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Subject: Defenders of the Realm or Legends of Andor? rss

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Ron Basler
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I'm looking to add a fantasy game or two into my collection and have narrowed it down to either Defenders of the Realm or Legends of Andor.

My first thought was leaning toward Defenders simply because it supports solo play and is mechanically similar to other games I've played like Dead Men Tell No Tales and Pandemic.

Legends seems to have a bit more of a unique flair to it though and would probably feel less familiar but likely different than other games in my small but growing collection.

It's mostly me and my wife that play, kids are too young yet, and since she works a hectic schedule it's nice to be able to solo games without heavy rule modification. I think some scenarios do support solo play on Legends but Defenders does natively.

I would also be open to other suggestions I'd might not have heard of but these were two that kept coming up in my searches.

Thanks everyone. You've not steered me wrong yet. Cheers.
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Ronald Radan
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I enjoy playing both, but I like Andor a bit more. You can definitely play it solo (just play with two characters), and one legend (I believe it's the third one) can be randomized, which gives the game a bit more replay value.

If you haven't played Ghost Stories yet, definitely get it. It's extremely fun (and tough) and can also be played solo.
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Jacob Schoberg
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I prefer Legends of Andor, but it is important to understand what you are getting. It's basically a puzzle game (which I don't mean in a bad way), and if you expect to roam the board killing monsters then it really isn't the game for you.

Defenders of the Realm is basically fantasy Pandemic. If that sounds fun to you, you'll probably like it.

Legends of Andor plays great solo. I play it solo with 4 heroes and have no issue. The info is readily available on the board and it's really an elegant design.
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Ron Basler
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emodiu5 wrote:
I prefer Legends of Andor, but it is important to understand what you are getting. It's basically a puzzle game (which I don't mean in a bad way), and if you expect to roam the board killing monsters then it really isn't the game for you.


Legends is often referred to as a puzzle game but I'm not certain I know what that means. I know the combat, if you engage in it, decreases the time you have to complete quests so I know it's not really combat focused. Is it really just figuring out how to prioritize or something else that I'm missing?
 
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Jacob Schoberg
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Yes. Basically, you have a certain amount of time/actions to complete your goals, and the game is essentially making the best of that time. Every time you kill a monster, you sacrifice a possible round. It's all about knowing when to strike, what to strike, where to send your heroes, etc.

I know most games could be said to revolve around "making the best use of your time", but it's arguably the main mechanic in Legends of Andor.
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Robert Allen
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You've got it in a nutshell. You have to be strategic about combat -- do you fight this monster and lose some time, or let the monster advance? And if your quest item is on one side of the map and you also have to defend the castle on the opposite side of the map, well ... you have tough decisions to make.

 
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Dave B.
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Defenders. Legends of Andor has some really baffling design decisions, like actively punishing you for killing monsters: each one you kill advances the timer one additional space. You can immediately lose the game because you just killed one too many. It's like the designer had just learned about opportunity cost in a high school economics course, and totally missed the point trying to add it to the game.

Sure, increase the intensity of enemy advance as you keep killing their troops and they start getting desperate, but linking kills directly to the game timer never made sense to me.

(Now I'm wondering if I could mod a spawn rate track into the game, and have that increase instead whenever you kill a monster. Hmm...)
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Ron Basler
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emodiu5 wrote:
Yes. Basically, you have a certain amount of time/actions to complete your goals, and the game is essentially making the best of that time. Every time you kill a monster, you sacrifice a possible round. It's all about knowing when to strike, what to strike, where to send your heroes, etc.

I know most games could be said to revolve around "making the best use of your time", but it's arguably the main mechanic in Legends of Andor.


Thanks for the clarification on that. I am leaning toward Legends mostly because it's just something new and different since I have Pandemic and a few games using that formula in my collection.

I guess where I was on the fence was more with replay ability I know there are finite scenarios so my concern was I would play those scenarios and then the game would collect dust until I picked up an expansion. It does sound like a more interesting experience in a lot of ways though.

Chances are I will pick up both because they both do sound like fun games but just trying to get some insight to where I should land initially.
 
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Sarah Kelley
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Some randomization is inherent in the design of Legends, in most of the decks, the way monsters come out and treasures are placed, even in the powers the big bad guys have in at least . . . 3 of the legends? 3 of the 5 in the core box, I'm pretty sure. Despite that, the individual legends have the same feel. Each legend is pretty different from the others, but the randomization the individual legends get feels more like interesting window dressing than it does a creation of a fresh new legend.

