Battle Bros Season Four, Chapter IV: Enter the Bro-Dome (Not Like That)

Battle Bros is an ongoing bi-weekly column where Drew (PantsOptional) taught his brother Chris (head58) how to play Warhammer 40,000 and now is being hoisted by his own petard as he learns Necromunda. Catch up on their past adventures here.

Meet the Battle Bros


The older of the two brothers, and for once the more experienced in what is to come.


The younger brother, slowly realizing the horrors he has unleashed upon himself.


CHRIS: Hello, brickpigs, and welcome back to the dumbest thing you’ll read this week on this otherwise really decent site. We don’t know why they keep letting us do this either, but will keep going until someone tells us to stop. My current theory is that we pull such low numbers they don’t really even notice us. Pretty sure most Start Competing guides from two editions ago acquire more daily clicks than we do.

DREW: This is a fun little experiment you’re working on here for so many reasons which also has the benefit of tying in a one-off inside joke that like three people will understand. Frankly I’m in awe of The Bit.

CHRIS: When we left off last time, Drew and I had assembled our Necromunda gangs and painted them up to our usual eBay rescue level of quality. We’d even given them stupid names. All that was left to do now was to actually play this game.

I schlepped out to Drew’s half of the state in questionable Smarch weather, early one Saturday morning. We wanted to be able to grab a table at his local store before anyone was likely to come by and witness our shame.

DREW: Let’s be real, you also wanted tacos. Those who remember season three should probably go to a reputable doctor to diagnose the cause of that, but may also recall our discovery that the little market and taco place next to the store had some extremely legit tacos the likes of which I didn’t think existed up here in the land of racism and Dunks. I cannot tell a lie; as I write this an undisclosed amount of time after our meetup my memories of the tacos are stronger than those of the game.

The fabled Taco Hut of Chipotle IV
An artist’s interpretation, because posting the actual place is probably a bad idea.

CHRIS: How much of this column is just an excuse for me to go scarf down those tacos? I’ll leave that as an exercise for the reader.

For Drew’s first game I wanted us to play a fun scenario. I subscribe to the belief that anybody playing Stand-off, especially for a first game of Necromunda, should have a live rat sewn into a random body cavity. That may seem extreme, but if we don’t stand up for good gaming standards, who will?

DREW: I went into this knowing pretty much nothing about the scenarios but I just checked out Stand-off and… ugh. You might as well just play Rock’em Sock’em Robots because the level of complexity will be about the same; it’s literally just “how about you beat each other up.” I’m hesitant to recommend the ol’ Splinter Surprise the way you did for folks that like it, but they definitely should understand that they have chosen poorly. Plus I don’t think rats have flared bases.

CHRIS: There is zero reason for anyone to be playing a scenario in any game where the victory is just “murder the other team.” I don’t love generic “hold this key tactical 40mm spot on a battlefield, it’s really important, trust us” scenarios, but stuff like Stand-Off is just lazy. In light of this we chose Ghast Harvest. Any scenario where you have a chance of either becoming a god or going insane depending on the whims of the dice, that’s good Necro! For those unfamiliar, in this scenario your gangers are looking to gather up Ghast, a particularly fun and highly illegal Necromunda drug that grows deep down in the irradiated bowels of the Underhive. Ghast is prized for its ability to greatly boost the user’s latent psychic abilities, and we know how much fun that kind of stuff is in the grimdark future, don’t we kids?

DREW: You had me at “space shrooms”, you didn’t need to sweeten the pot by suggesting that it might be a C-list Marvel villain origin as well. The basic scenario structure for Ghast Harvest is that we’re both trying to collect Ghast while preventing the other from doing so, with the added complication that sometimes we might accidentally dose ourselves. I’m not really sure how you “accidentally” do space radiation drugs but I knew a few guys in college who probably could have managed it and that was before I transferred to the party school.

We could also choose to eat some of the Ghast, which seems weird given that respirators give a bonus against accidentally dosing yourself but applying logic is clearly not the vibe here. Either way that you get that Ghast in you, you have to roll to see what it does. Maybe it gives you a randomly rolled psychic power! Maybe your opponent can immediately activate your Ghast-huffer under their control. Both of these seem like incredibly bad ideas, so I approve.

Anyway, let’s move on to what each of us is bringing to the table.

Chris’s Goliaths Gang – The Sparty Bois

  • Boss Jubb: Forge Tyrant (Leader) with a combi stub/plasma pistol, a power axe, some attribute-boosting gene-smithing abilities, and the “Iron Will” skill
  • Pizz: Stimmer (Champion) with paired pulverizers, “Overdeveloped Musculature” gene-smithing, and the “Nerves of Steel” skill
  • Honcho: Forge Boss (Champion) with a grenade launcher (frag, krak, smoke), and the “Overwatch” skill
  • Fizz: Bruiser (Ganger) with a spud-jacker, combat shotgun, and smoke grenade. He has the “Genetic Ancient” gene-smithing, which means he’s a little smarter than his fellows. A pretty low bar, but there you go.
  • Mumps: Bruiser (Ganger) with a boltgun
  • Wet Dog: Bully (Juve) with a spud-jacker

Everybody also has Furnace Plates, because I like armor saves but not enough to spend real money on it.

