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Horus Heresy (2010)» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Horus Heresy Review rss

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Ewan Anderson
United Kingdom
Ipswich
Suffolk
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Hi there, this is my first review for BGG, but from the offset, I must admit that I'm a big fan of Fantasy Flight Games, and in particular their big box productions, such as Descent, Twilight Imperium, World Of Warcraft and Runewars.

Components- FFG doesn't dissapoint in this department. The board is beautifully put together- the board depicts Terra and on the right hand side has a strategic map of Terra and space for units to occupy Horus' flagship. There are beautifully rendered 3D map pieces for fortified areas on Terra. I have one small gripe here- there isn;t enough space to put all the units that appear on the 3D sections- sometimes the scenario places 3 space marine units AND a hero, which there simply isn't enough space to put in. This only a minor gripe however. The cards are brilliant and detailed, also the units themselves are expertly detailed. All of the chaos units can be told apart from their various different colours- Blue for Tzeentech, Green for Nurgle, Red for Khorne and Purple for Slaanesh. All of the chaos units go on black bases while the Imperial units are fixed onto grey bases.

Gameplay- Gameplay takes place in various rounds, which are determined by initative, which the chaos player starts off with. Most of the time you will get to play 2 initiative worth of actions before the inertia moves over to the opposing side. Actions include placing an action on the strategic map (which cost 1 initative) executing an action on the strategic map (which costs 1 initative) playing a card from your hand on any region on the board (which can range from 1-3 initative) burying an order to the bottom of a stack (1 initative) and drawing a new order card from your deck (1 initative).

Whilst your counter moves down on the initative track various "special events" are triggered which can range from "event" (a special event drawn from a pre-selected deck which contains bonuses for both sides) to "order phase" which enables you to redraw orders into your hand to a hnad size of "6". Also you get a "refresh" phase which removes activation markers from the board and turns rout markers over to their activation side.

The chaos side's initial objective is really to get forces down onto Terra by means of "drop pods" and "spaceport landings". The Chaos side (in the initial beginning scenario- there are 6 scenarios in total) starts off with very few units on the board. Mortarion in particular (the nurgle hero) starts off very isolated and in need of support.

There are several ways to win victory in Horus Heresy- first off either side wins when the leader of the opposing side is defeated- Horus or the Emperor. Secondly either side wins if they control all 4 spaceports AFTER one of the initative markers has passed the Spaceport Win marker. Thirdly the Imperial player wins for simply holding out, until the end of the iniative track.

Combat is determined by the rank of the units involved in the combat- you get half the rank value of the total units involved in the combat rounded up. so for example 7 rank worth of troops gives you 4 combat cards. The presence of a hero gives you two hero combat cards (1 if they're wounded). Special effects can take place if you're the attacker- which range from routing units (for example from Daemons) or outright killing a unit (space marines!)

One unique thing about the game is the Bombardment deck. This deck is very reminiscent of the Fate deck in Runewars. The deck in Horus Heresy determines any number of things from Bombardment effects ( you can pick Precise or Reckless- and get the results from the cards), Thunderhawk Gunship strafing, Defense laser successes, and corruption effects (imperial sign means the unit is safe, the chaos star means the unit is corrupted- you can only do this as the Chaos player)

You can really tell that this is a FFG production- the bombardment deck is so reminiscent of the Fate deck in Runewars that you tell there was some close collabaration which is always a good thing!!

Overall I will give this game a healthy 8.5- it has lots of promise. my rating may rise to a 9 or 9.5 with repeated playing.

There are many different scenarios to pick from- some invloving the volatility of the planet (volcanic eruptions and such) and some favouring one side or another

P.S. one thing I forgot to mention which is really cool about the game is that every leader has special powers which can be applied in battle- Mortarion for example, has the ability to reduce the rank of each opposing unit by one. Magnus The Red can do a bomabardment on the enemy when attacking.

This is an excellent game and I wouldn't hesitate to reccomend it to you!
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I saw the FFG commercial for this game and it cracked me up laugh

How deep of a game is this? Obvious tactical choices? Superficial decisions? I didn't like starcraft for this reason. How will this game hold up?
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Chris Alfaro
United States
Indian Trail
North Carolina
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Robin2 wrote:
I saw the FFG commercial for this game and it cracked me up laugh

How deep of a game is this? Obvious tactical choices? Superficial decisions? I didn't like starcraft for this reason. How will this game hold up?


After a quick run through with my copy of the game I would have to say the game is deep. I am not saying it is the deepest game out there, but the choices you have to make aren't obvious most of the time. I would have to say this comes from the design of the order cards and the initiative track. Playing from your hand is a guaranteed thing, but the downsides are that it usually costs more initiative (and therefore can allow your opponent multiple moves), and most likely will place activation markers which prevent those units from acting until a refresh phase occurs. Playing on the strategic map gives bonus effects usually and can reduce some high initiative cards costs, but takes planning. Then you have things like drawing new orders or attempting to "bury" your opponents orders on the strategic map which only cost one initiative, but could also cause a change of initiative, so planning is key.

I guess what I am trying to say is that it isn't like Risk or even Axis & Allies where you amass different armies and try to keep going until you get worn down. In those games you know statistically what an army can do and the turn order is set. I guess that kind of playstyle could work if your opponent exposes himself, but in general I would say the game unfolds more like how you would imagine a battle of that scale would. It all feels very fluid and cinematic. I personally can't wait to play an actual player lol.

If I had to say one word of warning however, I would say that the card based combat seems just as random as a die based system. This may turn some people off, however I have no problem with this. I think it fits the theme of the game when you have a small group of Loyalists hold off a chaos horde, etc.
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Mike Forrey
United States
Dallastown
Pennsylvania
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The rules of the game and play are very easy to understand and quick to pickup. that is the easy part of the game because the strategic depth for a board game is really present in this game. There is almost never an obvious choice for an action each turn and it requires you to understand the board poistioning and what is present in each area. Not onyl that but since the areas are broken into zones and areas within those zones your movement becomes very interesting.

There is a constant feel like you are both pulling back and forth looking for that one opportunity to seizes the initiative and get the win. This also keeps you wary of your opponent exploiting an opening to take you out.

It's not on the level of WoTR IMO but it pretty damn close.
 
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