REVIEW: Warhammer 40,000: Gladius – Fortification Pack

REVIEW: Warhammer 40,000: Gladius – Fortification Pack

“Statistically, you will almost certainly die when assaulting a well-maintained fortress with a competent commander. You must strive to make your death useful.” – Penal Legion training manual

Released: Steam, GOG
Type: Singleplayer, Multiplayer
Genre: Strategy, 4X
Developer: Proxy Studios
Publisher: Slitherine Ltd.
Release date: 17 Oct, 2019

The Fortification pack for Warhammer 40,000: Gladius – Relics of War adds one new unit or structure to every race that were available when the DLC was launched. So all the factions except for the Aledari and T’au gets a new toy to play with.

Not everything that this DLC adds can really be considered fortifications. Four of the six new things are stationary emplacements of some kind, but Orks and Tyranids get new units instead, a defensive unit for the orks and an artillery piece for the Tyranids. Space Marines, Chaos Marines and Necrons all get some kind of gun emplacement and Astra Militarum get a stationary shield.

The Void Shield generator really is something meant for titans, and not regular battlefield use

Space Marines get the mighty Aquila Macro-cannon (or for old-school 40k fans: the Aquila Marco-Cannon) is a huge gun emplacement that can be called down at a hefty influence cost. It looks like something the Imperial Guard rather than Space Marines would use, but if this was an imperial guard unit it would probably not see much use. This is a super late game unit, found in the last tier of the tech tree and it’s not as impressive as it looks. If you’re swimming in influence and need some long range artillery to take down an enemy city or break through a bottleneck it serves a role, but you might expect something this expensive and late in the tech tree to do more than it ends up actually doing, but with a range of five it can help bring in a bit more damage even to a frontline that’s clogged up with units.

Astra Militarum does not get a big gun, even though that’s what they’re known for, instead they get a shield generator. There are a few units at this point that shields those around them, with many coming from DLCs, but the hammer of the Imperium has decided to outdo them all with this massive thing that has a range of 2 rather than the usual 1. It is stationary though, and has to be constructed by tech priests. Overall this is one of those niche buildings that might come in handy on occasions, but don’t expect to build it every game, or even in most of them.

Chaos gets the weird Noctilith Crown, an anti-psycher portal thing that shoots warp lightnings at those who want to get too close. These are found very early in the tech tree and are built by cultists, giving them something more to do. They’re not as anti-psycher as they might first seem, and are actually useful against non-psychers as well. The fact that these are available so early and can be built instantly on demand makes the pretty handy in early game fights and they’re strong enough that early tier units don’t want to get close to them alone. They don’t have particularly long range though and towards the later parts of the game they become less useful.

The Noctilith Crown fries some loyalists who were foolish enough to get close to it

The Necron Guass Pylon is a huge stationary gun that serves a purely defensive role. It can only be built by cities and has a range of three, making it something you use when the enemy are at your gates and that’s it. It’s found at the very end of the tech tree, in the final tier, and unless you’ve somehow got this far in the tech tree and are still on the back foot it’s probably not worth investing in. It does hit very hard, but because it is so strong it might end up causing stalemates, unless the enemy can out-range it or just swarm it.

Orks get a defensive unit, though one that’s actually on foot, rather than a fixed emplacement. The Ork big mek is not, unlike what people coming from the tabletop version might expect, a hero unit, but rather a single-model infantry unit that gives a protective bubble around it, helping orks survive some more gunfire. Handy if you’re assaulting a base early on, but once you’re starting to have a backline with longer-range weapons it might not be worth wasting space on having it there.

Finally there’s the Biovores, a walking artillery unit that the tyranids use to launch spore mines. As a damage unit they’re fine, though the lack of armour penetration does limit what targets they can actually be useful against, and they’re practically useless against cities. What actually makes them interesting is the ability to launch spore mines, which is a suicide unit that explodes on contact with the enemy and deals enough damage to take down an unleveled ork mob in one hit. Though that’s not where their true value lies, instead they’re a great sacrificial unit that can be used to lure out overwatch fire and can be used for scouting as well, if you suspect that there might be something dangerous ahead, as you can lob them ahead of you.

A battery of Biovores are preparing to open fire on an unsuspecting ork mob

Closing Thoughts

The fortification pack adds something new to the game. Well, not entirely new, Space Marines players in particular are probably pretty used to their stationary fortifications that they use to claim resources, but the way most of these things work is quite unlike anything else that’s in the game. Ultimately though many of these fortifications are quite niche, they’ll not see a lot of use in most games. The most interesting things in this pack are, in my opinion, the Chaos Noctilith Crown, because it can be built so early, and the Tyranid Biovores, which both serve unique roles in their respective rosters, but overall this is a pack that might be fun to have , but it does not change the game much.

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