Only one week after the unveiling on Warhammer Day now follows the pre-order of Red Harvest, the new Warcry starter box with two brand new warbands, brand new terrain, and a new campaign book that includes the core rules as well. Games Workshop has kindly sent over this set for us to unbox so we can share our first impressions and show you the exact contents and sprues.
Warcry: Red Harvest is on preorder on November 6th, 2021, and goes on sale a week after. The RRP is £130 / 160€ / $210. The box is as big as the original Warcry starter set, and a little deeper than the Warcry: Catacombs box. The box is flimsy like the Warcry Catacombs set it’s a shame it’s not as sturdy as the first starter set.
In the box we find the 104-page Warcry: Red Harvest book, 48 battleplan cards, a 22″ × 30″ double-sided folding gameboard, tokens, 18 dice, a range ruler, 20 fighter cards, 2 ability cards as well as 23 Citadel Miniatures. The Darkoath Savagers Warbands includes 1 Slaughterborn, 1 God-speaker, 1 Wrathtouched, 3 Proven, 4 Gloryseekers, while the Tarantulos Brood comes with 1 Broodmaster, 2 Doomweavers, 7 Broodkin, 3 Spider Swarms. The Varanite Delve terrain is a giant Chaos mining site that fills the gaming board pretty densely.
This item was provided by Games Workshop. Thoughts and opinions are our own.
Let’s take a look at the miniatures first.
The Tarantulos Brood embodies a never before seen aspect of chaos, as they worship chaos in the form of a eight-legged spider, seeking for Varanite to aid their mutation into arachnids. This is evident in their equipment and culture. The fighters wear spider masks under their ragged hoods, with spider legs as headdresses. Arms and legs of their lean bodies are wrapped in spider threads, which also make up the loincloths, and as weapons they use pointed catch hooks. In addition to the three Spider Swarms, the warband has three fighter types: The Broodmaster as leader, the Doomweaver as experienced fighters, of which two are included, and the Broodkin, of which there are seven.
With 10 fighters and 3 spider swarms the two medium sized sprues are packed. As with the other warbands, there are some weapon and head options, but the basic poses cannot be changed. With the dynamic poses, well struck proportions and unique design, the Tarantulos Brood together with the Corvus Cabal are among the best looking warbands, at least in our opinion.
The Darkoath Savagers are the second new warband, although we have seen two Darkoath characters and a warband for Warhammer Underworlds before. The design is continued here 1:1, and the Darkoath are the closest thing to the classic Chaos Marauders. The Darkoath worship Chaos in its undivided form. Unlike the Spire Tyrants, however, they do not display Chaos symbols, but wear runes and animal skulls and represent the typical “Conan the Barbarian” look.
The Savagers have five fighter types: Besides the muscle-bound Slaughterborn, there is the fanatical Wrathtouched, 3 Proven as elite fighters, and 4 Gloryseekers. The fifth type is the God-speaker in the form of an old witch who has gouged out her eyes. Overall the warband has a good mix of female and male fighters, all pretty buff. The poses are well-executed, and the facial sculpts are very solid in real life, even if some look a bit off in the studio painted models.
As with all warcry warbands, there are some alternative weapon options on the two medium sprues, as well as alternate heads, but the poses are fixed. The weapon options do not include the standard weapons of the old Chaos Marauders. Perhaps there will be an extra box for new Chaos Marauders, but it is more likely that the unit entry will be discontinued with the next Slaves to Darkness book and replaced with the Darkoath Savagers.
The cards above show the different build options available. Most of the fighters have dual-build options. Warscrolls for the Tarantulos Brood and Darkoath Savagers can already be downloaded here.
The first picture shows two of the new fighters alongside some previous Cultist models on 28mm bases. The middle picture shows a random assortment. I think it’s interesting to see how restrained the Darkoath Savage is. It would have been easy to make him overly muscled like the Bloodbound. The third picture includes my only other Darkoath model, the War Queen as well as some of the new Stormcast Eternal models. I think the new models scale great with the previous Cultists but when placed with other Age of Sigmar minis they feel ever so slightly small. That’s maybe more of a content on the Stormcast being huge. Overall though the models are fantastic.
Board and Terrain
The board is made of thick cardboard and unfolds to 22″ x 30″. Both sides feature a dark volcanic rock and lava flows design. The large lava pools on the front also have a gameplay effect.
One of the highlights is definitely the new terrain. The Varanite Delve comes on 7 large size sprues (two of which are included twice) and depicts an abandoned mine that excavates precious Varanite. There are platforms, machinery, sluices, barricades, and remains of Sigmarite buildings in the same style as the buildings from the original Warcry Starter box (available individually as Azyrite Ruins by now). 4 of the sprues are new, the sprue frame with the barricades and planks was already included in the old starter box.
When the whole terrain is assembled, the game board is more than densely filled. The platforms make for a three-dimensional game experience and the industrial theme in the chaos design is something we haven’t seen before. The Sigmarite ruins allow the terrain from the Starter Box and Catacombs to complement each other perfectly, but personally, we would have liked it better if chaos and order had not been mixed and if the ruins had also been kept in the chaos style (or even chaos dwarf style). But that is certainly a matter of taste.
Rulebook & Battleplan Cards
The Red Harvest rulebook is a softcover book with 104 pages. It contains about 30 pages of background and miniature showcases, special rules for the Varanite Delve setting, a campaign section for both new warbands as well as branching quests for all four Grand Alliances, and the core rules. Branching Quests are narrative campaigns but don’t have fixed Convergences. After Convergence 1 you get to choose the next Convergence such as 2A, 2B or 2C, then after one of those Convergences you choose again. It reminds me of those choose your adventure books by Ian Livinstone.
The Red Harvest book only contains only the Narrative Play rules, the Open Play and Matched Play rules are missing. This is an annoying omission, as you have to buy the Core Book separately for these rules. Unfortunately, this is one of the typical commercially driven decisions by Games Workshop for the sake of selling you another £25 book, as there would certainly have been space for 10 to 15 extra pages if they wanted to.
As in the Starter Set, Battleplan Cards are included for the Varainite Delve game board, 48 in total, from which you can draw a random scenario.
All in all we are glad that Red Harvest has not yet ushered in a new edition of Warcry and that the core rules have remained the same. Looking at the new editions of Warhammer 40,000, Age of Sigmar and Kill Team, rule sets seem to be getting more and more complex, and we like that Warcry remains one of the leaner rulesets in their catalogue of games.
The £130 / 160€ / $210 price is again an increase on Warcry Catacombs’ £125 and the £100 for the Starter Set. We suppose it’s the way of things that products regularly get more expensive, but at least the box is significantly more filled than Warcry: Catacombs and as thick as the Starter Box.
Like many of the big boxes, Red Harvest is only available while stocks last. You can pre-order the box at a discount from our affiliate partners if you’re quick, otherwise, Games Workshop promises to produce a box “made to order” for you if you pre-order this weekend and the initial print run sells out. It is difficult for us to estimate how high the demand will be. Some boxes like the army boxes for Beast Snaggaz and Black Templars sold out within hours, but boxes like Warcry: Catacombs and Dominion are still available, at many retailers also with significant discounts.