Friday, 29 May 2015

Assassinorum Execution Force.

Games Workshop recently released a new limited edition board game, Assassinorum Execution Force.

The so-called limited edition nature of it may be a bit of a fib though. In 2009 I shelled out a fair bit of money for the limited 3rd edition of Space Hulk. I was very pleased to have gotten it before it sold out. I had fond memories of the game from when I used to frequent Games Workshop Ealing and the components are lovely. Last year, 2014, GW re-released it, identical but for a few extra components, as 4th Edition. I did feel a bit cheated.

Here's a look at the boards with a few of the included unpainted minis and box for A.E.F..
The board components are heavy weight and well printed with nice graphics. The models consist of standard Warhammer 40,000 models, a load of Chaos Cultists, some Chaos Space Marines, a Chaos Sorcerer, a Chaos Familiar and the four new Imperial Assassin models which, I've been told, will only be available with this game. You also get a card for each assassin which details their powers and abilities, some dice and plenty of tokens to keep track of various game elements.

This is a rather blurry picture of the four assassins on their starting spaces (they can be put on these spaces in any order). From left to right we have the Eversor (a combat-drug fueled close-quarters monster), the Callidus (a shape-shifting stealth specialist), the Culexus (anti-psyker) and the Vindicare (a sniper). These models can be used in the Warhammer 40,000 wargame. However, 40K uses true line-of-sight rules. If you can see a targeted model from the viewpoint of a model firing a ranged weapon at it, you can hit it (assuming you roll a high enough number on your dice). The Eversor and Callidus models have scenery pieces as part of them that would quite significantly increase the visibility of it on a 40K battlefield making them much more visible and, thus, vunerable.

The object of the game is to infiltrate a captured Imperial facility and assassinate a Chaos Sorcerer before he can complete a dark ritual.
One to four players can take on the roles of the assassins whilst another player fields the Chaos side.
There are four large board sections included with the game. The first three go together to form the main part of the facility. The last piece represents the inner sanctum of the Chaos Sorcerer. To get to this last section, the assassins must work their way through the main facility exploring rooms until they find  their primary objectives, a teleportation platform and the platform's control room. The main board has many areas on it which represent unexplored rooms. When an assassin gets to a doorway of one of these, a stack of smaller board tiles are shuffled and one chosen at random. This smaller board tile is then placed on the main board in the room space and shows what the assassin has found. This usually turns out to be a number of Chaos Cultists but just might be one of the two aforementioned primary objective rooms. In the game that I played, these two turned up as the antepenultimate and penultimate rooms and, so weakened was my force of assassins, that I was unable to make it to the Sorcerer's sanctum and slay him. This revealing of rooms reminded me happily of my very first foray into a GW game, Hero Quest, which was co-produced with MB Games.
Choas Cultist patrol the board in a semi-random way until an Assassin comes into their line of sight at which time their controlling player can use them to take more direct action. Patrolling models move a number of squares equal to the roll on a six-sided die (as do the Assassins). During this move, they may land on a square with an arrow or arrows on it. In the case of a single arrow, they will continue in its direction. In the case of more than one arrow, a die roll will determine which way they go. These aspects of the game remind me somewhat of a game I read about on Boardgame Geek a while ago called Nuns On The Run, in which senior clergy attempt to track down novices who have escaped their rooms in the middle of the night and are roaming the abbey in which they live.
A.E.F. also contains a deck of cards that feature random events that may help or hinder a player. One or more of these cards are revealed at the beginning of a turn.
The Assassins each have a unique set of abilities that really capture the flavour of their rulesets from 40K. The most amusing of which, I found, is the Eversor's Bio Meltdown, which sees him exploding, damaging those around him when he looses his last point of health.
As the Imperial player, it doesn't pay to dawdle. There are only a fixed number of turns in which to find the primary objective rooms, teleport into the Sorcerer's inner sanctum and kill him, before he completes his ritual and you loose.

This is a picture from near the end of the game that I played. My last surviving assassin, my Eversor, faces a conga-line of death in the form of many cultists and a Chaos Space Marine (in the bottom right hand corner).

My verdict.
It's a fun game but definitely not worth the hefty £75 price tag as I think you would only play it a couple of times (once as the assassins and once as the Chaos force) every six months or so.

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