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Warhammer 40,000: Assault On Black Reach» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Assault on Black Reach review rss

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Kyle McGreogr
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I was a bit surprised to see that their were no reviews of the Warhammer 40k 5th edition starter set. I realize that this is BoardGameGeek and not WarGameGeek but due to the recent release of Space Hulk some people might want to know more about the game. The next logical place to find more information would be to look at the starter set and that a review might be able to help them figure out if the game is right for them.

The assault on black reach is the most economical way to get into the 40k hobby period. At a retail price of $75 you receive: a mini (but rules complete) rule book, a special assault on black reach intro book with stats and fluff for your current models, 5 six sided dice, 1 scatter dice, 2 18 inch measuring sticks, 3 different plastic templates that are used for special weapons in the game, 17 space marine models and 29 orc models.

Model-wise, these are the best looking starter set minis that GW has ever produced. While they are not as complex as the normal multi-part kits, this is the first starter I have seen where every model is multi-part. This is a nice primer for new players because if the 2 hours it will take to glue together the minis in the set is too much for you then you will quickly know that this hobby is not for you. It also has the added side effect of allowing for more dynamic poses since single piece models are static and are designed to work around mold injection issues.

What you end up with from this is about 600 points of models for both armies, which is a great startings point. A game of 40k is generally played around 1,500-2,000 points so this set is a cheap way to get up to speed. Also, since this is a set mainly worried about the infantry, you do not have to worry too much about the rules getting too complex too quickly until you start buying more models.

For the space marines you get: a 10 man tactical squad with a Sargent (troop choice), a squad of 5 Terminators (elite choice), a Space Marine Captain (HQ choice), and the only true vehicle in the box, a dreadnought (elite choice). The major drawback with this box is that you cant run a legal army using the minimum force organization requirements from the 40k rules (2 Troops, and 1 HQ) and if you buy 2 boxes or trade the orks from your box for another user's Black Reach marines you will not be able to field the entire army as the max elite choices you can take in a normal game of 40k is 3.

Overall though this is a very good introduction force for marines. Terminators are a tough unit and tactical squads are the bread and butter of any space marine force. Dreadnoughts are a fun choice, but i personally like to run them with assault cannons in 40k.

Orks may get more models but overall they are much weaker as they are a horde army. With this set you get: 20 ork boys (with 2 big shootas, Troop Choice), 5 orc Nobs (Elite/Troop), 3 ork Deff Koptas (Fast Attack), and an Ork Warboss with power claw (HQ). Unlike the space marine army you do actually get a valid army with this set. Once you branch out from the main game and pick up the orc codex you will find that when you take an Orc Warboss you may take 1 unit of nobs as a troop choice instead of an Elite choice. This would mean you would fit the requirements of at least 2 troops and 1 HQ to have a valid army.

Unfortunately, I feel like the orc force is a little subpar once you transition from this set to the main game. The nobs should really have been given better war gear other than standard Choppa/sluggas as they are an expensive unit and some better gear would really help them have some extra punch. Also if you are going to foot-slog big units of orks in 40k they should really be ran in groups of 30 with a Nob with power claw and boss pole leading them. Overall though the sculpts are good and it is still a nice start and a great way to get some bodies on the table.

On to the rules...40k is not an easy game to learn. If you have friends that play or a local Games Workshop store nearby take advantage of this or you will be surely missing some rules for many games to come. Since I did not have these resources available to me, after every game for my first 20 games or so my friends and I found out we were doing something wrong or leaving something out. Fortunately if you stick to the units in this set for a while the game is a little bit easier to figure out since you mostly sticking with mostly infantry and only 1 vehicle.

The important thing is to start small and get the basic rules down first. A quick match with the ork boys versus the marine tactical squad is a great starting point. From there I would add in the Nobs and Terminators. Even though that might not be the most even match up at that point it will add the least amount of new rules (invulnerability saves and Feel no Pain) to the game while adding more squads to the mix. From there I would add the HQs to get an idea of how the Independent Character rules work, and in the last game I would add the Dreadnought and Deff Koptas as they both has different special rules with how they work. Adding things in this order should minimize the amount of new rules that you have to worry about each game and provide a strong foundation of how the game is played.

If you mess up a few rules here and there, don't worry about it. The rule book is thick and once you get the army codexes you will find that your army has special rules that you were not playing with in this boxed set anyway. Just make sure you remember to fix it next game and everything should be fine.

Overall this set is a must buy if you are looking to play 40k. It allows you to get what would normally cost several hundreds of dollars in models and play aids for a low introductory price. Even if do not want to play orks or space marines, buying dice, templates, and the rule book alone cost almost as much as this set does. I would say just spring for this set and trade/sell of the models if you do not want them. Simply put, this is the best way to get into the hobby and it allows you to rope in a friends since it gives you 2 armies to play as.

Personally I used 3 copies of this set to build up both a space marine and ork armies since the value per set is just amazing. I also used the extra rulebooks and templates to give to my roomates who I also got to start playing the game. I cannot recommend this set enough. If you are on the fence about giving 40k a try, buy this set. For the cost of a board game it will give you a great look into the world of miniature war games to see if they are right for you.


