Sunday, 29 May 2016

Boxed Game Review: Warhammer Quest: Silver Tower

This one is going to strictly be a 'out of the box' review as I have already done the gameplay overview HERE so check that out if you haven't already.

I was going to pick this up in GW. I saw the pre-order bonuses that they announced and thought it was a pretty good way to encourage people to buy in store, (and something I will be interested to see if they continue for future big releases). Still i've always been a sucker for shiny things and my local GW had just got a new manager that had shown me the game the week before so I thought, what the hell. I'd order it in store rather than online.

Nice little pre-order bonus but in no way worth £260.00
However, once i was in store it transpired that in order to land the pre-order bonus you had to also buy the extra characters in the book (which have just been re-released at a HEFTY discount anyway) AND the new case. Total cost of pre-order to land the shiny character cards? £260.00.
Now i was all ready to buy the game from GW, do a new manager a solid and grab some shiny pre-order cards into the bargain, but that killed that there and then. I'm not a rich man so if I could save twenty quid on it I would.

Thankfully my friendly local discounter Wayland Games was also getting it in so what can I say, they got my business and my money instead. Quick, easy, no hassles. Brief pang of guilt as I picked it up but twenty quid saved is no small change to me. And in all honesty it turned out to be a good move. Still, on with the review.

We are back to the slim box after the behemoth that was Imperial Knights Renegade. In all honesty i'm starting to welcome this due to the Sheer amount of boxed games GW are knocking out, they've all got to be stored somewhere after all!

My GW expenditure of late has been a lot higher than usual.. Well played new CEO... 
Upon opening the box I was astonished, new box smell! GW have been reading my reviews! Probably not to be honest, maybe i imagined the whole thing. What I did NOT imagine however is the relatively few plastic sprues that greet you in the box. After the veritable feasts that we have been spoiled with previously I cant say it wasn't something of a disappointment, still we've all seen the pictures, we know how good the models are, and whilst i'll cover them in more detail in a minute let's look at the other bits in the box.

Much less plastic than we have been used to in all honesty.
Not that there is all that much to talk about. 13 double sided tiles, varying sizes, varying designs but overall more cohesive than the original. They are nice but not as nice as the ones from Space Hulk, which still represents the gold standard in board tiles. Oversized character cards times six, Not very thick considering what they are to be used for, like the Renegade cards they would benefit from a laminating. There are only three decks of cards, and no furniture. It's pretty bare bones.

There are two books, The adventure book and the guidebook. I have lamented at length the absence of the Roleplaying book from the original and to me it is a nearly fatal blow to the Silver Tower ensemble but going on about it isn't going to change anything.  What is there is fair enough, As I said in my overview the rules are pretty basic, no charts and no blocks of text. The Guidebook literally does the rules, a little fluff on the heroes and then the stats for the various monsters. A handy but by no means comprehensive reference sheet is on the back

It is a nice set, if somewhat compact

The Adventure book contains all the passages that you need to read for various rooms and unexpected encounters, with 90 passages in all. After that it gives the rules for a few extra champions and monsters that are not in the box to expand your games. The champions are those released separately the week after the game and the Monsters are all existing models, Screamers, Flamers and a herald of Tzeentch. I'll probably pick up some Screamers at some point and maybe some Flamers, I think they would add some nice variety to the game.

So, on to the models. We all know they are nice, we've seen the pictures and these are up to GWs usual high standards. I do think that some of these present a fascinating look as to the way that the aesthetics of some of the future releases will go and i'm sure we will see some of these models released separately a bit later on. I was also quite struck by the fact that these models look like they could have fit into the Old World. Sigmarite aside that is.

It's not a massive amount of models, nice as they are
The Heroes are all pretty complicated actually, with around 8 or 9 parts apiece. Though they are of the usual GW CAD sensibility and go together fine and are well engineered there are a few small pieces that seem at odds to a board game release. The Fire Slayers horn and hammer token, the Shard's breastplate, Mistweaver's buckle, all small pieces of detail and quite fiddly. Not to mention that the Darkoath Chieftain comes with an optional piece so you can have the axe hand or one gripping a decapitated head! Most impressive. The Sigmarine is the easiest to assemble as you might imagine and i think I found the Dark Elf the most difficult, even the face is separate! They are all really nice pieces though and the equal of the character clampacks currently out.

The monsters are a mixed bag. The Grot scuttlers, an intriguing mix of Goblin and Spider, are the most basic, being just two halves. Sadly they are also by far the least interesting or detailed. I would have much rather had actual spiders, Never mind, nothing to stop me replacing them should I wish.

For the most part the miniatures themselves cannot be faulted.

The Skaven model I didn't like much in the photos but changed my mind once I put two together, it's still lovely and simple, separate arm and head but that is it, so it goes together a charm. It looks like a really mean rat-man and I know Lee is going to double up his as Assassins in his Skaven Warhammer army.

The Horrors are also two part models, the Blue Horrors are again two parts, going together in overlapping halves, in fact a lot of the models in Silver Tower go together in overlapping layers, it's clever design and engineering. The Pink Horrors are just as simple and the Brimstone Horrors require no assembly at all. A word of caution, be careful when removing the Brimstones from the sprue, all the little flames on them are quite delicate and you can damage them quite easy.

