Wednesday, June 13, 2007

REVIEW: The Battle for Armageddon campaign book

The Battle for Armageddon was the Black Library's first background book. It was written and compiled by Talima Fox. That is an important word because it informs the rest of this review.

The book covers three wars in five sections.

Section one explores Armageddon today. The second continent is broken down by territory - these were originally allocated to different parts of our real world in the worldwide campaign and posted up on the campaign website. These short but punchy descriptions provide good colour, give inspiration and background for player's games and campaigns. Although each territory is well realised this section doesn't allow you to gain any sort of overview of Armageddon. The maps are not well detailed and there are limited photographs.

Section two describes the Heroes of the Imperium on Armageddon. These personalities include Commissar Yarrick (the word Commissar is misspelt in the title on this page), Commander Dante and Admiral Parol. This section is one of the weakest with recycled or sub-par artwork, and thin and detail-free biographies.

We go back in time to look at the first Ork invasion in section three. Things pick up a bit here as a narrative thread is adhered to. The invasion is described in chronological order with lots of good colour pieces. The Path of the Sanctified Pilgrim is an extended article which conveys a lot of the feel of the 40k universe and Citizens of Armageddon Know Your Foe! is very funny. Safe to Eat? is similarly successful (Scabies Rat - it has a flavour that is hard to describe, but is generally considered to be better than standard issue rations). This is by far the longest section of the book.

Looping forward in time the fourth section is dedicated to the second Ork invasion. It switches focus from the land war to the conflict in space. Imperial and Ork vessels are described and we return to Armageddon with the Ork Roks. The Spotters Guide to Ork Vehicles feels a bit lightweight but the Hive Defence Pamphlet is fun in a nasty way. Ouch.

The final section, section five, goes back in time 500 years (still keeping up?) to the first war for Armageddon. This didn't involve Orks at all but was fought against Chaos. Most of the content here was inspired by the Chaos Attack expansion for the Battle for Armageddon boardgame. It has some decent first person narratives.

Remember that compiled word? Well the book feels like it is compiled. It is disjointed and patchy because it has been cobbled together from White Dwarf articles, board games, the Armageddon worldwide campaign website and a myriad other sources. It is still a worthwhile book, though. There are nuggets of background gold hidden away amongst these pages. I get the feeling that Games Workshop were unsure of what they wanted to achieve with this book other than draw together a lot of disparate articles and publish them all in one place. Allowances have to be made because it was the first, but the later books such as Xenology and The Sabbat Worlds Campaign are tighter and more polished.

Overall score 6/10.


All of my reviews end in a score out of ten for the product. The table below explains what that score means.

  • 10/10 Perfect, absolutely nothing better
  • 9/10 Excellent, highly recommended
  • 8/10 Very good, recommended
  • 7/10 Good
  • 6/10 Above average, some problems
  • 5/10 Average, some good points some bad points
  • 4/10 Below average, some redeeming features
  • 3/10 Poor, major flaws
  • 2/10 Very poor, avoid if possible
  • 1/10 Absolutely appalling

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