Welcome to the Raging Goblin Reviews, the segment where I look at some of my favorite hobby tools and products and review them for all you budding hobbyists and wargamers out there.Today’s review is a continuation of last time’s ranged Troll units theme, and covers a unit that is both very good, and universally (and unfairly) panned. It’s the infamous Trollkin Sluggers!
These guys were released a while back, and weren’t exactly welcomed when people got their hands on them and tried them out. For a lot of people, they were pretty lackluster, and for some they were downright terrible. As a fan of this particular unit, I’d like to give them a proper review and show the wargaming community that there are no bad units, as long as you know how to properly use them.
As usual, I’d like to start with the hobby aspect of this unit. The sluggers aren’t as complicated to build as the scattergunners from my last review, which makes them less daunting to budding hobbyists. Each slugger is one piece, with the exception of the leader and the two female grunts, who come with separate ammo belts on a sprue that can be flexed to create a more dynamic pose, like the ones shown in the picture. The models themselves are some of my favorites in the Trollbloods line, and feature some really great poses and details, capturing a unit of tough-as-nails soldiers wearing down the enemy with machine gun fire. Each one has a decent amount of detail, such as armor plating, runestones, ammo belts, etc. which gives each of them a good amount of character, despite the repeating sculpts. For a beginner to painting and building trolls, Sluggers are a good starting point as they offer easy builds and a good amount of detail that lets a beginner get started with no real difficulties and work up to more complex models. Plus, they’re trench-warfare-themed trolls armed with what appear to be Maxim machine guns. If you don’t think that’s cool, you must have a very strange idea of what “cool” is.
Now onto the rules, which is what kills these guys for most people. As you may have already guessed, Sluggers are a ranged-focused unit, and their game concentrates around their massive guns. The slugger (yes, that’s the weapon’s name) has a decent range and POW value that lets them splatter solos and even ding up heavy warjacks and warbeasts, but it can only be fired once per activation…unless you take their special ability into account. Sluggers have a special ability called Full Auto, which means that when they forfeit their movement to get the aiming bonus, they can make D3 (up to 3) sh0ts with their gun. This means that if you roll your dice well, you can get between five and fifteen bullets flying downfield, and with the aiming bonus, you’re definitely going to hurt something. The trick with Sluggers is playing them not like infantry, but like a light artillery unit, such as the Thumper Crew (coming soon). Move your first turn, usually to higher ground to get a better line of sight to your targets, take the occasional potshot when moving, and then once your team if fully in position, let fly! Now, some people really don’t like this unit because of the fact that Trolls are notorious for a more melee-oriented game than ranged. To the naysayers out there, I have to say that (again) there are no bad units, you just have to know how to properly play them. Sluggers become much better with ranged-oriented warlocks like Captain Gunnbjorn, Jarl Skuld, or Grim Angus that turn them from a simple run-and-gun unit into machine gun solo-snipers. They also have a place in Borka Kegslayer’s “Family Reunion” army list, where you can take two units of them (that’s between ten and thirty bullets, mind you) and use them as a sort of clean-up unit to take care of whatever his heavier troops let slip. Quite simply, the trick is knowing where to position these guys on the battlefield before you start whaling on your troops, because it’s when they’re played like an artillery unit that they really shine.
Of course, and I will freely admit, these guys do have their downsides. Points-wise, a full unit of these troops costs as much as a full unit of Scattergunners, Highwaymen, Pyg Bushwackers, or Scouts, all of which have a different ranged game and offer more troops per unit. This means that when you’re counting up your points, a full unit of Sluggers can really eat into your options. They also require specialized warlocks to properly run them, like the ones listed above, and in most other lists they will be completely useless. Price-wise, the run about $44.99, which is ten dollars less than the Scattergunners from last time, but only gets you about half the troops per box, which isn’t a very good deal. Also, if you’re a hobbyist who likes customizing your models, or likes models with a lot of character and detail, the Sluggers will disappoint you, as they are more rank-and-file than your typical Trollblood miniature, and the single-piece construction doesn’t offer much in the way of customizing potential.
So what’s the final verdict? I give them a solid 7/10. For me, the Trollkin Sluggers are a decently well-rounded unit that can go from “meh” to great when properly played, and can put the hurt on even the strongest enemy warcaster (these guys brought down Madrak Ironhide the first time I used them!), and when used alongside specialized warlocks like Captain Gunnbjorn, they really shine. I’m also a big fan of their WW1 aesthetic, with the British soldier-esque helmets and armor, and the big belt-fed machine guns. Their amount of detail also lets them be painted up really easily, and they look really good once fully assembled and painted (keep an eye out for the Raging Goblin paints, coming soon). The biggest sticking points for some are the rather high price, simplistic construction, and rules favoring the ranged game. If you prefer playing trolls more forward and favoring the melee game, I recommend giving these guys a pass, as their melee game is admittedly awful. However, if you want to give ranged trolls a go and have a good warlock and support units that favor the ranged game, DEFINITELY pick these guys up! With proper support and play, these Maxim gun-wielding brutes will mow through your opponent’s single-wound infantry and put the hurt on solos, warlocks, and even warbeasts. If you’re looking for a good support unit for a ranged Trollblood army, or just want these awesome-looking troops in your collection, I recommend picking them up. If you prefer the melee game, don’t like the rules, or simply don’t care for their aesthetic, then I suggest giving them a pass.
Anyway, this has been the Raging Goblin’s review of the Trollbloods Trollkin Sluggers. God’s blessings on your week, keep up with your hobbies, and stay green my friends!