The Killing of a sacred deer

We watched the The Killing of a Sacred Deer 

The Killing of a Sacred Deer" is a psychological thriller film directed by Yorgos Lanthimos and released in 2017. The film follows the story of a young boy who, after being befriended by a surgeon, becomes determined to punish the surgeon's family for a perceived wrongdoing. The film received positive reviews and was nominated for several awards, including the Best Original Screenplay award at the 90th Academy awards

Once we realised the relationship between the film plot and the Greek myth of Iphigenia .In Greek mythology, Iphigenia was the daughter of Agamemnon and Clytemnestra. In the play "Agamemnon" by Aeschylus, Agamemnon is told by the god Apollo that he must sacrifice Iphigenia to ensure a safe voyage to Troy. The play "The Killing of a Sacred Deer" takes its title from this myth and features several references to it throughout the film. In the film, the character of the surgeon is named Steven, a reference to the character of Agamemnon, and the character of the young boy is named Martin, a reference to the character of Apollo. 


Creating A Moon Base is a horrible idea: Lets Do It!

Science fiction has usually always portrayed colonising the moon as something out of our modern reach, but what if I were to say that with our technology in 2022 we could successfully set up a permeant moon base? The main problem is funding. To set it up, it will need and investment of 20-40 billion US dollars over the course of 10 years. For this, we will assume that we have all the funding we need. Colonization in the past has had 3 common phases: 1. The explorers sent by governments set foot on the new region, plant a flag, stay for a few days then leave. 2. Semi permanent outposts are set up, some dying out and some surviving, but still heavily reliant on the home nation. 3. After that, permanent city's are set up, almost always exporting goods for the benefit of the home nation until there is some sort of revolution resulting in independence. On the moon, the first phase started 65 years during the Apollo mission. Before the colony can become self-sufficient, it needs time to grow. The best spot to set up a base is near the lunar artic poles, where days and nights are 6 months long. This means that we can use reusable rockets to land, set up, stay for 6 months while solar panels work, then leave and come back when its day again. Another advantage to the the lunar poles is the ice, which can be melted down and used in hydroponics (a process where plants are fully grown in water, not soil). Another idea which can be utilised is growing fish in the same water as the plants, as a more mixed diet could be an amazing boost to the astronauts having to spend 6 months in a pressurized metal tube on the moon with only 4 or 5 other people. Once the colony has been established, the next people to come will probably be engineers, builders, and contractors sent by companies and governments. The moon is rich in rare metals, and will be viewed as a massive profit by big business. Two of these people will result in a breakthrough, not scientific, but social: the first baby in space. The big question after this is about national identity: will the baby take the nationality of their parents, or be the first of a new nation, the moon. And when treaties about space and inevitably rewritten, will the colonists get a say. And when that happens, will there be independence...?

The deadlier virus

(So, I'm writing this as Storm Eunice rages outside, and being constantly frustrated by the whistling its making, so that's why myself will be very angry through the duration of this post. Also, this is adapted from CGP Greys video This video will make you angry.)

So, we all know about viruses, with most of us going through repeated lockdowns throughout these past few years due to Covid-19, but little did we all know that the most deadly virus being spread was through the Internet. See, if you are on Twitter and post a funny cat video, and say get 1000 views, then 10% of those people find it funny enough to share it to their friends. Some of these people will share it to groups or repost, so the funny cat video grows. Now, some of these people who know how to photoshop will change the cat video and make it funnier. This is like a mutation of the virus that makes it spread faster. The video will grow and grow until perhaps either a super-spreader (or extremely famous person on Twitter) will post it and it will explode onto other platforms. Or it just fizzles out and dies. But it has to die. Its just funny cat video, after all, and there are thousands of them uploaded every day, so all that will happen is another one will go through the same process, kicking you off your podium. When it has all ended though, you will have had thousands of people follow you, so your next funny cat video will have a far larger platform to kick of from. In this virus analogy, memes are like the common cold, ripping through quickly, barely killing anyone, and leaving, although some extremely popular ones stay around. Now take a hate Tweet, posted by non-other than our favourite racist orange, Donald Trump. He has a massive platform, so when he says something particularly racist, by which I mean more than the usual daily stream of bullshit coming out of every orifice then being viewed by millions, it blows up. First its shared on Twitter, then covered by more liberal news outlets and noted down as another hate crime by activists, then covered by conservative "news" stations such as Fox. This could mean wide spread violence and discrimination against whatever group he's targeted. As it grows, unbiased news like BBC reports about. After that, Joe Rogan, Tucker Carlson .etc jump on board. What either happens is it again fizzles out by people debunking everything in the Tweet as wrong (in this analogy chemotherapy) or it keeps growing, either seeping into culture, perhaps even recruiting people to vote for their conservative party in the next election, or even worse becoming something like the Capitol Hill riots in 2021, and the only people who want that is the powerful conservatives, don't they?

