Come, adventurers, share my fire and I shall weave you a tale of heroism and peril, of tainted boons and inevitable damnation. Whether you wield righteous fury, lust for treasure, or seek to pledge allegiance to the gaunt summoner to earn his favour, the Silver Tower beckons.
In the Box
There’s a whole host of shinies in the box. Unlike some of the other recent offerings from Games Workshop, this is more of a self-contained game than an army starter box that happens to have a game with it. That said, you get plenty of Tzeentch’s minions to pledge your allegiance to the Lord of Change in the Age of Sigmar.
The board tiles are sturdy and host excellent artwork that’s weird enough to fit a labyrinth of Tzeentch. Along with detailed cards, rule books, an adventure guide, six heroes miniatures and 44 enemy miniatures, everything is the world-leading quality that you’d expect from Games Workshop and all brand new sculpts for the game.
Of course, you also get dice, cursed things that they are.
It’s a dungeon crawler. Set in the ever-changing Silver Tower of Tzeentch, the heroes must overcome traps, puzzles and the dark god’s followers to retrieve shards of an amulet. Once the amulet has been made whole, the Gaunt Summoner, lord of the tower, can be challenged.
We live in a world of Dungeon Saga and will soon have the likes of Massive Darkness and Dark Souls competing in this space so Warhammer Quest: Silver Tower needs something to set it apart. As you’d expect, the miniatures are exceptional, although very spiky so be careful when assembling them. Narrative is a major element of Warhammer Quest. It has flavour text to set the scene before and after each quest (game) to progress the story, just like Dungeon Saga. Warhammer Quest, however, goes beyond that by providing further flavour text on the randomly generated board tiles and the adventure book which reads like a Fighting Fantasy choose-your-own-adventure book. So it’s somewhere between a dungeon crawler board game and Dungeons and Dragons Lite.
There is a good balance between puzzles, narrative, and hack and slash.
The enemy works using an artificial intelligence through behaviour tables. These are straightforward enough to understand quickly and quite logical on the whole. It means that you don’t need someone to play as the board so you can all be heroes. Huzzah! Player actions are based on dice and the more wounds a player takes, the fewer actions they have available. There is also an additional shared pool of dice so specific players may take more than their usual number of actions in the same turn. Useful when you really need to nuke down that boss (or hide behind the tank when your attack doesn’t go to plan).
In my group’s first game, we found it very easy. Any enemies that appeared were quickly dispatched, meaning the tank (Stormcast) and healer (Warrior Priest) classes didn’t have much to do. The damage dealer classes (Tenebrael Shard and Darkoath Chieftain in this case) hit so hard that there wasn’t often much left at the end of the turn for the enemy to hit back. That said, complacency and hubris set in later in the adventure. The Darkoath Chieftain split from the group, charged the enemy and was torn apart for his trouble. Sometimes it’s easy, sometimes it punishes you.
Meet the Heroes
Should you buy it? It’s a premium game with a premium price. You get a lot for your money and there’s extensive scope for expansion. After my group’s games, there was appetite for more, to follow through the quests and claim the final prize from the Gaunt Summoner.
Let’s say you can only buy one game. In one hand you have Warhammer Quest: Silver Tower, and in the other you have Dungeon Saga. It’s a tough call. Warhammer Quest offers higher quality miniatures, lets everyone play on the same side as heroes and has the backing of the Warhammer universe. Dungeon Saga is perhaps a more rounded game where each quest goes right down to the wire. In terms of narrative immersion, though both do a very good job, Warhammer Quest probably comes out ahead. This comes from the regular flavour text, not just before and after each quest, but during. For example, the timer mechanic in Dungeon Saga feels like a game mechanic rather than there being a narrative reason making the heroes rush through their quest.
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