When Warhammer Quest was first released by Games Workshop back in 1995, it was such an insane value that it was hard to ignore this RPG-lite action packed miniatures game. We played it so much we wore out the cards. When the Warhammer Quest Adventure Card Game (WQACG) was announced, I was hoping that Fantasy Flight would modernize the brand and build on our nostalgia.
The first thing I noticed after opening the box is that the game itself seemed quite lacking. I get this same feeling sometimes when I buy video games on Steam….It’s like I just bought the shell of a game that will be filled out by DLC. WQACG has a low price point, but when you compare it to Pathfinder ACG (which does the same thing with the ‘DLC’ system), Pathfinder just feels more ‘full’. So economically, maybe this is not the best boardgame, but I’ve never been disappointed with a Fantasy Flight game, and ultimately I thought the mechanics here work well enough and are unique enough to alleviate any misgivings I have concerning my purchase. And anyways, Fantasy Flight are consistent in bringing amazing expansions to every game in their lineup. I ‘m positive it will be amazing over time. I was excited enough about this one that I built an insert for the box even before my first game…..and then sleeved the cards cause I am neurotic that way.
After reading a bit of the rulebook I set to play the tutorial with my 10 year-old daughter with the hopes that she would like it and perhaps consider being our ‘fourth member of the band’ when I play this with my two friends. It took about 20 minutes to go through this introductory scenario and I have to confess that it was so easy that I felt I wasted my time. This scenario could have just been an ‘example play’ page in the back of the rulebook. And my biggest disappointment was that my daughter lost interest about halfway through.
I think for her the game is a bit too abstract to see it as a dungeon diving role-playing game. Your characters are in a location, which is a card to the side, and the monsters are just other cards in the center of the play area. In front of you is your character card, and their abilities are cards. This is a very similar treatment to Space Hulk, which I absolutely love. But for my daughter, who loves playing with and painting miniatures, there just wasn’t enough connection between all the elements to keep her interest. I’ll probably have to give it a couple years.
Let’s talk mechanics though. What I enjoy most about this game is the timing of actions and progression versus the overwhelming hordes of the Enemy deck. When your turn comes up, you select one of four action cards that are ready and execute the abilities on the card. That card is then ‘exhausted’ and you won’t be able to use it again until your character uses their one action that readies all the others. This mechanic has a way to create an affinity towards a certain action that is unique to each of the four characters included in the box. Each character has small tweaks on the theme of the four different actions, but fundamentally they are the same and I definitely enjoy the flavor the small changes provide. What is awesome is that the design of the overall game ensures that you will want to use all of your different actions equally. It is not enough to just wail on a bunch of monsters and call it a day. You need to spend your turns Exploring, Resting, and Aiding the other adventurers as well as Attacking the monsters that spawn around you.
Every scenario in the campaign that is included in the core game has mechanics in place that will punish your heroes if you take too long to finish off the monsters at a location. If you don’t explore the other locations fast enough, the monsters pile up and eventually overtake your team. Except…….one scenario……
The Quest Sheet above is called the Delve Quest and it is included as a way to provide replayability through its randomness. In a Delve Quest, the intent is that the game would take a couple hours, and you play with nearly every card in the box. But this scenario has a huge mistake in it. It has no mechanism for incentivizing progression. Any smart group can see that you can hold off on exploring the next location until all the monsters are dispatched and the team is fully rested and ready to move on. Clearly, and many people throughout multiple forums agree, this was an oversight in the printing and it is only a matter of time before an official Errata/FAQ comes out to explain what the progression conditions for this scenario were supposed to be. Still a bit weird though….Fantasy Flight’s most recent games show such an obvious strength in quality assurance from top to bottom.
If I was back in my game store and you grabbed this off the shelf and asked me if it was good, I would ask you:
- Did you enjoy the Original Warhammer Quest?
- Are you a Warhammer Fantasy fan?
- Are you a Fantasy Flight fan?
If you can’t answer yes to at least one of those, I’m not sure you will like this one. With the obvious expansions that will come out over time, I am betting this game will be much better after a handful of them have been released. When those expansions come out, I’ll buy them. I’ll probably have played through the core game’s main campaign a number of times before the first expansion is released. But I answer yes to all of those above questions, they had me the day they announced a Warhammer Quest revival.
David Gerrard – @Dagerr