Monday, July 25, 2011

Thunderstone Mini-Campaign

This past weekend we broke out the Thunderstone and played for an evening. After toting this one to the cabin and back, the handful of games before and after said cabin, and this past weekend I can now feel satisfied that I've gotten my money's worth. It's a great game mind you, but with so many great games on the shelves it's hard to find time to make for new additions. This of course says nothing about Race for the Galaxy I got for Father's Day, but more on that much later, I've yet to even break the seal on that one.

Instead of playing a bunch of separate games and calling it a night we came up with some on-the-fly tweaks to the rules to link the games together. In essence we could play a "campaign" in one evening. Below I'll go over the changes, it was dead easy and did give a sense of continuity from one game to the next. There's probably better detailed and thought-out ways to do this, and I'm sure Thunderstone die-hards on the BGG have come up with versions that far surpass this. I've also got the Wrath of the Elements expansion, so this includes cards from that as well. All right, let's do this thing.

Game #1
  • The first game is standard Thunderstone, we used the randomizer decks for everything, and had the expansions just mixed in with the regular stuff.
  • The post-game was where it gets a little different. Each player got to keep two of the cards out of their deck for the next game. These could be anything; heroes, items, weapons, even slain monsters. The latter is a good idea if you have a monster that yields a particularly high gold value or even a high victory point value. It's also important to note at this point that none of these hero or village cards will be present in the next game.
  • The winner of the game gets to keep a third card, and if a player was able to snag the Thunderstone itself, they keep that as well.
  • We used the expansion TStone in the first game because it yields some light on its own and would be marginally worth something in your deck next game.
  • Finally, randomly draw one of the three monster randomizer cards that were in the first game. This monster that you draw is your "theme" monster and will show back up next game.
Game #2
  • The second game's setup is the same as before, just set up as a standard game with a couple of exceptions.
  • Only two monster randomizers are drawn, remember you're keeping one monster type from the first game.
  • Players shuffle in their 'keeper' cards from the previous game into their starting decks.
  • At the end of the game players keep three cards each this time, with the winner keeping four. Note here that although none of the hero types are coming back, the third (and final) game's village will have all the cards randomized back in. Mind you, with all of the cards available, it's still a gamble if that favorite item of yours will show back up.
Game #3
  • Setup for game three is a bit different. You'll randomize three monster types from scratch per usual, then add in the recurring monster from the first two games. This will give you four total monsters in the dungeon.
  • You're going to shuffle in two Thunderstones in the bottom of the dungeon deck. Yes, you have to get both of them out to end the game. If the players didn't manage to actually grab the stones previously, just use those. Otherwise you can use the xp cards or something to proxy them in.
  • The village gets an upgrade as well, we called it a 'city'. Just add in a third row of village cards to the village, this will give twelve village cards plus the standard four that are always present (dagger, iron rations, militia, and torch).
By the third game you should have some cards you've really come to dig over the course of your journey. You're also going to find these cards, presuming you kept good cards, are going to allow you to tackle the dungeon sooner and more often. We followed the format above and had a lot of fun, which was the bottom line. You could fill in the blanks easily enough and come up with a real narrative too. Our recurring monster for this evening were dragons, so that could've been worked in easily enough. It was nice to have the games linked however loosely they were, and it did give a sense of a bigger picture when it was all said and done.


  1. Thanks! We've been having fun with it, and these little mini-rules add a good deal to it for sure.

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