This is a bit of a stealth release for Age of Sigmar – an installment in the Realmgate Wars series, entitled Ironwarp Citadel.
The reason you may not have heard of this one is because it is one of GW’s Warhammer World-only releases, available only from their HQ in Nottingham. So, if you want a copy yourself, you will either have to make the trip up there or avail yourself of eBay (where it seems to be going for circa £20 at the moment).
It is a 48 page softback book which focusses on one set of battles depicted in the Godbeasts book, specifically the fights that went on in and around the Ironwarp Citadel, just before the Noble Sacrifice Battleplan in the main campaign book. It is also based around the massive new diorama the Exhibition Centre has just put together.
The book starts off with a behind the scenes look at how the diorama was actually built, and while the final result is going to be beyond any mere mortals (75 Helfort sets were used to create it!) it is very interesting in its own right and may even give some ideas on how to approach scenery. For example, the painting of the actual citadel itself uses an extremely quick yet effective basecoating method that could be duplicated if yu want to quickly paint up your own Dreadhold.
And that is what the final result looks like!
The book then goes onto the story behind the Ironwarp Citadel. This fortress lays on the edge of the Land of the Chained Sun (which, as we now know, is actually Ignax, one of the Godbeasts). Now, this part of the Realmgate Wars does not go so well for the forces of Order, but during the fight the Fyreslayers launched their own offensive to clamber up one of the chains to plant a rune on the side of Ignax that would allow them to control the creature’s flames – this would become very important in the All-Gates book.
The anchor for one of these chains is the Ironwarp Citadel, hence the massive fight for the fortress that is the basis of this book.
I won’t give away the full story, but anyone who has read Godbeasts will know the Fyreslayers obviously make it (it is in subsequent events that things go south for Order).
There are lots of lovely photos of the diorama where you can see the combined Fyreslayer and Stormcast armies hammering away at the Khornate-held walls. What is interesting here is that some familiar faces pop up that have not yet been directly mentioned in the background of the Age of Sigmar – in this picture, for example, you can see the new Forge World Khorgorath, Skaarac Bloodborn and, a couple of pages on, you can see Fyreslayers trying to beat up Scyla Anfingrimm.
The battles culminate in the Fyreslayers starting to climb the chain as Lord-Celestant Imperius, ably assisted by his Drakesworn Templars, try their best to keep Archaon busy.
A Time of War sheet is included to cover the Ashlands, the area in which the Ironwarp Citadel sits. I think this is the same Time of War sheet as in Godbeasts but I cannot double check that at the moment as, umm, my Age of Sigmar app has crashed since the last update (I don’t believe I am alone there…).
There are three Battleplans in the book. The first, Storming the Gate (though it does not actually have a gate, funnily enough…) sees the forces of Order rushing forward to claim the back end of the defender’s territory.
The next, Securing a Foothold, has the attacker’s surrounded within the fortress as the defender’s launch a counterattack.
Finally, To Kill a King is a direct attack upon Archaon – though the Everchosen is going to be tough to defeat, as he can use 3 Command Abilities every round, and has access to any and all that his underlings have!
Beyond the Battleplans, the real point of interest in this book for many will be the new Battalions. Having seen the 40k-equivalent of this book, I was expecting some very sizeable Battalions which require a number of models that most gamers will simply not have – however, while they are large, they are not completely undoable.
The Swords of Chaos, for example, depicts the First Circle of the Varanguard, and requires at least three units. Not sure I am desperate to paint that many Varanguard, but I can see others will. Especially as the Battalion means they can re-roll hit rolls of 1, which basically means they will almost never miss!
The Everchosen’s Menagerie is a good one, and I think I will be using this Battalion in one of my own games. It is formed from a Bloodstoker leading any five Monsters you like (they cannot have riders), so you can unleash your Slaughterbrutes, Cockatrices, Hydras, Great Spined Chaos Beasts… whatever you like!
The Knights Imperius is one of those Battalions that is almost in reach – it reqStardrake (easy enough), and at least two Drakesworn Templars. If someone has a full Extremis Chamber, I can see them having one Templar alongside their Lord-Celestant, but two… Maybe not.
Mind you, if they went for the full Drakesworn Battalion in the Battletome, they will already have the models needed for the Knights Imperius!
The Hammerfall Brotherhood may be the Battalion that veers most towards being out of reach for the average gamer – the Celestant-Prime leading five (and up to ten!) Retributor retinues. I think you would have to really love hammers to have that many Retributors without having made some into Decimators or Protectors.
The Fyrestorm Pack may be an easy one, formed of any three Magmadroths of your choice, in return for which you get re-rolls on the beasts’ magma-breaths.
And that is Ironwarp Citadel! It is not a long book by any means, nor is it in any way essential, even if you are a dedicated follower of the Realmgate Wars story line. I get the sense that it is intended as a bit of fun, really, concentrated on one set of battles that were ancillary to the main campaign anyway.
What I am saying is, don’t get angry that GW only released it via Warhammer World! You are not missing out as such, and it really is just a bit of icing on the Realmgate Wars cake. Collectors are going to want a copy, and they have the eBay route to fall back on.
Overall, I liked this book for what it is, but don’t consider it a major addition to the Age of Sigmar line.