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I write this review based upon one game played last night, detailed here:

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/444695

as well as an obsessive reading of the rules and statements made by people here.

I had less than a great experience with the game my first run through. Luckily, this was not the game's fault.

There are MANY things to like about this game:

1. The theme - Evil Warhammer gods. You're trying to one-up members of your pantheon, all the while killing villagers, wooing nobles, avoiding sword-wielding palandins and goody-goody dwarves, and corrupting the landscape with the taint of evil. If you're into fantasy games at all, regardless of whether or not you know Warhammer, the theme is quite immersive. Probably the best experience is if everyone immerses themselves. Our Khorn player did a good job, with many a "muahahaha". I'd say avoid the point counters and min-maxers if you can, as their mathing would take away from the muahahaing.

2. The bits - most Fantasy Flight games come with superb bits. The board looks like it was ripped from the pages of the Necronomicon. The plastic figures are pretty cool (even with the cultist's bendy poles). Heroes, nobles, and peasants could have been represented by a plastic figure as well, but cardboard chits keep things less cluttered, and it's easier to see where your opponents are spreading their influence.

3. The gameplay - At it's heart the game is an area control game. There is little-to-no downtime, as everyone is assigning actions one after another. Resolution of those actions happens quickly, so the flow is fast. Dice play a small part of the game, but a lucky set of rolls can have a HUGE impact.

4. The variable powers - each god has a general path they take to victory - Nurgle is the Corruptor, Khorn is the warrior, Slaneesh is the Enchanter, Tzeentch is the Magician. The figures and chaos cards are all tailored to the god's general direction. The turn order is not variable - each god has their position in the order, Khorn, Nurgle, Tzeentch, Slaneesh. Having the fixed order and the different powers, the game seems to be relatively well balanced. There was some talk after the game as to whether one of the 4 powers will be "solved", but since it's a 3-4 player game, there will always be multiple opponents there to hold you in check.

The only negative thing I have to say is not specific to this game, but all Area Control games. My pet peeve of Area Control games is the fine balance of player power that HAS to be maintained throughout the game to prevent a runaway leader.

If one player is hammered on too hard, it actually makes it easier for the leader to run away with the game, as that one hammered player is now in no position to help keep the leader(s) in check, and the leader was not hammered enough!

I was the target of opportunity a number of times in the game (because I was spread out as Nurgle, and not hiding away in a corner). I was a juicy target for Khorn (acceptable, as he fulfilled his role as destroyer), but I was also spread out enough that people played convenient and cheap chaos cards on me, just because the spaces happened to be empty. Thus I found it difficult to come back and make a difference to my position or affect the rest of the outcome.

The runaway leader was sequestered in the corner of the map, safely turtled behind one of the OTHER players (who was also turtling, but no where near as effectively), milking an EXCELLENT starting position as Slaneesh, with the random draw starting noble tiles in both of his corner territories. More experience with the game should help identify these threats to our own Old World dominance. Beware the turtle. They are surprisingly powerful if not punished appropriately.

Even with the unsatisfying first game, the game currently sits at a strong 9 for me, mainly due to potential I see in it.
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Walter Greer
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First comment!
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And what a comment it was.
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Tom Hancock
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Nice review. I like the game a lot. It seems pretty balanced for a game with vastly different variable player powers. The combination of different ways to win/score makes things interesting even if you have played a certain chaos god before. I'm surprised it hasn't got a better response from people on BGG.
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Joe Stude
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Glencannon wrote:
First comment!


This whole "first" thing with regard to internet postings, especially when you have nothing else of value to add, needs to go... somewhere else.

