Wednesday, September 18, 2019

REVIEW: Warcry - Monsters and Mercenaries

The first expansion for Warcry is already upon us in the form of Monsters and Mercenaries and it contains, well, monsters and mercenaries. What exactly does this mean for the game though and what else sits between the covers of the book?

This is a fairly concise expansion for Warcry, which is good in my opinion. It's too early in the lifecycle of the game to be introducing too much new stuff at once. When you crack open the book you're first greeted with a small lore section. This mostly contains some amazing double page spreads of new artwork, including our first look at Carngrad, the largest city within the Bloodwind Spoil. The text is kept to a minimum, just like in the main Warcry book. Personally I would like to see an even larger exploration into the new setting and its participants, but perhaps they're leaving it a little more vague so you can fill in the gaps yourself. I have read the Anthologies novel which helps to flesh it out a bit, but I'd still like something similar to what we see in the AoS rulebooks and battletomes.

There's also a brief look at some of the new mercenaries, in this case the Darkoath Warqueen and the Stormcast Knight-Questor. Both of these get an exploration into what they'd be doing within the Bloodwind Spoil and the Stormcast one even gets a specific example of a named Questor which is pretty cool. The artwork for these two are my favorite in the book.

Once we're past the lore there's a gallery of the 'Eavy Metal minis for a selection of the monsters and mercenaries available, including some scenic shots of them alongside the Warcry warbands.

The rules section opens up with the introduction of Fated Quests. These are basically "super" quests, with larger rewards if you succeed and are open to any warband that wants to try it. We get four examples here, with three of them using one of the alternate scenery packs for one of the convergences. For example, Hunt for the Doomblade ends with the third convergence taking place within a Shattered Stormvault, while the first two use the standard Warcry scenery. This is a cool idea, and if you don't have that scenery and board you could easily just set up something similar with what you do have. I feel like this gives the setting more of a sense of place and travel. It'd be odd if every place you went in the Spoil was exactly the same. The rewards for completing one of these Fated Quests is either honor or glory, aka an Artifact of Power, or an Exalted Command Trait. You can only pick one of these. If you pick the Exalted Command Trait it replaces whatever command trait you currently have.

The next section delves into the Battle Challenges, which is where you can test your mettle against one of the new Monsters. To take part in these you must have dominated territories already, and if you lose you risk losing one of your territories. They can be done by any warband though as long as they meet those requirements. There's one for the Chimera, Cygor or Ghorgon, Chaos Gargant, Skitterstrand Arachnorak, Terrorgheist or Zombie Dragon, various smaller Chaotic Beasts, and the Hydra or Kharibdyss. There's even one for taking on one of the vaunted Varanguard and his warband. Each one will specify how large you warband is. Typically it's no more than three times as many points as the monster's points. The other player only controls the monster in these games, so only one warband is fighting it. They'll also specify which terrain card(s) to use, deployments, who takes which color on the deployment, victory conditions, twist, and several special rules. If you win one of these Challenges then you can chose to either bind the monster to your will, which adds it to your warband roster, or you can cut it up and sell it. If you do the latter then you get to roll on the artifacts table three times.

You can only ever have one monster on your warband at any one time, and you have to beat it in a challenge first to have it. This is for Narrative play. In Open play you have more freedom and can include one monster with no restrictions while monsters aren't allowed in Matched Play. There are rules printed in the book for each of the monsters I listed above, except for the Chimera, as well as three new types of Chaotic Beasts; Chaos Hounds, Razorgors, and Chaos Spawn. Certain monsters can only be taken by certain warbands. The Terrorgheist can only be taken by a Death warband for instance. Each monster is pretty formidable with around 50 wounds a piece and plenty of damage output. They each have their own set of abilities unique to them. The Cygor for instance can tear chunks off the scenery with one ability, then chuck it at enemy models with another. This means you can't use any of your warband abilities on the monsters. There's also a set of universal Monster Hunting abilities available to any warband when a monster is involved in a game, as well as a set of universal abilities for the monsters since they can't use the regular ones.

Lastly we have the mercenaries section. In Narrative play any number of mercenaries can be added to your warband for each dominated territory you have. They each have their own points value and get added into a game just like any other fighter would be. Again, the mercenaries are restricted to certain warbands along Grand Alliance lines, as makes sense. In Matched Play you're allowed one mercenary in your warband. Mercenaries have their own set of abilities they can use and cannot be affected by warband abilities and vice versa. They're not your leaders, even though they're heroes. They're just like their name suggests, mercenaries, so are more independent. There's a pretty large selection of heroes to choose from here, so I'm not going to list all of them. I'm particularly excited about the Nighthaunt ones, with the Lord Executioner standing out to me as pretty good. The Stormcast have a number of Warrior Chamber heroes to choose from, but strangely no Vanguard Chamber heroes. I was surprised that the Knight-Zephyros wasn't included. All of the rules for each of these heroes is printed in the book, so no cards for them.

All in all this is a pretty nice and tidy addition to the game. Nothing feels game breaking, and it's all pretty fun. I'm definitely excited to start adding some heroes to my warband in the form of mercenaries and I'm already considering getting a Hydra just for the monster challenge (then maybe adding it to my Daughters of Khaine). I like that it continues the Narrative heavy feel to the game. I know people were worried that the addition of monsters might break it, but they've been added in a way that feels natural and fits the story. I did notice in the Runemarks sections there are three new warband runemarks, Beasts of Chaos, Everchosen, and Warrior Chamber. These are separate from the mercenaries runemarks, so it makes me wonder if we'll be getting rules for those warbands soon. I would love to do Beasts of Chaos in Warcry.

What are you most excited about from this expansion?

Until next time,

Tyler M.

No comments:

Post a Comment