Warhammer: Diskwars? What’s that?
Based on the original Diskwars game design by Christian T. Petersen and Tom Jolly, Warhammer: Diskwars is a fast-paced, tactical battle game for two to four players that can be played in an hour or less. It has been updated to its new setting within the Warhammer world and features flexible rules for heroic army-building. Additionally, whereas the original Diskwars was a collectible game, Warhammer: Diskwars has moved away from the blind purchase model, and the Core Set includes everything you need to play the game. That makes it a big plus to get into.
At the core of Warhammer: Diskwars are its disks. Each disk represents a hero or unit from the Old World and comes complete with its own combat statistics, traits, and special abilities.
What makes these disks truly unique, though, is the way that players maneuver them around the battlefield. To move a disk, you simply flip it end over end. Thus, each disk’s movement doesn’t just involve a starting point and end point; it has a whole path, and as it moves, it interacts with terrain and other disks it overlaps. With me so far? I hope the following diagram helps explain things better.
Now whenever a disk flips in such a way that it covers up another disk, the disk on top is considered to be “pinning” the disk below it. This prevents the pinned disk from activating, and at the end of the round, overlapping disks must fight each other. By maneuvering carefully to pin your opponent’s units, you can strike them down, seize control of the battlefield, and win the day! Which, after all, is the object of the game!
While you seek to maneuver your disks across the battlefield, you also want to pay attention to each disk’s keywords and combat abilities. Some disks feature the ability to make ranged attacks. Some can use magic to destroy their foes at a distance. Disks with the “Impact” keyword cause immediate damage when they crash into their foes, and some disks are resistant, or even immune, to different types of damage.
Important Decisions in the Heat of Battle
In setup, players draft terrain cards and draw an objective card. Each terrain card indicates two different options, so they’ll want to be certain to select the elements that grant them the greatest advantage against their foe. Meanwhile, their objective card dictates their victory condition, and they keep this hidden from their opponents. Because each player in Warhammer: Diskwars seeks to meet his/her secret objective, this rewards tactical flexibility, and because objectives all encourage players to clash early and often, they keep the game’s focus squarely on combat most of the time.
As players launch headlong into game rounds, both they and their opponents must try to outflank each other by winning initiative and activating units through the play of command cards. Each command card has a strategy which players use to determine the order in which they resolve their activations. The four strategies are Bold, Steady, Devious, and Cautious. Players resolve Bold cards before Steady cards, Steady cards before Devious cards, and Devious cards before Bold cards. Cautious cards are resolved last.
Furthermore, command cards indicate the number of units a player can activate, and many introduce other game effects that can dramatically alter the outcome of the round’s combat.
As player’s forces draw close to each other, they’ll want to win the first meaningful charge or fire the first lethal shot. Learning how to lure the opponent into a vulnerable position is critical, and they’ll want to play cards in such an order that they can reveal the right strategy at the right time!
A Horde of Army Choices
With twenty-four command cards, five terrain cards, five scenario cards, and more than sixty disks, the Warhammer: Diskwars Core Set includes everything two to four players need to field a wide range of different armies for the game’s four races.
Heroes stand at the front and center of each army in Warhammer: Diskwars. Before a game, players decide how many heroes they will each bring to battle. Each hero is effectively “free,” and all heroes indicate a number of recruitment points that they can then spend to recruit its regiment. They also indicate a number of command cards that a player can add to their command hand. While heroes may not recruit units from a race other than their own, they can explore alliances between the game’s races by pairing the forces of Chaos with the Orc hordes, or by partnering a High Elf hero with one from the Empire. You cannot, however, pair the forces of Order with those of Destruction.
These army building rules allow players to easily recruit forces and experiment with different strategies and synergies. Players can focus on offense, defense, or mobility. They can try to focus on ranged attacks, or build armies full of cavalry units ready to charge at their foes. A player can explore the strengths hidden in different keywords, and they can expand on creative options with multiple Core Sets, as well as future expansions, which will introduce new units, command cards, and terrain. So far these expansions will be fixed contents.
I can certainly see this being a great League play game within stores. Each player starts with a Core set and creates an army to a starting value and abiding by the pairing constants I list above. Then each week they can “draft” in forces from expansions. This way their band of heroes and troops evolve each week. Obviously cards can be drafted in the same way.
Flat Disks, Deep Mechanics
The battles play pretty fast when you’re used to moving things and how they interact when moving. Players play command cards to seize initiative and activate their units. Combat quickly changes the shape of the battlefield. Units are destroyed. Blood flows. Heroes and their regiments close ranks, and the fierce, tumultuous conflicts of the Old World quickly materialize on your tabletop. Sounds like a regular miniatures game right?
By promoting numerous interactions between terrain elements, hidden objectives, rules for army building, and the abilities on the disks themselves, Warhammer: Diskwars creates an experience rooted in miniature warfare without miniatures, but also one that can be played in an hour or less with no miniature assembly, painting or storage. Let’s face facts you can keep a veritable horde all in one small box. I also get to leave the glue at home for running repairs as I play games! But beware the spilled soda can.
Michael Gernes, one of the game’s developers, has this to say about Warhammer: Diskwars:
“I played the original Diskwars and greatly admired its fast-paced play style and innovative disk-flipping mechanic. That core experience remains central toWarhammer: Diskwars.”
“I’ve been into the Warhammer World in one way or another since I was thirteen. I grew up reading White Dwarf lore articles and battle reports, I played the roleplaying game for years, and over the past year I’ve been building, painting, and playing a Skaven army for Warhammer Fantasy Battles. So, it’s fair to say that working on Warhammer: Diskwars is the kind of project that’s occupied my daydreams for more than half of my life.”
“Warhammer: Diskwars is a unique game, and I was thrilled to help develop it so that it includes the tactical positioning, hero-centric army building, and strategic decisions that I enjoy and that I feel evoke the Warhammer Fantasy setting. I am also very pleased with the development of our battlefield setup rules, which add replayability and ground the battles of Warhammer: Diskwars firmly in the Old World. The game’s setup rules ensure that players will make choices every game that have real repercussions upon their strategies and tactics and that make each play experience unique.”
“Helping capture the flavor and texture of the armies of the Old World in the Warhammer: Diskwars system was another one of the project’s most exciting challenges. As a fan, I love when units’ game abilities faithfully reflect their roles in their world’s background. I spent a lot of time referencing my Warhammer armies books and worked to shape disk and command card abilities to make sure they felt right with the lore, while also making sure they fit the Diskwarsgame experience.”
Source: FFG’s website
Warhammer: Diskwars is an epic game of heroes, armies, and brutal warfare. With a host of terrain cards, objectives, command cards, and more than sixty disks for the game’s four races, the Core Set includes everything you need for you and your friends to build your first armies and throw down immediately.
Warhammer: Diskwars is scheduled to arrive in the first quarter of 2014. Until then, keep your eyes open for more news and previews coming on our website.
Players: 2 – 4
Time: 45-90 minutes
Release: 1st quarter 2014
*Price is subject to change