All the news about Season 5!
Greetings and welcome to a special preview article! Once again I have been gifted with the honour of revealing to you the news of what the future holds in-store for Warhammer Underworlds! Games Workshop was kind enough to do so thanks to my prestige and lead viewership within the community. Getting 1 million+ views has its perks.
So what’s so special about Season 5 of Warhammer Underworlds? Well firstly, it’s set in SPACE! Welcome to SPACESPIRE! In a departure to the norm, this time the game is set in the Warhammer 40,000 universe! Now we get to see how crits fare in the grimness of the far future!
Spacespire is set within the ancient tomb world of Solemance, home to none other than Tranzyn the Infinite. Within the lost and limitless depths of this hidden world lies Tranzyn and his labyrinthine vaults containing not only lost technology but also his prismatic galleries, containing live beings frozen perfectly within time to capture the scene for Tranzyn’s endless viewing pleasure.
Tranzyn’s prismatic galleries contain a number of fascinating creatures, both old and new. Normally these would be perfectly preserved, locked in time to capture moments that Tranzyn deems precious and essential to be preserved. From Imperial Guardsmen that are hundreds of years old to the latest strains of Tyranid hive beasts, all lie frozen as a memorial to time itself. Until now.
Thanks to the results of Abaddon’s 13th Black Crusade, the destruction of Cadia resulted in the Great Rift forming. This mass expansion of the Eye of Terror resulted in the galaxy being split into two by a massive warp tear. The aftershocks of its birth resulted in cataclysmic warp storms, echoing across the galaxy. Solemance was hit by one of these waves of warp power and, at first, everything seemed fine. It was not until much later that Tranzyn realised the extent of the damage. Thanks to the warp shockwave, the stasis devices keeping his exhibits frozen in time began to malfunction. The effects were small at first, display pieces appeared to have slightly changed in poses and expressions. Tranzyn only notice the major effects once his subjects began disappearing and subsectors started erupting into violence.
Now the Necron Overlord has a huge problem on his metallic hands. More and more of his prismatic galleries continue to awake and his exhibits no longer wish to stay as welcomed guests, now fighting their way out for freedom. Tranzyn’s galleries are too dense and valuable to send legions of his warriors in to deal with, instead he is relying on his Canoptek servants and defence systems. Interestingly, many of the freed subjects have begun fighting amongst themselves as they try to escape. This matters not to Tranzyn, he has now sent some of his most trusted servants deep inside the Spacespire. His galleries are alive with life, this must be fixed, no matter the cost. After all, nothing stings more for Tranzyn more than knowing his preserved trinkets now want to break the kind gift of eternal preservation he so kindly offers.
Combat Squads are the warbands for Spacespire. The core set for Spacespire features the noble Primaris Marines of Squad Invictor lead by Primaris Lieutenant Tibius as they fight their way out of the Spacespire to re-join their Ultramarine Chapter to restore balance to the Imperium. Seeking to re-capture these errant exhibits are the Overlord’s Blade, a combat squad of Necrons lead by the Royal Warden.
Squad Invictor contains Primaris Lieutenant Tibus who is armed with a Power Sword and Heavy Bolt Pistol, Assault Intercessor Cestian armed with an Astartes Chainsword and Heavy Bolt Pistol then finally Primaris Intercessor Rubio armed with an Astartes Bolt Rifle. This combat squad packs durability and flexibility, able to pump out decent ranged firepower with the close combat power that the Astartes are known for.
All the Space Marines share the same body of characteristics. Each fighter of Squad Invictor has a wounds characteristic of 4, movement 4 and defends on 2 Block. This represents their enhanced biology as Primaris Marines and their Mk X Intercessor armour.
Squad Invictor inspire each time a mission objective is completed, representing their tactical and ordered nature. Inspired fighters gain various buffs depending on the individual fighter and weapon improvements such as +1 damage to the Power Sword for Tibus Inspired.
