We've established by now that Shadow Wars Armageddon is essentially just Necromunda dressed up in a new suit, given a fashionable new haircut and a shave and sent off to play in the big brash world of skirmish wargaming. And as I mentioned in a previous post, it's almost exactly what a whole bunch of us have been doing with Necromunda all along. Necromunda is the 2nd choice ruleset for old school, make it up as you go along, gaming. Part of the reason for this is that the rules are flexible enough to allow you to mess around with them easily enough and get the kind of game you want. The other reason for it is that GW gave us all the help we needed in order to squeeze everything we wanted into the games by giving us an awesome expansion and equally awesome 'sister' game and then added an even awesomer expansion to that. I'm talking.....
I must admit something here. I never got to play these games when they came out. Through my own shortsighted, teenage, uber-coolness, I was not a true devotee of all things GW at the time (in fact when a friend reintroduced me to the hobby with a copy of 40K 4th Edition my response was 'What was wrong with the first one?') so I have come late to all of these but that doesn't taint my love for them.
Outlanders contains rules for a whole slew of new gangs, Ratskin Renegades, Redemptionists, Spyrers and my beloved Scavvies. It adds new hired guns in shape of psykers and pit slaves and Characters plus news scenarios and trading. What is even more handy when you are moving beyond the narrow confines of the original game, is the stats and costings for various 40k archetypes. Want some Orks in the hive, sure. Genestealers? Of course. Chaos Space Marine? Why not. Outlanders was essential if you were going to start using the Necromunda in the broader universe and as a slicker (but still imperfect) replacement for Rogue Trader's universe (where Radio 4 farces are populated with aliens and resolved through superior fire power) then it was damn near perfect.
Then of course you have the glory that is GorkaMorka. This game is as near as you can get to a crossbreeding the joyful nonsense of trolls in the pantry with mad max and is almost the only game that GW have ever made that makes more sense the drunker you get (seriously, try downing a shot every time someone rolls a Thruster check!). The sheer idiot brilliance of the game is what makes it so fun but the rules are essentially exactly the same as Necromunda. What Gorkamorka brings to the party is the simplest and most straightforward set of vehicle rules that the game (in any guise) has yet seen. Wanna add zooomin bikes and vrooming civilian transport to your RT or Necromunda games without having to do complex maths or digging out diagrams and cellophane targets? Here you go. Wanna do drive by on some marines at high speed with your squats while yelling DAKKA! DAKKA! at the top of your lungs? Why the hell not? Want your characters to be able to commandeer civilian vehicles and race off laughing at the Arbites before crashing in a fiery ball of death as they ram into a grox transporter? Of course you do.
I'll be honest here about Digganob. It doesn't add a whole lot top the soup pot and I mostly included it cos I love the poignancy of the Mutie Raiders and their sad story. Oh and Digga's are pretty cool.
But here is the great thing.
Because Shadow Wars Armageddon is the same ruleset as Necromunda, which is the same ruleset as Gorkamorka, all the rules already work together. You already have written proof that it is entirely feasible that all the other races of the 40k universe will plug into the SWA/Necro system and will give you workable and fun outcomes.
All it takes is for gamers to step outside the suggested scenarios from the SWA book and for that matter in the new 40k (or all version of 40K really). I really want to see the average GW gamer move away from the set up instructions in the books and start using the folk memory that is built into the hobby. That part where some bearded weirdo sat behind his screen and rolled the dice for you and told you what was happening. That part of the hobby where the worlds were made up by the players and the scenarios wrote themselves as protagonists chased their nemesis around the planets of our imagination. That part of the hobby where the creativity was in the story telling and the adventure rather than just in the newest amalgamation of disparate plastic parts.
Games Workshop makes fantastic miniatures.
Games Workshop write great books.
Games Workshop write good rulesets.
Games workshop do not own your imagination. Break out of your power armour. See what mischief you can have. Explore the galaxy. Give it a good kick in the shins and see if it'll chase you.