Jack Recaps the GW Grand Narrative

We’re getting to two weeks after the Grand Narrative, but between Thanksgiving and a quick bout of covid it feels like it was just yesterday.  I’m not going to go into deep detail on what each day was like, if you’re reading this you’ve probably read at least some of the posts by all our other authors that talk through everything at length. Instead, I’m going to touch on the highlights, lowlights, some things that could be improved next time, and then leave you with a big-ass photo gallery of the games I played in and a few shots from fellow Goonhammerers.


  • I finally got to play and hang out with a bunch of Goonhammer authors and editors that I’ve now been working with for years, but between covid and being on the west coast haven’t met in person. My 2v1 game on the second day against Rob and Garrett was definitely the best moment of the entire thing.
  • The vibes were absolutely on point. Between the fantastic costumes of our faction leaders, the themed rooms, and having our faction briefings each day, I’ve never played in a 40k event where I felt more like there was actually a narrative happening and not just random disconnected games.
  • The resort was great. We had a ton of space in each room to play without bumping into each other, the rooms were comfortable, and the food was good. Plus there were s’mores available from the front desk every evening and fire pits outside to cook them.


  • There was a ton of downtime. We’d have a faction briefing at 9am, but not start getting matched onto tables until 10am, so we weren’t rolling dice until probably 10:30. With the briefings taking 10-15 minutes, there’s a big chunk in there that isn’t quite long enough to do anything, but is long enough to eat a chunk out of the day. We had the same thing happen in the evenings with our games wrapping up around 7pm and the evening briefing at 9pm. While that’s time to eat dinner, it’s not long enough to leave the resort to go eat dinner elsewhere, but is more time than needed to eat dinner in the bar. With night games of Kill Team and Aeronautica not starting until after the briefing, it’s not really enough time to get an entire extra game of 40k in, and participating in the night games means you lose hangout time & go to bed very late.
  • The Crusade system doesn’t hold up for an event like this. While Administratum makes it easy to track everything, and all the downtime gives you plenty of time to do your homework, only having 5 games means most factions barely have time to get into their unique mechanics. Some of the mechanics also just suck; for me playing Blood Angels the whole thing just punishes me more the better I do in a game, and I’d rather just ignore the section entirely.
  • The missions used were bland and only vaguely connected to the narrative. While I’m sure it simplified things to have everyone playing the same mission at the same time, this kind of luxury event is a perfect opportunity to have all the different warzones getting an opportunity to play something unique to that location. These were also all out of the core rulebook, a disappointment after seeing the missions get much better across the crusade supplements as they released.
  • Power level sucks. Absolute dogshit of a mechanic.
  • The resort was too isolated. Despite all the good things I said about it above, it was far enough out of the way that going off-site for food was a Journey, and after a few days even the good food available was getting old.


  • The #1 thing I’d do next year is to compress all the timeframes, especially on the first day playing smaller games. Have briefings scheduled to be 15 minutes with games starting immediately after, have 2.5 to 3.5 hour games instead of them all being 4 hours, and have the evening brief happen right after the last game with the night games starting close to immediately. I’d be much more into playing Kill Team or Aeronautica if the game was starting at 7:30pm instead of 9:30.
  • Write up custom missions for each warzone. Rather than just being on different colored terrain, playing in the Sermona Magnificat should be a substantially different experience than in Tzalikar South. Maybe those aren’t the best examples as the preacher in the sermona was the best character at the event and made that room a delight, but the different rooms are similar enough that I can’t remember the names of the others. At the end of each day I want to meet up with my friends in different battlegroups and talk about the cool thing we accomplished/failed to do in our warzone instead of us all having played supply drop on different terrain.
  • Improve the terrain on the boards. It was themed fantastically, but it wasn’t great to play on. Unbased ruins meant determining area terrain was difficult, and  many of the boards had tons of empty space, especially in the middle. This is a great spot to take some cues from the tournament terrain to make for slightly more playable boards.
  • Increase the number of event-exclusive items in the store. I’m here for 3 days playing on great looking terrain with the GW exclusive neoprene mats, but despite wanting to spend my money on it I have no realistic way to buy any of it. I can get a mat… if I spend $750 on a titan. And as I didn’t bring a spare suitcase to fit a titan in, I’m going to have trouble spending that much. If I was able to buy a box that came with a mat & the terrain kits used to build one of the tables we played on, I absolutely would’ve.

The Pictures

Knowing this is a fancy narrative event, I brought my fancy camera instead of relying on my phone, and I wasn’t disappointed at all. Every army I played against looked fantastic and I’d happily play against any of them again.

This was, without a doubt, the best weekend of Warhammer I’ve ever had. I can’t wait to go back next year.

Have any questions or feedback? Drop us a note in the comments below or email us at contact@goonhammer.com.