Warhammer Underworlds: Harrowdeep Review

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Season 5 of Warhammer Underworlds is now upon us, bringing with it a new box set full of exciting miniatures and all the content you could possibly need to kick-start your adventures in the accursed labyrinth of Harrowdeep. But what is new? What has changed? And is the new box worth it?

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Warhammer Underworlds: Harrowdeep Review – Summary

Warhammer Underworlds: Harrowdeep’s box is a difficult one. Whilst it is a veritable treasure trove of cards, tokens, and other bits of tabletop paraphernalia that will make board game geeks across the world squeal with delight, it’s not a box without problems as some elements of the set feel like an exercise in quantity over quality.

This box is very much aimed at tried-and-tested players who have the pre-required understanding of the game necessary to riddle out its jargon-heavy rulebook. But even then, some of the rules changes that have come with Season 5 have been met with an ill reception from veterans. Harrowdeep’s pricing will also further ward away potential newcomers to the fast-paced tabletop battle game, and although some of the figures are stand-out models that will leave painters drooling, others – particularly those smaller ones – are a bit humdrum.

Warhammer Underworlds: Harrowdeep Review – Introduction

It feels as if 2021 has been a year of new editions and updated releases. With new editions of Age of Sigmar and Kill Team, the past twelve months have been a rollercoaster of new rules, new boxes, and new figures.

And now we have Season 5 of Warhammer Underworlds.

As a reminder to those who have may forgotten, or a brief whistle-stop introduction to the history of Underworlds for the uninitiated, Season 1 of Underworlds kicked off with Shadespire, and was followed by Season 2: Nightvault. Season 3 brought us Beastgrave, and more recently Season 4 saw players journey to Direchasm. But now Season 5 is here, and sees players journeying to Harrowdeep.

Set within the darkness of Ulgu, Realm of Shadows, and lying deep beneath the sea waits the maze of Harrowdeep. The Warhammer Underworlds: Harrowdeep box sees two warbands – Xandire’s Truthseekers and Da Kunnin’ Krew – face off within the twisting dark bowels of the labyrinth as each side attempts to complete their own quest.

Part deck-building card game, part miniatures wargame, Underworlds is something of a dark horse amidst the Warhammer games – there’s nothing else quite like it. And that’s what appeals to players.

Warhammer Underworlds Harrowdeep Review All

Designed to be a quickfire skirmish-like game, with lots of card-slapping, figure pushing, and token spinning, Warhammer Underworlds is not completely dissimilar to Magic the Gathering’s Arena of the Planeswalkers (if any of you are familiar with that!). It’s designed to be easy to pick up and put down, and a great way to pass an hour or two with a friend.

Season 5 brings two new warbands to Underworld, as well as new rules and enough to tokens and cards to make old school Pokémon collectors and board game collectors sweat. Let’s get stuck into the box and see what’s going on.

Warhammer Underworlds: Harrowdeep Review – What’s New

I’m not going to go too into the details of what’s new in Harrowdeep – people far better at explaining the changes than me have spent hundreds of hours and thousands of words going through the new rules that accompany Season 5.

But a basic rundown is as follows:

  • Harrowdeep introduces new traits in keeping with the whole Realm of Beasts thing we’ve got going on in Age of Sigmar v. 3.0.
  • Like in Age of Sigmar proper, there are now Grand Alliances in Underworlds, which gives you access to more cards during deckbuilding.
  • There have been some changes to how the various steps in a turn take place, most notable the Power Step. The person whose turn it is not gets to play a Power Card before the person whose turn it is.
  • The roles of some of the hexes on an Underworlds board have changed. Some are now designed to act as cover. Also, in a move that has caused a stir amongst Underworlds players, played can no-longer place Lethal Hexes.
  • In an even more divisive move, ‘do-overs’ – the act of discarding unwanted cards whilst drawing from your deck – have also changed. Cards are no longer discarded after a do-over, and are instead placed back into the deck.

