SRM’s Ongoing Imperium Review: Week 25

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.

My recent travels took me to San Francisco, where I had a luxuriously timed 90 minute layover in which to gather my belongings, cram some calories in my mouth, and use a bathroom that wasn’t the size of the trunk in my father’s 2001 Dodge Intrepid. What greeted me was a glimpse into our expensive and stupid collective future; a glass and brushed steel cyberpunk fixture as flimsy and shallow as the wood veneer encapsulating it. I was immediately greeted with a CAFEX stand, a rounded cube with a plexiglass front where you could order coffee and snacks on your phone and watch a robotic arm make your order. This scab containment unit also had screens rotating through Bored Ape nfts so I’m assuming you can either buy your $6 iced coffee with double-fake crypto dollars or con someone else out of their vacuous jpegs.

As I resisted my Luddite desire to upend this multimillion dollar machine invented solely to put underpaid and overworked service workers out of a job, I did a full circuit of the terminal. I want to know precisely how far my gate is at all times, as I do not need the agida of nearly missing a flight. After stretching my legs on a full loop of gates F3-22 and using the privy, I budgeted 35 minutes for food and drink. I almost always get a local beer at every airport I’m departing from, as a travel ritual and treat to myself. I walked up to one restaurant, glanced at the tap list posted outside and balked at the price tag: $14 for a draught pour of Stone! Fourteen United States dollars! A sixer of the stuff costs $10.99! I had to reread the whole menu, toe to tip, just to ensure it wasn’t a typo, but I wasn’t mistaken. When I worked at a brewery earlier this year, that’s more than I made in an hour. I know folks who live in states that are mostly corn can’t stand the culture on the coasts, but in this one single instance I’ll give them the W.
If you couldn’t tell, this article is about Imperium magazine.

The Magazine

Immortals With Tesla Carbines. Credit: Rockfish
Immortals With Tesla Carbines. Credit: Rockfish

The art on the cover of this issue has a particularly imposing Necron Immortal that looks positively yoked. His arms are skinny, but he never, ever skips chest day. Unfortunately, this android’s fitness regimen and macros are not outlined on the first page, where instead we learn about what the weapons of the Immortals are capable of. The short answer is: nothing I would want visited upon my own body! Naturally, we can roll up a Battle Record for the Immortals included in this issue, replete with an area where you can draw your own Phalanx Glyph. With art programs being cut from schools across the country, incorporating arts and crafts in our daily lives is so important.

“Cohort 1, Phalanx 3, The Merciless Scourge, awaiting orders.” The newly raised Immortals stood rigid before Hatshep The Unblemished, Untrusted Lord of Megaria, Master of the Voidscythe. The old Cryptek’s feet sank into the Pringle-dust sands of Derek’s Mom’s Dining Table IV. Annoyed, she ordered her scarab-cloak to lift her the exact number of microns, down to the millionth of a meter, to clear her feet from the salted sands. She inspected the latest additions to her dynasty, noting their systems that had become exposed after millennia of neglect by their old master, Banati the Voidbreaker. She had already purged Banati’s epithets from her memory banks as a final insult to her hated rival. If her new acquisitions were to continue waging their war against humans and Necrons alike on this planet, they would need a little push. With a wave of her hand, the Immortals’ carapace armor changed from the silver of her rival dynasty to a burnished bronze. Their eyes glowed, ocular targeting systems enhanced by the Cryptek’s gifts of aeons. Now, she thought, they would be able to get to work.

We get a twofer on societal organization here, going into Necron Royal Courts and Imperial Rule. The difference between Lords, Overlords, Wardens and the like are all spelled out, with my favorite piece definitely being about the Praetorians. As the hands of the Silent King, they stand outside the court hierarchy, which means no Phaeron is safe from the Silent King’s judgment. It’s a cool narrative hook. The different Crypteks are also spelled out, and I think Psychomancers definitely got the short end of the proverbial stick here. Instead of mastering time or energy, they just make spooky laser light shows happen. My assumption as that they’re kept around by their Overlords as a joke.

