Mordheim City of the Damned review

Little (huge) update: Since I ordered a 1080 GTX and everyone was telling me playing at 1900×1200 was poor people stuff, I also got a Dell UltraSharp U3415W. Now you might be thinking “Syn do you really need a resolution of 3440×1440 and a curved screen to play games on?” and the answer to that is of course I do. My wife tell me the setup in the office now looks like NASA, which I took as a major compliment and confirmation that the correct choices were made (also really helpful that the monitor was 40% off on Amazon).

As I previously mentioned, I tried out and subsequently bought Mordheim: City of the Damned (plus DLC) over the weekend. Amazingly even on my old 790GTX the game runs really well maxed out at 3440×1440, and it also uses the extra screen space well. At 1900×1200 a lot of the unit stats and extra info could be cycled through on the side but was normally not displayed, while at the larger resolution it automatically sits on the sides of the screen, which is pretty awesome.

Mordheim is one of those games where its a lot less fun in the first 2-3 hours than it will be after, so you have to prepare yourself or just not bother. There are solid tutorials, and a lot of them, but even after those the game still has a steep learning curve in terms of the rules and how things generally work, plus the added complexity/difficulty of navigating the maps with your units the first time around. You will feel lost and frustrated trying to find things, as you will assume an item is on the second floor of a building, only to discover that its actually on the third and there are no stairs up near your unit. Adding to all of this is the game only has one ‘mode’, which is that it saves everything all the time and you can’t reload/undo (think Ironman mode in XCOM).

Now with all of that said, I still think you should press on if you enjoy games like XCOM or other deeper TBS titles. The basics of the game is that you have a warband (squad), and each unit has different classes, stats, abilities, and equipment. You deploy your warband on missions (most somewhat randomly generated, with some unique campaign/story missions), and during a mission they face off against another warband. Currently the game has five different warbands (the 5th, Witchhunters, are DLC), and each plays very differently.

After each mission you get XP not only for your units, but also for your warband as a whole, and XP towards your account (called veteran ranks). Units can have stats assigned as they improve, along with skills. Warbands gain more unit slots and different unit types as they level up. Your account levels can give you out-of-combat boosts like cheaper troop purchases or more gold from selling gear.

Combat is turn based, but movement isn’t on a grid. Instead, each unit has a movement range determined by blue dots. The more dots, the further you can move, and each time you go a certain distance, a dot is used. Things like climbing up or jumping across a gap also consume blue dots. And unless you hit a trap or trigger an enemy action, you can undo normal movement, which is really nice because the maps are tricky until you learn them.

Red dots are for combat, and work in a similar way. Different weapons and abilities have different dot costs, and maximizing the use of each is critical. Since units can gain more dots as they level up, or lose dots from injuries or debuffs, switching tactics is important, and gives the game some nice added depth.

I’ve mostly played the single player campaigns so far, but you can also do multiplayer matches, either in “nothing counts” mode, or as a regular mission where XP, items, and injuries all carry over. All warbands have a rating based on their total value (very similar to team ranking in BloodBowl), so in multi you will be able to tell if you are facing someone more advanced or not. This also applies to single player, as missions come in normal (same value) hard (slightly higher) and deadly (much higher) varieties. The AI isn’t awesome, but its not super-terrible either, and will generally give you a decent fight thanks to usually being stronger. Most single-player missions take between 30-45min. Multiplayer is longer, and depends on how quickly each player plays.

If you do decide to pick the game up, ping me on Steam if you want to do a little multiplayer.

About SynCaine

Former hardcore raider turned casual gamer.
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2 Responses to Mordheim City of the Damned review

  1. Mig says:

    Played the Single Player Skaven campaign up to getting the rat ogre. Fantastic game so far. I am kind of baffled why they haven’t released Necromunda. You could essentially just reskin Mordheim. I heard Rodeo passed on making a Necromunda game, so maybe it’s a rights issue.

    • SynCaine says:

      Yea, the game would be way better as Necromunda than Mordheim, as I think the setup in terms of mechanics and even maps lends itself more to ranged combat, which isn’t a huge focus in Mordheim. Everything else could be the same, plus adding Necromunda’s territory control/bonus system.

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