Warhammer: 40,000: Regicide is played on a virtual chess board and includes multiple game modes: Chess mode, Regicide mode, Campaign mode, Skirmish, and Online play. In all the game modes, the Space Marine Captain and Ork King act as the Chess kings, and the the remaining chess pieces are replaced by different classes of Space Marines and Orks.
In chess mode, the rules are the same as chess. In Regicide mode, video game RPG (Role Playing Game) mechanics combine with Chess; the two games are mixed into one game. In Regicide mode, movement phase happens first, where the soldiers are moved according to the rules of chess.
Normally in chess, the turn ends every time you move a piece. In Regicide mode, the turn continues after the movement phase as you enter into Initiative phase. Initiative phase allows you to shoot, throw grenades, put on armour, confuse the opponent, and do many other interesting things. Now you have two ways to beat the opponent: capture (like in chess) or shoot and blow them up.
At one point my rook was in the wrong spot to overtake the king, but I was close enough to shoot at the Ork King until his health bar depleted, then I won the match. If the player puts his warhammer chess piece in a bad spot, initiative phase gives the player a second chance to kill the opponent before being eliminated on the next turn.
Since it changes the rules of chess, it might sound like Regicide mode is a broken game, but it’s not. From what I experienced, every thing is balanced out so that each side has many options to defend themselves from attack. Also, it usually takes multiple turns and attacks to deplete the opponents health bar.
Campaign mode uses the rules of Regicide mode, but usually with smaller armies. Sometimes battles only have 5 space marine pawns vs 5 ork pawns. The type and number soldiers will change according to the campaign mission.
There are three acts with 10 or more missions each. Each mission lasts around 20-30 minutes. There is enough content in Campaign to keep the player occupied for over a dozen hours.
There is a Campaign story too. At the beginning of each mission, the Space Marine Captain speaks to the Librarian as they discuss the circumstances of the battle ahead. There aren’t any video scenes in the mission briefings, just text and audio, but the voice acting is very good; when the soldiers speak, they sound devoted and enthusiastic about the cause they are fighting for. Sometimes the voices can be funny too, especially when the Orks shout ‘Stink Bomb’ as they throw one at the Space Marines.
The presentation of the game feels very polished. The quality of the graphics, animation, sound are kind of impressive, especially for a lower cost strategy game. The characters look very similar to the real Warhammer 40k models, and the animations are a pleasure to watch.
Every time you kill or eliminate an opponent, an animation sequence happens where a space marine or ork shoots to kill causing a blood-splattered death. Imagine an attack using the Fall Out 4 V.A.T.S system, but in normal speed with Brotherhood of Steel vs Super Mutant, and replaced with Space marines vs. Orks. That’s kind of what it looks like.
Music is well orchestrated and suits the battles well. The soundtrack can also be purchased separately from Hammerfall Publishing.
Tutorials are well done. In tutorial mode, all the controls, screen icons and interfaces are explained. I was guided through on how to play Regicide, and the explanations were clear and simple enough to get me started.
During normal game play, every time you click on one of your soldiers, the squares on the chess board are highlighted, in blue or red, to show where you can move. This is a good feature if you are a novice and forget what each piece can do; however, enemy movement paths are still hidden when you click on them. It’s still a challenge to anticipate the opponent’s moves.
Beyond the tutorials, lots of detailed reading material is accessible from the main menu, such as, Chess 101, glossary of terms, and the discussion forum. I liked that I did not have to scour the Internet for information because almost everything can be found within the game menu. Hopefully the mobile version will be as user friendly, once it releases.
The controls are mostly limited to the mouse and left button, but hot keys can be used on the keyboard as well. This is not a Call of Duty or Star Craft game that demands quick reflexes and memorizing 16 buttons.
No subtle tilts of the joystick demanding perfect thumb dexterity or lighting speed mouse movements are required. The option to play with the mouse and one button makes Regicide an accessible game.
Additionally, the turn based game play of Regicide gives the player time to think without being stressed out or frustrated. It’s very different from Star Craft 2, but it’s a good alternative war game for those who find other games too fast and difficult. Regicide does have a timer between turns and still requires skill, but at a slower pace. Selecting Novice difficulty will take away the timer.
