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Subject: Engaging adventures - The Board Game Family review rss

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Trent Howell
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Are you ready to venture forth with your band of heroes to rid the land of invading creatures and complete dangerous quests?

Then gather your band and dive into the Legends of Andor cooperative board game!

In Legends of Andor, players work together to beat the game over the course of 5 unique scenarios that are revealed through an advancing narrative.

But the story and quests aren't the only things that are revealed along the way. Even the rules themselves are slowly revealed.

It's a very cool system that really makes the players feel like they're getting better along the way as the game play becomes more challenging.

In a way, it's like an adventure video game where the player starts with a few skills to defeat a few small challenges and then levels up along the way. As the player advances, they gain new skills and learn of new ways to wield their powers to defeat more difficult opponents.

And just like when beating a tough level in a video game, players will want to forge ahead into the next game scenario right away.

I could tell pretty soon into our first game that Legends of Andor was going to be a hit. The creatures were advancing quickly, we were losing battles, and it looked hopeless for us heroes. And I found we were totally into the quest - feeling dread that we weren't going to save the day.

Yet, somehow we turned the tides and barely escaped with a victory in the opening scenario.

Legends of Andor was definitely a hit.

Board games that can engross your mind and energy like that for an hour or so fun to play!


How to play Legends of Andor

When we first opened the game box, we felt a little overwhelmed with all the pieces included in the game.

However, one of the sweet things about this unique cooperative board game is how it introduces players to the game.

Rather than needing to read a long rulebook before knowing how to play, the game comes with a Quick Start Guide.

The Quick Start Guide includes great visual and simple step by step instructions on how to set up the introductory scenario and then lets players dive right into playing.

At the center of the game is a scenario narrative card deck that essentially introduces new elements of game play along the way.

So players grab the Legend 1 deck and read the first card, "A1", and do what it says.

On the right side of the game board is a narrative track and players place the narrator marker on this track. As things happen during the scenario that move the narrator to the next space, players reveal the associated cards in the legend deck.

For example, when the narrator moves from space A to space B, players will then read the B1 card of the Legend deck.

As each card is read, players will jointly discover new elements of the game as well as new encounters in the quest.

The narrator marker that moves along the track is also like a timer to the quest. Because when the narrator marker reaches a certain spot on the track, the scenario ends. Either the heroes have completed their quest by then, or they're automatically defeated.

Thus, players will feel the constant pressure to be quick about their quests. Yet, players won't know what dangers the next Legend card will expose either. So as much as they'd like to blast ahead, they also need to be judicious in their use of special items found along the way.

But I think I've already gotten ahead of myself.

The first step in all scenarios is choosing a hero, or heroine, character.

One of the really cool things about Legends of Andor is that each player board is double-sided. On one side is a representation of a male hero and on the other side is a representation of a female heroine of the same type and ability. Also, there are two standee characters of each to chose from - a male and a female.

For example, the player who wants to be the Wizard, can choose to play as either a male or female Wizard.

It's simple little touches like that which help Legends of Andor be an immersive experience for everyone.

Another game element that creates an immersive experience is the game board itself. As you can see in the images, the artwork on the board presents a wonderful land to adventure in. It's also double-sided as different Legends will take place on different sides of the board.

Each side of the board is also divided into many spaces that are numbered. The first scenario takes place on the above-ground side of the board and the narrative cards indicate in which space each hero (and creature) begins.

Players place their character standees on the indicated spots and take their player board and associated colored dice and markers. The colored cube will mark the hero's Strength and one of the colored discs will mark the hero's Willpower on their player board.

As heroes gain more Willpower, they'll be able to roll more dice in battle.

The player board also has spaces to keep the things they acquire along the way - such as gold, gems, a shield, a helm, potions, and other such things. Each of these elements will grant new abilities. In addition, each hero has a special ability which is also described on their board.

On a hero's turn they can perform 1 action. Then play progresses to the next player's turn.

The first action heroes learn is the Move action.

They can move any number of spaces for 1 action. However, each space they move takes 1 hour.

Not in real-time of course. But rather, in adventure time.

At the top of the game board is a track of numbers that represent hours. There are 7 hours available to each hero in one day. So as a player moves their character one space, they also advance their colored disc one space on the hour track.

Players can also work overtime, but this will cost them 2 Willpower points (as marked on their player board).

