A great Total War: WARHAMMER faction feels unique in its mechanics, be they in battle or outside of it. Total War: WARHAMMER III – Forge of the Chaos Dwarfs is no exception to the rule. The Tomb Kings remain my favourite faction in the franchise for that reason; their defensive nature, coupled with their undead legions and powerful statues, create an experience that is wonderful to play.
For Total War: WARHAMMER III – Forge of the Chaos Dwarfs, Creative Assembly certainly nailed the unique part with their latest faction, the titular Chaos Dwarfs. Their campaign is a blood-soaked war that deviates from the base game’s goals, their faction mechanics are varied and require a lot of management, and their roster is more than just slow-armoured dwarves. They pack one hell of a punch, and despite some issues with the unit roster, they are a welcome addition to the franchise.
The Chaos Dwarfs, if their name doesn’t give it away, are a faction of dwarfs who left their comrades behind thousands of years ago to serve the minor Chaos God Hashut. They are cruel, industrious, and hell-bent on turning the world into a hellish forge. In their campaign, which does not follow the same rules as the factions from base WARHAMMER III, they are seeking to build the Great Drill of Hashut to dig through the fabric of reality and enter Hashut’s domain.
Despite featuring Dwarf in their name, they play very differently compared to their good-aligned counterparts. Whereas the original Dwarf faction is notable for its slow infantry, powerful artillery, and armoured units, the Chaos Dwarfs feel as though they have everything. Slow dwarven infantry are supported by a variety of fodder troops, monsters, artillery, cavalry, and missile units, to the point where it feels as though the faction has too much going on unit-wise. Battles feel messy, as I don’t think there is a cohesive vision for how they are supposed to fight.
“Total War: WARHAMMER III – Forge of the Chaos Dwarfs is once again a great example of Creative Assembly’s ability to make me want to conquer the world of WARHAMMER once again.”
Fortunately, that’s not the case for its campaign mechanics. The Chaos Dwarfs are one of the most interesting factions in Total War: WARHAMMER, as their economy is designed like a production line. Apart from treasure, the Chaos Dwarfs need to acquire labour through battle and trade to earn raw materials, which are used to build many of the faction’s buildings. Raw materials can be further turned into armaments, which can be spent on upgrades in the Hell-Forge, such as increasing the amount of specialized units you can build and creating unique effects and weapons for existing units.
Then there’s the Tower of Zharr, which functions as the political and diplomatic battleground for the faction. You can aim for seats in the tower, which will afford you the opportunity to build districts should you have enough influence. These provide bonuses that can be as simple as an increased research rate, but will eventually go on to influence the entire mechanics of a faction should you consistently win. It’s a great diplomatic game to play on the campaign, and alongside the Chaos Dwarfs economy, make it one of the more engaging campaigns in the series.
It’s surprising that I find the Chaos Dwarfs campaign mechanics to be better than its roster, yet here we are. Despite my quibbles about how the Chaos Dwarfs fight, Total War: WARHAMMER III – Forge of the Chaos Dwarfs is once again a great example of Creative Assembly’s ability to make me want to conquer the world of WARHAMMER once again.