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Discussion Starter #1
Greetings, all. I was able to get my hands on an Island of Blood box a couple weeks ahead of time, and thought I would use the advance copy to give everyone here at Heresy a heads-up on what's good and what's not-so-good in the box. I think that most FLGS's have copies, so you can probably peruse them and make up your own minds, but if you're curious (and I was before I got my hands on one), here's my thoughts:

The Miniatures
I'll start here because we all know that this is what drives the decision to purchase or not when you're already a seasoned vet. GW has truly outdone itself with IoB- the minatures are absolutely stunning, and they haven't been the least bit stingy. The only mini in the entire box that I feel they could have done a better job on is maybe the Skaven Warlock Engineer, but at least they did a fine job in tooling up that mini with cool wargear, so it's a minor flaw. The Swordmasters, Seaguard, and Reavers are all absolutely perfect. I am not as crazy about the mage as I thought I would be, but it's still a great model. The Clanrats all look individual-ized, and extremely sinister. Lots of wicked looking knives, bared fangs, and wide-eyed lunacy in those units. Super, super cool.

Two minor comments regarding assembly of the miniatures: first off, make sure that when you get your copy, you assemble the elves one at a time. The reason is that the Reavers' bodies and heads are carefully matched, and won't go together correctly if you mix and match them. Learn from my mistake there. :grin: Secondly, there is definitely a technique to getting the figures into their slottabases. If you try to just press them in, with the surfaces flush to one another, you will have to apply so much force to get them to snap in that you'll either end up breaking a mini or you'll wear out your fingers in about 15 minutes. Instead, start at the back of the mini; kinda push the back corner of the stand into the base, then rock the miniature forward into place. Especially with the Clanrats, as their stands are EXTREMELY tight fits in a slottabase. Good luck!

The Rulebook
I was pretty amazed to see just how small GW was able to shrink the rules. I mean you get the entire rule section from the BRB, plus the bestiary, plus the magic items list, plus the lores section all in a package that is about the size of a single sheet of paper folded in half. That's a tidy package. Other than that- it's identical to the BRB; full color throughout, all the diagrams, even Mat Ward's much-appreciated humor is intact throughout.

The Accessories
Standard stuff that GW has been putting in the starter boxes for years now: a bag of 6 dice plus scatter/artillery dice; an undyed-but-still-opaque-why-the-hell-can't-they-make-them-transparent-plastic template set, and two of the long red coffee stirrers. Movement trays would have been a nice add here (a single bag of the standard GW trays offer more than you need for every single model in the IoB box) since there is no way little Johnny is going to enjoy playing this game having to move 40 Clanrats every turn without them.

The Starter Book
Had to save this for last because it is, in a phrase, absolute rubbish. In fact, let me do a favor to everyone out there who has ever assembled minis and played a single game of Warhammer in their lives: throw this away and don't ever read it. Better yet, if you can con some sucker out there into buying this for even a buck on eBay, then do it.

Here's what GW had the opportunity to do with this book but didn't: put in a set of short scenarios, introducing new players to the game's mechanics in gradual, logical ascention. You know: battle one is infantry v. infantry; battle two introduces magic; battle three is the Royale with cheese where all the models get involved. Nothing even mildly resembling that here. You get a page on "How to assemble miniatures." You get two pages of "This is how we deployed our models in the studio so that we could make a pretty picture in the center of this book" faux battle report. Then. . . wait for it. . . you get about eight pages of ADVERTISEMENT. "Here's all the OTHER stuff you should buy to have really cool battles!" Definitely leaves a bad taste in my mouth because you can easily have really fun battles using only the models in the box!!