The Overlord’s Blade
The Overlord’s Blade are led by the Royal Warden that is armed with a Relic Gauss Blaster and Relic Gunblade, 2 Necron Warriors armed with Gauss Blasters and Aged Gunblades, 2 Necron Warriors armed with Gauss Reapers and a single Canoptek Scarab Swarm armed with Feeder Mandibles. While not as durable or as fast as the Primaris Marines, the Necrons of the Overlord’s Blade make up for this with swarming Necron power and the ability to cheat death thanks to their Reanimation Protocols.
The Necron Royal Warden and Necron Warriors are all movement 3 with a wounds characteristic of 2 for the Warriors and 3 for the Royal Warden. Finally, they all defend on a single block. The Canoptek Scarab Swarm are movement 5 with Fly and have a wounds characteristic of 3 while defending on a single dodge. They are slower (sans the Canoptek Scarab Swarm) but make up for it with decent durability and Gauss firepower.
The Overlord’s Blade inspire every time a fighter makes a successful attack due to their hatred for the living as well as when a successful Reanimation Protocol roll is made, after all, the energies of rejuvenation are powerful indeed! Inspired Necron units generally receive +1 movement along with buffs to their weaponry as more energy flows through them. For example, the Royal Warden has its Relic Gunblade increase to 3 fury while the Relic Gauss Blaster increases to 3 smash.
You may be familiar with some of the rules mentioned above, and that’s because Spacespire inherits a lot of familiar rules for Warhammer Underworlds in general, with some twists of course. First of all are the cards! You have a mission deck containing 12 cards. Mission cards reward you with victory points, giving you a fixed number based upon the mission card. These are your key to winning as the player with the most victory points at the end of the game wins, even if they have been wiped out! There are 4 types of missions, standard ones have no Keywords and are scored in the end phase, then you have Dual missions which need 2 conditions met in order to be scored, Hybrid missions that give you a choice of missions to score and finally Surge missions which can be scored during an action phase BUT you can only score a maximum of 2 Surge objectives every round, so be careful not to overload your mission deck with them!
Next are Stratagem cards. These offer you tactical benefits and effects at no cost to play. They work exactly like Gambit cards do and so can “break” certain core rules depending on the benefit that the Stratagem card bestows. Stratagem cards make up your Tactics deck and you need a minimum of 20 cards in total, with only a maximum of half allowing to be Stratagem cards.
Coupled with Stratagem cards are Wargear cards! These work like Upgrade cards. Spend your Victory Points by flipping them over to equip a Wargear card to a fighter. Generally upgrade cards will cost 1 Victory Point but rare and powerful Wargear cards may cost 2 or even 3 Victory Points depending on their power and effects! The cost will be noted next to the Wargear Card’s name in brackets, e.g. Astartes Missile Launcher (1).
The general game flow in Spacespire is the same as Warhammer Underworlds seasons before it. You have 3 rounds. Within each round is 1 action phase containing 4 activations and 4 strategy steps per player with an end phase for completing missions and equipping wargear.
Actions have changed slightly to represent the more ranged battlefield which encompasses the far future of Warhammer 40,000. Move actions remain the same, after moving a fighter a number of hexes up to their movement characteristic, give them a move token. A fighter then has the option to Run an additional 2 hexes after their move action but at the cost of gaining a charge token. Fighters with charge tokens cannot be activated so you will need to measure up the risk of gaining that extra movement at the cost of losing the ability to activate that fighter during an activation for the rest of the round.
Fighters can go on Guard as an action. A fighter with a Guard token is on Guard, counting both dodges and blocks as success while also being immune to being driven back and therefor being Trapped too. Use Guard to stand your ground and protect key points on the battlefield!
Overwatch is a new addition for Spacespire! As an action, a fighter can go on Overwatch and gain on Overwatch token. Handily, it is also the flipside of a Guard token! Overwatch allows a fighter to make a reaction attack with a ranged weapon when charged by an enemy fighter. A fighter on Overwatch will lose this when making a move action or charge action and cannot be on Guard as well so it needs careful usage. Once a fighter has made an Overwatch attack action, they lose the Overwatch token and they can also not Driveback an enemy fighter no matter what.
