Warlord Wednesdays: 2020 Year-End Roundup

2020 has seen a lot hitting the table for Titanicus, with three new expansions, a new starter set making the game more accessible than ever, and much, much more. This week, we’re taking a look back at the past year and forward to what we’d like to see in the future.

As of the end of 2020, how’s the current “state of the game”?

Condit: I think it’s in a pretty good spot. Other than Krytos (and a few Crusade Legion combinations), there really aren’t any rules that stand out as particularly game-breaking one way or the other, and there’s plenty of room to explore if you’re trying to do something a bit off-the-wall. The addition of the new Open Engine War Cards has also made it really simple to generate missions on the fly without having to worry about uneven results. And there’s just as much opportunity for bizarre things to happen as there’s ever been.

Soggy: Titanicus has seen 5 supplements and a wealth of model releases since its release and is in a great place. The game is still accessible thanks to the new starter set but has plenty of depth for veteran princeps. 

Bair: It’s pretty fantastic. My favourite game to play by far compared to other tabletop games, and aside from a couple Legios maybe needing some tweaks and a few small things around to be clarified it’s all pretty spot on. “Weaker” Legios like Krytos can play and win just fine since the core mechanics of the game still revolve around making good decisions in movement and target priority in combat. The make-a-Legio as Condit mentioned could use some toning down on a couple upgrades but otherwise is actually fine, way better than what we had in White Dwarf.

Greg: It’s currently the best game Games Workshop makes, a state I don’t see changing. The champs stay the champs. Which is honestly surprising. The way these things usually go, expanding a game by throwing expansions at the wall ends up introducing at least one bonkers-ass way to break it. It didn’t happen here because Titanicus is just a better game than those ones.

Legio Krytos Warlord. Credit: sulecrist/@prosecutorpainting (Insta)

What was your favourite part of the 2020 releases?

Soggy: This year had three noteworthy releases for me, but if I had to pick only one it would be Defence of Ryza. Not only did it have three new maniples and some very fun stratagems, it expanded the game significantly with the formalisation of allegiances, and mostly fixed crusade legion rules and Knight Household rules. It literally had something for everyone, particularly people who had already picked their Legio/Household and wanted to mix up their games.

Condit: Ryza was a great book. The new maniples together with the reprinted Dominus are a great add, and the rules for playing on Ryza Secundus are incredible – after all, who doesn’t want to take their giant stompy robots out for a stroll on a gigantic space station?

But for me, it’s got to be the Open Engine War Cards. While it’s a bit difficult to get your hands on them, they patch a significant hole in the Core Rules: the somewhat lacklustre Matched Play scenarios. No more looking at a pair of 6s in disgust as you prepare to deploy your Mordaxis Extergimus. Instead, you can generate interesting and fairly balanced scenarios on the fly, and never have to worry about playing exactly the same scenario twice.

Soggy: These cards were exactly what veteran players needed to spice up their games and keep things fresh. My only complaint is their scarcity and hope that they get reprinted as a table in a future supplement so all players can get to experience them.

Bair: The cards rule. If you can get a set, do it, now. Playing base rulebook matched play is fine for learning and getting up to speed, but the cards are just more fun. Agree Ryza was great for giving everyone new Maniples to use (each one just giving Atarus more and more use too) as well as loads of new Legios, but Crucible of Retribution really gave us some that we have wanted to see for a long time!!

Soggy: An honourable mention has to go out to the new Adeptus Titanicus starter set released at the start of the year, which now feels like a lifetime ago. With the release there is no better way to bootstrap a new player into the game due its great value and usefulness – so much so that it’s not uncommon to hear people picking it up to start a second legio.

Bair: I’m sorry did you say that came out THIS YEAR?? I swore it’s been out longer. But me, I’m person that picked up a second Legio (Mordaxis) and also re-doing Gryphonicus (so, a third, I guess?).

Greg: Whichever book had the Extergimus in it, is the best release this year. Being able to play a full-size game using only three models, without having to resort to Legio or Maniple shenanigans, is Good Game Design. You are playing the least amount of the game, which sounds counter-intuitive, but: think about knives. The sharpest blade is the one with the least metal on the edge, which is why I won’t rest until a single Imperator is a legal build.

