Lair of the Wyrm

Hey everybody!
It’s game day here at spalanz.com, and today I thought it’d be cool to take a look at some expansions for Descent 2nd Edition, a game that I first featured on the blog here back in 2015: let’s look at the Lair of the Wyrm!

Lair of the Wyrm

The treacherous Wyrm Queen Valyndra has awoken from her slumber, unleashing her foul hybrid minions on the countryside to burn and raid as they please. Her lust for gold has lured her from her lair, and now it’s up to a few brave heroes to drive her back into hiding and destroy her cruel servants!

The first expansion for Descent, Lair of the Wyrm came out in 2012, and is what I suppose you could now call a small box expansion for the main game. As such, it comes with more of everything, which is never a bad thing as far as I’m concerned! We get new items, new enemies, and new heroes, as well as new tiles and five new quests that link into a new campaign to go on as we delve into the lair of Valyndra, the wyrm of the title.

First of all, let’s look at the heroes. We get two: Reynhart the Worthy, and High Mage Quellen. Reynhart is from the warrior archetype, and comes with a new Champion class, while the mage Quellen brings the new Geomancer class with him. Both of these allow for more options for all manner of heroes, of course, which is something that I always enjoy seeing.

Again, the item cards provide more of the same, though a new aspect of the game is introduced through something called Secret Rooms, which allow you to place a whole new tile that can be searched, in a mechanic that feels very similar to the secret door cards in DungeonQuest. Unlike in that game, you don’t start a whole new area of the map, but rather continue on with the current quest once the Room has been resolved, but it just feels very similar, and I thought I’d mention it!

Lair of the Wyrm

Moving on to monsters, there are only two new types included here: Hybrid Sentinels (the bat-like creatures) and Fire Imps (those little dudes coming out of the flames). The fire imps in particular tie into the theme of the expansion, through the new condition of Burning! Yes, if being poisoned and all the rest of it wasn’t enough to worry about, you can also catch on fire in the dungeon! Well, it makes sense, because you are delving into the dragon’s lair…

Lair of the Wyrm

Valyndra herself is a Lieutenant for the Overlord, and as such is sold separately as a miniature, though there is a large cardboard tile the size of her base to represent her in the game if you don’t want to add the mini. She’s pretty huge, and very detailed, and I can’t imagine anyone who wouldn’t want to have this model on the tabletop as a final boss monster. Valyndra comes with all the usual lieutenant pack stuff, and the Overlord in general gets some nice new toys in this box, including the new Punisher class that can be pretty brutal on the heroes.

Lair of the Wyrm is also used in the co-op scenario Dark Elements, which successfully blends the base game with the expansion in a new and exciting way. The co-op scenario plays a little like Shadows of Brimstone, if you’re familiar with that game, whereby the heroes are progressing through the quest in the light of a single torch that illuminates only a few squares around them. The elements involved in this quest include both enemy units from Lair of the Wyrm, along with the Elementals from the base game and – my favourite enemy type so far in the game – merriods! If you’re looking for a great co-op expansion for Descent, and want to use the bits from Lair of the Wyrm, then this is definitely it!

Descent Dark Elements

Lair of the Wyrm is an incredibly flavourful expansion to the Descent line, and definitely worth picking up if you find yourself in need of some dragon goodness for your games (and let’s be honest, who wouldn’t want dragon goodness in their games?) As of the time I’m writing this, I believe it’s getting quite difficult to find, being one of the earlier expansions for the game, but definitely worthwhile picking up if you can!

Forbidden Fortress!

Hey everybody!
Well I’m kinda gutted that my game day blog for yesterday didn’t upload – a (late) Halloween look at the Omens of Ice expansion for Elder Sign. Well, it’ll just have to be later now! It should be up on the blog next week instead.

In case you aren’t aware, though, Flying Frog Productions have now gone live with their second Kickstarter project, Forbidden Fortress! It’s a third core set for the Shadows of Brimstone line and, as the name suggests, it’s set in feudal Japan.

Shadows of Brimstone Forbidden Fortress

I went all-in on the Shadows of Brimstone kickstarter, and when the game finally arrived, I wasn’t what you’d call impressed with it all. I have played it a few times, and intend to give it the full game-day treatment here soon, but overall, it seemed a bit of a disappointment overall. I’m also one of these backers who hasn’t received all of the stuff, so that’s annoying. But anyway.

