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11/29/2014

Xathrodox86 reviews: "Chaos in the Old World"

A fun and challenging game, "Chaos in the Old World" lets you become one of the four (or five if you count the expansion) Chaos Gods, whose ultimate goal is the destruction of Warhammer world. However, as Chaos itself, it can be fickle and capricious, and to be honest, completely unfair.

Now YOU can be a God too!
I've played "Chaos in the Old World" back in 2009 with my former RPG group. It was a nice change from our weekly gaming sessions and it, along with "A game of Thrones" has shown me that board games can be just as fun to play as any PnP. That said I was rather surprised that during my first game ever I've managed to beat all three of my buds while playing Khorne. They've told me back then that it was perfecty normal and that not all Gods are equal. I was able toconfirm that claim, when I've bought the game myself, just a month ago. Since then I've played it twice and each time had a lot of fun doing so. That said, "Chaos in the Old World" can be considered an unbalanced game and thus will probably sit ill with all those, who like fairness and equal opportunities on their boards. Now I don't claim that it is a perfect product, far from it. However I think that the lack of balance is actually it's biggest strength. But first things first.

Whole game in a nutshell
"Chaos in the Old World" is produced by Fantasy Flight Games, a company with which I have a mixed and, let's be honest, strained relationship. On one hand both their RPG's and their board games are beautifully made, full of details and are always a great addition to one's collection. On the other hand, most of their games have horribly written and hard to interpret rules, their RPG's in general are God-awfully unplayable and every single one of their product is overpriced. So you can probably guess that I was rather scepticall when deciding to buy this game with a single expansion called "Horned Rat". Fortunately it turned out better than expected and, despite a hefty price tag, made for a very entertaining evening killer.


In the game, which can be played by minimum 3 and maximum 5 (if you have the expansion) players, you take the role of one of the great Gods of Chaos, Khorne, Nurgle, Tzeentch Slaanesh or the Horned Rat. The goal of the game is the complete and utter domination of the Old World, which is represented by it's most iconic countries (or regions as they are called in game), namely the Empire, Bretonnia, Kislev, Norsca, Troll Country, Estalia, Tilea, Border Princes and Bad Lands. Players can achieve victory by three means: either reach level 50. on the domination table, destroy five regions utterly or reach maximum level on their "power meter". Also once you run out of random event cards the game is over, but it's hardly a victory now, is it?

Pictured: a hand of (Chaos) God... literally!

Each God levels up by achieve this by fulfilling certain requirements. These are:

Khorne: killing everything that moves and letting the Blood God to sort 'em out (killing enemy models in layman's terms)

Nurgle: placing two or more corruption tokens in populated areas on the map, such as Empire or Bretonnia

Tzeentch: placing two or more corruption tokens in the area, which has two or more magic symbols and/or warpstone tokens

Slaanesh: placing two or more corruption tokens in an area where there are two or more noble and/or hero tokens

Horned Rat: dominating a region with two or more Skaven tokens on it

When players gain levels they recieve various rewards. This include free points, free troops and upgrade cards that can boost their units and gameplay in general.

The Old World is slowly consumed by darkness...
Every game starts with randomly choosing an event that will afflict a whole world. It can be a peasant revolution or a visit from the elven mage Teclis. Each event is usually both rewarding and punishing, and a cunning player can use it to it's advantage. For example during my last game, two most populated regions (Empire and Bretonnia) could only be under influence of a single Chaos card. This made us rely on our Cultists and warriors more than on spells. Fun times.

After that the Gods use their power points to summon minions (Cultists, Warriors and Greater Daemons) or play Chaos cards that can boost their forces or be a nuisance to the other players. Khorne is always first, followed by Nurgle then Tzeentch, then Slaanesh and finally the Horned Rat. Each God can only spend a single power point per round, until they've all run out of them or opt to pass their round in the queue. Then it's battle time. As with anything in "Chaos in the Old World", battles take place in order of regions, going from north to south. Once the battles are done, the region's domination is determined. The player with more units and Chaos card cost wins and dominates the region, gaining points equal to the region's value. Certain game elements, such as Skaven tokens can weaken the region's resistance, while others, like "Peasant uprising" can strengthen it.

Then comes the time for CORRUPTION. Every player places one corruption token, for each Cultist he has in any region. Again this is determined in a strict sequence from north to south. Skaven are uniqe in this in that they're not placing corruption tokens by themselves but their basic troops (Clanrats) are treated as corruption tokens.
Now it's worth mentioning that once the corruption in any given region reaches 12 or more, this region is ruined and the player that corrupted it the most recieves a hefty sum of victory points, while the second best also gets a (smaller) reward. Ruin five regions and it's game over. Why this is important? Because every region can be corrupted by two players max and it's the number of corruption tokens/Cultists that counts. Also only the tokens that have been placed in the turn of ruination are counted towards victory in the region. I think you see now that the Skaven have in fact the easiest way of gaining points for destroying the Old World.

Just some Chaos Cultists doing what they do best
 So now that I've presented you with the overiew of the game, you'll probably wonder what's my opinion on it? Generally I like it a lot. Not only is it wonderfully crafted, the board, the cards and figurines are simply gorgeous, but also it's very easy to learn and fast to play. Seriously, it's one of the faster games the FFG ever made, and this is the company which is known for making board games that took a lot of time to play. Even with five players, each game can be finished in 2 to 3 hours max, and each one can be completely unpredictable and, well, chaotic.