Legio Atarus Warhound. Credit – Peter Martin (IG: @waaagh_uzgub)

What are you most hoping to see in 2021?

Soggy: Honestly? Being able to play the game in person again. I’m looking forward to corrupted titans and knights and very curious to see what options they have available to them. One thing I’d like to see is a blackshield focused supplement to expand on their options – maybe it’s finally time for Legio Xestobiax to get rules? Games Workshop please don’t do this, as then I won’t get to change my legio rules on a whim anymore

Other than supplements exploring those two ideas, I’m interested in what model support we will see. The knight releases this year are pretty safe – they have existing 28mm models and can be used by anyone as a support banner. Adding a new God Engine is a big call, as it would need to have a unique enough role along with a number of maniples to field it, and that’s before you consider that there aren’t any 28mm ones left to downscale. Of the potential options, Rapier titans are most likely but would need to differ enough from Warhounds and Knight chassis in the same bracket. 

Announcing the Imperator on April 1st would be a pro-play on GW’s part.

Condit: I’m holding out for a new Titan class, to be honest, preferably something on the larger end of the scale track. As Goonhammer’s resident Titan Melee Enthusiast, Warlords with power claws are fine and all, but something about the size of a Warbringer with a dedicated close-range loadout rather than the Warlord-scale carapace mount would be an interesting option for those of us who prefer to get up close and personal with our prey.

Bair: Agree with playing way more games in person, definitely took that for granted before. Went to Warhammer World with Soggy on his first pilgrimage for the weekender event in February, also feels like a lifetime ago, and I definitely want to do more events when we can. The atmosphere is just the best. As far as like, releases go, I guess I want to see some more Titan classes or even some more weapons for the existing Engines, but mostly I want to see Corrupted Titans which keep getting mentioned in books!!! Oh and for something to actually use the “Special” result on the Location dice.

Greg: I’d love a non-Nemesis version of the Warbringer, just to see what it looks like when it’s not doubled over carting around a giant six-shooter on its back. I’m also precisely stupid enough to buy an Imperator if they release one (they won’t, and also shouldn’t). Finally, produce Defensor transfers, you cowards, for me and both of the other people who play them.

Bair: Non-Nemesis Warbringer sounds weird and I want it now. Give it. But also just all transfers? Please? I promise they’ll sell.

Legio Ignatum Warbringer. Credit – @TheForgeofMars (twitter) @ten_ghosts (IG)

Where would you like to see the game go in the future?

Soggy: As bad as it sounds, the game almost seems complete to me. Other than expanding on the mentioned Blackshields and corrupted engines, I’m unsure what significant additions in terms of titans or mechanics can be added without upsetting the current balance. Dreaming out loud, I’d love to see Xenos Titans, but this is a significantly big ask to make from both a design and model support perspective.

Condit: I’d like to see some more support for narrative and campaign play. The Shadow and Iron book is a great start, but it could stand to be fleshed out a bit more. This game is begging for something like the Crusade system in 40k, and I’d love to see AT’s system expanded to provide more bespoke options like that. It’s especially odd given the ongoing consequences of taking damage that there are so few rewards for sticking around, and a more robust “character sheet” for Titans to track their exploits from game to game a la the Crusade Cards in 40k could be really cool.

Bair: I’d love to see a book of just Matched Play missions like what 40k have gotten, a set of missions that are more finely tuned and designed for more competitive, balanced, play. This game lends itself on the side of Narrative play for sure and the Open Engine War deck is great for pick up games, but to have a nice big book of just a bunch of missions with the same Primary for both, some Secondaries, and then of course you can always spend strat points on Tertiaries.

Greg: Fewer Knights. Knights have too much weird bullshit to work well in 40k, and not enough weird bullshit to belong in Titanicus. They’re perfect in Apocalypse, but anything without a turning radius or a gunnery table is simply not worth putting on the table at this scale. I don’t care if they’re good, get that little trash robot out of my face and spike it directly to hell.

Condit: Now there’s something we can all agree on.

Soggy: So say we all.