Warhammer 40000: Warpforge Preview – Grimdark Deck-building

Warhammer 40000: Warpforge Preview – Grimdark Deck-building

Platforms: Android, iOS, Windows PC, Mac, Steam

Game Name: Warhammer 40000: Warpforge

Publisher: Everguild Ltd.

Developer: Everguild Ltd.

Genre: Strategy

Release Date: October 19th, 2023

Warhammer 40000: Warpforge by Everguild

Warhammer 40000: Warpforge is a collectible card game set in the beleaguered world of the 41st millennium. A famous setting that has grown in popularity in recent years, Warhammer 40000 is a grimdark world of constant warfare between a cast of horrifying factions, each bent on destroying, conquering, or straight-up eating everyone else in the galaxy.

A Fair Few Fighting Factions

Warpforge takes the classic tabletop strategy setting and presents it through the format of a free-to-play CCG, offering six factions (at launch) from the war-torn world: the armored superhuman warriors of the Ultramarines, the feral Orks, the inscrutable Craftworld Aeldari (space elves), the robotic skeletons of the Necrons, the ravenous Tyranid horde, and the fallen warriors of the Chaos Legions.

In terms of the full cast of factions, this is a relatively limited showing, with many still missing, but the developers have said that more are on the way in the form of expansions. Anyone looking for specific sub-factions will likely be disappointed; I have a feeling that my hardy Imperial Fists, for instance, will continue to take a back seat to the Ultramarine poster boys).

It’s a shame they couldn’t provide alternative art for the cards in order to offer different variants of each faction, but perhaps this is a tall ask given the number of cards.

Little in the way of a narrative is presented here; instead, Warpforge leans on the setting in general as the backdrop for its card-based battles. A short tutorial is provided through the eyes of the Ultramarines and the Orks, but after this, the game takes the training wheels off and opens up its various modes for the player to choose their own direction.

Follow the Leader

I played a few practice games before taking my Marines online. The game itself features a leader that has a large health pool and basic damage backed up by a deck of cards to do the heavy lifting. Each unit card can strike with either ranged or melee attacks, providing a fun little addition to the usual CCG formula. If the leader dies, the game is lost.

Following the traditions set down by the giants of the genre, Warpforge provides a growing energy pool that can be drawn on each turn to deploy various cards. The most common type of cards are troops, ranging from weak and cheap early-game screens to formidable behemoths launched into action later to secure a win. An assortment of buffing and direct damage cards are also available for each faction.

I found the Marines provided a relatively steadfast play-style relying on strong troops and a few ways to buff or reinforce them. I particularly enjoyed the Impulsor transport card for its ability to generate new units each turn.

The other factions come with their own styles of play, from the Chaos Legion’s ability to buff their troops when others are destroyed to the Necron’s power to resurrect their defeated warriors. There’s plenty of variety to be found here.

In the Grim Darkness of the Far Future, There Are Only Micro-Transactions

It’s worth mentioning, however, that this is a free-to-play game, and the monetization system does pose a bit of a barrier at the moment. A campaign of unlockables is provided for each faction, but the starter decks leave a lot to be desired, and it’s clear that significant investment will be necessary to create a distinctive, personalized deck that reflects a desired play style.

Missions and daily objectives provide ways to gather resources, but the usual array of currencies and confusing unlock layers can be found here, obfuscating the scale of investment necessary to really dig into the game.

Aesthetically, Warpforge is everything you’d expect of a Warhammer-themed CCG: bolters roar with firepower, and hardy warriors let forth a grim battle cry before they attack.

A selection of visually dynamic environments serve as backdrops to each game, and the art on the cards themselves is generally stunning. Animations serve to add punch to each action. I particularly enjoyed watching my Redemptor Dreadnought unleash a wide arc of mini-gun fire across the enemy’s troops.

Warpforge offers the beginnings of a solid competitive deck-builder; the cards offer a fun variety of combat options, and the factions are well-defined. The game really does need to offer more options for starting decks, though, as the base option feels very limiting at the moment.

The setting is used to great effect, and the powers of each unit feel appropriate given the tabletop equivalents that inspired them. Warpforge is certainly worth a look for fans of CCGs and Warhammer alike.

Warhammer 40000: Warpforge is available in Early Access via the Apple App Store, Google Play, and Steam.

Check out the official trailer for Warhammer 40000: Warpforge below: