State of the Underhive 2018

FerociousBeast

Gang Champion
Jun 1, 2015
490
1,139
123
Verona, VA
It seems a good moment now, with the impending end of the year and this latest iteration of Necromunda more or less finally "done," to pause and reflect on the game itself and how we view it today. With the compendiums out and in people's hands, we've got a pretty good idea of what the game is and what it's going to be for at least the next year. So, what are your thoughts on N17/N18?

I'm not so much interested in the health of the business ("GW is going to pull the plug because people aren't buying the kits??!!1!?"). Rather, does the game work? Do people enjoy playing it? Does it hold up to the nostalgia? Do you have any observations, ruminations, condemnations to offer from your experience with the game over the past year? What role, if any, should the player community have going forward?

I should add I'm thinking mostly of campaign play for Necromunda. However, if you've got thoughts on skirmish, or the minis, or the fluff, or whatever, let's have 'em.

I also REALLY don't want this to be another Sump thread. Or Spire thread, for that matter. Usually in the Sump, people (like myself) get on to bitch and moan about very specific things we don't like. I'd like this thread to look at things from a higher level than that and to stay constructive.

(In that spirit, a weird idea I just had... it might be helpful if you, gentle reader, were to post your general observations on the game first before reading other posts and being influenced by them.)

So have at it, Yaks. How's the game doing, what does it do well, what does it do poorly, what, if anything, does it need?
 

Paupoi

Gang Champion
Jul 6, 2013
330
789
128
Barcelona, Sabadell
I expect new Necromunda plastics every 6 months instead of 3. Peppered with brutes and hired guns and pets every 3 months or so. An updated dominion campaign before 2020, with outlanderish rules and no more than 2 outlander gangs by this time next year.
I expect lots of crying about the end of Necromunda because of this slow down. Also about how the outlander gangs will be reimagined.
 
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Aulenback

Gang Hero
Mar 29, 2016
1,043
1,955
128
Halifax, NS, Canada
Thus far, the new toy soldiers (well, toy gangsters and civvies, I suppose) are lovely, and whether the rules hold together or not is less important to me than the excuse to convince GW to publish a whole wealth of new Necromunda sculpts. Cheers! And here is a toast to hopefully many more.
 
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Paupoi

Gang Champion
Jul 6, 2013
330
789
128
Barcelona, Sabadell
Apparently I cannot read and thought this thread was about the future of the game.
N18 is in a pretty good shape right now, and way better than it was a few years ago, we've got plenty of new sculpts, a workable campaign system and more stuff to come.
The bad part is that people doesn't seem to care much for the game as of now, the way they handled the new game was abysmal and backfired into poor interest which makes finding new players hard around here at least.
GW doesn't really seem to spend much in ads for Necromunda either so it's gonna play a long game and hope the videogame gives the tabletop a nice push in interest and sales.
 
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Thorgor

Of The YAQ
Oct 12, 2015
3,304
7,138
138
35
Issy-les-Moulineaux 92130 France
Neomunda is in a much better place now that it was before the November 2018 releases.

The rules are now in an ok-ish state, bordering on good. For the most part, they work, but there are still a few inconsistencies that are quite disappointing to find in a compendium. However, if I'm completely honest, most of the questions we have are about specific traits/weapons/wargear/skills and most players may never run into them. It's a huge improvement compared to the previous books, that's for sure.
They are also way easier to use and learn. You now only need 2 books (that are really one huge book cut into two smaller ones for convenience) and a single FAQ pdf and you are good to go. Layout is mostly logical, all weapon profiles are in one place, etc. A few additional rules (Chaos cults, Genestealer cults and soon Badzone Delta-7 special tiles) are available as free pdf download, but that's manageable and you only need them if you play the corresponding gangs or with the special tiles.

