So, I have a confession. I am in fact somthing of a fan of AoS. However, much like 40k the cost of entry can be a bit steep. Plus, some armies need to bring a lot of bodies which means more money and more painting that needs to be done. AoS has been somewhat lacking in the skirmish warging department. Sure we had AoS skirmish, but the rules didn’t really fit the bill for what people wanted. Well now we are finally here, we have a rules set designed from the ground up. So, lets go into a review and see if this is the game we have been waiting for.
Shadepire, And The Itch Not Yet Scratched
Don’t get me wrong, Shadespire is a great game. However, its no Mordheim. The characters are fixed and so is your movement via hexes. There is not any progression with characters between games and some people don’t want to mess with deck building. So while the game was a blast to play, it wasn’t the game some people were really hoping for. Especially after GW brought back Necromunda and gave us an improved Kill Team. Yet, that fantasy skirmish itch that a lot of people hoped for was left un-scratched.
Now, this game is not Mordheim in that the rules are very simple and are not nearly as crunchy as those older skirmish games. . However, the rues here are solid. Their simplicity means it much easier to start playing and it also makes the game a bit less random. By removing the hit rolls and save characteristic you can walk into a game with a fairly good idea of how your dudes will perform. The only real wildcard is the dice you roll at the beginning of the turn to see if you have access to your factions special abilities. There is also the factor of crits. rolls lots of sixes and you will see a sharp rise in performance. The other very smart implementation is the deck of cards used for scenarios. The ability to generate random missions, deployments and terrain set ups will give this game a lot of longevity.
This is where the real meat is. While matched play is great and works very well, its Warcry’s Campaign system that has the most meat. In this game mode, your characters grow and improve, and you will get to forge a narrative with your warband. Some will collect artifacts, or destiny, and some will permanently die.You can also take over territories and even recruit some gribblies. Granted, its progression system is not a detailed as Mordheim’s was, and in some ways thats a good thing. Either way one of the most rewarding ways to play is in a campaign and i would highly recommend it. Even for pickup games as each campaign is meant to be personal to the player and the warband. Which means even a random pickup game can go towards your warbands advancement. Assuming of course your opponents don’t mind or aren’t looking to play matched play.
While not particularly exciting, it does manage to stay balanced. That isn’t to say its boring, the game even at its most basic is fun to play. What this mode does is ensure that the terrain setup and objective are balanced for either side. This, combined with a very simple rules set and relative lack of randomness (for a miniatures game with dice anyways) make for a very compelling matched play environment. The book even includes stuff for how to organize a tournament. Which shows that GW is interested in fostering a tournament scene with this game.
Yep, this comes with rules for having games with multiple people. You have rules for team games and even free for all matches. Sadly, we haven’t been able to test this one, but it honestly looks like a lot of fun. I’m looking forward to trying this one out in a big big brawl of four players.
I am really loving this game, for me it has finally scratched that itch. Some of the old players looking for a reprint of Mordheim may find themselves discouraged. However, i would urge them to at least give this game a try. It is honestly a lot of fun and is very easy to pick up and learn. There are not a lot of situations where rules conflicts come up. In fact I didn’t run into any at all. Either way I highly recommend this game, as Games Workshop did a really good job here.
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A big thanks to Games Workshop for the images provided for our article.