How to make a password system on Python (Tutorial)!

Today I will show you how to make a basic password system on Python!

Password = "rant"
password = ""
while (password != Password):
    print ("Whats your password?")
    password = input().lower()
    if password == "rant":
      print ("Access Granted")
      notes = input()
      print ("Notes: " + notes)
      print ("Access Denied")
I used notes as a example, but you could use anything, or add things like save.

Reviewing the new Warhammer kill team (I know I'm a bit late)

well, I know I'm a bit late, but a new edition to Warhammer kill team dropped in September so here I am

my only problem with this new edition is the price tag is mind blowing, i mean 125 quid for that?! i could have a family, i could pay for university instead of getting that, but anyway, lets start the review.

so basically, what the creators want is it to be the opposite of normal Warhammer. when they first created this edition of kill team the gods of games workshop thought it would be like a fire fight, in the universe only taking up a bout one minute. its doesn't in real life seriously its shi# may as well play normal Warhammer because I aint spending 125 for about 20 figures so f them




Ned looked out into the British Sea, thinking of the last 10 years of his life. It had been relentless. A whirl-wind. He was one of the lucky ones. When October 25th 2033 came, he was visiting some old friends in the High-Lands of Scotland. On that day the greatest catastrophe ever happened. Yellow stone erupted with such force that the whole of the U.S was buried in a meter deep pile of ash. Then a that happened, the Amazon experienced the largest wild fire ever, although five hours later it was topped by the whole of the Siberian Forest burning. 16 tsunamis hit Oceania, Japan and South East Asia. An earth quakes quite literally off the Richter scale hit Central Asia, creating a 400-meter deep, 50-meter-wide crack spanning from Finland to India. More followed across South America, Africa, the middle east. Europe for the first day seemed to be intact, yet what came next was worse.

An ice melt. Over the next two weeks the sea level rose over 50 meters. It doesn’t seem a lot. Only 50 meters? It’s a lot. Goodbye southern Italy. Good bye most of Greece. Good bye Denmark, and most of Norway, Sweden and Finland. Good bye Iberia. Goodbye half of France and Germany. Good bye Ireland, 97% of Wales, 95% of England. Scotland though is mostly mountains. Safe high mountains. There were 6 million people left in Scotland. For seven years wars broke out as the Scottish fought for the limited space.

 Eventually Edinburgh united Scotland, creating the Democratic Union of The British Archipelago, or the DUBA. They started settling areas of Britain that weren’t under water, like the Lake District, which had united, but was falling apart and willing to join DUBA. After that they continued, taking Wales and founding the city of Snowdonia. They finished their great crusade in the year 2041. After this they researched other places where survivors would be. The Alps, Pyrenees, and Scandinavian Mountain ranges had large spaces for societies to form, not to mention places outside of Europe not totally ripped apart by the doom, like the Himalayas and Andes. DUBA found the New European Union.

Ned had thought about it for a long time, looking out from his office in Edinburgh. Now was the time for retribution. As Supreme Judge of the DUBA he was playing a huge role in the trial that had just begun. The leader of Scotland had decreed that every person who had made money from actively supporting or owning a company the destroyed the planet. The last one he had tried was 56, and had a 9% share in Shell. He was sentenced to death. Ned had no remorse. He had helped cause the deaths of billions. Ned walked back into the courtroom, ready for the next one.

By the Light of the Moon (By Eve Vamvas AKA my mum, she gave permission full credit to her)


Claire opened her eyes as the moon’s cool light eased over the tent.   She lay still, the narrow frame of the camp bed enclosing her like a box.

            It was quiet now that woke her.  She could hear the dusty air catching the back of her throat and the tiny knots of fabric in the canvas under her tighten and loosen as her chest rose and fell.  She listened to the breathing of the other medics in the tent.  The Dutch girl’s deep, meditative rhythm and the German’s light snore from lying on her back all night, too tall and wide to move between the narrow poles of the army issue bed.  The other beds lay empty, stripped for the volunteers due at changeover in three weeks.  Claire could imagine their new rucksacks, the pockets and zippers dirty and ripped, the bedrolls kneaded flat, and the packets of cigarettes and confectionery battered and spoilt from the trip.  They would bring newspapers and letters from home she wouldn’t read.  All Claire longed for was a bar of scented soap.  A white box with a pencil sketch of lavender on the front, the raised gold letters of ‘Crabtree &Evelyn’ running along it, an item so simple that the thought of it in her hands, first the box and its sheen, the crisp white tissue paper fastened with a sticker, the soft smooth curve of the soap itself, absolutely new, the warmth of her fingers enough to release the smell, made her light headed.      

