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Why Necromunda is a big deal

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A turn-based strategy game where you zip your squad into cover and set them up on overwatch, with a campaign structure that lets your rookies grow and learn new skills—or suffer long-term injuries—as you play. 

That description sounds like XCOM, but it’s also how I’d describe Necromunda, a tabletop game in the Warhammer 40,000 universe first published by Games Workshop in 1995. With its short matches and shoot-outs between colorful mohawked punks, bikers, and men who look like JC Denton from Deus Ex, Necromunda’s always felt like a videogame. It seems like every time a 40K game is announced, someone asks when it’ll be Necromunda’s turn to be adapted. The answer, finally, is now: Rogue Factor’s Necromunda: Underhive Wars is due out on September 8.

But there’s more to Necromunda’s appeal than videogame-iness. It’s also a rare 40K game that depicts the setting from the bottom up. It’s set beneath a city with a population of billions, where gangs fight over scrap and scavenging rights in the filth. 40K is a vulture of a setting that rips bleeding chunks of inspiration out of existing sci-fi like Aliens and Dune, and while other games play up the big space war side of things, Necromunda is about the basal grit, borrowing most heavily from cyberpunk, Judge Dredd, and The Warriors.

(Image credit: Games Workshop)

A wretched hive 

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