Underworlds Beta: Shadewyrm v 1.0

Posted: August 16, 2019 in Board game, Feature, Games Workshop, Ramblings, Shadewyrm, Tabletop, Underworlds, Shadespire, Warhammer

No one really remembers what the Shadewyrms were originally called. The Katophranes that remember them as mere worms don’t really care, those that were responsible for what they became following Nagash’s curse pretend not to know, possibly out of shame, or just plainly refuse to tell. Fragments of records found around the City of Shadespire show these worms being much smaller, able to spit an acid to burn through organic matter, although relatively harmless to humans. They would eat for about a week, then slept for weeks, maybe months before waking to feed again…

wyrm unins

Nagash’s curse changed the creatures forever, the Necroquake that opened the Nightvault and the lingering experiments of Chaos the Katophrane would rather forget, made the worms grow to immense size and ferocity, their acid much more potent and their hibernation period stretching to years, even decades. Now they awake, and they are hungry…

I enjoyed the Gargant action (full title “The Glass Mad Gargant”, will be forever shortened to “the Gargant action”) for the small handful of times I played it. It helped me get my first, and (at time of publication [and probably forevermore]) only glass trophy. So I owe it a lot, not just the space it takes up in my cabinet.

I do wish other variants like this come along, like Arena Mortis has recently, to put additional action to be had in the battles contained within the Mirrored City, below it with Nightvault, and now somewhere outside in Beastgrave.

This is written up as a primary beta so I can enlist the help of the masses to fine tweak this concept. Thus, we have the Shadewyrm…

wyrm ins

Setting up is eerily similar to the Gargant action:

  • No objective decks required. Killing the Shadewyrm is the only goal
  • The Shadewyrm will always go first in each activation, with player order determined as normal. Note that player order changes direction each round
  • The Shadewyrm has its own set of activation tokens, which everyone should have plenty of by now
  • Game will last for ~four~ rounds (see how this goes). If the Shadewyrm is alive at the end of the ~fourth~ round, all players lose
  • If the Shadewyrm is out of action at the beginning of an end phase, the game ends immediately and the player with the most glory points wins the game. Glory points are ~scored by inflicting damage on the Shadewyrm~, and by taking other fighters out of action. Fighters taken out of action by the Shadewyrm give no one any glory points
  • The Shadewyrm has half (or maybe more) its body in the ground, it cannot be pushed, driven back or placed in a different hex in any way, as such it cannot be trapped.

If a player has all their fighters out of action, they are the Controlling Player. If all players are lucky enough to have at least one fighter on the board, players roll off and the winner is the Controlling Player for this round. After everyone has all four activations, players roll off again (unless one is out of action then they are the Controlling Player, if more than one player has all their fighters out of action – fight it out amongst yourselves via whatever method you desire)

The hex closest to the centre of the board is the Lair hex, the starting hex for the Shadewyrm. Place a chasm token on that hex. If there is more than one hex which is central, the players roll off, the winning player decides which hex will be the Lair hex. The Lair hex is a lethal hex.

The Shadewyrm moves underground with the scatter token. The controlling player rolls five dice, one at a time until it bursts out of the ground. If the final hex is a blocked hex, roll additional dice until an unblocked hex is reached. If its movement takes the Shadewyrm off an edge hex, ignore that result and continue with the next roll (do not roll additional dice) Any fighter on the hex the Shadewyrm bursts from suffers one damage and is pushed one hex* with the scatter token. If that hex is occupied, push them an additional hex in the same direction until an unoccupied and unblocked hex is available**.

When the Shadewyrm moves again, place a chasm/turned over Feature token on its original hex. That hex is a lethal hex for the remainder of the game.


Here’s my recommendation – Follow the below steps per each activation, alternatively you could have the Controlling Player decide what to do instead, it’s up to you:
1st: Carapace reinforcement: If the Shadewyrm is not on Guard, place the Shadewyrm on Guard. If the Shadewyrm is on Guard, proceed to the next point
2nd: The Shadewyrm moves as described above
3rd: The Shadewyrm uses one of its attacks against the closest fighter. If there are more than one model in equal range, the Controlling Player will choose. If there is no one in range of either attack, it uses one of its Thrashing Attacks. Roll an attack die to determine which:




= Violent Tremors – Anything else = Acid Rain
4th: Move or attack again, dealer’s choice.

After the Shadewyrm’s final activation, it will use a Thrashing Attack. If it is inspired, it will do two Thrashing Attacks, roll to determine each one.


Violent Tremors
The Shadewyrm thrashes its whole body, sending shockwaves that only the most agile can evade.

Players roll off, starting with the loser, roll a defence die for each fighter with a

defence characteristic, on a
black crit
, that fighter takes one damage

Acid Rain
The Shadewyrm brings up a fountain of acid and shakes its head, creating a torrential rainfall of burning acid which only the most durable armour will keep out.

Players roll off, starting with the loser, roll a defence die for each fighter with a

defence characteristic, on a
black crit
, that fighter takes one damage.

If anyone would like to give it a go, let me know how you got on. I have a few ideas for tweaks myself, but don’t wish to impact your thinking.

*even Ghartok, the Blue Horror taking its last wound, the Stalagsquig and any fighter with any upgrades which say they cannot be pushed/driven back

**If there are no free hexes in the path towards the end of the board, place the fighter on the closest available hex. If there are more than one, the Controlling Player decides which hex.

Here’s a nice picture I found on the Reddit of someone enjoying the game:


  1. Alberto Cerdeño says:

    Congrats on the game! Is awesome!
    The one in the picture is me! And those are my Thorns of the Briar Queen! 😀

  2. […] giving this a try. If your appetite for game variants doesn’t stop here, please check out the Shadewyrm game mode and Sentinel game […]

  3. Narotar says:

    Awesomw ideas man!! I will give it a go with the boys. May have to translate it to german first i gues 😀

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