You’re not thrilled about refueling on Storm Road, but you’re just a Juve in the Orlock Gang, so better shut up. As the Quad Bike’s engines rumble and spit out black clouds of exhaust, you tighten your glasses and grit your teeth. Like a bolter you’re off, scanning the horizon with your Harpoon gun as the driver at your feet navigates the bumps and potholes of the road. Everything seems clear (or, as clear as that can look in the Ash Wastes) until you see a puffy cloud of dust to your right. Nomads, a whole gang of them, rush towards you on giant galloping insects. The low visibility doesn’t seem to bother them at all, as their weapons find their mark time and time again, destroying quads all around you and dropping Gangers on foot left and right. Well, on the plus side, if you can survive this downfall, you might just get promoted. It’s the world of war hammer Necromunda Ash Wastethe all new big box version 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 raise in our official review.

What’s included in Necromunda Ash Waste?

Complete box components for Necromunda Ash Wastes. Image: Games workshop

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

  • 10x Miniature Orlock Gang
  • 2x Orlock Gang Outrider Quads
  • 10x Ash Waste Nomads
  • 4x Helamite Dustback Riders
  • A bound copy of the rules (including new rules for the Ash Wastes and vehicular combat)
  • A full set of new modular terrains, including 4 large Canadians, 2 smaller platforms and connecting walkways
  • A ruler, breath and flamethrower models, 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 Playmat

What’s new about Necromunda Ash Waste?

Necromunda Ash Waste introduces an all-new setting to the game: the titular Ash Waste. Normally, battles in Necromunda are fought in the cramped and confined spaces of one of the planet’s sprawling hive cities. Now, the Games Workshop team has opened up the playspace to include the toxic ash waste, those sprawling lawless roads, and the inhospitable lands outside the hive cities. The enigmatic Ash Waste Nomads, a group of self-sufficient gangers who have settled these murderous plains, lurk among the dunes and bands of poisonous clouds.

It's war here in the irradiated wastes of Necromunda Ash Wastes
It’s war here in the irradiated wastes of Necromunda Ash Wastes

The story of Necromunda is constantly evolving, and it’s a pleasure to see the game expand into the (stifling) open air. By opening up the battlefield to the roads and trade routes of the Ash Wastes, the game also opens up to vehicular combat – something that has been seriously lacking until now.

The new campaign included in the Core Rulebook is also entirely focused on the Ash Wastes. In this campaign, rival gangs compete for ownership of stretches of road, which is vital for trade and control of the region. Examples of scenarios include Fuel Hunt, where all vehicles start running with fumes and there is a desperate race for fuel. Breakdown sees a gang defending a broken down vehicle. And then there’s the storyline we’ve been dreaming about ever 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 Ashen Waste Nomads play in the Ashen Wastes of Necromunda?

New to the game are the deadly and mysterious Ash Waste Nomads, a never-before-seen gang who roam the lands many in Necromunda would fear to tread. Clad in puffy robes and with most of their faces obscured by goggles and respirators, Ash Waste Nomads are adept at striking hard and fast. Right out of the box, you can equip them with weapons such as Burst Rifles, Burst Pistols, Long Rifles (a special weapon with a 24-48 inch range and recoil), Charge Launchers , etc. While excelling at long range combat, they are also very nasty with a single hook and a 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 match their theme, with the ability for bosses and watchers (essentially leaders and champions) to choose skills such as stab in the backwhich gives all melee weapons they carry the Backstab trait, Evadewhich gives them a -1 to be hit if they are uncovered, standing and active, and Infiltrate, which allows them to be installed hidden anywhere on the battlefield, among other things. Overall, they’re a nimble and cunning gang that can be very difficult to pin down, and that mix of hiding, stealth, and long-range shooting makes them a new addition to the meta.

How do vehicles work in the Ash Wastes of Necromunda?

Vehicle combat is brand new to Necromunda Ash Wastes and involves exciting new rules. Like the rest of the game, the rules for vehicles really get into the thick of it. For starters, it’s worth noting that Dustback Helamites (the giant insects that Ash Waste Nomads ride on) are considered equipped gear, not vehicles. So the rules about to be mentioned here don’t really apply to them.

These Orlock Gang bikers are ready to take on the competition in Necromunda Ash Wastes
These Orlock Gang bikers are ready to take on the competition in Necromunda Ash Wastes

There are a lot of things to dive into but basically you can move your speed in vehicles, you can move and shoot your gun, you can shoot all the guns in your profile card, aim, drift, reload , etc. Resolving hits against vehicles is where things get really interesting. First you determine the direction of your attack, then roll to wound, if you wound and your opponent doesn’t save, then you roll the custom damage and location dice. From there, tables are consulted to see how you damaged the vehicle. From messing up vehicle steering to knocking out crew, there’s so much depth and strategy to using 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’s Ash Waste?

While it certainly isn’t cheap, it’s one of the best boxes we’ve seen from Games Workshop in quite some time. I love how the Ash Waste Nomads look, and putting them together was a lot of fun. The Orlock gang included in the box also has an excellent road warrior design, and the quads are a very powerful threat on the battlefield. Best of all, however, is the included terrain. Of the mountain of carrots included in the box, I’d say about 75% of that goes to building those huge, sprawling outdoor facilities. They look so good on the table, and I love how modular they are. Add in the updated hardcover rulebook (which has bent the rules for vehicular combat nicely), and it’s a seriously box-packed box.

The Ashen Waste Nomads watch their prey in the Ashen Wastes of Necromunda
The Ashen Waste Nomads watch their prey in the Ashen Wastes of Necromunda

I’m also in the unique position to answer the question: is this set a good introduction to Necromunda? I hadn’t played Necromunda before this release, but I knew the general idea of ​​it and watched battle reports regularly. And while opening that huge box and rummaging through all the carrots and rules and everything else might seem overwhelming at first, it actually served as the perfect one-stop-shop to get me into the game. Now I’m a ganger certified and I can’t wait to dive even deeper into the world of Necromunda. Short, Necromunda Ash Waste is the full version of the big box which Necromunda deserved.

Should I buy waste ashes from Necromunda?

If you are interested in dipping your toes into the world of Necromunda and you don’t mind wasting real credits to have everything you need in one place, Necromunda Ash Waste is absolutely the right product for you. If, however, you’re not sure you want to invest in Necromunda, I recommend doing some research first, and perhaps starting with a copy of the core rules to peruse.

Necromunda Ash Wastes is up for pre-order this weekend via Games Workshop.

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