Warcry Tome of Champions 2021 Review
The Bloodwind Spoil is a vicious expanse where the sky rings with the war cries of bands of warriors intent upon bloody conquest! The Tome of Champions 2021, up for pre order today, gives Warcry players their annual update for the game! Not only containing points updates and new profiles for more fighters, the book is also filled with new content for Open, Narrative and Matched Play giving all types of players new content to sink their teeth into!
Massive thanks to Games Workshop who provided us an early copy of Warcry Tome of Champions 2021 to review and share with you all!
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If you would rather watch this review than read it then you can check out out full look through the book on YouTube below!
Warcry: Tome of Champions 2021
Warcry is the fast paced small scale skirmish game set in the Eight Points of the Age of Sigmar universe, a realm controlled by the forces of Chaos and fought over by both its inhabitants and by other races travelling there to try and reclaim it or simply for glory. After kicking off with an awesome starter set and a number of different flavours of Chaos warband, we have seen the game grow with two expansion boxes, more warbands and Grand Alliance books allowing you to use the majority of the Age of Sigmar range in your games of Warcry.
Where the main Age of Sigmar game has annual General’s Handbook releases, Warcry too gets it’s annual update in the form of the Tome of Champions. The latest release, Tome of Champions 2021 (No doubt delayed a couple of months due to continuing global shipping issues) gives us exactly what you would expect from a supplement book – core rules updates, points adjustments, new profiles and brand new content to be used in all forms of play! It’s 153 pages are busting with content and ways of enhancing your games of Warcry, so let’s take a look at what is within!
First up we see some updates to the core rules including a full overview of each faction Runemark split over each Grand Alliance, which is a really nice way of being able to identify these quickly (Especially considering just how many Runemarks we now have!)
Secondly there are updates to Campaign Rules with consumable items now able to be used as a bonus action, an update to allow the Aspirant warband in a convergence to always be able to spend glory to use to purchase fighters and a redesigned “Earn Glory Points” table in campaign play that is more balanced so that the winner isn’t overly favoured in the balance of what Glory is granted to each side – this is a great change as it gives both sides in the battle the opportunity to earn Glory. The winner will still get more, but not excessively so!
In addition to this, every points value in the game has been looked at with a large number of them readjusted based on feedback since the game first launched. These are split by Grand Alliance and then again in order of the fighter cards printed within those books, with any changes marked with an asterisk in order to make it really easy to look them up! I wont list them all here, as the majority of fighters have been adjusted in some way, making this book a must buy really for making sure you have the latest points values for your warband.
Ever watched the battle of Helm’s Deep and thought how cool it would be to play through a siege in your games of Warcry? Well good news, Tome of Champions contains extensive siege rules! Representing the Siege of Carngrad – a mighty Chaos settlement that’s control has been fought over many times with few lucky enough to take it for themselves!
This is a special Coalition of Death mission allowing teams of multiple players to fight over control of the city. With things being a little bigger than usual this uses 2 Warcry boards put together with a variable points limit based on how big you want the battle with a “Small” battle featuring an attackers force totalling 2000 points against defenders of 1350 all the way up to a Large battle with attackers totalling 4000 points against 2650 of defenders. Regardless of points, the attacker also gets a monster added to that side for free, giving them some muscle to try and break through!
What’s really cool is that the defenders will set up a series of terrain pieces representing the gatehouse and wall sections, then attacker removes one of the wall sections giving them a breach that they have to try and fight through! In addition to this the Gatehouse itself can be attacked and take damage, eventually giving way to become another breach for the attackers to pour through!
This looks to be a really fun mission and a nice way of multiple players splitting into two allied forces ready to fight over the siege! Points scored are based on if the attacker manages to get their forces into the city or destroy the gatehouse, with the defender trying to kill the invaders while also making sure their messenger manages to escape off the board to call for reinforcements!
One of the coolest additions to Warcry are branching quests – these sort of work like a “Pick your own adventure” game with the player having a choice at the end of each mission, and that choice leading to another mission that again ends with another choice to make – giving you numerous different paths your warband can take to get to the end of the story with 6 different rewards up for grabs based on what you have done!