That pun WAS intended.

Second great (and bad) thing about "Chaos in the Old World" is that it promotes different styles from different Gods, and I know that it sounds obvious but let me explain. I'm going to use the example of Khorne, who my friends and myself, consider a bit OP.

Just take it easy, big guy...
In the beginning of this review I've remarked that it's not a balanced game and it is. Of all the five Gods, it is Khorne who is the strongest. He has the smallest amount of Cultists but biggest number of very strong warriors and his Chaos cards and upgrade cards give him insane buffs (like giving all his cult troops the ability to fight). Also he can potentially win in the easiest way possible, by killing enemy troops from the very beginning of the game. While this does sound broken (and in fact it is IMO), Khorne can still be beaten. Other Gods can counter him in many ways, each of them remarkable on its own and showing just why each God can be insanely fun to play. Tzeentch can teleport other units and his troops around the map. He also has the largest pool of Chaos Cards that can be played for 0 points, that means for free. Nurgle is a tough, old bastard who can easily corrupt world's regions and later in game has the ability to summon free Cultists, while Slaanesh can make his troops virtually immune to attacks (only those rolled with 6" on the die can hurt them) and is a master of trolling other players, along with Tzeentch, by taking control of their troops or sending neutral heroes at them. Horned Rat is the funniest of all in my opinion. Not only has he an upgrade that treats all regions with Skaven tokens, as adjacent to each other, and thus allowing his troops to move through entire map almost freely, but he can also boost health of each of his units by 1 with a certain Chaos card.

You see where I'm going with this? Yes, the player controlling the Lord of Skulls has potentially the easiest way of winning, but he can still be beaten. In the case of our last game, Khorne won because A) we didn't run away from him (a valid tactic in this case), B) we didn't blocked him and C) we didn't unite against him. Ah yes, I've neraly forgot to tell you that this game benefits from the "Game of Thrones" boardgame syndrome of stabbing your mates in the back. Remember, it's easier to win if you are strentghtened by an unholy alliance. Just watch your back. After all, the Gods of the Warp are fickle beings...
Typical "Chaos..." game. Not pictured is the Horned Rat, who is simply too sneaky to be seen
Another issue we had a problem with was the Horned Rat. The exapnsion which lets one of the players take command of the Great Horned One, comes not only with a tide of sneaky vermin, but also with completely new set of Chaos cards, called the Morrslieb Deck (which cannot be mixed with "normal" Chaos cards) and a couple new Old World events. While the new deck is indeed a nice addition, as it weakens most of the Gods and takes care of some of the balance issues, the Skaven themselves are incredibly strong. Not only have they a lot of Cultists, or Clanrats in this case, but their Chaos cards and upgrade cards are insanely benefficial. I've already written about the +1 health card, but another allows the Skaven player to summon a Vermin Lord Greater Daemon to any region he wishes. Combine that with an Old World event card that spawns Skaven tokens like crazy, and you have one, happy rat player by your table. Horned Rat is so riddicolously mobile, that it's really hard to keep up with him, and the way he recieves points for dominating regions, makes it that he is right behind Khorne in the "broken-as-shit" department. Remember that Skaven gain points for dominating a region which has their token present, which in itself weakens the region by one point each. Oh and did I forget to mention that one of the Chaos cards allows the Rat player to move Skaven tokens around and that they stack? Yeah...

Die-die foolish man-things!
Of course there is a way to counter the furry bastard. His warriors are rather weak and the best way to deal with a Skaven player is to block his attempts at casting Chaos cards. Oh and the Horned Rat has only one deck of these, while other Gods can use either the Morrslieb set or the basic one.


Also he has the cutest Greater Daemon in the whole game. Dawwwww
The final issue, but that's the one that has nothing to do with game balance, is a price. As with every FFG game, the price is high. For both the basic set and an expansion, I've paid 75 $. That's quite a sum, but in all fairness the game is worth the money, and it's not like I'll have to buy a hundred more addons, like in the case of "Talisman" or the "Game of Thrones". Besides it's not like I'm not aware of FFG's money grubbing policy. At least with them it is somewhat justified.

So for the "Chaos in the Old World" my final verdict is: a huge 8 out of 10. While it as its flaws and isn't balanced at all, it's still fun as hell to play. I definetly reccomend this game to any board games and Warhammer fans out there. It takes some getting used to, but if you'll accept it's unfairness, "Chaos in the Old World" will satisfy all your world-destructing needs. It's a perfect game to suppliment the oncoming End Times event, the WFB is currently subjected to. Give it a try.

Pros:

-Challenging and fun to play
-The randomness of the game is awesome
-Beautifully made
-Lets you play as one of the Gods of Chaos!

Cons:

-Khorne and the Horned Rat can be considered broken
-It's expensive
-The figurines can easily brake. Take care when dealing with them

It is definetly worth it

Until next time!

Xathrodox86

11/23/2014

Ending the End Times and a bit of whining

It has been a long and, I won't lie, kinda hard road for me these past weeks.

