Warhammer 40,000 (or 40k as I’ll refer to it for the rest of this review) is an old Games Workshop tabletop gaming franchise that has grown from being simply a sci-fi variant of the Warhammer flagship into, in my opinion, the premier Games Workshop franchise, with dozens of novels and a number of video games continuing to grow and expand the universe. Warhammer 40K: Regicide is a PC-based take on the classic tabletop game of Chess, replacing all of the original chess pieces with Warhammer 40K units, and adding a couple of game modes to spice things up. If you are looking chess simulator with the option for some fresh tweaks, then Regicide is probably going to meet your needs. If you are looking for a game that’s going to build on the already extensive 40K universe, you probably aren’t going to get much out of this game.
Regicide has three primary modes for you to check out: Classic, Regicide and Campaign. Classic mode is simply chess with 40K units replacing the normal chess pieces. The AI for classic mode is reasonable, on par with most other chess simulators, and I had to really be on my game to beat the computer on the harder difficulties. Regicide is a fusion of normal chess with some 40K tabletop rules, where player turns are split into the movement phase, which is your normal chess rules, and the initiative phase, where players are able to utilise a range of abilities to attack and defend against other pieces on the board. The Campaign mode is a mission based mode where we get a story split into multiple acts that follows the Blood Angels, a Space Marines unit, as they take on their arch-enemies the Orcs in set piece missions that progressively get harder and harder. The campaign mode makes use of the Regicide mode rules but sets up the board with a variety of different pieces and obstacles, and sets challenges for the player to complete (like taking out all enemy troops in a given number of turns). There is some capacity to customise your experience, with different abilities unlocking as you gather experience points, complete challenges, level up your units, and unlock missions in the campaign mode. It’s hard to describe without getting too technical, the best way to understand this game is to just start playing it.
In terms of presentation, Regicide is not the best looking game out there, but the artwork, animations and audio are serviceable and certainly add some flair to the stereotypically boring game of chess. I don’t have a high-end PC by any means, but I was able to run the game with no crashes, no obvious bugs, moderate load times, and a steady framerate. The interface is reasonably intuitive with the majority of actions controlled by left-mouse button clicks and the rest of the mouse buttons / keyboard used for either camera manipulation or binding abilities to specific keys. This is a well made game with plenty of polish, just don’t expect it to be cutting edge or pushing any boundaries.
I liked this game but I just struggle to understand who this game is for. Fans of 40K would likely want something with a deeper exploration of the 40K universe rather than a bare-bones story told across 50 missions with a handful of dialogue transmissions introducing each mission. Fans of chess would likely appreciate the Regicide and Campaign game modes, but there are better chess simulators out there with better AI and more relevant information to give the full chess experience. As someone who is a fan of both 40K and chess, I definitely feel like this game is for me but I’m very aware that I’m in the minority. Hopefully this game will be able to find its audience and establish a following, because the Regicide rules certainly provide a unique and challenging variation on classic chess with that stylish 40K flavour.
Review by Ryan Lawler
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