So I stopped playing Warhammer and Warhammer 40K over three years ago now.
I got my first box of Chaos Space Marines when I was finishing primary school and have some really fond memories of playing Warhammer and 40K while growing up. I never played competitively, but played regularly with a group of my best friends; three- or four-player games, using VHS boxes for terrain, you name it.
Well, lots of things change over time and as you grow up. Warhammer and 40K, in particular, became game systems I started to dislike; the amount of painting required was sickening, notwithstanding the cost of the miniatures and the baffling changes to the rules over the last few years. The 40K battles my friends and I waged on the few times a year we used to meet up, after moving to different parts of the country, became less enjoyable.
I think, ultimately, the process of playing these games was far too different from the times we played together back in school. We’d moved on, or Games Workshop had; either way, we had to find other game systems. For our hobbying time and friendships, moving onto Malifaux, Dropzone Commander, Guild Ball and Bushido, amongst others, did wonders.
Stay with me...
At the start of June, me and this same group of friends met up for Matt’s birthday to play games, chat and generally have a good time. The new Games Workshop game, Warhammer Quest: Silver Tower was on our list of things to do. Matt had spent hours assembling as many of these miniatures as he could before we started. I was really looking forward to cracking this out.
Before I describe our first game, Warhammer Quest: Silver Tower is an RPG-lite tabletop war game in which up to four heroes progress through eight (randomly generated) floors of the Silver Tower (all for different honorable or nefarious reasons) to pursue a Chaos sorcerer.
Let me say before I describe our game, none of us has played D&D or the original Warhammer Quest before, so this was one of our first experiences with a tabletop RPG.
We all chose a hero. I chose the dwarf, Matt the Sigmarine, James the elf and Chris the priest. The miniatures in this box set are some of the best I’ve ever seen. The plastic sculpts are full of character and detail and look really fun to paint. I don’t think Games Workshop plastic sculpts can be matched by anyone at the moment. The heroes all have stat cards including your agility, save and number of wounds, as well as special powers and weapons. All of the heroes are unique and serve different roles in your adventuring party; close range damage-dealers, spellcasters, healers, etc.
One person has the responsibility(!) of reading the rules and generally leading the pace of the game. It was fairly straight forward to set up and start. The rulebook does a good job of explaining what to do for your first play through. I think we took around half an hour to set it all up.
The overall production of the box set is very high; the floor tiles are well designed and the artwork is exceptional. Games Workshop has done a really good job of adding lots of character to the game by adding in story elements you have to read and some background to the characters.
So the game works like this: at the start of the turn, one person rolls the purple Destiny dice which are essentially a shared pool of dice anyone can use for attacking when it’s their go. Then that player rolls four to five dice and lies them on top of their stat card; the results of these dice are assigned to your actions throughout your go (for example, I may have rolled 1, 2, 4 and 4; my dwarf needs 2+ to hit enemies, so either the 2, 4 or 4 results can be used here). Getting a good dice roll is fairly important during your go to make sure you can pay for your actions. Of course, the purple Destiny dice are there for you, just in case.
The heroes can move, attack enemies or carry out special abilities. In our play through, the enemies were fairly easy to kill, although that’s probably due to having four heroes in the Silver Tower at the same time and doing the first quest of the box set. You can also advance to other rooms by unlocking the doors at the other side of the room. We decided to ensure all the minions were killed in each room before we progressed so we could search for treasure or heal ourselves.
An interesting part of the game is the random nature of the enemies’ attacks; you have to roll a D6 and compare to that an attack table. None of the enemies killed our heroes outright, not even the mini bosses, so it was fairly easy to progress through the Silver Tower, although my dwarf was killed by some random, freak of nature once we got towards the end!
Once you progress to another room, the room tile you put down is randomly determined. This was really fun, as the layout of the room and the enemies inside were always kept us on our toes.
We went through the first adventure in Warhammer Quest: Silver Tower in about two hours. We had lots of laughs throughout and the random nature and story elements kept us all interested. It wasn’t a difficult or particularly challenging experience which is probably the only downside I can think of right now.
Matt was kind enough to give me, James and Chris the heroes we used, with the proviso that we paint and name them before our next adventure.
So going back to what I said as the start of this blog post; this was our first game of anything Games Workshop-related in three years! It felt like a throwback to those days in our childhood when we revelled in simple, yet fun shared experiences with no strings attached. We kept a safe distance from Games Workshop for a while, but are now looking forward to our next game of Warhammer Quest.