Warhammer 40,000: Regicide – What We Think
Hammerfall Games launches the classic game of chess into a violent future realm peppered with a constant rain of automatic weapon fire. Unit movement rules still apply, though each piece also has access to ranged attacks, buffs and debuffs, adding a layer to the classic board game. These new skills depend entirely on luck, which is sure to rankle chess purists and may even put off a few Warhammer 40k fans.
To put it succinctly, Regicide is Battle Chess with the pieces being represented by units from the Warhammer 40K universe. All moves are animated on screen, and capture maneuvers result in glorious and bloody kill sequences. Visually, the game packs a lot of punch, though the animations get repetitive quickly.
Should You Choose to Accept It
Though the main premise is a chess-esque game featuring Warhammer 40k properties, there is also a robust single player campaign mode. With over 50 missions, players can embark on a story driven quest to disrupt the efforts of the Orc armies. Each mission involves a selection of chess pieces and an objective that must be met. There are also bonus conditions to be met that can help to gain additional experience points.
The intro to each level is set up with a narrative voiced by the higher ranking soldiers. The delivery is excellent, and the over-the-top machismo of the soldiers really paints a picture of an adrenaline-filled battlefield that is one explosive skirmish after another.
Just having a few pieces on the board for a mission adds some unfortunate complications. Because the pieces can only move according to the rules of chess, I found I would get into a stalemate very often. For an example, my pawn-types would frequently be past my targets, and as they can’t move backwards, I would fail the level and have to start again.
Hassle His Castle
As stated previously, Regicide adds an action phase to the classic chess formula. After moving one piece in the movement phase, units within firing range of enemy pieces can crack off a few rounds, thereby softening up, or even downing a foe outside of a classic capture move. Each unit type has access to a handful of specialized abilities, and more can be obtained as units gain experience levels.
While these moves add extra chances to do damage, the outcome depends entirely on a hidden dice roll. Even if your space marines are positioned perfectly behind an orc, an attack can miss entirely, spending the required initiative points for nothing.
This luck aspect greatly takes away from the strategic elements of classic chess. As soon as any pieces are within range of the other side, there is the potential for them to be cut down by a hail of projectiles, and from more than one target. It can’t be used strategically, given the chance for failure, so every move becomes a gamble for both sides. Players looking for a more strategic chess experience can opt to play with only captures enabled.
And the Tough Guys Tumble
While Warhammer 40K: Regicide puts an interesting spin on chess, the modifications take the game to a new level, and that isn’t entirely a good thing. The loose strategic value of ranged assaults has too much potential to make for undue frustration. A game played by classic rules still makes for an engaging experience, and fans of Warhammer 40K will no doubt love the visceral action sequences.
Watch the trailer for Warhammer 40,000: Regicide below: