If you’re a Space Wolves player you’ll likely have come across the Space Wolves Blog over on blogspot. It’s an excellent resource for all things related to the army both in terms of modelling and gaming articles and has a pretty active group of commenter’s both on the blog and over on their Facebook page.
In order to provide a bit of income for running the blog the guys over there created a Space Wolves Players Hand Book last year for the tiny donation of £5 (about $8 USD). Since Curse of the Wulfen came out they’ve been working on an update and released this last week, as I’m finally getting into more gaming I decided to treat myself to it and received the PDF yesterday.
As you would expect from any players hand book, the Space Wolves Players Hand Book goes through all of the options open to a budding Wolf Lord. The 173 page tome (I’m serious here) is split up into a number of sections:
- Books you need
- Army Building Philosophies
- Space Wolves Units
- Detachments and Formations
- Forge World
- Army Lists
- Final Thoughts
The structure takes a very consistent approach from the start with each page dealing with a specific unit or item – it’s only when you get to the Army List that we start to get things going onto two pages.
Space Wolves Units
This section is a fairly comprehensive look at all of the units available to choose for a Space Wolves army. Each is given a brief introduction, the unit’s abilities in the game and some suggested ‘optimal’ load-outs. The breakdown is very well thought out and keeps the information very clear, concise and to the point.
Detachments and Formations
If like the vast majority of the world, detachments and formations confuse you then this is fantastically written page surmises how it works and it is a game changer for anybody who doesn’t already use it.
As with the Space Wolves Units section this covers all of the fortifications available. I’m always a bit non-plussed about fortifications as I think many work out quite expensive points wise, however the hand book makes some nice suggestions on how to provide abilities a Space Wolves army would otherwise lack.
I’ll be honest and say that I wasn’t expecting a section that contains all of the Forge World units available to take, from Relics to Bran Redmaw. Each entry either lists the volume it comes from or had a link to the PDF on the Forge World website. As before each unit is outlined with benefits and suggested load outs where appropriate.
I’ll put the Army List section and Allies section together as they really are part of the same thing. The hand book covers a variety of army load outs starting at the 1,500 point mark and makes suggestions on how to expand to a larger points value. Each army list is built around a specific style and hinges on detachments joining together to achieve a particular flavour on the table.
What is nice is that they offer a really good mix of play styles and none hinge on one specific unit, so if you dislike a particular unit (for me it’s Thunderwolves) there are still lists that you could use.
This is a very nice list of frequently asked questions that people often get wrong – generally because a rule is ambiguous or somebody is trying to be clever with a rule. Although it’s not quite as authorative as a Games Workshop released FAQ it’s a really good list of clarifications.
So what do I make of the Space Wolves Players Hand Book? Well firstly, it would be nice if the army list entries could be marked as “tested” or “untested” based on the number of times it’s been used either by the author or community as a whole. The list that has Deathwatch allies is a good example as the rules only came out on Saturday so I think would firmly fall into the “untested” category (the miniatures haven’t even been released). I’d also guess that some of the lists based round Curse of the Wulfen are theoretical as those units and rules haven’t been out long enough for many games to be played.
I’m quite surprised that there aren’t any references to opponents that you may face as this is a “Players” hand book. What’s the best way to combat a Tau or heavy mechanised army? What about horde armies?
One really nice thing in the army lists section is that it does open up your eyes to different play styles. I nearly always go for a standard “core” army list and then play with extra units, but the suggestions made in here have made me question if there are different ways to do it.
I personally really like the Space Wolves Players Hand Book, cost wise it’s probably worth double what is being asked and I would recommend it to anybody who wishes to step into a more competitive game style. There is plenty of food for thought and it’s nice to see the new rules and formations being used to move Space Wolves armies in different directions.
Yes there are a few improvements that could be made, the layout is straightforward without anything in the way of graphical embellishment and the items I mentioned above would improve it (in my opinion anyway). That said, in its current format it is a really nice resource and the straightforward layout means that it’s legible on my phone without having to struggle to read it