SRM’s Ongoing Imperium Review: Week 19

Imperium is a weekly hobby magazine from Hachette Partworks. In this 80-week series, our intrepid magazine-receiver will be reviewing each individual issue, its included models, and gaming materials. A Premium subscription was provided to Goonhammer for review purposes.

They did it. Those mad lad/lass/laxes did it. They sent me a third Munitorum Armored Container. This is announced with a boldface, becapslocked lie on the cover: “NEW TERRAIN MODELS” when these aren’t even new to me in the context of this publication. Maybe this is the “ethics in games journalism” thing all those idiots were filling their diapers about a few years ago.

The Magazine

Credit: Fowler

Where previous issues fleshed out what’s in Munitorum Armored Containers, this one goes in depth on where you might find them with Manufactorum: Battlezone. While a two page spread on Imperial logistics isn’t going to get the assumed tween audience of Imperium hooting and/or hollering, it’s the kind of detail that makes the setting feel more real. A not-at-all-biased Enginseer delivers in an-universe quote about how all those stratosphere-high spires and hive cities are lame compared to how cool factories are. I have a feeling he doesn’t have many friends. Naturally, we get a Battle Record page about manufactorums, giving you some tables to roll up a name and context to the battlefields you’ll be fighting over:

Refinery Dominus was a backwater among backwaters, on a world much the same. Fire needs fuel, and the war over Derek’s Mom’s Dining Table IV was heating up. The refined prometheum being pumped out of Refinery Dominus had slowed as of late, and with the mechanical lifeblood of the Imperium reaching close to 10 Imperial Credits a gallon, the war had made life desperate indeed. If only the Imperial infrastructure had invested more in Fulgurite power, the people of Derek’s Mom’s Dining Table IV wouldn’t be having this problem.

The rest of the lore section is way cooler. As one may assume from the Chaplain on the cover, there’s a section on the Space Marine Reclusiam. I feel like if I was a wee one, I’d be disappointed that the magazine with a Cool Skull Guy on the cover came with a cargo crate instead of said Cool Skull Guy. We find out what Chaplains do, their spiritual duties in the chapter, the weapons they wield, and how their command structure works. There’s also a quote delivered by Chaplain Diomedus of the Blood Angels, who is a different guy than Chaplain Diomedes of the Blood Ravens. Maybe Diomed_s is an Imperial equivalent to folks that name their kid Braden as Brayden or Braedon or whatever. Maybe nobody played Dawn of War III and noted the similarity. Maybe I’m thinking about this too much.

Finally, there’s a bit about the Necron dynasties awakening. After sleeping for 60 million years, they’re getting up, but not all at once, not where they went to bed, and not necessarily in one piece. It highlights the degradation they’ve suffered over the years, and the splintered nature of the Necrons as a whole. Like any dynasties, kingdoms, or nations from our own history, these Necron empires don’t necessarily like each other. It sets up a narrative where two players can pit their Necrons against each other, as the Silent King hasn’t completed his goal of uniting the Necron race yet. We also learn about the Triarch, the council of three phaerons who led the Necrontyr, and the Triarch Praetorians. These failed bodyguards of the Triarch have stood guard, fully awake, for the past 60 million years, which is a suitably grim punishment for their dereliction of duty.

The Hobby Materials

Munitorum Armored Container. Credit: SRM

For the third time, we have the exact same instructions for building Munitorum Armored Containers. It’s not like there’s a bevy of options beyond “leave the stormbolters on or off” but I really feel like they could just have slapped the ol’ “See Instructions: Issue XX” notice in there or whatever. They’ve done that before with name generators and the like, and while I understand someone might be buying this issue off the rack at Barnes & Noble, instructions aren’t terribly hard to find online. Maybe GW should post all their instructions on the Internet so nobody has to go to the cyberswamp that is Reddit, but after building 5 of these things now I can do it with my eyes closed.*

*Citation needed

Painting these is a similar routine to previous issues – basecoat, recess shade, drybrush, and weather to taste. The colors used are different, so you have a diversified trio of technicolor hyperrectangles and their attendant scatter terrain. I like spraying these with a colored spray, slathering extremely watered down brown on them, wiping most of it off with a paper towel, then drybrushing the whole model just to get some real grimy colors on there. They’re real fun to try out weathering techniques like sponging, weathering powders, streaking, or what have you.

The Gaming Materials

Munitorum Armored Containers. Credit: SRM

The mission here sees the Primaris Captain leading 5 Assault Intercessors into the waiting guns of the Royal Warden and his attendant 10 Necron Warriors. There’s a bit more terrain now, so the Marines might actually be able to avoid some fire as they close with the enemy. This issue’s big new feature is Grenades, a weapon that I really think slow the game down more than anything else. I did kill an apothecary with a Krak Grenade once though, and that was funny, so I’ll stop complaining. These also teach the player how to use Blast weapons, which should prove useful against the big brick of Necrons. The Marines win if they can kill the Royal Warden before the bottom of turn 4, otherwise the Necrons win.

The twist here is that you’re expected to play this mission 3 times, recording who wins which game on the little map earlier in the magazine. You roll up the name of the territory and then fight over it. I think it’d be cool if the mission somehow reflected what you rolled up (so the Prometheum Refinery having some exploding cover, the Ammunition Storage allowing shooting rerolls near some objectives, something) but I feel introducing Warzone rules like that might be a bit much at this stage of a learning player’s career. It’s a nod towards campaign play on par with the miniscule nod you give your neighbor when you pass each other on the sidewalk, and I really hope they expand on it in the future.

Final Verdict 19/80:

Credit: Jack “BenBooley” Hunter

The lore in this issue is the kind of stuff that expands your understanding of the 40k universe, as opposed to the massive explosions and screaming bald men you usually get in a 40k story. By fleshing out how the Imperial machine grinds on and the history of the Necrons, the universe feels more real than it would have otherwise. The Battle Record and mission both give further context, taking this battle over a flat piece of cardboard into a battle for a real place in that universe. While the model is one we’ve seen before and the actual mechanics of the mission itself aren’t all that exciting, this is an issue that gives depth to the 41st millennium in a way most do not. Monetarily it’s worth it – I’ve broken down the cost of a container before – and the supporting material is some of the better stuff we’ve gotten from Imperium so far. I feel three of these containers almost in a row might be a bit repetitive, but I’m not gonna complain about getting some of the most functional models Games Workshop puts out.

See you next issue, warhams.

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