Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Warhammer Quest Silver Tower - Deep Thoughts

Last Sunday I got together with a group of friends and we took my newly completed copy of Warhammer Quest Silver Tower out for a spin. We thoroughly kicked the tires of the game through the first two scenarios and had a grand time. I managed to get a great group play with and we had a lot fun laughing, teasing, cursing our luck and pondering the mysteries of the Silver Tower. If I only used that as a criteria, Silver Tower was a phenomenal purchase. But I'll try to look at some of the other aspects and you can draw your own conclusions.

The Pros

- Games Workshop continues to hold its position as the 800lb gorilla in room by producing premier components for its games. The miniatures are up  to the high standards you'd expect. They push the envelope of how thin they can get some parts - I had a few broken pieces in the kit before I even cut anything off the sprues - but the final products are incredible sculpts. Honestly, I don't think there is a model in the set I didn't like. For those who enjoy assembling and painting models, this kit is worth the price. Those looking for quick assembly and getting figures on the board quickly would be better served elsewhere.

- There's a lot of interesting mini-games and riddles that the players are confronted with rather than just rolling a die to see what happens during the game. Silver Tower takes full advantage of a sort of "choose your own adventure" design in the adventure book. to create an atmosphere of mystery and confusion. As we played the game, all of us really grew to appreciate these elements. They turned what could have been a typical dungeon crawl game into something a little more special.

- The game is highly co-operative but still gives players the chance to muck with each others' plans and keep the game fresh. I'm usually not a big fan of co-op games, so still allowing players to compete with one another in-game really makes the Silver Tower shine for me. The only thing better than defeating a room full of baddies is playing a card that allows you to reap the rewards alone!

- Once the game mechanics are understood, everything flows quickly. Nothing feels super complicated, but we did still need to refer to the rules quite a bit.

- The use of a "Destiny Phase" at the start of each turn was really novel. Not only does the roll give the possible addition of dice to a shared pool, but it can also act as a random event generator. The collective intake of breath waiting to see the outcome of the die roll was a great shared experience for our group. The shared pool and the ability to draw from it was a lot of fun if someone got greedy and their gluttony didn't pay off.

The Cons

- The game play book isn't laid out particularly well in my opinion. Certain key rules are "called out" in decorative panels, and they can sometimes be over-looked. Constantly pawing through the rules made things a little slower than they had to be.

- I'm not a huge fan of the dice pool mechanic used for the Heroes. It works just fine, I just don't particularly enjoy the reliance on luck and the extra step slows down the pace of play. The mechanic just seems to be a way to differentiate the game without really adding much, in my opinion.

The ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

- Is it better than the original Warhammer Quest? That all depends on who you are. If you want it to be a pseudo-roleplaying game with huge amount of monsters and story-lines, then probably not. If, like me, you are looking for a board game with a continuing character advancement; then its at least as good if not better. As I've gotten older, I find I prefer games with more streamlined rules and I don't require a total open-world concept for a board game.

- Even if you just assembled and don't paint the models, its a significant time investment. I consider that part and the painting of the models to be as big a part of the enjoyment as playing the game, so I roll that into my assessment of if it was worth the price.

- Re-playability? So this is a sticky question for me. It took us approximately 5 hours to play 2 scenarios: so if we can play through all 8 quests that would be 20 hours of gaming.  Considering I only get to play maybe once or twice a month, I think that's plenty of time expect from the game. The matrix for randomizing opponents in the game may add "some" re-playability, but if you have the time to replay a 20-hour game repeatedly, this probably won't be as good a value for you. Its just the right amount for me.

I had an enormous amount of fun playing and look forward to venturing back into the Gaunt Summoner's realm. Between the game and the hobby-time I've gotten out of this purchase, I can't recommend it enough.


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