I was a little concerned the asymmetry might be a problem but was pleasantly surprised by my first play. I can see the problem you speak of, though, as it raised its head in that first play. Players making obvious suboptimal choices just because they can can really throw the game off. At one point during that game the Tzeentch player had the choice to either kill two of my cultists, preventing me from receiving the "ruiner" bonus for that territory, or kill one of the two Khorne "warriors" there. At that point the Khorne player was behind on VPs, but significantly ahead on the goal dial AND had his entire army on the table. At the same time, Tzeentch was loaded up on cultists in that same region, meaning that once another battle phase occurred Khorne would get 4 attack dice to throw down with. I tried, in vain, to convince the Tzeentch player that even though preventing me from getting the ruiner bonus was smart in theory, leaving the frontrunner free to extend his lead via destruction wasn't a good idea either. He didn't listen, killed the cultists, and the game ended, via the Khorne win condition, at the end of the next round. Ay yii yii.
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Was George Orwell an Optimist?
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hancock.tom wrote:
I'm surprised it hasn't got a better response from people on BGG.


Still early days. I agree it's an outstanding game, and there are enough of us saying so that I think we'll soon reach critical mass. So much so that I wouldn't be surprised if we start hearing complaints about "too much hype" in the near future.
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martin kosak
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totaly agree a very strong 9 so far from me to.
i think this has the potential to be one of my favorite area control games...


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Thanks for your review but I'm feeling a bit different after my first unsatifying plays.

It appears to have potential and have all the things that I ever want to see in a game, many that you mention... Except the area control and dull combat take it from a 8-9 for me down to the dulldrums of a 5-6 game. I so want to like it, but it never satisfies.

I hope you see the potential realized for you in susequent plays but don't be too surprised if it never delivers what you think it can.

I'm not a warhammer universe junkie, maybe that's the issue. I wonder if most people who really like it are able to apply years of theme from the other sources to this game so that the flaws melt away.
 
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after 4 games i have to say that this is one of the best games this year.after a win with nurgle i am gonna try the blood god!!!
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GetFunkadelic wrote:
I hope you see the potential realized for you in susequent plays but don't be too surprised if it never delivers what you think it can.

I'm not a warhammer universe junkie, maybe that's the issue. I wonder if most people who really like it are able to apply years of theme from the other sources to this game so that the flaws melt away.


I'm not a WH junkie either. I have played the Dawn of War series of video games but that's pretty much my exposure to the universe. Of the 4 gods in the game i'd only heard of 2 previously (Nurgle and Khorn).

I haven't played very many Area Control games before this. Age of Empires III and El Grande are the only ones I own, and I don't play them often. I've always shy'd away from AC games, due to the inherent weaknesses I believe the game has when you are playing with differently experienced players. I hope regular play of the game irons out the inexperience issues we saw in the first game.
 
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hancock.tom wrote:
Nice review. I like the game a lot. It seems pretty balanced for a game with vastly different variable player powers. The combination of different ways to win/score makes things interesting even if you have played a certain chaos god before. I'm surprised it hasn't got a better response from people on BGG.


I'd say the fact that 200 of the ratings so far are 8 and above of less than 250 ratings, means that the game is getting quite a bit of positive response from the crowd. Also, it's been sitting in the top 5 of the Hotness bar for weeks. Middle Earth quest can't say that!
 
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Mark Johnson
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I've tried Middle-Earth Quest a few times now and I can certainly say that Chaos in the Old World is far better. I don't consider myself a huge FFG fan as they tend to suffer from:

a) Too many components (leading to a long set-up/breakdown of a game)
b) Too epic lengthy game play (I don't always mind this, but my gaming cohorts don't always have the stamina)
c) Too many complications in the rules (though there is some with CitOW, it's better than most of their games)

They really did a bang up job on this game.
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Eeeville wrote:
I've tried Middle-Earth Quest a few times now and I can certainly say that Chaos in the Old World is far better. I don't consider myself a huge FFG fan as they tend to suffer from:

a) Too many components (leading to a long set-up/breakdown of a game)
b) Too epic lengthy game play (I don't always mind this, but my gaming cohorts don't always have the stamina)
c) Too many complications in the rules (though there is some with CitOW, it's better than most of their games)

They really did a bang up job on this game.


