INQUISITOR Playtest Review by Sean Broughton-Wright on 14/08/01
Style: 4 (Classy and well done)
Substance: 2 (Sparse)
Flashy miniatures and gothic in mood. But a game that aims at both the RPG and War Game markets and misses.
Author: Gav Thorpe
Company/Publisher: Games Workshop
Page count: 191
Year published: 2001
Comp copy?: no
Playtest Review by Sean Broughton-Wright on 14/08/01
Genre tags: Science Fiction Far Future
I'll begin my stating my bias in relation to gaming. I prefer games to be reasonably quick (2 hours for war games 2-3 for role-playing) and the rules to be of moderate complexity. Overly complex rules slow the game down and destroy the realism they set out to achieve. Long laborious games kill: tension, excitement and fun.
That being said on to Inquisitor - the narrative skirmish game.
I am of the belief that Games Workshop (GW) form a good industry standard for quality of miniatures. With this new range of 54mm miniatures I can't help but notice the range of quality form the usual excellence displayed in such figures as Artemis to the rushed look of some others like Slick Devlan. Overall the miniatures are good, I think you just have to be picky.
The artwork is Gothic, the mood dark and oppressive, all the good stuff that you'd expect of a Games Workshop product set in the 40K Universe. The photography is also of excellent quality, highlighting the painting talents of a diverse range of artists (although I did feel the quality of the actual paint jobs had slipped). The artwork is used appropriately though out the book and feels balanced.
The word craft of author Gav Thorpe is standard, no literary genius but competent enough to get across the idea. Strangely enough the binding has held together after a number of games (uncommon for Games workshop rulebooks).
The rules are a clear step away from the usual GW fare. By comparison to 40k these are very complex. The onus is squarely on the shoulders of the GM there are no guidelines built into the system to develop/create balanced characters. It is a munchkins paradise.
It is promoted as a Narrative War game and uses terminology borrowed from the standard RPG lexicon. If you are thinking of buying this so you can play a role-playing game set in the 40K universe then forget it. The role playing elements contained within in the book is so sparse as to be almost non existent. It feels like it was tacked on to enable the company to market to a section of the RPG community. So as an RPG it fails.
As a skirmish level war game it is far to complex to simulate the realism it strives for. No play sheets were included so time much is lost when leafing through the rules, hence destroying they immediacy inherent in "real life". You could just run the game with a skeleton rule set but then you could have also created a home brew game to do the same.
The great strength of the GW game its gearing towards competitive play is understandably missing here. As a war game it isn't very successful either.
>>Playing the Game<<
Games took anywhere between 3 to 6 hours to play. I found myself bogged down in rules searching to the extent that I abandoned most and judged as fairly as I could using the general rule principles. Long turns resulted in the players losing focus. Can't help but feel this would have been better as a first person shooter.
Low. Beyond the release of the miniatures and some supplemental rules and errata in White Dwarf. There seems to be very little support, even when compared to other sideline games like Mordheim.
The production is good and the game is playable. Does it archive its target as a narrative war game? There is precious little that helps in the formation of a narrative, indeed I feel playing Necromunda develops more character. As a war game there are other games I'd rather play. Does it achieve its target of selling more miniatures? Yes at least until the excitement dies down.