What’s in the boooooooooox!? An Unboxing of The Horus Heresy: Betrayal at Calth Set

By Polar_Bear
In 40K
Nov 7th, 2015

Games Workshop is going back to the future. Well, the past of the future, that is. I mean, it’s still the future from now but it’s back in time from where they are usually when in the futu… You know, I’ll start again.

The Horus Heresy has long been a popular part of the Warhammer 40k lore. What happened to the Imperium of Man to split it apart so drastically? Where did all those Chaos Space Marine chapters come from? The story of Horus’ betrayal against the Emperor is a story of Biblical proportions (and parallels). And both Games Workshop and Forge World of long been coming out with models that have armor and other equipment from that period of the game’s history. Well, Games Workshop is coming out with a new stand-alone game based in the Horus Heresy period. Betrayal at Calth takes players to the time right when it was brother versus brother in close-proximity fighting with one-another as the Chaos factions split off.

GW sent me a copy to check out. A full review will be coming soon, but as of now, let’s take a look at what comes in the box. It’s time for another TGN Unboxing (it’s been a while). This time it’s The Horus Heresy: Betrayal at Calth.

Starting with the size of the box, itself, it’s a respectable 17”x11.75”x2.5” in size. And it’s got decent heft to it. Opening it up, we see the rulebook as well as an assembly guide for the miniatures inside. Both are softcover. The rulebook comes in at 49 pages, about half of it being fluff and artwork. The rules and four scenarios make up the other half. There are 4 scenarios in the main rulebook. We’ll go into more detail about those rules and scenarios in a later article. For now, let’s dig into the sprues.

Oh the sprues. The glorious sprues! Those that remember my article about the Age of Sigmar starter box may recall that I mourned the fact that all of the miniatures were keyed. That is there was only one way to put them together. Sure, there were a few extra bits for making someone into a sergeant or banner bearer or such, but almost all the figures could be assembled one way and one way only. That is definitely not the case with these figures. In fact, apart from the special characters, that are keyed, you’d recognize the components to make up basic tactical marines from sprues reaching back a good 15 years now. You have the legs and pelvis as one piece. Torso is in two halves. Arms are each separate. Weapons separate from the arms. Shoulder pads go on top. Finally, you have the head, which is a ball and socket joint so you can have your guy facing in many different directions. With a little cut here and there, you can easily reposition the arms, so even a novice model-builder can really go crazy making their figures look unique.

All told, you have enough plastic to make 38 miniatures. 30 Tactical Marines, 5 Terminators, 2 Special Characters, and 1 Dreadnaught. There’s all sorts of extra bits and pieces and extra weapons you can use as well. I’m… almost beyond excited about putting these guys together. Quality is top-notch. There’s almost no flash at all, that I can see. The plastic is the “standard” GW grey plastic.

After the sprues you have the dice. Betrayal at Calth uses special, customized dice for the game. You get 12, total. They’re bone-colored with red markings. As with all details about how they work, that’ll have to wait until I’ve actually figured it out (hey, I’ve not had a chance to give the rules more than a cursory glance so far. Gimme a break 😛 ).


Also included are large-sized stat cards, command cards, and damage cards for the dreadnaught (apparently, when you shoot at the dread, you shuffle the deck of cards and randomly draw one to see where you’ve hit). There are 42 cards, total. 3 Ultramarine Reference Cards, 3 Word Bearers Reference Cards, 15 Ultramarine Command Cards, 15 Word Bearer Command Cards, and the 6 Dreadnaught Location Cards.


Below that we have the double-sided, high-gloss game boards. There are four. They have both the terrain sections on which you play the game as well as a host of tokens to be punched out as well.

Below the boards was a nice surprise. I figured that’d be it, but underneath it all was a waterslide transfer sheet to help with your caffeine hands for if you decide to paint your figures.


Also, there were three plastic bags into which you can fit your cards and your tokens. I know it’s a super-small thing to have those bags in there, but it’s something I actually greatly appreciate from GW. It’ll keep those fiddly bits all together in the box later on down the line.

So there you have it, a look inside the Betrayal at Calth box set. As I mentioned, I’ll be getting these figures put together and trying out some games so I can get you a full review of this new box game from Games Workshop.

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  • Salem

    Their preview video sure didn’t sell it very well. Lots of graphics and just a hint of forced looking pretend gameplay. Is it just going to end up being a “cheap” marine starter kit for 40k players? I know that’s what my Space Crusade ended up being used for 😉 (not sure if it’s actually cheap compared to buying marines alone though as I got scared off by GW prices years ago)

    • Odinsgrandson

      Well, it is basically 3 tac squads, 1 terminator squad, 1 dreadnought, a power armored character and terminator character.

      Let’s add that up in GW dollars:

      2 Marine Characters – $60 ($30 ea)
      3 Tac Squad – $120 ($40 ea)
      1 terminator squad – $50
      1 Dreadnought – $46.25

      total – $276.25 worth of marines for $150

      Also, terminators, dreadnoughts and tac marines are all super useful.

      – Now, a lot of people make their own character minis rather than paying the $30 each for them, but even then the box is a discount on three tac squads, a terminator squad and dreadnought.

    • Phil

      I’ve played the demo games at a local GW and its a really fun game on its own.

      Its a big saving based on buying the equivilent from either the GW 40k range or the Forge World Horus Heresy Resin models.

      Anyone who wants a Space Marine Army has almost everything then need in this £95 box. Plus a nice little game too.

  • Andrew Hetherington

    Can you use the figures in 40k battles? Do they have specific rules or weapons that dont allow the mixture? I know they are 31st century and all that but i love that Terminator Captain and bought it on Ebay and REALLY want him to head my Terminators….please say i can, pretty please with Heresy on top?

    • http://www.tabletopgamingnews.com/ TGN_Polar_Bear

      Yeah. Go for it. I wouldn’t see why anyone would complain. If they do, they really need to stop being so picky. It’s a model, in terminator armor, that you’re using as a model in terminator armor. You should be fine.

      • Andrew Hetherington

        Thanks for the reply! 😀 thats good news, the model is just too good to leave to just a board type game like this. I just got a Librarian in termintaor armour but this guy looks WAY cooler.

        • odinsgrandson

          Yeah- the minis are designed to be used in 40k.

          GW was actually selling army bundles of this game- grab two boxes plus a book or something.

          They’re definitely allowed in 40k in all of the official ways.

          • odinsgrandson

            Oh, and it looks like they’re being rereleased as 40k minis.