I've played 1-4 with 2 and 3, counting myself, multiple times. You almost expect to play each legend more than once. Beating a legend the first time it's played is more rare than not for me. I've enjoyed playing it with one person, then turning around and playing the same legend with other people. Those I've played with have all enjoyed the game and seem interested/eager to finish all of the legends, so I expect to play 5 a few times with each group.

Once I've beaten all the legends with all 3 of the people I've played with, I don't know if I'll go back and play it again. I think at that point I'd want to look into expansions (which do exist!). That question, what will I do when we're all done, is what has kept me from rating the game thus far, despite the hours of enjoyment I've gotten from my box.

Hope there's something helpful in all of that.
 
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Stephen Gibson
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You should check out Grimslingers! Someone once described it as a streamlined Legends of Andor.

It's not straight fantasy like you're asking, but definitely worth a look if you want some solo play or a good co-op!

 
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Jacob Schoberg
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cloudsurfer45 wrote:

I guess where I was on the fence was more with replay ability I know there are finite scenarios so my concern was I would play those scenarios and then the game would collect dust until I picked up an expansion. It does sound like a more interesting experience in a lot of ways though.


This is a criticism that Andor gets a lot that I've never really understood. Legend 3 and 4 (maybe 5, never played it) have random things during setup (as mentioned above-- where monsters spawn, what boss you get, etc.). Yes, the story/feel/objectives will be similar each time you play, but it's not like playing the same TIME Stories scenario more than once. The scenarios aren't really a 'one and done' thing.

Following that logic, Pandemic would only have one "scenario." If that's never bugged you, I don't think it would bug you in Legends of Andor.
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Gláucio Reis
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emodiu5 wrote:
Following that logic, Pandemic would only have one "scenario." If that's never bugged you, I don't think it would bug you in Legends of Andor.

This. That criticism is unwarranted. If it had only one scenario, no-one would complain, because a lot of cooperative games are like that. But as it has five, some people automatically think that it needs to have a lot.

I consider legend 3 the actual game. Legends 1 and 2 are an introduction, while 3 and 4 are very nice extras. Legend 3 alone is much more variable and replayable than Defenders of the Realm, for that matter. I own and enjoy both games, but I play Legends of Andor much more often.

Also, as players don't have much to keep track and it's very easy to control two or more heroes, Andor is actually better suited for solo play than Defenders.
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davidbrit2 wrote:
Sure, increase the intensity of enemy advance as you keep killing their troops and they start getting desperate, but linking kills directly to the game timer never made sense to me.
Given that there are games where you immediately lose if you are ever forced to kill someone, that doesn't baffle me at all.

There's plenty of games that have some kind of timer that is meant to represent how well you're able to hide your activities, e.g. the LotR LCG with its threat rating, or Knizia's Lord of the Rings co-op.

I love Legends of Andor because it's _not_ your typical adventure game. If there's one caveat, it's that the 'efficiency puzzle' you need to solve to win a mission can be quite tricky, i.e. the game's quite difficult. Not everybody enjoys that.
 
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Dave B.
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jhaelen wrote:
davidbrit2 wrote:
Sure, increase the intensity of enemy advance as you keep killing their troops and they start getting desperate, but linking kills directly to the game timer never made sense to me.
Given that there are games where you immediately lose if you are ever forced to kill someone, that doesn't baffle me at all.

There's plenty of games that have some kind of timer that is meant to represent how well you're able to hide your activities, e.g. the LotR LCG with its threat rating, or Knizia's Lord of the Rings co-op.

I love Legends of Andor because it's _not_ your typical adventure game. If there's one caveat, it's that the 'efficiency puzzle' you need to solve to win a mission can be quite tricky, i.e. the game's quite difficult. Not everybody enjoys that.


Right, I like the idea of having some kind of representation of how big of a threat the enemy thinks you are (like Mistfall's enemy focus tracks), in which they start engaging you more aggressively as it rises. But simply quickening the game's dead stop seems very abrupt and uncreative to me.
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Ray
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Defenders is in my top 10 because of solo play. I'll tell you that the base game alone is not going give you the great plays of this game. It's fine, don't get me wrong, but you'll need a couple of the expansions to really take it up a notch. But it is such a great game when you do.

First and most importantly : get the separate Quest deck. The quest cards that comes with the game is not very good with the exception of a few quests. This deck puts them on regular sized cards and they real help immerse you into the game.

Next get Hero pack 1. I highly advise them all, but this one will get you up to 11 different Heroes if I'm not mistaken. For plenty of variety.

I own and enjoy two of the reigning kings of solo play : Robinson Crusoe and Mage Knight. Both beautiful games, but I have played this game many more times than those combined. This game truly let's you make some great decisions. I often play with 4 heroes and let this game create a story with the quest cards and tough decisions. People compare it to Pandemic and while that's valid, I think Defenders is so much more if you like fantasy. For one, every player has 4 different powers! When you play with 4 characters : that's 16 available powers to consider!

