This article was written by my friend Ryan B. and was initially written for the local Buffalo, NY gaming group in an effort to reduce the barrier to entry for this great game of Necromunda. Miles away in Kansas, I was also struggling standing up a small Necromunda campaign with the vast amount of rules and resources out there in the interwebs. Ryan graciously allowed me to share this on the blog and hopefully, it will help you get the jumpstart you need to venture into The Underhive.
Necromunda can be a confusing game to get into, so here’s a quick guide for anyone who’s been looking at taking the plunge:
1. Your Gang
You need a gang. The six House gangs are the easiest way to go. One box ($42) gets you ten gangers, and you can make a fully functional gang out of it. Each gang has an upgrade sprue ($25). While not strictly necessary, they give you a wide variety of additional weapons to choose from, plus head variants to make sure each ganger is unique. Each house gang also has an additional box ($42) that provides types of gangers that aren’t in the standard boxes. These are a lot of fun and add some diversity to your gang, but certainly aren’t a necessity when you’re starting off.
There are other gangs to choose from. Some (Genestealers and Chaos Cult) are built with 40K models. Others (Corpse Grinders, Enforcers, and Ogryns) have their own boxes. Others are incredibly individualized (Outcasts and Venators). You can use any gang you’d like, but be aware that starting with a non-House gang will change how the campaign works to some extent. But how do you know which equipment to give them, and what it all does?
2. The Books
You need the rules so that you know how to play. There are currently two ways to get the rules. The Necromunda Hive War starter box gives you two gangs, the rules, and a bit of terrain. These rules have been updated with the most recent errata. The other way is with the hardcover rulebook. Put a pin in that because it has numerous other very useful elements that I’ll expand on below. As for the individual gang rules, each of the six House gangs has its own “House of” books. The other gangs have rules spread out over the other supplemental books, which we’ll get back to. This is an excellent spot to mention the website Goonhammer, which has superb articles on each gang, sample lists, and much more.
3. Your First Game
You have the rules. You have the book with your gang list (Additionally, the editor personally loves Yaktribe as a resource from everything from cards to campaign guides). You’ve built your gang. Now what? To play your first game, you need what’s listed above: Rules, gang rules, and models. You’ll also need a tape measure. Necromunda has its own unique dice, which are only available in the box set, or in limited releases for each gang (Amazon has blank dice that you can customize). Tokens and templates are also a practical necessity. And if you don’t want to make your own, the starter set is the only way to get them (you can also check Etsy to buy 3D printed tokens, LITKO has high-quality tokens as well). Necromunda is a terrain-heavy game, so you’ll need a board to play on (again, Etsy has a plethora of options, or if you have a 3D printer, there are many STL’s on Thingiverse, finally the editor’s personal favorite terrain maker Crescent Root). Building a table can be a considerable investment of effort and money, so playing at a store with terrain is the easiest way to start (also, playing in-store gives the game and the gaming group visibility adding more players to your campaign! Necromunda thrives in a diverse player group). And you’ll need a mission to play. The starter set book has introductory scenarios, but the hardcover has all the standard scenarios.
4. What’s Next?
After you’ve played a few practice games, you’ll want to try a campaign, as that’s where Necromunda really comes into its own. The other advantage of the standard hardcover rulebook is that not only does it contain the rules and scenarios, but it also contains the Dominion Campaign, which is the standard campaign of expanding and defending territory.
There are additional books that allow you to expand your game. The Book of Peril is where you’ll find rules for the more exotic parts of Necromunda, as well as rules for gangs of bounty hunters known as Venators. The Book of Judgment is where you’ll find rules for the law enforcement gang, the Enforcers. It also contains a campaign variant called Law and Misrule, which focuses on controlling criminal enterprises instead of territory. And rules for the Black Market! The Book of Ruin contains rules for Corpse Grinders, Chaos Cults, and Genestealer Cults. It also includes scenarios reflective of these subversive elements and expands the Uprising Campaign, available in the now discontinued Dark Uprising box. And the Book of the Outcast rounds out the list. You get rules for gangs of Outcasts that aren’t aligned with any House. Plus, a new campaign centered around establishing a new settlement.
The minimum that you need to get started is the rules, both game rules, and gang rules. That’s usually going to be two books depending on your situation. The current starter set rules have VERY basic gang rules, should you want to ease your way in with that, but it’s the bare minimum. Rules, and of course, models to play with. From there, you can expand out with whatever aspects of the game you find the most interesting. Necromunda is an incredibly deep and narrative game. You don’t need to jump right into the deep end with Guilder alliances and other minutiae. It’s there when you want to add it in. This has been a lot of information, but I tried to summarize everything to get an idea of what you need, what’s optional, and just a sense of where everything is located. Please don’t hesitate to ask if I can clarify or specify anything.
See you in the Underhive.
Ryan, thanks again for this excellent write-up, and thank you the reader… for … well … reading and happy wargaming!
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