Claire swung her legs over the bed and half stood, bowed under the tent’s roof.  She slipped her jacket on over her scrubs and shuffled out of the tent. 

Even as her feet fell on the useless earth, she expected to see grass and mud, trees and a cow looking at her over a hedge, or hear the sound of clear water rushing over a mossed stream bed.  Claire lifted her eyes to see what she could still hardly believe was in front of her now. 

Seventy thousand people at the last count, marooned in a dustbowl on the edge of a desert, barely surviving under tarpaulin squares tethered to empty crates and oil drums.  Claire could make out some detail in the first row ahead of her, a broken suitcase, tyres, a ripped sheet hung on the chain link fence encircling the medics’ compound.  But she knew that the camp spread half a mile deep beyond where she and the other volunteers worked in the hospital.  The Big Top, so called because of the white, sand blasted bunting looped around five bell tents to signify surrender, Claire supposed, but which made just as good targets.  They were down to antiseptic, dressings and basic pain relief – Claire had taken a similarly equipped first aid kit to Glastonbury for the weekend - rationed to the most injured and ill to the point of virtual impotence. 

By this time of night everyone was too exhausted, malnourished or despairing to move and the camp was silent.  Smog rose over the dark horizon, a dense, seasoned cloud of burnt refuse lifting up and away in the night wind.  From behind it shone the moon, flat and hard and cold, the same moon no matter where or to whom it appeared.  Claire took some comfort in this.  Here was the same moon she’d seen sliced by helicopter blades when flying into the camp; the same moon she watched from the beach on Santorini, lying in the warm tide full of beer; the same moon that had lit the wings of the angel mobile hanging over her childhood bed.  It was the same moon, seen by the same person but from a different angle in another place on the planet.  This time would become another memory, relevant only to Claire, like the photo of her new born in her father’s arms, held up next to the television alongside the image of Neil Armstrong taking his step for mankind over the moon’s rubbled surface.    

Claire stood, the dust stinging her eyes and drying her lungs, remembering the six month fitness regime she slogged through as part of the recruitment test to come to the camp.  Taking up smoking and putting on weight would have been better preparation; her chest hurt and she was thin.  She had quickly found that with no talk of food, without the rituals of shopping and preparation, she forgot to get hungry.  She was living on powdered shakes and multivitamins, knocked back as the sun came up and the guards opened the gates.  If she waited beyond then, she couldn’t stomach even that.  More refugees always came, heads down if they were still standing, watched by film crews and counted and registered by NGO’s.  A lot of the ones that crawled in died within hours, as if the relief of making it to safety was the final blow.     

Claire stretched her hands above her and then dropped them down to her feet, feeling the stiffness in her legs and back.  She bounced there gently, letting the weight of her head pull her down so that her hair brushed over the toes of her boots.  She straightened and was reaching up to the moon again when she felt him watching her.   

“Fuller.”  The Chief Medic was sitting against the supplies shed, his elbows on his knees.       

“Anderson,” she nodded. 

It was weeks since they’d been on first name terms, at her induction in Geneva.  Claire first saw Daniel Anderson in the hotel foyer, standing apart from the other team leaders, studying a vine that twisted out of an enormous blue and white china pot, up a wire frame and across a trellis suspended from the ceiling.  The light from the window pushed through the thick upturned leaves on to his tanned face.  Claire saw him in profile, the dark eyebrow and lashes, a slight shine across his forehead and cheek, and a band of white skin above his collar where his hair had been cut too short.  He stood easy, comfortable, not moving when the others came forward to introduce themselves to the new recruits.  When Dan finally turned, his hands in his pockets, Claire was standing in front of him with two glasses of sparkling wine. 

“Sweet,” he said.   

Claire bristled.

“I meant the wine.”  He looked straight at her and Claire knew that she would be on his camp.       

Dan had no ego about being a doctor, in sharp contrast to just about every man she had ever met at medical school or in practice since, and she found him even more appealing as a result.  That week she listened to him talking about their camp, how it worked, how many people they treated, issues arising from malnutrition, compromised hygiene and sanitation.  Dan talked without drama or the affected compassion that she was also used to seeing in her profession.  There was no nauseating talk about ‘doing the right thing’.   

Watching him speak she wondered, often, how he would be alone with her, not assessing infection rates but unbuttoning her blouse and running his fingers under the lace edge of her bra.  And Claire wanted to see how his face looked when he wasn’t thinking about the camp or her, when he was asleep after.  That week in Geneva she thought there would be plenty of time to find these things out about Dan and so had declined his invitation for a drink the night before leaving the hotel.  But within three days of arriving at the camp, she understood what he already knew.  Undiluted misery was no turn on.  When Dan put his arms around her then she had wanted nothing more than the warmth of another human body enclosing her, and she quickly learnt to do without even that.

