SRM’s Ongoing Imperium Review: Week 8

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.

As is tradition with Imperium, my latest box showed up a smidge late. Lament no longer, dear reader, for we will be resuming your regularly scheduled column until we have to stop again.

From the top, this package came with a new free gift in the form of a binder to hold all my Imperium printed goods in. As this Ryza-Pattern Trapper Keeper has only been included now, my older issues have taken a bit of a beating. I wish this was something they included from the get-go so stuff would survive better, as I can’t imagine it would fare any better stored in a folder under a 7th grader’s geometry textbook. It’s got little tabs for all the different kinds of written content, so you can divide up your lore sections here, your gaming sections there, and so on. It’s fairly sturdy feeling, rather shiny, and the only binder in my home that could possibly hold the weird two hole system Imperium uses. I’m not a huge fan of this two ring system as opposed to a more traditional three ring binder, as the pages slide around quite a bit. My only real critique of the physical product is that it doesn’t have a pocket to fit the game mats in, but it says it should hold all the regular materials inside. At the very least my cat likes it, so there is some added value.

Nooms inspects the goods. I implore you to disregard how messy my counters are. Credit: SRM

When it comes to organizing, the system in place is a smidge confusing. At first it appears straightforward – Collect, Read, Build, Paint, Play – but then I started paying attention to a number of graphic design elements I had previously taken for granted. The first issue includes a Lieutenant with Collect: HQ 05 while the 5th issue includes a Captain with Collect: HQ 04, with big bois like Marneus Calgar and Roboute Guilliman likely standing in for HQ 01 and 02 down the line. Conversely, the sections for Build, Paint, and Play are all organized by issue, which confuses the issue. I think the idea is to evenly spread out the information across a broad range of issues instead of frontloading the burgeoning Warham with one faction’s whole steez, but it does mean organizing my collection was a little more mentally taxing than I was expecting. It’s a real in medias res approach to organization.

The Magazine

Warscythe Overlord. Credit: Rockfish
Warscythe Overlord. Credit: Rockfish

Unfortunately, my issues came a little dinged up, as you can see in the photo with my cat. It’s nothing too bad, but they weren’t packed super well and I have footage of the UPS driver all-but yeeting the box at my porch and scaring the birds that have taken up residence in the wreath on my front door. Did you know birds could do that? I shouldn’t be surprised, but you go camping for a weekend and suddenly a family of house finches moves in and doesn’t even pay rent. I’m joking, of course. Landlords are scum and bird money isn’t legal tender.

The cover art here has a phalanx of Necrons advancing and shooting gauss lightning through some hapless Eldar Guardian. As a victim of no small amount of Elf Bullshit, I appreciate this solidarity from the Necrons. The first page is all about these Regal Necron Tyrants, explaining what all their weapons, wargear, and accoutrements are for. I didn’t know Warscythes atomized their enemies, but it probably explains why my dudes are so thoroughly messed up by them. Naturally, this is followed up with your favorite part of the magazine and mine, the Battle Record section. Here is where a burgeoning Warham will find the real game begins, as for the first time, they are asked to turn to B – Background 01 to generate their Overlord’s name and no fewer than 4 epithets. All this is followed up with bespoke tables for both their weapon’s name and their Ancient Degradation. I wish I only had to roll a single time on a D6 table for my own mental illnesses, but I guess that’s why he’s the Overlord and I’m the Games Journalist here.

Zanakhar The Enlightened, Enslaver of Gods, Bane of the Swarm, Lord of the Starless Void, and Bane of Another Swarm In Addition to That First One, was seated comfortably on his command barge. He thought he remembered the feeling of wind on his face, but dismissed the passing notion, letting it disperse as if awaking from a dream. Even with a functionally limitless lifespan, he didn’t have time to waste. His superiors had snubbed him time and again over the millennia, sending him to planetary backwaters like Derek’s Mom’s Dining Table IV. There was no glory here, no ancient treasures to reclaim, just upstart primates and their primitive wargear. He hefted Tyrant’s Claw for somewhere between the ten thousandth and ten millionth time in his countless aeons; before it could be directed at the beings above him, it would have to be turned toward those below.