All the House gangs of old are now accounted for. Some have been quite heavily redesigned and may be a hit-or-miss depending on the player. In my opinion:
  • Escher: mostly faithful to the original ones and almost as good (but the old Escher are the best miniatures ever made so...)
  • Goliath: way better than the original ones. I feel like the sprue don't have enough options and gangs look a bit samey though
  • Orlock: about as good as the original ones. I'm mostly neutral to them as I was to the old ones
  • Van Saar: way better than the original ones. A bit to clean and high-tech for the Underhive out-of-the-box though.
  • Cawdor: never cared for the orignal ones, don't care much for the new ones either. They have changed quite a bit
  • Delaque: I love the redesign (concept arts and most illustrations) but loath the actual miniatures. Like for Cawdor, I was not a fan of the original ones either
I still think that each gang only having one distinct sprue is a huge missed opportunity, and I'm definitely not sold on resin weapon upgrades as a solution to this problem (though I'm not bothered by hired guns, brutes and pets being resin only). This and the lack of specific Juve minis are my only 2 real issues with the miniatures. Overall, they are great and it's very nice to have necromunda plastic kits at all.

With 8 and a half gangs being available (Venators need an update), I think the game is diverse enough, but balance seems to be a problem (with the main culprit being Overseer coupled with group activations).

What I think GW ought to do now:
  • update the FAQ. There are still a lot of errata needed on top of the 3 they detected themselves
  • update the necromunda.com official site. The cults pdf should be there. The reference sheet is obsolete and should be updated. The Gangs of legend pdf should be removed. (They have updated the link to the FAQ though)
  • update both cults pdf to N18 standards
  • make a free pdf for N18 Venators
  • make a free pdf for Badzone Delta-7 tiles
  • finally release resin minis for the missing Brutes, Pets, etc.
  • make some juves minis!
  • make some hanger-ons minis
What I think GW should absolutely not do:
  • Anything resembling a Gang War book ever again
As for 2019 releases, we know that we will continue to get quarterly (plastic?) releases, but they won't all be new gangs. We also know that Outlanders gangs (and Enforcers) are coming, but they won't all be released in 2019. My guess is that guilds will debut this year.
 
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Daeron

Juve
Mar 10, 2014
15
13
13
38
Sofia, Bulgaria
I can add a clarification on the Venators - there are no plans for an update at the moment. I asked via the FAQ e-mail what are their intentions on Venators, and how are they supposed to be played in a Dominion campaign.

The answer was that the gang was written in line with Gang War 3 and the Dominion campaign, and there is no need to update them. (Also, if the leader of a Venators gang has a House Legacy, we must treat the gang as being of that house for the purposes of Enhanced Boons).

Still, a free pdf would be nice.
 
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Nov 22, 2018
23
18
28
La Crosse WI
I'm not precisely the audience you're looking for - new Kill Team was my first 40k experience on the table. And I found Necromunda about a month ago, and I've played 2 games against another human, and 2 against myself.

I'm super excited. I am all in on Necromunda. I don't know the history, I don't know the changes. I know that this is a game that hits all my requirements. I've been reading rules and consuming content, and I see a few flaws, but they pale in comparison to the fun and fluff in the game.

My local meta is me and the guy that taught me. But we have 10+ people who own gangs, so I have the potential to grow if I can get people motivated. But I would be happy to play as much Necromunda as I can.
 

almic85

Gang Hero
Oct 30, 2014
844
1,333
113
Palmerston, ACT, Australia
Without looking at anyone elses responses so far I think N18 is in a pretty good position for people to pick up and play and for the community to grow as a result.

That said I didn't think the N17 and Gang War books were terribly bad (a little long winded) as it allowed me to establish a small Necromunda gaming group in my area that wouldn't have existed otherwise.

There are still a few issues and inconsistencies with the latest release of the rules and there is a bit of unlearning and relearning to be done for those of us that have been playing for the last year, but all in all the new rules are fairly tight and consistent and all in one (well two) place that is easy to reference.

Moving into next year it would be good to get another update of the FAQ in 2-3 months that picks up and clarifies any inconsistencies just to get the game in a "final position". I think they rushed the new FAQ out to stop the perceived outcry from those who had bought the box and all the Gang War supplements (which is a good reason to rush it out).