When FFP announced the Japanese arm of their dungeon-crawler at GenCon this year, I was hopeful that they would have learnt from the last campaign and this one would be a bit smoother. So far it’s been interesting, seeing the early bird levels work out much better than last time, for instance. The project was funded in just 4 minutes, which I find hilarious, but the stretch goals are still paced every 25k, and they’re blowing through them as they did in the last campaign. It does make me slightly worry!

Shadows of Brimstone Forbidden Fortress

I’m currently pledged in at Sumo level, which speaks as much to my appearance as to my trepidation over another game right now. I suppose if I had more experience with the earlier game, I might be better placed to know if I’d want to go all-in for it, but so far I’m just too much on the fence because I don’t really know how I feel about the original Shadows of Brimstone yet. I may end up changing for a Shogun-level pledge before the end, as it’s likely to be worth more in the long run. However, I don’t relish the fact of putting up so much money right now and then potentially waiting a few more years before getting everything. Might be worth my while to wait for retail.

I don’t know a lot about Japanese mythology, but I do have an interest in it, so I’m finding that most of my interest in the game overall is coming from this aspect than the actual game. I also don’t have a great deal of Japanese-themed games, Journey Wrath of Demons being a notable exception of course, so it’ll no doubt be good to have in the collection. Especially given how thematic FFP games tend to be.

So I guess we’ll see where the next month takes us. At first glance, it doesn’t look like FFP are changing their engine to any great degree, and the box is fully-compatible with the earlier boxes, so I guess no huge changes will be made at this stage. For me, though, it’s more a matter of quality of the materials than anything else. I guess we’ll see…

Are you backing Shadows of Brimstone: Forbidden Fortress? Let me know in the comments below!

Warhammer Quest Silver Tower: first game

Hey everybody!
While not exactly planned, it’s the second of a two-part game day! Following last week’s first impressions of the new Warhammer Quest: Silver Tower boxed game from Games Workshop, over the weekend I got to play my first game with it, having spent last week building all of the miniatures. So I thought I’d come back here to talk more about the gameplay and kinda build upon last week’s blog.

Warhammer Quest Silver Tower

First of all, as you no doubt know if you’ve read this blog for any great length of time, I’m a very big Warhammer fan. Warhammer fantasy is what got me interested in this universe, and I’m very much enjoying Age of Sigmar right now. So that kinda colours the perspectives here. I also enjoy a good dungeon crawl, so the stars have really aligned on this one!

The game plays pretty straightforward. I described the various phases last time, where you roll five ‘destiny dice’, discard any duplicates, then roll your hero dice and determine how you play your actions on your turn. In addition to the basic actions, each hero has a few abilities that make them feel somewhat unique, though a lot of this does feel like something of a dice-fest.

Warhammer Quest Silver Tower

Combat was interesting to me. I say this because, whether it was purely down to my good fortune in the game or not, but I seemed to have a pretty easy time of things. The Knight-Questor has the capacity to deal a lot of damage in melee, and can pull as many as three enemies towards him to facilitate this (and make up for his otherwise ponderous gait). The Tenebrael Shard (that’s Dark Elf to you and me) has the ability to move anywhere on the board and then double combat damage dealt in the round, and one of his weapons does d3 damage. That was all pretty powerful, and often resulted in no adversary phase because none were left!

The renown track that goes up when certain conditions are met, such as your hero slaughtering enemies, was a nice way to pace the discovery of skills that can do things like increase speed and whatnot, though at times it felt like it was going up extremely slowly, as I kept drawing chamber tiles with no enemies placed on them! I was initially sceptical about the number of miniatures in the game at first – 45 enemies for a game as big as this seemed a little low, but then there is more to this than just killing stuff.

And this is what I liked about the game. There are all manner of different types of tests the adventure book puts you through, one of my favourites being trying to accomplish a number of dice-based tasks within a time limit. That was actually a lot more fun than I’m making it sound!

