I got another chance to hit Warhammer Underworld: Shadespire and it didn’t help- I’m still really into the game. I was hoping a few more plays would dull my interest but I’m still just as excited for the game as I was initially.
There are a lot of things to like in the game that keep me coming back and the miniatures, with their great detail and dynamic sculpts, are a big part.
I love the bling in games and the fact that the figures for this one are so well done and easy to put together are a huge boon. If Test of Honour only had the nightmare sprues to work with, I’d have never even considered it so ease of assembly and “how fast can I get this to the table” is a big factor for me as well.
The game is definitely not without some concerns. We’ve played three games so far and my red dudes of fury (I’m not up-to-date on what they are actually called) have ROFL-stomped the big blues every time. I don’t think I’m some master strategist but either the reds are easier on the learning curve than the blues or the stock deck loadouts and factions aren’t quite balanced. Die rolls have another part to play as they can be pretty crippling at times. The luck swings in the game fall pretty far on the “beer and pretzel” side of the spectrum, much like Imperial Assault’s Skirmish game. The difference here is Shadespire is easy to set up, requires only a handful of figures, and plays in less than 30 minutes.
We set up our first game of the night (second actual playthrough) similar to what we had done before. In broad strokes, we both see the red dudes as “aggressive attackers” and the blue dudes as “staunch defenders” and set up accordingly. I had my Red Tide upfront while Big Blue set up in the back.
The game only runs three rounds and yet by the end of round 2 I had wiped two of Big Blues dudes off the map and lost one of my own. The Red Tide likes death so with three figures out, they all “inspire” and flip to their Ultra Mode (not a real game term). Big Blue has struggled every game to get into Ultra Mode since their trigger is based on a defensive die roll and the dice have not been kind.
With all the death I was throwing around not only did I get my guys “Inspired,” I was also able to throw down a ton of upgrades. I decided to throw all my eggs in one scary looking murder basket and eventually Karsus the Chained became the unstoppable beast, able to dish out a brutal 4 damage (which would instakill anything in the game) from range 1-2 and chuck 4 attack dice doing so.
It didn’t take long to wipe out the last of the paper-armored Big Blues. Lop-sided Red Tide victory was mine!
We set up a different map option where we went with a long/skinny map but it wasn’t enough to stop the Red Tide. It wasn’t as abusively lop-sided as the first game of the night but the results were the same… lots of dead blue dudes and a celebratory group of red bruisers.
With all these one-sided wins, one would think I’d sour on the game but I have faith that either the Big Blues can be built better when we start customizing decks or their strategy cracked and revealed to finally be competitive. Ultimately, it might just be that the faction isn’t that good and my friend should try a different one that better suits his playstyle. In either case, both of us enjoy the game and want to see more of it.