It would also be good to see them update their website downloadable items to line up with the information in the new rulebooks. There's no good reason why they can't make the Gang Leader Accessory pack quick reference and roster pad available as a downloadable PDF. I think as people realise that it is a good investment (and shiny, so shiny) it will sell better and will generate good will with the community. They could also add the GSC and Chaos Cult rules to the website in a single place (instead of needing to search through Warhammer Community posts).

Would also be good to see the cards in the main box set come out as a separate product (similar to what they did with Shadespire) and would let people all the cards in the game without having to buy the big box and the rulebooks.

As for new rules and models I am not really holding my breath for 2019. I would hope that they crack on with releasing models for all of the house pets, brutes and gang weapon packs for the most part in 2019 and then move into 2020 with a properly written supplement that introduces 6 new factions to play with a simultaneous release of 2 factions, then quarterly release of the next 4 factions.

That should give them 12 good months to plan out the factions, write the rules well, design and manufacture the models and get them into stores ready for purchase.
 
Jan 30, 2015
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My 2 creds on the current state of Necromunda.
Its improving. I never had any real issues with the gang war books. Mostly becouse my gaming group agreed on whats "canon" rules and whats not.
The core mechanics are solid. The only thing I really missed was an advanced campain mode and with the new update we have it.

So I feel n18 is in a good spot and will hopefully go on to be even better.
 
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Jun 15, 2014
227
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Almeria, Spain
I think the core ruleset is now in an acceptable level. Still some unsolved grey areas but now is something a regular group can agree on how to read the rules.

For me the issue still unsolved is the overall balance. Mostly in weapon costs and initial availability, an excess of special/heavy weapons and the Tactical cards that some of them probably ruin the fun very easily.
 
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FerociousBeast

Gang Champion
Jun 1, 2015
490
1,139
123
Verona, VA
My own thoughts on N18 are these.

I think the core rules are, for the most part, fine, and make for an enjoyable skirmish game. I've played many games now and, while it does get tedious having to explain how everything works all the time (for whatever reason, I'm the only one who ever reads rulebooks and therefore A) have to explain things all the time to the extent that I'm almost a Dungeon Master for all games, even board games like Catan and Risk, and B) as a consequence also usually win because I understand the tactics and exploits best :)).

So, point #1: Necromunda scenarios are fun to play, and if you don't take things too seriously, not too difficult to sort out rule ambiguities.

However, I think the campaign system is still rubbish. Turf War had serious problems, but Dominion, while tighter, is poorly conceived for an ongoing campaign system. Take a look at @Stubram and @Domino's The Warlords campaign. This is how Necromunda campaigns are meant to be played. Or at least, how they should be able to be played. One caveat I have to make to my comments here is that I haven't participated in a campaign in N17 or N18 yet. However, I don't think that means that I'm not allowed to have an opinion on it, because I've read both campaign systems and I don't want to start either, for different reasons. A campaign boiled down to its essence should just be linked scenarios. ORB/NCE did that. There were games you played, and at the end there were things you did like roll for injuries, visit the trading post, recruit more gangers. But the campaign stuff was just stuff you did at the beginning or end of what were otherwise just skirmish games. Now, you could argue that Dominion and Turf War can be described the same way, but there are additional requirements. You have to have a group of dedicated gamers to play with (I don't), you have to set aside regular gaming time for it (regular gaming time?? Impossible with my crazy life right now!), you have to track more than just your gang (Territories being the focus in Dominion, and both require tracking cycles), you have to apply some strategic thinking, it's very difficult to bring new players into ongoing campaigns.

Now, I actually like all of these things. I'd love to have a dedicated gaming group and have dedicated gaming time, and if I did I'd love to try out a more structured and strategic campaign system. But I don't, so I don't even try to start either kind of campaign. Since N18 doesn't provide a way to play a campaign the only way I'm able to, without hacking it and coming up with additional house rules, it's not flexible enough.

