Yesterday I got my copy of Blood in the Badlands. I had some spare christmas money left so I gave it a try. I hadn't high expectations, I just wanted an entertaining read and some inspirational pictures. So let's take a look how this campaign book compares judging from a hobbyist's point of view. I know it's been out for a while, but better late then never, isn't it? If you don't own Blood in the Badlands yet, check out this review.
We're looking here at a hardcover, full-colour, full-sized book with 96 pages. The production values are good, it's on the same level as the recent batch of Fantasy army books. The content was compiled by the White Dwarf team, with some additional rules by Jervis. The story revolves around a real campaign played by eight people of the GW studio. It's divided into spring, summer, autumn and winter and features custom Mighty Empire maps, Storm of Magic, players' armies, wicked tables and scenery you probably know from some WD battle reports, lots of new scenario ideas and rules for underground battles and sieges. There is a couple of pages of new fluff with details of the Badlands regions, mostly recycled artwork and some nice blurbs of flavour text here and there. There are no full battle reports. Key battles are presented on a two page spread, the rest are summaries and campaign progression.
In terms of new rules, there is full campaign system meant to be used with Mighty Empires, more detailed than the one that comes with this kit. There are a couple of pages dedicated to underground battles but these are mostly special scenario ideas. Then there are siege rules by Jervis, similar to the 40k expansions with pretty simple basic rules and a couple of "stratagems", in this case siege equipment to spice things up. Still, it's all pretty basic and just 8 pages made up for it. Hardly a fully fleshed out expansion, this is where they could have dived in a little deeper, as I think most people will buy this book for the siege rules. Apart from sieges, there are also a couple of new cataclysmic spells and magic items. All in all, you can say that what's included here more like inspiration and a starting point to create your own house rules, rather than a tight and waterproof rule set.
Hobby and Inspiration
Now I feel this is where I feel a bit disappointed. All eight players show off their armies (2x Skaven, 1x Dwards, 1x Vampire Counts, 1x Tomb Kings, 1x High Elves, 1x Empire and 1x Warriors of Chaos), most get just a single page, while others get a double page spread. Strangely the ones who get some more spotlight are not the best painted ones... However the models are featured all through this book, so you get a good idea of the armies and their custom paint jobs and conversions in fact. I'd have just loved to see some mini-tutorials or the players talking how they built and painted their armies and their ideas behind it, but oh no.
So yeah, this is a quite nice book that makes a great read, especially when you're into campaigning and creating your own house rules and scenarios. From a painter's point of view, I would have liked some more hobby focus but I guess this is Andrew Kenrick's handwriting, similar to recent White Dwarf issues he puts more emphasis into the gaming and narrative side of the hobby. I feel the price is allright for what you get, too, so why don't get a copy if you got the extra cash.
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