I must admit to being a little confused by how exactly you’re supposed to go through the whole trials thing – I made the mistake of just setting it up and beginning immediately, without thinking about any kind of campaign play. Don’t get me wrong, it was still a blast, and I really managed to get to grips with the rules and stuff in the game I had, but without going to the adventure book first, I think I ran the risk of actually just having an endless game of exploring the same tiles and killing the same enemies forever.

Though I guess you could argue that’s the entire point of the maddening Silver Tower of Tzeentch!

Warhammer Quest Silver Tower

The miniatures are tremendous quality, and the game really is a lot of fun. There is a but coming, however, something that kept nagging at me while I was playing through the game:

This will only appeal to a very specific type of gamer: a Warhammer fan.

I can’t really think of any other reason why you would buy this. Dungeon crawl games in a fantasy universe of this calibre aren’t exactly ten-a-penny, but there is a whole lot of choice out there for board gamers these days. Descent and D&D Adventure System games are two that instantly leap to mind when I think of this genre and, while Descent uses a DM in the main game, there are official co-op variants available. The games are all very similar in feel and, to an extent, in style, but buying the base game for Descent will set you back £65 MSRP, while the D&D games come at £45 each. Paying £95 MSRP for Warhammer Quest: Silver Tower is only going to happen if you’re already invested in the world, if you’re interested in getting the miniatures to paint (and probably use in other games, notably Age of Sigmar), and likely not because you’re interested in a fantasy dungeon-crawl tabletop game.

I bought this game because I love the Warhammer setting, and have been thinking about using some of the miniatures in Age of Sigmar. The fact that it’s a co-op dungeon crawl is just icing on the cake, really. If you’re looking for a fantasy game with great miniatures that you just want to sit down with friends and play, then unless you’ve got money to throw around (and time to build the miniatures), I would honestly suggest you check some of the other games out.

But if you love Warhammer and are looking for something lighter than the full-on tabletop war game, then Warhammer Quest: Silver Tower might be exactly what you’re looking for!

 

Let the adventure begin!

Hey everybody!
Time for another game day blog, and today is the turn for a new addition to my library – Warhammer Quest!

Warhammer Quest

I’ve not yet played this game half as much as I’d like, so this is very much a first-look type of thing. First announced around GenCon, I got fairly excited at the idea of a dungeon-delving adventure. It also has that Warhammer feel from Fantasy Flight, with the familiar artwork from both Warhammer Invasion and the RPG.

The game is a co-operative dungeon-crawl adventure, where players take on classic Warhammer roles such as the Waywatcher, the Bright Wizard and the Warrior Priest, to explore locations and defeat enemies as part of a quest storyline.

Each hero has a series of actions he can perform each round, before the villains then attack back. The four actions each hero has are the same, though they execute in distinct ways, so they feel quite different when they play. The quest involves some exploration of locations, and some combat with enemies. You can also rest, to heal, and aid others, to help bolster their actions later in the round. Whatever you do, your action card will determine how many dice you roll to do this. Lets take a look at an attack:

Warhammer Quest

The action card shows you have two dice (white for heroes), so you roll these along with one black die for each enemy engaged with you. Each crossed-axe symbol counts as a success, while each shield cancels any attack rolled on the black die. The enemy has a number of hit points shown in the red circle on the right – in the above example, 1 – that obviously need to be beaten to defeat the enemy. Each enemy also has a number of keywords that allow them to play a little differently to each other, to further the theme.

Warhammer Quest

You explore the dungeon by taking your Explore action, which allows you to place progress on the Location card in play while also drawing a Dungeon card, which can be anything from lost gear and supplies to events that have a negative impact on your party. Exploration uses the same mechanic as attacking, rolling white dice as shown on your action card, any successes allowing you to place progress markers on the Location.

The first quest involves defeating a kind of boss goblin, who will keep spawning until you have explored every location in play. However, each game round involves a “peril” step, whereby the peril track is advanced one space and, as specific points, something bad will happen.

Warhammer Quest

I think there are cards that allow you to push back the peril track, though I didn’t get to see any in my play-through. This track effectively creates a timer, as you need to make sure you explore fast to stop the boss monster from doing that much damage. Once you’ve explored the locations and defeated the boss, you claim a victory, and move on to the next quest in the campaign!


