|Chaos in the Old World | Published 21 September 2009|
The path to victory is a dangerous one indeed. From the predations of your rival gods to the resistance of the Old World, you will be forced to do battle in order to maintain your grasp in the world. Over the next few weeks, we will be examining each of the three paths to victory (dialing up, dominance, and ruination), and how each god approaches these paths. Most often, a god will win by combining these paths, but for now, we are going to focus on each individually.
The dials in the upper left hand corner of the board each hold unique bonuses and surprises. As the gods place their dial up advancement tokens on the dials, they begin to grow in power. How they use this power determines their ultimate survival. The player who will win is the player who can stretch his resources the most effectively. Getting one dial advancement token is fine, but the player who wants to claim the dial up victory will need to be consistently getting two, three, or even four dial advancement tokens a turn. Counting the number of dial advancements your foe will gain is also incredibly important. Gaining four dial advancement tokens is excellent, but nets you nothing if any other player gets the same. You need to be the god with the most dial advancement tokens to gain the extra tick of the dial. At the same time, you need to ensure no one is going to gain more dial advancements than you. If you see Slaanesh will gain four dial tokens this turn, you need to ensure you also gain four to prevent Slaanesh pulling ahead. Target his cultists with your attacks, play cards that prevent placing corruption, or move his units to less desirable areas.
The Shifting Tides
Each game will see a random set of Old World cards rising up to prevent you from destroying everything. These cards have a huge impact on the dial up victory. As each game will feature different Old World cards, players will need to see what comes up in these to see if dial up victory remains a viable option. If the Old World cards create a large number of nobles, heroes, or warpstone, there are two gods that will want to pay special attention to where these tokens land. Khorne will also want to see where these land, as they will attract new victims for him to kill. Nurgle will want to be cautious if the Dark Elf Corsairs appear, as they can make his dial up victory very difficult to pull off. The Dark Elf Corsairs put heroes in two of Nurgle’s populous regions, and are especially effective at removing your units.
In addition to the random nature of the Old World cards, the nine tokens that begin the game will have a big effect on player strategies. If the warpstone tokens end up in adjacent regions, Tzeentch will have an easier time going for a dial up victory. If the noble tokens end up in adjacent regions, Slaanesh will have an easier time placing the two corruption tokens needed to secure his dial advancement. If the nobles or warpstone end up in the middle of the board, there will be much more fighting, as Khorne will be drawn to other gods dial up needs, Nurgle will be protective of his populous regions, and Tzeentch and Slaanesh will be seeking the necessary tokens for dialing up.
As no plan survives contact with the enemy, no one strategy will always work for each god. You will need to gauge how the map is laid out, and react to the Old World cards that will be appearing each turn. As your foes begin placing units and cards, your plans will need to adapt. Each god is highlighted below, with some of their key strategies for a dial up victory.
Khorne’s path is the easiest to grasp when you start up. Kill one or more enemy figures in a region and gain a dial up advancement token. The Khorne player will need to focus on being in as many areas as possible. You will need to balance rolling as many dice as possible, while keeping the minimum number of units in a region. To ensure good hunting, make sure to look for areas that offer your opponents something as well. Any region containing a noble or hero will most likely see Slaanesh cultists flocking to it, as he looks to dial up himself. The four large regions in the middle of the board are also a good place to set up a small army, as Nurgle is looking to corrupt the populous regions. Tzeentch will be drawn to the regions with the magical rock Warpstone. His followers are easy to kill, and can give you some quick dial advancement tokens.
Khorne has the second longest dial. As such, if you are pushing for the dial up victory, you will need to spread your forces far and wide. Your warriors roll two dice each combat, and your Bloodthirster rolls a devastating four dice! Use this to your advantage. Place a Bloodletter in any region that contains an enemy model, and one of your most effective upgrades is the cultist upgrade. Now you have cheap fighting units that can overwhelm almost any power on the board. Remember, at the end of the day, Khorne just wants blood spilled, regardless of the source.
The lord of decay and pestilence faces the longest dial in the game. As such, many players will avoid trying to go this route. You will need to play aggressively and begin your campaign of dial advances early. To complete this victory, you will need to score the extra dial advance each round for the entire game. Do not be afraid! Though he has the longest dial, Nurgle has many tricks to ensure he gains his dial ups.
The first plan of attack is to get the most out of your units. Cultists are the key path to victory, but they can be fragile. Protect them with your cheap warriors, the Plague Bearers. These are among the cheapest fighting units in the game, and once upgraded, can be incredibly effective as both an intimidation tactic as well as efficient enemy removal. The upgrade lets them “hit” an enemy model if they die. This allows them to perform double duty, as they can roll battle dice, and then they can add another hit if they are killed themselves! Many opponents will choose to avoid losing their fighters to the diseased hands of these bloated daemons.
