Warhammer Quest: Lost Relics
Publisher: Games Workshop
Release Date:  September, 2022
Designer: The Warhammer Studio
Number of Players: 1 to 4
Product #: 5-011921-164653 (UPC)
Age Rating: 12 and up
ICv2 Rating: 3.5 Stars out of 5

Lately, Games Workshop has been offering a wide variety of smaller, skirmish-scale board games that feature the company’s most iconic properties.  These games often feature simplified versions of the game systems used in their full-size offerings, and come with the kind of fine quality miniatures that Games Workshop is well-known for.  Warhammer Quest: Lost Relics is the snack-sized version of their fantasy "dungeon crawler" game.  But is it tasty or will it just leave you hungry?

Summary:  A group of four Stormcast Eternals and their faithful eagle-like companion find themselves trapped in a dungeon full of worshippers of the Chaos god Tzeentch.  Manipulated by Magister Mondothir, they must fight their way through the dungeon, acquire powerful artifacts to aid them, and thwart the Magister’s cunning schemes in order to escape.

The game is fully cooperative and scenario-driven, with a dozen adventures for the heroes to pursue.  Each adventure has a small map made from four double-sided game boards, which will be populated by monsters represented by cardboard tokens.  The heroes, in turn, are sculpted models that the players must assemble before the game.

Every turn, each hero rolls three dice to determine how powerful their actions will be for the turn.  Dice can be used to perform most any action, but if a high enough value is rolled, the hero can be "inspired" and trigger a more powerful effect.  Often their actions will involve attacking monsters using a straightforward combat system or moving around the map to search for treasure or try to complete the adventure’s goals.  If that goal can be achieved before any of the heroes are slain, they claim victory—and advance to the next adventure.

Originality:  I can remember when the original HeroQuest appeared on the scene, offering its miniatures-rich dungeon-delving experience to those fortunate enough to acquire a copy.  It was accompanied by Games Workshop’s more sophisticated Advanced HeroQuest, which would eventually morph into Warhammer QuestLost Relics is very much a spiritual successor to these games, and shares many of the same core mechanics, making it feel very familiar.  But it is designed to appeal to a newer audience, who may be seeing this style of game for the first time.

Presentation:  Games Workshop always pulls out the stops when it comes to presentation for their games, with dynamic and exciting cover art and photos of gorgeously painted miniatures to draw in an audience.  This box is light on descriptive text, but showcases the artwork and game components very nicely.  On the table, the miniatures do not disappoint once they are put together, and everything looks like you would expect a dungeon-crawler from one of the world’s premier game publishers to look.  The token monsters are a bit of a disappointment sitting next to the models, however.

Quality:  The miniatures are, of course, the premier item in this box, and they are top notch.  However, the instructions on how to assemble them are vague at best.  I’m an old hand when it comes to models, so they were no trouble for me, but I wonder if the new players this game seems to target will have issues even if the models are push-fit and require no glue or serious tools.  The game boards are excellent, very thick and sturdy.  The cards are also very good—fine quality, well-illustrated, and easy to read.  Again, the monster tokens are a little disappointing here, being a bit on the thin side, and the sharp corners on the destiny tokens and damage tokens are begging to be smooshed and peel, sadly.  I will say that I was impressed that a tray specially designed to safely hold the miniatures and protect them was included, though I wish it did a better job of storing the other components.

Marketability:  Games Workshop has some of the most widely recognized properties in the hobby, and a distinctive style that their fans instantly recognize.  Even people who have not played tabletop games are often familiar with it thanks to the wide assortment of electronic games, comic books, and novels set in those worlds.  Warhammer Quest also has an extensive history, and anyone who wants to get a taste of that game might be willing to try out Lost Relics to see what it’s about at a comparatively reasonable price.

Overall:  I love a good dungeon-dive, and have a number of them in my collection.  The cost of Warhammer Quest has been a deterrent, though, and I haven’t explored it in its most recent incarnation.  So, I was very glad to try out Lost Relics and get an idea of what it’s all about.  The gameplay did not disappoint.  It’s not going to displace my favorite dungeon exploration games, but I did enjoy it quite a bit and it was nice to have a quick-playing, straight-forward dungeoneering game for a change.

Overall, the components are excellent, but a bit inconsistent, which detracted a little bit.  And the gameplay is a touch too far on the random side for my taste.  There were times that I felt too tightly constrained by a low dice-roll, and though no single roll led to catastrophe, I could see a series of them seriously impacting my enjoyment of the game.  A worthy introduction to the wide world of dungeon-crawlers, though, and that’s why I’m giving this game 3.5 out of 5.

- William Niebling