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Warhammer 40K Review: Dark Vengeance

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Highly recommended starter box set for Warhammer 40K.
The products inside are of good quality, giving you everything you need to play games in the Grim Dark Future. The models are well designed, and the gaming tools robust enough to last for years of gameplay.
The game content inside is a bit lacklustre in terms of scenarios, but more than good enough to introduce you to the game of 40K. It has all the rules you'll need to continue your hobby to a greater depth.
This box set is best for older teens or adults looking to start 40K, or for a nice month or two of modelling and table top war gaming. 40K veterans can get a lot of use from the box set from the models and the dice and templates inside. A good buy all around, and good value for money.

Product Quality

Games Workshop produce high quality miniatures, and the Dark Vengeance starter set does not deviate from this great reputation. The sculpt on the miniatures is amazing, with high detail on all of the infantry. They are snap fit models, meaning that just this box and a decent pair of scissors are all you need to start having games in 40K.
The clear winners of this box are the Chaos Chosen, with intricate details just begging for the careful attention of a new painter. That said, the design of the models is not daunting for those who do not want to spend forever and a day edge highlighting filigree. The designs are such that a simple ink and dry brush method can be used, to great effect.
The rest of the models do not disappoint, but a slight criticism is in the amount of Dark Angel iconography on the models. Whilst they look good, it is a little annoying for a starter set to pigeon hole new players into a single chapter... somewhat of a waste considering that Space Marines have a great amount of variety just through simple colour schemes.
It is not all good news, as there are several duplicate models. It's not so noticeable with the Dark Angels, as Marines are meant to be disciplined and uniform. It's very noticeable with the Cultist models, partly because there are so many of them, and partly because they are all meant to be unique individuals. A different paint job on each will only take you so far, but as far as cheap and cheerful starts to modelling goes, it's not too bad.
The last thing to mention for miniatures, again with the cultists, is that the models do need a bit of glue to be secure. Although they are snap fit some of the models, particularly the autogun wielders, are very loose in their connections. Not a huge deal, but something to bear in mind.
The box also comes with a mini version of the Basic Rule Book, and although it can feel like a tiny book full of tiny text, it's actually one of the best parts of the box set. Honestly, with the price of the full size version, this little book alone is worth the price of the Dark Vengeance box set.
The dice are good enough for 40K, and the templates come in a nice tough acrylic. I can see these lasting quite a long time.

Game Quality

It's 40K, and giving you the quality of that game system is a review in itself. It's one of the most long-lived of the rule sets out there, and there's a great deal of online fan support for it. You can't really go wrong and, unless you're a particular aficionado of the table top gaming scene, you won't notice any glaring holes in the game design.
The scenarios out of the Dark Vengeance box are a decent, if blunt introduction to the game. There's a glossy tutorial which will lead you through a sample battle, and suggest you start rolling dice to see if you would get the same outcome.
This is a bit of a heavy handed method, and I'm not sure I like it as an introduction. 40K is, at heart, a 2 player game, and I would have liked to have seen something a bit more inclusive than a choose-your-own-battle-report.
That said, the two solo scenarios following this introduction are very good, and they probably should have led with these two. Even I got a good few hours of fun with one of them, a scenario where 3 Ravenwing bikers either zoom past or chew their way through wave after wave of cultists. These days, I use that to solo play test other units, to get a better idea of how they'd play on the table top.
The duo scenarios after that are a decent introduction to 40K, but I would say they're a bit lacking in teaching value. They don't do a good enough job of highlighting the mechanic they want to focus on, and it generally devolves into a standard 40K game with some set units. Not bad, but not great at teaching nuances of the mechanic.
The best selling point would be the Basic Rule Book. This gives you a wide range of scenarios to play with, long after you've exhausted the beginners guide, and by that point you should be well and truly hooked into the hobby.
Final verdict on the game content? As far as quantity goes, a solo player can get a good few hours of gameplay, and bringing along a friend with give you a great many evenings of play before you want to dive into the actual rule book. Quality is a little lacking in some places, but as an introduction, it does the job well.

Value for money

Oh yes, very much so.
For Dark Angel players and Chaos, the miniatures re a great addition to your armies. New players will have their choice of these two armies, giving a good solid foundation for them to built up to a 600 point list with either of them.
As I've said before, the BRB alone is worth the price of the box set, and the dice and templates only make that a sweeter deal. If you're starting off in 40K, or just like the look of Chaos and Dark Angels, it's definitely worth picking up.

Best for...

The game is 40K, and really not suited for younger players. The best age for this would be 14 and up, with some leeway for mature or mathematically minded 12 year olds. Keep that in mind before you buy it for a nephew or grand daughter.
40K veterans can definitely get some value out of the box set, if only for the miniatures. The scenarios are only somewhat useful to you, but the added dice and templates are always helpful.


This box set is highly recommended!


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