Warhammer 40,000: Gladius – Relics of War Review

A Warhammer 40k Strategy Sandbox Game

Back in November 2018, I was looking for Warhammer games to play for my Twitch stream Christmas event. I recalled Gladius had released earlier in the year, but also recalled it was a turn based, 4x game. Generally speaking, there are very few 4x or turn based games that I like, Stellaris being one of the 4x exceptions. Turn based combat turns really break up the flow of the game for me. My viewers love some strategy games though, and the Steam reviews for Gladius were great. I thought it was worth taking a chance on since it was also a Warhammer 40k game, so I contacted the publisher Slitherine games, and was able to get a key. Boy am I glad I did!

I fell in love with Gladius immediately. The things I find tedious about 4x games are non-existent, and the gameplay flows very well. Warhammer 40,000 Gladius is basically a 4x sandbox game. There is no preset campaign, but there is a questline option that nudges you in a general direction. You can toggle it off and do your own thing if you so desire, but it is a bare bones questline. I find it pretty helpful though, and enjoy following the the ‘story’ as it unfolds. Gladius is very much a play your way kind of game. The map settings are highly customizable, down to how many terrain obstacles you want. Other examples of settings include map size, wildlife density, resource density, allow/deny certain DLC, biome density (various biome choices per map), and much, much more.

Gladius is streamlined for combat, and it really shines in its presentation. The units look absolutely phenomenal, and the animations are fun to zoom in and watch. I particularly enjoy queuing up several units quickly, and watching their movements and attacks unfold without pause. The soundtrack fits really well, and adds to the grimdark ambiance. Much like the Warhammer 40,000 universe, this game is all about war. There is no diplomacy, and nothing to keep your bolters and chainswords silenced for long. The turns happen very quickly, though I imagine that is in large part because I play against AI. This means no waiting on AFK players on the enemy team! I just have to wait for AFK players on my own team…

My experience in Gladius is with both Space Marines and Tyranids. I’ve played several multiplayer games with 4-5 people, and it has been very stable. I’ve played exclusively versus the AI and find it quite adequate. To this point I’ve clocked over 20 hours in the game, and I’m still ready for more! Keep this in mind as you continue reading.

Time for some cons, and there are a few. The slider on your faction Research bar is sort of invisible. It’s the same color as the menu, so it’s really hard to find. If this bothers you too, you can just use your mouse scroll wheel. Took me an entire campaign to figure that out! A more obvious pain is the volume control. Bolter effects sound great, but don’t scale smoothly with the camera zoom. They are incredibly loud unless you zoom out to a point where you can’t appreciate the animations as much. A final complaint would be that game saves are voided with version changes. Since I don’t play a lot of large scale strategy games, this is something new for me. I’ve lost my first two Space Marine campaign attempts, only having the game for as many months. Admittedly my streaming schedule isn’t the most conducive to finishing games quickly.

The quick game pace in Warhammer 40,000 Gladius, and the truly remarkable graphics, are the big sellers for this game in my mind. The one big wishlist item I have would be a camera lock, so I can watch the enemy turn unfold in rapid succession without any mouse or keyboard work required. It’s a pretty near perfect game, and something I hope Proxy Studios, the developer, builds on. The game itself retails for $39.99 MSRP, and DLC ranges from $4.99 to $14.99 for in-game DLC. There are wallpapers and other type DLCs available as well. Gladius has completely changed my outlook on 4x and turn based strategy games. I would definitely hold it up as one of the best Warhammer 40k games available in 2019.

Warhammer 40k Fate of Konor Story Campaign Battle Report

Story Mission 5: Countdown To Destruction

I’m doing something different this week. I played my first real Warhammer 40,000 game and it was a lot of fun. I managed to get some pictures, so I thought I’d share a battle report. Let me set the scene for you. The planet of Drenthal is under siege my the forces of Chaos. Imperial High Command has decided they would rather destroy the planet, then give a victory to the heretics. Terebral Station Sigma, a mining platform, has been overcharged, and will soon explode taking the planet with it.

Combatants

The Fate of Conor campaign takes place in the Ultramar system, home to the Ultramarines, which are who I brought today. My force was as follows:

  • 2 Primaris Intercessor Marines Squad
  • 1 Primaris Hellblaster Marines Squad
  • 1 Primaris Inceptor Squad
  • 1 Primaris Ancient
  • 2 Primaris Lieutenants
  • 1 Primaris Captain

My opponent went the xenos route, bringing Orks. Nuff said right?

Armies placed in their deployment zones.

Victory Condition

As the Imperium player, I was the attacker for this story mission scenario. My objective was to escape the planetary destruction with more than 1/3 of my force. This would be considered a major victory (lol). I had a slight speed advantage over Orks, but as you can see they had quite a numbers advantage. Not pictured is my Primaris Inceptor squad, which I elected to keep in high orbit to drop down on a later turn.

What really made this campaign fun was the planet collapsing behind me. After each turn, 6 inches would disintegrate behind me! I would have to push across the board fast.

The Battle Turn 1

I immediately started moving forward and shooting. The big swarm or Orks you see on the right gave me a lot of trouble. I rolled lots of 1s and 2s, only killing a few of them. On the left I did a little better. I tagged his big monster unit with a couple of good shots, and started wiping out his melee squad.

The Orks used their turn to close the gap, but thanks to their generally slow speed, I would get another round before they were on top of me, which would be a problem.

The Battle Turn 2

With the board now starting to collapse behind me, my only option was to push forward and keep shooting. Another round of fire into the huge swarm of Orks on the right was only mildly successful, so I had to charge in with my Primaris Marines. The Ancient and Lieutenant stayed on the outskirts to support them. On the left I was having much better luck, I managed to wipe out their heavy melee squad before it could do any damage. My Primaris Captain made it to cover, breaking line of sight from all immediate threats. The Hellblasters also managed to destroy the walking melee monstrosity. This was quite a productive round.

On my opponents turn, he wiped out my Primaris Marines squad on the right. He also began to wipe out my Hellblaster Squad the left as well.

The fire really starts moving in!

Battle Turn 3

On the right, I did what I could, but I just couldn’t make a big enough dent in the Ork squad. My Primaris lieutenant threw a grenade which only killed one Ork. One. Whole. Ork. On the left I laid down some fire but couldn’t connect with much damage. Meanwhile up top, I landed my Inceptor squad this turn behind the building second from the left, opening fire on the Orks atop the tower wiping out several of them! My captain used a special ability that nearly doubled his move speed, edging him closer to the escape route!

The Ork swarm, well, swarmed my Primaris Ancient on the right. The flag bearer went down fighting in the melee. The big gray Ork boss/leader you see on the left decimated my remaining Hellblasters and then began to chew on my Intercessors.

Battle Turn 4

This was the final turn. I charged into the Ork swarm on the right, tying them up to keep them within the encroaching fire’s reach at the end of the turn. A noble sacrifice. On the left my other Primaris lieutenant did a simliar remover, preventing the slow moving Ork boss and support crew from being able to stop my Primaris Captain.

At this point my Ork opponent conceded, as the fire was rapidly encroaching and his units would not be able to get away from it, and he had no way to prevent my Captain and Inceptor squad from moving to safety and scoring me the win.

VICTORY FOR THE EMPEROR!