|Chaos in the Old World | Published 06 April 2011|
Their slinking, furred shapes infested the broken city, feasting on the fallen and pulling down the weak... The manlings stood back to back and fought for their lives, but against the implacable ferocity and countless numbers of the verminous horde their weapons were useless. The tide of monstrous rats flowed over them one by one, dragging them down to be torn apart, the yellow chisel-teeth sinking into their soft flesh, the dark furred mass drowning their pitiful screams with their hideous chattering.
-From a translation of the Tilean folk tale “The Doom of Kavzar”
Last month, we announced the upcoming release of The Horned Rat, an expansion for Chaos in the Old World that brings an exciting new faction to the war over the grim and perilous Warhammer setting. While the four Ruinous Powers continue to compete against each other, the legions of the verminous Skaven have found the opportune time to spread the influence of their sinister god.
But how, specifically, do the Skaven go about furthering their dark agenda? Today, we’ll take a closer look at the Horned Rat faction, including its dial, its advancement condition, and several Chaos and upgrade cards necessary to bring their strategy together.
Lying in Wait
Players who appreciate the carefully constructed mechanics of Chaos in the Old World will be pleased to find that The Horned Rat Expansion changes none of the fundamental gameplay, but instead seamlessly integrates its new faction into the existing experience. Through diligent attention to the game’s overall balance (as well as months of rigorous playtesting) the Horned Rat design team worked to ensure that this new power feels as if it were part of Chaos in the Old World from the beginning.
For example, like the existing Ruinous Powers, the Horned Rat player can achieve ultimate conquest over the Old World through one of two familiar paths: Victory Points or Dial Advancement. And like his opponents, he earns Victory Points through domination and ruination, all the while seeking valuable upgrade cards as rewards for satisfying his Dial Advancement Condition.
Opportunists and Scavengers
Unlike his opponents, however, the Horned Rat player may not directly take part in causing the ruination of a region... but that shouldn’t stop him from the reaping the rewards.
This is because none of the Horned Rat’s figures place corruption tokens. Instead, the Horned Rat guides his verminous masses around the board seeking to score points through Domination, all the while waiting for some other dark god to do his dirty work for him.
When his opponents manage to ruin a region by amassing the necessary corruption and Warpstone tokens, the Horned Rat seizes the opportunity to steal away their credit. First, if he has at least one figure in the ruined region, he counts as a “participating ruiner” and receives the appropriate “bonus” points. Second, when tallying corruption to determine the first and second place ruiners, the Horned Rat may count the combined power cost of his present figures against the corruption tokens of the other gods!
With impressive mobility (granted by few helpful Chaos cards) and massive numbers (11 Clan Rat cultists!), the Horned Rat is the master of being in the right place at the right time, leaving the existing Chaos gods to balance their animosity toward each other with the ever-present need to keep the chittering horde in check.
A Sinister Plan
This gives the Horned Rat player plenty of potential to claim victory through the point track, but what about his dial? These deviously intelligent schemers are unpredictable adversaries, so either path to conquest is equally viable.
At setup, the Horned Rat player is seated last in the standard Chaos Power order, meaning that his dial overlay should be inserted between the dials of Slaanesh and Khorne. As you can see on the image to the right, his dial shows nine spaces from start to victory (similar to that of Tzeentch). You’ll also notice an increasing threat value; it’s important to note that if the Horned Rat’s threat is ever tied with that of another Chaos god, the Horned Rat’s threat is considered lower. By scurrying beneath the notice of the Old World’s most influential forces, the enigmatic vermin can better carry out their plots.
The Horned Rat’s Dial Advancement Condition reads as follows: Place a counter on your dial each time you dominate a region with one or more Skaven tokens. What’s more, The Horned Rat Expansion’s new setup places two Skaven tokens on the board from the start (taking the place of two of the Peasant tokens).
This makes the initial random placement of those Skaven Tokens vitally important. They still decrease a region’s Resistance by one, but in addition, they have a value to the Horned Rat that is comparable to that of Warpstone tokens to Tzeentch or Noble tokens to Slaanesh. This, along with a few Chaos cards that help the Horned Rat bring more Skaven tokens into play, means players will want to pay close attention to the movements of these devious clans.
There is plenty more to show over the coming weeks, including an even closer look the Horned Rat’s various powers and upgrades, and an overview of the new options for the existing Ruinous Powers. Check back often for more, and look for The Horned Rat Expansion later this spring!
Chaos in the Old World is a board game of conquest, pitting 3-4 players as the Ruinous Powers of Chaos against each other for control of the Old World. Players must out summon, out play, and outwit theirs rivals to ensure their domination of the lands for ages to come.
"place a counter on your dial each time you dominate a region with one or more skaven tokens."
Let's hope it's not another misprint misprint.
Yes, the expension allows you to play with 5 players.
Does this expansion allow for a 5th player?
Yes-yes! Sounds like an awesome expansion so far. I like the 'summon' on the dial. Looks like the horned rat needs some great tactics.. (I need to practise my Queekish.
The Horned Rat looks real interesting to play. Can't wait...
Sounds like mass swarmage.
Sounds great! Can hardly wait to see it.
A sign of relief to Tzeentch. Skaven are last in turn order. Everything sounds good so far.