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Chainsaw Warrior

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Designer(s)  Stephen Hand
Players  1
Playing time  1 to 2 hours
Publisher(s)  Games Workshop
Setup time  5 minutes
Random chance  High

Chainsaw Warrior is a single-player board game designed by Stephen Hand and published by Games Workshop in 1987. A video game based on the board game was released for mobile and desktop platforms.


Original board game

The player has sixty minutes to navigate a labyrinth composed of an abandoned urban slum in New York, represented by two decks of cards, locate the entity Darkness attempting to destroy the city and kill it. The slum contains hazards, zombies, mutants and other creatures affected by Darkness, who will attempt to kill the player or slow him down. Failure to kill Darkness, either by running out of time, dying of injuries, or succumbing to zombie venom/radiation poisoning, resulted in a loss for the player.

The player has several attributes randomised by die roll at the start of the game, which affect hand-to-hand combat, marksmanship, ability to take damage and reaction time. There are also separate tracks to record the effects of zombie venom and radiation damage.

At the start of the game, the player is equipped with a random assortment of weapons and items (which can include the eponymous chainsaw) and a critical item called the Laser Lance, which is the only weapon capable of destroying Darkness. Loss of the Laser Lance or running out of ammunition for it resulted in the player being forced to leave the slums for a replacement, then re-enter after a time penalty.

White Dwarf published a number of variant rules (such as being able to gain additional equipment before entering the slums in return for an expenditure of time) and additional weapon and equipment cards.

The gameplay is a stylised version of solitaire in so much that the deck of cards is randomised, but certain items of equipment are required to defeat creatures found later in the game.

Online version

An online version of the game was coded and designed by Peter Duncanson at http://www.chainsawwarrior.co.uk in 1999. In May 2008, a notice was placed on the site to the effect that Games Workshop was no longer supporting the site, and it was to be closed.

Desktop and app version

On 22 July 2013, developer Auroch Digital (who had created Endgame:Syria and NarcoGuerra) announced that they were creating a new version of the game for mobile and desktop: "The seminal hit board game Chainsaw Warrior, made by Games Workshop back in 1987 is set to return this year in a digital form. The original 80s game was a notable rarity in that it was a solo board game that pitted the player not against others but against the clock. ... The game is due to release on iPad, iPhone and Android at the end of summer at a price point and date to be announced soon." The announcement received widespread coverage by the gaming and hobby press. The game port is being produced by the same designer as Call of Cthulhu: The Wasted Land, another 80s game that was converted to a digital format.

The iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch versions of the game were released on 23 September 2013. Its initial reception was generally well received with 148apps describing it as "...a brutally awesome good time.". Gamercast noted it was an accurate adaptation of the original noting it has "...everything you want in a digitised version of the Games Workshop classic.".

A PC port of the digital version was released on Valve Corporation's Steam service on 7 October 2013.

On the 17th November 2014 the developer of the mobile and PC version, Auroch Digital, announced a follow-on title, Chainsaw Warrior: Lords of the Night - to be released in early 2015. The game was launched on to Steam on the 18th of February. It was then launched to mobile devices on the 17th April 2015.


Chainsaw Warrior Wikipedia

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