Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Bladeborn is a two-player skirmish game set in the desolate wastelands of the Bloodwind Spoil. Players will fight with their warband in different scenarios for supremacy on their way to devote themselves to the champion of the chaos gods.
This fast-paced skirmish game can take 20-30 minutes. Each game will consist of lots of dice rolling and strategic combat on a hex tile board where players will attempt to claim objectives and slay the enemy warband.
Players will get to choose from a variety of warbands to play Bladeborn with. The base game comes with Khagra’s Ravagers and The Godsworn Hunt. After selecting warbands and a scenario to play through, players can set up the board and roll off to deploy their warbands and set aside reserve units.
The board itself will usually have objectives, blocked spaces, and other features. After set up and deployment, the player with priority can shuffle and draw a twist card with special rules to be used throughout the battle.
Each battle round is broken up into 4 phases: Hero Phase, Reserve Phase, Combat Phase, End Phase.
The Hero Phase is where each player rolls 6 dice and separates any double or triples rolled. The Reserve Phase allows players to bring in any units set aside. The Combat Phase is where all the moving, fighting, and shooting happens. The end phase is just an upkeep to reset tokens and calculate victory points.
Each player will have four alternating turns during the combat phase. During their turns, they get to activate one of their models to fight and move around to claim objectives. Each player also can use those doubles and triples they rolled during the hero phase to activate special powers on their faction cards as well.
The game lasts for the specified number of rounds or when the victory conditions have been met.
There is also a campaign mode where players will retrieve artifacts during scenarios and be tested for major rewards depending on their faction over many games, as they try to become stronger and crush their opponent and prove themselves worthy of a spot in the lord of Chaos’s army.
This game is a great introduction into another game type for Age of Sigmar I have reviewed called Warcry. Bladeborn is a very light skirmish game that you can even bust out in between heavier gaming sessions, and would easily get players into Warcry, and eventually if they want to take the plunge, into Age of Sigmar.
Opening and reading the rules for Bladeborn was a nice break from the heavier games I have been playing lately. The rules easy to learn and implement once you set up the game. We were playing without having to reference them constantly which sped up play and allowed us to strategize against each other a little more.
The miniatures were push-fit (even though I generally like to use a little glue anyway) and were stunning for being included in a lighter board game. Make sure you at least have some clippers to get them off the sprues.
When I started to play the game I was struck by how similar it was to Warcry, but there are definitely some great differences that make it shine as a stand-alone board game. The first was that the size of the warbands was smaller. I like how tactical and personal the game felt while playing. The game included a great variety of Mission and Twist cards.
While playing having the game based on a hex system also allowed us to strategize without busting out the tape measurers and worrying about pre-measuring our moves. With the help of the twist cards each scenario we played felt unique and had us trying to figure out how best to win before any models touched the board.
The dice matching mechanic allowed for some great tactical shenanigans, such as extra movement, extra attacks, and even teleportation. The combat phase was back-and-forth action with very little downtime. The action economy felt right, forcing us to plan our moves since there was no guarantee all our models would get to act. The battles feel quick and bloody, which I think is exactly how two chaos warbands fighting should feel.
Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Bladeborn is a super light, easy-to-learn skirmish game that you want to keep playing over and over. I wish I had more of the warbands to try out on the field to see how their special powers could interact with each other. Each game I got to play of Bladeborn only became faster and bloodier as my opponent and I started to really get a hang of our warbands.
Bladeborn is the perfect introduction into Warcry if you want an even deeper challenge. My only complaint was that sometimes the twist cards never triggered, which felt like such a waste since most of them had cool effects. We also felt that Khagra’s Ravagers were a bit more powerful even when outnumbered by The Godsworn Hunt. Overall, a fun great game that doesn’t take a long time to learn or play.
Final Score 4.5 Stars – A fast paced hex tile skirmish game for two players set in the world of Warhammer Age of Sigmar.
• Warbands in the box my not be 100% balanced.
• Twist card conditions didn’t’ trigger sometimes making them useless.