 

I really liked this game, in the brief experience I’ve had with it. There’s a lot going on, and a lot to strategise about, which I feel makes for a really interesting game experience. I’ve only played it solo so far, but I imagine it would be great with more people, as you try to determine your best course of action each round. Having the same dice mechanic for each action, just having success mean something different each time, is a nice implementation here, as it allows for you to learn it quite easily. I should mention here that there is a tutorial in the base game that takes you through the basic actions as you play against some basic enemies with just one location, and while it can be great to get into the game, you definitely shouldn’t judge the game experience from that tutorial. In all honesty, I nearly did, and felt a bit underwhelmed until I tried the campaign play. There’s so much more to the game that it increases the richness tenfold. Don’t give up if you’ve only tried the tutorial!

Of course, it’s a base game, so the options are fairly…standard. I would almost say rudimentary, but that does it a disservice, I think. There’s a lot to think about, and a lot to enjoy, in this box. My one gripe here would be that there is only the campaign mode in which to play the quests. The box does include one standalone quest (called a Delve quest) that says it can be played more than once, but I think I’d like to see a few more shorter scenarios rather than the all-or-nothing approach that seems to have been adopted here. Maybe something for the future.

Indeed, there are a lot of ways in which the game can be expanded, and I’m really interested to see in which ways the game is taken. I expect we won’t be getting any expansions for a while, as this isn’t in the LCG model, but more heroes, more (shorter) quests, and definitely more dungeon cards and enemy cards would all be very welcome, as I feel like this will otherwise get really old really quickly.

But for now, I’m going to keep going with the campaign…

Warhammer Quest

Feel the Wrath…

Hey everybody,
It’s time for another game day blog! Today’s will be a little short, but nevertheless awesome, as we delve once more into the dungeon, and face the Wrath of Ashardalon!

Wrath of Ashardalon

The second of the D&D Adventure System games, the rules are basically the same as those for Legend of Drizzt, which featured on my blog during my D&D week earlier in the year. You play an adventure as outlined in the adventure book, laying tiles as you explore the dungeon, and overcoming the fearsome enemies that live there. And my goodness, there are enemies!

Wrath of Ashardalon

This is perhaps my favourite box of the three games, simply because it has some wonderful miniatures for you to battle – least of all, the Beholder! Classic D&D monster. Ashardalon himself is also an impressive miniature there, and there are some truly horrible things like the formless Gibbering Mouthers, or the tentacled Grell. Wonderful stuff!

Wrath of Ashardalon

The dungeon itself feels more like an actual building this time, rather than the caverns of the Underdark, and instead of mushroom clusters to place the monsters, we have scorch marks. Fitting, given there’s a massive dragon down there! There are also doors on some tiles, as shown on the Vault above for instance, which need to be opened to continue the adventure.

Wrath of Ashardalon

Something more unique to this box, however, are the Chamber tiles, which are laid down all at once when instructed by the adventure. So you’ll draw the entrance tile, which has a black arrow as shown above so you’re having an Encounter there as well as facing a fairly closely-placed monster, then you set out the remaining tiles of the chamber to create a fairly wide space. Which is usually then filled with monsters. Yay.

Wrath of Ashardalon

The game is one of my all-time favourites, and was actually the first Adventure System game I bought. There’s not a lot to say beyond what has already been said for Legend of Drizzt, if I’m honest, but this is a truly great experience, and for me as a non-D&D RPG player (sigh), it feels generic enough that you can break it out whenever you like, rather than the more focused Drizzt or Ravenloft (still haven’t got Elemental Evil yet!)

At any rate, it’s highly recommended!

Journeys in the Dark

Hey everybody!
It’s post 300! Never thought I’d see the day… to celebrate the fact that I’ve been churning out so many posts here at spalanz.com, I’ve decided to go for a fairly special post to mark the occasion, and bring you all a game day blog that takes a look at a game that has been mentioned here so often, it’s gotten a little silly: it’s time for Descent!

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, today I’m looking at the juggernaut of dungeon-crawling games, designed by Kevin Wilson and originally released from Fantasy Flight Games back in 2005. Set in the fantasy world of Terrinoth, the game features a one-vs-many mechanic, pitting a group of heroes against the evil Overlord. It was released in a second edition in 2012, and being a huge fan of the Realms of Terrinoth, I snapped it up! While it has seen depressingly little table-time from me, a spate of co-operative adventures has since been released that supports solo play for the game, and has allowed me to enjoy the game at last!

