Necromunda Ash Wastes

Review

Warhammer Necromunda Ash Wastes Review

April 30, 2022

By: Giaco Furino

 
 

You ain't thrilled at the prospect of making a fuel run on the Storm Road, but you're just a Juve in the Orlock Gang, so best to keep your mouth shut. As the engines of the Quad Bike rumble and spit black clouds of exhaust, you tighten your goggles and grit your teeth. Like a bolter round, you're off, scanning the horizon with your Harpoon gun as the driver by your feet navigates the bumps and potholes of the road. All looks clear (or, as clear as it can look in the Ash Wastes) until you see a billowing cloud of dust to your right. Nomads, a whole gang of them, come tearing toward you on giant, galloping bugs. The low visibility doesn't seem to bother them at all, as their guns find their mark time and again, destroying Quad Bikes all around you and dropping Gangers on foot left and right. Well, on the plus side, if you can survive this scrap maybe you just might get a promotion. This is the world of Warhammer Necromunda Ash Wastes, the brand new big box release for the cult-favorite skirmish game Necromunda, produced by Games Workshop. GW sent us a review copy to dive into, so let's see what dust we can kick up in our official review.

What's Included In Necromunda Ash Wastes?

Full box components for Necromunda Ash Wastes. Image: Games Workshop
Full box components for Necromunda Ash Wastes. Image: Games Workshop

Necromunda Ash Wastes is a huge new box set for the skirmish game, and it includes everything you need to jump into a game of Necromunda. Included in the box is:

 

  • 10x Orlock Gang Miniatures
  • 2x Orlock Gang Outrider Quads
  • 10x Ash Waste Nomads
  • 4x Dustback Helamite Riders
  • A Hardcover copy of the rules (including new rules for the Ash Wastes and vehicular combat)
  • A full set of new modular terrain, including 4 large Habs, 2 smaller platforms, and connecting walkways
  • A Ruler, blast and flamer templates, and tokens
  • 89 Ash Wastes cards, including Road Sections and Trade Routes cards, Ash Wastes Gang Tactics cards for both gangs, and blank character cards
  • 16 custom dice, including new vehicle damage dice
  • Double sided, desert terrain game mat

What's New About Necromunda Ash Wastes?

Necromunda Ash Wastes introduces a whole new setting to the game: the titular ash wastes. Normally, battles in Necromunda take place in the cramped, confined spaces inside one of the planet's sprawling hive cities. Now the team at Games Workshop have opened the play space up to include the toxic Ash Wastes, those lawless, sprawling roads and inhospitable lands outside of the hive cities. Lurking among the dunes and swaths of toxic clouds are the enigmatic Ash Waste Nomads, a group of self-sufficient gangers who've made a home out in these deadly plains.

It's all out war here in the irradiated deserts of Necromunda Ash Wastes
It's all out war here in the irradiated deserts of Necromunda Ash Wastes

The story of Necromunda is constantly evolving, and it's a thrill to see the game expand out into the open (choking) air. By opening up the battlefield to the roads and trading routes of the Ash Wastes, the game also opens itself up to vehicular combat - something that was seriously missing up until now.

 
 

The new campaign included in the Core Rulebook is also entirely focused on the Ash Wastes. In this campaign, rival gangs compete over ownership of sections of the road, which is vital to trading and gaining control of the region. Sample scenarios include Fuel Hunt, where all vehicles start running on fumes and there's a desperate dash for fuel. Breakdown sees one gang defending a broken down vehicle. And then there's the scenario we've been dreaming of since we first saw the Mad Max-inspired world of Ash Wastes, The Bone Road Death Race - which is exactly what it sounds like, a race between two gangs to the other end of the board.

How Do The Ash Waste Nomads Play In Necromunda Ash Wastes?

New to the game are the deadly and mysterious Ash Waste Nomads, a gang never before seen who walks the lands that many in Necromunda would fear to tread. Clad in billowing robes and with most of their faces obscured by goggles and respirators, the Ash Waste Nomads are adept at striking hard and fast. Out of the box you can equip them with weapons like Blast Rifles, Blast Pistols, Long Rifles (a special weapon with 24" - 48" range and knockback), Charge Casters, and more. While excelling at long-range combat, they're also very nasty with a Mono-Hook and Stalking Knife.

