|The Hotness has gone cold...
So, I just picked up the Champions of Kellos Expansion and I will share my thoughts on it. I am a newbie as far as reviews go, so please be kind when you read this.
Champions of Kellos is a 30 card expansion to the Runebound game platform, containing 18 new Item cards and 12 new Allies. It is playable with the 2nd edition of the game.
Construction and artwork on the cards is consistent with the rest of Runebound. In general I wish all the cards were white bordered instead of black so that they would not show their age as quickly.
Although there are 18 cards, there are only actually 15 new items. Where I indicate, there are doubles of specific items:
Bow of fire x2 (6) - This is a mediocre weapon, although neat in that there are two ways to use it. You can activate it after a ranged attack to add 1 damage, or activate before the ranged attack, dealing 1 damage (ouch hot!) to your hero and then 2 extra to the target.
Sword of Fire x2 (8) - similar to the bow in terms of activation. ignite this baby after a melee for +2, or before for +1 damage to you, +2 to enemy.
Shield of Fire (4) - yet another fire product. activate to cancel 1 damage any time, or in melee, cancel up to 2 damage on hero and inflict 2 on enemy.
Mantel of Fire (2) activate and take 1 fatigue to cancel 1 damage on hero. In Melee or Magic, activate and take 1 fatigue before making attack roll. Success adds +1 damage.
Healing Salve x2 (2) - Always handy to have health recuperating abilities, cheap cost and can be discarded to heal 3 to hero or ally, who must pay the amount healed in fatigue.
Sword and Shield (6) - Hero gets +2 to combat rolls while defending, and can be discarded after a successful melee for +2. I think it is more useful on defense since it is not discarded. Must not be the most durable of swords.
Dusk Dagger (4) - Hero get +2 to melee combat rolls. Another bland weapon.
Cloak and Dagger (4) - Activate for +2 to sneak, hide, escape.
Summer's Hope (4) - an axe polearm that counts as 2 weapons for the purpose of weapon limits. This adds 1 damage in melee combat and if the hero attacks unsuccessfully, it is +0 for the rest of that combat.
Champions Plate (8) - Armour that can be activated to cancel up to 3 damage. Cannot be used if you have fatigue <= you stamina-1
Harp of tranquility (4) - Activate and take 1 fatigue to test Diplomacy(15) if successful, the enemy's melee damage is reduced to 0 for the first round of combat. Music soothes the savage beast indeed.
Sphere of Conflagration (10) - Activate to test Resist(17) success cancels 2 damage on hero and inflicts it instead on enemy. Fail and hero takes original damage +2 extra. I like this one a lot. Seems a little expensive, but the effect is cool. Throw this on the right hero and it is quite useful.
Key of Truth (2) - before moving, take 1 fatigue and test Tinker (15) success means you can move hero 3 spaces in any direction instead of rolling. Fail means you use half your normal dice to move or rest. I think this is pretty groovy too.
Spirit Sword (10) - +2 to all combat rolls, when you are KO'ed you choose which item or ally to lose instead of discarding highest cost one.
Rune of the Flame Father (12) - Before Combat activate and take x fatigue. For the first x rounds of combat, hero and allies inflict +1 on successful rolls.
I think the items are a decent mixed bag, the expensive items are plenty powerful, but costly. I think the spirit sword is a bit of a butt kicker, and the fire shield is a bargain. The Rune is neat, but with such a high cost and high fatigue cost to use, I am not sure that it is really good value.
Abydos Flamechild (10) - 5/3 - the most expensive ally in the pack, looks a bit like a drow with red hair. he is strong but every time he successfully attacks, your hero also takes 1 damage unless he pays 1 fatigue. I think that is very uncool, grab some bench Abydos.
Obiar the Ibmued (9) - 5/3 - a bald black fellow with orange burning veins all over. No abilities good or bad on your hero, but this guy is just a nice tough fellow to have at your side.
Nereus the Blessed (8) - 4/5 - Blonde fellow in plate armour. He takes no damage on a failed magic combat roll. Seems like a polite guy.
Krimnia the Blind (7) - 4/4 - Before making a combat roll, Krimnia may take up to 2 fatigue. For each taken, she gains +2 to combat and inflicts +1 damage.
Padarus Runbreaker (6) - 4/3 - He may take 1 fatigue to allow you to refresh and reactivate a Rune item or Dragon Rune you have already activated this turn. You must then discard the rune. I like this ability and he is mid priced. I would take him over expensive Abydos right away.
Urian the Acclaimed (5) - 4/4 - When purchasing healing in town, you can discard additional life for each gold you spend.
Old Vashan (4) - After hero makes combat roll, Vasha may take 1 fatigue to give hero +1 bonus on that roll.
Zeres the Benevolent (3) - 3/2 - If you begin the refresh step on a road space, you must either discard 1 gold or Zeres. What a tool.
Orphan of the Moon (2) - 2/2 - May take 1 fatigue to allow you to draw additional market card to add to the stack of town you are visiting.
Orphan of the Sun (2) - 2/2 - May take 1 fatigue to let hero hire ally for 1 gold less than its cost.
Orphan of Shadow (2) - 2/2 - May take 1 fatigue to let hero buy artifact for 1 gold less than its cost.
Orphan of Light (2) - 2/2 - May take 1 fatigue to let hero sell item at its full cost-1 rather than half its cost.
All in all, I think the best ally's are the Orphans, they are dirt cheap and give a genuinely useful ability to any hero. I think that Nereus and Obiar are also pretty good, but expensive.
These cards can be used with any Runebound game or expansion. I am a big fan of variety, so anything that increases the size of the market decks is a hit with me. Even if the items are not adding that much to the game, they do make some of the other cards come out a little less frequently and seem more special when you do get them.
I am a player who used to fully embrace Talisman 2nd edition with ALL expansions, so I really do know what it is to love a stack of cards as tall as you are. The bigger the market, the happier I am.
Since this only set me back about 6 Euro, it was a very good value and I recommend it to any Runebound player looking to grow that market.
I agree. Those orphans are in the vein of what I want some more allies to be like: wimps with special abilities you want to protect rather than spend as a damage soak. Nice review, I bought the deck myself. Worth it.
New South Wales
Buster Keaton from 'Go West'
I played with this expansion last night and used some of these items. The Spirit Sword is totally awesome - it's as good as 3 levels. I don't mind Abydos Flamechild as he's 4/2 in all combat phases and has 5 hp so he can do damage AND soak up the hits. I always made him take the fatigue. I had one of the orphans, didn't use the special power, then dumped him for a better ally (who didn't attack before Margath killed him anyway).
Krimnia is pretty hopeless because she doesn't do any damage at all unless the takes the fatigue. The Sphere of Conflagration didn't suit my character at all. I used the Sword of Fire only for the +1 damage - I didn't feel like killing myelf - let the monsters do that. There is some pretty nice stuff in this expansion.