Nightvault is a complete game on its own. It would be unfair to call it a starter set - you don’t need anything else, though the option is there. The box comes with two factions; seven models for the ghostly Nighthaunt Warband and three models for the Stormcast Eternals. Fans of Shadespire may be concerned that they already have Stormcast troops, but these are different. Rather than the stoic knights, these are heavily armoured wizards, but we’ll get to that. The Nighthaunt team are called the Thorns of the Briarqueen and they are a lovely and spooky set of ghosts, including a creepy looking thug called The Ever-Hanged that we found great fun to put together and paint. It also helps that he’s a plodding force of doom on the board.
All the models need to be removed from a sprue (though they’ll push out easy) and clip together without problem. You can glue and paint them if you want, but if you want to get playing straight away you can be ready in about 5 minutes after opening the box.
You also get pre-built decks of cards for your first few games, and extra cards for you to fine-tune your team. The deck is split into objective and power cards. Objectives are things you need to do, and powers are cool things you can do that make it easier to win. Compared to Shadespire, we found the focus of this game faster and more vicious. Magic (which is basically just another way to hurt the foe) makes the whole thing a little swifter and more tactical. The Nighthaunts seem designed to make it dangerous to oppose them; cards like Vengeful Curse and Drifting Advance slow the enemy down, chipping away at their advantage.
Meanwhile, Stormsire’s Cursebreakers provide reliable defence and damage. Many of their abilities are intended to make sure that you succeed without taking too much damage. That said, some of their cards, such as Cry of Thunder, provide a lot of risk. Get it right and you can really hurt your enemy. Fail and you’ve got some dented allies. The double-sided game board is also nice and we reckon was designed for more cautious play.
Nightvault is the next logical step from Shadespire, featuring the same gloomy aesthetic and utterly gorgeous models and the same simple to play action, but including enough extra models, pieces and the like to make it worth adding to your collection. Get this game and see what the fuss is about.
WARHAMMER UNDERWORLDS - NIGHTVAULT / PUBLISHER: GAMES WORKSHOP / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW