New 40k: Dark Imperium – First Thoughts

Okay, I wasn’t going to do this. I wasn’t going to do an ‘unboxing’ review of the new 40k, but instead give you a nice, considered read in a couple of days. However, there is just so much stuff to cover that I think it will be better if I break it down a little.


What really inspired this was the opening of the box set – GW have done really, really well here.

At first, I thought they had cut corners, as if you pick up the box a certain way, it feels like they used really thin card. However, upon taking the cellophane wrapping off, you realise this is just a sleeve rather than the normal top-and-bottom box design. If you have picked up one of their ‘premium’ models recently (Archaon, Lord of Change, Triumvirates, etc), you will know what to expect.

What I didn’t expect was the packaging of components inside, which kinda reminded me of unboxing an iPhone rather than the usual GW way of cramming-stuff-inside. The above photo shows the presentation once you take the sleeve off. You get a kind of mini-box that contains all the plastics that come with the set, the Death Guard and Primaris Marines.


Taking that off, you get this, the hardback rulebook neatly nestled between two storage areas. I hadn’t been keeping up with any unboxing posts or videos, so this was a nice surprise – in the past, GW have packaging cut down softback books in their starter sets, with a hardback available separately. Here, you get the full hardback in the box.


Bound up with the book are separate booklets covering the Primaris Marines and Death Guard, along with a construction guide, transfers (covering four chapters) and a Z-type folding card with all the core rules.


Burrowing further into the box, the storage areas lift to reveal a bendy plastic measuring tool, dice (which are really nice dice, considering this is ‘just’ a starter set, and the bases (which include the new plastic flying bases for the Primaris Marines, first seen on the Kharadron Overlords).


The overall impression – this is a quality product. GW have done a very good job on the presentation, and I would give them an A+. This is how things should be done.

I also started going through the actual rules. Now, some caveats here: first off, be very wary of any reviews over the next few days that try to tell you what the game is like if the reviewer has not actually played it – there is a lot to process, and no one is going to be able to give you a decent opinion worth, well, anything, until they actually have a few games under their belts. That includes me.

Second, what is apparent is that while the core rules are simple, there is a great deal of interaction between units and a lot of new territory in the way units work. No one is going to be able to call themselves an ‘expert’ player with this rules set for a few months, regardless of their previous playing experience.

All that said…

I really like these rules!

They may take you 15-20 minutes to read (add another 5 minutes for army construction), but after that you will be able to explain the rules to a current 40k player in 5 minutes, with no exaggeration, and they will have them memorised within 10 minutes of playing. They really are that easy.

Which is a good thing – like Age of Sigmar, you won’t be ‘playing the rules’ or debating about what does which and how. You will just be able to focus on what is happening on the tabletop and what cool thing your models are going to do next.

The layers (and complications) come with the Datasheets for every unit, again, Age of Sigmar style.

This will open the game to everyone – casual players will find it easy to get to grips with, narrative players will be able to concentrate on action rather than rules, and competitive players will have all the tools they need to fine tune their armies and create synergies on the table.

Best of all worlds, then? Well, the truth is in the pudding, and I have the local club coming round this Saturday to get some actual games in but, at first glance, I am nicely optimistic.

Oh, and I managed to put all the Death Guard models together last night, with the (likely impossible) aim of having them all painted for Saturday’s games. My problem now is that they look very nice, are going to look better with the same colour scheme as I used on my Blightkings and, with a large Daemons of Nurgle force for Age of Sigmar already in my cabinets, it now looks like I am now doing a Death Guard army for 40k, which was completely unintentional (I swear!).

I’ll have some more updates on this edition of 40k very soon, so stay tuned!


One Response to “New 40k: Dark Imperium – First Thoughts”

  1. Thomas Says:

    Sounds like they did a good job on the rules. I’m so looking forward to playing this. AoS proved that simpler basic rules with, as you describe it, layers is the way forward. Really glad GW went this way with 40k too.

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