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Posted by GG Goblin On April - 8 - 2020

A Viking adventure across 3D dioramas.

I remember many years ago staring in awe at stunning dioramas on show at the Games Workshop Golden Demon competitions. The individual figures were beautifully painted, but it was always the dioramas that pulled me in, offering a snapshot of a different world, often packed with more detail than a single person could take in. They were, and probably still are, incredible. This sense of awe was the first feeling I got from seeing a single screenshot for Playwood Project’s Wartile. Having spent some time on PC, the tabletop miniatures strategy game Wartile has now made its way onto consoles, bringing Viking adventures and the most amazing dioramas to Xbox One and PS4.


While digital tabletop games have been around for nearly as long as video games, it has been only recently that fans of the genre have found themselves spoilt for choice. Wartile will be the latest game to try and catch their attention, although the tabletop side of the game is much more of an aesthetic aspect. Strategy gamers will also find plenty to like here, as the action takes place in real-time, forcing quick decision making and a tactical mind-set.

The standout feature of Wartile are the battleboards on which the game takes place. These three dimensional dioramas would not look out of place in some world class competition, but are instead presented to players on the screen. They are made up of hex tiles, indicating movement possibilities for the figures that will be placed upon them, but still manage to look incredibly realistic. Obviously, the PC version will offer a superior visual experience, but Xbox One players will still be due for a visual treat. The detail is nothing short of incredible, and as the player moves the camera around they will find plenty of things to look at. They also feel alive, with some excellent use of lighting, especially on the interior views. If nothing else, Wartile is a beautiful looking game.

Fortunately though, Wartile is more than just the visuals. Set in the Viking world, along with a heavy dose of Norse mythology, Wartile will have the player controlling a team of Vikings as they make their way across battleboard after battleboard in pursuit of various objectives. The objectives are often quite simple, involving reaching a certain place on the board, or fighting off any enemies that might stand in the way. There is a story running along in the background, but it really does fall to the wayside quite quickly.


The player will have a customisable warband to evolve as they play the game. These various characters are displayed on the screen as figurines, but they have a great range of animations that bring them to life. As the player progresses through the game, they will be rewarded or can buy new items of equipment to customise their warband, both weapons and armour. They can also upgrade the figures with new abilities and such. Then there are the Battle Cards that the player can take into battle to offer various advantages as they play. New characters can be added to the team, giving players even more options to build the Viking warband of their dreams.

When it comes to the actual gameplay, the players warband will be placed at the starting point on the battleboard. They will then be able to move the figures across the hexes. As the game plays in real time, the figures will automatically attack any enemy figures they come into range of, keeping the action quick, although the player can slow down the action at times to consider their choices more carefully. It is a nice system that will keep the player on their toes, but it becomes steadily more difficult as the player controls more and more figures on the board. Abilities have a cool-down which will also give the player a little time to think. Much of the strategy in the game will come from choosing where to place figures, but the player will also have a small selection of Battle Cards to play through the course of their battles, offering various advantages.

Mechanically, this all works quite well. There are however a few frustrations when playing on console. Perhaps the most glaring is the small text on screen. The player will first be presented with a tutorial battleboard when they play, in which all of the basics of the game are explained. However, this will mean constant leaning forward to read the text, which may result in certain instructions being missed. The small text can be annoying. Otherwise, the problems mostly come down to the hexes and being unable to see things properly on the board due to the 3D nature, or not being able to properly place a Battle Card. These are pretty much little niggles with the game, but they do add up.


Wartile is an excellent choice for the tabletop miniature gaming fan, something that they can maybe spend some time with while on social lockdown. However, this is a game with a lot of positives. The visuals are the obvious highlight, but the progression, the battles, and even the setting will have aspects that appeal to different gamers. Tabletop and strategy fans should give Wartile a try.




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