Secondly, use the cards in your hand to preserve your cultists. Plague Touch reduces the defense value of all enemy figures in a region by one, making them easier to take out. Rain of Pus increases the defense of all of your units, making it tougher for your opponent to remove you from the region. Both of these cards make combat easier for you, and can be used to intimidate an opponent and keep them out of a region with your cultists in it. The Final Rotting is incredibly effective in scaring rival gods. At the end of the battle you get to kill one enemy cultist or warrior for each corruption token you have placed in the region. As you have a number of ways to place corruptions tokens, this can be an excellent way to eliminate a number of enemy figures in one fell swoop.
Lastly, remember you are a farmer. Seems like a weird analogy, but you are milking the regions for as much corruption as you can give them. On your dial are ways to remove corruption from the board. You also have cards that do the same. Removing corruption from the board gives you the chance to corrupt it further, allowing you to gain more dial advancement tokens. The Great Unclean One’s upgrade allows you to place corruption tokens when you summon him. This can be used to ruin non-populous regions that are close to the ruination cap. At the beginning of the game, you can gain four dial advancement tokens each turn. As the game progresses, regions will become ruined. Once they enter the totally ruined state, you can no longer gain anything from them. This is deadly to your dial advancement win. You need them to stay very healthy, which means you will need to guard them like a rancher guards his sheep from the wolves. Make sure to make the populous regions are unattractive to your fellow gods. Use your cards, units, and particular brand of awful to ensure you keep these areas alive and well.
The lord of change has schemes within schemes, making the most of them is up to you. With the random distribution of tokens at the start of the game, you will need to pay special attention to where the warpstone tokens fall. These will provide you with half of the magic symbols you need to dial up. If they end up in adjacent regions, the dial up victory becomes much more viable. If they end up on opposite sides of the board, you may wish to concentrate on other strategies.
The key to your long term dial up strategy is in your hand. The cards you draw will have a huge impact on both your plans, as well as what you can do to disrupt your foes. You have the second shortest dial, yet you will need some time to flesh out your rise to glory. As only three cards in your deck cost two power, you can throw out a large number of cards each round. Use Teleport to move Nurgle’s cultists out of populous regions. Call forth Temporal Stasis, which makes opposing units and cards more expensive to play in a region, to lock down an area and allow you to continue your schemes without disruption. If a rival power drops an unpleasant card in a region you want, play Changer of Ways and cancel the text effects of their card. Even better, play Changer of Ways in a region you have no interest in to cancel a beneficial card. Drain Power lets you drain the essence from your foes, and gives you a touch more power to work with.
You will need to place some emphasis on placing cards, as you draw back up to five each turn. Remember that you only draw back up to five, so you gain nothing by hoarding cards in your hand. The cultist upgrade allows you to move Warpstone about the board, a convenient way to escape Khorne’s bloodthirsty nature. The upgrade for your greater daemon lets you dictate where your cultists shall be concentrated, as it provides two magic icons wherever the Lord of Change exists. Do not concern yourself in getting into fights with rival powers. Your plans shall see fruition regardless of where their intents lie.
The path to damnation is lined with justifications. It feels so good, how can it be bad? The niggling voice at the back of your mind is the lure of Slaanesh. The Prince of Pleasure leads many down the dark path with his honey coated lies. Slaanesh takes great delight in corrupting the heroes and the nobles of the Old World.
Using this, your focus will be in summoning your cultists where these tokens are found. Due to the random nature of board setup, pay special attention to where the nobles end up. If they cluster in the center of the board, you may need to sacrifice some cultists to advance your dial in the earlier stages of the game. As your dial advances, you gain more nobles to place on the board, increasing your options. As you need to place two corruption tokens to gain a dial advancement token, you will need to protect your cultists.
You have multiple routes to protect your followers, the most prominent is the aggressive path. Taking the Daemonette upgrade or the Keeper of Secrets upgrade gives you some serious staying power, and can allow you to be sheltered from Khorne’s wrath. The overwhelm strategy triggers off of being able to bring in cultists faster than your opponents can kill them. Backed with the twin Slaanesh power upgrades, which give you more power to work with, you will also want to make use of Fields of Ecstasy, which cancels battle in a region. The last strategy is the everlasting strategy. Using the cultist upgrade, which increases their health, and the Daemonette upgrade, your units become far more difficult to remove. This will turn enemy eyes elsewhere, as your will require far too many resources for them to remove.
