Monday, 3 December 2012

Return to Chaos

Last Friday, just like the inherent tendencies of the universe, we were drawn to Chaos. In the Old World, that is.

Look at those pesky Skaven quietly hiding out in their far corner of the board,
while Tzeentch gets his asked kicked by Slaanesh and Nurgle in the centre.

Fantasy Flight's strategic boardgame based on the Warhammer renaissance fantasy world focuses on the struggles between the Chaos gods (Khorn, Nurgle, Slaanesh and Tzeentch) over control of the Old World. This is the place where the humans live, but they are only a minor nuisance occassionally stirred into action by event cards.

The real battle is between the chaos gods as they try to spread their evil influence over the different regions. Persistent corruption will in time lead to the ruination of the area. For this they need their devoted cultists.

To really wrest control the area from the humans and each other, the gods must send in their warriors and demons. This is harder in strong states like the Empire, Kislev and Bretonnia and easier in marginal areas like the Badlands and Norsca.

There´s two ways towards victory: there's the slow, grinding acquisition of victory points through the conquest or corruption of regions and the faster route where the gods perform certain required actions.

In true Ameritrash fashion, the four gods have their own special powers, which are reflected in the characteristics of the monsters they can summon and the spells they can cast. It also determines their quickest route to victory.

For example, Khorn, the Blood God, has the most powerful troops and most of his spells reinforce his advantage in battle. In terms of getting towards victory, he is rewarded for killing enemy minions.

While Nurgle needs to place multiple corruption tokens in an area 10 times and Khorne needs to kill enemies in 9 different battles, the Skaven and Tzeentch need  to take 8 steps to reach victory, but Slaanesh only 7.

As this was only our second game in about two years, the rules were rusty and we were again surprised by the speed of the game. If a player can go about his business in a quiet corner of the board, he will quickly ratchet up the required steps on the victory dial and win in three turns.

The most important lesson learned therefor was probably to get into close contact from the word go, denying easy dial advances to other players. No time for sitting on the fence.

I think we were all a bit dazed after this quick result so we will need to give it another try real soon.

Ps The Horned Rat expansion adds the Skaven as a possible fifth player and new sets of cards for the other gods. It´s not massive as expansions go, but the fifth player option was very welcome this time.


  1. Great review, Jur! Chaos in the Old World is a TERRIFIC game. One of my favourites of all time. We found you do get some odd results until everyone kind of knows what they're doing in the game. After that, it's pretty tense. We found that there wasn't just one Chaos Power winning all the time, although Slaanesh was more tricky than, say Khorne. I've bought "The Horned Rat", but not yet had the chance to try it out. Thanks for the review!

    1. Exactly, there's a learning curve, just like Brittannia (only shorter).

      I'd say Horned Rat is not essential, except for the 5th player option. It adds diversity to the upgrade and chaos decks though.


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