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понеделник, 8 февруари 2016 г.

Mordheim: City of the Damned



Games Workshop are probably best known for their Warhammer 40K Universe. The fact is though that through the years they have made many more board games among which titles like Blood Bowl, Warhammer Quest, Necromunda, Warhammer 40k, Mordheim and more. Today I plan to tell you more exactly about Mordheim and specifically about its recent transfer from board to digital - City of the Damned. The game was Honourable mention in my Top 10 reviewed games.

Games Workshop have two main universes both being Warhammer but set in different time. The first is Warhammer Fantasy which is the dark fantasy setting and the second is 40K which is the dark sci-fi setting. Mordheim is taking part in the first one.


The City of the Damned


The once striving city of Mordheim has fallen into darknes and is punished by the gods - a comet destroys it and scatters the precious pieces of wyrd across the city. Now mercenary bands will do all they can to gather as much wyrd as possible and sell it. You are leader of one such band, sponsored by a nobleman who demands what he pays for. 





Warbands


In the game you will have the choice between Skirmish and Campaign. In both modes you will be able to choose between four factions - Human Mercenaries, Skaven Clan Eshin, Sisters of Sigmar and Cult of the Possessed. The humans are the most balanced warband and are great for beginers. Clan Eshin are masters of stealth and poison. Their warriors might not be the sturdiest but you will have hard time finding them if they don't want you to. Also when you are against the Skaven don't forget to watch your back. Sisters of Sigmar are the holy maidens who seek to cleanse both the city and their name. The exactly opposite of them is the Cult of the possessed - all kinds of mutants and nonhumans gather under the banner of Chaos.

After you have made your choice of Warband, you will be able to tweak it further with the selection of the classes that compose it. Balanced, heavy melee, range specialists only, whatever floats your boat. Mordheim is not picky he will kill anyone. With your progression in the game you will be able to hire more mercenaries, equip them with items and improve their skills.





A twist in the turn-based action



City of the damned is a skirmish game very similar to Necromunda but set in different world. Every time you lead your warband out in the city you will have certain sub-objectives and one main which is usually kill all enemies or turn them into rout. I will not go in depth in explaining the game mechanics as they are rather complicated but I will try to cover the main ones which make the game stand out.  Mordheim is a turn-based game and during your turn you will be able to act with only one character. Your characters will have two types of action points - movement and battle ones. Different actions will require one of those or even combination of both. What is interesting is the movement mechanic of the game. When you take control over one of your characters you will see wide blue circle around him. This is the range in which you can move for one movement point. If you cross the circle you will need another point to continue move. This system lets you even backtrack and take a different road, this way giving you a lot of freedom when exploring the city and at the same time keeping the tactical element of turn-based game. All characters have a variety of actions and skills which they can use during skirmish for a cost of action points. The actions and skills will be different for all characters depending on their classes and skills but the most classes will have a Perception check, Ambush, Parry, Dodge stance and few different kinds of attacks. The stances are amazing so master them quickly. And because this does not make the game complicated enough there are also a ton of status effects most negative as well as a bunch of skill checks when you perform actions like jumping and climbing. Those can have a lot worse consequences than just taking some damage when failed. 



When the hunt is over and you engage with the enemy there will be only two options you will either die or win. Not much to explain either - you attack he tries to block/dodge, gets hit or not. It’s that simple actually. The strategic element is not so much when you engage but more when to engage. Catching lone enemies off guard is extremely beneficial, but be careful because running into ambushes is really easy and can turn a 2v1 quickly into a 1v1. Also end small encounters quickly as the enemy won't leave his mercenaries to die if he can bring reinforcements. 



Back to base


Once when a skirmish is over is time for summary of the mission. What objectives you have completed, what items you have looted and what injuries your men and women have suffered. If you are lucky your guys will miraculously recover from their fight wounds and will be ready for the next fight. But don't put your hopes on this as it will not happen often, especially if you have lost. More often than not the injuries of your soldiers will at best put into recovery for some time during which you will not be able to use them( kind of like in Darkest Dungeon, but here they don't run off to have drunken orgies). Sometimes their injuries may even cost them parts of their bodies which will change their stats and abilities. For example losing an eye will cause a character to be less accurate while losing an arm will make him unable to dual wield while at the same time will make him harder to be hit. And in the worst case scenario your precious mercenaries will die...forever, there is only permanent death in Mordheim. 



To make it even harder you will have to also fill quotas of wyrd for your sponsor and will have to pay your mercenaries their treatment and wages. If not payed they won’t go in fight and will leave at some point. Acquiring the requested wyrd is also very important and it will have band consequences for you if you fail to do so. 


Conclusion


Mordheim: City of the Damned is a hard skirmish tactical turn-based game where you will lead bands of mercenaries in search for the precious wyrd. But your band is not the only one which is looking for the magical stone. The game is set in Warhammer Fantasy and is as dark and gritty as a Warhammer game can be. Mordheim will challenge you not only on the battlefield but also out of it where you will have to manage the payment of your warband, requested quotas of wyrd and treatment of injured mercenaries. Despite its hard learning curve (for which the greatly detailed tutorials help a lot) the game is excellent title for everybody who is looking for a challenging tactical game. I guarantee you that if you are into dying a lot and losing many times you will enjoy Mordheim even if you are not fan of Warhammer. 




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