And with a final charge, the knights of Chaos crushed the weaklings of the Empire, burning the shrines of Sigmar and Shallya – and turning their many eyes south, toward greater glory… greater destruction.
Okay, I know the game has been out for a while already… but I hadn’t really gotten into it. I have a love/hate relationship with Warhammer. I love the world but I hate the wargame. I love the 2nd Edition of the RPG but hate the current 3rd edition (my first entry on this blog was – in fact – about how horrible 3rd edition is). So, it’s a mixed bag. And card games that are supposed to be war-games are always a little iffy as well. I rarely find myself falling in love with them.
But in the last few years there have been several I’ve really enjoyed – going all the way back to Anachronism. Lately, I’ve also gotten into Summoner Wars – which is a simple game – but a ton of fun. So, I’d started itching to try out Warhammer: Invasion – but I didn’t know what I’d get.
It. Was. Awesome.
(I’m tempted to quit there. The rest is just window dressing.)
The game is a two player battle game with each side representing a faction, defending their capital, going on quests, and attacking their opponent. At the same time there is an element of needing to build up your capital, use support cards, etc. The balance of the factors worked really well – and the game had much more depth of experience than I expected it to from reading the rules.
To give you a sense – here’s a little window into my first game. I played Chaos. I was playing vs. Empire. In the beginning I went all out for resource-building (used to buy stuff in game) and neglected drawing cards or building up my capital. I had one of my three capital zones burning by like, turn 3. (The point of the game is to reduce 2 out of 3 of your opponent’s capital zones to a burning ruin). To recover I had to go on the defensive and start putting units and other items into areas where they were less useful for attack and gave me some flexibility. And when my early resource-gathering started to finally pay off (I had several middle turns where I had a ton of resources and nothing to spend them on!) and I brought some might Chaos Knights into play – well – I still struggled to close out the game because the Empire had played so balanced throughout that it was able to reduce my damage, keep a decent number of units in the field, and play lots of useful support cards.
Chaos did triumph in the end – but barely – and the Empire had a real chance to close it out if things had gone just a little differently. Overall, from that first game on I’ve just been gushing about how much fun I had. I haven’t been this excited about a new game since the first time I played Battletech as a teenager. It was that much fun.
From a rules perspective – the mechanics are very simple, with a few twists you can discover as you play. The battle-system learns a lot from CCGs without feeling like one (order of operations is very clearly spelled out during the battle turn, which is very nice). Some of the wording of the rulebook seems confused at first glance, but we discovered that if you actually play it as written there is little ambiguity… the only problem comes in if you start trying to “interpret” what the designer might have meant… which is almost always a mistake in games. I still have a nagging question or two, and the “draft play” advanced option is more trouble than it’s worth, but it doesn’t detract from the core play experience in any way.
The game felt like Warhammer, has beautiful cards, is not “fiddly,” and can be mentally challenging. But really, I can’t say enough good things about this game. If you get the chance to try it, you should — I need more people to play with!
Hope you’ve enjoyed this trip to the world of Warhammer… I did.