As an extremely inexperienced Underworlds player (I’ve got about two games to my name), its difficult for me to tell just how much of an impact these changes will have on how Underworlds plays. All I can do is relay the attitude from posts I’ve seen on r/Underworlds, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, and that is one of general pessimism.

The two issues are the removal of placing Lethal Hexes and the changes to do-overs. Originally introduced in Shadespire, Lethal Hexes were designed to represent hazards and damage characters if stepped on. In Beastgrave, players were able to place Lethal Hexes in tactical locations to hinder their foe. This is now no longer the case, which means players will have to come up with new ways of hindering their enemies.

As for do-overs, some members of the community have expressed concern that whilst placing discarded cards back into the deck makes the game easier for new player to grasp, it simultaneously allows for veteran players to ensure they start the game with overpowered – and potentially game-breaking – hands.

Look, any change to how a game works is always going to be greeted with negativity. People get used to playing a certain way, find mechanics that work for them, and master the game to their satisfaction. When the patterns and tactics they’ve worked had to develop are threatened, the natural reaction is to be negative. But the previous editions still exist, so if needs be you can always play the rules as they were in a previous season.

But give it a chance. It can’t be that bad, right?

Right?

Warhammer Underworlds: Harrowdeep Review – Unboxing

Hailed as the “largest core box for Warhammer Underworlds ever” (perhaps by way of justification for the increase in price), I was expecting the box Harrowdeep arrived in to be larger.

Warhammer Underworlds Harrowdeep Review Unboxing 1

Cracking it open, we have those largest card and paper goods: the two gaming boards and the push-out tokens in their perforated boards, and the rulebook and build guide (one side of A4) in a separate container

Warhammer Underworlds Harrowdeep Review Unboxing 2
Warhammer Underworlds Harrowdeep Review Unboxing 3

Underneath, we have everything else.

Warhammer Underworlds Harrowdeep Review Unboxing 4
Warhammer Underworlds Harrowdeep Review Unboxing 5

That’s four decks of cards, two sprues, coloured blue and green for the Stormcast Eternals and Kruleboyz respectively, as well as a packet of dice.

There are no plastic baggies included in this set, so if you’re wanting to keep the myriad tokens separate from each other, you’re going to have to source your own.

I feel like I was expecting a bit more. Two small sprues for each team surprised me – I was expecting there to be at least three, if not four. But these figures are all push-fit, so the components needed for each figure are relatively few.

From just a glance over the contents included here, though, I’m not seeing anything that justifies a price increase. Anyway, let’s delve a little deeper and see what else we can find.

Warhammer Underworlds: Harrowdeep Review – Contents

So, here’s a complete run-down of what you get in the box:

  • The complete rules for the new season of Warhammer Underworlds
  • Xandire’s Truthseekers warband:
    • Four push-fit plastic models
    • Fighter cards
    • Warband-specific cards
  • The Da Kunnin’ Krew warband
    • Five push-fit plastic models
    • Fighter cards
    • Warband-specific cards
  • 2 x double-sided game boards
  • 114 x Warhammer Underworlds tokens
  • 48 x universal cards
  • 11 x dice
    • 5 Attack dice
    • 3 Defence dice
    • 3 Magic dice

That seems like a lot of stuff, but once it’s all laid bare before you it isn’t quite as much as you may think.

This is a box set of counters and tokens, of lots of colourful card and paper goods. It may seem a bit light on miniatures to some, but Underworlds as a game doesn’t require the fielding of sprawling armies and endless hordes of figures. Games are played between small warbands of somewhere between 3 and 6 figures.

As a general rule of thumb, beefier factions like Ironjawz receive fewer figures as they’ll have higher wound values; squishier teams, like Seraphon, will posses more. This rings true here, with the Stormcast Eternals being slightly tougher per head, and the Kruleboyz being a little weaker. Fewer figures also means less stuff to lug around with you when you’re off on your travels to find someone to play with.