So, my point #2 is this: Necromunda campaigns are a far cry from the beautiful simplicity of ORB/NCE campaigns. And, I would suspect with all the stiff competition that N18 has today on the board and tabletop gaming front, very few successful N18 campaigns are in reality run.

The final point I want to make is one on the fluff. We all play the game according to the fluff in our own heads, so this is my least important point. But the focus on Hive City-sponsored gangs duking it out in proxy wars in the Underhive really messes with what made Necromunda special back in the day. Yes, Andy Hoare loves to point out that this is not original to N17, that it is bringing to the fore fluff from Necromunda's grandpappy Confrontation. OK, fine. However, who played Confrontation? I'm sure there's a couple among the greybeards on this forum, but Necromunda is only on the map because of the ORB and subsequent versions. Confrontation wasn't played by many people, it didn't capture people's imaginations, it wasn't successful. Necromunda was.

And what was Necromunda? It was about desperate low-lifes struggling desperately to stake a claim on the Underhive's dwindling resources so that they wouldn't starve to death or be eaten by some narsty gribbly or scavvy. It was anarchic, chaotic, hilarious, punk to the hilt. Now the denizens of the Underhive are youths from Hive City learning the ropes and doing a little rite-of-passage vacation in the Underhive. Different, and people can honestly disagree on which is better, but it makes me sad.

However, I think there's room in the new game for both the current, House-sponsored gangs, and the old school Underhive rabble gangs. The Venator gang provides a decent blueprint that could be revised and expanded upon to allow Underhive gangs to reenter the game, with fewer toys, no free armor, and maybe a new, Underhive-only skill tree. That's a project I'm hoping to work on in the hopefully not too distant future if I ever get a chance.

Point #3, therefore, is this. The tone in N17 is different than ORB/NCE. Some like it better, some like myself like it less, but there's room for both with a little community modification.

And that really kind of leads me to my final, summary point. Necromunda is fun to play, but the campaign and fluff is somewhat lacking. However, both could be improved with another community project.
 

Killer Shrike

Ganger
Honored Tribesman
Apr 13, 2016
75
172
113
San Diego
www.killershrike.com
I think Necromunda is overall on pretty solid ground currently, despite GW's bungling of the releases. I can only imagine how much more popular it might have been if they had managed a halfway competent product release strategy...

I do have some balance issues here and there with the rules as written, and dislike certain elements that have been added over the last year, but nothing catastrophic.

The main reservation I have that is more difficult to just roll with is that many of the scenario write ups are not safe at all speeds.

In particular the core engine of the game is strong (thanks 40k 2e plus a couple decades of fine tuning!), and offers a good framework for modding / homebrewing.
 

Galtarr

Gang Champion
Mar 1, 2017
281
429
83
I'm optimistic. N17 was playable (once arbitrated) and I had a blast in our campaign. However, despite rules issues my biggest problem was the campaign rules. If you weren't in the top half you could keep getting kerb-stomped which just isn't fun.

Whilst I accept the new rules still have some inconsistencies. Generally seem to be obvious cut and paste - ohh look they forgot to update X, where its fairly easyeto decide aaway to resolve. So I'm hopeful more of our time can be spent on adding flavour and balance to campaigns rather than how to fight.

Finished one campaign and looking at another a few months into next year. But better still locally for everyone talking of dropping out there's another prepared to start (now there's a compendium & all gangs). So locally there's interest to play.
Though I think we will need to start over.
People with weakest gangs at end of campaign are most likely to quit. Peeps want to try alternate gangs mostly Delaque & Cults. Throw in some new starters and we should probably all restart.
Also potential interest in another circle of friends but that's more likely to be skirmish based to begin with at least .

GW really need to release the pets & brutes already announced. But at least that's something to look forward to.
The compendium if nothing else that they are still improving it and still working on it.

I'm hopeful more content & plastic will come next year but wouldn't be surprised if pace slowed. From what I've read I wouldn't be surprised if it wasn't outlanders as before. I mean they may do some of the gangs but not all I mean they've mentioned enforcers, guilds, brats, secundus... Etc.. I think it's more likely to be new gang/content concepts they want rather than feeling obliged to redo existing. For better or worse.

