Shadespire – First Impressions

I wasn’t especially excited about Shadespire; the limited number of figures was attractive, but Games Workshop’s hyperbolic claims about it being the ULTIMATE COMPETITIVE MINIATURES GAME really turned me off.  GW doesn’t have a history of producing the most competitive, balanced games.  I’d seen some Geek & Sundry articles about it, the breathlessness of which would compel me to ask about ethics in game journalism (if doing so wasn’t a short path to demonstrating that one is an asshat).

Anyway, I picked it up on launch day, looking forward to knocking out the 8 figures in no time and being able to play it fully painted.  So: speedpainted the figures (a little bit on Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday, mostly on Monday), and got the chance to actually play the game on Thursday.

You know what? I really liked it!

It plays insanely fast, is incredibly straightforward. I’m sure there are more competitive games out there, but there’s some decision-making that needs to go into building one’s decks and every. single. decision. matters.

The game is really easy to pick up, and scales up simply: I played a couple of games with each warband and then we doubled-down and went four player to teach the game to two other players… very smoothly.

One of the cool things about Infinity is the urgency around the game: you get three turns, not six.  If you want something done, you need to start working on it ASAP because there’s no time to screw around.  Also, with the orders system, the game is very much a resource management game: how many orders do you have, how many orders do you need, and how many orders will you have to spend to mitigate odds or compensate for them?  This is just as true of Shadespire, too: you have three turns and four actions a turn.  That’s it.  Twelve actions. 

The playstyles of the two warbands are very different; between that and the distinct objective decks, the game plays very differently between the two warbands.  The Sigmarites are playing their game, the Marauders are playing a different one.

I’m really looking forward to picking up the next two warbands: it’ll be very interesting to see how the Undead, with seven models, gets around with only four actions a turn, and I’m sure the Orks will be right up my alley.