Saturday, October 24, 2009

Chaos in The Old World

Chaos in the Old World is a new game from FFG. Mike Gingold had pinged me about this game out of the blue one day - I had never heard of it before. After reading up on it, I decided it was to be included in the next game order. The game is set in the Warhammer universe (and since I'm not a Warhammer player, it made very little difference to me at all). Basically, each player takes the role of one of four gods of the Warhammer universe trying to subvert the world (whatever world that might be). Each of these evil gods has a different take on things - Khorne is all about combat (this player does better by winning fights), Nurgle is the god of disease (this player does well corrupting certain areas of the board), Tzeentch is the magic god (this player does well corrupting areas where there are magic), and Slanesh is the god of pain (this player does well by corrupting areas where there are certain markers). Each player gets a handful of plastic pieces representing three types of units: cultists, warriors, and the greater Daemon. The cultists are typically non-combat units that corrupt the world. The warriors fight the battles, and the greater Daemon is a beast for fighting. Each round the players (always in the same order) have a set number of points they can spend either playing cards (which cost from 0-3 pts) or bringing pieces into play for their cost. Once you've spent all your points, you are done until the next phase of the game. In the second phase, you have combat in areas where two factions have combat units. This part is mostly a straightforward dice affair. Then after that is the corruption phase. During this phase, a number of different things happen. Factions can corrupt the area based on the number of cultists they have and the number of total pieces and cards played can earn a player points. If too much corruption occurs, the area becomes ruined, which earns players points for their corruption efforts, but makes the area un-scorable thereafter. Then there is a bit of clean up for the next round and a quick check of the victory conditions.
It is all pretty straight forward, except that each faction has different strengths. Khorne's ability make his units better at combat, but they cost a bit more. His cards cost a bit more, but allow him to kill people much much more easily. Tzeentch's units are pretty weak, but cheap and his magic cards are often cheap or free and he gets a lot of them to play. This faction tries to take advantage of the other players after they are done setting up for the round. Nurgle and Slanesh each have their strengths as well, which means that each player has to play tactically to keep the others from over playing their strengths while trying to really do well. The game also has a number of limiting factors that keep the game from being all that long. Yes, there is a bit of randomness and dice determine the combat. If you don't like Ameritrash type games, just stay away. Otherwise, this one is a pretty good offering from FFG. Nicely done boards and bits wrapped around a decently fun game.

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