So let’s take a look…

First of all, the heroes. There are eight heroes in the base game, sub-divided into four archetypes – warrior (red), healer (blue), mage (yellow) and scout (green). Each of these is further subdivided into classes, with each archetype receiving two such classes in the base game. Each class has its own deck of small cards, which provide the hero with some starting items and abilities, as well as skills that can be bought by leveling up your hero. Always fantastic when a game allows this!

In a similar manner, the Overlord player has a deck of Overlord cards he can use to counter the efforts of the heroes, which starts as a generic deck of cards but can branch into particular specialties. The Overlord mainly interacts with the heroes by deploying monsters, as well as using the Overlord cards to affect gameplay. Furthermore, the Overlord has access to powerful Lieutenant packs that give even more options:

Lieutenant packs feature plastic miniatures instead of the cardboard tokens used to represent Lieutenants in the game. As usual with FFG, however, they’re much more than just a new figure. They also come with a Plot deck that adds an extra level of storytelling for the Overlord, a deck of cards that is paid for with threat tokens that are gained whenever the Overlord defeats heroes, completing quests, etc. However, threat tokens, when paid, are given to the heroes as Fortune tokens, which can be used by them to re-roll dice and stuff. It can be a powerful trade-off! Also included is an Overlord card that allows you to bring that Lieutenant into any game as an Agent, replacing one monster group with a version of the Lieutenant that is somewhere between full Lieutenant and Monster. There are loads of Lieutenant packs out now, and they’re all very much worth it for the range of options they bring to the game!

The game follows a specific scenario, and supports a campaign-mode of play whereby scenarios can be linked to form a real adventure, and character-leveling becomes more important as the game goes on! There is a campaign book included in the game that details how each scenario is set up, using specific tiles and monsters, as well as other tokens to represent items or search opportunities for the heroes.

Descent: Journeys in the Dark

The Overlord, as mentioned, has access to a fairly decent collection of monsters here, but there are also Hero and Monster Collections available that re-implement classic monsters from the first edition of the game, in new sculpts that look pretty awesome! I’ve looked at those elsewhere on this blog, of course, so let’s stick with the base game for now!

Descent: Journeys in the Dark

While the game is scenario-driven, combat forms a main part of the experience, and the system used by Descent is actually really nice, I think! To start with, there are a whole load of weird-looking six-sided dice for the game, which have all manner of symbols on them to indicate successes and failures.

Descent: Journeys in the Dark

The dice fall into two categories: attack and defense. Attack dice range in potency from yellow through to blue and up to red; the defense dice follow a similar pattern, from brown, through to grey and finally to black. Shown on the attack dice are heart symbols, indicating how many wounds the attack does. The numbers indicate how far the range is – so if you’re using a ranged weapon on a monster six squares away, but you only roll one 2 on your attack dice, the attack falls short. There are also lightning-bolt glyphs, called surges, which can allow you to trigger a special effect by spending them. On the defense dice, the shield icons are used to cancel any heart icons rolled by the attacker on a one-to-one basis. Let’s take a look:

Descent: Journeys in the Dark

Here, Grisban the Thirsty has rolled three hits (with a range of 6, but as this is a melee attack the range doesn’t count) against the Merriod, and has one surge that he can spend to trigger the effect on his Chipped Greataxe to deal an additional wound; the Merriod can cancel two of these, so will take two damage from this attack.

The number of dice a hero or monster rolls are shown on the respective cards – monsters have cubes above the picture (for a generic, cream-coloured monster) and below (for the red, master monster), while item cards will show the coloured cubes on the right border. Item cards often have a hand limit, similar to Arkham Horror – Grisban’s axe in the above picture has two hands in the bottom-left corner, so he can’t use any other items in his attack.