So for example, at the end of a battle you might take captive a prisoner who knows about three different locations of interest – A Khaineite temple, an Arcane Library and a Duardin city that has been corrupted by Chaos. Deciding to go to the Duardin settlement you later learn that a Daemonic forge has been crafted in order to create weapons and tools by the Chaos Duardin – you then have to choose if you take out the forge or simply steal what treasure you can and accept the fate of the city! With each of these paths leading to a different outcome it gives you a load of replayability here and really strengthens the feeling of this being an evolving story with consequences rather than just a series of missions! Paragraphs of narrative text accompany each of these outcomes letting the player know what is happening and what their decisions mean for the fate of the story!
Each Grand Alliance gets their own new branching quest story in the book with a total of 6 different artefacts of power available at the end based on the decisions they have made. I absolutely love these and feel that it really adds to the flavour of the game, and if we get more of these in the future then I would be very happy!
The feeling of choice having an impact on the outcome of games doesn’t end with branching quests however, as the Tome of Champions also including 4 brand new Fated Quests (One for each Grand Alliance). Each of these campaigns of 3 convergences ends with a choice between Honour and Glory – Glory gives you an Artefact of Power as usual, however if you pick Honour you instead earn an Exhalted Command Trait, a special unique trait that replaces your leaders usual command trait. This again gives you a decision to make, and to really get in the spirt of things it’s probably best to not read ahead in the book to find out which is the best outcome out of the two!
2 of these fated quests also use cards from Catacombs, giving you a nice mix of environments, but its worth pointing out that if you don’t have that expansion you can always just create a standard battlefield layout and adapt to fit what you have in your collection.
Amazingly, we are only scratching the surface of the Narrative content in the book – we also get a selection of 5 narrative campaigns that tie into recent events in the Age of Sigmar universe and offer content for anything from between 1 player solo gaming, campaigns for 2 players, a campaign for 4 players and even a campaign featuring 2 teams of multiple players!
The Purge of Anvilguard features two players, one acting as the Stormcast forces of Keiser Ven Brecht (From Broken Realms Morathi) trying to find clues and gain intel in order to try and discover the secret of the Blackscale Coil before the fall of Anvilguard and Morathi’s unexpected taking of the city! There’s some really cool mechanics here such as there being a number of locations across the city each with a different number of clues (assigned secretly by the Blackscale player) with the Stormcast picking different locations in order to try and piece together the mystery. Once a certain number of clues have been found then the Stormcast player can finally uncover the true crimelord pulling the strings in the background before fighting a final mission to bring them to justice. Full rules are included for all these various characters with full fighter profiles given to use! What’s really cool is that following this mission you can actually transition over to the 2 Anvilguard Age of Sigmar missions in Broken Realms Morathi to continue the story!
The Forlorn Hope acts as a prequal to the events of Broken Realms Teclis with a warband of Lumineth led by a Windmage and The Light of Eltharion travelling through the Realm’s Edge against the Ossiarch Bonereapers. We get a nice twist here where the Bonereapers player can actually create their force for each mission as they see fit rather than being locked into a single warband, to represent the masses of Bonereapers who are marching against the Lumineth! Eventually the Lumineth player will face off against Arkhan the Black himself in what is best described as a Warcry boss fight! Like with the Anvilguard missions all the named characters have their own fighter cards printed in the book! Again this series of missions eventually leads to the events of Broken Realms Teclis, allowing the players to finish the story using Age of Sigmar for the larger battles.
The Depths of Sylontum is a team campaign for 4-6 players featuring Be’lakor’s daemonic legion against the forces of the Nighthaunt – the twist in this campaign is that each side secretly picks the tactics of their army, and then use a matrix based on what each side has picked to determine the deployment, victory conditions and if any side has an advantage – think Rock, Paper, Scissors with a Warcry twist and you’re halfway there! Each of these games are played as single players, until we get to the concluding cinematic battle where each team joins up together in a massive team vs team battle!
