From Tabletop To Desktop: Games Workshop’s Mordheim

By Alice O'Connor on March 26th, 2014 at 8:00 pm.

Rattus Mordheimicus

Everyone at RPS has their niche, they tell me as I start my first day. We’re hyper-specialised predators feasting upon our own corners of the gaming kingdom. Clearly, I suggest, a new adaptation of a Games Workshop wargame would be news for Kieron to sink his grooved fangs into. They nod sagely and turn back to their gilded plates, then remember. Ah no, another mutters, it’s for the flaying claws of Quinns. I wait patiently. Say, new kid, they hiss, what do you know about toy rats?

Mordheim: City of the Damned, then, is the latest of publisher Focus Home’s licensed adaptations of vintage tabletop wargames–Games Workshop’s Mordheim, in this case. Announced today, it’s due to launch later this year.

Released in 1999, Mordheim saw various Warhammer Fantasy factions fighting for control of the eponymous smashed city and the magical wyrdstone scattered across it by a crashing comet. On top of the typical dice-and-rulers battling action, it boasted RPG-y bits which saw units levelling up and gaining shiny new equipment across campaigns. Which is broadly the shape of this adaptation too. Expect both a single-player campaign and multiplayer.

City of the Damned is the first game from fledgeling Canadian developer Rogue Factor, who are something of a mystery really.

Bogart and Sinatra in trouble with The Man again

I never played Games Workshop games myself, mind, but always admired the miniature battles unfolding in my local gaming shop. Oh how I would chortle, knowing that I wasn’t wasting money on childish toys but rather investing wisely in Magic: The Gathering’s paper dragons. Come the apocalypse we’ll form an uneasy alliance, pressing their figurines into arrowheads and burning my paper to cook our kills.

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92 Comments »

  1. d3vilsadvocate says:

    Make a remake of Warhammer: Shadow of the Horned Rat, please.

    • MrThingy says:

      That game was fantastic. Ran kinda badly on my machine (it was one of the first DirectX/3D games on Win95, if memory serves?). I seem to recall it had a couple of battles that were inside the Dwarf ruins. The animated sequences were pretty nice as well.

      • Lykurgos says:

        I really resented it, since what I really wanted was a recreation of Warhammer tabletop. Army creation, turn-based tactics, multi-player etc. I confess that blinded me to whether or not the game was actually any good. I did play it, but I think it lacked the feature of being able to give orders whilst paused, which killed it for me.

      • Wowbagger says:

        I always thought Dark Omen was the better game. Can’t even get hold of it now though :(

    • Jomini says:

      That would be nothing like Mordheim, the tabletop game that is being adopted here.

    • Correa says:

      Oh yes please, I loved that game :)

    • Stellar Duck says:

      Careful now. I’m pretty sure talking about that and Skavens summons KG.

    • Loyal_Viggo says:

      “Die-die, traitor!” Love that game, so superb and difficult.

      They need to remake that, right after they make NECROMUNDA.

      That is all.

      • seruko says:

        A faithful necromunda PC port would be too much to ask for. That’s like asking for a faithful MOM remake. We simply do not live in such a world.

        • SanguineAngel says:

          XCOM is basically Necromunda in a lot of ways.

          • mattevansc3 says:

            Except for the ways that matter.

            XCOM would be one of the worst interpretations of Necromunda. Ignoring that XCOM’s combat mechanics were borked they don’t fit Necromunda’s rules. LOS is the number one rule in Necromunda and whether enough of a body was viewable to allow the shot to be taken caused the most arguments, in XCOM just having the pinky finger poke out of cover was enough to allow a head shot…through a brick wall.

      • Bushiido says:

        I actually created a very viable Necromunda system for playing x-com mulitplayer with some friends over lan, It involved character sheets, rolling for terrain and everything, even buying gear, was really fun. Will have to have a look around for it….

  2. Diatribe says:

    FINALLY!

    (Please don’t be garbage.)

    • Corb says:

      I hope they do necromunda next :D

      • Lord_Santa says:

        funny thing is; that was my first thought as well… had 3 Necromunda ‘base-sets’ and played the living daylights out of it, back in the days… nowadays it’s not available anywhere and most ‘RPG-stores’ I visit haven’t even heard of it… =/

      • sonofsanta says:

        I have craved a Necromunda game for a great many years. I just love the setting so much.

        If they do this one right, then Necromunda, they could round out the trilogy with forgotten classic Gorkamorka.

  3. RedViv says:

    Quick-quick, make it good-good!

  4. scottyjx says:

    Hello, Alice!

