Sunday, January 25, 2009
For the Horde!
A couple of years back our DnD group went in on a group purchase and picked up some Fantasy Flight board games. We're a lucky bunch, most of us have been roleplaying together going on nearly twenty years now. We picked Fantasy Flight because they are well known for great games, guaranteed to pack an entire evening full of fun, and are loaded with tons of pieces with a very high production value. The games would be our 'backup', for those times when not everyone could show up for the RPG, we'd still have something to play.
Initial setup of the Quest monsters
It was a fun game, moreso because of the game itself, or because of the company, I can't tell you, but we had a blast. The mechanics, although we were horribly rusty, were easy to pick back up on, and although I've got fairly large game table, most of it was occupied. I was going to link to a review at Boardgame Geek, but I was shocked to find their site down, hopefully it's only temporary. If you want the ins and outs of the game, you can check out this official blurb.
I'd have to play it a couple more times to give a credible review, but my initial impressions are favorable. There are a lot of irons in the fire to keep track of during play; quests, items, talents, abilities, etc. I did find myself about halfway through the game wishing I had more options in the talents/skills department, but conveniently there's an expansion to cover all of that. Combat seems complicated, but after a few times, you get the swing of it, and it's easy to plod through. There's also a mechanic where one side, the Alliance, goes up against the other, the Horde, but we didn't capitalize on that.
That's the other thing, you play in cooperative groups, but there's two sides to the conflict. You've also got to have an even number of characters on both sides. The goal is to complete quests, find/buy items, acquire new skills and talents, and level up so you can be tough enough to tackle the 'boss' monster, of which there are three to pick from. The monsters, locales, items, and even abilities will be instantly recognizable to anyone who has ever spent some real time in the fake world of Azeroth, so that's kind of neat too. You do not, however, have to have any prior WoW experience to enjoy the game.
The Alliance squares off with a Doom Guard
The Horde actually made their move to get to the boss monster first, and surprisingly, defeated him on the first turn. I was on the Horde side, and I'll tell you I was as surprised as the rest, and herein might lie one fault with the game, it ended in an instant and felt a little anti-climatic. It took a while to get there, and the fun's in the journey, but it's still something to think about.
The last turn of the game
By the time we were done, the table was chock full of cards, items, counters, figures, and what-not and lasted about five hours or so. It delivered where it was supposed to, and we all had a good time. There's a couple of expansions, one of which is fairly inexpensive and I think would instantly add to the overall playability, and that's the Shadow of War box, which includes just new cards, quests, and the like. If you want to get more in depth, and really add to the WoW:tBG experience, there's also the Burning Crusade mega add-on.