With the release of the new Assassinorum: Execution Force board game (AEF) this week, Games Workshop has taken a new step in re-defining the borders between their core games and their supplement products. Where Dreadfleet was as stand-alone as you could possibly get, Space Hulk followed up by using unique models that easily crossed over into the core game of Warhammer 40,000 with a little love and some spare bases.
AEF takes this a step further; the brand new assassin models are presented on round bases, the rules for them already exist for the game system, and they come alongside a set of already existing miniatures from the Chaos Space Marine range. The Chaos Terminator Lord (£15), a box of the snap-fit Chaos Marines (£6) and three boxes of the snap-fit Chaos Cultists (£6 per kit) join the four assassins in the box, making this the first stand-alone game since Necromunda that truly crosses the borders between game systems.
When I first saw the contents of the box in the White Dwarf leak earlier this week, I thought it was pretty awesome. Compared to similar board games, the £75 price tag is perhaps steep, but relatively reasonable. Then I browse around various forums and comment fields on various websites, and the majority of the opinions presented can largely be summed up by this post from one of my regular forums:
“Those models aren’t bad, but from what I’ve understood the rest of the box is just GW regurgitating old minis. Shame really, and an easy no thank you.”
I’ll admit this kind of response surprised me a little. Not because I somehow think this game is the come-one come-all and saviour of the universe, far from – truth be told, I will likely save the money myself and try to get a hold of a couple of Calliduses (Callidi?) off of eBay. What stumped me is the fact that with four brand new, and in my personal opinion, amazing assassin scuplts in what to me seems like a very reasonably priced box set, people focus almost exclusively on this release as some form of re-hash, choosing to see only negatives.
We’ve already established that there is £39 worth of Chaos models in the box, which effectively means you pay £36 for the four assassins and the game itself. If we were to believe the rumours that the assassins themselves are to be released as individual clam-packs at a later time, comparable models like the Harlequin characters, the new Autarch or the Dark Eldar characters of last fall all clock in between £16 and £18 – a total of between £64 and £72 for any combination of four. Which, in turn, means that your £75 bix set pretty much covers your assassins and the rules, and that’s about it. Those Chaos figures? Consider it a freebie. The maths add up. Games Workshop are giving you these models for free.
Of course, this is only half the truth. Yes, some of these are pretty crappy kits that no one buys outside of their 6-year-old’s christmas calendar or similar circumstance. Yes, there is more than a small chance that the limited edition on this set is largely tied to the number of how many of these kits were stocked up in storage, freeing up space for future releases. Yes, the most dedicated of Chaos players will find little to no use for anything except possibly the Chaos Lord for his bits box in here. But neither of these things change the fact that this box has a very good ratio of content to price, in comparison to other similarly priced products.
It’s all about perception. Sometimes, taking a step back and actually considering the whole picture rather than the facts presented tunnel-visioned through a wishlist can yield remarkable results.