SRM’s Ongoing Stormbringer Review: Week 02

Stormbringer is a weekly hobby magazine from Hachette Partworks introducing players to Warhammer: Age of Sigmar. In this 80-week series, our intrepid magazine-receiver will be reviewing each individual issue, its included models, and gaming materials. A Premium US subscription was provided to Goonhammer for review purposes. If you want to follow along at home, US Customers can check out Stormbringer here.

I’ve been playing a load of Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Realms of Ruin lately, at first for our review and later just for fun. You should check it out if you haven’t, or at least our review of it. Is this all a preamble to further justify the time I spent on that article? Absolutely, but this is my party and I think you’ll like it. Anyway, let’s get to bringing storms.

The Narrative Materials

Azyrite Ruins
Azyrite Ruins. Credit: Corrode

Our first article touches on the nature of the Mortal Realms, with some info about the general cosmology of the Age of Sigmar setting. In each of the eight realms – be it Life, Death, Metal, or the rest – magic is strongest and most hostile at the the edges of the realm, so civilization tends towards the center. Each realm is a floating disc in the Aetheric Void, which is outer space with more monsters and gods floating around in it. Someone clearly read Terry Pratchett and thought just one Discworld wasn’t enough. The Realm of Chaos is separate from the lot, which is essentially the same as 40k’s Space Hell or Warhammer Fantasy Battle’s Boschian Nightmare Zone. No reason to reinvent the eight-pointed wheel there.

Next we learn about the Grand Alliance of Order. Forefront at the pantheon of this alliance is Sigmar himself, who has been fighting to bring prosperity and civilization to the Mortal Realms for centuries. The Grand Alliances were more of a thing at Age of Sigmar’s outset in 2015, but still provide a loose framework to group factions narratively. Order represents civilization, wisdom, justice, and most things that people would consider “good” despite containing vengeful tree spirits, libertarian steampunk duardin, and a murder-cult of Khainite aelves. Civilization is not inherently good or just, but the nuances of that aren’t interrogated in this brief overview.

Opposing Sigmar and his superfriends is the Grand Alliance of Destruction. Composed of the various Orruk Warclans, Gloomspite Gitz, Gargants, Ogors, and other big nasty beasties, this alliance has no goals as lofty as Sigmar’s. I realize that as I write this, I really should just refer to Link Bizkit’s Break Stuff and leave it at that. The clue’s in the name, y’all.

Now, after a few pages of fantastical theology and politics, we get to the stars of the issue: Kruleboyz Gutrippaz. The rotten, boggy core of most Kruleboyz armies, these nasty lads are armed with crude, often poisoned spears, as well as Skareshields to intimidate their foes. We get a huge set of 6×6 tables to roll on for future Kruleboyz names, titles, and unit names as well. For now, however, we’ll stick with our bespoke Gutrippaz tables:

Rork fumed as he stood over the defeated Steelhelm on the ground. His eyes were alight, looking furiously for a stronger enemy to fight. The drumbeat of his Skare-Masterz grew louder, beating on their shields with their hackas and stikkas. The flagging Freeguild troops before them broke, scattering to the winds and out of Rork’s reach. “Oi! You lot are scarin away all da good killin!” Rork bellowed, only to be drowned out by the repeated clanging of his Gutrippa mob.

The Hobby Materials

Kruleboyz Gutrippaz. Credit: Colin Ward

This week we get a set of 10 Gutrippaz, the rank and file troops for the Kruleboyz. These are the models from any variety of Age of Sigmar 3rd edition starter sets, and they’re a great representation of the Kruleboyz aesthetic. They’re potentially a little too detailed for your cheap, regular dudes with all their straps, wraps, baubles and charms, but we’ll get to that more when we paint these guys later. The spear shafts are easy to bend or break, and the assembly instructions make note of this fact. My only real critique of this kit as that you can’t paint the shields separately, as they’re largely molded onto arms and torsos. There’s also a Nintendo-esque reminder to take breaks while building models, but I’m not gonna let anyone tell me when to stop huffing plastic glue.

The Gaming Materials

Guttrippaz – Credit: RichyP

This week we learn about armor saves and units with multiple models. Fortunately, we have quite a few of the latter, and they have the opportunity to make the former. The gameplay at this point is still incredibly simplistic, moving pieces around a board with designated spaces and simply smacking each other til someone dies, but we’re still in the building blocks stage at this point. It adds on from last week’s play example, if only slightly.

Final Verdict

This issue is technically free to subscribers, making its value prospect something of a question mark. As you can’t do better than free, this could have just about anything in it and still be a good value. Issues from here on out run $13.99 a pop, so we’ll judge against that for objectivity’s sake. A box of 10 Kruleboyz Gutrippaz will run you $60, though that version of the kit has more options than these starter set models. Even if you were going to halve the value of this kit due to those limited options, this is still a fantastic value for the models alone. The brief overviews of the realms and armies within them are enough to pique one’s curiosity, and any reader of my Imperium columns will know I’m a sucker for naming tables. I just rolled up Gandrel Da Taktician’s Bane-Slittaz as a unit name, and my joy is immeasurable.

See you next issue, warhams.

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