I think I've thrown myself in at the deep end with this End Times stuff. There were tons of rules and special characters, whom I needed to describe in sufficient way. While fun and challenging, it was also very time consuming and for one who never did this stuff before, simply draining. You know how it is: you start a blog, have a thousand different ideas for articles, but had decided (and announced) that you'll do a multi-part review and during the third post about topic X you start to wonder "how much longer do I have to write this?". Of course now that I actually managed to do that, the next End Times book review will go much smoother. At least I hope so. Fortunately it will be some time, before I'll decide to take a shot at "End Times vol. 2 Glottkin".
But enough with the whining. Let's get down to buisness.

Concluding my impromtu review of the "End Times vol. 1 Nagash" game supplement, are closer looks on Valten and Vardek Crom, the only two non-undead characters in the book.

Valten, Champion of Sigmar

Valten is back baby! While no longer beign the Sigmar incarnate, the young Blacksmith is still a welcome addition to the Emperor's armies. For 330 points you get the basic, unupgraded Valten with no armour save (altough he has a 4+ WS) and two mundane hand weapons, while the cavalry version costs 475 pts and grants him barded warhose, full plate armour and Ghal-Maraz (as is the case with every Empire character, Valten dosen't belive in shields). Sadly the End Times got rid of his "final form", the one that essentialy made him Sigmar reborn.

Because we can't have cool things during the Apocalypse
Valten is perfect for placing inside a huge block of infantry such as Halberderiers or Greatswords as he grants any friendly unit within 6" Stubborn special rule. He is also Immune to Psychology and has the "Champion of Sigmar" special rule which not only grants him a 4+ Ward Save, but also allows him to channel the power of Man-God. Once per game Valten can increase his stats (WS, Strength, Toughness and Attacks) by D3. Holy crap! This potentialy can make him a WS 10 S 7 T 7 A 7 close combat monster! With this ability Valten is perfect for facing Neferata, as her bullshit dagger won't hurt him as much as other Empire characters. But wait, that's not all! Our favorite Blacksmith also has the "Iron Resolve" rule, which means that when he gets killed (first unsaved wound that removes him as casualty), his controlling player can test Valten's LD. If the roll is successfull, he stays in play. This even works on stuff like Heroic Killing Blow. Nice!

In my opinion Valten is simply awesome. I'd personally always take the upgraded version of him and put him into a unit of 10+ IC Knights with some nice magic standard (Razor Standard always works well with Empire Knights) and a Warrior Priest for those extra buffs. This kind of unit basically guarantees that your opponent will either avoid it like hell (hard to do with Razor Standard) or throw everything at it, thus easing the preassure on your other units/heroes.

Feed me enemies!

Vardek Crom, Herald of Archaon

Vardek Crom, known also as Crom the Conqueror is GW's failed attempt at being smart with pop culture references. For 230 points (cheap!) he is a nicely kitted out Chaos Lord whose main role is fighting challenges and killing off enemy characters, and unlike Krell, he is actually good at his job. While his gear is nothing special (Chaos Armour, Axe, Sword and Shield) it's his individual rules that make him terryfining to any potential opponents.

First of all Crom MUST issue and accept any challenge, even if he is in a unit with other special characters ("Immense Pride"). His "Way of the Warrior" rule allows him to swap combat styles between Sword & Shield and Sword & Axe. The first one grants him a +2 bonus to his armour save and a 5+ parry save. Simply. awesome. The second option is also tasty, as it gives him +3 attacks, instead of only +1 from the second hand weapon. Both of these styles work great in challenges and general combat. Just like Valten, Crom is great and I highly reccomend him to any Chaos Player out there. For 230 points he's practically a steal, and sticking him into a nice, big block of infantry turns said unit into a real threat to his opponents.

The only downside to Crom is that he got owned by Valten, who is clearly a superior combatant (duh!). Also I'm totally not taking any sides here, no sir.

Pussy
Well, this is it. This is the final (for some time at least) article about the End Times from me. On next tuseday I'll post a review about a wee boardgame, that I've aquired recently and then I'll probably share some of my experience as a long time RPG player and Game Master. After that I'll probably return to the End Times with a review of "Glottkin".

Oh and one more thing. Between "Nagash" and "Glottkin", there'll be a small rant from me concerning the overall status of End Times, my general thoughts on the whole event and why it's heading in a bad direction. Expect more on this soon. 

Until next time!

Xathrodox86

11/20/2014

Every evil needs a sidekick

Also: writing is HARD. As you may have noticed, I've changed the entry from my greeting card from "updated every tuseday, thursday and sunday" to: "updated twice a week". Everyday mundane stuff is taking its toll on my editorial work, and so I have to stay flexible. But fear not, the blog WILL be updated twice a week. Now back to our scheduled program.

With the release of "End Times vol. 1 Nagash", Warhammer players from all around the world have been introduced to Mortarchs, lieutenants of Great Necromancer. So far only five of nine got their stats and in some cases, new models. More could be covered later, or not, we shall see. However the ones that have been released are certainly interesting and, quite frankly, scary as hell.

Which kinda fits their theme to be honest
In this article I'll cover every single one of them. As usual this analysis will consist of the short character summary, and my thoughts on its strengths and weaknesses. Bear in mind that I don't want to bore you to death, so these won't be super long, just informative.