The robustness of the name tables in the previous issues makes sense, and I assume now we’ll be turning back to them on the regular. It’s a smart enough system, and I hope they continue to have the mix of new and reused tables going forward.

This issue’s painting section has the learner go back through their Necron collection and pick out a bunch of blades, wires, and other details in Corax White. I assume this is in preparation for painting them green. One wonders how this highly decentralized approach to painting would go, but this kind of step by step printed painting guide doesn’t make an appearance much in the wild these days, so I appreciate it.

The Models

Necron Overlord
Necron Overlord. Credit: Corrode

Included here is another model you don’t get in Indomitus or any of the starter sets, the Necron Overlord with Resurrection Orb. He’s a finnicky model to assemble, and we’re firmly outside the “no glue required” stage of included Imperium models. The instructions regularly tell the builder to dry fit, which is always a smart move. I can imagine some less skilled fingers fumbling a bit with the separate neck piece and flowing plastic cape, as these pieces are fairly thin compared to the Space Marine models we typically see in Imperium. I wasn’t able to get this model over to my friend Kyle, who is my typical litmus test/canary in the coal mine on Necron models, in time for this review. However, when I sounded the Horn of Content in the Goonhammer offices, James “One_Wing” Grover had this to say:

“This model is sturdy once together, but is mildly fiddly to assemble – mostly because of trying to get the right arm and leg to line up properly, as they’re both separate pieces, and the model isn’t self-supporting without them. My fix for this was actually to glue the two parts together first then join them to the body – there’s a bit of rock on the base of the staff that snugly fits to the rock under the foot, and connecting these pieces together ensures you’re not worrying about them being mis-aligned later, and gives you something a bit more solid to work with. The arm holding the orb also has a relatively fragile join, so make sure you’re ready to hold it in place for a few seconds while it bonds”

Corrode, meanwhile, offered an even more nuanced and detailed take:

I remember that side being a complete dickhead

Reaching out to my greater network of Warhams, it also sounds like a pretty easy model to paint, but one where you can lavish some detail on the weapon and Resurrection Orb. His pose is extremely open, which should even make getting behind his cloak fairly simple.

The Gaming Materials

There’s some conversion work on this Overlord and he looks fly as hell. Credit: Wings

First among the Gaming Materials are the literal Materials one uses to Game with: dice. This issue includes a half dozen 12mm six sided dice in an army-neutral white and black color scheme. These are the exact ones that have been packaged in the majority of GW games since Clinton was in the White House, if not longer. I rolled them twice for this review. The numbers, while random, would have spelled certain death for my power armored sons with their supposedly hardy 3+ saves. They felt nice to roll a second time, where again, were I playing a real game of 40k, I would have to write many, many letters to their chapter master explaining why Brothers Dirk, Kirk, Mirk, and Birk weren’t coming home. I will keep them by my deskside for future random naming table purposes.

The included mission here is “The Overlord Rises”, and it pits this issue’s Overlord versus some Primaris Aggressors. This skirmish is played out on the smaller Mars-style battle mat, and has the nuanced objective of “kill the other guys”. We’re firmly in a ruleset that resembles full-size 40k, where models have a nearly complete statline and weapons more or less resemble their main game equivalents. The Fight phase has even been fleshed out, so now you have a typical 40k fight sequence of charging models fighting, then your opponent chooses a model, and so on. I feel like this is really granular, but by introducing the nuances of the Fight Phase, random attacks, hit modifiers, and so on in these extremely tiny battles, it tutorializes something I take for granted. 40k has a lot of moving parts, and by introducing them one teensy tiny piece at a time, I think this is doing a decent job at making a true-Macragge-Blue warham out of the curious reader.

Final Verdict 8/80:

It always feels crass to break this down strictly by dollar value, but when the included model is normally 32 bucks, the $13.95 price tag on this mylar-wrapped puppy is pretty dang reasonable. The included dice are nothing special but will certainly get the job done, and the nuances added to the game here inch Imperium ever closer to big boy pants 40k.

See you next issue, warhams.

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