  5. Brinx says:

    Wow, I seriously didn’t know that I wanted this.
    Also: It is nice to see Mordheim (Or Mortheim? Is this just the German version?) getting some attention. The scenario could make for some awesome stories.

    • RedViv says:

      It’s Mortheim in Germany to keep the “City of the Damned” thing just a tiny bit less obvious, not putting the native word for murder in there.

  6. Mbaya says:

    Interesting news, it’s not Necromunda (damn it, when, WHEN!?) but good all the same! Nice to see a new studio pop up too, g’luck to them!

    Also, *waves* at the new face. WAVEFACE! (Is that still a thing? I still do it, guess it is…).

  7. Chiron says:

    Oh my dear sweet lord! *fap fap fap fap*

    *coughs*

    Hopefully this will be awesome, even more hopefully it’ll mean there is a Necromunda version to follow. Then I need never leave the house, or have to play with GW’s plastic figures again.

  8. DatonKallandor says:

    Okay Games Workshop, here’s why your stupid new “you get our License! You get our License! Everybody gets our license!” policy is bad:
    If this had been announced before your stupid new policy, back in the Dawn of War and Space Marine days, I would have instantly been excited by a new Warhammer game. Because Warhammer games were awesome, since you were so stingy with your license and actually paid attention to what the devs were doing with it.

    But we’re in a post Space Hulk, post Storm of Vengence, post whatever those other shitty mobile games were called world. Because you give your license to anyone, the Brand is damaged and tarnished.

    • Triprunner says:

      ^^ THIS ^^

    • Aaarrrggghhh says:

      I am pretty sure it’s more or less the other way round. Games Workshop and their license has seen some pretty big hits with other games liek Warmachine biting off their playerbase. The new licensing model seems to me like a deperate attempt to gain some more brand recognition. A bad one, granted, but in the end it seems like the new licensing is already the reason for what people deem to be the result. It just got worse (instead of better).

    • Volcanu says:

      I actually thought the latest Space Hulk was rather good. At least as a tablet game.

      And anyone who tries to brand me a heretic for thinking so I declare an apostate – to be cleansed with the righteous fury of my storm bolter in short order.

  9. Lykurgos says:

    Dear Focus Home Interactive,

    Please don’t make a game inspired by Mordheim, please recreate it faithfully making changes only where absolutely necessarily or overwhelmingly beneficial to the digital format, provide a clean and simple UI, and effective multi-player features.

    If you do this, I do hereby pledge to buy the base game at full price plus all the expansions and DLC you can muster.

    Yours sincerely.

    Guy waiting for a digital version of a table-top Warhammer game since he stopped playing Warhammer Fantasy Battle 20 years ago.

    • Mbaya says:

      This notice should be stapled to the head of anyone that’s granted a GamesWorkshop licence! At least if they don’t read it, the slight dent on their brow will symbolise the gaze of fans across the world watching what they come up with.

      I did rather enjoy Dawn of War 1, 2 and Space Marine was enjoyable enough…but I’m no longer in a position to play the tabletop games (despite still having my armies) and a digital version of any is always welcome on my virtual table.

    • bill says:

      I agree. Although, wasn’t that what RPS complained about with Space Hulk, that it stuck too close to the board game and that limited it?

    • Rizlar says:

      Disagree in terms of visuals. The GW figures were always about creating something unique, taking models as starting points and making your own thing, inspired by the fictional worlds behind them (well, last time I checked anyways, which was about ten years ago).

      Visually, GW licensed computer games seem to show a complete lack of imagination, taking the most boring route possible and modelling everything directly from pictures found on boxes of miniatures. It’s not just me, right? The characters and backgrounds in those screenshots definitely do look like toys rather than representations of living things.

      Give me a bold interpretation of these fictional worlds, not just a straight copy of boardgame miniatures. Late medieval treasure hunters in a cursed city, how cool does that sound? Imagine playing something that owes more visually to a John Blanche drawing than to model soldiers. A setting like Mordheim has so much more potential than just ‘little soldiers fight for territory’.

  10. Makariel says:

    please be good please be good please be good please be good…

  11. Malagate says:

    Ohhhhh yessss, this is pretty much the game I’ve wanted since I read about Mordheim (and Necromunda before then), also I am heartened to see comments that share the sentiment.

    Can’t wait to hear more, I will put on my cynical face in the interim as per the whole slew of not-so-great games workshop licensed games as of late (as noted by DatonKallandor up there). Cyni-face?

  12. Venters says:

    Oh great. Games Workshop giving away their game to another studio nobody heard about. This will go swimmingly.

