As you may have seen with the recent announcement, Evil Dice is expanding its horizons to include Horus Heresy gaming as well as our traditional focus of Warhammer 40,000. While some already familiar with the game are probably excited, I’m sure many probably have some questions if they’re unfamiliar with the new system. This post will hopefully answer some of those questions.
What is The Horus Heresy?
Horus Heresy (sometimes abbreviated to “30k”) is a game originally produced by Forgeworld to play out the battles of the Horus Heresy, the galactic civil war that resulted in the near-death of the emperor and the creation of the chaos space marines. The game uses most of the rules for 7th edition warhammer 40k, and most of the differences revolve aound how you field your force. Most of the armies in the Heresy are the founding Space Marine Legions – the loyalists before they were broken up into Chapters, and the Heretics before they became fully mutated by Chaos. Other forces, like the Imperial Army, Adeptus Mechanicus, and Titan Legions make appearances, but the focus is on the Space Marines.
So, it’s the same game?
Not exactly. In The Horus Heresy, armies are limited to what you’d recognize as a Combined Arms detachment, and Lords of War are limited to 25% of a player’s total army, and are not allowed at all under 2000 points. In additon, only troop slot units may secure objectives at all, putting a greater focus on those units. The game is designed to play out large scale, epic battles, so Lords of War and larger unit sizes are common. There are no Formations, though many armies do have access to similar restrictions called “Rites of War” which reward players for restricting their army choices to the way the legion would have fought in the fluff.
Can 40k and 30k armies be played against each other?
Yes, but Forgeworld has stated that 30k is designed only with its own system in mind. The baseline unit of 30k is the Space Marine. As such, weapons with AP3 and AP2 that can penetrate marine armor are rarer and cost more points, while weapons designed to cull light infantry are much cheaper since horde-style armies are less common. If you play cross-platform games, it’s important to keep in mind a few guidelines:
- You are more likely to have a lopsided game, particularly if it’s the first time you’ve faced your opponent’s list. If something doesn’t match up well and the game seems one-sided, it doesn’t mean that your opponent is a bad person or the other game is broken and unfair.
- When taking something your opponent will be unfamiliar with, the best way to avoid unpleasant surprises is to make doubly sure they know what everything is and does. Having your rules on hand for reference is extra important, and we strongly recommend avoiding more than a couple major “counts as” units or “proxies.” 40k and 30k share a lot of ground, model-wise, and it may be tempting to use your existing land raiders, drop pods, or tanks as unique and exciting Forgeworld-exclusive versions, but for the sake of a friendlier game, that should probably be kept to a minimum unless thoroughly discussed with your opponent beforehand.
- This should go without saying, but a discussion with your opponent before your game is vital. How the mission will work, what lists both people will be running, and whether or not some of the army restrictions from Horus Heresy will be used.
- And of course, remember: you have the right to play the way you want to at Evil Dice, and if you do not want to play your 40k army against a Horus Heresy army, or vice versa, that should never be seen as a slight against anyone who enjoys the other game. You will most likely have an easier time creating a balanced matchup playing within the 40k or Heresy systems.
I’ve heard that the Horus Heresy includes Primarchs. Wouldn’t those be incredibly overpowered?
Primarchs cause a lot of concern the first time players hear about them or glance over their pretty beefy, crazy stats. The biggest thing to keep in mind with them is that they generally hover around 450-600 points and occupy a Lord of War slot, so you’ll never be facing off against one with less than 2,000 points of your own stuff opposing him. The best analog for comparison with a Primarch is a superheavy vehicle like an Imperial Knight: in a straight up fight, the Knight will usually come out on top. Primarchs usually combine some powerful combat abilities with inspirational special rules to buff up the units around them. Primarchs are like 40k’s special characters such as Ghazghkull, Marneus Calgar and Abbadon the Despoiler, pumped up a little bit more to 11. The same kind of tactics you’d use against a big expensive special character in 40k can work just as well against a primarch.
What do I need if I want to try and play 30k? Could I use my existing 40k Space Marine army?
Forgeworld sells the Horus Heresy army books, these are roughly analogous to 40k’s Codexes but usually, multiple armies are contained in the same book. As to the second question, many 40k models, like normal terminators, dreadnoughts, tanks and others are available in 30k alongside the models unique to that game system. GW’s recent army boxes, Betrayal at Calth and Prospero Burns, also include large Heresy forces at a discounted price, which is nice given the high cost of Forgeworld resin models. Other than that, the same basic 7th ed. rulebook, dice, ruler, templates etc are used.
Where do I go if I want to discuss 30k? Is there a different day it is played?
All discussion of 30k tactics, fluff, army lists, rumors, or other general discussion can go in our new Horus Heresy subforum.
All the usual Games This Week discussion goes in the normal thread for that, just make sure if you’re bringing a 30k version of a marine army, you mention that.
Hobby discussion can be posted in the normal Hobby Table forum.
There is no separate game day for Horus Heresy, you are free to arrange HH games on Sundays or Thursdays.
May I test Horus Heresy or Forgeworld models using normal marine models?
Evil Dice discourages low-effort proxying in general. On the whole it can reduce gameplay clarity and degrade our relationship with the store. Concerns about the expense of Forgeworld is understandable, but it is worth bearing in mind that the models in the Horus Heresy box sets are a great deal cheaper than normal 40k models. In a game where nearly every army is a variation on a Space Marine, striving to have models adhere to WYSIWYG is going to be more important than in a standard game.
Our policy regarding proxies in 30k at this time is:
- Proxies are just fine if you’re considering a purchase, and you want to test something out in game. We understand that Forgeworld is expensive, and players want to see if they like something before they buy.
- Conversions that can be made to clearly represent the model they’re meant to be are fine to use to save money, as they help to support the store while preserving clarity and the game experience. For example, a stock vindicator might be converted into a Vindicator Laser Destroyer with the use of some spare lascannons.
- Long term proxying, such as an entire existing Space Marine army in MKVII armor pulling double-duty as a Horus Heresy army, is discouraged. We want 30k to be a second game we play and support, and while many units from 40k can and should be used as-is for their Heresy-era counterparts, we don’t want to cheapen the game for the current Horus Heresy playerbase.