Warhammer Underworlds: Harrowdeep Review – Literature

Let’s kick this off with a look at the one book that comes with the Harrowdeep box: the rules.

Warhammer Underworlds Harrowdeep Review Rulebook

Measuring in at 52 pages, on the surface it’s perhaps not the most intimidating rulebook in the Warhammer range by any stretch of the imagination – but don’t be fooled. Whilst it’s a far cry from the great tomes and codices of information that accompany even a basic game of Age of Sigmar or 40,000, there’s a lot of (oftentimes quite jargon-heavy) information in here.

That said, the information is displayed clearly and concisely across the pages and can be used to walk you through each phase of the game. You just need to have a reasonably good understanding of what’s going on in order to make sense of some of it.

The book is also not so huge that it’d be an annoyance to have on the tabletop, so it can easily be kept at your side during a game, which is always a bonus.

The first part of the book is focused on the narrative background elements that have led to Season 5 of Warhammer Underworlds. This includes information on the setting as well as the two warbands that come in the box.

Warhammer Underworlds Harrowdeep Review Rulebook Inside 1

People more interested in playing the game, though, will likely skip all this and dive right into the second part of the book, that focuses on the rules and how to play.

Warhammer Underworlds Harrowdeep Review Rulebook Inside 2

On closer inspection, the book can be a little bit difficult to get your head around. It’s extremely wordy, and core concepts and rules aren’t always written in either the clearest nor most concise language. The rulebook definitely expects the reader to have a reasonably intermediate understanding of board games and a basic familiarity with Underworlds in order to be understood.

Warhammer Underworlds Harrowdeep Review Rulebook Reference

Provided you’re confident with what you’re doing in a game, there’s a very helpful reference sheet on the back to save you flicking through the book should you forget what to do next or need to figure out which roll is superior.

Warhammer Underworlds: Harrowdeep Review – Wargear

There are quite a lot of bits and pieces accompanying the rulebook in the Harrowdeep box, including four decks of cards and enough tokens to fill a bathtub.

Game Boards

Like the previous release, Harrowdeep comes with not one but two double-sided game boards. These can be set up together in a number of ways to create a more interesting surface to play on.

Warhammer Underworlds Harrowdeep Review Board 2
Warhammer Underworlds Harrowdeep Review Board 1

Each of the two boards is double-sided and themed to fit with Harrowdeep’s underwater aesthetic. One board bears an illustration that appears to be a cavern full of gigantic eggs on one side, and a swirling chasm on the other. The other board boasts a crystalline cave on one side, and a swirling vortex on its reverse.

The art is of excellent quality, ant the boards themselves are very well-made. They fold neatly, and are made of good, durable card that’ll survive plenty of rounds of battle.

Tokens

God almighty, there are a lot of these things.

Warhammer Underworlds Harrowdeep Review Tokens

The tokens come spread across two perforated sheets of card. You’ll need to push them out yourself. The tokens are really well perforated, so you needn’t worry about damaging the finish on them when you push them out.

Glancing over the tokens when compared to those in the last Underworlds box I reviewed, there’s nothing all that new here. The objective tokens (the big hexagonal ones) have different art on them, and there are a couple of different tokens thrown in for good measure, but everything else is more or less the same.

Cards

There are two types of cards in the box: warband-specific cards that can be used only by either the Stormcast Eternals or the orruks, and universal cards, which can be used by any faction.

Warhammer Underworlds Harrowdeep Review Cards

You can see the warband-specific cards on the left of the image. The top-right deck are the universal cards, the bottom-right are the Grand Alliance-specific cards.

They’re lovely cards, actually. Nice and glossy, and each covered in unique, good-quality artwork. Say what you want about GW and their ranges, but everyone must concede that they are always bang-on with their artwork.

Dice

And what box wouldn’t be complete without a few dice?

In our Kill Team: Octarius review I commented on how it was nice to have some themed dice win the box instead the plain white, black-dotted dice that are usually slung into these kinds of releases almost as an afterthought. It helps make the box feel all that more special and put together if the dice and other wargaming tools are in some way themed with the box or its colour scheme.

