Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Mont'Ka - Fluff Review

So I wanted to do a quick review on my thoughts on the fluff aspect of the new campaign.  The books themselves are good quality, artwork is nice.  I am a fan of the newer style of art that GW has been doing, so this continues with this trend, though there is plenty of old art as well.  I do like that from a fluff perspective the book does not assume that you have read Kauyon.  It gives a good road to war, with enough background to explain the new campaign.  And there are some interesting things to come out of it, including the death of a special character, though they give an out still.

The war is focused around the previous Imperial worth of Agrellan, now name Mu'guloth by the Tau.  The Tau are completely unprepared by the Imperial response, but of course super-awesome-genuis shadowsun has answers. 

And that kind of becomes my gripe for the good majority of the core of the narrative.  Its basic 40k Tau vs IG trope, you could remove all the specfics and change it for another Tau vs Imperial story and have the almost exact same thing. 

Basically Tau are super genius but they can't stand before the unending IG hordes.  Thats really the majority of the story.  Oh the Raven Guard out surprise the surprisers a time or two, but of course the tables get turned on them.

The tau start losing despite all their genius tactics and as all looks lost *BOOM* Farsight, and he's even more super-genius than shadowsun.  The IG & Space Marine commanders cannot stand before them, he out matches them at every turn and the imperial victory is turned into defeat. 

They try to add some sort of suspense but with all the special characters listed here, and we all know this ain't game of thrones, there really isn't any suspense.  Pask and Longstrike go toe to toe, and *gasp*, Hand of Steel goes explody, but little does Longstrike know that only love will kill Pask, explosions just make him warm and give him new tanks.  The imperial commander is not a special character, so we all know from the beginning that he is going to die, and he does *shock*. 

There is a moment of good narrative when the assassins are loosed.  The execution force goes in, and of course, Farsight survives an attack by an eversor, that Tau piss-ant pathfinder SC kills a Vindicaire, and the Callidus fails to kill shadowsun, but does wound her.  But in a small twist, GW kills a special character.  The Culexus slaughters its way through the tau bodyguard and kill Aun'Va.  Its one of the few original sections of the book and is well written, even though the other three assassins go down, they slay a significant amount of tau in the process.

The big gripe I have is how Farsight managed to perfectly time his salvation.  I mean, the Tau don't have full warp travel, but he manages to arrive with a large army at just the right moment.  I guess he is psychic now.  And that there is loads of Tau masturbation material in there.  We get it GW, the Tau are Fucking Awesome.

Overall, I rate the story 7/10.  Its got moments of greatness that are marred by trope that has been repeated often enough that I am pretty sure the horse has died long enough ago that only the bones are left.  That is really what holds the story back I think, you get the feeling that you have read this same story before, multiple times.  So as a companion to a good book of rules I think it does the job, as a book in its own right, there is room for improvement.


  1. I still give it a 11/10 cause farsight :p

  2. I think you're undermining the Imperial Guard's tactics and strategy. Pask actually wins the first engagement against Longstrike, and despite Shadowsun's tactics the Imperial Guard turned it into a war of attrition and almost won until Farsight jumped in. And even then, Farsight and Shadowsun were forced to retreat as more Imperial reinforcements poured in. So it's not as one-sided as you might think it is.

    And what happened to the Adeptus Mechanicus? They played such a big role in it, but you didn't mention them at all. They actually stood up to the Tau's advanced technology, stole some of it, then escaped, only to help the Imperium turn the tables and deal the Tau a crushing defeat.

    1. They got half their entire expansion sacrificed in a flinch and made the entire damocles sector a deserted fire ball ... sounded like a sore last resort than actually accomplishing anything. Even the colonel was disgust by that measure.

    2. Not denying that, most victories for the Imperium are pyrrhic victories. Sometimes I think they're taking the grimdark theme too far.

      As for sacrifice, that's the point of the Imperium, they have billions of people to sacrifice and they do not hesitate in doing so. Again, stupid grimdark reasons. Last resort it may be, but it doesn't change the outcome that the Tau tasted their most bitter defeat ever, and worse, Farsight returns only to find his Enclaves under attack by Tyranids. Ouch.

    3. The problem is that this was not a Pyrrhic victory for the imperium. It was an attempt by Mars to keep the tau isolated until they can get an expedition sent to a sept world. The imperium has not "won" anything in the last 20 years.

  3. some times it would be fun if the imperium actually won a clean nice vitory. Now days it´s almost always a defeat or a win but with some negative thing about it. Couldn´t the Imperium just win a war clean and easy? Of an army with a billion Soldiers in it, at least one or two should be great commanders.

    1. Because in the grim dark of the 41st millennium there is only Pyrrhic Victory!

      also a clean win would produce an extremely boring read

  4. Good to have you back. Your IG posts are always a good read.

  5. I finally read the whole thing. I'm curious to read about the first battle of Agrellan now.

    It was frustrating to have the Tau be so Mary Sue about being better than everyone else, and their plot armour and invincibility. But, it was nice to see some bits of their "goody good" halo knocked off: The original humans on Agrellan were relocated to be "workers" (i.e. slave labour) elsewhere in the empire. Greater good my @$$

    The characterization of the Skitarri was interesting: They really weren't there as allies; they were more like magpies coming along to scavenge and steal what they wanted in the mess. I kind of hope they learned something. There's no reason they couldn't reverse engineer the rail gun or come up with a countermeasure for the vox-jamming.

    The ending was appropriately 40k-esque though. Pyrrhic...