TL;DR: As a great starter and army builder I give the Black Reach box set a 9/10
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Gunther Schmidl
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If it weren't the friggin' orks I might have gotten this set. They're just not interesting enough, and I can't stand the sculpts.
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Kyle McGreogr
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gschmidl wrote:
If it weren't the friggin' orks I might have gotten this set. They're just not interesting enough, and I can't stand the sculpts.


That is fair. Personally I do like the sculpts, and was excited that with this set you could at least mix and match the arms to customize the look and position more than than say the dwarfs from the Warhammer Fantasy Battle for Skull Pass starter set. Those sculpts were truly ugly and I think GW has come a long way with their starter sets even in a few years. I do feel like the nobs were the weakest of the sculpts but the boys and the Warboss are Top Notch in my opinion.

Even if you do not like the sculpts, I still stand by my statement that this is the best value for your money as a starting player. Unwanted models can always be sold off and armies can always be bolstered by superior multi-part kits afterwards if you are willing to make a bigger investment in your army. $22 for 10 boys is personally a bit to rich for my blood since I wanted to run a green tide army.
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Andrew Royal
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mcgregok wrote:
Personally I used 3 copies of this set to build up both a space marine and ork armies since the value per set is just amazing. I also used the extra rulebooks and templates to give to my roomates who I also got to start playing the game. I cannot recommend this set enough. If you are on the fence about giving 40k a try, buy this set. For the cost of a board game it will give you a great look into the world of miniature war games to see if they are right for you.


I'm doing the same thing. You can find this set on eBay for around $59.99 shipped. I am buying 2 sets and then building up my SMs with some vehicles and special units later on. Orks, I'll be buying some more squads here and there, by my concentration is on the SMs first. At that price, you are getting a lot in this set.

Question for mcregok: How does your troop heavy SM chapter play?
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Kyle McGreogr
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sinfreealex wrote:

Question for mcregok: How does your troop heavy SM chapter play?


I feel that troops are the most important choice for any army since they are the only ones that can capture objectives. Luckily I generally follow the rule of including 1 tactical squad per 500 points for Marines. I really only follow that rule for up to 1,500 though. in 2,000 pt games I generally just spend more on my other choices and throw a land raider into my list. I like to equip my tactical squads with melta guns and a missile launchers for the most part and load them up in rhinos to protect my point investment.
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Andrew Royal
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Thanks for the rapid reply. I wish I had the money to snag 3, the first time around. Oh well, there's always paychecks to be spent in November.
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I realize that there are always reasons behind everything but it's rather disappointing (to me) that they don't have a larger variety of starter sets with different units - that way a new player can get two sets of interesting races to start with rather than being shoe-horned into playing Space Marines vs. whatever the flavor of the month is at the GW offices.

I agree with this review, this is a great deal though, either way.
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Thats by desgin. Space Marines are by far the GW Cash Cow. But its all good. I have played Marines since 1989, then added a guard and Eldar armies a few years later. Fast forward to this year and my Dark Angels were liqidated on E-bay. Just got tired of Marines.

Now I have 4 armies, about 7,000 points of Guard, 5,000 points or so of Eldar, about 3,500 of Nids and about 3,500 of Tau.

All is well. No more marines.

Great review man, and I too was surprised there was no review.
 
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Andrew Royal
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wytefang wrote:
I realize that there are always reasons behind everything but it's rather disappointing (to me) that they don't have a larger variety of starter sets with different units - that way a new player can get two sets of interesting races to start with rather than being shoe-horned into playing Space Marines vs. whatever the flavor of the month is at the GW offices.


The included armies are intentional. Space Marines, on the whole, are super easy to play and learn the game with. They also appeal to the widest audience. Someone who looks at 40k from the outside can really be overwhelmed by the sheer variety offered by the game. Yes choice is good, but some folks just need a bit of a boost to get them started. The Orks are quite easy to understand tactically, for a new player, too. In the previous (4th ed) starter, there were Tyranids, who play similar to Orks in that their primary tactic is to swarm the enemy and get into close combat to defeat with superior numbers. Eldar, Tau, Necrons, etc, can be difficult armies to learn with since their tactics are a tad bit more involving. Don't get me wrong, Space Marines and Orks can get more complex tactically, but not to the same degree. If you don't like the starter, you can always grab a rule book and the army you wish to use. The starter has two playable armies out of the box so that you can immediately play with a friend. To get started with a Warmachine starter, for example, each person has to drop the $50 for a starter and hope they like the game. Assault on Black Reach also has armies that are easy to trade away to newer players or players wishing to expand their armies. Back with the 3rd Edition starter you got Space Marines and Dark Eldar. I had a heck of a time getting rid of those Dark Eldar. They were a hard army to play at the time.

I say, get the starter if you are just beginnning and then trade or sell the stuff you get once you have the game down. If you are an experience player and don't play either army, obviously just skip it.

I, for one, can't wait to get my sets and really put 5th edition though its paces.
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Doug Acker
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Great review!

I despair of finding opponants for my 15mm Ancients and Napoleonics, and you let me know what I would be getting into if I entered the Warhammer universe.

It soounds like fun painting, but not so much tactical interest.

This review was very valuable to me. Thank you!
 
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Doug Acker
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Great review!

I despair of finding opponants for my 15mm Ancients and Napoleonics, and you let me know what I would be getting into if I entered the Warhammer universe.

It soounds like fun painting, but not so much tactical interest.

This review was very valuable to me. Thank you!
 
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