A dark shadow has descended over the city of Ulfenkarn. An alliance with a vampire was never going to end well, and when the opportunity arose, Radukar the Wolf sized power and forever changed the city. Now the vampire has grand plans, including the destruction of Ulfenkarn to grow his own power. An unlikely band of heroes, formed from the remnants of the mortal survivors of Ulfenkarn must destroy Radukar, but first, they need to hunt and kill the vampire's lieutenants in order to reduce his hold on the city, before taking on Radukar himself.
Warhammer Quest Cursed City is a cooperative game for one to four players, designed to be played as an ongoing campaign. Players take on missions to reduce Radukar's power and level themselves up so that they can face down the vampire. Four heroes embark on each mission, split between the number of players, and they fight against AI-controlled hordes of undead. There are eight heroes to choose from, and each player can choose different heroes from mission to mission.
The eight heroes are:
- Captain Emelda Braskov - A former soldier in the elite Ulfenkarn armies. She wants to see Radukar dead for what's been done to the city. Emelda is a solid fighter and has the ability to influence when they and another hero act during the phase.
- Jelsen Darrock - An exiled witch hunter, for whom killing Radukar is a necessity. Jelsen is a veteran warrior, with ranged and close combat options.
- Qulathis the Exile - An aelf hunter with a vendetta against Radukar. Qulathis is a natural archer and has oaken arrows for taking out the more durable enemies.
- Brutogg Corpse-Eater - A huge ogor with a taste for the undead. Brutogg is durable and capable of smashing through enemy ranks.
- Glaurio ven Alten III - A noble duelist from the previous Ulfenkarn royalty. Glaurio is a capable fighter with a great mobility option to get them into or out of combat.
- Dagnai Holdenstock - A Khararon trader looking to make a profit, and reopen their lost trade route into Ulfenkarn. Dagnai has a harpoon weapon that can be used to pull enemies closer or pick up objects at a distance.
- Cleona Zitengale - The sole surviving member of a sisterhood trying to bring Sigmar's light to the world. Cleona has access to an area of effect magical power that can cause devastation on tightly packed enemies.
- Octren Glimscry - Octren's assistant stole research and ran away to work for Radukar. The mysterious Octren now seeks them both. Octren has an incredible understanding of death and its powers and can cause harm to themselves to boost their attacks.
Players who've played the original Warhammer Quest, or the more recent Silver Tower or Blackstone Fortress will find a lot familiar with Cursed City, along with some quality of life improvements that make Cursed City a lot more user-friendly. For players entering Warhammer Quest for the first time, Cursed City has some fantastic unique mechanics that let you experience the dark horror-filled streets of Ulfenkarn.
Each turn, each hero rolls four, six-sided dice, known as activation dice. These are placed on each hero's character board and are used during their turn to complete actions. Each time a hero wants to complete an action, they remove a dice from their board. Heroes have access to a selection of generic actions, and their own unique actions listed on their hero card. Each action has a cost, and the dice used to complete the action needs to be equal or greater than the listed cost. Some actions are easy, like moving which requires a dice showing 1 or more. Running requires a 3 or more, and some of the more powerful abilities like Emelda Braskov's Deathblow ability, which allows them to make an attack against 2 adjacent enemies, requires a 6 or more.
As heroes take damage, wound tokens get added to the spaces that the activation dice go, giving your hero fewer activations that turn. Heroes can spend activations to try and heal, but enemies will still be trying to attack you, giving your some interesting choices during your turn.
The Cursed City campaign sees the heroes trying to take down the support for Radukar, before tacking the vampire lord himself. This is done through a series of missions, and players can choose which type of mission they attempt. During the campaign, the fear level for the surviving populace and Radukar's influence are tracked, and these go up and down depending on the mission attempted. If either of these levels reaches 10, then the heroes have failed, and Radukar's forces enact their terrible plan. The different mission types are:
- Hunt - The heroes try to take out the Radukar's forces, lowering influence, but letting fear grow.
- Scavenge - The heroes look for equipment to help them on their quest, but at the cost of letting fear and influence grow.
- Deliverance - Deliverance missions have a randomly generated map, and the heroes need to rush through the streets, pursued by a spell that takes over the streets behind them, all the while searching for the surviving populace, lowering fear, but letting Radukar's influence grow.
- Decapitation - In order to take out Radukar, first the support pillars need to be removed by taking out their followers. When your heroes have reached the required level, Decapitation missions can be attempted. Once heroes reach Level 4, they can attempt the final mission to take out Radukar.
During missions, players track quest and nightfall. Quests are usually completed when the quest tracker gets to a certain place, and when the nightfall tracker hits the nightfall icon, the enemies power up, upgrading attacks and abilities. But fear not, because as the heroes slay enemies and achieve their own personal path to glory quests, they gain inspiration points. Inspiration points can be spent to reroll dice, or saved up and three spent to inspire your character, which flips their character card over, improving their stats and opening up extra abilities, like Jelsen's Remorseless Killer, which lets them make an additional attack after slaying a hostile champion,
Games of Cursed City have a real urgency about them, with the heroes trying to complete the mission before nightfall, or the rolling appearance of map tiles during Deliverance missions. The enemies have real character and the sense of development for the heroes as they level up is solid, but not as in-depth as a roleplaying game. We're only a few missions into our attempt at removing Radukar, but we're enjoying the game and looking forward to seeing where it leads, along with future Cursed City expansions. We've already ordered the Cursed City novel by C L Werner, which comes with the character card for an additional hero.
The copy of Warhammer Quest Cursed City used to produce this preview was provided by Games Workshop.