Warhammer Underworlds Harrowdeep Review Dice

Harrowdeep continues this new tradition with a couple of colour-themed dice in deep-sea colours to help align with the rest of the box’s theme. The white dice are attack dice, the blue die are defence dice, and the reddish-purple dice are magic dice. The colours help identify which are which with little more than a glance.

Sure, they aren’t anything special, and deciding to include slightly themed dice is a near insignificant detail, but one that helps create the impression that some thought has gone into every aspect of the box.

Warhammer Underworlds: Harrowdeep Review – Models

The Warhammer Underworlds: Harrowdeep box comes with nine miniatures: four representing the Stormcast Eternals warband, five making up that of the Kruleboyz.

In all, they are very easy and straightforward to put together – with one exception, which I’ll cover in a moment. There are mercifully few components to each figure, so much so that the construction guide fits neatly onto one sheet of double-sided A4.

That the figures are push-fit means anyone looking to paint in sub-assemblies or use parts for easy kitbashes or conversions may struggle – but where there is a will, there’s a way, and I’m certain there are plenty of talented hobbyists out there who could work wonders with the parts in this box.

Xandire’s Truthseekers

As far as model quality goes in the Harrowdeep box, Xandire’s Truthseekers are very much carrying the release.

The Stormcast Eternals are a vivid and dynamic group. Each figure in the set is oozing with character, and their battlefield role is so well-written into the sculpt of the each miniature that there is absolutely no doubt as to who does what within the party.

Warhammer Underworlds Harrowdeep Review Xandire's Truthseekers All

We have the leader, holding aloft her lantern as they guide their party forwards, peering into the gloom of Harrowdeep. There’s also the rogue, armed with his bow, hunched low and he sneaks towards his unsuspecting foe. Finally, we have the muscle: the grizzled veteran with his hammer, weapon mid-hoist as he prepared to go about his grim task.

Oh, and there’s a bird thrown in there. ‘Cos every hunter needs a pet, and why the hell not.

Details abound across the figures. Each Stormcast Eternal’s armour is slightly different as befitting their role in the party, and we’re seeing some different animals wrought into their shoulderplates which helps us understand the characters and their roles all the better. Where earlier Stormcast Eternals Primes once only had Sigmar’s archetypical lion emblazoned on their armour, AoS v. 3.0 has seen an introduction of new details in a similar vein to this.

Within the Truthseekers, the symbols represent battlefield roles: an owl for the lantern-lifting leader, a boar for the warrior with his heavy hammer, and an eagle for the sneaky chap armed with a bow.

Following the Harrowdeep preview a few weeks back, there was some concern online regarding the quality of the faces on the two helmet-less Stormcast Eternals. People were unsure whether or not the slightly odd look to the previewed faces were the fault of dodgy photographs, a slightly rough paint job, or if the sculpt of the mode, itself was the blame.

Well, here are the heads:

Warhammer Underworlds Harrowdeep Review Xandire's Truthseekers Face Detail 1
Warhammer Underworlds Harrowdeep Review Xandire's Truthseekers Face Detail 2

What do you think?

I think they look rather good, in all. Because of the push-fit design to the figures, those people planning to swap out Xandire’s head may have a bit of a tough time of it given that it’s actually built into the hood – but if you’re clever with your green stuff, you’ll manage.

The one thing I really didn’t like about the Truthseerks builds, though, was the bow.

Warhammer Underworlds Harrowdeep Review Xandire's Truthseekers Bow Issues

The bow is, as anyone who has ever glued a bow component onto a figure before will likely suspect, extremely fragile. You can see on the arrow and the bowstring in the image above just how easily the components got bent just cutting them from the sprue. But this isn’t the issue I had.

