Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Product Review - Island of Blood (GW)

My first set of Island of Blood arrived from Maelstrom this morning. I ordered two copies (primarily for the mini rulebooks) but due to the vagaries of International Post one is still winging its way here.

GW introduced the Starter Box (mini rulebook edition) with the Battle for Macragge 4th Ed 40k launch in 2004. Since then we've had Battle for Skull Pass (7th Ed WHFB), Assault on Black Reach (5th Ed 40k) and now the Island of Blood.

It appears over time that GW have re-thought their strategy as when the previous three were released they were enormously good value. Mid last year both Black Reach and Skull Pass saw a 50% price hike and the release price of Island of Blood continues this higher pricing.

Looking at the figures included in the set, they are clearly a set forward compared to the previous start sets. The "figure snobs" among us would very rarely incude the starter figures in armies because they were of a lower sculpt quality than the main release figures. This is certainly not the case for the Island of Blood figures. Having just built a new Skaven army not of the figures in this set would be out of place once they were painted up. This also holds true for the High Elves as well.

That's not so say that all the figures are good. The Rat Ogres, for instance look like they are suffering from shunken head syndrome whereas with the High Elf Griffon, well I don't know what they were thinking.

The mini-rulebook is....well, the mini-rulebook. All you need to play the game is in there. There are already reports of it falling apart after very little use. I'll be getting mine spiral bound as I do with all new Army Books and Codexes.

So what do I think re value? Well I think it is fair value without being the must-buy it was previously. A lot of people will want the mini-rulebook rather than the figures so I expect to see the forums awash with sets of Skaven and High Elf figures for the next few months. That is unlikely to change over time (though the rulebook may get cheaper on the 2nd Hand market in 6-9 months) as I think that a lot of people will find the commitment to painting either a Skaven or Elf army too much. In the Skaven case the number of models will put them off - well I hope so anyway :-) - and with High Elves, well let's say white isn't the easiest colour to paint.

For me, I'll be painting the weapons teams, converting the Rat Ogres and painting up the Engineer (who is my favourite model). From the High Elves, I'm looking to add a unit of 20-30 Lothern Seaguard, some Reavers and Swordmasters to an existing army I bought.

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