The goggles, they do nothing

DREW: I basically said this already last time but now I have the revelation of their names. Pretend to be surprised.
Drew’s Escher Gang – Barbie World

  • President Barbie: Gang Queen (Leader), plasma pistol, shock whip, mesh armor;
  • Judge Barbie: Gang Matriarch (Champion), combi-weapon (bolter/needler), fighting knife, flak armor;
  • Weird Barbie: Gang Matriarch (Champion), plasma pistol, laspistol, flak armor;
  • Proust Barbie: Gang Sister Specialist: ‘Nightshade’ chem-thrower, stub gun, flak armor, chem-synth;
  • Journalist Barbie: Gang Sister (Ganger), lasgun, flak armor;
  • Writer Barbie: Gang Sister (Ganger), lasgun, flak armor;
  • Lawyer Barbie: Gang Sister (Ganger), lasgun, flak armor.

President Barbie. You can tell she’s the leader because her hair is tallest.

CHRIS: I approve of how deeply you are leaning into this bit. We put the four objectives (Ghast deposits) near the centerline of the board, because we are not cowards who put objectives in our deployment zones.

Both of us rolled 1s on our d3+4 check for how many gangers we could bring to the party, because of course we did. I left my juve home while Drew left out a handful of his lasgun fighters.

I deployed my neon Goliaths more or less in a line fairly evenly spread. Mumps and his bolt gun went on top of a building on the left side of the board, where he would remain as a turret until the end of the game when he ran out of ammo and fell off the building. Honcho took his grenade launcher up onto a platform. The other three were on the ground level, but I made sure Boss Jubb and Fizz were on opposite ends. They were my only gangers with a chance of passing an Intelligence test to successfully harvest Ghast so I wanted to run them to different objectives.

These three are about to do some absolutely terrible things.

The first round was pretty dull. We both moved our gangers up a bit but couldn’t quite move in range of any of the objectives yet. We exchanged a few pot shots but nothing connected.

I knew from the start that I wasn’t going to be winning the game by harvesting vast quantities of Ghast. Intelligence tests just aren’t Goliaths’ strong suit. My strategy going in was to murder the fuck out of Drew’s gang and claim a draw, or maybe I’d be really lucky and pass one harvest test but I wasn’t going to hold my breath.

You mean to tell me this guy isn’t MENSA material? (Credit: The Armour of Contempt)

DREW: I was kinda hoping you were going to not do that, but I understand – play to your strengths, not your weaknesses. That’s why I play in the Narrative events, where being bad at the game can be leveraged into something funny at least. You gotta forge that narrative of your partner losing his mind and becoming the Joker.

CHRIS: My narrative is “I get to murder you with Paired Pulverizers” so hooray me! I did get lucky regarding the scenario toward the end of the game. Fizz, the “smart” one, managed to make it to a deposit that was on top of a building and pulled off a 7+ to pass his Int test and harvest the Ghast! But then, of course, he flubbed the Toughness check and “accidentally” ingested some space drugs! I rolled a 1 of course, meaning that he went temporarily insane and Drew immediately got to make an activation with him.

DREW: Did I do the most useful thing and have him shoot someone else in the Goliaths? No, of course not. Instead, Fizz re-enacted the afterschool specials of our youth, climbing up onto the highest point he could and leaping off in a delirious haze. It’s up to you whether he thought he was a bird, a plane, or Helen Hunt.

CHRIS: Pizz then did what he does best: war crimes. His “Overdeveloped Musculature” gene-smithing modification already raised his Str to 5, if he’s all drugged up with both his combat chems stash and his stimm-slug he can put out ten attacks at Strength 8, AP -1, D1, hitting on 2s, and he has 9 inches of movement to deliver him to the enemy for hugs. I really love that big, dumb boy.

He was able to charge in on both President Barbie and Weird Barbie and put them down for the count. Pizz is usually short-lived on a board, because once you see what he can do you don’t let him anywhere near melee range. A better person would not have deployed him against a first time Necromunda player or at least felt a little guilty about it. Using the “Stimm Overload” tactics card to make charging a Basic rather than a Double action and thus letting Pizz attack again just in case anybody in arms’ reach was still alive, well, reader, I’m just not that better person.

Just Pizz doing Pizz things. President Barbie would absolutely destroy him if she could just… get… up.

