Category: Warhammer

Betrayal at Calth: on the cheap, or “how 40k is worth more than gold”

I’ve not really been that interested in 40k as a game, I’ve always had an appreciation for the lore and have put together some 40k stuff in the past, but the game itself was never much interest to me, I always preferred Fantasy and even then I got bored of that after a few years. Some of the more recent miniatures for me have fallen into two camps, 1. Utter garbage (space chariot) and 2. Nice but eye-wateringly expensive.

So when they announced the Horus Heresy game, I was impressed and interested, but ultimatley, fell into the second camp, nearly £100 for a board game for me was too much, given I have no interest in playing 30k, who the game is clearly aimed at. That being said, congratulations to Games Workshop on realising another license to print money ala Space Hulk.

Then, last week, after the game had been released, one of the guys on the Corehammer Facebook group mentioned that the boards, rules and dice were available on ebay for a tenner. So, with a bit of cash in my paypal account I decided I would pick up the rules/boards and then get some cheap marines / chaos marines to play the game.

So, I guess what we have here is, how cheaply can you play Betrayal at Calth?

All the minatures I amassed "on the cheap"

All the minatures I amassed “on the cheap”

  • Boards / Rules / Cards / Dice – £9.99 – Ebay
  • Blood Angels Marines – Squad of 10 – Donation
  • Dark Angels Marines – 5 Terminators – Ebay – £8
  • Blood Angels – Terminator Captain – £11
  • Chaos Space Marines – Squad of 10 – Wargaming Trading – £10
  • Chaos Space marines  – 5 in bits – Donation
  • Chaos Space Marines – 5 on sprue – Ebay – £10
  • Chaos Space Marines – Chosen / Lord from Dark Vengeance Set – Ebay – £2
  • Chaos Space Marines – Hellbrute – £8
  • Bitzbox order – £10

Total Spent: £68.99

So, given that the boxed game is £85 at Element Games, probably not worth it considering I needed two donations worth to keep it cheap. THAT BEING SAID, I bought all this stuff in one go, it might be better for a gamer looking for a cheap game to get 2 squads of marines and the boards etc for £30 and try the game before they commit.

Its worth noting that all this stuff was either undercoated or unpainted, buying pre-mainted miniatures could have gotten me some stuff a bit cheaper. But I like doing my own paint jobs. There was also a lot more out there for buying armies in bulk but people don’t like to split, so i’d have to spend more and then re-sell the stuff I didn’t need. But at the same time, I also needed to make a bitz order to get a few things like a Chaos Marine heavy bolter and Flamer to convert the Dark Angels terminator into a flamer guy.

So, how does the game play?


The rules are very simple however there was still some badly worded rules and a few issues cropped up, we played the first scenario wrong as we were not correctly resolving the defence rolls properly, so it meant marines were dying VERY easily, however both players did manage to get a couple of marines through the blast door but it got one sided very quickly due to iniative rolls. The second scenario was a lot better however it did seem like there wasn’t a whole lot of time for the actual game, you effectively get 4 or 5 turns to move the Captain to a computer and switch it on, however the first 2 turns were spent mostly running into position.


The command cards are a nice touch, and these are essentially a replacement for “unit” special rules, however there are so many in comparison to how many you get during a game that it was hard to base any real tactics around them. That being said, I can see how lots of different cards would give you more re-play options given that there are only 6 missions.

The other bug bear is due to a lack of points, you are restricted in what you take for the mission, after two games, I would find myself thinking a better force would be say 2 terminators and 6 tactical marines, but as there are no points, it upsets any potential game balance. So if Games Workshop were going to look to expand this, this is the first avenue I would look at, the other thing is that whilst I do like the command cards, I think another option would be a similar system to the Saga Dice system, so you have a vast range of special rules, but it is more random as to which ones “switch on” at a given turn.


So, my thoughts. there are two ways to “buy” this game, the first is to walk into a retailer and drop £100 / £85 for the game in its intended form, and the other is to buy the game components from ebay for a tenner and use your own marines. It should seem obvious from above that its not really possible to buy 40k marines cheap enough to warrant building this game from scratch, so this avenue should be avoided unless you have an interest in going into 40k / 30k in the near future (which I don’t). As an introduction to the 30k world, this is a great value box set, however as a standalone board game, it suffers in comparison to say, Imperial Assault (which I found it to be very similar to, in terms of attack and defence dice).