Not only is the bow extremely difficult to attach to the figure (you’re basically pushing two hands into two wrist-slots on the figure), but the bow component is actually designed to be bent, which feels insane. It’s not so easy to see on the image above, but the bottom section of bowstring is actually supposed to get bent across the chest of the Stormcast Eternal. You can see where the plastic has paled under pressure just next to the hand holding the arrow to the string.

I was absolutely convinced I was going to break the bow as I was doing this, and very nearly did several times.

Other than that one component, the Truthseekers are very easy to put together, and look rather nice too. Almost a home-run.

Da Kunnin’ Krew

I must admit, I’m a bit disappointed with Da Kunnun’ Krew.

Warhammer Underworlds Harrowdeep Review Da Kunnin Krew All

A huge amount of effort has gone into making the two orruks in the Kruleboyz warband stand out as two developed and unique characters. They are striking and impressive, even when compared to the wider orruk range. The kruleboy with the spiked grabber almost looks like a truly twisted orruk-style take on the Adepta Sororitas Sister Dogmata, whilst the orruk with a cage over his head will have Bloodborne fans reliving memories of Micolash, Host of the Nightmare (though how you’re supposed to paint his head when he’s fully assembled is beyond me).

Warhammer Underworlds Harrowdeep Review Da Kunnin Krew Kruleboyz

There’s a huge amount of characterisation spread across the details of these two figures, but it comes at something of a cost.

The distribution of drama, personality, and detail across Da Kunnin’ Krew is very one-sided. Whilst the larger Kruleboyz models in the warband are really great to look at, the pair of grots and the hobgrot are, well, a bit rubbish to be honest.

Warhammer Underworlds Harrowdeep Review Da Kunnin Krew Grotz

Aside from his executioner hood-style cloak, the hobgrot could’ve been plucked straight from the standard hobgrot sprue, whilst the grots with their respective net and ball and chain don’t really feel worth a second look. They feel very plain, and if I’m being really mean, their sculpts aren’t really all that great either. The proportions between the arms and legs seem wrong – so much so that were the models to set aside the tools of their trade and stand “straight”, it seems their knuckles would be dragging along the ground. The arms of the little chap holding the ball and chain also seem to be of quite different sizes, and his torso is impossibly flat.

It’s a real shame, as we’ve seen some truly spectacular Kruleboyz releases over recent weeks, with the likes of Gobsprakk and his various mounted cronies, but the non-orruks in the Da Kunnin’ Krew warband really can’t hold a candle to anything else in the faction at the moment.

Warhammer Underworlds: Harrowdeep Review – Playtesting

Here comes everyone’s favourite part of the review: where I make a fool of myself fumbling my way through a gaming system I was only slightly familiar with before all the rules got changed.

It’s a good chance for us all to see just how beginner (un?)friendly the game is, and how easy the rules are to pick up for someone not so well-versed in how Underworlds works. As I mentioned earlier, I’ve only a couple of games of Underworlds to my name, and a good few months has passed since I played them, so I might as well be going into this completely blind.

As ever, though, I have my trusty (and equally clueless) co-pilot and better half Lizzie with me to aid and abet me in the process.

Setup

The first thing players need to do when beginning a game of Underworlds is construct a deck to play with. Decks need to be made up of 20 power cards and 12 objective cards. Helpfully, Harrowdeep comes with two pre-packaged decks of power and objective cards for your convenience. The game also advises to keep the Universal and Grand Alliance decks packaged away for you first few games, and to instead use the two warband decks that are provided with the game, so this is what we did.

  • The cards in a deck are divided into three types:
  • Objective Cards – these reward you glory points for completing their conditions.
  • Upgrade Cards – these bestow permanent improvements on your fighters
  • Gambit Cards – these are versatile cards that work like abilities for your fighters

With our pre-made decks in hand, we move on to the next stage of setup, which is the battlefield. The battlefield is made up of the two boards in the box, and are covered in hexes which your fighters move through. These hexes all have different rules applied to them.