Agree across the board.

I am usually luke warm on FFG games for the reasons mentioned, but I think this game is different and much better.

They really did a good job of combining a common Euro mechanic (area control) with a common AT mechanic (combat between players with different powers).

Other games have tried to be hybrid, but my one play suggests it could actually be successful at it. I played the War God (I dont know his name, the one that goes first each turn) and it took me about half the game to realize how welldone that role was. Usually the basic fighter type is really boring to me, but there is a LOT of interesting mechanics to deal with. I had the same impression of the other roles too- that they were particularly well done for being basic archetypes. The strategy for each is clearly much different too.

I honestly think the theme is a little off-putting, as I'm not a fan of Warhammer or whatever, and it's pretty over the top. But the mechanics are interesting enough that I want to try it again, which is not always the case with FFG games.

The Euro-esque game length helped a lot too.
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DeathInc wrote:

The runaway leader was sequestered in the corner of the map, safely turtled behind one of the OTHER players (who was also turtling, but no where near as effectively), milking an EXCELLENT starting position as Slaneesh, with the random draw starting noble tiles in both of his corner territories. More experience with the game should help identify these threats to our own Old World dominance. Beware the turtle. They are surprisingly powerful if not punished appropriately.

Even with the unsatisfying first game, the game currently sits at a strong 9 for me, mainly due to potential I see in it.


Turtling means that the Khorne player and also the Tzeentch player weren't really using their gods to their potential at all. A single "The Blood God's Call" from Khorne or a Teleport from Tzeentch (Tzeentch ideally teleporting in one of Khorne's units) should be all it should take to shatter a turtle. Or, worst comes to worst Khorne could just make a cultist string into the enemy territory and then summon in his warriors. Running away from gods (especially ones that have spent all their power points) works quite well in some situations but turtling should not.

The noble tiles being in a corner are a blessing and a curse. Ideally after Slaanesh played his first model into one of those areas Tzeentch should have teleported that model to the other side of the board, forcing Slaanesh to plod all the way back, wasting practically a whole turns worth of power points.

The game is quite well balanced I've found, it just sounds like your group needs to do a little more out of the box thinking to have the game really shine for you guys.
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Sunabozu wrote:
Ideally after Slaanesh played his first model into one of those areas Tzeentch should have teleported that model to the other side of the board, forcing Slaanesh to plod all the way back, wasting practically a whole turns worth of power points.


Good post overall, but this part doesn't work. Slaanesh could summon the teleported piece and place it back it in the original area in one shot.
 
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Nick Hayes
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Um - yes it does. You can only summon units in a region that has one of your figures in it OR regions adjacent to those. So, if Slaanesh has Norsca and Troll Country with Noble Tokens, and as the very first play of the game summons a cultist to, say, Norsca, and then Tzeentch plays Teleport in Norsca, moving that cultist to Estalia then Slaanesh can only place figures in Estalia, Tilea or Bretonnia.

The ONLY time you can place a figure anywhere when you have no figures on the board at all
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Slaneesh has a cheap card that allows him to move noble tokens anywhere he wants. As long as he has one, moving his first Cultist across the board is a minor inconvenience.
 
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Eric Delgado
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That Slaanesh card (Dark Influence) only moves a single noble token (or peasant or hero)meaning unless he has two the Slaanesh player has now split up the locations of the noble tokens to opposite sides of the map. And if he happens to have two and plays both, he has now vastly reduced his mobility against attacks (say from Khorne) if he wants to go for dial advancement.

Obviously teleporting Slaanesh's first cultist to the other side of the board isn't an instant game loser for Slaanesh but, it is a heck of a wrench that Tzeentch can throw into Slaanesh's work for 1 powerpoint.
 
