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Subject: Short & Snappy: World of Warcraft - the Boardgame rss

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Mikko Karvonen
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World of Warcraft: the Boardgame tries to convert one of the biggest gaming phenomenoms of the recent years into a worthy boardgame.

On a thematic level, it succeeds beautifully. The game does not even try to cover all the aspects of the MMORPG, but does very good job in capturing the essence of it: a rich combat-oriented fantasy-adventure with two opposing factions, lots of opportunities for co-operation and various ways to develop your character.

It's game mechanics, on the other hand, are a more complex case. The two most important elements, the combat system and the character development, are excellent. Both offer tough decisions. opportunities to try different approaches and a good sense of being able affect the outcome. All the classes have their own flavor and there is enough variation in items to keep things interesting.

Many other mechanisms, like movement and shopping, also do their job well, even though they don't have anything original to offer.

Unfortunately, the turn structure makes a good effort at undermining the game's merits. The two factions have completely separate turns which leads to half the players just sitting there. Watching your opponents' adventures can be entertaining, but only for so long.

Additionally, the players have exactly 30 factions turns to vanguish the Big Bad. This is often just enough, but the timelimit is so strict that it leaves the players very little room to explore some elements of the game, like wars between the factions.
The alternative ending – a faction vs faction combat involving all the characters – tends to be an exhausting struggle of attrition that can sometimes end in near-stalemate when the skills of the different sides cancel each other out.

Luckily, there are variant that allow the game to bypass it's weaknesses: either play until one faction defeats the Big Bad or use the co-operation rules with only one faction in play. They both help the players to focus on the wonderful combat and character systems.

Pros:
*Tactical combat system
*Diverse character development
*Co-operation is a choice, not forced
*Heaps of flavour
*Captures the essence of WoW very well

Cons:
*Huge downtime
*Strict turn-limit
*Final showdown between the factions
*Big demands on time, storage space and table room

Score: 7
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Matthew M
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8/8 FREE, PROTECTED
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Neontek wrote:
Cons:
*Huge downtime
*Strict turn-limit
*Final showdown between the factions
*Big demands on time, storage space and table room


Plan your next turn, future levelling options, and help the current faction with combat to reduce downtime significantly.

Ignore the turn-limit, just have the timer wrap back around to the beginning and keep new market items at the top level.

This also eliminates the final showdown.

Number four is just a given.

-MMM
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