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Meeple’s Eye View – Chaos in the Old World

The Meeple’s Eye View is an in depth review of one of the many games in our board game library.

In the Warhammer fantasy world, the four powers of chaos have risen to reshape the mortal world. You are one such power. No mortal dares stand against you, but your fellow chaos powers might…

Theme: Fantasy, Horror, War Game

Number of Players:3-4

Game Time: 120 minutes

Age Appropriateness:13 and up

Game Type: Horror Strategy Game

Game Play: In Chaos in the Old World, players begin by choosing which chaos power they wish to play. Each of the four powers offers players their own unique strategy, play style, minions, chaos cards, and upgrades.  Players then take the power sheet, upgrade cards, chaos cards, miniatures, and corruption tokens for their chosen power. The game board, which is is made up of nine regions and each power’s power dial, is placed so that all players may easily reach it. Then, players randomize all of the old world cards and deal seven face down to create the old world deck. After that, players take the starting old world tokens, randomize them, and distribute them around the board. Finally, all players begin the game with a hand of three chaos cards.

Chaos in the Old World is played over the course of several rounds and each round consists of several phases. The round always begins with the Old World Phase, where players will draw the top card from the old world deck, read its texts, apply its effects, and add it to the play area. After this, players draw cards during the Draw Phase. The third phase is the Summoning Phase. In this phase, players take turns summoning figures and playing chaos cards. Each player will have the opportunity to summon one figure to the board or play one chaos card before play passes to the next player. Each figure and chaos card has a power point cost that must be paid before the action can be taken. There is no limit to the number of figures that can be summoned into a region, but only two chaos cards may be played per region per round. If a player runs out of power, their turn is skipped.

After all players have spent their power, the players move on to the Battle Phase. During this phase, players roll dice, allocate hits, and remove figures. Following the Battle Phase, players enter the Corruption Phase. During this phase, players will earn victory points for dominating regions, gain dial advancement tokens, and place corruption. If a region has twelve or more corruption placed in it, it is ruined. In the final phase, known as the End Phase, Chaos Cards are removed, Old World cards are resolved, and dials are advanced if the players have earned dial advancement tokens. The game is over when one player’s dial has advanced to their victory condition, one player has achieved 50 points, or when five regions have been ruined. Whoever achieves any of these victory conditions first is declared the winner and reshapes the world in their vision.

Component Quality: Chaos in the Old World contains the high quality components for which Fantasy Flight Games has become known. All of the cards are made of heavy cardstock, and feature high quality thematic art. The tokens are all made of durable cardboard, as is the board itself. Some assembly is required as the dials must be attached to the board, but this is a minor project. Early production copies had some typos and misprints, but these have been remedied in later printings. The figures are all high detailed, injected, molded plastic miniatures. The only problem that I have with the miniatures is that some of them are brittle. The cultists are the worst offenders as they have a standard that is prone to breaking. In order to remedy this problem, I snipped all of mine off and I think they look better for it.

My Take: If you have read any of my past reviews, you will notice that I tend to favor thematic games with a high degree of replay-ability. This is something that Chaos in the Old World has in spades. Set in the dark Warhammer fantasy world, this game is positively dripping with theme. In the Warhammer world, each chaos power has their own agenda that they are trying to pursue. This is perfectly represented by each power’s different approach to victory, chaos cards, and upgrades.

Chaos in the Old World is a current favorite among members of my play-group. We have played it many times over the last few months without the game feeling stale. One of the things that we have noticed over several plays is how the game self-balances. Each chaos power has an equal chance to win if they are played optimally, and the balance is maintained by the players working in unison against whoever is leading at the time. The game has a lot of decisions to make and each choice you make impacts the turns of other players and vice versa. In this game there is a high degree of player interaction, a fair amount of “take that,” and a decent amount of negotiation and betrayal. All of these things are fitting for the fickle ruinous powers of chaos.

Expansions and Replay-ability: I feel like the Old World Deck keeps the game fresh each play, as new cards will cause the board to fluctuate and change with each round. The game also encourages players to try new and different strategies. As I mentioned earlier, this game has been a current favorite among my play-group and we have played it again and again without the game feeling stale.

Chaos in the Old World: The Horned Rat is the only expansion currently available for Chaos in the Old World. It adds a 5th chaos power, The Horned Rat, with his own deck of chaos cards, figures, and upgrades. The expansion also adds new chaos cards, and upgrade cards for each of the existing powers. The expansion was received with mixed reviews. Some players felt that some of the new upgrade cards, and chaos cards made the game unbalanced. Many others thoroughly enjoyed the expansion as it added a 5th player and new options to an already great game.

Meeple Karington Hess - Small

Karington Hess is a lifelong gamer whose passions for hospitality and all things game-related led him to Ravenwood Castle, where he served as an Innkeeper before joining The Malted Meeple. When not pouring beers, crafting milkshakes, or teaching boardgames, Karington can be found behind the DM’s screen, weaving intricate stories for his fellow gamers.