Necron Psychomancer
Necron Psychomancer. Credit: Pendulin

The Imperial section annotates a beautiful piece of art showing the command structure of the Imperium and the high lords of terra. The next page spells out just how dire it is to be on an Imperial world, and how help will almost never come, due to the impossible scale of the Imperium at large. Each branch of the Imperium, from the Adeptus Arbites to the Navis Nobilite is touched on here, and it’s the kind of thing that plants seeds in your brain to tell stories with later. My favorite line is about how the Departmento Munitorum has a backlog centuries long, which, same. Lastly, there’s a spread about the Empire of Ultramar, and how it seems like an actually pretty decent place to kick it. Ultramar’s been banged up by the Plague Wars and such, but by and large it’s a fairly safe and self sustaining empire within an empire. The artwork of the Fortress of Hera is also pretty neat.

There’s a separate centerfold about the Adeptus Mechanicus, which contains a brief rundown of some of the different forge worlds. We’ve had inserts like these before, and they show the breadth of a faction fairly well, with art and photography showing these forces going to war. One page is mislabeled, with some Admech guys driving back “…a charging horde of Genestealers” that are clearly Gaunts, but this is very much a “No mom, that’s Raichu, Pikachu is different” brand of pedantry. The rest of this section shows some force organizations, cool art of a forge world with a skull-shaped city you can see from space, and the phrase “Radzone Corps”, which is what I’d call a Total Carnage sequel had I the license and the funds.

The Hobby Materials

Necron Immortals. Credit: Corrode

The plastic Necron Immortals contained herein are of a fine vintage. They were part of the range refresh Necrons got in 5th edition, when digital sculpting was really taking off. There are some visually dated elements of their design – the chunkier proportions, halved shoulderpads, and freely associated cable bits, but the finished products look decent. The kit can also be built as Deathmarks, but the strictly adequate instructions here only cover the Immortals with Gauss Blasters option. When I surveyed a few of my communities for their one word reviews of building this kit, I received the following:

  • “Cables”
  • “Neck”
  • “Fiddly”
  • “Mids”
  • “Meh”

Perhaps one word was insufficient to describe this tangle of Necron cable management.

The painting section is also on the lighter side for an Imperium tutorial. However, I feel that if you can paint a Necron Warrior, you can absolutely paint an Immortal. It has some helpful tips about waiting for paint to dry before trying to fix mistakes, but there’s nothing here an Imperium subscriber won’t have seen before.

The Gaming Materials

Immortals. Credit: Wings

A new rhythm has been established in the past few issues, and I can dig the beat. We get some datasheets, a quick mission that could easily be played in Open Play, and the rest is left up to the players. The Datasheets this go around are for the Necron Royal Warden and, predictably, Immortals. These two units synergize well, and we get a brief tutorial spelling out just how the Royal Warden’s Adaptive Strategy and Endless March rules interface with their glum companions.

The first page of the core rules are presented here, introduced by an absolute banger of an in-universe quote, which contains the line “Take my advice and abandon all hope, for it is the refuge of the weak” which is a Warhammer as hell quote. Unfortunately it is attributed not to Ursarkar Creed or his daughter Ursula, but to an Ursaka E. Creed. This is like having an inspirational quote attributed to Brock Obama or Warren Gretsky. It’s a big universe, so maybe Ursarkar Creed has a distant cousin in the Guard who also is good at giving speeches, but for now, Princeton Churchill over here is the best we’ve got.

The mission this week, Secure the Perimeter, has the Necron Royal Warden, Immortals, and 10 Warriors take on the Primaris Lieutenant and a pair of 5-man Assault Intercessor squads. It’s a border skirmish, where each warband scores a victory point for holding an objective each turn, plus another for eliminating the enemy commander. The twist is that if one player holds both objectives, they win instantly, cutting short the planned 5 turns of the battle. I like this mission a lot; it has multiple means of scoring points and achieving victory, and while you’re certainly incentivized to murder each other, there’s both attack and defense to think about.

Final Verdict 25/80:

Immortals. Credit: Rockfish
Immortals. Credit: Rockfish

Immortals cost $42 new these days, which means you’re getting them for about 66% off with Imperium’s $13.95 cover price. That’s a hell of a deal if you don’t mind dealing with some older models with fairly limited options. The lore sections here are denser than usual, and despite a few typos, are absolutely solid. The mission itself is also a fun one, even if the painting section is on the thinner side. There have been stronger issues but many, may weaker ones. It’s a fun read, and if you want some Immortals it’s a fantastic deal.

See you next issue, warhams.

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