Adeptus Titanicus – State of the Game

Adeptus Titanicus launched in August 2018 and reintroduced epic scale titan combat set in the Horus Heresy. In this article I’m going to look at some of the background to the launch, what’s happened since, what is coming in the future and whether and why it is successful.

Adeptus Titanicus was originally meant to be released in 2017, and while some people, including myself, emailed in to ask them to do it in plastic not resin (due to cost limiting the number of people who would get into it and creating a smaller community) the decision to delay it and convert it to plastic was reportedly taken because casting the amount of resin required for the release would have meant Forgeworld did nothing else at all for 18 months.

The result has been the delay of a year with a number of benefits for the game, most obviously being plastic titans, knights and buildings and an affordable buy in, and less obviously being another year of finetuning before the game is released. While the rulebook isn’t perfect (personally I’d have made it a little longer and included the rules for Legio Mortis so the Legion rules for the three Martian Legions were in the main book, as well as giving rules for one loyalist legio, one traitor and one that was divided) it is well written and plays well. It’s obvious a lot of care and love has gone into it.

To put it simply the core rulebook is pretty great. At the time it was written the main GW studio had rolled out three ways to play and everyone was familiar with it, and that is reflected in the book. AT2018 is a game pitched at a different crowd than 40k, and while it seems like few people use Open Play in 40k (though this may be due to a vocal online minority endlessly telling everyone that they don’t rather than being a hard fact) because AT2018 seems pitched at a more mature crowd than 40k it is more open to such play. The Narrative Play scenarios included in the rulebook are interesting and well thought out.

The first supplement is due out in January 2019, Titan Death, along with a Black Library novel of the same name in December. This will give nine more Titan Legions (Gryphonicus is in the main book but may get more content), 4 loyalist and 5 traitor with supporting models and scenarios and campaign rules. There’ll be five more maniple types, campaign rules and four more types of Titan. The Warmonger, which sits between the Reaver and Warlord in size, has had the 28mm version shown.

Coming eventually.

Since launch AT2018 has seen a release every month and now has the 3 core types of titan in plastic, as well as two types of Knight. An alternate weapons Warlord and Reaver will be released in the near future, giving five weapons available for the Warlord and eight for the Reaver. Resin weapons are currently being sculpted for the Warlord and there have been some conflicting rumours about additional weapon sprues for the Warlord, though it is likely that the rest of the weapons will be in resin, similar to the upgrade packs for the Necromunda gangs.

Looking pretty damn good.

There are variant weapons for the knights, with the Stormspear Missile Pod already seen in pictures and videos from GW, and with all the non-lancer Cerastus Knight weapons not on the Cerastus plastic sprue. Again, this is likely to be in resin upgrade packs.

GW have just announced a maniple starter containing the first versions of the Warlord and Reaver and a pair of Warhounds, with the saving being the warhounds. This gives a 1250 point Axiom Maniple, and a solid base for anyone starting the game, with all they need to do to reach 1500 be to invest in some knights.

So how is AT2018 doing? This is the question to ask as the sales figures will determine if there are releases out past the end of 2019. Specialist Games is still a fledgling business unit selling skirmish games and if they have a big failure it will likely choke off investment from GW in the specialist games. The big block to more specialist games being released is manpower, as the specialist studio is not large and is supporting four games at the moment.

In terms of sales the Grandmaster Edition sold out online and was hugely popular, the Reaver Titan sold so well it has been sold out to customers and independent retailers twice, the rules pack has been out of stock and GW are now selling the plastic sprue from it separately, and from the outside looking in there has been a huge positive response to the game. While you can’t play it in GW stores, there are events popping up in the UK for 1000-2000 points and GW want to promote events at WHW and alongside other big events (GTs, wargame shows, etc).

There is no set tournament format yet, but it looks likely that given people won’t necessarily have a large amount of terrain in AT scale, bringing several pieces of terrain will be a likely feature of event formats.

So why is AT2018 doing well? I think this is down to a combination of factors.

It is a low model count skirmish game. While some of those models are particularly big, you can play a reasonable 1250 point sized game with an Axiom maniple consisting of 4 models. You could add some knights to that to get to 1500. You could add another Reaver to get to 2000. However even then you would be looking at less than 15 models for a 2-3 hour game that the rulebook describes as an Epic Clash. For people who don’t want to paint a lot of models, AT2018 has the same attraction as Kill Team.

The decline of Horus Heresy. Before Alan Bligh fell ill Horus Heresy was producing a book a year, and was massively boosted by plastics, leading to huge numbers of older players playing ‘historical’ 30k as opposed to historical wargames like Napoleonics. Forgeworld produced a game without a lot of the problems of 6th and 7th edition 40k and it’s own little balanced eco-system where virtually all the armies operated from the same list with a few different signature units. While some units were terrible and some were great, everyone had access to the good and bad. Then Alan Bligh sadly passed away, Horus Heresy was hit with a year with almost no marine releases in favour of Custodes, and the Custodes and Thousand Sons lists suffered from extremely poor balance in comparison to Legion based lists. With no clear direction as to where Horus Heresy is going there was a group of players looking for a Horus Heresy shaped hole to be filled. In steps AT2018, which exists in the same setting, doesn’t have balance problems and is being supported with plastics for all the core units.

People loved Epic. I started the hobby with Epic 2nd edition, which was a great game. Since Epic Armageddon was dropped, the community has kept going through ebay acquisitions, proxies and 3rd party models (including lovely 3rd party Horus Heresy era style models). Some of these players have very rapidly got into AT2018.

Literally a 1250 point force.

Also with the launch of the AT2018 Titan Battlegroup, it’s now cheaper to get into than a lot of games. I now run a store, and I’ll be selling it at 20% off, as I imagine a lot of other stores will. So AT2018 already had very good sales, and it’s getting cheaper to get into it, with more plastic kits being released.

While AT2018 will never be as big as AoS or 40k, given the solid sales so far I can see more plastic kits being produced, as even shifting to the Necromunda or Blood Bowl model of one plastic kit per quarter would provide a lot of expansion, as both factions are operating from the same base list and kits. What I think is now fairly certain would be Orks being added to AT in 2020 or 2021 in a War of the Beast expansion as previously discussed by Andy Hoare.

What I think a lot of people don’t understand is the amount of time it takes for plastics to be made. The design of the Warlord took months, and even where 3D design files already existed, for models such as the knights, it still took time to convert them and turn them into models. The Warmonger, while there has been discussion of it being done in plastic for AT, will not be out tomorrow unless GW started working on it months ago. The Knight Porphyrion for example would be a great kit for AT, as would the Titan the Slaneeshi Subjugator Scout Titan was based on.

So what does the future hold? Continued support from GW, though eventually not a kit every month.  Events at shows, tournaments and gaming at independent stores. I’ll be doing terrain and a table suitable for it in my store.

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