  • Blocked hexes – these cannot be moved into or through and block line of sight.
  • Lethal hexes – these deal damage to fighters when they are moved into them.
  • Cover hexes – these increase a fighter’s defence.
  • Edge hexes – an outermost hex on the edge of the battlefield.
  • Occupied hexes – these are hexes with fighters or other features in them.
  • Empty hexes – hexes that are not otherwise blocked or occupied.

In order to set up a battlefield, the two boards need to be placed adjacent to each other. Each player chooses a board and then rolls off. The player who wins picks first. This board and the side of the board they choose becomes their territory. In order for a set-up playing space to be legal, both boards have to be joined by four hexes.

We rolled off and Lizzie, who would be playing the Kruleboyz, chose the first board. Once we had each placed our boards, we were dealt and placed objective tokens. Finally, we placed our figures on starting hexes (marked with the little white Underworlds skull). Here’s how the battlefield looked. Orruks were on the right, Stormcast Eternals on the left.

Warhammer Underworlds Harrowdeep Playest 1

With that done, it was time to begin.

Playing the Game

Those of you hoping for an in-depth, blow-by-blow account of our game are going to be disappointed.

Let’s just say this now: this is not a beginner-friendly set. If you’re a rookie to Underworlds like I am, ther’s a good chance you’ll find the way the rules are laid out in the Harrowdeep rulebook to be a bit overawing.

One of Underworlds’ selling points is that you’re supposed to be able to have a game in 30 minutes. Having sent well over an hour rifling through tokens and leafing through the rulebook before we even moved our first figure on the board, it’s left me wondering just who is capable of actually playing a game end-to-end in half an hour. Certainly not anyone who isn’t already intimately familiar with Underworlds.

The amount of time we spent actually playing the game was fairly minimal compared to the time we spent rubbing our temples and poring over the rulebook, trying to fathom what we were supposed to be doing from turn to turn.

Anyway, here’s what we got up to.

Round 1

Our first turn saw the Stormcast Eternals advance fairly tentatively into Kruleboyz territory. A lot of the Stormcast objective cards I drew favoured either being in enemy territory or hittin’ folk, so I knew I had to play fairly aggressively. One of the first thing I did was have my heavy-hitter charge into one of Lizzie’s weaker grots in the hope of crushing him and weakening Lizzie’s overall warband. This went disastrously, as he missed his attack and then took wounds in Lizzie’s subsequent turns – or “activations”, as they’re called in Underworlds.

Warhammer Underworlds Harrowdeep Playest 2

Unlike the Stormcast Eternals, Lizzie’s Kruleboyz favour more careful strategies, and their inspirations (which makes them tougher) are often triggered by their proximity to other units in the team. The smaller grots are best to be teamed up with the larger Kruleboyz, which in turn makes them all the tougher. Lizzie very quickly divided her warband into two groups, inspired them both, and cut off my advance into her territory.

Taros, the Stormcast Eternal bird, won the Most Useless Player award: after charging and missing his attack in his first (and only) turn, he was immediately taken out of action having accomplished nothing. Unfortunately, Taros is the one member of the Stormcast Eternal warband who doesn’t cause the other fighters to become inspired on death, so he contributed the grand total of abject nothingness to the game. 0/10 worst bird ever.

Warhammer Underworlds Harrowdeep Playest 5

So, by the end the first turn, all Lizzie’s Kruleboyz were inspired, and I was down a fighter. I had, however, managed to score myself a few glory points by getting fighters into Lizzie’s territory, so I was ahead.

Round 2

In round 2, whatever control I had possessed of the board was quickly eroded as it became clear that Lizzie’s victory wasn’t as reliant on board control as mine was. Although my heavy-hitter flattened his net-wielding target, he was immediately taken out of action by one of Lizzie’s orruks. This let Lizzie to divert the rest of her warband into holding up my two remaining fighters, keeping them off objectives, and forcing me to play defensively.

However, on the loss of their companion, my remaining two fighters immediately became inspired, as the only way to get the Stormcast Eternals warband to become inspired is to have one of them – who isn’t the useless chicken bird – taken out of action.