Without further ado let us start with...

Mannfred von Carstein, Mortarch of Night

Mannfred is back and he's nastier than ever before. One of the two original perpetrators behind the return of Nagash, the youngest von Carstein is no slouch both in combat and the arcane arts. He is a level 4 wizard with access to Death, Vampire and Undeath lores. His Dread Abyssal boosts his stats considerably (they cannot be separated) and makes him a truly wicked beast in CQC with WS 7 and 9 attacks, not to mention 10 wounds. Mannfred's "Dark Cunning" special rule grants him additional attacks when he fights other opponents, and extra power dice when he's outside combat. Nice! His two magic items are quite interesting. While his sword, Gheistvor, is really good, granting a single magic dice for each unsaved wound, the Armour of Templehof is kinda meh as it's a 5+ armour that provides its wearer with +2 wounds (already included). wizrd All that for 650 points which is not bad.

I can easily see Mannfred be in the thick of battle, scything down chaff units and giving himself a huge bost in magic dice. However his weak AS of 4+ (plus one for his mount) makes him incredibly vulnerable to warmachine fire and cetain spells, especially from the Lore of Light. Use him with care and he will provide.

I also consider his model to be the most dynamic of all the Mortarchs

Next we have...

Arkhan the Black, Mortarch of Sacrament(o)

Nagash BFF and the one to orchestrate the whole "ressurection" shtick, Arkhan returns to the realm of Fantasy Battle, but without his pimping chariot this time. Instead, like Mannfred and Khalida, he rides a Dread Abyssal that boosts his stats (again they are treated as one model). Also he is no longer a level 5 wizard and can only use the Lore of Death and Undeath. Hmmm... That said he can summon double the points of Undead cronies, so in theory he's a kind of mini-Nagash and regains his wounds vampire style. That said he should not be used as a frontline unit. WS 4 and S 5 ain't exactly stunning stats and even with combined profiles, Arkhan should be treated solely as a caster and support unit.


He even looks kinda like his boss, only smaller and more jolly

Vlad von Carstein, Mortarch of Shadow

One of the two Mortarchs, who don't have their Dread Abyssals, Vlad has been returned to unlife by Nagash himself and has been on the forefront of the End Times ever since. With impressive stat line (WS 7 and I 7!) and his fabled ring once again in his possession, Vlad is both dangerous as a melee opponent and a caster, albeit one of the weaker ones in the Mortarch borther and sisterhood. With the ability to call on the lores of Death, Vampire, Undeath and Shadow and having his Hunger special rule resolved at a roll of 4+, he can easily be seen at the forefron of Nagash's armies. However he dosen't have a Dread Abyssal at his command, so that limits him a bit in the sheer force department. On the other hand he can join units and benefit from "Look out sir!" special rule so there's that.

One of the most important changes to Vlad is the removal of his "Beloved in Death" rule and replacing it with the "Mortarch of Shadow" which gives every opponent a -1 to hit penalty and a -1 LD when they are near him. I don't really need to point out that Vlad is best fielded against low LD armies, like Skaven and Empire.

This one's not so jolly tough


Queen Neferata, Mortarch of Blood

Whooo boy, we have a hard one here. Neferata is back and in my humble opinion, she's the strongest of Mortarchs availabe at the moment. The Mistress of Silver Peak is na absolute MONSTER in close combat with WS 8, S 5 and I 9 (like Mannfred and Arkhan she's got a combined profile with her Dread Abyssal) but that's not where her true power lies. You see she has the ASF special rule, which confers to the Thunderstomp ability of her mount. Not to mention a high chance of re-rolls to hit. Ouch! But that's not all. The Akmet-kar, her dagger PERMANENTLY lowers the S, T and A charcteristics of characters whom she wounded in a challenge.

Jesus. Christ

Granted she can do this only once for each character, but in case of Elves and Humans it's a huge boon for her controlling player and one that is her strongest side. But that's not all. Her "Mortarch of Blood" special; rule means that every enemy character she offs in CQC, will return as a basic vampire. Dear God... Her role is thus quite obvious. Say goodbye to your characters because Neferata's here to get rid of them. Painfully. On the plus side she's "only" a level 3 caster, with access to lores of Death, Undeath, Shadow and Vampire and costs 650 points, but stil... Talk about an OP character.

Behold! The most sexy powerhouse in the entire Old World

Krell, Mortarch of Despair

Lastly we come to Krell, the Mortarch of Despair and a second one with no mount. I like him the least of all of Nagash's lieutenants to be honest. At 250 points and not really packing a punch with rather weak stats (WS 5 and S 4 with 4 wounds) and a 4+ save, Krell should really be stuck with a unit of Grave Guard, backed by some protective magic items/spells. His Armour of the Barrows has the potential of making enemy magic weapons mundane again, but it's a far cry from Malekith's signature blade. Krell's axe is quite nice, with the D3 wounds special rule and having a potential to continue wounding already nicked enemy characters in subsequent turns. Pretty cool but it requires a fight with similar or weaker character than him, and this could be a problem since Krell sucks, to be honest. The "Champion  of Nagash" special rule is situational at best and even with the new Lords and Heroes rule requires a lot of points, since you have to have both Nagahs and Krell in the same army and close to each other. His "Mortarch of Despair" rule gives him back a single wound, every time an enemy nearby fails his Fear or Terror (which Krell actually causes) test so I guess Krell is awesome against armies such as Skaven or O&G's, but that's it really.