Otherwise, there are many configuration options available for graphics and sound, which is standard for most PC games. I am able to play this game on a Direct x 9 graphics card with low settings, such as, 1280*720 resolution and low shadow detail. Of course, the graphics will get better if you have the hardware to support it.
During Online play, the game-play is similar to the offline mode, but sometimes less predictable and more challenging against human players.
Unlockables like Space Wolves, Ultramarines, and other factions can be purchased on Steam or with points earned from the campaign. Points are also used to purchase special abilities for the initiative phase in Regicide Mode. Fortunately, if you choose not to purchase these, you still get to play the game; no grinding or levelling up is required.
Hammerfall Publishing has produced a game that offers a lot. While it may not be a AAA title, the music, graphics and animation come close and even match the quality of some bigger games. It’s a game you can start playing and have fun within minutes rather than hours, unlike so many JRPG’s and long adventure games that are full of mandatory grinding and leveling up.
This is a game where 30 minutes will pass and the player is either in the middle of an exciting battle or close to completing it. It’s a fun game and one I will probably play occasionally during the months and years to come. I like that this game contains chess, good quality graphics and quality sound. Regicide may deserve a higher score, but since I am not a video game strategy fan, I give it a 7.5 /10.
If you like Warhammer, strategy games, or chess, consider picking this up for the holidays. Hammerfall Publishing has delivered a nicely polished game and a strong first video game release. Warhammer 40,000: Regicide is available for purchase on the Steam platform.
The following is an e-mail Interview I had with Chris White from Hammerfall Publishing:
Who are and what is Hammerfall Publishing?
Hammerfall Publishing is a small indie development team based in Sydney, Australia. The team currently consists of a handful of industry professionals with a passion for creating high quality games.
As Community manager, can you describe your role? What do you do as a Community Manager at Hammerfall publishing?
As Community Manager, my role is an extremely broad one, covering customer service, social media management, marketing management, PR, website administration, forum moderating and content creation.
Last time you mentioned you were swamped with the team on porting Regicide to mobile. How is the mobile port coming along?
The mobile port is coming along brilliantly, and whilst I can’t say when exactly it’ll be available, I can say it will be very soon!
After the mobile release, is there any possibility of a Regicide release (or future games) on Ps4, Xbox One, or WiiU?
We’d absolutely love to bring Warhammer 40,000: Regicide on to consoles, and we’re still investigating that option, however it’s too soon to tell right now!
What was Hammerfall Publishing involved with before creating Warhammer 40,000: Regicide? Were there any projects or games released by Hammerfall?
This is Hammerfall Publishing’s very first release! Individually, the team members have worked on many projects which unfortunately I cannot name, however we look forward to continuing our work together and making more games!
Are you a Warhammer 40k or Fantasy battles fan? Do you paint the figures or play the games?
The majority of the team are fans of the tabletop, and we would play the tabletop regularly if we actually had any free time! I mainly play as Imperial Guard, however I do have a smaller army of Space Wolves which is being worked on whenever I have time!
Are there other Warhammer fans on the main development team? If so, has your level of interest or their level of interest in Warhammer affected the quality of the Regicide game in any way, creatively or otherwise?
Hamish Downes: Level Designer at Hammerfall Publishing (Tau Sympathiser) – First and foremost, we love making games, it’s our passion, and that passion will always push us to create high quality experiences regardless of the IP involved. That being said, it doesn’t hurt to work with such an awesome IP. Our knowledge of the 40k universe has helped us greatly along during the development of Regicide, especially with design decisions. We know the lore and ideologies of the races, and we used that to help shape how they operate in our game.
Do you or others on the team feel you have accomplished what you set out to do in creating Warhammer 40k: Regicide?
Absolutely. While it game development it’s so easy to get caught up in the ‘what ifs’ sometimes, we’re all very proud of what we have achieved with Regicide.
After work on Regicide is complete, what projects are next for Hammerfall Publishing?
We can’t say right now, but we’re all extremely eager and excited to work on a second project together.