The Invasion is Coming

Part 1 in a series of designer diaries on Warhammer: Invasion by Eric Lang


Welcome to the first installment of designer journals for Warhammer: Invasion. I’ve been excited about this game for just shy of a year now, and there’s a lot to talk about.

This week I’ll be talking about the game overview and our general vision moving forward. Over the following two weeks I’ll talk about the game mechanics and the cards themselves. Following that we’ll have a look at each of the four individual races that come in the Core Set.

So What is this Game?Warhammer: Invasion is a Living Card Game™, or “LCG™” in gamer parlance. For those of you who are not yet familiar with the idea behind an LCG™, I heartily recommend you read the LCG™: Player’s Guide before continuing.

The first release for the game is the Core Set, which has enough cards for two players to start playing right away, plus all of the tokens and capitol boards you need for the four primary races: Dwarfs, Empire, Orcs and Chaos. We’ve taken pains to make sure these introductory decks are fun and replayable on their own.

Every month sees the addition of a new “Battle Pack,” which adds 40 new cards to the total card pool. There will also be periodic “special releases” that add new twists to game play.

A New Warhammer Fantasy ExperienceThis paragraph header is one of the guiding mantras behind the design of this game. Players already have many different gateways into the Old World: a fantastic tabletop game, a roleplaying game, many different board games, and even a massively multiplayer online game! There has been a Warhammer card game in the past as well, and we wanted to make sure this game offers an experience that sets it apart from all others.

It is for this reason that Warhammer: Invasion takes influences from many different sources and synthesizes them into a fresh look at the world. For example, the overall structure governing which races you’ll be able to play and who their enemies are is taken from the online game. However, the units, tactics and heroes are taken largely from the miniatures and roleplaying games. And we even got to add a few pieces of delicious flavor ourselves! 

The Big PictureOverall, the experience I wanted to create was that of “warfare management.” Although the goal of the game is quite clear and exactly what you’d expect (burn down your opponent’s capital), I wanted players to have more to worry about than simply massing troops to kill each other. You need to defeat your opponent, but have to worry about managing your own kingdom while you’re at it. If you don’t have enough resources to build an army, you can’t win. And if you can’t have your units complete quests, you won’t be able to draw enough cards to give you the options you need.

Of course you want to do all of these things, but therein lies the dilemma: which careful balance do you want to strike in order to defeat your opponent?

This new perspective of the Warhammer universe was a great opportunity for us to introduce it to people who were not already fans. If you are not familiar with the fantastic world that Games Workshop has created, this game will give you a good overview. Each of the races in the box plays very differently from one another (we’ll get into specifics in a later article), and you can learn a lot about the flavour just from playing a few games.

Questions AnsweredSince the game’s launch I have been perusing many different forums, and have found a few recurring questions that deserve a public answer.

What does “Order versus Destruction” mean?The history of Warhammer stretches back over 3 decades. Races have risen to glory and seen themselves fall into ruin over this lengthy saga. Many races have formed loose alliances, and strange bedfellows have been seen as the tides of battle sweep the lands. Most commonly, the forces of Dwarfs, Elves, and Men banded together to defeat the opposing forces of Orcs, Dark Elves, and Chaos. Each of these sides has, at one point or another, been seen working together. These alliances have been formed and broken a number of times in Games Workshop history, and it is an easy, intuitive leap to include this in the game. Additionally, these are the same divisions that Mythic Games adopted for their MMO game. As this provides an easy entry point for veterans and new comer alike, we were happy to feature this in Warhammer: Invasion.

Is this game two-player?The rules support two player action, and as of yet there are no official multiplayer variants. This was a tough decision and one that was not made lightly (I’ll go into further detail in a future article). The short answer is that we had a metric ton of cool to fit into the Core Set including a special LCG-specific draft format developed uniquely for this game. I’m sure we’ll see player-suggested variants within weeks of launch.

Are there four races or six?The Core Set comes with a full set of cards for four races, but you’ll notice that there are some High Elf and Dark Elf cards in the box. Because of the flexible nature of deck building, these are all playable, and serve as a great preview for the two Elf races we’ll be adding to the game shortly after launch. This was done largely to optimize the play experience out of the Core Set without having to add so many cards that it got priced out of a reasonable entry point. We made the call to make four races deeply playable and varied, and add the Elf races later. I think you’ll be grateful for this once you see how well this set plays right out of the box.

That’s it for now. Join me next week when I talk in more detail about the game mechanics themselves.

Warhammer Invasion The Card Game is a card game, by Eric M. Lang, in which 2 players develop their kingdoms and lay waste to their foes. Each side is comprised of either the forces of Order -Dwarfs, High Elves, Empire- or the forces of Destruction -Orcs, Chaos, Dark Elves- as they seek to extend their empire to include the entire Old World.

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