June 8, 2016 by brennon
I was in my local friendly gaming store during a tournament and after spying Games Workshop’s Warhammer Quest: Silver Tower on a nearby table asked the owner what he thought of it. The response of “Oh wow, it’s so good…we played it all day yesterday” was enough to tip me over the edge.
So, I picked it up and have now played through a couple of the adventures in search of the amulet fragments that will allow the Heroes to battle the Gaunt Summoner and either claim his boon or banish him for good.
Throughout this review you’re going to see some images of the models for the game. These are from my collection (beware the unpainted bases – I haven’t got the right basing materials yet) so hopefully this will give you an idea of how the game looks all painted up too!
Gameplay – Rules & Thoughts
The game sees you playing as between two and four heroes (from a pool of six) who have been brought to the Silver Tower by the Gaunt Summoner or via other means. While you might be enemies on the field of battle here the Summoner has pushed you together as allies.
Each time you come to a game of Silver Tower you’ll pick one of the Amulet Fragments to go and pursue. As mentioned above, the fragments will allow you to understand the full true name of the Gaunt Summoner and gain his boon.
This fragment will dictate the set-up of your game using a series of Exploration Cards. Each of them is marked with a Rune of Magic showing you which decks they will appear in. The final chamber is then shuffled into that stack and you’re ready to go.
Very simply a round of Silver Tower breaks down into a number of phases beginning with the players and the Destiny Dice. The Chosen (first player) will roll these purple dice and assign them to a communal pool.
When rolling any doubles you will usually create some kind of random effect from spawning monsters to crazy mini-games you have to play.
After that you move onto the Heroes and get stuck in. Each of the Heroes gets four dice and rolls them to show which actions they can perform. Everyone has something they can do on a 1+ which is a basic attack while other abilities might be from between 3+ all the way up to 6+
Dice are also used for Skills and for moving around. For example you might use a die showing a 1 to move your character according to their Movement characteristic and then Attack using a weapon on a 5+. Simply by scoring the To Hit value you will do damage to monsters which have varying numbers of wounds, known as Vigour in Silver Tower.
A few rules to keep in mind when using the Heroes is that while you can move around through friends you may get stuck next to enemies. This is called being Pinned and requires a Movement Dice plus an Agility Check (marked on your Hero Sheet) to escape. If you fail, you still spend the dice and it is wasted.
This means you’ll have to be careful when moving your character around as getting stuck in combat with foes not suited to your playstyle might end up being the death of you.
When you defeat enemies you will gain Renown which moves you round a track. When you make a full circuit around it you will gain a Skill that may be of use to you.
Other actions a Hero can take include Exploring which reveals new tiles and their enemies as well as lesser actions to recover wounds and also search for treasure during Respites.
The foes you face in Silver Tower actually run without the needs for an Overlord, Dungeon Master or Games Master. Each of them are spawned from portals that are placed on the game tiles and then act dependant on the score that you get on a Behaviour Table.
Players are encouraged to manipulate this as they see fit but they’ve done a fairly good job of making most of the monsters very deadly indeed. If you’re not careful you can get surrounded and be pulled down quickly.
There is also a downside to this Behaviour Table in that sometimes a Monster just won’t do anything. We had one game where the Ogroid Thaumaturge, through a series of events, got put into a position where he couldn’t blast us with his magic and there was no remedy for this within his behaviour.
We were relieved but it somewhat reduced the fighting capabilities of the creature having the feeling of an NPC in a video game glitching into the scenery or something.
Monsters fight in a similar way to the heroes but as the ‘Good Guys’ you get a save against their attacks. Any wounds caused by the enemy will then fill in a dice block on your sheet meaning that over time you’ll lose dice that you can use in battle.
This is quite the neat mechanic and makes you feel like you’re being slowly worn down. Some monsters can almost one shot you however so be careful!
Once you’ve traversed the Silver Tower and found the final chamber where you’ll be greeted with a Boss Encounter you will claim a fragment of the amulet, keep a certain number of skills and then continue on to choose your next adventure.
The progression within the game is limited to the skills you pick up and the treasures you’re able to retain between adventures. This can occasionally be a bit underwhelming but most of the cards we’ve had so far have added to our experience quite nicely.
Does It Feel Good To Play?
Overall the simplicity of the game is both its great boon and also it’s bane (to use terms from the game). The rulebook is badly written in places and unclear about certain rules. The layout is also terrible and you’ll find yourself flicking through it scratching your head as you look for how some things work.
For example the rules for Stunning aren’t on the same page as the ones for combat – instead relegated to a different page entirely. Not the best way to quickly look up a rule.
Once you get past that though the game actually is a lot of fun. The random element of the game means that you’re constantly kept guessing as to what is going to happen next and while you’re powerhouses when you tactically think ahead – getting separated could be the death of you.
Simplicity also means that it will bring people in and they’ll immediately understand what they’re doing. All you need to know is on the card in front of you and it’s easy to just go swinging around with a sword or some magic and feel awesome.
One of the big downfalls to a turn however is when you just roll terribly and end up with a lot of bad results across the board. Even with the Destiny Pool working to mitigate this you can have turns when you just feel useless.
