Over the last three days I have looked at the contents of Warhammer Underworlds Shadespire, today my thoughts after my first couple of games. I used the Stormcast, against my wife who played as the Bloodbound.
I won't go through how the game is played as there are plenty of YouTube videos out there you can look at at for that kind of thing.
In our first game, we were both blindly fixated on the charging and fighting aspects of the game, this was somehow guided by the fact that neither of us had any 'claim objective X' cards. After two activations my Stormcast had killed two of the Bloodbound, and looked in control, but as the rounds moved on so I began to take damage. By the end of the third round only one Khorne warrior was alive, but all of my Stormcast were dead. I still managed to win by a few Glory, my first glimpse of what the game is really about; concentrating on objectives, not killing.
We had a second game straight away, now with a little knowledge of what we should be doing. With the board set up slightly differently and a more defensive set up from the Stormcast, we began.
The game started in the same way as the first, with a Bloodbound warrior being killed in the first activation, however the rest of the game was very defensive, with both warbands getting those 'claim objective X' cards we were missing from game one.
The second game ended quickly as both sides kept their distance, the Stormcast winning comfortably as I had some high glory end game objectives I could cash in.
So after two games, what did I think?
The mechanics of the game are very easy to learn, and I can see immediately that much like Age of Sigmar, this game will be easy to learn but hard to master.
Long term I can see this will be a difficult game to play in a causal sense, from just a handful of games it is obvious that to get the most out of this game you really need to embrace the deck building side of the game, something that is completely alien to me.
The reason that this might be a struggle for casual players is that if you do not know what to expect from your Power and Objective decks the game becomes a lot more random and reactionary. I think when introducing friends to this game for the first time, I will insist that they have a look through their decks to see the kind of things they will see during the game. If you have no idea what to expect, like we did in our first few games, you may find yourself completely out of position and unable to put together any kind of cohesive action phase.
It will also be a good idea to play with both the Stormcast and Bloodbound in your initial games, to get a feel for how both play on the board.
To be fair though, this has been described and marketed as a competitive game, so you definitely should know what to expect, it may just be a steep learning curve for those not used to the deck building style of game.
After two games I'm not 100% sold on Warhammer Underworlds Shadespire just yet, it will need some more games, with and without deckbuilding. My wife has already agreed to have some more games and wishes to swap warbands, so she can see if I can do any better with the Bloodbound than she did.
As a product it is fantastic value for money, and with the new Warbands costing less than £20, I can see most people getting all the warbands, especially as these expansion packs will have some Objective and Power cards that can be used by all races.
After I've had a few games with a range of different people and with a few different warbands I'll return and let you know my thoughts.