Rik Van Horn
First of all, let me state that this is a huge game. The box and components alone must weigh at least seven or 8 pounds. This is due to the fact that all the creatures are included as plastic figures and the large amount of items and cards used to play the game. There are 120 of these alone.
These come in varying colors to differentiate between the difficulty of the creatures involved. The character figurines are drab in comparison being simply gray. The drabness of the characters conflicts somewhat with the colorfulness of the game overall.
The map is very large and covers a good portion of even a large tabletop. The symbols are fairly easy to understand, but though borders are not as well delineated. Some of them are vague and hard to determine which area is which.
Overall, physically, this game requires a huge amount of space.
The rulebook is large and well illustrated. There are numerous insets giving examples of each item and actions taken during the game. The index is handy and fairly comprehensive. The print is large and easy to read.
Play lasts for 30 turns. The turn track records each faction's turn as a single turn. The game lasts for 30 turns, thus each faction has 15 turns.
This is a team game with two factions involved. The Alliance players versus the Horde players.
Players complete quests to obtain items, gold and experience.
Each faction has their own quests, and those quests may not be interfered with or completed by the other faction.
The only way to interact with the other faction is by player versus player combat. The quests vary in difficulty, from starter quests and three colored quest types.
Quests spawn creatures, which must be defeated to complete them. Quests may involve multiple areas of the board and creatures and may be completed by players individually or as a team. What ever player or players complete the quest receive the rewards.
The final object is to defeat an overlord, which is selected at the beginning of the game. If the overlord is not defeated by turn 30, factions resolve the game in player versus player combat.
The actual playing of the game is not terribly difficult to understand, but the combat is a bit more difficult to comprehend.
It involves different colored dice and a combination of hit tokens and armor tokens, which are placed in small boxes on each faction's side.
Red dice symbolize combat damage, who dice symbolize ranged damage, and green dice symbolize armor defense. Combat occurs in rounds, with ranged damage occurring almost immediately. Combat and armor can mitigate this damage, but most combat damage. The first to the second round. This means that heavy ranged damage can finish combat before the monster even gets a chance to strike back.
Combat between players works a bit differently in that each faction gives both players the opportunity to attack.
I can't compare this to the online game since I've never played that.
As a stand alone boardgame, this is a very involving experience, and can afford the players hours of fun.
With four people, you can expect to spend about four hours playing this game. On the plus side, there are a number of things you can do during your turn. On the downside, you may spend 10 or 15 minutes each turn watching the other faction take their turns.
Overall this game is a lot of fun and has a lot of replayability.
Components: 7/10 due to the fact that it can take way too long figuring out which monster is which.
Gimme factor (loot): 9/10
In summary, if you like to fight lots of monsters, play with lots of different items and roll lots of dice, you'll have a blast.