But that they've got ideas&passion is better than an uninspired rehash surely. Unless those ideas suck I guess.
 

MedMos

Gang Hero
Yak Comp 3rd Place
Nov 10, 2014
713
1,636
113
Møn, Denmark
I also think outlanders are very doubtful, seeing how GW moved the fight more uphive than sumpward with n17.
 

Kitcar

Gang Hero
Jan 3, 2017
1,536
1,246
128
St. Louis, Illinois, USA
However, I think there's room in the new game for both the current, House-sponsored gangs, and the old school Underhive rabble gangs.
I take the approach that the gangs are still scrapping scum in the hive rather than uphive fluff made when it is raining and so is weeping. It is obvious that the N18 rulebooks have another error, just not in the game mechanics this time, but in the fluff. Huh. :D
 

Wulfyn

Juve
Sep 17, 2017
11
56
13
Ware, UK
Core rule wise I really like the new version of the game. The alternating activations just keeps both players involved throughout each turn. There is still some weirdness in the rules but the new rulebook has helped to clarify a lot of those. It suffered from the early rush, but even things like not splitting out the rules into basic and advanced anymore is a huge step forward.

I like the new weapon and wargear table layouts. When it was first released I tried to create a database of everything and quickly realised I needed one tab for weapons and one tab for ammo that went in those weapons, and the new book las it out far more like that (look at the combi weapon options as an example). However I am still very annoyed by the lack of 'reality' in the cost / value of the weapons. Simply put I think that the cred cost of the weapon should be just as much about the economics of the underhive as a way of rating gang effectiveness, and this means that freely available and common weapons (like a 2 handed rusty pipe) should have a low cost, and therefore may need nerfing in the rules. 25 credits gets you a chainsword (an elite weapon used by the Emperor's finest) or an axe with a long handle. Breaks immersion.

There was something in the lore as well that I didn't like that I couldn't put my finger on until I watched The Bard's N17 cracking unboxing, and he pointed it out to me. N17 talks too much from a 40k top-down perspective and not enough from the bottom-up word-on-the-street perspective. We read about the leaders of the great houses, and the governor of the spire, and all these millions of other things that your typical gang-banger just would not be concerned about. I want stories of how the trading hubs work, of the back alley docs, of the general day workers and the bars they frequent and how the gangs live through and around them. I think N17 has lost a little bit of the soul of the original, especially in contrast to all the great work that went into NCE.

But - I am optimistic for the future. It would be good to see some other houses (perhaps minor houses that are a bit more flexible?). It would be good to see more guilder interaction. One area that has worked are the brutes and hangers on which adds a great deal of richness to a gang - as well as their pets of course.

People with weakest gangs at end of campaign are most likely to quit. Peeps want to try alternate gangs mostly Delaque & Cults. Throw in some new starters and we should probably all restart.
I looked at this at the end of my last campaign. I wanted to give some rewards to the people that had played previously but without screwing over the newer players. I didn't want to do a hard reset as that felt like people would lose something that they loved. But I also needed to make sure those people had opponents because if everyone else quit they'd still lose their gang through inactivity.

In the end I came up with a needlessly convoluted system (because hey if I'm gonna arbitrate I may as well have some fun with it!). The idea was that the gang rating would be cut to 1/3rd it's final value over 1000 (so 1900 -> 1300). Then they had to cut their roster down following a few rules. For example they could ditch their leader and nominate a champion as the new leader. They had to keep one champion and had to cut one champion. They had to keep at least 3 gangers, but could only keep one specialist. Once they worked out who they were keeping they could then re-purchase the remaining fighters up to the new gang rating. The idea was to keep the feel of the old gang (by letting them roll over their favourite fighters), but forcing them to take some drastic cuts to keep it fair. It also meant that if you had a weak gang you really didn't like you might as well roll it over and keep a small rating benefit and re-purchase almost everything - only if you had a terrible leader and no champions you wanted to keep would it make sense to start fresh, and fluff wise that seemed to fit the gang just disbanding through lack of leadership.