Bottom point: I don't think he's worth it. Krell relies too much on caster and magic item support to be effective and for an ex-Khorne warrior he's pretty bad in close combat. Spend those points on more Skeletons or some nice magic bling for your characters/units.

No wonder the Blood God let Nagash have him
So that's it for this article. I apologize once again for the delay in posting stuff, but during the last week or so I'be been totally occupied with some home improvement stuff and my job can be quite demanding at times. That said I've promised to deliver you regular updates and wish to fulfill this vow. So tommorow or on saturday I'll write about Valten and Krom and then move to other stuff. Expect a review of a certain board game.

Until next time!

Xathrodox86

11/10/2014

The rules of (undead) engagement

The time has come. For my third End Times post, I'll present to you the choicest rules and the character of Nagash himself!


Bear in mind that I won't be covering both End Times in 100% detail but will concentrate on the most interesting rules and special characters. I don't want to write an essay here, just an enjoyable hobby article. Oh and no fluff this time. This entry is crunch only.


Mind you, the word "enjoyable" has been removed from the vocabulary of most Old Worlder's
Also I really want to move towards new things, mainly reviews and my personal thoughts about RPG's. That means no Glottkin rules/crunch review for some time. However the next two posts will be about the rest of special characters from the End Times book "Nagash".


New rules in "End Times vol. 1 Nagash"


Introduced in the first End Times book "Nagash" we have rules for underground fighting called the "Darkest Depths", which include, among other things, falling stalactites and cave-ins. These rules almost guarantee that each turn every combatant will lose some of his troops to these natural phenomenon. Oh and did I mention that all magic and shooting attacks have maximum range of 24"? Cool stuff.

Another new feature is called "Hauned Battlegrounds" and is mainly about fighting in spooky places like Gardens of Morr (cemetaries) and forests. Every necromancer and undead lover will have an easier time casting spells. Also Undead and Nehekharan units will be harder to kill, since they take one less wound due to Unstable special rule and Ethereal units will have their stats buffed a bit in Haunted Forests. Altough GW does not want to give out too much goodies to the restless dead by granting them the punishment in the form of statue of Morr. Every round they fight within 6" of the monument, at the end of the shooting phase they take D6 S4 magical hits... if the controlling player rolls a 6 on a standard dice. Nice!

Now one of the biggest new additions to the game is the Lore of Undeath, which can be officialy taken by any wizard in the game, since Nagash has returned and it is easier for everyone to become a necromancer. Yeah, you've heard that. Now your merry Bright Wizard can easily rise a horde of skellingtons if he wishes it. This lore is based mainly on summoning nasty critters every round to the field of battle. Depending on the Wizard's level you can staisfy yourself with a small unit of zombies or... one of the Mortarchs! It is even possible to summon Nagash himself thanks to the Lore's Attribute!


Just be sure to bring the right mini this time
The last, but surely the biggest change in "Nagash" book is the introduction of Undead Legions. Simply put, you can now field both the Vampire Counts and the Tomb Kings armies with new special rules. Among them are: the ability to ally with any army in the game, but only if you're playing a 3+ player battle, no more crumbling with the death of army's general, the ability for nehekharan models to march if they're within 12" of the general and more. Needless to say this changes the game A LOT. Chaos will recieve similar list in its "Glottkin" book.

I've written about the retuirn of Herohammer in my last post, but now I bring you the details. With the introduction of End Times it is possible to now spend 50% of your army's points on Lords and Heroes. You still need to retain the 25% of Core troops but needless to say, the old Herohammer is back. For good or worse.


New characters in "End Times vol. 1 Nagash"

The End Times have brought us plethora of new and old special characters for those nice duels to the death that we love. I'll cover every one of them in my next three posts with small summary of their strenghts and weaknesses. Let us start with...

Nagash, the Supreme Lord of Undeath

Hooooly crap, the old bony bastard is back and he means buisness! At an impressive 1000 points Nagash is a powerhouse of a model with all stats at the value of 7 (except M, I and Attacks) and a I10. To make it even better he's a natural level 5 wizard with the axcess to the Lore of Death, Nehekhara, Vampires, Undeath and Light. Jeeeeez! Even Teclis is level 5 because of a book. All friendly Undead models suffer one less wound when within the 12" of Nagash and he causes Terror and is a Monstrous Creature.

His gear is equally impressive but not over the top, as I initially expected. Nagash bears the Zefet-nebtar, the Mortis Blade, which gives his attacks a +1 strength and a D3 wounds per hit special rule. Not bad. He also has in his posessions Alakansah, the Staff of Power. This handy little item allows his to store up to 4 power dice inside and use them to channel up his spells (he can cast from whooping 10 POWER DICE!) or to discharge them during CC and grant himself a Heroic Killing Blow special rule (one per dice). He can't use those rules in the same turn that he stored the dice mind you. Now that's what I'm talking about! Mortis in itself is quite ordinary but combined with Alakanash it can become the bane of any monster/special character in the game. With his stats and gear Nagash can easily go toe to toe with Greater Daemons of Chaos and even Ascended Karl Franz can be troubled by him. He's a friggin beast and no mistake.