Deceptively fragile...

The Kairac cultists were also easily assembled being three or four parts in most cases no real problems encountered here. Another top tip is to use plastic glue when assembling this lot as the melting plastic will help disguise join lines, of which there are plenty. Some are disguised already but the cultist with shield has a particularly noticeable one.

A quick mention for the Familiars, no assembly required but each one harks back to a classic Citadel miniature from days of yore. A really nice touch and they are a welcome addition, each has different effects in the game too.


The Tzangors are great, with most of the models in the box being pretty diminutive these are reassuringly large, once again they go together in layers and one was actually a bit of a challenge, going together like a jigsaw puzzle. There were a few models I put together as sub assemblies so I could get to bits of the model easier, like the cultists shield and the Exclesior Priest's cloak, this is not an option with the Tzangors, still there aren't many bits that will be difficult to get to.

All of the afore mentioned monsters come on two identical sprues so you will have duplicate models, Due to the way the models are put together it is difficult, though not impossible, to convert them and have them unique and should  you do so be careful not to change their loadouts as they have different effects in the game. That leaves the Gaunt Summoner and the Tzeentchian Minotaur

Well, the Gaunt Summoner is a piece that all seems to come together quite nicely, I particularly liked the way the hole in the mouth allows the tongue on the neck to poke through, quite clever, the robe was a bit awkward to clean up and I did have to refer to the manual as i got in a muddle with the torso but other than that it seemed to go together no problem.

Complicated for a boardgame but you shouldn't have too many problems. 
The Big critter looked really daunting at first, it is made up of over ten parts and none of them looked very big given the final size of the model. In the end though it wasn't too bad, again I would suggest plastic glue to hide joins. the legs and tail were the only really problematic element, and it looks great once fully assembled

And that's all the models, it doesn't actually look all that much in all honesty especially when you consider that many of the figures are rather small. Nonetheless they do look very nice and it is a fine collection of miniatures with many highlights and an overall high standard. No complaints with the miniatures.

Game in progress: It's all very neat and tidy
As I said i'm not really going to get stuck into rules too much as I covered that in the other article. I will say that I really like the destiny and hero dice mechanic, making you choose your actions carefully. Unexpected events seem to crop up just the right amount and the game is challenging enough witout being frustrating. Some of the heroes are much better than others though and there is a seeming lack of balance overall. It's longevity is also a factor, once you have played through and got the amulet pieces will you be bothered to play again? Different characters will only go so far. Of course you can get the extra monsters and that will mix things up again but other than that unless GW do an expansion or White Dwarf missions from time to time it will be up to fans to provide the content.

The original and still superior. 
The AoS system seems to be a good fit for this game, indeed it's a better fit than for a tabletop game and I suspect if this had been our introduction to the AoS rules it would have been less of a shock. The game flows well, although it is a bit more straightforward and basic. It's fun to play and strategically involved enough to keep your attention.

So what about value? That's the big question. GW have unleashed a fair few of these boxed games on us now so there is a basis for comparison. As I have already mentioned, Silver Tower seems a bit light on models even though number wise it is more than Overkill and and Betrayal at Calth. As mentioned though many of the models are very small and although they are as intricate as they come you do get the feeling a few more could have been thrown in. Countering this though is the six characters that you get, Two more than in the original box and they are very detailed so you could equate each of those as the twenty quid clam packs. In reality though I think those are hideously overpriced anyway as it is so I don't take that into consideration,

Short lived but fun while it lasts, hopefully there will be expansions
At the end of the day you do have a wonderful selection of miniatures here, easily the equivalent of those available on the shelves and the characters in particular are very nice. However, well over a third of them are VERY small, the rest of the elements to the boxed game are also not that impressive. Perfectly adequate but nothing special, its no Space Hulk as I have said. This given the potential lack of gameplay and variety to the game cause me to question its value. Silver Tower is going up against games like Descent and other dungeon crawlers and longevity wise i'm just not sure that it measures up. Of course the models are much better than its rivals but if GW keeps knocking out these boxed games they are only going to be able to fall back on that for so long.

One must also consider that Descent, et al are a good deal cheaper than the RRP of £95.00 and offer a lot more for your buck. I consider the price I got it for from Wayland to be much more reasonable. HAD it had the content of the original (more quests - more models and the roleplaying section ) then it may have been worth the asking price but if we are rating this as a game rather than a collection of accomplished miniatures then I fear it seems overpriced.

  • Lovely models - not overly AoS in aesthetic
  • Good fit for the AoS ruleset
  • Good game mechanics
  • Rules for extra models included in book
  • Narrative bit tight and single minded
  • Lack of balance between heroes 
  • Thin on content and longevity
  • Pricey for what you get
Summary: What is there is very nice but you get no feeling that this is an adequate replacement for it's old world predecessor. It has none of the depth or the soul of the original and comes off as a poor imitation. It is a decent game in its own right though, even if it is light on content for the price. Like i said in my other article, you'll have fun with it but it won't fill that WHQ shaped hole in your heart.


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