Friday, 16 January 2015

Lords of War: Orcs versus Dwarves Magic and Monsters Expansion

Those Black Box nutters are at it again...

One of my favourite games for the last few years, not least because it’s fun to play, but also because the team behind it keeps on coming up with new things for me to throw money at, and there’s a new release that’s just come out following their latest Kickstarter.

Lords of War: Orcs and Dwarves Magic and Monsters Expansion

It can be played by itself, but honestly, it’s not a game in and of itself. To make the best of it you do need a copy of the original Orcs and Dwarves set to play it, although if you’re an advanced player, the cards within can be easily integrated into a multi-race battle force, but more on that later. 

This expansion focuses on the unit types that were introduced in the most recent army packs and goes back to the original army to bring them up to speed.  It also introduces the concept of berserkers, magic, and monstrous units to give the game the additional level of strategy that takes it from an very good game into something that can only be described as excellent.

The first thing to note is the production values, which, as always, are spectacular.  Good stock card with custom boxes, excellent artwork in full colour and well presented rules.  Normally you get two decks of cards to make the armies, but with this box, you get thirty six new units, eighteen of each side, and four push out counter cards to represent the new rules and effects that can now be played within the game.

The second thing is the level of power involved in the new units, there’s a sub note in the rules that playing with these card by themselves won’t give you a balanced game, and in this matter...?

I have to agree...

When you look at cards from previous expansions, you can see that most cards have a reasonable toughness but not good hitting power, or vice versa.  In this, there’s quite a few that have both very high toughness and also hit hard in a lot of directions.  Previous ranged combat units usually hit up to nine squares with a power of up to four (In the case of heroes, five),  and now compare that to the Dwarf Organ Gun, which hits thirteen squares with power four, and if you manage to set one up on either side of the board, will drop almost anything the second it lands on the board.  On the one hand, you’d expect an Organ gun to do this sort of damage, the problem that I have is that as with all things that do this level of destruction, you have to balance them against the enemies out there, and while I haven’t had chance to use this set yet, I do fear that the power of the new units may prove far more than the existing armies can handle.

Which leads me to the only concern I have...

Years ago I used to play warhammer 40k, and it was reasonably balanced on all sides, so much so that most sides could get a reasonably fight out of the game, but then new army lists started coming out, and with each new army, you suddenly couldn’t play anything else because they’d made the new army far to hard...

I’ll be playing these new armies against others, and I’ll report back when I do, because the new units are lovely, they’re beautifully drawn out and you can see the idea behind the ways each of them can move or how they fight, it’s all such a wonderful design, and as long as you can still play any army against any army, there’ll be a win for this man there.

I’m sure that the team over at Black Box will be dreaming up something new even as I write, and to them I have to say only this...

Slow down you bleeders, I’m not made of money J

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