Bu that's not all. Even the Great Necromancer can be vulnerable to blows, and so he comes with the  Morikhane, the Black Armour which gives him a 4+ armour save and a 4+ ward save. Not bad, but his AP value is easily his biggest weakness and the opposing army's only real boon against him.


Altough that exposed midriff is sexy as hell
Finally there are the Nine Books of Nagash, which bear all his necromantic knowledge, that he managed to accumulate during the millenia of his un-life. With them the Great Necromancer knows nine spells, with Ryze - the Grave Call as his prime one. The oher he generates from the Lores of: Undead, Death, Nehekhara, Light and Vampire. It is possible to choose for example 3 spells from the Lore of Death and 5 from the Lore of Light. Sky's the limit here.

At this moment Nagash is easily one of the strongest in-game characters in 8th edition. His monstrous stats combined with his magical capapbilities are incredible and any opposing player should be weary of him. However I do not think that he's overpowered. Like any Monstorus Creature he suffers greatly from allergic to warmachines, and Dwarfs with their runic cannons will be the bane of the Great Necromancer. Also remeber that he costs 1000 points and is just one model. No matter how tough, if you lose him that's 1K points down the drain. Bear that in mind.


You called?
Since ol' Bonehead has been out for quite some time now, I've managed to do a little research and the results are pretty interesting. Most players don't push him into combat, as initially many of us thought, but instead let him camp behind their lines and summon the endless hodes of Undead. With his insane power level and magic items, Nagash can easily double the size of your average army in just two turns. This means that if you're facing him be sure to not only bring a lot of heavy firepower but also tons and tons of spell casters. Personally I'd ignore him as an opponent in combat and just concentrate on blocking his summoning attempts. Even with the new and improved Karl Franz, I still think that this is a better idea.

So there it is. My entry on Nagash. Tommorow I'll cover his lieutenants, the Mortarchs and after that the final entry will be about Valten and Vardek Crom. Then... I think I'll review something.

Until next time guys.

Xathrodox86

11/04/2014

It's comparison time!

This post was supposed to be about the End Times crunch and rules, but I've figured that since the Glottkin will be released very soonish, I just might do a bit of comparing stuff. You know, because comparisons are always fun, right?

That and the fact that I'll do the crunch post when the newest addition to the End Times will be released. That means very, very soon.

Or else...
As for this post... the title says it all! The End Times have been running for quite some time now, and with Glottkin book just around the corner I was wondering what my fellow geeks think about the whole endeavor, when compared to the infamous Storm of Chaos, the previous major campaign, set in the universe of Warhammer Fantasy Battles. Oh, and in case if you're wondering, no, I did not forgot about the Nemesis Crown incident. Altough I wish I had, just as most of the us, WFB players.

WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD!

Now I'll be the first to say that I... actually liked the SoC. Yeah, you've heard it right. When the SoC began I was having a renaissance when it came to WFB. I was still collecting girly HElves, but I loved every bit of fluff about this campaign as a whole. From the fact that it was global and player-determined to the new army lists and models, everything about Storm of Chaos got me sold, hook, line and sinker. When the event came to close I was genuinely sad (and a little buffled when it came to the final battle between Valten, Archaon and the arch-headbutter Grimgor Ironhide ;) ).

Some time later I began playing, then GMing WFRP 2Ed. For those of you that don't know, second edition takes place after the SoC and the PC's usually travel through devasted Empire and it's neighbouring lands. There are mentions of Valten, Gotrek and Felix, the Middenheim book describes the wounds that the City of White Wolf suffered during the siege and so on. As an RPG player I have the best and fondest memories, when it comes to WFRP 2nd edition, which mechanic system is still the best I've ever saw in any PnP game. You can't go wrong with it.

Usually
What the SoC failed to do however was progressing the plot. At the end everything pretty much returned to "normal". Archaon fell back, Teclis and company returned to Ulthuan and Empire began the process of rebuilding itself. Everything was a-ok.
Things are quite opposite in the case of End Times campaign. Old World goes down the drain. Between Dark Gods and Nagash, the Empire and the rest of the world is in deep shit. From the Skaven-infested Tilea to the Chaos-besieged north, everywhere is grim, dark and misreable. Just like Warhammer players like it. But there's more! For the first time in many years, the official campaign made by GW will actually move the plot of the game forward!

But once again I'm starying away from the main topic of this post. What are the similarities and differences between the two campaigns? Which one is better? Altough The End Times are still in progress, the revelations that GW had already treated us with, are major and game-changing so I've decided to compare and rate both of them. I can do that, after all this is my private, completely unofficial gamer's Hyde Park. I'll begin with SoC and then move to the End Times. Bear in mind, this won't be a point by point comparsion, more like a collection of my individual thoughts.

