Enemy – but then so do any Imperial Knights that oppose them.
Nice and flexible, you can start off with just a single Knight added to your Chaos force.
The next two pages cover everything you need to play the detachment, starting with a Renegade Knight datasheet and finishing with rules for their wargear.
And that is your lot!
There is no getting around it; this is a box set designed to sell you two Imperial Knights at once. Whether you pick it up or not is going to depend on whether you want two Knights for not that much more than a single one.
The game itself does, I think, have some promise. It is not going to replace 40k in gaming clubs but I would not be surprised to see the local boys playing it for at least one evening.
There is potential here for expansion and if rules were released for the likes of Stompas and all the Forge World goodies (Warhounds!), and if campaign rules were added a la Adeptus Titanicus, there could be something really quite interesting here. It would not need to be complicated and GW did nothing more than provide a campaign system that was derived from Titanicus plus added those extra models, I could actually see myself getting a few of the guys together to play a complete campaign.
Not sure that would happen, though. This really is a set designed to sell two Knights and, reviewed in that respect, it scores well.
But then, you already looked at the price and contents as soon as it was announced. You have already decided whether to pick this set up or not…