Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Game Review: Assassinorium Execution Force


Cool cover art. Wait... what?

Hi folks,

Last week I had a go at the new Assassinorium Execution Force, so I thought I would do a little review for those who are considering buying it. This post also tells a tale of brotherhood, treachery, suffering and redemption (none of which have anything to do with the game Assassinorium Execution Force... or the picture above). So find a comfy chair and a cup of tea and let me transport you back to a day of infamy, followed by a review of GW's latest not-40K product.

I have always used Imperial Agents in my army lists. Back in 2nd Edition I regularly used to field Grey Knights and Lord Inquisitors, as well as a Callidus Assassin. The reason for this was that one of my regular opponents (lets call him... I don't know... "Joffrey") collected Eldar and a Khorne Daemon World/Berserker army, both of which annoyed the hell out of me.




The Daemon World army was so hard to compete against, you really needed to have lots of force weapons and a robust psychic phase to have any fun at all. Combined with some Deathwing Terminator squads, which were immune to psychology in those days, I could make it a contest. The Eldar army was Warp Spider and Harlequin spam, and I particularly loath Warp Spiders. My answer was to turn one of the jerks into a Callidus Assassin. It didn't solve all of my problems, but it did provide a little bit of payback.

For my Birthday one year, "Joffrey" gave me two old Inquisitor models in Terminator armour. I have no idea where he got them from, but I was stoked.




After painting the first model (it looked like the one above) "Joffrey" decided that he wanted it back. Again, I have no idea why, perhaps to sell it. He offered to swap it for a Callidus Assassin he also had from... somewhere. I accepted, and poured a measure of my soul into painting that little figure. It was a moment when I realised I had actually levelled-up in my skills in some profound way. There were crisp highlights, shading, neat detail work and a vivid glow effect on the sword.

I got to play one full game with that figure. In the second game, we stopped half-way through so that I could pick up dinner with my Dad. When I got back we decided to pack up and the Callidus Assassin was gone. When I left she was hiding in a poorly painted polystyrene crater, when I returned...

I know the guys that were there and some of them have been my friends now for over 20 years (looking at you BennyW and KuriboGoomba) and I think we all know what happened to my Callidus. I can remember saying at the time "Miniatures don't just disappear off the table like that...". It really hurt to lose that figure, so much that I have stoically refused to replace it.

When recent rumours appeared that GW had re-sculpted the Assassins, it immediately brought back that gut-sick feeling. I resolved that, if it was a good sculpt, I would buy one of the new Callidus figures and finally fill that lithe, chameleonic hole in my heart. I may have even prayed to Crom:




Then I saw the price of the game they come in: $210 AUS.

Now, sure I could probably get one on Ebay or just buy an older sculpt, or just bite the bullet and fork out $210 bucks, but I saw this as a sign that it was not to be (to hell with you Crom).

Sooo, when Sgt Waz recently sent me a message saying "Hey dewd, how about a gaming session so we can try out the new Assassinorium Execution Force game I just bought?" I cringed just a little on the inside. I visibly cringed when I was asked which assassin I wanted to be, and settled on an Eversor, after recounting the old "Joffrey" story like a Deathwing Librarian around the watch-fire.

The game went a little like this:


We set up with the Eversor and Vindicator up front, with the goal of providing the Vindicare with a good firing arc quickly. The Eversor just wanted to do something quickly, it didn't matter what.


The Eversor's ability to use frenzon and the same action twice allows him to cover ground (or assassinate things) very efficiently.


In the face. Cop that heretic.


The Callidus uses polymorphine to sneak past patrols and locate the teleport controls. Everyone else jumps into the teleporter.


After putting some wounds on the big guy my Eversor used bio-meltdown to finish him off. Cue heroic sacrifice music... now.


The Good

There is something satisfying about sneaking around, avoiding the patrols and monstering lone sentries. The special abilities of the individual assassins seem to be well thought out and reflect their character perfectly. The assassin sculpts and game boards are beautiful.


The Bad

There is no way to advance or customise your character, which made Space Crusade such a fun game. There is also no real sense of panic, like when you are running out of time in a Space Hulk turn or you draw another genestealer event card in Space Crusade. Whilst there is a limited number of turns to kill the mark, I never really felt... worried. Finally, the bad guys are pretty meh, there really needs to be some nastier stuff in there.


The Opportunities

GW could expand on this game considerably, offering extra missions/playing boards, using models from the current 40K range. Hell, we may end up doing this in our playing group anyway, using the Space Hulk gaming tiles...


Finally...

You may have noticed that the assassin models we used in this game included some older sculpts. That was because Sgt Waz had one (or two?) extra sets of the models and hadn't prepared the new figures yet. As a parting gift, Sgt Waz gave me one of his Callidus Assassins.




See you across the table,

M4cr0