1. The Storm of Chaos (2004)

For starters both campaigns are bringing huge changes to the world or at least attempt to. The Storm of Chaos was about the largest Chaos incursion since the time of Asavar Kul and the battle at the gates of Kislev. Two of the main characters were Archaon, and ex-Templar of Sigmar and the leader of combined hosts of the four Gods of Chaos, and Valten, the avatar of Sigmar, patron deity of the Empire. The whole story was mainly about these two fine chaps and their merry exploits. There was a huge supporting cast, which included all of the Empire's Elector Counts, the elven mage Teclis, the Archaon's lieutenants and Luthor Huss, a sigmarite warrior priest, who discovered Valten and claimed that he was Sigmar reborn.

Now here's where things start to get a little bumpy with SoC. While Archaon is portrayed very well and given a good cause for the destruction of the Old World, Valten is severly lacking. He is supposed to be the avatar of the Empire's founder, but the young lad has the charisma of a flower pot. In fact it is stated that he almost never speaks and Huss is doing all of the talking. That's kinda schizofrenic when you remember that Sigmar was able to unite the tribes of the realms of men single-handedly, using only his charisma, wits and sometimes copious amounts of asskicking. Only the Bretons (Bretonians) said "non" to his offer of unity and common purpose.

Remaining a backwater country is fun! Chivaaaalryyyyy!

The whole campaign was extremly popular, gathering players from all around the world who registered the results of their games on the Storm of Chaos website. Here we come to our second problem. Games Workshop envisioned the Archaon's hordes trashing their way to the heart of the Empire, burning, pillaging and murdering everything in their path. Truly it would be an apocalypse. Unfortunately they didn't consider one thing: the nature of a worldwide campaign. In the initial games, Archaon and his allies did not even conquered Kislev, let alone threatened the Empire. Suddendly their "world ending event" became a complete joke and the guys at Nottingham were left with no choice but to take matters in their hands by forcing the hordes of Chaos down south with all the subtelty of a Mongol raid.

In spite of all this, the event still had a plethora of awesome futures. The aformentioned army lists such as High Elves Sea patrol and Middenheim forces were really unique and brought a lot of new options into the actual game. The minis released for SoC were also top notch for their time, especially Valten with his whooping three models and Archaon, who looked absolutely stunning, riding atop Dorghar, the steed of Apocalypse.

Accompanying the SoC event was the release of Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay second edition in 2005. Unlike the first edition, which took place almost 10 years before the cataclysmic invasion, the action of this new game was set firmly in the aftermath of the Archaon's failed invasion. The Black Industries, the game's publisher, made an excellent job of portraying the war-torn Empire and its surrounding lands, and they've really managed to capture the opressive, hopeless atmosphere of the setting. From the beginners campaign "The Paths of the damned" which started scant weeks after the siege of the City of White Wolf to the epic and mercilessly hard "The Thousand Thrones", the WFRP 2nd edition was truly a masterpiece of RPG gaming and I recommend it to anyone out there, who is even remotely interested in roleplaying games.

Pictured: an awesome game
Also many of Black Library's books, such as Bill King's and Nathan Long's "Gotrek and Felix" as well as "Mathias Thulmann: Witch Hunter" by C.L. Werner, were set either during, or after the cataclysmic event. For fluff monkeys such as myself it was a real treat and a tasty one at that.

Unfortunately the GW decided to take an Norseman's axe to the SoC and it has been retocnned completely out of existence. The main reason behind this decision was general outrage from the fans of the game, who wanted a truly game changing experience, one that would rock the Old World to its core. Instead they got a huge status quo and a final duel in which the main bad guy was headbutted by an Orc, who then ran away. Yeah, that part was really bad. Of course GW couldn't let the reincarnation of Sigmar run around the world, bashin the skulls of beastmen with Ghal-Maraz so they've offed him with the help of a certain Skaven assassin whose name starts with Deathmaster and ends with Snikch.

Lame. But what do expect when you let Gav Thorpe write your campaign fluff?


The face of no shame

Then came the next edition (7th to be precise) and the timeline was rested to the point where Archaon is on the brink of invading the lands of the south. And so it has been for almost ten years, until now...

2. The End Times (2014)

From the beginning The End Times were gathering both high praise and controversy from Warhammer fans everywhere. On one hand we had the prospect of fluff progression, the return of Nagash and the policy of "nobody is safe". On the other the inclusion of Hero Hammer-like rules of 50% lords and heroes and the absurdly overpriced (even for GW's standards) kits were met with mixed feelings. Also some of the fluff ideas are... strange to say the least. But first things first.

The End Times begin with the ressurection of Nagash, the first liche and master of necromantic arts. Brought back by his faithfull servant Arkhan the Black and not so faithfull Mannfred Von Carstein, Nagash decided to become the actual god and to turn the whole world into one great graveyard. At the same time Archaon, Lord of the End Times, invades the south at the head of the largest Chaos army ever encountered. Between the restless dead and the scions of the Dark Gods are kingdoms of Men, Dwarfs and Elves. It's an all out brawl with no rules beside one: win or die.

I'm slowly running out of End Times artworks. That's bad
The release of the first book was highly successfull, not only beacuse it was actually really good, but also beacuse of the gorgeous new models like Mortarchs and of course Nagash himself. GW's new technique of sculpting miniatures is truly breathtaking and it almost excuses their absurd price tag. Together with campaign supplements, Black Library began to offer novels and short stories set during this event. The first was "The Return of Nagash" by Josh Reynolds and now we have "The Fall of Altdorf" by always excellent Chris Wraight. Both of these are really worth the read as they shed a lot of light on the single, most important event in the Old World.

