The world of Warhammer first graced tabletops in 1983 with the launch of Warhammer Fantasy. Since the first edition of the miniature wargame, there have been countless releases, allowing players of all ages to get involved. Perhaps one of the most accessible games over recent years and one that is proving to be a massive hit, is Warhammer Underworlds.
Our resident Warhammer fan boy, Matt Adams tells us exactly what drew him into the tactical arena combat game and why he feels it’s such a big hit.
Warhammer Underworlds is potentially my favourite game. My introduction to the tabletop arena game happened a little over a year ago, and involved me being somewhat tossed in the deep end of the pool. A friend within my local wargaming group had got himself a copy of the game along with most of the warbands released up to that point. As he slapped the game and the warbands down on the table, my eyes were instantly drawn to the Fyreslayers, a rather epic (if not rather nude) band of dwarfs, covered in runes and wielding axes that are nearly the same size as them.
Even if I had no clue what I was doing, or the fact I got absolutely trounced (thinking back to it, I think I scored 3 glory over the course of the game) I was well and truly hooked.
Something about the mix of cards and dice in this strange hexagonal city had firmly grabbed me and refused to let go. Soon after, I picked up the core set and became fully immersed in the battles that take place within the walls of Shadespire, the setting for this epic game.
Warhammer Underworlds is a game for two to four players, in which each player takes their warband of fantastically detailed Citadel miniatures and pits them against their rivals in battles beneath the dark city of Shadespire. It’s a game of strategy, fast-paced combat and devious ploys.
“In the game, your warband is pitted against another in a desperate struggle amidst the ruins of the Mirrored City. Your success is measured in glory points, awarded for achieving objectives and vanquishing your foes. Whoever has the most glory points at the end of the game wins!
“Two-player games of Warhammer Underworlds are an intense tactical challenge, and games with three or four players gain whole new layers of strategy. Battlefields turn into sprawling, complex labyrinths. Makeshift allegiances are forged – and broken. Victory becomes not just a matter of domination, but deception, playing your enemies against one another before claiming final triumph.
Whether assailed by warriors of chaos, harbingers of destruction or the minions of Nagash, it’s safe to say Warhammer Underworlds has really brought about a darker and perhaps grittier side to Age of Sigmar.
Despite the game being filled with death and destruction, the miniatures filled me with glee and I don’t think there is a single mini in the Underworlds range I dislike. Each intricately designed warband definitely has its own flavour, and even the Stormcast, who are all linked in general shape and silhouette, have enough variations to make them easily stand apart on the table top.
Underworlds has a warband for every player; whether it be the large and brutish Orrucks or the lithe Tzeentchian followers.
The crowing jewel of this game is easily the rules. Warhammer Underworlds has a sleek ruleset that perfectly balances both the flavour and competitive nature of the game. I think the mark of a good game is one that will make you think about it, even when you aren’t playing it. After finishing a game I find myself absently thinking about cards and new decks. I just can’t get enough.
I think it would be criminal to pass on giving the game a try if you get the opportunity. Warhammer games have generated a bit of a stigma over the years, with many people being put off by the initial costs for building armies, buying paints and of course purchasing all of the relevant rule books. Underworlds is an easily accessible game, both in terms of the rules and cost. You can pick up a copy of the base game, which includes the rules, boards, tokens and two warbands, for a little over £30. Bargain!
Simple to pick up, yet deceptively difficult to master, Warhammer Underworlds is a must for both wargaming aficionados and newbies a like.