What is Warhammer Underworlds: Shadespire?
Well, simply put, it’s a game which combines elements of a board game, a dice game and a card game, along with deck-building and the miniature building and painting side of the tabletop wargaming hobby.
Basically, it takes things from many other game types and puts them all together to form this brilliant one in its own right.
It’s a combat game set in the Age of Sigmar world created by Games Workshop and battles take place within the city of Shadespire a.k.a The Mirrored City, due to its makeup of glass and mirrors.
The game was released with a core box set which includes everything necessary to get playing this brilliant game quickly.
Core Set Contents
The Shadespire core box comes with the boards, dice, miniatures, rules (including a quick rules page to get you going super quick) and all the counters you’re going to need to keep track of what’s going on.
As far as the miniatures go, you’ll get two different warbands who are sworn enemies and will attack on sight. These are the Stormcast Eternals of Steelheart’s Champions and the bloodthirsty Khorne followers of Garrek’s Reavers.
With other Games Workshop products, the miniatures come in the usual grey plastic colour but not Warhammer Underworlds. Each warband has its own colour with which the miniatures are cast. Steelheart’s Champions are blue and Garrek’s Reavers are, quite rightly so, red. This is great because if like me, you aren’t a fan of the painting side of the game, you don’t have to paint anything. Brilliant! The game still looks good. Having said that, the miniatures do look a helluva lot better when painted as can be seen via a quick Google. These miniatures are beautiful things and a lot of the detail is lost whilst in their one-colour state.
The core set gets you going with 2-player games, but there is the ability to increase that to 4-players if each player brings along one of their own boards. This means, of course, that another core box set will need to be bought — Games Workshop ain’t going to pass up on a money-making opportunity like that.
As time goes on, people would get bored of the core set warbands and boards etc. so Games Workshop brings out expansion sets every-so-often. At the time of writing this, we are still in the realms of Shadespire only (if Games Workshop continues to make money from this, I foresee them adding in new realms in the future — this is given away by the “:” at the end of “Warhammer Underworlds” and before the “Shadespire”).
Right now we have been treated to four expansion sets in the form of warbands and their associated products. Not long after the release of the core set we had the release of the Sepulchral Guard and Ironskulls Boyz (Orruks/Orcs). This has been followed by the release of the Spiteclaw’s Swarm (Skaven) and The Chosen Axes (Fyreslayers/Duardin/Dwarfs — call them what you will).
This will continue until all races are represented within the game and, if sales are still good, expand further into each race with other character figures leading different warbands from those races.
The game is split up into:
- Three rounds which involve moving your miniatures, fighting with your miniatures, rolling dice and playing cards
- End phases where points are calculated and your card hands are replenished
This all happens over the course of three rounds with the winner being decided by who has the most points at the end of the third round.
They say that games should take around the 45-minute mark, but this will vary as you get more experienced with the rules and improve your playstyle and familiarity with your deck(s).
It truly is a great game to play and is easy to learn but difficult to master.
There’s so much depth to it with the building, playtesting and modifying of your tactics and decks. It’s difficult to explain this until you’re actually playing the game and step back and think about all the synergy and possibilities within each game.
Each game is different as well due to the variations of setup and decks you’re playing with and playing against. It can come down to the selection of and the placing of game boards sometimes, and this shouldn’t be overlooked as part of your tactics ones you’re familiar with the game.
So, if you’re interested in tactical games that can provide you with hours of fun, I strongly suggest you get Warhammer Underworlds: Shadespire.
It’s great for playing at home with the family and friends but there’s also a tournament scene (if that’s your thing) that is strongly supported by Games Workshop themselves. If you practice and get good, you could find yourself appearing at the top tables and winning some great prizes and maybe even appearing on the Games Workshop Twitch channel!
Perhaps this dude, who does lots of the voice-over work for Games Workshop and their excellent audio books, can explain it better than I (ignore the “Pre-order” bit at the end as it’s already available):