Review: Cities of Death

I’ve recently had a copy of Cities of Death fall in my lap and foolishly mentioned to Stu that a review for his blog might be a good idea… so, here I am.

Cities of Death is the latest release for Warhammer 40K. It replaces the old City Fight supplement and along with the new scenarios and special rules GW have also released a selection of very nice buildings. They have a definite “Games Workshop” feel to them and completely embrace the gothic sci-fi style of 40K, unfortunately this means they probably won’t gel very well with most existing urban/industrial/sci-fi terrain. On the plus side I love 40k gothic so find the designs very appealing.

As with all things GW the cost is steep and the box I am reviewing was $130nz. It includes 1 large and 1 standard building, some accessories and the rule book. However if the thought of shelling out $130 on buildings makes you queasy GW are selling the individual buildings at a more respectable $45nz each. This compares very favourably with the price of their existing terrain pieces which are terribly average. In addition to this they are doing a number of accessories including razor wire, barricades and a battle mat which represent differing value for money but it’s nice to see a complete range available.

The rule book is up to GW’s normal high quality, lots of pretty pictures, excellent fluff and gorgeous illustrations. Along with the main book GW includes a brief folded instruction booklet showing various design ideas.

Cities of Death Sprue The real guts of CoD is of course the buildings and the first thing I noticed when unpacking the box was just how heavy the sprues are. They will definitely create a solid piece of terrain and once glued together with polystyrene cement should last the rigours of gaming well. An advantage of the weight is that if you (like me) tend not to base your buildings and be a tad clumsy they should survive the odd bump without sending your carefully painted figures crashing to the tabletop.

Cities of Death Sprue I do feel there are a couple of weaknesses to the design though. The first is a plethora of skulls. Every piece from the Basilica set is festooned with skulls, I’m not sure of the fluff behind the Basilica Administratum but it looks like it should be a mausoleum or Cult of Death headquarters! This problem is further compounded by the lack of variety in the individual wall pieces. There are only 3 styles of wall section that make up each set and to my eye creates rather repetitive looking buildings. They definitely would have benefited from another solid wall section. The Manufactorum doesn’t suffer from this problem as they have a number of filters, icons and pipes which add more variety, unfortunately the set I have doesn’t come with one of these buildings.

Cities of Death Sprue So far I haven’t put anything together but my first impression is good but not great and whilst not quite overpriced Games Workshop has (unsurprisingly) charged the very most they could for these buildings and still manage to sell them. Hopefully I’ll find time to put together the buildings and accessories over the weekend and will report back on how that goes next week.

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