Other actions also take time to perform, such as fighting.

The first player to complete their day will place their disc back to the start of that track in the Sunrise box (has a rooster in it).

Once all players have completed their day, all the symbols in the Sunrise box take affect in order from left to right.

The creature icons in the Sunrise box indicate that all creatures of that type advance.

This is where the arrows between spaces on the board come into play. The creatures move in predetermined paths following the arrows.

For example, on the land side of the game board, they all advance toward the castle.

Knowing that heroes and creatures are both moving throughout the land, it's inevitable that there will be encounters between them.

After all, what's a heroic adventure without battles?

Thus, another helpful component in the game is the Battle Board. It's a great reference so players don't have to dive into a rulebook to remember what happens during a battle.

Since players can perform only 1 action on their turn, they can't both Move and Fight on one turn. They can move into a space with a creature without battling. This also allows other players to first move into the same space so they can combine their forces and battle together!

Battles are pretty straightforward.

Each battle takes an adventure hour to perform (each hero involved advances their marker one space on the time track). The hero (or heroes) in the battle rolls the dice available to them according to their level of Willpower.

Next, the hero adds his/her Strength value to the highest die roll to get his/her Battle Value.

Special items the hero carries may also modify the Battle Value.

The creature the hero or heroes are fighting also rolls dice to determine its battle value.

At the bottom of the game board is a chart that indicates the different strengths and number of dice to be rolled for each creature type. For example, the smallest creature, the Gor, has Strength of 2 and Willpower of 4. Since its icon is on the first row, it will also roll 2 red dice in battle.

The highest die result of the creature is also added to its Strength to determine its Battle Value. Unlike heroes, if a creature rolls identical values on the dice, they are added together.

The hero's value is then compared against the creature's battle value. When heroes fight together, they combine all their strength as well as each of their highest die results for their total battle value.

The difference between the two values is deducted from the willpower points of the defeated side.

If the creature and hero still have willpower points, the battle continues with another battle round unless the hero has no more hours left in the day or chooses to disengage. However, if a battle ends without a winner, the creature recovers completely.

If a hero has no more willpower points, he loses the battle and loses 1 strength point.

If the creature has dropped to zero on its willpower track, the hero wins the battle and gains the reward indicated on the chart (gold, willpower, or some of each).

The defeated creature is placed on space 80 and the narrator marker advances a space.

So as heroes defeat creatures, the story advances more quickly. Thus, players must also balance how many creatures they defeat along the way. Otherwise, they may speed up the end of the game without being in position to complete their overall quest!

Those are the basic elements of playing Legends of Andor.

As I've eluded to, there are more elements for players to uncover as they progress. But rather than add complexity, the way they're discovered simply adds more fun to the adventures.

And just like leveling up in a video game, the gradual learning of new skills doesn't make the game more difficult, but rather more enjoyable.


More adventures await!

Lest you think 5 Legends in one game are not enough, rest assured they're great to play more than once.

For starters, not every adventure will end in victory. The adventures can be downright difficult.

As a cooperative game, players will definitely have to work well together in order to achieve victory. If you're looking for a tip, make good use of the Falcon. Using falcons to deliver items from one player to another can save the day in the nick of time!

Another reason players will want to play scenarios more than once is because of the event cards - which I didn't mention previously.

As you may have seen on the Sunrise space, the first thing that happens at the start of each new day is for players to draw a card from the Event deck.

So even if you've achieved victory before, the event cards will make sure each game turns into a new adventure.

In addition, starting with Legend 2, players can choose between two levels of difficulty. Some of the Legend cards have two versions: a normal-background card and a green-background card. If players want an easier challenge, they can use the green cards instead.

And if that weren't enough, Kosmos has also released a few expansions for Legends of Andor - The Star Shield, Journey to the North, and New Heroes.

So the adventure may continue for a long time.


How does Legends of Andor score on our "Let's Play Again" game meter?

Legends of Andor has scored high on our "let's play again" game meter because it's so engaging and immersive.

The discovery of new game elements as we've progressed has been so fun, we want to keep exploring more.

But just like real heroes, you can't adventure continuously. You must stop and rest from time to time.

That being said, even when we've taken a break after an adventure, we've left the board out on the table - drawing us back in without too much time elapsing.

We look forward to many fun adventures ahead with Legends of Andor.

Thanks Kosmos for a very fun cooperative family board game!



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