Warhammer Underworlds Harrowdeep Playest 6

Although she didn’t manage to do either of them much damage – Xandire herself took one would – it prevented me from progressing towards any objectives, and what’s more Lizzie began scoring glory points and was able to rain down some pretty terrifying upgrades on her Kruleboyz, whilst I was stuck on the edge of the board, struggling to do anything and not gaining any glory points.

Warhammer Underworlds Harrowdeep Playest 10

At the end of round two, I was still up 3-2 on glory points, but Lizzie’s warband was tightening the noose, and the gleam in her eye gave away the fact that she had some beastly cards in her hand.

Round 3

Round 3 couldn’t have gone much worse for me. In spite of doing-over my hand, I had a scattering of objective cards that it was unlikely I was going to score, and a pile of upgrade cards I couldn’t cash in for lack of glory points to pay for them. Caught between a rock and a hard place, but still one glory point above Lizzie, all I could really do was try cling to my lead or, more likely, force a draw.

Warhammer Underworlds Harrowdeep Playest 9

Lizzie drew even on glory points almost immediately, fulfilling the conditions of one of her cards, bringing us to 4-4. However, she held one objective, which technically put her as now in the lead. The remainder of the game was spent with my Stormcast Eternals trying to kill as many of Lizzie’s Kruleboyz as possible – which I didn’t manage to do – and in my final activation, pushing them off their objective.

Warhammer Underworlds Harrowdeep Playest 11

It looked as if we were going to draw, until in her final turn Lizzie killed another of my warband, netted herself a further glory point and took the victory for herself 5-4.

Roundup

I really struggled to get into the Stormcast Eternals warband. Whilst their playstyle favoured aggression – so much so that in order to get them inspired one of their party actually has to die – at the same time I really struggled to get any headway with objectives and upgrades. What gambits I was able to play were almost always nullified by a Kruleboyz upgrade or my own poor rolling. It just really wasn’t my day.

Lizzie, however, took to the Kruleboyz warband like one of Ulgu’s deep-sea terror-fish to water, and through clever tactical planning, an immediate mastery of her deck and warband, and no small measure of dice-rolling and card-drawing luck, was able to keep me zoned away from her objectives and penned into one corner of the board for most of the game. Although she won by a hair at the end, I found playing against her and the Kruleboyz warband to be extremely difficult.

In all, from the first dice roll to the final count-up of the glory points, the game took us over two hours to complete – closer to three if we account for set-up time and our first attempt familiarising ourselves with the rules. If playing Harrowdeep has taught me one thing, it’s that this is absolutely not a set for beginners. Newbies like me will need to wait around for another beginners’ set in order to properly get into Season 5.

Warhammer Underworlds: Harrowdeep Review – Price and Availability

The Harrowdeep box is a bit more expensive than the previous seasonal releases for Underworlds. Whilst Harrowdeep clocks in at £65/$95USD/€80, Direchasm, for example, cost £50/$85USD/€65.

Does it feel worth the price increase? I’m not sure. There are a few more cards and tokens in the Harrowdeep box than there have been in previous boxed releases for Underworlds, but I can’t help but feel that the overall value of the box, and the bits people will be interested in (the figures, the rules, and so-on ) aren’t really worthy of the price increase.

The price will sort the die-hard players from the casual players and miniature-minded collectors. If you’re a hobbyist or collector looking to net yourself some unique figures for your Stormcast Eternals or Kruleboyz armies, this isn’t worth coughing up your hard-earned cash for. The Stormcast figures are decent, and 2 of the 5 Kruleboyz are pretty impressive, but it’s too expensive a purchase and there’s not enough stuff in here alongside the plastic to be worth your money.

However – and this is a big however – if you are a big fan of Underworlds or are really looking to jump headfirst into the new season, the price of this box is almost certainly worth it. Whilst the extra bits and pieces in the box that seem to be the cause of the price increase over the last season’s box won’t appeal to hobbyists, to fans of Underworlds this’ll probably be getting you quite excited.