Full rules I made are here (feel free to make suggestions, it's very raw):

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1E98a_Un6nEUdWLFzbz1Q2pjZML7gL6OR2R_EI8FP6o8/edit?usp=sharing
 

Benoksen

Ganger
Mar 15, 2016
181
258
73
47
Oslo
I think the state of the Underhive is in a much better contidion with the release of N18. Radically so, even. The New Munda core game was good to begin with - but was a mess to play with endless flicking and inconcistencies appaering all the time. The new books has sorted out most of the issues with the gameplay itself, it seems. N18 is a quite solid publication and things are fineally starting go get somewhat coherent. Said shortly, I think it now makes a lot more sense to start working on the bigger issues with the game, or create new advanced optional rules.

There are still a few weaknesses in the core rules that is holding the game back. These are simple fixes by themselves, but the point is to have a system that is as ready to go as possible when meeting new players. My biggest concerns with the main game are:
- The availbility of special weapons for regular gangers opens for exploitation -or min-maxing- that really doesn't improve the game. Also, I think access to powerfull weapons and equipment grenerally is too easy. This is a bit of a taste matter, but also has to do with how campaigns run. In long term campaigns powerfull items are a lot more interesting if they are not all around.
- The concept of "Gangers love their guns and will never get rid of them" is a hard one to swollow. Again, especially in longer camapign perspective. Narratively it makes no sense that gangers will not get as good guns as they can get their hands on. Also carefully arming a gang with it's hard earned resources as it developes was an intruiging game element in Oldamunda.
- Tactic Cards can certainly bring flavour and unpredictabilty to the game, but there are a lot of problems using them as the rules currently are written.
- GW's cost formula is causing quite a bit of disturbance, and there are some serious balancing issues to be solved. However, N18 has cleaned up a lot.

What I really miss is a better basic campaign system, and discussion about how to find one. It's good that N18 only focuses on one of the previous campaign models, but Dominion is a campaign for a defined period of time, and GW has not come with either underdog rules or other good mechanics for an open, ongoing campaign. By this I mean a system that work for both tight gaming groups and unorganized play, where it makes sense two play two times a year with an old veteran gang, against gangs that are played weekly. Within certain limits this was no problem before, as the XP and gang development was more of a driving force in the original Munda. The previous XP-underdog bonus mitigated balance issues far better than anuthing this in New-Munda.

I would happily follow and contribute to a community project to find some more long term mechanics for the game. Maybe something like "Deep Hive" rules could be created with out stepping on copyright toes? For a place where gangs do not consist of young uphivers fighting proxy house wars. Where all resources are scace and there is no future promise. Where armour and weapons come hard, and gangers get hardened by being stepped on by others, not by going to the gunshop.

Anyway, I've started on a sketch I'm gonna try with my regular adversary over X-mas. For the gameshop where we are a small handfull that try to get Munda going, I guess RAW is the way to go. Would love to see more discussions on campaign issues. My sketch so far in the thread below:

https://yaktribe.games/community/threads/alternative-campaign-and-advancement.8254/
 
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FerociousBeast

Gang Champion
Jun 1, 2015
490
1,139
123
Verona, VA
@Benoksen, I think you and I are thinking similarly. I also miss the "Underhive rabble" aspect of ORB, the lack of a more casual, ongoing campaign, and dislike the high tech wargear and weapons. I've also begun my own campaign rules, tentatively called "Necromunda: Badlands" to provide a more open campaign, more retro wargear, gang initiation, and trading post options, and an "Underhiver" gang inspired by the Venator gang to give gamers the option of a retro, NCE-style gang.
 

Benoksen

Ganger
Mar 15, 2016
181
258
73
47
Oslo
@FerociousBeast I'm good to go, and I think things are getting ready to be fixed now...
Do you have any concrete ideas how to do it? By that I mean, how to do a New Munda Underhive underground project? (Hmm, there's certainly some poetry to that).
 
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