    • Chiron says:

      I WANT TO BELIEVE

    • Lykurgos says:

      Is there an upside in the shape of Focus Home Interactive having been the only publisher to bring a faithful digitization of a GW tabletop game to market – Bloodbowl? The Horned Rat knows that game has its problems, not limited to a lack of bull centaurs, but hey . . . they did it!

      • bills6693 says:

        My thoughts exactly. I hope beyond hope that this new studio is good and well supported by focus. Focus do some good work, and I like them for it, although as a publisher its a little hard to know how much impact they have and how much they just choose good studios.

        Anyway, I want this to be good – just as I want bloodbowl 2 to be good :) and if anyone’s going to do it… well, at least one of them is focus.

      • WhaleboneMcCoy says:

        I played bloodbowl again last night, nothing gets me as equally frustrated and excited as bloodbowl.

      • TimorousBeastie says:

        Full Control brought a faithful copy of Space Hulk to the PC. It wasn’t very good, partially because it was a faithful copy. The strengths of table top games are not always the strengths of computer games.

    • bill says:

      I thought it was kind of a good thing that they were giving out their IP more generously recently, and to some smaller unknown developers. Surely that’s better than them just licensing out the whole IP for 20 years to EA and us just getting endless space marine shooters.

      While some haven’t been resounding successes, they haven’t all been awful, have they?

      PS/ Is space hulk better now? It sounded like the developers got and cared about the IP, and put a lot of love into it, and it sounded like most of the things complained about in the review were things that could be patched at a later date.

      • Volcanu says:

        Well I am probably in the minority here but I think it’s a blast. I picked it up over Xmas, so they had probably squished any bugs by then. And I got it for the ipad rather than PC as it seemed to lend itself well to the format, in addition to there not being much good to play on the ipad.

        Firstly, I think you have to be clear going in to the game about what it set out to do. Which was to bring a faithful adaptation of the Space Hulk board game on to the PC. And on that count I think it is a big success. It might have been fun if you could pick your marines weapon loadouts before missions or if it had some element of persistence/levelling of your men from mission to mission, or an overarching ‘campaign’ ala XCOM – but that’s not what they set out to do. I also feel like the character models and level detail really capture the flavour and atmosphere of 40k

        On to the review criticisms:
        - Some reviews criticise the slow movement of the Terminators. They do move slowly. But it was never an issue for me as you can start moving other Termies whilst one is thunking down a corridor. Id rather they felt slow and lumbering than have them sprinting around, but I can see why some people might want an option to just pick and place them. Anyway I was concerned when I read that criticism, but was pleasantly surprised to find it a none issue for me.

        – I think Rab found the graphics to be unclear and mentioned he missed doors and so on. Have to say I didn’t have that problem at all, and as things are laid out on a grid pattern I found doors to be pretty clear.

        - He also found a number of bugs like missions not finishing when they should etc. That would be annoying I’m sure, but they seemed to have fixed all that by the time I played it.

        - Hotseat multiplayer. I haven’t tried this mode so cant say whether the flaws have been fixed. Perhaps someone else could advise.

        I think ultimately if you are a fan of the IP (40k generally) or the original boardgame I’d definitely recommend picking it up. If the first two don’t apply to you, but you like turn based, squad level tactical games I’d advise a ‘cautious buy’ but perhaps not at full price.

        For myself I enjoyed it even more than the latest XCOM for some reason, notwithstanding that XCOM is objectively the better game. I realise I have prattled on a bit now but on a personal level I feel it’s a little bit sad the way that Space Hulk has been declared ‘awful’ by the accepted wisdom of internet commentators, when I suspect that many haven’t actually played it themselves. I can understand that people might not think it’s great, it may leave some people cold. But awful it really ain’t.

  13. Rolento says:

    I love Skaven – that is all.

  14. Geebs says:

    I hope rogue factor don’t turn out to be a renegade asset and go loose cannon with this unknown quantity

  15. Col Sanders says:

    All I can say is having seen Xcoms success in showing that a squad based, turnbased strategy game sells and is popular, that they take the source material and just bring the wargame to the pc.
    Only add what has be added take away nothing, I mean if they do this right think of all the extras they can release for it.
    And if this comes off well maybe we will see an Necromunda game and my Redemptionists can bring the emperors mercy to the underhive again..
    And if I really want to dream who knows what after that maybe Inquistor ooh that could be fun.. Choosing which tree to go for… Do I go radical and risk straying into chaos…

  16. Darth Gangrel says:

    Those are some large rats, but not as large as the one I saw in a newspaper article, expressen.se/nyheter/sa-fangade-familjen-monsterrattan-i-solna/. Yeah, it’s in Swedish, but the picture speaks for itself.

