Wargaming powerhouse Games Workshop have been doing very well recently. They have released a raft of new games that combine old-school nostalgia with some stunning models and very well realised gameplay. Coupled with exceptional community support, it really feels like they’re listening to their hordes of fans and delivering quality game after game.Necromunda Underhive is an interesting new approach to one of Games Workshop’s most eye-catching games. Necromunda is a gang warfare skirmish game set in the absurdly gothic world of Warhammer 40,000. The planet Necromunda is made up of vast industrial structures called hives ruled over by feudal clans, and the whole thing has a wasteland warrior/cyberpunk vibe, mixed in with the sci-fi gothic of 40K. The feuding families fight in the lower parts of these mega city blocks, the ‘Underhive’ of the game’s title. Original Necromunda came in a box with easy to put together models and complex 3D terrain. The old models were sort of ugly. The new game has completely gorgeous models aimed squarely at the hobbyist. You have two gangs worth of models (20 in total) with a very, very wide range of assembly options. The box comes with a handy infographic on how to put them together in an optimal way, but feel free to ignore that. They are a lot of pieces here, and assembly won’t be a quick task. The most extreme example is that there is a tiny cigar that you can glue to the tiny face of your ganger. Patience is a virtue indeed. But it’s entirely optional, and the pieces are fun to put together, and even a ham-fisted type won’t cover themselves with plastic glue.
The board is not 3D. Instead, we have various tiles that can be moved around to create a variety of dungeon-like scenarios. We have lots of bulkheads, doors, and barricades which are highly detailed bits of plastic that we can scatter across the board. The inside of the box also doubles as an ‘arena board for the ‘learn to play’ scenario. The more old-school 3D game is still here; it’s just given more detail in a separate supplement. It is very pretty and very detailed, but be aware that Necromunda Underhive is very much a starter set for a flat terrain skirmish game, set in sewers and similar ‘dungeon-like’ areas.The rules will be familiar to anyone who’s played Warhammer 40K in the last 20 years, and yes, it’s a game where you use a ruler to move pieces around and work outline of sight. The two gangs are interestingly balanced. The muscle-bound and crude Goliaths are tough and best deployed to fight immediately. The lightly armoured by swift Eschers are swift and cunning. As such, it looks easy for the Goliaths to win, unless the Escher player uses the terrain and keeps out of range, sniping and running. Tactics cards provide a useful edge and keep the game moving, but don’t make up for actual tactics. The provided scenarios are fun and require minimal setup. It’s ideal for busy gamers who just want to squeeze a bit of wargaming in on a week-day evening. Necromunda Underhive is a fun skirmish game and a good way for older players to lure younger gamers into wargaming. The core set does not come with rules for campaign play; for that, you’ll have to pick up the Gang War supplement. We firmly recommend that you do as this is a game that if you want to really get the most out of it. You’ll want to set up a league and a campaign (The Gang War supplement is slender but packed with all the detail you need). Necromunda Underhive is for nostalgia junkies and table-top gamers looking for old-school skirmish shenanigans.
NECROMUNDA UNDERHIVE / PUBLISHER: GAMES WORKSHOP / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW