Hammerfall Publishing, a small independent game company based out of Sydney Australia has just come out with the turn-based strategy game, Warhammer 40,000: Regicide. Based on Game Workshop’spopular tabletop game, Warhammer 40,000, the Hammerfall studios took advantage of the franchises rich lore and converted it into a chess-like video game platform.
When I was first given the task to review this game I originally thought it was going to be a hack and slash-like game that was based in some futuristic space world. The name Warhammer 40,000: Regicide sounds overwhelming and made me think of a myriad of possibilities and chess was definitely not one of them. But to be fair, this isn’t your run of the mill Microsoft Chess where the most interesting alteration you can do to it is turn your chess pieces into Confucian era jade warriors; this is Warhammer 40,000: Regicide, the Jeffery Dahmer version of chess!
With two game modes: classic and regicide, the game gives you the option to either play classic mode: regular chess or regicide mode: chess that has smoked crystal meth, projectile-vomited up blood, and took a dump in the middle of a supermarket frozen food isle. Regicide adds an additional phase to an already complex game, in that it gives each unit and faction additional abilities and traits. For instance, after you move your unit in the “movement phase,” you are then granted the “initiation phase” were individual units can use additional abilities like throwing a grenade from afar or assaulting the opponent in a close-quarters combat situation. Coming from a Cro-Magnon, I’m already completely overwhelmed by the original game and struggle to conceptualize many of its core concepts as it is. Adding the ability to blast an opposing units face in with a futuristic war gun was just too much for me, I already can’t decipher between a Rook and a Bishop, let alone an Ork Shoota Boy or Ork Loota.
My favorite part of the game by far was the Campaign mode where it slowly integrates the player into the world of Regicide Chess. Each mission is diverse as it slowly introduces new units and provides the player with a main and a secondary objective to complete. The objectives award points towards the overall player score and give each mission a unique perspective on how to play the game. Personally, I really liked this aspect of the game as I’m completionist and this game gives you a plethora of achievements and objectives to complete.
Online mode is not for the faint of heart, and I only momentarily ventured into the abyssal waters known as multiplayer. I quickly suffered PTSD like symptoms from my youth at the Boys and Girls Club Chess tournaments were I got beat by asthmatic kids five years younger than me and who would make perfidious accusations about my mother. Regicide was simply just a mind fuck and classic mode wasn’t any more assuasive as I was probably playing some 40 year old who lived with his mother, had an 80’s style porno mustache, and whose name was Bill; or I played some twelve year old grandmaster who would call me his “bitch” if voice chat was enabled. AI mode was very ameliorating for an idiot like me, who could adjust the difficulty level to meet my infantile capabilities.
Overall, I’d have to say this is very much a niche game. If you are either in love with the Warhammer franchise or just a fan of Chess, this is the game for you. The campaign mode provides a narrative discourse for those who love Warhammer lore and the Regicide mode is great for those who are not challenged enough by chess or are looking for a new way to play the game…you sick, sick bastards. While it’s personally not for me I’ll give it a higher score because I know there will be those who are specifically looking for a game like this.