Since GW reseted the clock after Storm of Chaos, many of the old heroes are back. One of them is Valten, who now instead of being the Exalted of Sigmar, works more as his herold, and the other is of course Archaon, who got really fleshed out and became a genuine villian with complicated agendas, instead of just some moustache-twirling, Chaos nutjob. Vlad Von Carstein is back as well and now he's working with the Empire. Again, a very nice thing, also because of his different portrayal in the new books. No longer is he a blood obsessed monster, like he was in Steven Savile's "Vampire Wars: The Von Carstein Trilogy".

With the abundance of new fluff there also came new rules. Some of them are good, others not so much. For starters the Undead can now be played as a single force called "Undead Legions" which is made of both Vampire Counts and Tomb Kings with some cool new benefits. The Hero Hammer is back, since players can now take 50% of lords and heroes in their armies, even in lesser games. So if you're running a 2000 points Undead army you can spend half of that cost on Nagash!

I hope you've brought enough cannons
Judging from the size of new kits, GW clearly goes the way of giving every army some sort of monstrous creature/character and those that can't have them for some reason, are treated with buffed up rules for their old minis. So while the Chaos got the collossal Glottkin and the Undead got Nagash, the Empire recieved Karl Franz on steroids, who now has ascended and became... I don't really now, a God, a champion of light, a fairy? Anyway he retains his old model, but got some beefy new rules and stats, such as 10 attacks and having a combined profile with Deathclaw. Now he can easily match all the other big players out there.

Here's where I have my first problem with this. Karl Franz should remain Karl Franz. He was always portrayed as a leader and a politician, not an avatar of Sigmar. During SoC that was Valten's role. I initially have thought that the young blacksmith will play simillar part in End Times, but now he's just some schmuck who got his hands on Ghal-Maraz for some reason. Also in "The Fall of Altdorf" novel Karl Franz gets killed and then ressurected with the souls of all other Emperors inside him. Whether he just became something more than human, a champion of Sigmar or just a poor man's God-Emperor  remains to be seen, but overall I'm not really sold on that. The purpose of the Empire, their main strength if you will, was the portrayal of normal humans in a setting where everything is out to get them, and they are at the very bottom of the food chain. Sort of like the 40K's Imperial Gua... errrr, I mean the Astra Militarum.

For me it was a true betrayal
Now we have not only one of the strongest model in-game (seriously Uber Franz is beyond broken), but I'll bet that it will be the Emperor that will end The End Times. Just wait, it's going to happen.

Now we come to the second problem: the return of Hero Hammer. I began playing WFB during the early days of 5th edition. My first army were High Elves and I usually played with my friend who collected Lizardmen with some Chaos allies (don't ask, we were kids back then). Usually he deployed his Chaos Lord with them, and I've never was able to kill the bastard. Properly kited out his CL was invincible, easily able to take out my whole regiments. Needless to say I wasn't a huge fan of this guy, so when the 6th edition came and heroes got greatly nerfed, I was happy. Not because I didn't like special characters, but because the game finally was about the struggle of frontline troops, who are supported by heroes and lords, but not overshadowed by them. Now this has changed, and I'm afraid that most games of WFB nowdays will resemble an episode of Dragonball Z with the main heroes duking it out and eradicating whole swathes of troops, and said troops getting the role of cannon fodder. I don't like that, and neither do lots of other players, who just want to play games of army-on-army, not a single powerfull unit versus their entire forces.

The third problem is the pricetag. I know, I know, everyone hates GW's money-grubbing policy, but they really outdone themselves during The End Times. The campaign books alone are retardedly expensive with the price tag of 85$. Glottkin is a bit cheaper, coming at 66$ per copy, but that's still a hell of a price. Sure we get a ton of new rules and fluff, all in a beautifully printed book, but I'm not sold (no pun intended) on the whole pricetag. It is simply too high. The same applies to models. Take the Putrid Blight Knights for example. 55$ for a 5-man unit. Nuts! Sure, the quality is awesome, but I can't shake the feeling that GW used the opportunity of their new campaign to increase the prices even more.

Obvious joke is obvious

In summary:

So this is it. With the release of Glottkin, the End Times are in full swing and it dosen't seem like they will stop anytime soon. I know that this post may seem like I'm bashing at the whole endeavor while praising SoC, but I'm not. In fact I'm really happy about this event and think that GW is making the right choice (except some minor things that I've mentioned earlier). Take for example the ever popular Warhammer 40K, where nothing is happening, the models get progressively worse (Santa Grimnar for example) and the last major campaign was the Red Waaaagh!, which was so boring and uninspiring that I could not belive that anyone would actually play it. Despite certain shortcomings, the End Times are a welcome thing, one that can change a lot in the good old Warhammer Fantasy Battle. I'm just curious how will the 9th edition turn out to be...

Until next time guys.

Xathrodox86

Oh, I've nearly forgot about this little gem. Darknight, a fellow Empire player from an awesome community of Warhammer-Empire.com made it and I've thought that I'd share it with you. ;) All credit goes to him of course.

It's... it's so beautiful

Goddammit GW, why couldn't you make a model like that? Why?