Mordheim: City of the Damned

Game review by
Franklin Rinaldi, Common Sense Media
Mordheim: City of the Damned Game Poster Image
Brutal, unforgiving strategy game tests skills, patience.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

Tactical planning, strategy, thinking ahead important for progress, but message overshadowed by constant combat, bloodshed.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Players control warbands, fight against rival gangs for control of city, its magical objects. No one is truly good or positive.

Ease of Play

Turn-based system appears simple but is very complex. Some players can be frustrated by difficulty, rule complexity.

Violence

Use variety of weapons, magic to kill human, supernatural creatures in very violent manners. Though light on blood, gore, it is present with some attacks. Warband members can take permanent damage, injury, lose limbs. Lots of bodies scattered around levels.

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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Mordheim: City of the Damned is the downloadable video-game adaption of the tabletop game Mordheim, a cult classic by Games Workshop. It's a turn-based tactical game where you lead warbands on missions in various neighborhoods of a city where you battle rival warbands for control and collect valuable Wyrdstone fragments. Mordheim is a very unforgiving game, where your soldiers can lose limbs and death of your party members is permanent. There isn't a lot of blood or gore, but it's definitely included in combat, and the risks of catastrophic injury to your troops can be significant. The game is a blend of classic role-playing-game (RPG) elements with fast-paced tactical combat and very in-depth unit customization. Patience, strategy, and a whole lot of luck are needed to succeed, which could frustrate some players.

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What's it about?

In MORDHEIM: CITY OF THE DAMNED, a comet has crashed down on the city, leaving behind valuable Wyrdstone fragments. Warbands from the Sisters of Sigmar, the Cult of the Possessed, Skaven, and Mercenaries of the Empire have all descended on the city. Fighting for control of key neighborhoods, while characters look for glory and fortune to acquire the Wyrdstones, turns the city into a brutal and unforgiving battleground. You must hire, train, and equip your warband, devise superior strategies, and find and keep items looted through the large campaign.

Is it any good?

This is an excellent turn-based strategy game that stretches the limits of patience while also making you care greatly for your warband. That's particularly noteworthy since they're vicious killers, only seeking power to eliminate any challengers to their acquisition of magical items and power. The ability to beat the odds, develop strategies, and synchronize skills among your warband party members to become more effective in eliminating challenges to your eventual fame and fortune is epic. The character customization, progression, and skill trees are incredibly deep, which will keep players busy for a long time.

Never mind the occasional rage, tears of frustration, and sadness at losing a key member of your team. Those are just aspects of the game that push you to try new, more creative tactics, and remember that any battle you're engaged in can turn against you quickly if you're not paying attention to what your enemies are doing and responding to their tactics and attacks. Be warned -- you'll be pushed and punished just as hard, if not more, than you are rewarded in each mission. That's what makes Mordheim: City of the Damned great; just remember that as you yell at your monitor after your latest reload that you're having fun. There are a couple of downsides, such as terrible loading times between missions. Even on a fast machine, load times can take forever. Also, the randomness of the failure rate is quite high; even when an ability says you have a 80 percent chance of success, you still seem to fail -- a lot. That means that there's no sure thing in any battle, which spikes the difficulty higher than it needs to be. Initially, it will feel like the game is cheating and you're destined to lose, but this is also part of its charm, because it perfectly mirrors the difficulty of the original tabletop version of the game. Overall, if you're a strategy, fantasy, or role-playing fan who's willing to put up with a challenge and some frustration, Mordheim: City of the Damned could be the game for you.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the impact of violence in media. What does it mean to become desensitized to violence in games and movies? How might it alter how you view and react to real-world violence?

  • Talk about fantasy. Why do some people like to take a break from reality to explore fantastical worlds in movies, books, and games? What are they trying to escape in the real world, and what are they trying to find in the fantasy realm?

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