Without specific items too this game could be very, very challenging in places. That’s great; but be prepared to sometimes run an amulet fragment quest a couple of times in order to get your hands on it.
Playtime also fluctuates drastically because of the randomness of the game. You could complete a dungeon in forty minutes or find yourself fighting a horde of monsters for nearly two, maybe two and a half hours.
Be prepared for the long haul with this BUT once you beat that boss and finish another adventure you’ll most likely be quite satisfied.
Inside Silver Tower you’re going to get six heroes to play as…
- Fyreslayer Doomseeker
- Darkoath Chieftain
- Excelsior Warpriest with Gryph-hound
- Mistweaver Saih
- Tenebrael Shard
…each of whom have their own particular fighting style. The Knight-Questor is a tank supreme with a rather awesome thunder-charged sword while the Mistweaver is a ‘Controller’ serving to make a mockery of her foes with magic.
The Tenebrael Shard is full on targeted damage while the Excelsior Warpriest fills the role of the healer for the group. With it only being four player you’ll have to make a hard choice as to who you miss out from the roster.
Each of the heroes in all feels very different from the others and you can see some interesting combos coming to light as you try out their various powers.
Enemy wise you have…
- Gaunt Summoner of Tzeentch
- Ogroid Thaumaturge
- 2x Skaven Deathrunners
- 2x Pink Horrors
- 4x Blue Horrors
- 4x Pairs of Brimstone Horrors
- 6x Tzaangors
- 8x Grot Scuttlings
- 8x Kairic Acolytes
- 8x Chaos Familiars
It is a LOT to get through but each of them has a really interesting way of working. The Tzaangors are very dangerous indeed and come with a lot of multiple wound attacks and very dangerous weapons.
Horrors are a deadly pain, throwing around coloured fire and running away from your heroes meaning that you’ll be dragged out of position more often than not. The Skaven Deathrunner is a great addition too – trapped within the Tower, choosing to target a hero and assassinate them at all costs.
The Chaos Familiars are wonderful, a nice hark back to the Oldhammer days. They each have quirky abilities which either help or hinder your heroes from stealing their treasure to making them quicker.
You will also get some amazing tiles for you to play on which feature wonderful artwork and this leads me onto another point about the quality. All of the card components in this game are very lavishly crafted and you can see where the effort has gone to make this box a prized possession.
The models themselves are all top notch and come with some of the finest detail shown in the Citadel range. The kits also go together very easily with minimal fuss.
While I wouldn’t say that the barrier for entry is low for non-miniature based gamers you could certainly have an easier time with this than just diving straight into the range. Despite the quality of the game components though I do have one gripe.
A few people have been missing components from their game including the likes of bases and some specific exploration cards.
I was missing my Gryph-Hound card meaning that I was turning to the app (more on that later) to play with the Excelsior Warpriest. To their credit however Games Workshop did do very well in terms of sorting me out with a new one and the response was quick.
A Parting Note & The Future
The App for this game which I mentioned before has terrible functionality and the layout of it is awful BUT it comes with all of the currently clamp-packed characters for Age of Sigmar with rules for each of them on the tabletop (for a cost of 79p each).
This drastically increases the pool of heroes you get to choose from and while some of the models are just horrifyingly TOO good (looking at you Knight-Venator) the rest have some neat tricks up their sleeve.
It has actually prompted my friend to start building his own Lizardman to use in the campaign. This brings me onto one of the final points about my journey so far; and that’s the future of this game.
With new expansion packs, new heroes coming out all the time and a dedication to taking us to different realms we could see this become a great way for people to collect and paint miniatures as well as boost the popularity of Age of Sigmar.
Imagine that they do an expansion where you’re actually been dropped into the lair of an Orruk Warlord and you have to fight your way through his lair where some strange otherworldly presence has taken root.
To finish off this review I think it’s safe to say that in my opinion this is the best board game product that Games Workshop have released to date. Overkill, Execution Force and Lost Patrol are good but this is the first time a lot of people have felt like they have got their money’s worth with one of their game.
Setting Silver Tower within the Age of Sigmar was also going to be somewhat of a risk but because of the locale, plopping it right in the middle of a Tzeentchian nightmare, you can almost forgive it a lot of its foibles. The randomness – Tzeentchs will, the fact so many of these heroes come from opposite ends of the spectrum – Tzeentches plan!
In terms of gameplay, I’ve talked about it before, but Silver Tower has a nice sense of challenge and exploration to it. You have good fights in some rooms whilst others feature riddles or mini-games to play.
The variety of different Unexpected Events within the main storybook also help to spice things up and you’ll find yourself getting quite absorbed in the twisting narrative as you read from the book like an old school choose your own adventure romp.
I’ve heard that the end game for Silver Tower is also a lot of fun and I really look forward to where they go with this. Not everyone is going to escape this place alive I feel.
If nothing else Silver Tower forced MY hobby to struggle out of its stupor and start work again. I’ve loved painting the models and playing the game.
What are your thoughts on Warhammer Quest: Silver Tower?
"...while you’re powerhouses when you tactically think ahead - getting separated could be the death of you"
"If nothing else Silver Tower forced MY hobby to struggle out of its stupor and start work again. I’ve loved painting the models and playing the game..."