A charge action remains as it always has, a combined move and attack action in a single activation. After the move action, gain a charge token then resolve the attack action. A fighter with a charge token cannot be activated for the rest of the round.
Finally fighters can make a Hacking action. To do so a fighter must be on or within 1 hex of a feature token. As an action they can Flip that feature token and then are given a charge token. Note, this cannot be done on a feature token which contains a fighter, friend or foe.
Shooting and Close Combat
The biggest change with Spacespire is ranged combat as every fighter is armed with some sort of ranged weapon in general. Ranged weapons will have various effects based upon the Keywords found beneath the profile of the weapon as shown below.
Before explaining ranged weapon Keywords, here are some general rules about ranged weapons. Ranged weapons cannot be used to make attack actions at Engagement Range (range 1) unless they have a specific rule allowing them to or the user is making an attack action as part of being on Overwatch. This also means you cannot use ranged weapons against enemy fighter in Engagement Range with other friendly fighters, the frantic nature of close combat makes shooting into it too risky! Ranged weapons are powerful but unwieldly when used up-closer unless the user has taken a prepared position. Ranged weapons also cannot Driveback the opponent, unlike melee attack actions. This is more of a balancing reason but helps keep the ranged weapons in-check thanks to their massive threat range.
Pistol – Pistols fire a single shot at their specified range. Pistols can also be used in Engagement Range to represent their flexibility and size.
Rapid Fire – A commonly seen weapon in the 41st Millennium. Rapid fire weapons can make a single attack at their shown ranged profile (e.g. up to range 4 as with an Astartes Bolt Rifle). A Rapid fire weapon can also fire twice when within half range of the target (rounding up), representing their ability to lay down repeated fire on the enemy. So with the Astartes Bolt Rifle it could either make a single attack at range 4 or 2 attacks at range 2. Note, when making the 2 attacks, each of those ranged attack actions are made one after the other and must be at the same target.
Assault – Assault weapons are flexible ranged weapons that give the user more freedom of movement. Assault weapons allow the user to make an attack action with this weapon after making a Run action but at the cost of the attack action being at -1 attack dice. This represents the ability to launch attacks harassing the target while on the move, at the cost of accuracy.
Template – Template weapons represent all manner of template weaponry such as flamers to toxic acid spewers. Template weapons automatically hit but can only be used to make an attack action once per round.
Shotgun – A crude but descriptive term. Shotgun weapons represent spread weapons across the galaxy. They do minimal damage at most ranges but excel in close range combat. Shotgun weapons can be fired at Engagement Range, can Driveback enemy fighters AND gain +1 damage when used in Engagement Range to represent their lethality. Who needs fists when you have a bunch of lead to fire out!
Heavy – Heavy weapons are the big guns of the Warhammer 40,000 universe. The weapons can blow apart vehicles and reduce targets to ash. To represent their weight and size, heavy weapons cannot be used during a charge action, they’re just too big and heavy to setup! To makeup for this, heavy weapons generally have more range and damage, as well as being able to Driveback enemy fighters. You sacrifice mobility but at the cost of being an overwhelming threat at range!
Engagement range is the general rule to cover when 2 fighters are within 1 hex of each other. To break engagement range, one of the fighters needs to be taken out of action or simply move away. The downside is that fighters with a ranged weapon cannot make a charge action as they leave combat, this represents them pulling out of combat and the difficulty of firing their ranged weapon while they do so. The only exception to this rule are Pistol and Shotgun weapons due to their flexibility.
Weapons with the Melee trait generally only be used at their range of 1, although some exceptionally long Melee weapons may be range 2. Regardless, Melee weapons can always be used in Engagement Range and can Driveback enemy fighters! After all, a mighty swing from a Chainsword will send anyone back reeling! This also helps Melee weapons stand out from their ranged brethren, allowing you to use them to clear objectives or key points on the battlefield.
