Reviews | Written by Ed Fortune 08/05/2022

Warhammer Underworlds Nethermaze

Game’s Workshops Warhammer Underworld’s series has been something of a hit over at Starburst Towers, and we were delighted when a copy of their latest version, Nethermaze, turned up for review. Underworld’s is a firm favourite simply because it present’s all the depth and joy of the Warhammer Age of Sigmar world, but in a bite-sized way.

One of the frequent complaints about Games Workshop’s games is that they require a lot of time and space to play; investing hours of time to collect and paint armies then pit them against other armies sounds time consuming. Underworld’s is just a handful of models, a board, cards, dice and counters. It takes about an hour all in, and you can play it on the kitchen table and still be able to clear it up in time for tea.

Nethermaze presents two of Warhammer’s more interesting factions in one box. The Skittershank’s Clawpack warband are five, push to fit Skaven; vicious rat people from the darkest corners of the world. The pack are fast, moving quickly across the board and capable of dodging most attacks. The deck of cards particular to this pack allow them to become this blur of claw and fur, leaping and biting and also sneaking from the shadows. The models are all sculpted with these insidious rat creatures in motion. If you can paint minis, you’ll want to daub these; they look great and are fun to play. (We dare you to run this warband without giggling or sniggering.)

They’re up against the Shadeborn, Khanite aelveish assassins who lurk in the shadows and spring traps. Each model is sculpted as if they’ve warped out of the shadows and they have that ‘muscular dancer’ look common in GW’s elvish offering. Daggers, crossbows and pointing looking magic staffs are the order of the day for the sculpts and though you only get four models, each is distinctive. Unlike the pack-like Skaven, this warband spreads out across the board and lies in wait. Their cards let you re-think strategies on the fly, moving in and out of the shadows to strike. They match the Skaven very well and look like they’re a great choice against other warbands in the game (which are available separately.)

Rules wise, the game is essentially unchanged. It’s a miniatures skirmish game that uses deck building as its primary engine. You build a deck of cards from your collection of available cards, and they let you do special attacks or score extra points and so on. Deciding what weapons to equip or moves to pull are all managed in advance by the cards you select before the game starts.

New keywords and mechanics have been added, but this isn’t a major thing; the ‘deck building card game’ side of the game means that you always have these new rules to hand. And Underworlds is a stellar game, one of the best skirmish games out there.

The set is worth it for the models alone, but Warhammer Underworlds Nethermaze is the full package. If you like fantasy and miniatures, this needs to be on your shelf.