A creativity blog - including reviews, photographs and discussion on a variety of things; such as dragons and other things almost but not quite completely entirely unlike tea.

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Packomaniac strikes back! with Legends of Andor

About a year ago I bought myself a new co-operative fantasy boardgame, called Legends of Andor, to have games I'd be able to play by myself due to moving approximately 200km away from most of my friends. This Fantasy Flight Games boardgame by Michael Menzel turned out to be a packomaniac's dream in that it contains several different sorts of figurines, tokens, cards and dice, as well as a huge amount of sealable plastic bags for all tokens. On the other hand the game box is either a dream or a nightmare too, as it doesn't have any sort of interior designed to fit the game pieces snuggly, but is only a roomy box, which makes the packing process a bit messy, but very easy to do.

The purpose of the game is to take control of 1-4 heroes of Andor, who have been sought out by the Prince and together play through different sorts of "save the kingdom" -type scenarios. Each of the scenarios is depicted in a series of Legend-cards (hence the name Legends of Andor) where the goal of the game and the victory conditions are lined out.

Players each control one of the heroes, but they work together towards the goal outlined in the cards and against the obstacles presented by the monsters and the board. Having only played the first couple scenarios myself, I will here outline the way the game is played, without spoiling too much of the rest of the game's content.

Each player controls one of the four heroes available; a warrior, a dwarf, a mage and an archer. Each of the boards depicts the character's stats, strength and willpower, their special ability and the slots for money and equipment they can carry. Tokens are used to mark each of the respective stats or gear the characters obtain. Strength is used in battles to add to the value you roll on your dice (each hero has a set amount of dice) and the number of dice one can roll depends on the amount of willpower the character has. Each hero begins play with one point of strength and seven points of willpower.

The character boards are two-sided, with a female and male side. There is no difference between the genders though, apart from the visual one. There also exist cardboard figurines for both genders respectively.

The monsters and the heroes have their own tokens that are moved on the board. Whenever a monster is killed, it is added into the pool, which adjances the time marker on the event board - so, the more monsters you kill, the faster you need to play in order to attain the goals of the scenario. The heroes move through adjacent areas, spending a hour of the day each time they move and another hour if they fight monsters. Each hero has seven hours to use for their daily actions, plus additional three hours they can pay for with with their willpower. When the day ends (all heroes declare end of day), the events and the remaining monsters on the board are advanced, and the scenario may move to its next stages, depending on the position of the time marker at the edge of the board.

Monsters are battled with the use of the dice, where both the hero and the monster throw their respective dice pools and the difference is the damage caused to the losing side. The heroes can also work together the dispose the monsters, which is a very reasonable tactic early on in the game when their stats are still low.

The game also utilized different sorts of cards, which contain events for advancing or possibly hindering the party's progress. In the first couple of events the cards chosen are fixed, but will nevertheless bring some variation to the actions taking place on the gameboard.

The tokens in the game include coins, equipment, potions and event markers, to name a few. In the packomaniac sense, the gaming box is supplied with several tough re-sealable plastic bags, which makes storing the tokens easy.

The game board is also two-sided, and some of the legends occur on the day and some on the underground side of the board. The heroes' day counter is found on the top of both maps and the green alphabet marks the overall legens time, where you advance the marker once a day, or per every monster killed. Each legend states on which letters the story advances and the changes take place immediately once the new day begins.

Also, there's this cool dragon-figurine.

So far, the game has been very simple and fast to learn and it has posed some challenges as well in the earlier scenarios. As the game is for from two to four players, there are some differences implemented for games with different amount of players to keep the difficulty level reasonable. So far, I have not lost a single game and everyone I've introduced to the game have taken to it very quickly, co-operating spendidly to achieve the goals of the game. As the Basic rules are explained in a detailed manner in the first scenarios, it is very simple to continue playing the next scenarios with the help of the Legends cards alone. Even though the game was a bit of a blind-buy for me, I've not regretted it at all.

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