*Please note that this is a review of the solo mode only, with about 10 plays I’m not normally very much into worker placement games. I certainly don’t have anything against them, per se, but with limited time, (and shelf space,) I typically don’t tend to seek them out when compared to other genres I much prefer. That being said, after a bit of research I gave this one a bit of a gamble and am pleased to say I am having a great time. It combines worker placement with very light battle mechanics and tableau building to create a medium-weight Euro style game. What sets this game apart from other similar games, (or so I’ve heard,) is during the Regroup Phase, where when you’re pulling your Meeples and units from the playing field and back to your Ready area, you can use them to perform various actions depending on your tableau. This generally involves gaining resources, building your dwellings, recruiting other workers and other special effects that make the regroup phase much more of strategic choice. You may even find yourself regrouping on a turn when you still have workers ready to be deployed since it may provide a special effect that can give you a big advantage.
In addition to this, the game also includes monsters, magic cards and player specific abilities that can be used to help give you an advantage. The Adventure Cards, (what you’ll use to build your tableau,) are typically the most powerful of these, but of course are more difficult to obtain. Battling other players for board dominance is also a very viable strategy, since battles are entirely determined by both sides rolling a variable number of D6 and comparing the values. While some might consider this wildly random, (and it can be, at times,) it also allows for just the kind of wild swings a player can make to gain a bit of leeway. So while it’s closer to a Euro decorated in fantasy dressing, there can be a lot more player interaction than you might typically find in those types of games.
All in all, it’s a relatively straightforward game where most of the rule trouble you’ll likely have will come from the scoring system. It’s certainly not convoluted, but there is a bit to remember there, and if you’re not used to that kind of scoring, like me it may take a game or two to have it memorized.
The game plays relatively quickly; the box suggest 30 mins per player, though I would say maybe closer to 45 minutes per player.
The component are great, but that comes with a caveat. The box for this game is huge. Like, giant. It’s the biggest boardgame I own, and while the game components are all of high quality, you’ll quickly realize there isn’t actually a whole lot of stuff in there when you break it down. Part of this is due to the game storage, and that everything in the box is stored in trays. Each player gets their own tray, that can be easily opened and has all the components they need to start a game, and all of the other tokens and cards are similarly stored in easily accessible trays. This means setting the game up is a breeze. Well, more of a breeze than you might have to otherwise deal with. I’d say set up is still about 5-10 minutes. It will also still take a bit to tear down the game, as you’ll need to reset all of these trays to their ‘default’ state, but all in all it’s really not that bad.
More importantly, if you’re purchasing the retail version, the box includes even more empty space designed for the game’s expansions as well as miniatures and miniature bases. This may be great, if you’re interested in getting those add-ons. It’s a little more of a nuisance if you’re like me and have no interest in the minis. Essentially you have a very large box filled with trays and empty space for a game that really doesn’t have many more components than an average game.
Anyway, this is a great little game that offers a lot of replayability. There are 16 factions for players to choose from, a well-implemented solo mode, and more than enough elements and Adventure/magic cards that it will definitely take half a dozen plays to even see all of.