First, let me clear up the subject of this post: the game is a keeper. My wife has always been a keeper.
I've had my Kickstarter copy of DotLS since June, but just now got my wife to play it with me. She's a huge fan of Defenders of the Realm, so I was pretty sure she'd like DotLS. However, this game has a little more going on in it, and I was a little concerned the added complexity might tip it passed the point of enjoyment for her.
I decided to have us play scenario #2, as it's closest to base Defenders of the Realm. I also think it gives players a couple of turns to do things besides fight raiders before the board gets out of control.
She said to randomly assign our defenders. I got Hat, and she got the Old Man. She really liked her defender's special abilities. I was worried that our defenders were too much alike, as we were both good at fighting monstrosities, but not good at moving or managing the raider cards. Fortunately, I was good at scavenging, and we were both good at fighting raiders.
We started by taking out any groups of 3 raiders we could get to. Our lack of movement cards at the start of the game hindered us from clearing out the Techie Mobs, and Krank started to acquire some Ancient Tech. One particularly bad raider card caused a Techie Mob overrun and also granted Krank an extra Ancient Tech card, so he got 2 cards on one turn. We knew we needed to take him out fast, or he was going to get too strong.
After scavenging a bit I got a Radiation Suit, which prevents one from over mutating into a monstrosity. I met up with the Old Man and gave the suit to him. This allowed my wife to make good use of her ability to draw 2 extra cards when ending her turn in a radiation zone. She ended up mostly passing her radiation resistance checks anyway, but the rad. suit was still a nice safety net.
I found a portrait of an ancient god (Elvis) and also became mutated such that I was energized when ending in a radiation zone. This meant I was drawing 3 cards each turn, or 4 when in a radiation zone. Drawing so many cards between us really helped us get ready to take down Krank, which we did. He turned out to have a rusty belt buckle and some nice clothes, which made him look cool but didn't hurt our ability to defeat him. He did damage us before the battle and regained two health from loud music, but we still took him down (that little punk!).
We next planned to take out Puke, as he started to fly all over the place spawning monstrosities. However, Bama started to make his move toward Last Stand, moving twice in short order. So we changed gears and went after Bama. Well, he's a tough SOB. We rolled really badly and only dropped him down to 1 health. Thus we both took some damage and Bama healed back to 3. My wife wanted to get some cards and go right after him, but I said to wait until he gets next to Last Stand, where I would have a +1 to all die results against him. So we worked on getting ready to go after Puke.
At this point, we both had two mutations; I had Absorb Energy and Wings, while my wife had Giant Growth and Chameleon Skin. So we were each going to lose 3 blue cards when fighting Puke. We did what we could to load up on Special cards, then went after Puke. He was slippery and moved away once before we could gang up on him, but we finally tracked him down at the White Crater and took him down. The extra cards granted by that battle allowed my wife to take down Bama.
That only left Bramble, who had advanced halfway to Last Stand. We didn't have a lot of yellow cards, so we had to gamble a bit and bide our time until we could attack her. The board started to get really full of raiders and oil/ammo depots. I scavenged and found a howitzer (or missile launcher, I can't remember), which I used to wipe out those pesky Earthers in adjacent locations. Then we went after Bramble and my wife took her down. She only rolled one natural '6', but that is what she needed. I spent a True Grit card to allow her to re-roll her misses, which gave her the remaining hits she needed to defeat Bramble. We had succeeded in defending Last Stand!
When we were done, my wife said she liked the changes as compared to Defenders of the Realm, but that there is more to track and manage. I'm sure with more plays it will become more natural to her, just like DotR is now. I'm just excited that there will be more plays in our future. Such a great game!
After the first play through with my wife she had the same feedback. We both love the changes and additions to the game compared to Defenders of the Realm. This is a winner for us and will be hitting the table regularly.