Still, as always we would suggest checking with your local independent hobby shops, gaming stores, or whatever you have near where you live to see if you can get any cash off the GW retail price.

Warhammer Underworlds: Harrowdeep Review – Where to Next?

If you’ve been bitten by the Underworlds bug and can’t wait to see what Season 5 has in store, you’re going to have to wait for a little bit.

Warhammer’s community website recently shared the below roadmap for the new season of Underworlds

Warhammer Underworlds Harrowdeep Review Underworlds Roadmap

So it looks like we might not be getting anything else Underworlds-related until early 2022.

This is a bit of a shame, but worry not. There are a host of other warbands available for you to sink your teeth into in the meantime, from an Ossiarch Bonereapers team and the ever-popular Crimson Court, to the now iconic crab-fielding Elathain’s Soulraid.

Warhammer Underworlds: Harrowdeep Review – Final Thoughts

ProsCons
Some of the miniatures are awesome…
Very thorough rulebook…
A huge amount of stuff in the box…
Great fun for experienced players…
…but other miniatures are distinctly sub-par.
…but changes to said rules have proven to be very divisive.
…but most of it is card, which doesn’t justify the price increase.
…but a nightmare for the uninitiated.

If Harrowdeep were to be weighed upon the scales of quality and quantity, it’d be tipping in favour of the latter. What’s good in the box is in danger of being spread thin, lost amidst a deluge of colourful cardboard shapes and more cards than one person can possibly ever know what to do with. The emphasis seems to have been placed on bulking the box out with as much stuff as possible in order to justify a rise in price, not actually making sure that what is in the box is as good as it could be.

The box has two issues. The first is that it really sucks for newbies. Lizzie and I have a Bachelor’s degree, two Master’s degrees and three-quarters of a PhD between us (that’s a combined total of twelve years in Higher Education), and at times we found ourselves absolutely perplexed by the rules. Both of us are very new to Underworlds, and the set doesn’t really help get you into it: it took a lot of leafing through the rulebook, head-scratching, and a fair amount of Googling to get through the game we played. Experienced players won’t have this issue, though, and will be able to make the most of this set from the get-go, which is great for them.

The second – and this is the bigger issue as it applies to all consumers of this product – is the rise in price. I’m really struggling to see what in the Harrowdeep box justifies an increase in price when compared to Direchasm. If the increase in price is due to there being more cardboard tokens, then I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.

But this isn’t a bad box, oh no. This is a decent release for anyone who’s really into Underworlds, even though parts of it just feel a bit oversaturated. There’s a lot for experienced players to really get stuck into here: new cards, new rules, new ways of playing that die-hard fans of the game will have an absolute whale of a time mastering. But this really is not a newbie-friendly set.

I’m giving this a 3.5/5, but in a nice way. Like when you got C on a test at school: you spent too much time scrawling down everything you knew about the subject instead of actually answering the questions being asked in the paper, but still managed to pass and your teacher left a nice encouraging note at the bottom telling you that you’re almost there.

At the end of the day, provided you already have a decent understanding of what Warhammer Underworlds is all about before you buy this set, the game is still a laugh and it’s a great way to kill a couple of hours. If you aren’t already clued-up on how the game works but really want to play, avoid this set and instead get the Starter Set (even if it is technically last season now).

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Click this link & buy your hobby stuff from Element Games for the UK & Europe to support FauxHammer.com – Use Code “FAUX2768” at the checkout for double reward points.

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Author

  • Rob has spent most of the last 15 years playing World of Warcraft and writing stories set in made-up worlds. At some point, he also managed to get a Master's degree by writing about Medieval zombies.

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Warhammer Underworlds: Harrowdeep
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Warhammer Underworlds: Harrowdeep
About VoltorRWH 74 Articles
Rob has spent most of the last 15 years playing World of Warcraft and writing stories set in made-up worlds. At some point, he also managed to get a Master's degree by writing about Medieval zombies.

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