Wednesday 18 February 2015

This Month I Have Mostly Been Playing.......... Warhammer Quest

I've not been posting much recently, partly because I've not been buying much new stuff, or indeed painting very much, somewhat shockingly I've actually been using my hobby time to play lots of games!  Well technically one game, but many times.  That game is the absolute classic Warhammer Quest.

It was around mid-December after a discussion about the forthcoming Dungeon Saga from Mantic Games, the idea of a game of Warhammer Quest was mooted, always keen for a good dungeon bash I happily headed upstairs to get the box.  Two months and many dungeons later we've just reached level 6 (of 10), we've been playing at least once and often twice a week in sessions lasting between 5 to 7 hours.  I can't remember the last time I've done so much gaming in such a small space of time.

A hairy moment from this evenings game

I love Warhammer Quest, I think it's the best game from Games Workshop that I've ever played, and my copy of the game is one of my most prized possessions, but why is it so good?  I think it comes down to two things, one is the co-operative nature of the game, it makes a nice change for you all to be on the same side for once.  The key mechanic I think though is the one of random dungeon generation, you never know what room, monster or event is coming next or where that crucial objective room is.  This does mean that sometimes it all gets a bit much and you get swamped by masses of monsters and die horribly.  This is especially true at lower levels before you have a cart load of useful treasure items trailing behind you.

The other great thing is that even with the basic boxed game you have three distinct ways of playing.  The first is to grab the four warriors out of the box roll up a random adventure and off you go (almost certainly to your doom).  The roleplay book contains two more ways to play, the first is a 'roleplay-lite' game which allows you to level up your warriors, visit settlements and face tougher monsters, all using random tables and cards and without the need for a gamesmaster (this is the way we always play).  The second mode of play from the roleplay book is the guidelines for a proper full on roleplaying game with gamesmaster and pre-determined dungeons, this isn't for me, but adds huge scope for those with the energy and vision to create those adventures.

A starting party of adventurers soon to meet their fate
Another thing the roleplaying book provides is an extensive bestiary of baddies from the Warhammer world for you to smash your way through everything from Snotlings to Bloodthirsters.  Rules are provided for greenskins, skaven, undead, chaos, dark elves, chaos dwarves and a whole bunch of generic monsters.  These are arranged in monster tables so the monsters get harder as you progress up the battle levels.  This is important as it keeps the challenge fresh, every time you level up you end up facing new monsters with new abilities that need different tactics to beat, you have to think hard as by this point you've grown attached to your warriors and don't want to see them die. 

Even with the variety provided by the monster tables I've found in the past that enthusiasm tends to wane around level 6 (which is where we've just reached), which leads me to what was meant to be the point of this post;  Whilst the monster tables are very well done and provide a satisfying range of stuff to kill from start to finish there are two areas that start off fine but after the twentieth dungeon start to feel a little unsatisfying and repetitive, the dungeon rooms and lack of treasure variety.  Well I've gone and done something about it......

The new treasure deck nearly 12cm high!

Everyone likes to get cool treasure items, and in Warhammer Quest the clever use of the right items can make all the difference, however there are only so many in the basic game and you soon start getting the same stuff over and over again.  GW actually published a lot more treasure cards, three packs you could buy separately, plus a few cards in the lair of the orc lord and catacombs of terror expansions and even a few in white dwarf.  I've printed them all off and put them in deck protectors and the main treasure deck now has just under 170 cards in it, which should keep us going for a while!

More importantly for me are getting hold of some new dungeon rooms, whilst I love the way the dungeon generates randomly, I've always found it a bit unsatisfying that all the corridors and dungeon rooms in the main game are exactly the same, I've always felt the rooms especially needed a little bit of simple differentiation to give them that little bit more flavour.  I think GW knew this as well as both the lair of the orc lord and the catacombs of terror included some new rooms and corridors that started to add that simple variety, and I'd managed to print these rooms off some time ago, but I was still hankering for more.  So after quite a bit of searching and killing an ink cartridge or two I've expanded my room selection quite considerably.

Adding a bit more flavour to the random dungeon bash
There's a lot more rooms out there than I've printed off, but I've been quite picky.  I didn't want anything too radical, a simple special rule or new shape per room is fine.  Also I rejected a lot of rooms which although I thought the rules were fine the artwork just wasn't good enough (not that I'm claiming I could do any better), I wanted it to look natural next to the rooms that I already had.

As I was doing all this I realised that it was really about time I painted the plastic doors that are used to link the rooms together, I haven't spent too much time on them though.  Just a quick spray with the grey can and then a coating with black wash.  I  might come back and add some more details later, they're hardly works of art, but they do look a lot more 'natural' when playing the game and it's something I should have done years ago.

Warhammer Quest also provides a good excuse to pick up a few random fantasy models and still be able to use them without needing a whole army.  The Manticore above is a new addition to my collection, more for practical reasons than ooo that's a nice model reasons.  It's a plastic mini from an old boardgame called Darkworld which was a heroquest type thing.  This one came in a job lot off of ebay and is slightly damaged, and although I already have a better metal GW Manticore model this one fits on a 25mm base which makes it far more practical in the dark confines of a dungeon.  He will find himself representing a lot of cockatrices, gorgons, griffons, hippogriffs and even the odd Manticore over the next few weeks.

I'd just like to finish with a few recommendations of the websites that I found the most useful when looking for extra stuff to expand our games with:

Beyond the Grey Mountains
Quests of Legend
Warhammer Quest Chronicles
Warhammer Quest Museum

Wednesday 4 February 2015

Start of My Kings of War Nature Army

A little while I backed Mantic's Kings of War second edition kickstarter, not pledging a huge amount, but enough to get the rulebook, plus the bonus stuff, and a Forces of Nature starter army.  After the kickstarter had finished we had a quick play with the first edition rules and that whetted my appetite to start preparing for when the kickstarter package finally arrives.

Lets start with what are the only minis actually currently available to the Forces of Nature, these two special character Druids with their pet dogs.  I used my Mantic points to get these for free and I think they're rather good.

Well that's it for the Forces of Nature proper for now, but the Kings of War allies rules are flexible enough (especially since the Forces of Nature have a 'neutral' alignment) that several other bits and bobs that I'd acquired over the last few years (mainly from crazy boxes) will fit straight in.  These Elf archers are a good start, I could have just used my high elf archers of course, but I had these and am looking forward to being able to field a pure Kings of War force.

Next up is this small unit of Basilean men-at-arms.  They're not the greatest minis in the world, but I think they look OK once they've had a lick of paint on them.  I'm also not sure how useful a small unit of average infantry will be, but I suppose I will see.

I've not started them yet but the panther riders from the 2014 crazy box will definitely be a useful addition to the force.  Somehow they seem quite appropriate as forces of nature allies as well.

I also had these ogres from the 2013 crazy box that can slot straight into the army as possible allies.

That's it for now, hopefully I'll get the panther riders painted up before the new stuff turns up later in the year.

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