Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Gorechosen: A Christmas Story

Since family Christmases are traditionally a time of wrath-fuelled conflict with no mercy or quarter, I thought it would be a good time to try out a game of Gorechosen.

"For the hundredth time - you don't get any money on Free Parking!"

Let the slaughter commence!

The first challenge was to get the pieces assembled and ready, as the idea to play only occurred to me four days before Christmas, and apparently wrapping presents and preparing food is considered more of a priority.

But if I presented unpainted plastic, I'd never hear the end of it.

In the end, some speedy brushstrokes got the champions up to a point whereby I could easily identify them to non-Warhammerers ("yours is the one with the skull helmet"), and I'll post an update when they're properly done.

The game mechanics of Gorechosen are pretty straightforward:
  • There are no conventional turns; for each round you draw from a stack of Initiative cards that each displays one of the four combatant's symbols.
  • When your symbol appears, you can play an action card (one of five that you are dealt fresh each round). The action card has options to move (a certain number of hexes/direction); attack (with a certain number of dice); or a special action (often block, parry or dodge, which you can use to counter attacks).
  • You cycle through the whole Initiative deck per round, so observant players will know which fighter has taken all their turns, and who is left to go. It's a nice mechanic: the first card turned  will get his licks in first, but may have to take punishment later on.
  • The number of cards you have in the Initiative deck (between 2-4) depends on your current Wrath level. Wrath is gained or lost from actions that are aggressive (lose wrath), ineffective (gain wrath) or characterful (charging in gains wrath, running away loses it). This gives players a good incentive to act like Khorne champions (rather than hanging back and waiting for others to fight, like sneaky Tzeentch ones), as well as balancing this out a little (generally, if you have less wrath, you've probably done more damage).

Dead simple, and certainly accessible enough for me to walk a group of non-gamers through it within the first round.

Each pit fighter is unique, and we choose ours at random (although I'm now thinking the Exalted Champion is something of a combat beast):

  • Redarg Bloodfane (Exalted Champion) - with his massive axe, he's actually the least likely to hit, but he inflicts the most wounds when he does. He also has an automatic counter-strike ability and can shove opponents back and steal their action cards.
  • Kore Hammerskill (Skullgrinder) - with his swinging anvil-flail, he's more effective at arm's length, which means he suffers when opponents go toe-to-toe with him. However, he can swipe around at multiple targets at once, and increase the wounds he inflicts (though he has to spend action cards to do so).
  • Heldrax Goretouched (Slaughterpriest) - his long axe gives him more reach than Redarg, and he's apparently better at using it. He has a damaging ability, but one that requires you to roll two 6s, but with his power to make Blood Boil (as with AoS) means that he's the only fighter with a ranged attack.
  • Vexnar the Reaper (Aspiring Champion) - he's all about finesse, as he is almost certain to hit with his attacks, but they land less damage. He has an ability to gain more dice if his target is directly in front of him, which compliments his power to call enemies to step up to face him.

For the battle itself, I wasn't able to make detailed notes, but I was impressed that the fight a) didn't break into the combatants pairing off to fight b) didn't become a big scrum in the middle. Fighters were advancing and disengaging as much as they were hacking and slashing - which has to be a consequence of the way the action cards are structured.

Anyway, I was Kore Hammerskull, and after a few rounds where everyone learned the rules, a consensus was reached that the most efficient way to end the game was to team up and kill me. Though I swung a wide arc against all-comers, a massive overhead chop by the Slaughterpriest (coming at the end of the round, when I had used up all my action cards, and so had no defence options left) left me in the dirt. I encouraged the three surviving champions to continue to the death, but they all wanted to go and watch Love, Actually.

From this small taster, I liked the game. It's quick, brutal, with enough of a strategy to give you a challenge, but inconsequential enough that you won't feel robbed if you get chopped down first (although I *was* robbed).

The mechanics work well - and it would be a perfect Skypeboot game if it weren't for the action cards (thinking caps on for that one). Frankly, the rules could be garbage and it would still be a steal to get the four character models (I'll rave about them in a subsequent post).


1 comment:

  1. We played Exploding Kittens together. I tried really hard to convince the family that a full campaign of vintage Space Hulk with full psychic rules would be a giggle, but they just weren't buying it.