On the 5th February I reviewed the Mortan starter set for Godslayer by Megalith Games which included the quick start rules. At the time I thought it was a very sophisticated and fun concept with intriguing rules and slick game play. And I said so.
Then those lovely people at Megalith sent me the rule book to review. And now I want to have their babies.
Although there’s much more to the rules than I covered in the previous review, the thing that has got me more hot and bothered than a teenage boy after his first boob sighting is that the Godslayer rule book isn’t one book, its two. And one of them is just for background.
It’s no secret to regular readers and followers on Twitter how highly I regard fluff. It’s the writer in me. It’s also a cold hard fact that games that want to compete in the surprisingly competitive market of table top wargames have to be able to bring something that can at least stand up to anything produced by the likes of the Games Workshop and Privateer Press. This has been where so many games have stumbled, for me, before I even get to the rules. Without a strong story the way a unit or a ship looks is completely irrelevant beyond being able to identify which models are yours and which are mine.
The background book presents a rich and lush world in which to play your games of Godslayer. It’s a wonderful collision of myth, high fantasy and ancient civilisations of the world. It’s also vast and ancient. The book details the ages of the world, the in habitants but also the cosmos in which the land of Calydorn exists. It’s just ace. I can only describe it as a melding of Narnia, Middle Earth and the Never Ending Story. It’s a flat world that exists in an ocean cosmos with other worlds. One of which was destroyed and debris now hovers over Calydorn known as the Skylands. If you’re feeling saucy you can also venture to the underside of the world but it’s all made of magma so it won’t end well.
Each of the factions have a detailed and diverse history that links them with the small part of the world they inhabit and each other. But intelligently enough they haven’t crammed the factions all together so they’re on each other’s doorsteps ala Warhammer and Warmachine. This does mean that Megalith can further expand the world as they see fit. I have to award them bonus awesome points for this as it gives the game tremendous scope and avoids all the nonsense about wars in which no one really fights.
The interesting thing, as well, is that because the various worlds are linked by a thin veil of atmosphere it does mean that the world of Calydorn could see visitors from other worlds including those that mortal men worship as Gods. Which means things could get real tasty.
Godslayer’s background reaches down my trousers and gives my hobby spot a bloody good rummage. And it did the same for The Chaps when I waved the books in their general direction the other week. And it’s all down to the effort Megalith went to to create a world that gamers can really get stuck into. The factions don’t just look different or play different but are interesting. Their cultures vary massively and explains the way they fight. It’s something I’ve prattled on at length about before both on this blog and during ODAM podcasts. The fluff creates the world which creates the factions. If the former isn’t coherent the latter won’t be. It’s something the Games Workshop learned a long time ago and it’s something Megalith did too. Not one of them feels like the German humans or the French humans, or the red ones or the blues ones, or the ships with rockets or the ships that can fly a bit.
I covered the rules in my previous review so I won’t go into too much more detail as I’ll just be repeating myself but through reading the through the book a few things became apparent.
The first thing is that heroes are, to coin a phrase, fucking nails. They are the embodiment of all the great heroes of old. And with the right equipment you can field some absolute monsters in your force. Think Achilles in Troy, only not shit. But the important thing is that the lists are varied enough that you can take a slightly more balanced force if you want rather than rampaging across the board like demigods of old. Although I can’t imagine why…
Factions pleasantly mix it up. Aside from the utterly awesome (and mental) unit types they don’t fall into the trap of having similar units across each faction. A personal creature favourite is the Ursapine. Which is a bloody great furry sod that’s a cross between a bear and a porcupine. This can only be a good thing.
The scenarios are also brilliant. Aside from a couple of the usual suspects, the writers worked really hard to create varied and interesting game types that suit the game down to the ground which does flit between the skirmish and medium size engagement.
My real worry, from reading the quick starter rules was that the number of wounds each model had would result in an awful lot of paper work, but as I’ve read through the army lists, the ability to unleash untold destruction and misery on your opponent I really don’t think it’ll be a problem.
But, you know what? I wouldn’t care if it did. Godslayer’s mechanic is very good. It’s quick, it’s slick and it’s painfully tactical considering the activation rules. Throw in a truly fantastic background and what you have on your hands is a brilliant game because you understand the world you’re in. And, and it’s something I wish GW would return to, when you are playing a game you can leave the background at home to save you dragging a whale slayingly thick book with you.
Megalith are currently running a kickstarter to allow them to sell the game in Germany and in so doing allow them to further expand the range. If it’s something that tickles your fancy to support then go here.