I am a big fan of Creative Assembly’s Total War: Warhammer. I make no secret of the fact that I feel it carries the banner of GW’s The Old World long after it was ruined in a bizarre business decision. You can read my fawning fanboy review of the base game here.
Call of the Beastmen is the first DLC for Total War: Warhammer. The Eye for an Eye campaign is the mini campaign included with the DLC, which also adds the beastmen as a playable faction to the all-important grand campaign.
The big sticking point for many players was the cost of the DLC at ~20$ and a few important units (Gorgon/Jaberslythe) that were not included. While I can understand that, I am happy with the DLC overall.
The Eye for an Eye campaign has the player take control of Beastlord Khazrak as he seeks revenge against Boris Todbringer for blinding him in one eye. It is one of the more pivotal rivalries in Beastman lore from the tabletop.
The campaign is fun, and does a good job of showcasing the unique mechanics available to the Beastmen. There were some epic battles and interesting choices for a medium length game and I got my money’s worth for sure. On the downside, it does not allow the player to control any leader other than Khazrak and does not quite have enough depth of factions to offer much replay value.
While the Eye for an Eye campaign does not quite knock it out of the park, the Beastman as a faction more than make up the difference. The units offer interesting variations in each crucial role, focusing on mobility, ambush, and charge mechanics. The minotaurs and centigors, in particular, were a joy to use in battle. The roster, despite criticisms, had decent depth.
I did like that Khazrak could get a chariot mount, but you need to focus quite a bit on any chariot to get the best out of it in TWW.
The main difference between the Beastmen and other factions is how they play out on the campaign map. Beastmen are a horde faction (no cities) that have a very unique set of stances. Their basic movement stance has a chance to trigger an ambush battle on the attack, while their encampment stance allows them to hide from all but the most astute of pursuers. They can also raid for money and bestial rage (Bestial rage is similar to the orc WAAAAAGH! mechanic in that it summons a supporting army if you collect enough). Their forest path movement stance works similar to the underways used by the Dwarves and Orcs, but allows access to different areas and map battles.
The stances make for a faction that can survive by guile deep in enemy territory. Where the other horde faction, Chaos, works as an unstoppable juggernaut led by the baddest of the bad the Beastmen are a defter instrument, able to attack in a variety of ways but lacking the same level of brute power. Like orcs, they are very reliant on support character for buffs to give them the edge in a stand up fight. Gorebulls in particular give some nice bonuses.
Ultimately what made the faction for me though is the moon phase mechanics. Every six turns or so the player must choose from four blessings of the Chaos Gods. Each blessing is a bonus combined with a hefty penalty. Depending on the phase of the moon, these can change the character of your horde for several turns. One allows massive casualty replacement, but at the cost of horde growth, for example. Choosing the right bonus can turn a terrible situation around. Choosing the wrong penalty can really screw you. Once I understood it, I really enjoyed it and began to plan my attacks around it. With a little refinement, mostly in making the penalties more consistent (some are easy to avoid), it could become one of the great thematic mechanics of the game.
Overall I would heartily recommend it to anyone who has an interest in the Beastmen. Eye for an Eye is good, but it is really a prelude to using them in the Grand Campaign.