29 Jan 21

Designing Khagra’s Ravagers – the warband that’ll ruin your opponent’s day

With Khagra’s Ravagers, the new Warhammer Underworlds warband, available to pre-order from tomorrow, we caught up with lead designer Dave Sanders to learn how he planned the desecration of Direchasm.

Dave: The latest warband to brave the dangers of Direchasm are Khagra’s Ravagers, an elite group of Chaos Warriors led by Khagra the Usurper.* Together, they intend to turn Beastgrave itself to the service of Chaos through vile rituals and brutal sacrifice. This is represented by a new mechanic that gives this warband a unique way to interact with objective tokens.

Desecration

Khagra’s Ravagers have several ways to desecrate objective tokens, both on their fighter cards and their power cards. When you desecrate an objective, you place a Desecration token on it. While it has this token, fighters cannot hold it.

However, at the end of a power step, a fighter in the same hex as an objective that has a Desecration token can remove it. Desecration tokens are also removed when a desecrated objective is flipped.

Finally, some of the Ravagers’ objective cards challenge the player to have a certain number of objective tokens – or particular objective tokens – desecrated.

This may seem simple enough, but it was far from simple getting here! Designing a mechanic that allowed Khagra’s Ravagers to hamper ‘hold objective’ play without shutting it down entirely took many attempts to get right. The version that we ended up with allows for play and counter-play, ensuring that no player is shut out of the game and that the mechanic is unique and compelling.

Fair play

We had to make sure that, while desecrating an objective token made it so that it couldn’t be controlled, it didn’t effectively write off that objective for the rest of the battle. If we did that, players who want to hold objectives could find that they have lost the battle almost before it begins.

We looked at a number of options, including requiring players to spend glory to remove Desecration tokens, having their fighters take damage to remove them, or removing Desecration tokens at the end of the phase. These were all too oppressive.

Another option was to allow a fighter to remove a Desecration token as they made a Move action onto a desecrated objective (crucially, this excluded pushes). However, this version would have made removing Desecration tokens almost trivial and would have made life very difficult for the Ravagers when trying to score their objectives.

Just right

The wording of the version that we decided on is crucial – fighters would not be required to make a Move action onto a desecrated objective or take damage to cleanse it. In fact, there’s no cost to that particular fighter at all.

Instead, at the end of the power step, they must be on a desecrated objective to cleanse it. This means two things. First, desecrating an objective token delays any Surge objectives scored after an activation for holding objectives. These are scored before the power step, not after, so this weakens one of the strongest tools available to ‘hold objective’ warbands.

Second, the Ravagers player can use the weapons of ‘hold objective’ warbands against them. Even if a fighter is poised to remove a Desecration token, they still have to be on that objective by the end of the power step. This means that the Ravagers player can use push cards to defend their desecrated objectives, keeping enemy fighters at bay while getting on with their gory business.

Absolute desecration

I hope that you’ve enjoyed this insight into the Ravagers’ unique interaction with objective tokens. I’m excited to see how players use this in their games and how their opponents will adapt to this new threat.

Thanks, Dave! Khagra’s Ravagers are available to pre-order from tomorrow. Whether you want to join the sisters in turning the living mountain to Chaos or you plan to protect it from their evil plans, make sure you’ve picked up the Warhammer Underworlds: Direchasm boxed set yet so that you’re ready for the arrival of this Slaves to Darkness warband.

* Learn more about Khagra’s Ravagers and take a look at their cards in our warband focus article.