Descent: Journeys in the Dark

There is a lot of depth to Descent that I’m not really getting across in this blog, for the simple reason that it’s a game you really need to play in order to truly experience. It can be quite complex to get everything moving, as evidenced by the 36-minute Watch It Played video, but the experience can be exceptionally rewarding for both sides when you do it right. That said, it’s not the sort of game I tend to go for (despite owning the fairly-similar Mansions of Madness), and the Overlord is much more the antagonist rather than more a DM, but it’s still got so much to commend it that I can never stop gushing about it whenever I get to play!

Fallen, at last!

Hey folks,
Following my first game with Fallen last week, I felt like I had to come here and share my thoughts with the world. I’ve already talked about this once on a game day, but now that I’ve had a chance to play with it, and see how the game actually works, I feel the need to spread the word once again!

Fallen

This originally appeared on boardgamegeek.

This is a card-based dungeon crawl game that launched on kickstarter almost two years ago now, although it only made it into my hot little hands at the beginning of this year. It’s a game that I had been very excited to take delivery of, as it had really captured my imagination back in the day. However, the long kickstarter wait dulled that somewhat, and by the time I actually got it, my enthusiasm had somewhat cooled. Hence why it took over three months to actually make time for a game.

Having now played a game, I can’t begin to praise this enough (nor berate myself for having taken so long to get round to it!) It’s a fantastic experience, and one that I can recommend to anyone who has a love of a wide variety of games.

Fallen

The game pits a hero against a dungeon lord in a classic choose your own adventure style of dungeon crawl. I wouldn’t say you have to be a fan of that genre to enjoy this game, however, as the choices you make feel much more like a RPG than an adventure book. Over the course of your turn, the dungeon lord will read a short amount of story text aloud from one of the three Story cards that make up the adventure, and offer you a choice.

Once you’ve made that choice, more story is followed by an attribute test of some sort called a Challenge, which can also involve drawing Treasure cards (for the hero) or Omen cards (for the dungeon lord), which will beef up your character in the usual boardgame manner. The winner will gain XP, which can be used to upgrade skills (for the hero) or creatures (for the dungeon lord), and also access to rewards in the shape of drawing cards, dealing wounds, and charging your character’s special Ultimate ability (more shortly).

Creatures, you say?

Fallen

While the hero follows the traditional model of being equipped with weapons, armour and items, and training in certain skills, the dungeon lord attacks through his (or her) minion creatures, which I thought a really awesome thematic idea – in the game, the hero is delving through a dungeon to fight its lord, so it makes sense that he wouldn’t be fighting that lord all the way through, right? It just felt like you are actually moving through the events of the story rather than merely pitting attribute-to-attribute.

Fallen

Skills come in three different types, each of three levels, and the hero uses his (or her) XP to purchase higher-level skills that will grant you more dice to roll and specific effects to buff your character. Creatures can essentially be levelled-up, wherein they are replaced with more powerful creatures that grant the dungeon lord more dice to roll as well as more powerful abilities to trigger when they are used. Something I liked about these abilities is they often trigger on a win or a loss, so it’s not that you can just let your opponent win because even the loser gets the chance to draw a reward: you can often find yourself agonizing over whether to use a weapon (as the hero) to tip the balance in your favour.

Fallen

During a challenge, you will always roll at least two dice, and the one who rolled the most swords wins. However, there are ways and means to add more dice to your pool – creatures bolster the dungeon lord, and weapons and skills do this for the hero. You also have a deck of 20 power cards, half of which are specific to your character. You need to pay for these, using Fortune that is only recharged at the very end of the Story card, so when to use this can be crucial. Some of them can also be really powerful, so there’s a strong strategic element involved here – especially as, in the game I played, the dungeon lord can force a lot of discards to the hero, making it unwise to hold on to them.

Fallen

While the dungeon lord has his own power cards, he also has the deck of Omen cards that act as something of a cross between Power and Treasure cards (though more like the former). I really like the card back to this deck, it feels really classic-fantasy:

Fallen

Finally, each character has an Ultimate ability, which needs to be charged before use. While a hero will usually have an innate ability with certain attributes – and buff these with skills and weapons – and the dungeon lord relies on his minion creatures, using your Ultimate ability can increase your dice pool at a critical moment, but can sometimes take a while before you can re-charge it. More strategy!