Thanks for reading.


New Year, New Blog – 2013 Looking forwards

Welcome to the 2013 version of Mostly Apocalyptic, I’ve decided to move away from Blogspot and host my own WordPress version instead.  I’m not 100% sure whether i’ll be migrating content to the new version, I will see how it goes first.

I’d like to start the blog off by thinking about 2012 and how my wargaming hobby has evolved and adapted from the start of the year.

2012 – Warhammer

At the end of 2012, I have played in 10 Ranked Events in the UK, and have climbed to the dizzying heights of 149, considering 2 of my 4 scoring events are 1 day events, I think thats pretty good. My highest ever finish was at Call to War (ETC comp) where I placed 29th/100 but since then I failed to make any other decent scoring events.

As previously mentioned, I have generally become disillusioned with Warhammer which I think is down to the combination of a few things, firstly, our regular curry/garage gaming group has pretty much disbanded, the days of curry / gaming in flats/basements are long gone, and organising people to have an evening round is a lot harder these days, for most of 2012 my regular gaming was done at Northern Warlords or Northwest Gaming Centre and pretty much all of those games were geared either towards standard SCGT style tournament lists or practising for a specific tournament.

On top of the above, the recent releases of new army books have created what I believe is now the 8th edition meta-shift to monstrous mash, there are now too many no-brainer choices for a lot of newer armies as monstrous infantry/beasts/cavalry have become the mainstay of most builds, granted my Daemon army has the tools to deal with this meta shift but it still doesn’t make it any less boring.

I have thought more about a new army to break the Warhammer funk, however the disappointing reality is that a new Warhammer army is such a large financial investment these days and I am frankly more enthusiastic about spending my money elsewhere, what with the new baby bringing limited finances I am not sure I would enjoying dropping £200/300 minimum on a new force.

2012  – Magic: The Gathering

With the release of M13 and Return to Ravnica this year I was able to make both the pre-releases, also at the NWGC and NW clubs more people have begun to play magic on a casual basis. There was a trial period of drafting at the NWGC but at the time of writing it seems this has died / is on its way out due to lack of regular local interest, fortunatley Fanboy3 in Manchester is still doing regular sunday night drafts.

2012 – X-wing and other Fringe Games

The end of 2012 saw X-wing begin to take off on twitter / blogs / forums, this game is gathering momentum and is selling out in many online stores, December saw the first X-wing tournament held at the NWGC with 8 players. So far I’ve only been playing x-wing at home with the wife before our baby was born but hopefully as the nights calm down we may get some more gaming in.

Looking Fowards to 2013

So far, it seems the first half of 2013 is going to be limited in my free time, and so with that in mind, I want to make the best use of it possible.  I am not keen on spending weekends / evenings playing games I do not fully enjoy, so for the time being Warhammer fantasy is off the table. I am not rage-quitting or selling my daemons, especially as it is rumoured they are to receive an update early 2013. I will see how I feel about the hobby then (worst comes to worst it could be a good time to sell the army).

So my plans for 2013 are currently falling into 3 categories, games I want to play in the year, Shops/Stores I want to support and Events I want to run.

2013 in Gaming – Magic: The Gathering

Whilst I will continue to attend pre-releases and drafts for new sets, I also want to make the jump to FNM and building standard decks, I have no interest in competitive modern. I’ve made a couple of decks which i’ll post / discuss decklists for before I venture out to FNM for the first time, my friend Sam has been once and given me a heads-up on the competitiveness of the decks (i.e very) and standard seems to have taken off at the NWGC.

2013 in Gaming – Flames of War

I think 2013 is going to see my main game become Flames of War, the NWGC has achieve a regular gaming group of 6-8 semi-competitive players. I have played so far 1 tournament and enjoyed it more than any Warhammer tournament in the last 6 months.

My plans for 2013 so far army/hobby wise are a 1750pts Kampfgruppe Bake force, a Canadian Armoured Squadron and US parachute Rifle Company to make full use of the Open Fire Box set. More on these later.

2013 – The future – Events

I would like to try my hand at running events in 2013, both for X-wing and Flames of War, I can’t imagine I will begin to do this until early spring / summer, but we shall see.  I will post more on this soon.

Thats all my brain can deal with for the time being, but I will close by saying i’m also thinking about having other writers contribute to the blog, so if you’re interested in writing about FoW, Magic, Warhammer, X-wing or anything else then get in touch.