DREW: It didn’t help that he was also Toughness 5 and the Nerves of Steel skill let him stay up every time that I shot him. I hit him a bunch but he didn’t fall down at all and if he took any actual damage I don’t remember it and he probably didn’t notice it. It may not be factually true that every single one of your gangers had a high enough Toughness that I basically couldn’t damage you but in hindsight it certainly feels true and in modern America we run on vibes damnit.

CHRIS:I said last time I don’t like giving everybody Nerves of Steel, and this is exactly why. At least I put all my negative play experience stuff onto one model.

DREW: At this point if you’ve read the prior seasons you know I’m not all about the play-by-play version of a battle report, so I’ll just sum up the rest of the scenario by saying that you beat my ass ragged and I honestly can’t think of a single notable thing that my gang did aside from dying. The first hint for me that things weren’t going to go well was my very first move, in which I moved Judge Barbie to what I thought was a decent vantage point only for Honcho to Overwatch the hell out of her. Maybe 40k proper has led me astray in this matter; I’ve basically stopped fearing Overwatch in that game outside of a few corner cases and that didn’t serve me well here as you more or less stun-locked Judge until she inevitably fell off the ledge and shattered into plastic shards. (Not literally, of course.)

Ultimately this scenario came down to a giant gross pile in the middle, with two of your Goliaths providing covering fire from above while Pizz basically did whatever he wanted in the middle with no fear of repercussions. Once again, a salient metaphor for modern America. I did learn some lessons from this, contrary to reputation, inclination, and actual lived experience. Eschers were described to me as glass cannons, able to dish out a lot of damage while unable to receive it in kind, and I paid more attention to the cannon than I did to the glass and I paid for that mistake. It didn’t help that, as noted above, the cannon part mostly didn’t prove true. Given that I fielded a bolter/needler, a chem-thrower, and a couple of plasma pistols I really thought that I had a shot at this but it just didn’t work out that way. The chem-thrower failed to wound every time and the plasma pistols largely missed and then jammed. I’d blame the dice but some idiot (me) has said on record that a poor craftsman (also me) blames his tools.

CHRIS: It didn’t help you at all that I identified that chem-thrower as Something That Needs To Die Right Fast, and I acted accordingly.

You also saw the thing I was talking about last time, where I had a bunch of Gene-Smithing and your Eschers didn’t have the benefit of Chem-Alchemy to push that cannon part up to where it needed to be.

Now, if you will indulge an old man, it’s Story Time. Back in the day when I was first wading into Warmachine I thought “it would be great if I could convince (Borat voice) my wife to play this game, then we’d have a hobby we could participate in together instead of just silently staring at the walls and waiting to die.” Said wife likes complex tactical board games like Descent and my beloved Star Wars: Queen’s Gambit, so I thought this might work out. My friend Will had taught me the game and knew it much better than I did so I asked him to run her through a demo game. He did, and he was completely without mercy: tabled her (and I think may have lost one or two models himself), put her off miniatures gaming hard. Nowadays in our circle “to Will” someone is to completely beat the game out of them (whereas “to Chris” is to leave an enemy on a single hit point or alternately to completely subvert my own needs and desires in favor of those of another simply to avoid any potential whiff of conflict). And in light of this I ask you: Did I “Will” you here?

DREW: First, Jesus dude therapy, and second, as I said immediately after, no. I earned the ass-kicking that you dispensed (and boy did you dispense it). If I didn’t touch the stove I wouldn’t know it was hot. In addition the first casualty of the day was Judge Barbie eating so many shots to the face that she fell off a ledge to her doom – you know, the exact thing you’ve been warning me about since day one. In other words, it was everything I expected and more.

You can see exactly how I’m about to go wrong here, can’t you?

CHRIS: If I were to run a Necromunda campaign I’d probably allow Escher players to buy that stuff at gang creation rather than having to wait until they hit the Trading Post after the first game. I have no idea if this is actually balanced, and it may just be too expensive to take advantage of with only 1000 credits to throw around, but I think it would level the field at least a little.

In fact dear reader, that is what I’m going to do. We have press-ganged Battle Cousins Allan and Josh, whomst you may remember from Season Two (and again, if you do we suggest you seek professional help), into joining us for a campaign which will unfold over the next installments of this fine column. I’ll be Arbitrating (fancy Necro talk for game mastering) which I’ve never done before so there will be lots of opportunities to show my full ass. Join us next time when we kick off a slightly modified Dominion campaign where we will fight for control of an abandoned theme park deep in the bowels of the underhive. I promise it will be even stupider than it sounds. Prepare to get your Small World on, folks!

DREW: No one can make me keep my arms and legs inside the cart at all times!

Next Time: It is a truly breathtaking amount of stupid

These idiots can barely breathe without fucking it up. How will they ever manage the tax preparation-levels of homework involved in a Necromunda campaign?

Have any questions or feedback? Drop us a note in the comments below or email us at