And yet a challenger to the crown of Warhammer Quest, a game upheld by many as not just the greatest game set in the Fantasy realm, but possible the greatest game GW ever created, did step forth.
Its name, Warhammer Quest : Silver Tower, and as befits a game about the trickery and shenanigans of Tzeentch, things are not always what they seem as it vies for you affections...
The system they have designed is a clever one, and I have no issues with it - it builds on the Age of Sigmar streamlined/simplified (*delete per your tastes :-) ) to make the game play at a fair clip - once you have a few games under your belt, you'll be slaying adversaries at break neck speed.
You have the random dungeon aspect, further enhanced by the fact the dungeon now starts to fade to nothing as you venture further in to it, possibly taking beleaguered and slowed heroes with them.
There are treasures to find and use to aid your chances of survival, and new skills that anyone can learn, but which can be more powerful if it's trait matches one of your Character's traits - effectively the AoS Keyword system.
The element of team play remains strong- the party must work together, utilising all of their abilities, skills and items to trounce the denizens of the Silver Tower... Well, when they wish to - you can also mess with others if you seek personal glory for you alone.
And the enemies come thick and fast with their own devious tricks and traps to befuddle and overwhelm you.
So why is this not Quest - because the same Age of Sigmar rigidity that makes it fast flowing, also limits it.
For one - the way you level up would be best described as akin to Call of Duty kill streaks - there's no long grind for XP over several mission, just a set number of Renown which is actually fairly quick to accrue through killing foes and through a unique trait that each character has. This also means that there are no stat increases, as the hot hit and damage stats are all AoS style pre sets - there is no comparative roll.
Also, skills are for everyone - there are no class specific skill lists, though the Traits system does help reintroduce some of the lost character/specialisms.
And currently we have but one dungeon. I'm not referring to the chamber tiels themselves, as Quest '95 ran the generic ones well . I mean the Silver Tower itself - that's it - all Tzeentch all the time (baring a lone Skaven assassin, who is baller to be fair) There are other trials with in that will add differing enemies, bosses and traps, but its still the Silver Tower. The original Quest came with rules for almost every model in the then Warhammer range. This meant you could straight away a campaign in Skavenblight, the Undercity, Mordheim, against the Greenskins, escaping a crazed Necromancers, or may be get caught up between the warring elven factions.
That also means that there is no between missions stage - no towns, traveling or anything else. This was frequently as much fun as the dungeons themselves, and could develop into full blown events in their own right. This helped in a large part to generate campaigns and plots and link it all together.
But I know there is something about accruing all the parts of talisman, so the replay value must come from that aspect and what ever effect that will have as you get more and more parts to it.
So yes, we do not have that, but what we do have is lavishly themed to the extreme, and does include additional rules for other currently available Tzeentchian foes for some variety - Screamers, Flamers Herald of Tzeentch and Exalted Flamer are al listed in the book, and with the purchase of just 3 box sets (Screamers, Flamers, Burning Chariot) , you can get all you need to field them too thanks to the Exotic Adversary rule, which was a nice addition.
Some will moan that last bit is just them trying to sell more models - yeah it is, but they have done it in a way that does not impact or detract from the core experience, and can be done very cheaply and at your leisure. The original Quest was no different in all honesty, so you cant Nostalgia Goggles your way round that one.
As grumpy as this may come across, I genuinely enjoyed it and look forward to playing it more to see what is there and what could be done with it.
I also am hoping we will get more set like this, say once every 6 months would do me fine. All packed with great new models, stacking with great heroes, and dripping with flavour and theme. Because not only would it mean we would have a raft of great settings, but then we would have enough to start having linked games, and creating our own quests. I am already looking at applying the new encounter tables to the old tiles and dungeon cards - just need more variety of adversaries, and that's taking into account the Exotic Adversaries aspect.
So I am not damming the game - far from it - it was great fun and in the same vein as Quest of old. I will be supporting it - I here there's a hero expansion packing coming out the following, so will snag that.
But I want people to buy this and judge on its own numerous merits, as nothing I have mentioned is truly a detractor. It is its own beast and plays to that whole heartedly. Its wants to give you a new a new experience different from the original, to stand apart from its predecessor and it is certainly deserving of it.
The existence of this game does not invalidate the original Quest - in fact when we start it again this year (yes, it WILL actually happen this time) we will run it as it is in the box rather than with all manner of crazy extra community stuff.
So please do - get down to your local stockist, see if they have a demo copy, and get some mates down to try it out - I have no doubt you'll enjoy it, and hopefully enough so that you'll pick up a copy, maybe a few Exotic Adversaries too, and support it so we can see more for this.
Part of me remains concerned that this is all we will see Hero support wise, but given that every single AoS Hero model can now become a Quest Hero - and damn dem minis is good - it seems a minor niggle.
Minor as long as the price is minor - the price point has yet o be confirmed per warrior, or even for the mega bundle that gives you all the Hero's in Quest form. Once we see that, Ill let know know where my rage-o-meter is at...
Now if you excuse me, I have a Necromunda day to prepare for. This Saturday is our 3rd of 4 rounds, and see us playing around with the environmental hazards from the Outlanders book, with some customisation.
I will endeavour to get some photos this time (been too busy playing myself... Poor show I know) especially as we will be trialling playing on Space hulk boards - thinking between 2' x 2' and 3' by 3' area of tunnels to off set the no longer open plan play area - don't want the play area to bring the game to a crawl.
But more on that, and the plans for the final round (MWAHAHAHAHA) next week.