Sunday, September 11, 2011

But, but, but...that's...statistically...UNPOSSIBLE!

It should really be called "Onehammer Quest". Seriously, though, it was funny until it wasn't. But I'm getting ahead of myself...

Warhammer Quest is a game from what I like to call the Golden Age of Games Workshop. WHQ was released sometime back in the early nineties when GW was churning out all sorts of games. The big ones that we know of today, Fantasy and 40K were around, but so were forgotten gems like Man'O'War and Necromunda, Mordheim and Bloodbowl. This was also the time that GW was producing a lot of stand alone games that you could buy in a box for about $50. It was the time when GW was packing SO much value into their boxed sets that if you were to buy them today, they would easily go for $250. Not joking. Look at ebay. Warhammer Quest is one of those $250 packages.

As it turns out, though, WHQ had never popped up on my radar (I blame Space Hulk) until Mark and Christian started talking about it recently. I have to admit that I wasn't chomping at the bit to play the game. I'm more of a Sci-fi fan than fantasy and the idea of a dungeon crawler isn't really my cup of tea. That being said, I sat down to a game to give it a shot.

First impression-very easy to jump into the game. Now maybe this was facilitated by the fact that Mark and Christian knew the rules already, but seriously, the basic game mechanics are so simple that you can have seven beers (with an alcohol % greater than 4.5) in you and still comprehend what is going on.

Second impression-Mark, in spite of knowing the rules already, is the world's worst WHQ player. Well, to be more fair, he is at least the world's most useless barbarian. But still, this is jumping ahead. Back to describing the game.

One of the neat things about WHQ is that the game progresses based on the order in which the event and dungeon cards get drawn from two different decks. What this gives you is a HUGE variety in the way you can play the game. Your dungeons can spiral off into dead-ends, switch-backs or chamber after chamber of nasty beasties. It really does do a good job of making you fearful of what you will find just beyond the next door, especially when some of the missions require you to find some thing deep within the dungeon...and make it back out alive.

Another thing that makes the game fun is the different characters that you can bring to the dungeon. Yes, they are the generic fantasy classes that you would expect, such as the uber-brutal in melee wizard who literally can't cast spells to save a life, the elf that can't shoot anything with bow but can also tear it up in melee, and the helpless barbarian with the strength of a field mouse who can't wound anything except his own fellow explorers. Pretty typical J.R.R. Tolkien fare.

So, how was our actual game, you ask? Well, it was a very fascinating lesson in how statistics is a sham science because I have never...ever...evereverever...seen someone roll that many ones...EVAR! I'm absolutely serious. It was hilarious at first and then it continued to happen so much that we got burned out on it. At one point, Mark, out of desperation to roll something other than a one, picked up a handful of dice and rolled them all at once. Here was the result...

I swear that that photo was not staged. That was Mark's legit, one-off roll of five dice. Suck on that, Statistics.

And, of course, those were not the only ones that Mark rolled that game. Not by a long shot.

Now, sure, rolling a one is a fail in just about every game, but in WHQ, lots of interesting things happen when you roll ones. And when I say interesting, I mean bad.

For instance, when you enter a new room/passage way, you roll a dice. If you roll a one, you draw and event card. Drawing an event card usually provides you with an opportunity to see how badly Mark can whiff in combat. Wait, let me correct that. Each event card usually provides 2d6 opportunities...and by opportunities, I mean orks...or spiders...or minotaurs. And, unlike Mark, Christian who is running the dungeon does not roll low.

There are other bad things that happen when you roll a one. Usually it means that you can't shake off an enemy effect from a previous turn. For example, if you are a big, wimpy barbarian and keep rolling ones, you can't break out of FUCKING COBWEBS for three consecutive turns.

Rolling ones also prevents you from running for your life, as seen in the picture below...

Why yes, that IS a barbarian who should be running for his life all Indiana Jones style if it wasn't for the fact that he rolled yet another one. Believe me when I say that he was actually rooted to that spot for several turns because of dice rolls. And, of course, he was the one holding the lantern which prevented Christian and I from abandoning his ass in the dungeon.

Ok, mock anger and frustration aside, WHQ was a lot of fun to play even though the whole mission was a comedy of errors (and Mark was not the only one rolling ones). We pretty much spent the entire game laughing our asses off. Presumably the game is even more fun if your characters survive but I wouldn't know since all of our characters died a slow, horrible, one-rolling death in that dungeon. At least my character killed something, though. ;)


  1. Quick note. Each turn, the wizard must roll a d6 to determine how much power he has to cast spells. If you roll a one, you must not only draw an event card, but you only get 1 power with which to cast spells.

    Granted, you have a d6 roll worth of back up power just in case, but that is discarded permanently once you use it up.

    My wizard WAS able to blast a Minotaur with a 5d6 magical item, not to mention tally up around 6 orcs, 5 skaven, 4 snotlings, 6 giant spiders, 4 giant rats and 4 goblins in close combat.

    I am seriously thinking of making Mark play the Dwarf (as per usual) and taking the roll of the Barbarian myself.

    Another really interesting aspect of WHQ that we haven't been able to play, thanks to Mark killing us, is the Roleplaying part of the game. See, not only did this box come with 90+ miniatures, a bunch of illustrated board sections, cards, dice and rules, it also came with a book about the size of Warhammer 5th edition full of Roleplaying guidelines, back story on the Fantasy Universe and a monster manual that spans all the way to level 10 monsters such as black dragons, manticores and Lamasu. It also comes with many blank event and monster cards so that you can create your own adventures to add to the 30 that come in the box (5 objective rooms, 6 quests per objective). Add on the Deathblow magazines, White Dwarf and internet resources and you had a game that could have rivaled Dungeons and Dragons in it's epic complexity and awesomeness.

    If you want to play a game similar to Warhammer Quest, check out Descent: Journeys into the Dark 2nd Edition, which is slated to come out first quarter of 2012.

  2. Just wait until you try out the ogre and have to roll two dice a trim for random events. Our first attempt using him resulted in the party not making it out of the first room since we got swamped so bad.

  3. That happened in our first game too. I rolled a 1 and we pulled a Minotaur, followed by 8 skaven. That did NOT go over well.

  4. So, read through the rulebook a bit, and realized that some of the ways we were playing were...well, kinda wrong (especially with the barbarian!). Future games I can see being much more survivable:P