Into the Warhammer 40K universe
I think if we were all asked how we ended up playing card games or boardgames, we each have stories that share common threads.
I first read about board games when I stumbled upon a 1970s book that introduced war games, in my cousin house.
Then, there was that really nice and glossy magazine named White Dwarf that had tons of stories based on both Games Workshop Warhammer Fantasy and Warhammer 40K (or WH40K in short) settings. (If you still need a primer for Warhammer 40K, various primers are available online easily.)
Well, being a kid with barely enough allowance for canteen food meant that I had to subsist on reading the magazine and ogling at the miniatures. Fast forward to the early 2000s, and I had already tried Magic: the Gathering, Wildstorms CCG (Collectible Card Game), Star Wars CCG (Customizable Card Game), and The Lord of the Rings TCG (Trading Card Game), and one fine day, I read about a Warhammer 40K CCG.
It felt like full circle for me, as it finally dawned on me that I could finally afford the time and have the finances to play a WH40K game.
WH40K CCG was released in 2001, and I call it one of the earliest mass market WH40K games. Games Workshop had been cranking out WH40K miniatures for over 10 years already by then, but miniatures produced in Britain wasn exactly something that everyone could afford (in terms of both money and time you still have to get them painted).
There were games such as Space Hulk, which required far fewer miniatures than you typically need for your average tabletop session then, but I remember it being still a product that was scarce in the streets of Malaysia back in the day.
By 2001, Magic had been top of the pile in the collectible card gaming industry for over seven years already. I remember CCGs being absolutely huge back then: every TV show (X Files even) or franchise seemed keen to make their own card game. A WH40K one was a no brainer.
The first set gave us four factions: Space Marines, Chaos, Eldar and Orks. Subsequent expansions would provide the setting other ubiquitous races, such as Dark Eldar, Imperial Guard and Tyranid.
The game objective was to win the most number of sectors in a particular planet. The premiere edition of the game gave players Pandora Prime: different planets would then appear in the expansions, which would vary the sectors gametext and player in game options.
The bulk of the cards focused on the key characters and units of the WH40K universe. Most of them were based on the more established names already familiar to fans of the miniatures game.
A key attribute for the game was the dual use of the cards. Each card had rolls printed upside down on the bottom, with additional text that could be used situationally, usually as Battle Actions (BA) or Modifiers (M).
As the game did not enforce deploy costs on the various cards, with deployments taking place sequentially between players, I thought the power creep in WH40K CCG was quite apparent.
You always want the most efficient cards for your decks, and with a distribution model that had commons, uncommons, rares and ultra rares, it was a pain to collect full playsets (of four cards each).
The artwork for the game was inconsistent for me. Some cards had outstanding art, but many were mediocre and weak. This would be fixed in a subsequent edition of the game, but the big change that it brought, would prove to be a death knell of sorts for the game.
For reasons I cannot remember, Sabertooth Games rebooted WH40K CCG and turned it into a two faction game with slightly tweaked game mechanics. The Horus Heresy CCG would have players going at each other with Loyalist or Traitor decks.
Fans of WH40K will instantly recognise why: the card game was back in time to ten thousand years before, replaying the events surrounding the moment that the Imperium of Man suffered a betrayal by one of its finest leaders, Horus. The treacherous forces would eventually become Chaos in the subsequent millennia.
Sabertooth Games sudden was made worse by the fact that all the other factions we work so hard to accumulate, was rendered obsolete. Horus Heresy CCG eventually morphed into a third, but the jewelry factory pretty similar game called Dark Millennium CCG (it reintroduced Eldar and Orks), but safe to say, the was quite apt as Horus sydney pandora Heresy hardly saw any traction in Kuala Lumpur, back then.
I never saw any Dark Millennium cards here at all, purchase pandora charms online and that game itself would cease to exist by the late 2000s.
I would eventually try Dark Millennium CCG after grabbing a couple of Horus Heresy starter decks off eBay earlier this year. All this was of course inspired by Fantasy Flight Games announcement of its WH40L Conquest LCG (Living Card Game), which was first leaked online way back in February 2014.
Horus Heresy seemed quite one dimensional, though the lore in there will have you craving to rip through the richly written (or stories based on the WH40K universe). Dark Millennium CCG has some of the best WH40K artwork I ever seen: apparently culled from various official Games Workshop properties and literature.
The foil cards (again, easily found online) are simply beautiful. Unfortunately, both Horus Heresy and Dark Millennium CCGs suffer from the same design limitations of the first WH40K card game.
You put down a card, your opponent puts down a card, and so forth, until you run out of cards in your hand. Both players take turns shooting, charging or assaulting, or doing funky Battle Actions, and it always down to the same thing: who got the better die rolls, and who drawn the better cards.
Sure you could your deck to such that it becomes more efficient. But like where can i get a pandora bracelet most of the older trading card games, those who had access to all the ultra rare and rare cards and knew how to put them together, won most of the time.
By the way, Space Hulk did end up getting reissued several years ago, and will be reissued once more by next year. If you looking for something easier to start off, that entirely card based, then try Fantasy Flight Games Space Hulk: Death Angel The Card Game.
The 2010 release follows the same format of the inspirational boardgame, with floor tiles and what not, simulating the iconic space derelict setting. Space Marines, represented by cards, then the hulks corridors, and aim to endure the waves of Tyranid attacks.
I am a big fan of the cooperative nature of the game.
Another big plus is the non collectible nature of the game, and decent playing times.
Well, I played a game where my bunch of Marines were exterminated under ten minutes, with the rest of my teammates dying within thirty. It definitely action packed!
Another boardgame set in the WH40K universe is Relic (also by Fantasy Flight Games), which is essentially an adventure game very reminiscent of Talisman.
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