Fury of the Swarm: 40K Co-op on a Space Hulk

Fury of the Swarm is an experimental co-op mode for Warhammer 40,000, in which the players face off against a swarm of Tyranids following instinctive protocols. This week we have two new missions for commanders to have a crack at, including a Boarding Action mission.

Today’s post adds two more missions to the roster. The first is evacuation mission The Straggler, in which your warlord and his best mates start the game surrounded by hungry bugs and has to break out to safety. The second one adapts one of the Boarding Action missions from Arks of Omen to work in Fury of the Swarm.

If you want to skip my commentary and check out the rules, click the big Tyranid head below.

Fury of the Swarm route map

One post every fortnight

  1. Announcement post
  2. The initial release, with test mission
  3. Campaign mode go! Four missions in total, one for each campaign phase.
  4. Developer diary #1
  5. 2 new missions
  6. 2 new missions <<<< YOU ARE HERE
  7. 2 new missions
  8. Developer diary #2 going over feedback, and resulting rules changes.
  9. Developer diary #3, with a few previews of the laid out pages.
  10. The release of Version 1 as a downloadable PDF.

This week’s new missions

Sporefall: Repel Boarders

Fighting in the cramped confines of starships and space stations form some of the iconic opening engagements in any Tyranid invasion, so while not everyone has access to Space Corridors (TM) I felt like we absolutely had to get some Boarding Action… action.

In my gaming group, the paint’s barely dried on our space hulk terrain, so I was a bit nervous about trying to write a mission for it. To avoid making a total mess, I have instead plumped for adapting an official mission, and then writing rules to keep Swarm functioning properly in this alternate game mode.

Since I’m probably only going to be able to have one Boarding Action mission in version 1 of Swarm, I picked a fairly basic one that applies to plenty of narrative contexts. That basic one is Access Junction Primus from Arks of Omen: Abaddon. The map itself is almost exactly the same as the official one, but for the addition of two extra spawn zones so that it’s easy to figure out where respawning Tyranids should deploy. The mission itself is also somewhat adjusted, and forces the players to gain full domination of the map over the Tyranids, which also means casually hanging out right on top of their spawn zones for at least a turn. It’s like playing in traffic, if traffic had sword hands and beetle guns.

Fury of the Swarm mission map: Repel Boarders. Credit: Charlie Brassley

The test games of this have been great fun. Not just because it was nice to get use out of this giant pile of scenery we just painted, but because of the number of cinematic moments that emerged during play: two Aggressors fighting back to back, surrounded by Tyranid Warriors, going down swinging. Hormagaunts tearing a door down to find their path impeded by a trio of Bladeguard. The Lictor dancing through all the fire I could throw at it, before pouncing on my Captain. The Zoanthropes telekinetically opening all the hatchways so that their minions could storm through the map (yes, the Tyranids get extra rules in co-op boarding actions).

Could I play this mission on [insert different terrain set name]?
Yes, I think so. It’s a pretty basic layout. You’ll want to make sure there’s doors that can be open and closed – those offer surprising tactical nuance, I’ve found.

What about other Boarding Action missions?
You could absolutely experiment with adapting other official missions using the behavioural modifications listed in this mission. I make no promises as to how well that’ll work, since I haven’t tried that myself! If you do, let me know how you get on.

Brother Priahad of the Cobalt Scions’ Bladeguard holds the door against a brood of hormagaunts. Credit: Charlie Brassley

Evacuation: The Straggler

Evacuation missions are all about the final fate of your characters, since at this point overall victory is a bitter memory. With this mission, that theme is shoved right to the fore as your Warlord starts the game surrounded by a tightening noose of Tyranids. You’ll have to decide to what extent you’ll risk the rest of your troops to save the boss, since you can use them to lure the Tyranids in different directions.

Fury of the Swarm mission map: The Straggler. Credit: Charlie Brassley

The catch? You only win if you can both save the boss and prevent it being pyrrhic by keeping over half your army alive. Harsh, perhaps, but this is probably going to be one of your last missions in a campaign, so think of it like a final boss fight. Huh, I suppose technically it is a boss fight. See, because it’s about your…

…I’ll be here all week.

Actually if all goes according to plan I won’t be here (Oxford) when you’re reading this, I’ll be somewhere in the Mediterranean trying not to get caught in flight cancellations, airport staff strikes, wildfires, and/or mild sunburn. Not to give you too much of a glimpse behind the kimono, but normally these Swarm dev blogs are written at the last possible minute after a week of testing and manic map making and tweaking… while running two roleplay campaigns. Yes, I am an idiot. But THIS time, the blog post is being written the night before I get on a plane, which means it’s a whole week early. Apparently my commitment to The Plan is potent.

This is, I suspect, because I know that letting myself get delayed is a slippery slope that’s sure to turn this project into vapourware, and that’d be embarrassing as hell.

Mini dev update: how’s the project going?

I already veered into this in the section above, but broadly: good. We’re still on time, and I’ve gotten over the hurdle of needing to play extra games of Boarding Action to make sure I understand the game mode well enough to bodge the Swarm version of it. I feel like once I’ve gotten the next two missions done it will no longer be a question of whether I finish Version 1, it’ll simply be a question of how much we as a community can test it and polish it before I lay out the final version.

The feedback I’m getting from players is great, so please keep that coming. I’ll talk more about the feedback once we’re past the mission generation phase of the project, but suffice to say: there’s gamers out there being real helpful. Hopefully we’ll get even more as the project continues on its way toward the release of Version 1.

Cobalt Scions Aggressors make their stand against Tyranid Warriors. Credit: Charlie Brassley

What’s next

As ever, no promises, but right now the plan is to get a second Extermination mission in there and a third Sporefall mission (so that each campaign phase has two missions you can play whether or not you own space hulk terrain). The Light Metal Team (that’s Tom) is working on some Tyranid “buildings” so we can have a mission all about burning down the Hive Mind’s favourite base.


If you’d like to send me feedback or questions, the most helpful way is probably the feedback form. You’re also very welcome to get in touch by emailing contact@goonhammer.com or by reaching out to me (Charlie) on Instagram. If you’re a Goonhammer patron, you can also @ Charlie B on the Discord server.