White Dwarf 471 Flashpoint Octarius: The Butcher Town Wars

Another White Dwarf, another Flashpoints. We’re more than a year into these regular updates to the ever-expanding library of Crusade rules and White Dwarf #471 brings us the final Octarius Flashpoint, giving us new rules set around the Butcher Town Wars. The Butcher Towns of Abundantia are supposedly vital to the Imperial war effort, providing countless raw materials and meat from stimm-grown beasts. This month’s rules deal with the battles fought over these massive charnel houses. 

Sanctum Administratus. Credit: Charlie Brassley

Theatre of War – Bloodstained Manufactorums

Battlefields are routinely referred to as charnel houses, abattoirs and fields of slaughter. Clearly someone on the White Dwarf team thought to themselves “But what if it was actually in a Charnel House/Abattoir” and sat down and created the Flashpoints Octarius: Bloodstained Manufactorum Theatre of War we see before us.

Fighting on Abundantia gives you two rules to deal with for your battles. The first is the Cloying Odour of Death. Depending on the game size, players will choose one to two area terrain pieces each that will gain the Deathly Reek (Aura). This gives units within 3” of the area terrain feature -1 Ld and -1 to combat attrition tests. 

TheChirurgeon: These are kind of whatever since a bunch of armies ignore them but I do like the thought here, since you could just go ahead and put down a couple of buildings designed to be charnel houses and allocate the aura to those. Which is a more narrative way of doing it

Beanith: Deathly Reek is a misnomer given the very unimpressive effects, clearly it should be called A Bit Whiffy instead. Also I’m not sure how a bad smell can affect Death Guard or Nurgle Daemons negatively… unless of course it’s Surströmming.

TheChirurgeon: It kind of doesn’t. Most Death Guard ignore attrition modifiers and Poxwalkers are just totally immune to leadership.

Next up we’re about to find out powerful stimulants have been cooked up by Fabius Bile wannabes with Stimm Exposure. Once again whilst setting up the battlefield, players will take turns placing down two Stimm Station tokens, each at least 6” outside of the deployment zones and 12” away from each other.

During the game, both players will be able to use these stations by performing the Endure Stimm Exposure action with any Infantry or Cavalry units that end up within 3” of any token at the end of their movement phase. Once the action is completed by the end of the player’s turn, they will be able to roll on the Exposure Effects table to see what powerful side effects the unit will have for the rest of the battle. There are six effects, ranging from Heightened Perception, which improves their Ballistic characteristic by 1, to Dulled Pain Receptors which will increase their toughness by 1 or, if you’re unlucky enough, Befouled Batch, which causes the unit D3 mortal wounds.

Beanith: Don’t do drugs kids… unless they’re cool space drugs that make your Infantry even more deadly? That aside, I’m not sure I want to sacrifice a full round of shooting and fighting with my Orks. The Grots on the other hand? Hell Yeah. 

TheChirurgeon: Hell yeah I’m rolling the dice on this 100% of the time.

Credit: PierreTheMime

Octarius Crusade Relics

While you’re crusading through any of the Octarius Theatres of War you are able to take various unique Relics and in this month’s Flashpoint there are three more Artificer Relics suitable for most forces.

The Octarian Quadiftorm Totem is a multi-limbed figurine that can be handed out to your Psyker. It is suffused with a strange psychic aura enabling the bearer to share in a great network of psychic potential.

Beanith: It might as well have a tag attached that reads “If found, please return to Magos Sockbert of the Genestealer Cult”

This totem allows the bearer, for one turn, to know every single power from the psychic discipline they draw from and to manifest one more additional psychic power that turn.

Beanith: That said, I’d quite happily take this on my Ork weirdboy and just use it to spam more smites like the happy little Vortex Grenade he so desperately wants to have.

TheChirurgeon: This absolutely rules, particularly if you’ve ever chafed against the idea of only knowing a couple of powers forever in crusade. It’s also just a neat idea.

The Arachnal Injector Nodes is clearly the Cosplayer version of Fabius Bile’s backpack. During your command phase, this little number allows you to select a friendly unit (excluding vehicles and swarms) within 9” of the bearer and until the start of your next command phase that unit will automatically wound on an unmodified melee hit roll of 6.

Lastly we have the Horn of the Ashkavor Behemoth. This gnarled and iron hard shard is from a titanic antler rumored to from a bestial demigod of a creature said to have escaped in the earliest records of the planet’s settlement. The bearer of this relic is driven by the desire to charge forth and trample their enemies into the dirt. This is represented by giving the bearer the ability to re-roll Advance rolls and Advance and charge in the same turn. These are both great benefits for a melee character.

Beanith: I suppose Shard of the Horn of the Ashkavor Behemoth doesn’t really roll off the tongue. But this is a pretty good relic for a newly leveled character that I’d happily chuck on a Chaplin or any other aura having character just for the Advance rerolls.

Credit: BuffaloChicken

Butcher Town Thunderbrawl (Strike Force)

The Designer Note for this mission recommends a densely packed board filled with area terrain with the obscuring trait to represent the built-up urban sprawl around the reclaimed cities taking care to break up and much visibility as possible and to make sure that there are very few opportunities to draw long lines of site across the battle. It’s incredibly rare that we agree with the designer notes in Flashpoints but today they’re bang on point. You’ll want to bust out all of the area terrain you own for this one.

