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Let's Play Warhammer Underworlds: Nightvault

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Games Workshop is really into publishing lots of small games recently. I was most interested in Kill Team, but reviews I read online kept saying that it's no Shadespire, but it's still pretty good. As it happens, Shadespire had then just been superseded by Warhammer Underworlds: Nightvault , which is half the price of Kill Team and combines miniatures and deck-building. Clearly we had to try it. ** Even before playing the game, I was happy with my purchase. The box contains two warbands, and the Nighthaunt warband is made up of absolutely beautiful figures. Now, I know nothing whatsoever about Warhammer Fantasy any more; the last time I was even remotely up to date was 6th edition, so I'm just going to say that it's an Undead warband and be done with it. But the models are very nice. The other warband is made up of three Stormcast Eternals, which from the looks of things are some kind of fantasy Space Woofs? Incredibly boring. With a little help from Eureka Miniatures , we tried to make them a bit more interesting. Meet the Stormbun Eternals. ** The game itself, I'm happy to report, was great fun. Unlike most other Games Workshop products, the warbands are preset. There's no customization whatsoever; each model comes with its own fighter card that has all the relevant info, and each warband is a set collection of models. So in our case, my partner had the three Stormbun Eternals, and I had my Briar Queen, her two named attendants, and a bunch of ghosts called chainrasps. Where you make decisions is in building your decks. Each player has two decks of cards: exactly twelve objective cards, and at least 20 power cards, which are divided into gambit and upgrade cards. Gambit cards are used during play: they include spells and various bonuses to combat, movement and so forth. Objective cards each come with a condition, and when it's fulfilled, you can cash in the objective card for a variable amount of glory points. Glory can be used to buy upgrades for your fighters, but most importantly, the player with the most Glory at the end of the game wins! We played our first game with the starter decks, which I had to go find on the boardgamegeek.com forums because inexplicably, the rulebook doesn't list them, and which I am therefore relisting here for future convenience. Ghosts: Annihilation Denial Hold objectives 1-5 Death sentence Execution Take the city Treacherous foe Swarming spirits Confusion Determined effort Grinding earth Sidestep Drifting advance Endless malice Spectral parry Rending scream Spectral touch Vengeful curse Great fortitude Great speed Great strength Escape artist Creeping terror Chill touch Driven by hatred Strangling coil Sadistic strike Curse of unbinding Stormbuns: Conquest Hold objectives 1-5 Supremacy Blessed banishment Devastating blow Fight as one Harness the storm Measured strike Confusion Determined effort Sidestep Vital surge Aetherwing stance Empathetic conduction Cry of thunder Gather the storm Lightning assault Stormstrike Great fortitude Great speed Great strength Lucky trinket Corposant staff Lightning whip Hurricane step Tempest's might Unstoppable zeal Warding blast With these starting decks in hand, we set up the game. Even this is a competitive affair; players roll off to see who has to pick a game board and place it first, leaving the second player a great deal of choice in how the battlefield ends up looking like. The boards are divided into hexagons, and can have varying numbers of impassable or lethal hexes on them. We only had the two game boards that came with the Nightvault box, so we set them up boringly. There are also five objective hexes, which can earn you Glory if you have the appropriate objective cards for occupying them. Below is a scene from the first round: both warbands have occupied an objective, and a fight is getting started in the middle of the board. Each game of Warhammer: Underworlds has a set length of three rounds. Each player has four activations per round, which can be used to move models, attack with them or draw cards. Following each activation, players can play power cards, and when all players have used all their activations, there's an end phase where objective cards are scored and the players replenish their hands. Here's our situation at the end of our first game: two out of three Stormbuns are out of action, as are most of my ghosts. As it turned out, at the end of the game we had the same amount of Glory, and were holding the same number of objectives (one of the models is incorrectly placed in the picture): therefore the game was a tie! We enjoyed our first game of Warhammer Underworlds, and found it very easy to pick up. No doubt we did all kinds of things wrong or at least very suboptimally, but we liked playing it and will be doing more of it in the future. All in all I think this is a very succesful product, especially seeing as how it's quite cheap for a whole boxed game! I'm also quite interested in picking up some of the separately sold warbands, if only to paint them. An attractive aspect of games like this and Kill Team is that you can paint a fairly tiny amount of models, by Warhammer standards at least, and have a warband or Kill Team that you can play. Certainly Underworlds has the lowest model count of any Games Workshop game I've played. So I'll be taking the opportunity to paint up some more warbands in the future, and probably also try playing them. We may even experiment with three or four players... ** Finally, here are the decks we ended up making out of the Nightvault core box. Thorns of the Briar Queen: 10 gambits, 10 upgrades Annihilation Death sentence Denial Hold objectives 1-5 Supremacy Swarming spirits Take the city Treacherous foe Confusion Determined effort Drifting Advance Endless malice Maddening Cackle Sidestep Spectral Parry Spectral Touch Sudden Appearance Vengeful Curse Creeping Terror Curse of Unbinding Driven by Hatred Escape Artist Great Fortitude Great Speed Great Strength Inescapable Vengeance Sadistic Strike Strangling Coil Stormbun Eternals: 13 gambits, 13 upgrades Blessed banishment Conquest Denial Devastating Blow Fight as One Harness the Storm Hold objectives 1-5 Measured Strike Aetherwing Stance Chain Lightning Confusion Cry of Thunder Determined Effort Empathic Conduction Gather the Storm Lightning Assault Lightning Step Sidestep Stormstrike Stormward Vital Surge Blessed Blade Corposant Staff Disarming Blow Escape Artist Great Fortitude Great Speed Great Strength Hurricane Step Lightning Whip Stunning Blow Tempest's Might Unstoppable zeal Warding Blast

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