            She walked over to him as he lit a cigarette. “Thought you’d given up, Anderson.” 

He shrugged his shoulders and looked past her, exhaling.  Claire’s shadow fell across him, the moonlight leaving his face in profile, but she could not match the feelings she had looking at him now with those she had on that first day in the hotel foyer.    

            “How’s the show?”  She nodded over at the Big Top.

            He drew on the cigarette, flinching as the ash blew into his face.  “There’s good news and bad news.” 

            “Good news?  I’m looking forward to that.”  Claire sat down a few feet away from him, tucking the lower half of her face into her t shirt so as not to breathe in so much rising dust.       

“Bad news first.”  He looked out over the camp, rolling the cigarette between his finger and thumb.  “Supplies are out.  All gone.  Cupboards are bare, Fuller.” 

  Claire had been expecting this, yet her insides still dropped with the shock of hearing him say it.  She attempted a joke.  “The Elastoplast isn’t gone too, boss?”  A blister plaster had been nailed in its box to a central tent post by some wag, under a chalked ‘In Case of Emergency’ notice. 

Anderson dropped his head on his knees.  After a while, Claire spoke.      

“What’s the good news?”  she said softly.  When he didn’t answer, she put her hand on his arm and shook him slightly.  “Dan?  The good news?” 

He put his arms over his head in the brace position.  “No more choices to be made, Claire.  That’s the good news.” 

So now all they could do was watch. 

Claire looked up through the pillows of smog and saw the moon, the same moon from wherever she saw it, barren and without atmosphere, a dust ball with a disproportionate effect on the earth below it.  Not here in the desert, its gravitational pull held no visible sway here with so little water to move.  Here, the moon was just a flashlight when there was enough wind to unveil it.

 Claire stood up and made the motion of brushing dirt from her trousers.  Dan held out his hand and she took it and pulled him roughly to his feet.  He looked old now, not wise and capable, just old and tired and profoundly depressing.  A tear ran down his face, cutting through the grit sticking to him like a snail trail over a weathered terracotta pot.  He clung on to her hand and pulled her to him, dropping his forehead against her shoulder.  His hair smelt of old sweat but that wasn’t what made her want to pull away.  It was his hot, wet breath misting her collarbone as he tried to supress the sobs that shook his body against hers, this weakness in him, that she thought would choke her.    

“It’s alright,” she managed to whisper.  “It’s alright.”  She didn’t smooth his hair or put her arms around him.   

“Don’t go down there tonight,” he said into her ear.  “There’s nothing you can do for them.  Stay with me.  Please.” 

She took him by the shoulders, her palms open and firm against the tops of his arms and pushed him upright and away from her.  “Don’t let the others see you like this.  Go back to your tent and wash up.” 

He jolted his head back as if she’d slapped him.  “You think that matters now?”  His voice got louder, “I don’t care what anyone thinks of me.”

Claire pushed him harder so that he stumbled back.  “You set the tone, Dr Anderson.”  Claire turned, striding out to get away from him, marching down behind the camp to the lime pit.          

            Balanced on the lip of the pit was a carport like structure made from strips of corrugated iron on stilts wrapped in barbed wire.  Patients with no relatives or ID were laid out here for the day, rolled into the open end nearest The Big Top, their faces exposed so that they might be identified before they were rolled out of the other end into the pit.  Claire came down here most nights to visit when the silence woke her.  She had stopped saying prayers, the words drying on her tongue, but sometimes she could hum a tune as she nodded to each of them. 

            She walked along slowly, looking at the faces lined up over the jumble of limbs and rags, treading carefully so as not to kick sand in their eyes.  In the moonlight their faces looked smooth, the pain and anguish gone.  Then she heard it; not quite a cry, more like a hiccup.  She stopped and waited.  It wasn’t unusual to hear gasps and creaks as organs liquefied and limbs set.  The wind scuffed sand over her boots and sent it clawing around her ankles.  She walked on, turning her face away from the wind to draw breath.  She heard it again, an unmistakeable mew and stopped to look around.  Dan wouldn’t dare follow her, she was sure of that, and no animals ever made it this far.  Claire checked herself, she was not humming or gasping, and knew in that moment that she wasn’t alone.  She dropped down on to her knees, suddenly afraid, and felt wet crawl through her scrubs.  She pushed her fingers into the dark circle around her and brought her hand up to her face, the bitter metallic smell of blood unmistakeable.  The cry came again, short but clear, and she pushed her hand through the barbed wire and felt something move in amongst the bodies.  Instinctively she snatched her hand back, slapping a hardened face as her sleeve snagged on the thorned wire and she lost her balance and fell back.  For several seconds she sat on the wet dirt and waited.    