Fallen

Something that I really like with about all of this is the Shadow Track. Six cards arranged in a vertical column from Brilliant to Night, which alter the flow of the game depending on how dark it is in the dungeon. A lot of effects can depend on this, predominantly the Ultimate ability of your character, which is affected by the dark in terms of which dice (and how many) you roll for it. One of the rewards you can receive for winning a challenge is to move the track one step, so you can pull it in whichever direction may be more favourable to you. It really makes for an atmospheric experience, and in my game I pretty much let it run down to Night as the end game approached for the thematic implications.

So what happens at the end game?

Fallen

Once three Story cards have resolved (each has four challenges on, so it can take a fair amount of time to get through), the Final Battle begins. As an interesting twist, it’s now the hero’s turn to read aloud the adventure, as he (or she) battles the dungeon lord in his (or her) lair! The Final Battle cards are basically challenges much like the Story cards, though don’t necessarily follow on from each other based on the hero’s choice of action – a ‘battle begins’ card is read aloud first, then the cards resolve, then a ‘conclusion’ is read to end the game. The first person to succeed at three Final Battle challenges is the winner.

Fallen

Fallen
This game could so easily be reduced to ‘roll attribute dice, determine winner, draw reward, repeat at least fourteen more times’, but it really transcends this in my view to be a truly amazing game experience. The artwork on all the cards is just beautiful, and the stories can be truly immersive when you embrace the role-playing aspect of being your character.

All through this review, I’ve been struggling to think of something bad to say, as I don’t want to appear gushing, but there’s really very little that I can say against this thing. The cards are a little too smooth, and slide around all over the table if you’re not careful? It’s seriously just an amazing experience, with both sides quite evenly matched (the Final Battle in my game came to hinge on one card, as we each won two). There’s nothing that seems ridiculous/overpowered or anything like that. It’s just a tremendous game!

One of the kickstarter stretch goals was a multi-player expansion, which is apparently in development. It sounds interesting, as it possibly changes the entire nature of the game – obviously, tweaks would be needed if you have up to three heroes going against the lone dungeon lord, but rather than just an alternate set of rules, it looks like almost a whole new game, which intrigues me.

Something that I want to address is the nature of the kickstarter campaign. As I said at the beginning, I have everything currently available for this game due to the fact that I caught the kickstarter. A lot of people have missed out, and as a result they have slightly less than the backers, who have almost another game’s worth of content. There are nine sets of exclusive Story Cards, three new heroes and three new dungeon lords, along with a small pack of more Final Battle cards. While I don’t believe that any of these are integral to anybody’s enjoyment of the game – while I played against one of these dungeon lords (not the chap used in the pictures here, incidentally), only one weapon card I saw was ks exclusive, everything else in my game was base-game content and was fantastic – I fully understand the completionist mentality, which has driven me to throw money away at ebay in the past. I’m obviously glad to have this content, but I don’t agree it should be kept as kickstarter exclusive content, as I don’t believe gaming should be such an elitist hobby in this manner. I would really like the designers to be able to make this content available, perhaps as a webstore-exclusive thing. It’s a thorny issue, as I discovered when I started a topic on this a while back, but I would much rather see the game designer be able to make money off content that must have required a considerable investment of resource, rather than have so much one-time-deal stuff they can’t use ever again. No doubt so much ks exclusive content helped their campaign at the time, but it seems to foster an attitude of wanting to avoid this game at retail among a lot of people who, like me, are of the all-or-nothing mentality.

But I’ll get off my soapbox now!

Expansions have already been announced, hopefully coming out this summer, and they look pretty awesome already. Cursed Sands is the big one here, with really interesting new characters and new quirks to the flow of the game. Definitely looking forward to seeing these!

This game is such a massively enjoyable experience, I really do urge you to get yourselves a copy, which I think is currently only available direct from the company. But hey, you can get yourself an awesome game while supporting the publisher directly! Win, win!

I think I’ve prattled on enough about this now, so I’ll stop. Bravo if you actually read all of that, anyway! Some brief take-aways from this review are that the game is awesome, super thematic and wonderfully balanced, and while I don’t agree with the way the kickstarter has excluded so much content from so many people, the retail version of this game is so awesome that you really shouldn’t let it stand in your way of what is, ultimately, a really fantastic game!

Ten out of ten, Watchtower Games!