Crusaders Games

Shadows Over Hammerhal

hammerhalThe re-launch of Warhammer Quest via Silver Tower came in May 2016 and it took until January 2017 for me to fully paint my game up, just in time for a new announcement of a 2nd Warhammer Quest game called ‘Shadows Over Hammerhal’, released in February 2017.

This new version is both complimentary and separate to Silver Tower in that it is a stand alone box set, but equally you can use components of both sets, heroes and enemies to cross over. Hammerhal has more of an underground dungeon look beneath a city, and features 4 new heroes and lots more chaos enemies including Nurgle and Khorne, along with a good number of Tzeentch acolytes again. The main change to this version is that it asks someone to play as the dungeon master, which potentially opens up a different style of game, but there are still automated monster tables so it still feels like co-operative play is possible, although one person is designated to read the campaign book and may get less surprises.

The new storyline and theme is really nice, in fact i prefer it to Silver Tower, it is more like the original 1995 game in many respects. The guidebook is amazing, complete with loads of storyline and background, and detailed painting guides for the models, this book is far superior to the one in Silver Tower. The adventure story book has changed into a dungeon master guide, but some of the principals are similar, there is storyline and theme, but Hammerhal is not designed to have random room generation. This may be off-putting for some, but i feel well written campaigns can offset this. The new box also is designed for 4 characters to play every time, just as it was with the 1995 edition, so the scaling found in Silver Tower has sadly gone too. However offsetting this is the returning ability to visit towns and have events, which is very welcome.

The dungeon tiles are detailed and varied and i really like them, although Silver Tower was equally excellent, i just like the darker style more in Hammerhal. Card content is pretty similar with treasures and skills, it is a bit thin on the dice provided so you may need to borrow from Silver Tower here. Models have a lower count at 30, and come with 4 heroes, but there are no smaller monsters, so these ones will all pack a decent punch. What i really like about this modelling set is that you build from multiple sprue options to create your own version of the enemies. I am not used to this, only previously buying into Quest and not the wargames, but i will really enjoy the choice this brings, especially on the nurgle blightkings which are amazing monsters. Even the acolytes which we have seen before come with some new variations and poses.

Overall i am extremely delighted with the new set, i keep looking through the books as they are so nice. I am happy to run adventures for people or while also being a hero, so i do not worry too much about the new dungeon master role, and i believe the new format will enable new adventures to be much more readily created by keen players or hopefully published via the White Dwarf magazine. Imagine if new books are being produced with an undead or orc theme.

The combined effect of having both games, with distinct themes and story, interchangeable content and even slightly different mechanics makes it one of the best game series i have. I am a little daunted to get stuck into the modelling again, but if you take the hobby aspect into account as well and enjoy this side of things, then the gaming value is certainly here. Newcomers can also jump in with either version depending on their game style preference. To celebrate it’s release i painted my Slaughterpriest that came with White Dwarf a few months back, and I am going to publish my progress as i build this game.

So are the combined Quest sets better than Descent 2nd edition, which has topped my list for years now. The models are certainly better, a nicer larger scale and more enjoyable to paint, the gameplay is slightly less complex which makes it quicker to get onto the table with friends, but it retains enough decisions to keep it interesting and storyline is fuller. Also it is designed just as a dungeon crawl, and isn’t reliant on an app to play with. Descent does have more choices, variety and content available, which helps it stand out from others, but i am genuinely starting to have more fun collecting, building and playing Warhammer Quest, and its hobby side is unbeatable. It is a close decision at the moment, but the combined effect of Gloomhaven now becoming best for strategy and Quest better for models and story, these are squeezing Descent, although that remains top as an all rounder.