            When it cried again, Claire was ready.  Pushing a hole in the barbed wire with the toe of her boot, she plunged her hands through the dark towards the noise and felt her fingers brush a slick of plastic. She wedged her elbows into the hole and leant in as far as she could, catching at the plastic and tugging it over the bodies until she could grab it and slip it through the gap.  The sounds had stopped.  She pulled frantically at what she now saw was a carrier bag, the knotted handles tightening as she scrabbled at it, knowing that she must be too late.   A cloud of smog passed over the moon and the cool, blue light shone directly on Claire’s hands as the carrier split open and the baby fell into her lap. 

            Face down, its back thick with vernix, Claire’s first impression was of a large, smooth stone still wet from a retreating tide.  She cupped it and turned it over in her hands.  It was warm, with hands and feet and a face, balled up and furious, open mouthed from its last attempt at breath.  The wind pulled the plastic bag loose and it twirled up and away on a wave of sand.  Claire drew the baby to her, opening her jacket to rest it against her chest the way she’d seen new mothers do, and the placenta rolled over her belly, through her legs and on to the ground.  The umbilical cord, fat and veined, jerked away with it and she saw the baby was a girl.    

            Cradling the baby’s head and bottom against her, Claire rocked slightly and looked up into the night sky.  The moon looked back down over the silence.  She remembered the picture of her new in her father’s arms, swaddled and safe, and how he loved telling the story of her being born moments before man first stepped on the moon.  He would tell her that it was an omen, that she could do anything, that she was destined to do something good for her fellow man.  He never said it would be a curse. 

            Trembling in the bloody dirt, the baby clamped to her, she wondered where she should leave it.  She couldn’t bring herself to put it back where its mother left it alive.  She waited, unable to make a decision, even to move.  Finally she shuffled on to her knees and stood up slowly, light headed, the jellied blood from the afterbirth rolling from her thighs and down her legs.  She brought the baby up to her face and rested her cheek against her head, breathing her in, nuzzling and kissing the child as if she were her own.   She thought she felt a twitch and then the small furred head bang against her cheek.   Sure it must be because she was shaking, Claire went to put the baby down on the ground and was immediately rewarded with a sharp cry of rage.  Snatching her back up, she saw that the baby’s eyes were open and focussing clearly on her face.  Claire kissed her swiftly, tucked her back into her jacket and started running away from the pit up to the Big Top, jumping over the sand peaks, her path clearly lit by the moon.            

Terraria for noobs. Part 1.

So this will be about a great game called Terraria, specifically a guide for it. I will probably have to do multiple post about this as it is one of the most complicated games on the market, and while some may compare it to Minecraft,  a pro at that game like Dream or technoblade would probably have no idea what to do in this game. So here’s how you start. When making a new world, I would advise you to use a small world a normal and on crimson instead of corruption. Now, after spawning, chop down about 5 trees and find a flat area near spawn to build your house. Build a 9 by 5 wooden box. Then using your inventory craft a work station, after that  make 2 holes in your box and then fill the holes with doors you can create with your work station. Open one of these doors to go outside and find a few slimes to kill with you copper sword, because they will drop gel which can be used to craft torches. After crafting a table and placing it and the a torch, come out of your house and start running to one side. If you find another biome then run back to base. The do they other side. If you find a cave, then start descending, breaking every single pot and loving and destroying each chest. You will find a recall potion and after fully looting the whole cave use the potion and you will be teleported back to Spawn. At this point,  build another house like the one described earlier. Then start mining. The way you mine in this game is straight down, only wide enough for you to fit. After 10 minutes of this , use a recall potionThe using stone craft a furnace a turn all you ores into bars, make a anvil, then craft copper or lead armour. Next time I will tell you how to defeat your first boss, the Eye Of Cuthulu.

Roblox: Pretty Good


ROBLOX provides design elements to help budding game creators make and contribute games and activities. Most are free to play once you register and download an installer, and there are plenty to check out. Users can also chat with and friend each other, join groups, and post on message boards. The games can be inconsistent -- novice developers make them, so quality can vary -- and younger kids may find some a bit scary. Safety features allow parents to limit some of kids' chat and other features by changing their account settings.


This creativity-based website features a never-ending (and continually evolving) supply of creative, fun challenges to explore -- that's the beauty of offering designs from thousands of budding developers. A number of Roblox's user-contributed items, which range from simple obstacle course games to virtual cities, offer an exciting, amusing, and inspiring experience. In addition to checking out available games, kids can also flex their imagination via a design tool that lets them fashion their own games and environments. Unfortunately, though, because many contributors are amateur designers, kids may come across rendering problems, on-screen flicker, and some extremely frustrating gameplay, particularly when navigating mazes or jumping. Users can also potentially encounter inappropriate chat and other content. A number have reported problematic interactions with strangers, and there are lots of examples of violent and overtly sexual content and predatory behavior that have been documented in news sources.