    • WhaleboneMcCoy says:

      The picture was there so I knew it was as big as a dog, but also ‘dog’ was capitalised in the article so that verified it.

      Thank you good sir, for your Swedish news about a large rat.

  17. weary ghoul says:

    Oh wow, Alice. You left Shacknews for RPS! That’s just great news to me considering I get most of my gaming coverage from those very two websites. Turns out I won’t be missing you at all.

  18. Spacewalk says:

    It’s cool that there’s going to be a Mordheim adaption but but I can’t see myself fully enjoying one with graphics that don’t look like John Blanche’s illustrations come to life.

    • Chiron says:

      Red and blurry with no perspective?

      • Spacewalk says:

        Don’t forget speckled.

        But seriously, Blanche’s art was what drew me to Mordheim (this piece especially) but I could never get me Necromunda obsessed mates to even consider giving it a look-in so I was left with a rulebook full of sweet art and noone to play with so that became the entire game to me which is a bit sad but I dealt with it.

  19. Aaarrrggghhh says:

    Woah. I hope they don’t screw this up. Mordheim is the best series/system from the Warhammer (Fantasy) series /imho

    Guess it’s Games Workshop way of trying to fight Warmachine Tactics on the digital field since they have been loosing a lot of tabletop players to Warmachine lately.

  20. cog says:

    Adolf HItler started reacting badly inside of the bunker in my imagination when I read this and didn’t see the words “turn based” but then I followed the link and read the press release, where those two words did appear, at which point Hitler invited everyone he’d kicked out of the map room back in from the hallway and they had a dance party, but then a bomb blew up the bunker, because I remembered they’re Nazis and not just over-reaction meme fodder.

    Point is- It’s got TURNS, people! SKAVEN and TURNS!

  21. Corrupt_Tiki says:

    I quite like Games Workshop stuff, and appreciate the effort the players go to in setting up the armies, painting them and spending the money (Holey shit, how can they be so expensive?)

    But when I went to watch a game down at my local Games workshop, I felt so out of place I just ended up leaving.

    :-/

  22. Loyal_Viggo says:

    Battleflet Gothic

    Necromunda

    Man’O'War

    That is all they need to make pc games of, nevermind anything else.

    The end.

  23. dicenslice says:

    Let Obsidian make a cRPG based on Inquisitor. This would please me greatly.

  24. Vorrin says:

    Welcome Alice, good start!

  25. monsoonmoon says:

    Necromunda needs to be done, it just needs to be done. To the great horned god himself make it so

    • TimorousBeastie says:

      It will be, but as a 3rd-Person Moba / Arena Shooter with a vertical map structure :P Tzeentch plays games with us all.

  26. Einhaender says:

    Oh god I thought I finally freed myself from the shackles of Warhammer…..
    It keeps happening! Why does it keep happening? First CA gets the rights to make a Warhammer TW game and now this.

  27. kadeton says:

    Man, we’ve got all these people in the comments crying out for a Necromunda port, but nobody at all even mentioning Gorkamorka? Shame.

  28. LunyAlex says:

    This looks like Dishonored on LSD.

  29. Oakreef says:

    Skaven never get enough love :D

  30. ZephyrSB says:

    Good news. I’m sure I’ll enjoy this.

    Although that probably doesn’t mean much because I think I’m totally incapable of not enjoying a GW computer game. Hell, I even enjoyed Final Liberation.

    But yeah, Necromunda next please.

  31. crowleyhammer says:

    GorkaMorka.

  32. strangeloup says:

    I never actually played it, but Mordheim always gave me the impression of being the Fantasy version of Necromunda.

    Anyone able to confirm/deny that? And crikey, it came out in 1999? That doesn’t half make me feel old.

    (I wish I could still afford to like GW stuff, but apparently the rules have gone to shit, and most definitely everything costs a fortune now, especially compared to Hordes/Warmachine and the like.)

  33. tormos says:

    This AlissOconnerrr brings us offerings of mordheim? She can stay.

  34. Whiskey Jak says:

    The GM of Cyanide Montreal is also the GM of Rogue Factor… so this looks like a Cyanide Montreal spin-off somehow.

    http://www.linkedin.com/in/yvesbordeleau

  35. sonofsanta says:

    They’ve managed to get the exact poses of the Skaven models from the Mordheim range there, impressively. That slightly awkward “trying to look dynamic but looking incredibly posed and static” position. That’s attention to detail!

    Also: 1999? Good grief, I remember playing the early version of the rules from White Dwarf. I feel really old now.

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