Melee weapons can also have Keywords which offer a number of beneficial effects to represent warping power fields to tearing chainblades. As with ranged weapons, this will be noted beneath the attack action profile. These can also apply to certain ranged weapons but they are more commonly seen on Melee weapons.
Cleave – Ignores block symbols on defence dice.
Ensnare – Ignores dodge symbols on defence dice.
Scything – Attacks each target within Engagement Range of the user, resolve each attack action one at a time in any order of your choosing.
Rending – +1 damage if you roll one or more crits.
Poison – After a successful attack action, deal 1 damage to the attacked enemy fighter at the end of the action phase if they are not already out of action.
Boards and Placement
Board placement is a little different in Spacespire. Boards can only be placed in wide configuration (wide to wide). To offset this each player can place up to 3 pieces of blocked hex terrain each before the setup phase. Blocked terrain cannot be placed within 1 hex of each other, in a starting hex and in a hex that contains a feature token. It is also optional to place these blocked hexes. These block movement and line of sight, helping to soften the impact of ranged weapons.
Feature token placement works the same as before. Roll off and decided the who places first. Feature tokens cannot be placed in starting hexes or edge hexes. The person to place the 5th feature token must do so in No Man’s land, the neutral space in the middle of the game boards. This can be on an edge hex as long as it is No Man’s land. Then the Feature Tokens are flipped over to their objective side and correspond to a number between 1 and 5.
Holding objectives is one way to victory! A player who Controls the most objectives at the end of an action phase receives 1 Victory Point. A fighter Controls an objective by standing in the same hex as it.
The flipside of an objective token on a feature token is a lethal hex. A fighter that moves, pushes or is placed inside a lethal hex is dealt 1 damage. This also applies if a fighter standing in an objective token has it flipped to its lethal side.
Future Releases and Events
As always Spacespire has a long future planned out for it. More Combat Squads will be released along with some new rules. The biggest of all of these will be points! That’s right, you’ll be able to build your own Combat Squads in Spacespire! The only rule is all fighters must share the same faction Keyword which is found underneath that fighter’s name on their fighter card. Points will be released with each Combat Squad release, so while it may be limited at first, as more Combat Squads come out your flexibility will increase also! Usual restrictions apply such as only a single Leader per Combat Squad but it really opens up gameplay options for players as time goes on.
Speaking of Combat Squads, the next one to be released will be the Venomflux Deathsquad! This Deathguard trio are led by Bulgos Noxist, Plague Marine Champion with his trusty Nurgling attendant! What will the rest of the Combat Squad entail? Keep your eyes peeled for future updates!
Finally we have events. When it is safe to do so, Spacespire will have a full competitive circuit. From Store Tournaments to Space Clashes, Space Skirmishes and Even Space Battles! No matter your desire, Spacespire will have the event for you! Each will have Spaceglass Trophies up for grabs, only to the winner of each tournament.
Spacespire has also been rigorously tested by playtesters and well-known competitive Warhammer Underworlds players. Here are some testimonies from the players! Note, their names have been disguised to offer anonymity.
“Wow, with no Godsworn Hunt in this game, I may actually win something now!”
~ Bom Tond
“Blood Bowl Second Season Edition is great and fun, check it out!”
~ J. Claire
“I love SPACE and hexes, when is it coming out??”
~ Hexes and Combat Squads
So there we have it, the beginnings of Spacespire. Does it appeal to you? How do you find the shift of focus to Warhammer 40,000 with Warhammer Underworlds? Are you a fan of the new rules? Let me know! As well as what Combat Squads you hope to see popup in the future! Personally, I’d love to see a new squad of Craftworld Aeldari Striking Scorpions appear but only time will tell.
Spacespire will be hitting shelves in 2069. Until then, we can play away with Doomruin to our heart’s content. Even in the grim darkness of the far future, can you roll a crit?