There is even a power deck in which you can bestow more powers. I have a rule that if a player can complete three quests ; they can draw from this deck. But quests...they are a diversion! Your job ultimately is to kill the four evil generals that are making their way to Monarch City. You have to decide which is more valid every step of the way! But quests can give you such nice items like steeds, abilities and weapons. They are a beautiful shiny distraction!

There are so many ways to tailor the game. Ultimately, there are 3 different generals for each color including all dragons , 3-4 different minion types and ton of variety with different characters if you got them all.

It's dice but it never feels like a dice fest. Should you decide to get this game, feel free to geek mail me. I'll gladly offer advice and some of my house rules that really offer a ton of variety in this game!
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Ron Basler
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I decided that I really do want both games. They're both easy to learn games that fit into the fantasy feel that I've been interested in. Legends is more story based, also something I've been looking for, and Defenders is about managing the board, probably my favorite aspect of games like Pandemic.

Unfortunately for now I can only buy one. I think I will probably start with Defenders. The main reason being the game play will likely be more accessible to my wife who is familiar with how the systems work in Pandemic. This game adds a bit more to the formula adding combat and dice, which I feel would give it a slight edge over the Pandemic base game.

One criticism my wife had for Pandemic is that there are a lot of turns when it felt like there wasn't a lot she could do unless she was playing as the medic. She said as outbreaks happened it got more interesting but depending on her character, like the contingency specialist, it left her staying in one spot to prevent more outbreaks.

She liked the game play but at the same time wishes she could do a bit more in her turn. That makes me think she'd really like Defenders. It adds more variety to the formula but also gives interesting decisions to be made along with combat to manage the board so I think she might find it more engaging overall.

As always I thank everyone for their input. I will get legends probably in a week or two and both will find a proud place in my collection. I can't wait to play them both. It's amazing how helpful everyone has been on this board to help me branch into new games.
 
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Take a look at Pandemic: In the Lab
I expands the game in several ways, giving more options to the players. Might be just the pinch to make the game more interesting for your wife.
 
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Don Lynch
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ssgibson wrote:
You should check out Grimslingers! Someone once described it as a streamlined Legends of Andor.

It's not straight fantasy like you're asking, but definitely worth a look if you want some solo play or a good co-op!



Will probably check it out. Actually looks interesting, but it would have been nice if you acknowledged that you are the games's designer. That way it wouldn't look like a cheap shill to plug your game.

Nothing wrong with tooting your own horn!

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Ron Basler
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Mondkalb123 wrote:
Take a look at Pandemic: In the Lab
I expands the game in several ways, giving more options to the players. Might be just the pinch to make the game more interesting for your wife.


I've heard that the In the lab expansion added a lot to the base game and made it a bit more interesting and added more complexity. Pandemic was a great entry point into modern board gaming but at the same time its simplicity works against it pretty quick because I've found it a pretty easy game to master. That's not to say we haven't lost a bunch of times, because we totally have, but every game we played started to play out more or less the same. That's one reason we both liked Dead Men Tell no Tales so much, same basic principle but there are more systems in play at once and made it so much more engaging and with the board changing every game, the game always played very different.

The in the lab expansion is definitely on the list.
 
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Ray
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cloudsurfer45 wrote:
I decided that I really do want both games. They're both easy to learn games that fit into the fantasy feel that I've been interested in. Legends is more story based, also something I've been looking for, and Defenders is about managing the board, probably my favorite aspect of games like Pandemic.

Unfortunately for now I can only buy one. I think I will probably start with Defenders. The main reason being the game play will likely be more accessible to my wife who is familiar with how the systems work in Pandemic. This game adds a bit more to the formula adding combat and dice, which I feel would give it a slight edge over the Pandemic base game.

One criticism my wife had for Pandemic is that there are a lot of turns when it felt like there wasn't a lot she could do unless she was playing as the medic. She said as outbreaks happened it got more interesting but depending on her character, like the contingency specialist, it left her staying in one spot to prevent more outbreaks.

She liked the game play but at the same time wishes she could do a bit more in her turn. That makes me think she'd really like Defenders. It adds more variety to the formula but also gives interesting decisions to be made along with combat to manage the board so I think she might find it more engaging overall.

As always I thank everyone for their input. I will get legends probably in a week or two and both will find a proud place in my collection. I can't wait to play them both. It's amazing how helpful everyone has been on this board to help me branch into new games.




Excellent! Just be sure to play with 4 characters total starting out. Fewer players is one way to ramp up the difficulty
 
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