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phobiandarkmoon wrote:
Um - yes it does. You can only summon units in a region that has one of your figures in it OR regions adjacent to those. So, if Slaanesh has Norsca and Troll Country with Noble Tokens, and as the very first play of the game summons a cultist to, say, Norsca, and then Tzeentch plays Teleport in Norsca, moving that cultist to Estalia then Slaanesh can only place figures in Estalia, Tilea or Bretonnia.

The ONLY time you can place a figure anywhere when you have no figures on the board at all


If you start with only one figure on the board, and summon it, you now have no figures on the board. You can place it anywhere you like. It is still your first figure, even if you are placing it for the 2nd (or 3rd or 10th) time.
 
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Sphere wrote:
phobiandarkmoon wrote:
Um - yes it does. You can only summon units in a region that has one of your figures in it OR regions adjacent to those. So, if Slaanesh has Norsca and Troll Country with Noble Tokens, and as the very first play of the game summons a cultist to, say, Norsca, and then Tzeentch plays Teleport in Norsca, moving that cultist to Estalia then Slaanesh can only place figures in Estalia, Tilea or Bretonnia.

The ONLY time you can place a figure anywhere when you have no figures on the board at all

If you start with only one figure on the board, and summon it, you now have no figures on the board. You can place it anywhere you like. It is still your first figure, even if you are placing it for the 2nd (or 3rd or 10th) time.

The example on page 12 implies that the location where you pick a figure up from counts as occupied for the purposes of the move. Is this not intended to apply when it's your only figure?
 
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ekted wrote:
The example on page 12 implies that the location where you pick a figure up from counts as occupied for the purposes of the move. Is this not intended to apply when it's your only figure?


The rule on page 12 allows you to extend a chain of figures by moving the last figure in the chain, even if that creates a gap. When other figures are on the map, you can only extend the chain.

If you start with a single figure on the map, there are two possibilities for summoning:

1) you place a second figure, which must go either in the same region or an adjacent one to the first figure.

2) you summon your only figure (your first figure), leaving nothing on the map, and then place it freely anywhere.

I've read the rules carefully, and that's the way it looks to me.
 
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Sphere wrote:
ekted wrote:
The example on page 12 implies that the location where you pick a figure up from counts as occupied for the purposes of the move. Is this not intended to apply when it's your only figure?


The rule on page 12 allows you to extend a chain of figures by moving the last figure in the chain, even if that creates a gap. When other figures are on the map, you can only extend the chain.

If you start with a single figure on the map, there are two possibilities for summoning:

1) you place a second figure, which must go either in the same region or an adjacent one to the first figure.

2) you summon your only figure (your first figure), leaving nothing on the map, and then place it freely anywhere.

I've read the rules carefully, and that's the way it looks to me.

I disagree.

If you pull your last remaining figure off the board, then you can only go adjacent to the region you just vacated.

Only when you start the round with no figures on the board may you now place anywhere. That is typically the definition of "first."
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The way I see it. Only allowing summoning to adjacent regions is to simulate your units marching to the next territory.

So in turn if you go to summon your only unit on the board I would rule that it would have to be an adjacent territory.
 
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Here's the rule:

Quote:
Note that the placing player may count a given region as occupied by his own figure if he chose the last figure in that region to summon.


You guys are treating it as if it says "the placing player must count a region as occupied by his figure even if it was the only figure on the board."

I don't see how you justify that extrapolation.
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I agree that it's a different case. The "last figure on the board" case is not mentioned. But inductively, what is the implication? [FFG is horrible with induction, but I still have hope.] When you pick up a figure from the end of a chain on the board, it's like you mark where the figure was and pretend its original location was occupied for the purposes of replacing it. In this case, it's allowing you to do more than you might think. In the "last figure" case, if you do the same thing, then the SAME PROCEDURE would be a limitation.

This is where I think FFG does a tremendous disservice. They do not think like this. They are happy with a special case for every situation, rather than a simple set of solid rules that encompass everything. So while I do not know what they will say, given the rules quote, I think my interpretation is more inductive (ie is more consistent with a single general rule).


 
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