Dial up victory is a challenge, as Tzeentch and Slaanesh depend on token placement, Nurgle requires the other gods to stay out of his regions, and Khorne needs to share a region with enemy figures in addition to rolling well. However, this path is filled with instant gratification, as each god with a dial advancement token on their dial at the end of the turn gets one advance. The rewards on each dial are unique to that god, and will give you new options to crush your foes. At the end of the game, if there is a tie, victory goes to the power that completed his dial and has the most victory points. If it looks like you might be tying a player on the race to dial up, make sure to squirrel away victory points. Next time, we look at the devastating effects and quick victory points of dominating a region.
Chaos in the Old World is a game of conquest, pitting the four 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.
"Over the next few weeks, we will be examining each of the three paths to victory (dialing up, dominance, and ruination), and how each god approaches these paths."
I just bought the game a week ago, didn't play it yet, but reading as much as I can about that game. So where are the other reviews?
@ Whitmire: Great reply.
I own the game and have played it around 5 times and have really enjoyed the game - it's one of the best in my opinion.
I think I agree with Whimire's comment that the game is best when everyone playing is experienced, or at leats at similiar levels of experience. I am inexperienced with around 5 games only however the rest of the guys I might play with have played less and so we've got a long way to go.
5 out 5 game for game play and design (except the Slaanesh Card typo and Khorne Rule Book typo!).
What's this, a strategy article to let Khorne and Slaanesh win?
If Nurgle is not playing for VPs but is going for a dial victory, things are not right. Nurgle can't win a dial victory, not in a competitive game.
Similarly, as long as Tzeentch is playing for a dial victory, he's basically giving the game to a VP-hunting Nurgle.
For this game to be balanced, and balanced it will be when all four players know what they're doing, Nurgle and Tzeentch have to go for a VP win. While Tzeentch has the option to score a dial advancement victory, it's more likely that Tzeentch will win by corrupting regions for big VPs.
When Nurgle and Tzeentch are going for VPs, sometimes Slaanesh will join them, because competing for dial advancement tokens with Khorne may be too much for Slaanesh, and VPs are the only sure way to advance towards victory. So, while Slaanesh is looking for a quick DA victory, it's not very probably he will score one against an experienced group. VPs are safer.
Khorne, on the other hand, is a DA god and should almost always (95% of the time) go for a DA victory.
So, uh, this strategy article is basically encouraging players to 1) play "wrong" or 2) give the game to Khorne (or Slaanesh). This is too bad, since this game is so magnificently balanced when every player knows what he's doing. When one is not, the balance is off and the most likely victor is the opposing god (Nurgle - Tzeentch, Slaanesh - Khorne) to the inexperienced / poorly playing player. Most likely the victor is Khorne, who gains the most from inexperienced players and suffers the most from experienced players. That is why everybody is always screaming that Khorne is too powerful - until they've played half a dozen games and noticed that Khorne is balanced along with the others.
Tzeentch is the god whose potential it takes the longest to realize. The basic progression in the game is: 1) Khorne seems too powerful, 2) Slaanesh seems too powerful, 3) Nurgle seems too powerful and finally 4) Tzeentch seems too powerful. When you hit 4, you finally realize all gods seem "too powerful" and thus the game is in perfect balance!
This is the first game since Talisman that I have played that I have enjoyed immensely.
First time around Khorne or Slaanesh may sound easy to win with but once everyone knows the rules and how all the Gods play, you're in for a wicked game.
I think in context they meant to say that there's only 4 possible regions for you to get the DATs (Unless they mean 3 sets of cultist and your upgraded GUO.
I appreciate the multiple ways for each god to win, but Nurgle attempting to win by dial is not competitive. You can't defend your cultists with plague bearers because the enemy will still kill your cultists to prevent you from getting DATs. You can get revenge with plague bearers but the only thing that can defend the cultists is Rain of Pus.
Trying to score multiple bonus dials will require you to stretch your cultists pretty thin. It will aid Khorne because there will be more regions to target, and your cultists might not live through the corruption phase.
"Nurgle (...) At the beginning of the game, you can gain four dial advancement tokens each turn."
How should this be possible with only 6 cultists available and no Great Unclean On upgrade in play? I can only count three.
Played a couple of games last night, never played before.
Khorne is far too easy...
This is awesome! I am sure this game is a lot of fun to play!
I agree . . . my favorite game that I have played all year long. Fantastic work guys.
one of the best games this year
Game should arrive tomorrow, can't wait to get it on the table!!
Want. Game. Bad.
NO money from buying all the other FFG goodness. Dang.