Overall, I'd give IoB four out of five stars; even with the lame-o starter book, the minis really are that good. You can't make anything even resembling a legal army with the HE minis (which even further begs the question of why they didn't explain that in the starter book), but that's another minor comment. I think that GW will probably sell a bunch of these to veteran gamers, but any newcomers to the hobby that buy IoB are probably going to be very frustrated. They have basically been told "Here's a pile of miniatures. Here's 100 pages of rules. Enjoy yourself once you've sorted that out on your own." I kinda wish, for newbie's sake, that they had done a better job with that.

Otherwise, go get it!
 

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...um how did you get it early...do you own a game store and get a demo copy? The artwork on the box reminds me of the epic 4th edition box... very nicely done....
 

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Actually from what I recall the HE are a legal army with how they work (percentages can change this too)

Also as much as you may bag out the starter book - It' called that for a reason, it's for children or even the absent minded adult who knows nothing about our hobby and was drawn in by this starter box, when I first started fantasy I had a hard time grasping the magic phase so actually outlining this in a easy step book I think is a great idea. Technically without prior knowledge to 40k SM don't make a legal army as the special weapons to get them all you need 10 men and they portray them as using 2 small squads of five.

Just remember the thing your bagging out here is a Starter Book in a Starters box not a Vet book in a Starters Box!
 

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Exploring the low-end point values (just the models, no upgrades/commands) to see what kind of value this box set really is:

High Elves:
Prince on Griffon - 350 spent on Lords
Mage - 100 spent in Heros (could be a lord)
SeaGuards - 120 Core (could also be counted as Spearmen @ 90)
Sword Masters & Reavers - 235 Special

805 points of high elves

Skaven:
Warlord - 90 Lords
Engineer - 15 Heros
Clanrats & Weapon Teams - 295 Core
Rat Ogre Team - 88 Special

488 points in Skaven
 

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Exploring the low-end point values (just the models, no upgrades/commands) to see what kind of value this box set really is:

High Elves:
Prince on Griffon - 350 spent on Lords
Mage - 100 spent in Heros (could be a lord)
SeaGuards - 120 Core (could also be counted as Spearmen @ 90)
Sword Masters & Reavers - 235 Special

805 points of high elves
Looking at this is how you can tell it isn't a legal army. You need at least 201.25 points in core, and you can't spend more than that on Lords.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Also as much as you may bag out the starter book - It' called that for a reason, it's for children or even the absent minded adult who knows nothing about our hobby and was drawn in by this starter box, when I first started fantasy I had a hard time grasping the magic phase so actually outlining this in a easy step book I think is a great idea. Technically without prior knowledge to 40k SM don't make a legal army as the special weapons to get them all you need 10 men and they portray them as using 2 small squads of five.

Just remember the thing your bagging out here is a Starter Book in a Starters box not a Vet book in a Starters Box!
Blue Liger- I re-read my post to see if it was unclear; I think you just missed my point. I was trying to say almost exactly what you are saying in your above quote. GW had a chance to make a "starter book" and utterly failed with the insert in IoB. The starter book does not, in any way, help new players learn the rules. It should, but it doesn't. There is no rules discussion in there whatsoever, and I feel that that is precisely what they should have done. As I mentioned, they should have used the starter book to slowly introduce beginners to the system; instead, all they've done is use the book to advertise the models newcomers can purchase once they've read the rules and, subsequently, learned that their original purchase (1) isn't a legal army, and (2) isn't a fair fight between the two armies. I agree that outlining the steps of the various phases would have been a fantastic idea to include in an insert; it's a shame that the 20 or so pages in the starter book is wasted, not to mention how difficult it will make learning the game to a newbie.

Cheers.
 

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Ahh yeah I see now, damn English language, I see what you were saying now, yeah totally agree I look at every starter kit and you can easily tell which army they want to advertise, I mean the 40k one wasn't as big of a gap but seeing the points difference in this one I think sucks, they should of put maybe a big warmachine unit in or maybe more rat ogres or something, there is almost no possible way playing skaven will win you the game!
 

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just don't run the griffon-prince, lol. Dropping it and suddenly things are a lot different.
 
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