 
 
The Ash Waste Nomads are a new gang ready to strike in Necromunda Ash Wastes
The Ash Waste Nomads are a new gang ready to strike in Necromunda Ash Wastes

Their skills also fit their theme, with the ability for Chieftains and Watchers (essentially leaders and champions) to choose skills like Backstab, which gives all melee weapons they're carrying the Backstab trait, Evade, which gives them a -1 to be hit if they're out in the open, standing, and active, and Infiltrate, which allows them to be set up hidden anywhere on the battlefield, among others. All in all, they're a nimble and wily gang that can be very hard to pin down, and this mixture of hiding, sneaking, and long-range sniping makes them a fresh addition to the meta.

How Do Vehicles Work In Necromunda Ash Wastes?

Vehicle combat is brand new to Necromunda Ash Wastes, and involves some exciting new rules. Like the rest of the game, the rules for vehicles really get down into the nitty gritty. To start, it should be noted that the Dustback Helamites (the giant bugs the Ash Waste Nomads) ride around on, are considered equipped gear, and not vehicles. So the rules about to be mentioned here don't really apply to them.

These Orlock Gang bikers are ready to run down the competition in Necromunda Ash Wastes
These Orlock Gang bikers are ready to run down the competition in Necromunda Ash Wastes

There's a lot to dive into, but essentially you can move your speed in vehicles, you can move and shoot your weapon, you can fire all weapons on your profile card, aim, drift, reload, and more. Resolving hits against vehicles is where things really get interesting. First, you determine the facing of your attack, then you roll to wound, if you wound and your opponent doesn't save, you then roll the custom damage and location dice. From there, tables are consulted to see how you damaged the vehicle. From messing up the vehicle's steering to knocking the crew unconscious, there's so much depth and strategy to the use of vehicles in Necromunda. Plus, you can run over gangers with your vehicle... and who wouldn't want to do that?

What Are Our Final Thoughts On Necromunda Ash Wastes?

Though it's certainly not cheap, this is one of the best boxed sets we've seen from Games Workshop in quite some time. I love the way the Ash Waste Nomads look, and putting them together was a lot of fun. The Orlock Gang included in the box have a great road-warrior design to them, as well, and the Quad Bikes are a seriously potent threat on the battlefield. Best of all, though, is the terrain included. Of the mountain of sprues included in the box, I would say about 75% of that goes toward building these huge, sprawling outdoor habs. They look so good on the table, and I love the modularity of them. Add in the hardcover updated rulebook (which has nicely folded in rules for vehicle combat), and this is a seriously packed box.

 
 
Ash Waste Nomads survey their prey in Necromunda Ash Wastes
Ash Waste Nomads survey their prey in Necromunda Ash Wastes

I'm also in the unique position to answer the question: Is this box set a good introduction to Necromunda? I hadn't played Necromunda before this release, but knew the general idea of it and regularly watched battle reports. And while opening this huge box and digging in to all the sprues, the rules, and everything else may feel overwhelming at first, it actually served as the perfect, one-stop-shop for getting me into the game. Now I'm a certified ganger, and can't wait to delve even deeper into the world of Necromunda. In short, Necromunda Ash Wastes is the complete, big box release that Necromunda deserves.

Should I Buy Necromunda Ash Wastes?

If you're interested in dipping your toes into the world of Necromunda and don't mind dropping some real credits to have everything you need in one place, Necromunda Ash Wastes is absolutely the right product for you. If, however, you're unsure if you want to invest in Necromunda, I recommend doing some research first, and maybe starting with a copy of the core rules to leaf through.

Necromunda Ash Wastes goes on preorder this weekend via Games Workshop.


The copy of Necromunda Ash Wastes used in the creation of this review was provided by Games Workshop.

Review Summary

Review Summary

With a new faction, new models, new rules for vehicle combat, and an entirely new setting, Necromunda Ash Wastes revitalizes this classic skirmish game.