Appropriate for my current fantasy mood, Virago invited Sigur, Daniel and me over to play a game of Warhammer Quest, the GW classic from 1995.
Daniel took an elf wizard, Virago an elf ranger, Sigur a Bavarian Barbarian and I a Dwarf from Uberwald. Our objective was to secure a magical ring from a statue and throw it into a fiery chasm right next to the statue – no wonder the evil masterminds who design those dungeons never get insurance coverage…
When the group started out, they were in a very good mood, with much slapping of shoulders and chanting of “hey ho let’s go”. For those who wanted to see, though, there were some sinister portents right away – one of them being the Barbarian dying in the second room because we met a Minotaur. However, blissfully unaware of our fate, we cheated our way through this slight setback (nothing happened, carry on) and continued along the way. “Easiest dungeon ever”, the dwarf was heard to murmur.
When we hit a junction, the dwarf wanted to go right and the Barbarian left, so of course we followed the Barbarian. What could possibly go wrong?
On we went, deeper into the dungeon, killing some Goblins along the way. Maybe they guarded something? Perhaps the magical ring? Or could it even be, the Dwarf pondered, gold?
When we examined the next room, however, it turned out to be some stinking chamber with a hole in the middle and no sight of a statue, a ring or a chasm. We took the wrong turn! The Barbarian turned back immediately, but the Dwarf wanted to look inside – there might be some gold hidden somewhere after all. He and the wizard charged in, only to find themselves surrounded by monsters. Lots of them.
We fought like real heroes, i.e. for our lives. The Barbarian deigned to join us after a while and together, we managed to slay our ghastly foes. Unfortunately, there was no huge pile of gold. “No hard feelings,” the Dwarf laughed, “let’s go back and take the other turn!”
After retracing our steps (and getting healed by the wizard along the way), we finally arrived at our aim: A room full of Goblins and Snotlings, with a fiery chasm right in the middle.
The Dwarf charged right ahead and got stuck in the ropes of the rickety bridge. Unable (and later unwilling) to retreat, he slaughtered hordes of Snotlings. When he finally managed to cross the bridge, he immediately lunged towards the statue – the dwarf was the only one who could get the ring. The Barbarian followed suit to engaged some goblins and cover his squat buddy, but he slipped and – fell into the chasm! Overcome by blind rage, the Dwarf turned around to revenge his Bavarian comrade, only to slip and – fall into the chasm.
Unable to complete the mission, the wizard and the elf looked at each other. “Sod this for a game of soldiers,” one of them murmured, and together, they left the dungeon and rode into the sunset.
Now this was a fun game and a great evening with friends! Everyone was in the right spirit and embraced the narrative, which reached its fiery climax when two heroes plunged to a rather embarrassing and unheroic death.
Warhammer Quest is an interesting game that was ahead of its time in some aspects – for example, in being fully cooperative without needing a game master. It has some lengths, especially if you have to retrace your steps, but this can easily be sped up by the players. Combat can be very brutal and doesn’t seem to be very balanced. But it’s fun and the randomly generated dungeon, the variety of missions and the large number of different enemies and monsters provide it with a high replay value.