Jonathan here, bringing you my product review of the new Direchasm season box set.
Games Workshop was kind enough to send me a copy of this product to review, which I am very thankful for in these somewhat chaotic times!
In this review I will be covering my thoughts on the physical contents of the box, and my general opinion of this product. For more in depth tactical thoughts and advice on how to play the warbands, check out the more game-play oriented card and season reviews here:
- Direchasm Season Update: Rules, Mechanics, and Formats
- Universal Card Review: Direchasm Universals
- Warband Review: Myari’s Purifiers
- Warband Review: The Dread Pageant
What is Direchasm?
Direchasm is the fourth season of Warhammer underworlds, and represents the next continuation of the story aspect of the game. If you are new to the game, or haven’t been paying attention, Underworlds launched with the start of the Katophrane Curse back in season one as the warbands fought for glory in Shadespire, experienced a magical explosion with the opening of the Nightvault (and a very brief stop in the Dreadfane), then broke out into the realm of Ghur and the living mountain of Beastgrave, and is now shifting even deeper into the heart mountain known as the Direchasm. For more information on the background of Warhammer underworlds, be sure to check out the official website here and the in-depth lore found in each of the other Underworlds season rulebooks.
What you get in the box:
Much like the previous seasons of Warhammer Underworlds, the Direchasm set marks the start of a new edition of Underworlds and is a great way to start getting into the game. The set includes an updated rulebook, two new warbands, two new boards, all of the tokens and counters (including some new ones!) needed to play, and the first (larger than previously) batch of universal cards from the new season.
Although I think you could simply say this box is a requirement to play in the Direchasm season, I also think this box is currently the best place for new players to start with the game, as you will want to be familiar with the rules, need the boards and tokens, and have some warbands to explore the Direchasm with. The universal cards included are also much more valuable than those found in some of the previous sets, giving more possibilities for deck building out of the box than we’ve seen before, which is great.
For existing players, you will obviously want this box for the universal cards, boards, warbands, primacy token, and updated rulebook.
The Rulebook and Start Here Document
The Direchasm set contains two documents: The full rulebook and a smaller Start Here book.
The Start Here book contains all of the instructions on how to assemble the models contained in the Direchasm set, as well as a set of tutorial rules for a new player’s first game. The rules for the tutorial are a streamlined version of the main rules for new players to play the game for the first time with a reduced number of fighters (two for each player) and no cards. This seems like a great way to get children or new players that may not be familiar with board games into the game, before they are ready to play through the real thing.
The Rulebook contains everything you need to understand the rules of the game, and starts out with a few pages on the lore of Ghur, the mountain of Beastgrave, and the depths of the Direchasm, with some cool artwork throughout. It also gives us our first taste of background on the first four warbands of the Direchasm season: Myari’s Purifiers, The Dread Pageant, Khagra’s Ravagers, and The Starblood Stalkers.
The rules themselves are a somewhat improved version of the previous season. Some rules have changed (see our Beastgrave and You article) but overall things are very similar, with a few improvements to wording, and a general improvement to the clarity of the rules. Underworlds can be a fairly complex game to get the hang of a first, so all of these improvements are quite welcome.
The Direchasm set comes with the cards and miniatures for two new warbands for Warhammer Underworlds: Myari’s purifiers and the Dread Pageant.
Both warbands have four fighters each, making this the most even starter set from a fighter perspective, and perhaps making for more balanced out of the box play.
Here are some pictures of the miniature sprues (as you might notice, the staff for Myari was actually broken upon arrival, but it was nothing that little plastic glue couldn’t fix!):
Overall I found the miniatures pleasant to put together. The Dread Pageant were very straightforward to assemble, and I didn’t end up using any glue on them at all (though I might end up glueing them before I prime them). Myari’s Purifiers required a little more care–I used a little bit of plastic glue to repair Myari(Magic Man)’s staff, hold Bahannar(who I think I will call Ban-Hammer)’s chest together with fewer gaps, and connect Senala(aka Tippy-Toes)’s hand to her very fancy bow. Ailenn (Flag-Lady) didn’t need any glue.
