I know I’m a bit late here and anyone who’s had their interest piqued by Warhammer Quest’s first venture in the 40k universe has probably either already picked up this box, or at the very least played with a friend’s set. Still, I feel like this deserves a post as Blackstone Fortress was one of the highlights of Games Workshop’s 2018 release schedule for me — which by the way is no small feat. They’re killing it right now. Seriously, give my wallet time to breathe.
Up until recently with the Kill Team Starter Set — which is what caused Blackstone Fortress to sit on the sidelines for a few months — I’ve never actually had the pleasure of opening up a box of one of Games Workshop’s big releases. Army specific ‘starter’ boxes and the like sure, but never any of the specialist games or any of the edition specific starter sets. …Though I do have a Battle for Macragge box sitting around, that was passed off to me by a friend who took an extended leave of absence from the hobby, and was mostly finished anyway. So that doesn’t count.
With that said, man does it feel like a mini-Christmas when you first remove the lid and see all the new stuff that’ll be occupying your free time for the foreseeable future. There was definitely a lot less plastic here than in the Kill Team box, but that’s understandable since Blackstone Fortress is closer to a board game and is pretty much devoid of all the terrain that gave the Kill Team box so much of its heft. What you do get instead are a set of entirely brand new set of sculpts, including the much requested Traitor Guardsmen and an early peek at what modern Chaos Space Marines would look like.
As seems to be the trend, you also get a neat little placard that features art from the game, but also doubles as a layer of protection separating the sprues (and their pointy bits) from potentially damaging any of the cards or books underneath. So while it’ll likely be a bit scratched up when you open up the box, know that it took one for the team.
Apart from rulebooks and dice, you get multiple decks of cards, some of which serve as character sheets for the heroes, or explorers as they’re called, as well as decks which I assume are for randomizing encounters as well as dictating what form the Blackstone Fortress takes. You also get a little book that contains the first bit of the Blackstone Fortress tie-in novel. Not shown are the five sheets of heavy cardboard, four of which are the tiles that make up the board, as well as one that contains counters and markers you’ll be using during the game.
The last thing of note is a sleeve that warns you not to open it until you’ve finished a certain quest. It likely has some really powerful piece of archeotech that you’ll be able to use in future adventures. The air of mystery it adds is a nice touch and fitting for the mood of the game, giving you a reason to play until the end provided you have it in you to resist opening it beforehand.
As soon as I could, I jumped right into clipping plastic, and assembling models. Most were really straight forward and consisted of only 3 pieces, but despite being snap fit, it took about two nights to get everything done. This might vary from box to box, but some pieces were annoyingly hard to get to push all the way together; so much so that on at least one model I just clipped the peg and glued them on the old fashioned way.
As for the models themselves, they are mono-pose, but look great and are full of character. My favorite, unsurprisingly, is the Aeldari Ranger, who gives me hope that one day we’ll see all the Finecast stuff in the Eldar ranges (Drukhari included) get phased out for some really slick looking plastic kits.
I also opted to base them to match my default 40k scheme since I planned on using some of them either in Kill Team or regular 40k. Warhammer TV does have a tutorial on how to get that glossy black stone effect that you see on the box and website, but that requires filing down every base, something I didn’t feel like dealing with.
And that’s that. I’ve actually made a decision not to play the game until all this is painted. I just hope I don’t burn out before that happens.