Roblox gets high marks for encouraging exploration, interaction, and, above all, huge amounts of creativity in its users. Kids can theoretically begin as player/explorers and evolve into experienced users and developers. In addition, popular titles could potentially result in young designers making some cash off their inventions. Just be aware that some games they play may be violent, depending on what a creator has placed into a particular experience. And although the site says it proactively filters inappropriate content, a fairly well-publicized 2018 incident in which a user said her 7-year-old daughter's avatar was "gang-raped" on a playground -- along with the fact that Roblox "rape scenes" can be found on YouTube -- suggests some extremely iffy stuff may make it through. Parents may also want to check chat programs that their kids are using to communicate with other players in Roblox games. Other reported incidents have involved players using personally created Discord servers to direct Roblox users to "condo games," where inappropriate sexual content, language, and potential grooming by predators may take place. Parents will likely want to supervise their child's site use to make sure they're viewing only safe content and not interacting with strangers.



Dwarfs line the walls of the Everpeak, weapons ready. They fire bolt and lead at the incoming Orcs, but to the Giant lummoxing forward at the head of the green horde it may as well be a light smither of rain. The Giant crashes into the gates, stumbles back and crashes into them again. It bursts through to be faced by massed units of Longbeards, fearless Dwarf veterans, who mob the Giant like dogs harassing an elephant.


They win, because in the rock, paper, scissors of Total War: Warhammer the Longbeards' immunity to psychological effects makes them good at fighting fear-causing Giants. Slayers would be even better as they have the Anti-Large trait as well as Unbreakable, but this is a game where paper can beat scissors so long as there's enough of it.

Moldy Old World

Until now Total War has recreated historical eras, and so the tactics have been based on simplified versions of real-world tactics, whether deployed by Rome or Napoleon. Cavalry flank and race ahead to attack missile units before they get too many shots off; spears defend and resist cavalry charges; missile units pour volleys into dense infantry units as they slowly advance. Here, things are more complicated.

The Warhammer World is a fantasy setting, one loosely based on Renaissance Europe but with the fiction of J. R. R. Tolkien, Michael Moorcock, H. P. Lovecraft and Fritz Leiber funnelled into it through industrial pipes while copies of 2000 AD and heavy metal album covers are scattered on top. It's a mish-mash of everything someone at Games Workshop ever thought was cool, and it's both familiar and really weird. 

The tactical map gives a good overview of how badly you're losing.

The tactical map gives a good overview of how badly you're losing.

There's plenty of crossover between fans of historical wargames and Warhammer, as shown by two of the previous Total War games receiving fan-made mods that squeeze Warhammer armies into them. This is something else though, a ground-up alteration of the Total War formula to make it suit the fantasy setting of the Old World (and it's moddable too, so someone out there must be itching to reverse the trend and put historical armies back in). That formula comes in two halves. The first is a turn-based grand campaign about marching armies across a map and managing provinces through construction, research, and taxation, trying to balance the economy and people's happiness with army-building. The second happens when those armies meet and drop into a real-time, though pausable, battle.


In previous Total War games the factions played in a relatively similar way, but not any more. For instance, the Greenskins have a meter measuring each army's Fightiness. Win battles, and it rises. Lose, or squat in your hovels like a coward, and it drops. If Fightiness is high enough, and there are at least 17 out of a maximum 20 units in the stack, all that sweet victory encourages other Orcs to band together in a bonus force called a Waaagh! For other species buying and maintaining multiple armies is a huge expense, but for Greenskins can earn them free, which encourages a state of constant aggression that's entirely appropriate.


Dwarves never forget a slight, carefully noting each in a massive book of bitterness.

Dwarfs on the other hand have to keep track of grudges. They never forget a slight, carefully noting each in a massive book of bitterness. Any time their land is raided or attacked or Dwarfs are hindered in any way some scholar back at the capital sucks in air over his teeth and says, “That's going in the book.” While revenge earns rewards, having too many unavenged grudges drops public order as people lose faith in their leader. It breeds a playstyle all about defence, limiting fronts on which the Dwarfs can be attacked and only marching off to make new enemies when old ones have been thoroughly dealt with.


Each faction has their own tech tree, though the Orcs is a bit rudimentary.

Each faction has their own tech tree, though the Orcs is a bit rudimentary.