The Rat Hunters is a really cool campaign that can be played either solo or with 2 players cooperatively against a series of missions featuring greater and greater waves of Skaven that are controlled by a combination of logic paths and an “AI” system using dice rolls to determine what each Skaven fighter does! This is a pretty ace way of being able to play Warcry by yourself and culminates in the cinematic battle where your warband has to take out the Skaven leader and escape before being killed by an endless Skaven horde (All the killed Skaven models are recycled into a fresh battle group and deployed again the following turn!)
A Fool’s Trove in Ulfenkarn is a 4 player campaign that takes us back to the setting of Cursed City! We actually see quite a few Cursed City mechanics crop up in the campaign such as night falling at some point and from that moment the various adversaries from the Cursed City game crawl out of their graves and start roaming the battlefield in the same way as Territorial Predators! (All of the adversaries from Cursed City are given fighter profiles here!) On top of this at the end of each game each player can risk sending one of their fighters out into the city in order to gather information to aid their long term goal at the risk of become one of the walking dead themselves! this culminates in a frantic 4 player Triumph and Treachery game with only a single turn taking place in the day before night fall and the dead come out to play too!
The final narrative scenario is basically a sequel to the Dominion box with the heroes of both of those armies deployed secretly to one of 3 locations and then a warband built around them – this opens up lots of double bluffing and betrayal as you try and out guess where your opponent is sending their heroes and who you think you need to send to face off against them! Each of the 3 locations has its own battleplan culminating in an epic showdown between the full armies at the end!
For Matched Play, much like with the previous Tome of Champions we get the new Pitched Battles for this season. This is basically a list of 6 pitched battles designed for formal matched play with a fixed unique twist rather than randomly determining it.
In addition to this we also get a full tournament pack giving you everything you need to host your own 1 day Warcry tournament for 4 to 12 players. I have to say they have gone to some amazing detail here covering everything from advice about how to run the event , a full schedule with suggested timings for everything from registration, each game, lunch and your awards ceremony! The book details 3 new missions to use for the rounds in this tournament, a list of Artefact of Power prizes that the players can earn based on their final score with the overall winner getting their own unique one. Finally we get 12 new Hidden Agendas to replace the ones in the core book!
New Warbands and Fighters
The final third of the book collects together a load of new warbands and fighters to use in your games of Warcry!
First of all, all the new armies that have been released recently get full rules and profiles for their new model ranges! This covers the Lumineth, the Soulblight Gravelords, Thunderstrike Stormcast and Kruleboyz – all are collected together with Fighter and leader abilities, profiles, points values and narrative names, origins and backgrounds!
As cool as that is, it’s not quite as cool as what we also get – full rules for every single Warhammer Underworlds model produced that can be included in your Warcry Warbands! These are grouped under the 4 Grand Alliances and can be included as a unique fighter in any Warband of the same faction runemark! So for example, you are able to include any of Skaeth’s Wild Hunt in your Sylvaneth if you want to include some Kurnothi, or maybe you want to add Duinclaw the crab to an Idoneth Warband! This opens up a load of list building options and gives you more ways to use these really ace models!
All of these models get full profiles, points values and unique abilities tied to that warband and some of them are enough points to be an entire Warband in their own right, while still allowing you to add further fighters from the parent faction with matching Runemark.
So what do I think about Tome of Champions 2021 and is it worth the money? Well, I have to say for the entry price of only £20 this is an absolute must have for me as one of the best releases yet for Warcry! Not only do we get the updated points for all factions along with masses of units added to our Warbands through the new forces and Underworlds fighters, but we also get a load of new gaming content for all flavours of player. The real jewel in the crown is the weight of Narrative content we get, building upon and expanding what we had and taking it to the next level, giving Warcry players tons of gaming material to use and enjoy!
While the Tome of Champions may not get the fanfare that the General’s Handbook or Chapter Approved gets, this is an excellent book that gives each and every Warcry player great new content and ways to enjoy their game and for the price you really must pick this up!
Tome of Champions 2021 is available to pre order today and is released Saturday 19th February
Games Workshop provided Sprues & Brews a free copy of Tome of Champions for review purposes