I happened to stop by Zombiesmith’s booth when I was attending Kublacon up near San Francisco in May. They had a display case of their painted miniatures. The anthropomorphic rabbits, turtles, rats and mice of their “Netherworld’s Edge” line caught my eye, so I played a small demo game. The game is a variation on their Shieldbash rules. I bought a few packs of miniatures at the convention and also signed up for their kickstarter, which as it turns out was successfully funded.
For now I decided to use these guys in my games of 40K. They are about the same size as gretchin and I would imagine that there isn’t any reason why mouse people wouldn’t be at least reasonable shots.
Now my orks have had a long and close alliance with the Tau. They’ve been our battle brothers in many a doubles tournament and four player game. Also, the orks control a number of buffer systems on and beyond the edge of Tau space and Warboss Hungry has received the honorary title of Shas’o for his bloody services and odd loyalty to the Greater Good. So when the orks discovered burrows of primitive mouse people on one of the worlds they were warring over with the Imperium, they decided to imitate their blue-skinned friends and adopt these creatures rather than eat them. Given the usual “Purge the Xenos” philosophy of humankind (in my meta at least!), the mice were more than happy to sign on.
The mice do offer some advantages over goblin artillerists. While neither are what you would call brave, the mice are quite a bit smarter so they are more likely to show some initiative in the heat of battle. They are also imminently more survivable. They construct elaborate escape and redeployment tunnels as a matter of course in fortifying their positions.
Further, it is difficult to break the average ork trooper, no matter how steeped they are in Greater Good, of lording it over lesser greenskins. This inevitably leads to casualties. There are always plenty of goblins, but the problem is that so many die to natural orky attrition it is almost impossible to keep experienced crewmen. As it turns out this isn’t a problem for the mice since most orks don’t see them as “getting over on dere bedders” by being allowed to not be stomped, used as edible chits in drinking games, etc. Abusing goblins seems to be an unshakably entrenched part of the order of things, alas. Also, the mice with their burrowing tendencies are even better than goblins at staying “out of sight out of mind,” though the grots are starting to catch on to that survival tactic. A pity most goblins’ instinct for laziness is higher than their instinct for survival!
So my plan is to paint up the other seven mice that came in the pack. I’ll continue using them as artillery crew until the newness wears off, and then I’ll probably go back to using goblins. I doubt I’ll field mixed units because I imagine goblins and mice being natural rivals and hating each other terribly. However, it might be fun to try a mice versus goblins Kill Team game or maybe I can talk some of my friends into trying the new Netherworld’s Edge rules when they become available.