As usual, it’s worth being extra careful when clipping out the models, as it can be easy to bend or break the pieces as you clip them out. I thought some of the tassels on the high elves seemed particularly at risk of this, and accidentally clipped a tiny bit of the bottom of Ban-Hammer’s backpack off trying to clip it out (luckily it’s pretty hard to notice).
Here are my completed models:
The Direchasm set comes with two double sided game boards. One of these boards has the same layout as a board we have seen before (the Penitent Throne from the Nightvault box, renamed as the Ambertrap Nest) and the others are new.
The art on all four boards is quite cool and thematic. All four of them match the aesthetic of the Direchasm quite well while displaying different aspects of it. They also very closely match the general colors of the recent Arena Mortis board, and fairly closely match those from the Beastgrave box, which is nice.
The names for the boards are in the back of the Rulebook, shown here:
Tokens and Counters
The Direcasm set also comes with all of the tokens and counters needed to play the basic game, as well as the multiplayer mode with up to 9 objective tokens.
Here are the three token sheets:
- 9 unique Feature Objective/Lethal tokens (with some very cool seasonal objective art)
- 2 Lethal hex tokens
- 1 Scatter token
- 8 Activation tokens
- 1 Primacy token (new mechanics! Weeee)
- 15 Wound counters with white counter flipped side
- 15 Wound counters with purple counter flipped side
- 15 Move/Charge tokens
- 15 Guard tokens
Here is a picture of all the tokens:
The Direchasm set contains two decks of 32 faction cards and one deck of 32 entirely new universal cards, following the trend of the Beastgrave season to include a full deck of faction cards for each warband, but breaking the trend to include mostly “basic” cards like Sidestep or Supremacy in the starter box, and instead include only new cards.
I think my favorite thing about these cards is the art! All of the universal cards feature fighters from every non-Dreadfane warband from previous seasons, showing them entering the Direchasm, and in some cases having cool interactions with each other (Ferocious Blow Ferocious Lunge, Surge of Aggression, Successful Hunt, Absolute Dominance).
I also noticed that the wording on the cards seemed generally more clear, though perhaps a little extra wordy in places (the word “each” is used strangely here and there). Overall I think this is a good thing, as the last thing you need during a game is confusion about how a card works.
Lastly, the box also contains the Primacy card, explaining the rules for the Primacy mechanic, which is new to the Direchasm season. These rules are interestingly not a part of the rulebook, but instead come with a card that only applies to games if one or more player has cards with the primacy mechanic in their deck.
As usual, the Direchasm box set also includes one set of the classic white, black, and blue attack, defence, and magic dice.
Overall, I think the Direchasm set is a best seasonal launch set Warhammer Underworlds has made yet. The updated rulebook is an objective improvement, and giving players move universal cards adds more value to what has already been a solid product in the starter boxes of the past. For new players, this makes buying both the Direchasm box and the Beastgrave box a great place to start, since you will get lots of cards you want to use, 4 warbands, and 4 boards, whereas in the past I think buying the second starter box was not as obviously the way to go. For old players, they get all of the value they expected from the previous boxes, but don’t have to feel like they are buying more copies of cards they already have. I also think that the art on the universal cards, boards, and tokens is some of my favorite yet, and I know I will enjoy using all of the them in my future pandemic cam games.
I hope that this product makes buying into the hobby a bit more appealing to new players, as they help keep the game alive and fresh. I do have some concerns that overall the game is a little difficult or daunting for new players to get into, so every little bit helps.
Thanks for reading!
I am very grateful to Games Workshop for allowing me to review this product.
If you liked this review, great!
If you would like to pre-order, head on down to your local Warhammer Store or gaming store. If you prefer to shop online, check this out here.
If there is anything else about the content of the box I can cover next time, or if you think I missed anything, let me know for next time!