Meanwhile, the Vampire Counts rely on spreading corruption in the form of a grey, sickly taint on the map. Other factions suffer attrition when moving across corrupted land while Vampire Counts armies are diminished by marching across uncorrupted land. The Vampire Counts can also raise the dead to fill armies instantly rather than waiting (like in Rome II, armies are generated by generals rather than settlements, but cost extra away from the buildings that produce specialists). It's not as much of a game-changer as you'd expect. Unlike the Heroes Of Might & Magic games where the undead grow and grow as they incorporate the fallen into their hordes, Warhammer's Vampire Counts are still reliant on the old-fashioned way to get decent troops, though provinces where large battles have been fought provide a better class of corpses to recruit.

The final of the four playable factions (Bretonnians exist as NPCs but can be used in multiplayer, while Chaos Warriors are available free to those who pre-ordered or buy Total War: Warhammer in its first week and will be paid DLC later) is The Empire. Modelled on the Roman-German Empire, the humans are the most traditional faction, with starting units including crossbowmen, spearmen, and knights that will be more familiar to Total War players than Terrorgheists and Arachnaroks. Imperials get weirder as they go on, with Steam Tanks and knights who trade horses for eagle-headed Demigryphs while their leader Karl Franz can upgrade to a flying Griffon.

All these differences dramatically affected the way I played. As the Greenskins I fought just to keep armies Fighty and raided neighbors without regard for what they thought because that's a significant part of the Orc income even though it went against what I learned with other factions and my regular tendencies. It's not the kind of game where replaying as a different side means "focusing slightly more on missile weapons because they have +1 with bows". Each faction is almost a different game, and that's kept me interested.

Clothes shopping must be hell for Giants.

Clothes shopping must be hell for Giants.

Fantasy battles

There's variance between factions in both the turn-based campaign game and the real-time battles. Dwarfs don't have wizards but are blessed with plenty of artillery, and are generally more of a defensive, come-get-me-you-lanky-bastards force. Vampire Counts don't have missile units (not even skeleton archers), though their wizards have a decent Wind Of Death spell. For them it's all about lurching forward, targeting specific enemies with flying units and Black Knights while the skeletons and zombies shamble up to fill the gaps. The Greenskins have a bit of everything, but can be hard to control. When their Leadership drops due to being flanked or attacked by enemies who cause fear they have a tendency to scarper, but recover quickly and need to be shepherded back into the fray for wave after wave.

The effect of spellcasting on battles is less than expected. There's a limited pool of Winds Of Magic to draw from, with goofy blue haze wafting over the campaign map to show where it's strongest this turn, and individual spell effects feel slight compared to the impact of a flanking manoeuvre or well-timed charge. The Raise Dead spell can summon a unit of zombies out of the ground, which is suggested by the handy in-game guide as a good way of blocking a charge, but also works to bog missile units down or pull off a flank attack. Zombies are weak combatants, however, and the spell can only be cast if you're at less than 20 units. Plus, even if those fragile zombies survive they'll be gone at the end of the battle.


Spells are targeted with glowing hex symbols.

Spells are targeted with glowing hex symbols.

In the first trailer for Total War: Warhammer a single spell obliterated an undamaged Steam Tank, but things seem to have been toned down since then. That's for the best, as now spells are useful additions to the arsenal but won't win a battle on their own. It's something the tabletop game has struggled with in the past, with different editions of the rules swinging back and forth on how powerful magic should be, but I prefer it like this. One magical zap is no more effective than a volley of cannonfire. 

Most of the other spells are variations on projectile attacks, buffs, or debuffs, with flavour text to differentiate them—Goblin Shamans can cause distracting itchiness, while Necromancers make enemy soldiers age by years. There are magic items for your Lords and Heroes too, and banners to your troops, most of which give percentage boosts to abilities. Those Lords and Heroes are powerful combatants, though. Unlike in previous Total War games where the general led from the back, close enough to provide benefits but not close enough to be slaughtered, in Warhammer they're some of your best fighters. Though their loss is devastating to morale, and undead armies can crumble after their general's death, I charge in anyway out of both necessity and a desire to watch their animations as they wreak havoc.

The temptation with Total War is always to zoom right in and watch fights up close, and that's even stronger when it's Dwarfs with mohawks taking axes to looming Trolls.

The temptation with Total War is always to zoom right in and watch fights up close, and that's even stronger when it's Dwarfs with mohawks taking axes to looming Trolls. But it's important to keep an eye on the overall battlefield to ensure reinforcements are being dealt with, flying units aren't hassling your artillery, and so on. Tabbing in and out of a tactical view that presents the battlefield from far above with units as neat rectangular banners helps, and when I zoom back in to see melee devolve into a mess, units overlapping and soldiers clipping through each other, I do feel a pang for the straight edges and ruler-perfect abstraction of turn-based tabletop Warhammer.

It's possible to pull off amazing things even in the morass, though it helps to abuse the slow-motion button and give orders while paused, as you can in single-player mode. You can overcome odds that the auto-resolve option for battles isn't able to: outnumbered 10 to 1 by two Greenskin stacks I still won a narrow victory as the Vampire Counts even though my Legendary Lord Mannfred Von Carstein fell. It's a great feeling to pull something like that off.


