So I've been trying out Shadespire, and after three games, I have to say I'm pretty impressed!
went into the games having read all the rules, glanced over a few of
the cards, and honestly, had quite a few concerns, some of which trying
it out have allayed.
I'd like to talk about what I was concerned about pre-game, and my thoughts after three games (one of which was three player).
The game is too simple
read the rules, and really, the game didn't wow me after that. You get
four activations, can move or attack (or both), or do other things.
Attacks are just roll dice for both sides, check for crits, if tied,
check for relevant symbols, do damage.
play, I noticed that although the rules are really as simple as they
seem, the interplay of actions during the battle phase, and the
positioning of models on the boards really seem to create enough depth.
Given that, the simplicity in the rules is almost a positive- you don't
want to get bogged down with them while playing- you want to play the
game, roll some dice, and get into the parts where your decisions
matter. Makes sense.
was really concerned about this- it looked like once you charged, you
basically just sat there swinging at each other until a model was gone,
then you moved into your next battle. In three games, this hasn't been
the case though. Moving has been extremely important, and positioning
to deny a charge, or prepare for appropriate supports has actually
seemed to be quite valuable. This becomes evident with the cards that
allow any sort of movement- Sidestep from the Core Set seemed to
completely destroy a plan I was setting up, for instance. So three
twgames in, I'm not too worried about this.
Do the symbols on the dice matter?
me do this by example. Obryn the Bold is starting next to Targor.
Obryn the Bold rolls two dice, needing hammers on the attack. Targor
gets 1 dice, needing an arrow, to get any form of defense. A successful
attack kills the model.
But wait! Crits are more
important. If Obryn rolls a crit, and Targor doesn't, it will be a hit,
regardless. If Targor rolls a crit, but Obryn doesn't, it's a miss,
regardless of what's on the roll.
Each dice has
one side that counts as a Critical, as well as sides with symbols for
the different attack and defense types, as well as symbols for when your
fighter is being supported (either on attack or defense). But really,
these symbols are almost irrelevant when you look at the critical
For some hard numbers- normally, Obryn hits about 59% of the time. If
Targor's dice had NOTHING but that one Critical symbol on it, Obryn
would hit about 65% of the time. Six percent is one in sixteen, or so.
things in the game start with a single defense die. Some can gain a
second when getting inspired, or through other means. And this sort of
crit thing really feels most evident with the defense die.
run the numbers for quite a few simulations- I realize it's not as dire
as I initially thought... but man, it is something that I still wonder
about. More games will be enlightening here.
honestly started out by thinking that deck building wouldn't be very
satisfying. You essentially are building two decks with 32 cards total,
all as singletons. I figured the lack of variety would make me lose
interest quick. I'm very pleased to learn how wrong I was. A brief
check of decks online (here)
shows several different, interesting builds for each of the warbands.
There are some overlap between some decks for the same warband, but the
variety of objective choices in the decks seems very telling of very
interesting build choices when constructing the deck.
they are releasing a card expansion pretty soon, to me, further
reinforces this. If deck building weren't interesting, would there
really be a market for a bunch of cards to add to your decks? Of course
The Bottom Line
Honestly, I've been
very impressed with Shadespire. As a big fan of the LCGs from FFG, I
really appreciate the way they are releasing cards, and the variety of
deck building choices has me eager to find more chances to play. The
miniatures are top notch, as always with GW. The mechanics of the game
are very smooth and easy to teach and play. This is a game that I can
see easily finding time to play as a filler for conventions or even
other gaming hangouts, and one I look forward to expanding my collection
with in the future.