Feel my presence
This is my first review on BGG, and it’s about a neat little card game called “Kleine Helden” (little heroes). I participated in a demo at my FLGS and don’t own the game myself, so I hope I get all the rules right (corrections are welcome of course).
I hope you enjoy it and don’t mind my mediocre spelling since English is not my native language.
Well, here goes…
Kleine Helden is a typical beer and pretzel fantasy card game based on a German series of comic strip jokes about tabletop RPG. Every player controls two different heroes (one fighter and one spellcaster), and the goal is to be the last hero team alive. During the course of the game you can acquire various cards to bolster your characters attributes or affect various game situations.
The tiny box contains 162 cards, one die and a folded rulesheet (I myself prefer small books, but that’s just a personal matter). The cards are of the typical Munchkin-esque quality, with simple but cute full colour illustrations depicting various characters from the comic. At 12 Euros it’s in the normal prize range for these type of games nowadays, a little to high for what you get, but again, that’s all personal opinion.
At the start of the game each player draws one random caster and melee hero and places them in front of him. All characters have 15 health points, and die immediately if they ever should reach zero (there is no way to track lifepoints included so you have to use additional dice or similar stuff). They also have the following 5 attributes: Melee attack power, magic attack power, melee defence, magic defence and armour.
Then there are three piles of cards placed in the middle of the table: Red cards (containing weapon and armour), Blue cards (potions and spells) and Green cards (combat tricks and special events). After everyone has drawn his starting hand a random start player is determined and the game begins.
During your turn you first draw two cards from any pile you wish, then you have two actions, one for each of your heroes. These include:
-Draw one card from any of the three piles
-Change equipment or learn spells if the hero is a caster
-Attack an opposing hero
You also have the option to play one single green card marked as a special event per turn (with effects like giving you bonus cards, hurting all other heroes etc.). Additionally you can discard any three cards from your hand (there is no hand size limit) to draw a new one or discard eight to buy a third random hero for your party.
Combat works as follows: Determine which of your opponents heroes gets attacked by the character who does the combat action, then your opponent gets the chance to intervene the attack with one of his other heroes, making him the new target of the attack (this can only be done ONCE per turn and lowers the defences of the hero who intervenes). Then eventually potions and combat moves are played to additionally modify the participating heroes abilities (normally these are only modified by worn equipment). After this the attacker rolls a die (wild die rules are in effect) and adds his melee/magic attack modifier depending on the attack used. Then the defender rolls a die and adds his appropriate defence value to it. If he can match or top the number the attacker rolled the attack missed, if not he takes damage determined by the weapon/spell the attacker used (after he substracted his armour value to bolster some of the incoming attack).
This is the base sequence of play. Draw cards, do your two character actions (eventually resolve combat), and then the next player gets his turn. The game immediately ends when only one player has surviving heroes left in the game.
Conclusion and Opinion
As mentioned before this is a light weighted fantasy card game. Its fun to tinker with equipment combinations to max out the powers of your two heroes, but it also has two annoying drawbacks. First, the game works and is fun if completed in 30-45 minutes, but when it’s not your turn and you are not attacked you have nothing to do. So sessions can drag on if players take too long deciding what to do and who to attack. Then there is the problem of teaming up and “ganking” one single player out of the game pretty fast if all other opposing parties attack him. If the games are quick that’s not THAT bad, but if a session starts to drag it can be a major turn off for the early defeated who just sits there and watch.
Personally I rate this game a 6 with tendencies down, but that’s because I mainly play heavy euros and wargames and have to be in the right mood to enjoy such a light and random slugfest. I like it more than Munchkin (to compare it with one of his most known genre colleagues) because the games tends to finish in one hour tops if players know what to do, and the decisions from which pile to draw and how to spend your few actions for the best outcome still add some nice tactical element. If you enjoy fun, light and sometimes mean fantasy card games, I would recommend to give this one a try.
Hope you enjoyed the review, comments and criticism are always welcome.