If armies move onto water they turn into ships, but have to auto-resolve encounters at sea.

If armies move onto water they turn into ships, but have to auto-resolve encounters at sea.

Lords and quests

At the start of a campaign you choose which of two Legendary Lords will lead your faction, iconic Warhammer characters like Emperor Karl Franz and High Wizard Balthasar Gelt, with the other character becoming available during the campaign. Each has their own questlines to pursue, storylines that unlock special battles to earn unique artifacts. These quest battles can also be played outside the campaign in a separate mode of their own. You might be facing an army with four Shamans, or reinforced by Dwarf Gyrocopters, and your Lord begins each battle with a rousing speech. (This is the only time you hear speeches–unlike Shogun 2 you won't have to skip them before every scrap.)

Because quests are bespoke little stories separate from the campaign—you use your regular army but opponents are conjured up on the spot rather than drawn from existing enemies—there's a risk of them seeming inconsequential. But their unique nature, and the few paragraphs of narrative that come with quests, are reward enough that I probably waste too much effort chasing them.

Though early quest destinations are near the starting positions, they quickly pop up much farther away. Sending your Lord off with an army strong enough to beat them is a bad idea, as even with another powerful stack of troops at home it leaves you open to a concentrated attack, like a sudden Waaagh! Unlocking quests often requires sending your Heroes off to perform specific actions, too. 

Blackfire Pass is one of few passages through the mountains. It sees a lot of battle.

Blackfire Pass is one of few passages through the mountains. It sees a lot of battle.

Heroes are both tough individuals who can embed within your armies and agents who can deploy across the campaign map to perform specific actions. That map’s impressive in its detail, looking like cartography from the inside cover of  a book made real. Heroes assassinate and corrupt, damage walls and buildings, reduce income and public order, or improve those things within your own borders. Sadly there are no videos for Hero actions, none of those clips of a ninja or geisha doing something cool that the Shogun games had.

Nameless Heroes can die, but named characters are only ever injured and keep coming back. Sometimes this seems apt, and having to kill the Necromancer Heinrich Kemmler twice only to see him resurrect again was perfect. It's odder when Joe Random Minor Hero keeps coming back to annoy the same city even after I pay money and risk the odds to have him assassinated over and over.

It's not all about death. There are unique tech trees to research, buildings to construct, public order to maintain, and diplomacy to tinker with. Even the Greenskin tribes engage in limited diplomacy–though they don't make trade agreements they do negotiate alliances with each other and sometimes the Dwarfs tempt them with gold to buy peace. A lot of money gets thrown around on the diplomatic screen. It's easy to profit by letting one side of a war buy you off then waiting for the other to tempt you away, flip-flopping repeatedly with no noticeable impact on your standing. After a few Total Wars I've forgiven the weaknesses of the AI, but the talking heads on the diplomacy menu still feel daft.


Chaos Marauders. Even their horses have horns.

Chaos Marauders. Even their horses have horns.

Tonal war

Sometimes the Total War game underneath pokes through, creating situations that don't feel right for Warhammer. When Dwarfs defeat Greenskins they have an option to ransom their captives for cash, a decision I can't see either side agreeing to in the fiction. But there are times when the tone is absolutely right, as when the Dwarfs are given a choice to forgive a grudge but both the replies available are different wordings of “hell no.”

One of the most Warhammer-ish things about it is Chaos. After 20 turns warnings appear: Chaos gathers in the north. It's another 50 turns before I notice their effects, a spreading corruption like the undead's. As the computer turns whiz past, the pause while the Chaos Warriors move grows longer and longer as their numbers grow. It's past turn 100 before I engage with them, but by then the northern Old World is ruins, and Archaon The Everchosen leads a doomstack right towards me.


The end times came and I ignored them, pretending it wasn't my problem until it was too late.

It feels strange to be worried about spoilers for a strategy game, but you should encounter Chaos for the first time for yourself. Games Workshop has told the story of this Chaos Incursion twice–the first time Chaos lost and fans hated it, the second time Chaos won and fans hated it. Now you can retell that story yourself. It's a story of nations squabbling when they should unite, but even as darkness draws closer the acrimony between me and my foes, combined with the desire to take their territory, stops me from committing to confederation. The end times came and I ignored them, pretending it wasn't my problem until it was too late.

The part of me that collected a High Elf army as a teenager wishes it was broader in scope (at least give us Skaven!) but there will be expansions to cover some of that and in previous games they’ve been handled well. Anyway, the best Total War games have been the most focused, whether on a single nation or a single general. Total War: Warhammer takes in a continent but tells one story, and it's potent because of that.