- This article is about the board game. For information about the vidya company, check out Dawn of War.
Because Games Workshop are
a bunch of dicks always looking out for the interests of 40K players, the 28mm scale miniatures which represent the Player Characters and come as standard with FFG's Talisman game have been replaced by (admittedly nicely detailed) statue-like busts. Obviously this has been done to protect the integrity of GW's core product from the inevitable destruction which would be unleashed by players adding one or two models from the game into their 40K armies, and not at all because GW's all consuming corporate greed is so immense that the idea of 40K players saving a few measly dollars and adding variety to their armies by using said models makes their blood boil. Just As Planned.
The game has an interesting core mechanic which relies heavily on luck and is therefore able to generate rage like a mutherfucker.
In a nutshell, it's Talisman IN SPAAAACE. Though with a few defining characteristics that manage to make it it's own thing. You spend your time adventuring in the outer then middle tiers, leveling up your chosen character and undergoing a variety of challenges and missions in order to make your way to the center of the board and defeat whichever end-game scenario your group has chosen. One of the scenarios is simply to get to the center and win, which is possibly the one you'll want to use most often. Mostly because the game takes half a day to play from start to finish and it can become Rage inducing to spend all your time getting to the center or the board, beat the end-boss a succession of times and have your progress reset due to a bad roll.
"Adventures" are represented by missions, which are basically fetch-quests that involve going to certain squares, or beating certain types of enemies. Complete enough missions and you get a relic, which is invariably a badass item that is also required for you to unlock the inner tier.
Player vs Player competition isn't really a thing unless you buy any of the expansions, with the strongly implied fluff justification being that because all the players play Imperial servants, they shouldn't be fighting each other. Therefore the game is essentially just a race to the center, with very few ways of hindering your opponents.
The influence of Chaos is represented as Corruption Cards, which your character can accumulate as the game progresses. Each having a corruption threshold before they activate, but can do random stuff to help or hinder your character, like grant him a third arm for extra gear, make him invisible, or adjust his statistics or render him incapable of using certain items. However, if characters accumulate too much corruption their character gets removed from play and they have to start again with a different character.
Added two different types of PvP mechanic. Players can now become "Apostates" if they collect certain heretical assets, that are now dispersed into the threat encounter piles. If they are Apostates, then they are fair-game to other players, who can now challenge them and cause them to lose life points, steal their items or look at their hand of power cards and either take one or steal their cash. They can also steal each other's Apostate items, marking the new owner as the Apostate, and returning the original owner to "Devotee" status, which is a bit unfluffy, but means that players can avoid being ganged up on by all the other players if they are the only guy flagged for PvP.
The other mechanic was the introduction of "Nemesis" players, which is an entirely different type of player character. These players only have a single characteristic to test against and don't accumulate assets the same way as other players. They also don't interact with the board the same way and don't have missions to complete. Instead, whenever they land on a Threat space, they draw Imperium cards and get to fight against the Forces of Man, while on spaces without Threat they can draw from their own unique decks, which can provide them with Asset-equivalents, or can cause the Imperial players a variety of headaches.
A Nemesis also doesn't win the game by reaching the center of the board either, instead, each Nemesis has an Infamy condition built onto their profile that when fulfilled, causes their score to increase. When they have twenty-five points they automatically win, regardless of what the other players are doing. But like Apostates, the Nemeses are fair game to be dueled at any time, and beating then causes their Infamy score to drop significantly.
Halls of Terra
The first expansion to add a new section of the board, and it's quite a hefty board section at that. So if FFG were to ever release more board expansions, your gaming group is going to need a larger playing area.
The new board section includes the Sol system, including Terra, Titan, Luna and Mars, as well as a new type of Orange Threat icon, which is largely based around encounters rather than enemies. So players looking to level up in the game might be better off avoiding the new board section.
The new mechanic is primarily based around "Affiliation", where players can accumulate connections with the other groups of the Imperium. Having an affiliation causes you to interact with certain events but mostly they are prerequisites for entering the Imperial Palace. Once you've got enough, you can confront the Adeptus Custodes and choose to either move towards the Throne Room or the Imperial Senate. The High Lords reward you with stat-boosts, whilst big Emps names you "Champion" of one of your affiliation, which is akin to getting the in-built bonuses of another player character. For example, the Champion of the Adeptus Astartes gets the same combat bonus as the Ultramarine Captain and the ability to choose from a choice of two missions whenever he would otherwise draw one. Only one person can be a Champion of the given affiliation at one time too. So be warned if you allow one player to spend too much time in the Sol board section on his own, because all he's going to do is troll everyone else and hoover up all the titles before anyone else gets a chance and return to the main board as a Mary-Sue.