Mission Rules

Bust out the big gribblies and fuel up your Tanks because when mustering your army for the Butcher Town Thunderbrawl, your Monsters and Vehicle units with 10 or more wounds will gain the Battlefield Colossus keyword (Dedicated Transports need not apply).

Beanith: There’s a tiny bit of confusion on if they meant Monsters/Vehicles with 10 or more wounds or just the Vehicles. Mostly it just boils down to how much fun do you want to deny the Tyranids and Drukhari with their collection of Monsters? My view is everytime you start this mission, you should ensure you’re looking off camera and state: Let them Fight.

TheChirurgeon: This is as close to a Kaiju battle in 40k as we’ve seen and it’s an incredibly cool concept, but it needs some serious tweaks. The first being that 10+ wounds on vehicles means that most of the game’s tanks count as Battlefield Colossi, including flyers. A Drukhari Raider is not what we have in mind when we picture this. I’d recommend instead that this be more like 13+ wounds or 15+ wounds, excluding AIRCRAFT, with the possible exception being the Heldrake since it’s got strong Mothra vibes. Basically the thing you’re going for in this battle is big robots vs. monsters, but battle tanks are also allowed.

You’re going to want a lot of Battlefield Colossus kicking about as these guys rock. Not only do they gain a 5+ Feel No Pain to all damage except from other Battlefield Colossus models but they get two epic actions. Knock It Down takes place in the shooting phase with you selecting an Area Terrain piece with the Obscuring trait, performing this action lets you roll a D6 for each ranged attack of strength 7+ (Strength 10+ weapons get a +2 to the roll). On any roll of a 6+ that terrain piece is smashed down. Tear Straight Through is the same action but happens during the Fight Phase instead. 

This leads us to the fact that every piece Area Terrain with the Obscuring trait on this battlefield suffers from Poor Construction, a rule for handling terrain destruction. If the terrain piece is smashed down, it loses the Obscuring trait and gains the Light cover trait if it didn’t already have it. Units within the terrain piece excluding characters will suffer D3+3 mortal wounds, those within 3” outside of the terrain piece, but not within, will suffer D3 mortal wounds. Characters within 3” escape with 1 mortal wound.

TheChirurgeon: These rules own, and I’m already thinking about how to model ruined versions of my existing terrain.

What this epic slugfest needs is of course power-ups. These come in the form of Nodal Emitter objective markers. These count as normal objective markers but come with three additional rules. They can be picked up and carried by any unit; those units will drop said objective marker when they are destroyed; and if the unit in question is a Battlefield Colossus, they will regain 1 wound for every object marker they are carrying at the start of Command Phase.

So while any unit can carry the Nodal Emitters, the rules for regaining wounds and the following stratagems available will encourage you to stack those powerups on your Battlefield Colossus.

Tyranids Carnifex
Tyranids Carnifex. Credits: That Gobbo


There are five Stratagems for this mission and they all key off having Nodal Emitter objectives. This entire supplement is worth having because there’s a stratagem called PILEDRIVING STRIKES. Doing brutal wrestling moves is done – obviously – in the Fight phase, and is good for +2 Strength and +1 Damage on that unit’s attacks if your Battlefield Colossus in question is packing a Nodal Emitter.

If that wasn’t rude enough, when the Battlefield Colossus carrying a Nodal Emitter charges, they can use UNSTOPPABLE IMPACT, which does mortal wounds, unless the target is in or near Obscuring terrain, in which case it does extra mortal wounds and smashes the terrain causing even more mortal wounds thanks to Poor Construction

Colossal Firepower lets you max out the number of shots from a Blast weapon mounted on a Battlefield Colossus carrying a Nodal Emitter and Devastating Shot will ensure a hit will automatically wound the target. Lastly you can use Stimmed Frenzy during the Fight phase when a Battlefield Colossus carrying a Nodal Emitter is selected to fight. They will be able to reroll the hit rolls and unmodified 6’s to hit will cause one additional hit.

Mission Objectives

The mission itself is fairly straightforward. There are 8 Nodal Emitter objectives and you score VP for holding them, having a Battlefield Colossus within 6” of the centre of the battlefield, and having the Battlefield Colossus with the highest power rating on the battlefield. 

Beanith: Blah blah blah, hold more objectives, blah blah blah, hold the centre. Bah humbug. If you’re not knocking down buildings by slamming into them or slamming into units into buildings with Unstoppable Impact then have you truly won?

Carnifex. Credit: Rockfish
Carnifex. Credit: Rockfish

Final Thoughts

Beanith: Not bad, it started off pretty weak with the Bloodstained Manufactorums and the cloying odour of dullness. I want to like Stimm Exposure but I’m typically not a fan of actions that take up an entire turn. I would rather have a 50/50 chance of bad/good things if I ended my movement in front of a Stimm Station. It’s nice to have some more generic Relics available as early upgrades for characters with the Totem being particularly tempting. The real star today is the mission. I love the idea of destructible terrain and being encouraged to yeet a tank through a wall like Kool-aid man is chefs kiss

TheChirurgeon: Yeah, I’d just jettison the theatre of war rules and work on playing the Thunderbrawl mission, because that sounds fun as hell. It’s also worth pointing out that all of this is accompanied by the Crusher Stampede Army of Renown rules, which seem custom tailored to go with this, and not just be how competitive Tyranid armies run these days. As a way to finish off Octarius, this is very strong and the notion of having a bunch of big monsters stomping around destructible terrain is great. I’d love to see destructible terrain get used more in future missions and theatres of war.

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