Recommend
7 
 Thumb up
 Hide
8 Posts

Iron Helm» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Lots of game in a little package rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Jack Reilly
United States
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Surprised to see there are no reviews for this, so I'll give it a shot.

Quick points before I jump in:

-I received this game in a trade with both Adventure Packs. While I wanted to grab a copy, the asking price was a bit steep to me for what I think it is.

-I have not played the game this is based on, Desolate, but watched several play throughs of it.

Now, on to the review. I think this game is an absolute smash. I am a huge Dungeons and Dragons/fantasy fan. But I have been having a hard time finding a game that gives me the true D&D feel. Because I am primarily a solo player, it has to be a single player game. While there are tons of dungeon crawlers out there, most revolve around either having several people or 1 player controlling 3 or 4 characters. Alternatively, they all have elements of dungeon crawling, but they feel a bit thin, like they focus on one or two elements, but skimp out on others like leveling up.

This game does not have everything I want but comes pretty close. You start by choosing a character with default equipment, skills, starting rations, health, energy, gold, and encumbrance. So right here, we have the makings of a pretty decent game with call backs to the D&D PC games of old.

At the start of the game, you also have a morality tracker and a level tracker, starting at 0 and 1 respectively. Morality can move positive or negative, and dungeon level descends to level 5.

From there, you can spend your starting gold on various items. After that, you draw two cards facedown from a set deck of cards, the Dungeon Deck. You reveal 1 and resolve it face up, or discard it and resolve the other card. Typically, this is bad, as certain cards make enemies stronger if it was picked second.

The Dungeon cards are always the same. This seems like it would get boring, but it doesn't. Yes, the cards are always the same, but they all have a chance of random, as most cards tell you to draw from 4 different decks:the enemy deck, loot deck, plot deck, and potions deck.

At the end of each level, reached by resolving the dungeon deck, you must feed your player or starve. Then you resolve a plot card, which is some story flavor and possibly a choice or reward, reset the Dungeon deck, move the tracker, and start again.

At some point you will fight an enemy. Your enemy hits you first, rolling 2d6 and dealing the difference in damage plus their base damage to you. A doubles roll means they miss. Then you can hit back or use a potion offensively. For an attack, you take your equipped weapon, spend up to 3 energy to roll an equal number of d6s and deal damage to their hit points. Enemies usually get the dungeon level added to their total health, so they are stronger as you delve deeper. Enemies also have a weakness to ice, fire, or holy. Enemies may also have unique powers.

When you beat them, you keep the enemy card and you may get gold or a draw from the loot and potions deck. When gaining loot or potions, each item has an encumbrance value. You must always stay under that value or you must discard down to it if you go over. Each character has a trait their associated with: agility, mind or skill. Spend 3 enemy cards to learn a new skill of your trait or 5 cards for one outside your trait. Skills can be looked through at any time.

Game continues until you draw a set number of plot cards (indicated with eyeballs on the bottom, you need 10 to fight the boss) or you die through health loss, poison, or starving.

Supposedly if you reach Level 5 without the correct number of plot cards, you trigger the boss fight immediately. I haven't seen this in the rules, just on a forum post somewhere. I've also not had it happen yet.

Boss fight starts like any other fight with them going first. If you win, you calculate your total score, which translates to how nice of a retirement your character has, ranging from a poor shack to a fortress.

Overall, I think this game is a smash hit. It has food and energy management that is simple and easy to remember, skill upgrades, loot, character diversity, and it plays fast, in about an hour or less.

On top of that, there are adventure packs planned, with each pack having a new character, skills, and different enemies and plot cards to add. I believe they are numbered 2-6, indicating if a character survives the base game, you can take him to the next dungeon. I don't know if items transfer over or not. There

I'll be honest, I probably wouldn't buy this game at face value. The adventure packs are reasonably priced at $5.99 a piece, but I think the base game costing $39.99 is a bit much. If I could pick it up for 20% off, I think it'd be a great investment for how much game you get in such a small box. There are also player mats you can get to help with set up and theme. I don't see them as worth the price, but they are very nicely designed.

Also, in closing, this game seems very similar to Desolate. If you liked that, you'll love this. I think the opposite would hold true as well.

So in summary, this is damn close to the perfect solo dungeon crawling D&D game I've been after. Character diversity, improvement, realism, and it plays well in under an hour with small foot print. Easily a 9 out of 10 for me.

Note: this is only my third or so review. Appreciate it if you've gotten this far!
14 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ken Warren
msg tools
Nice write up, Jack. Your comments pretty much mirror mine. I love the game, and I've played it quite a bit since getting it. Looking forward to other adventure packs.

In regards to price, it does seem a bit expensive at the retail price. However, I think the value is about right given how much I enjoy the game. In full disclosure, I did get it during the crowd sale so it was a bit cheaper.
7 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Joseph Propati
United States
San Diego
California
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
eke_warren wrote:
Nice write up, Jack. Your comments pretty much mirror mine. I love the game, and I've played it quite a bit since getting it. Looking forward to other adventure packs.

In regards to price, it does seem a bit expensive at the retail price. However, I think the value is about right given how much I enjoy the game. In full disclosure, I did get it during the crowd sale so it was a bit cheaper.

You guys need to remember the source "The Game Crafter" and then you realize exactly why this game is so expensive. TGC is normally a one off or a little more and I feel if and when this game get a kickstarter it will be way cheaper. If this game was made anywhere else besides TGC, you'd see way more sales due to a lower price tag. IMHO

Also, nice review Jack, I'm loving this game also.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
dirk stouten
Belgium
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmb
Jack, you have done a pretty good job describing this game. And I really like playing it myself. 9/10 sounds about right.

Yesterday I was learning the rules of a new solo game and I took a break to play Iron Helm. To me it's that good, I can do without new games for a while.

To give an idea about variety; There are 12 different enemies in the game (18 cards), 2 ways of ambush and 2 ways of skirmish. Adding this together, will give you 48 different ways of encounter. And we all know dice rolls aren't predictable either. Picking 1 of 2 dungeon cards each turn adds to the variety (there's so much more than enemies in this game). And then there are already 2 expansion packs (which I haven't played yet). With a minimum amount of cards, you will have lots of different adventures.

The rulebook is clear, rules are easy. When I have doubts, I post my questions here and Jason Glover (designer and one of the artists) is very helpful and even entices us to ask whatever we want.

Setup is quick; just put a few piles of cards on the table and you're good to go. Setting up your character with skills and trappings is also easy and the first challenge you will encounter.

I like the art. I'm pretty new to board gaming and I can't compare the art to 80's games but I grew up as a (non-gaming) boy in the 80's and yeah, it brings me back to my childhood. The game has the vibe.

I almost missed out on this game because shipping to Europe and custom costs doesn't make it cheap. But damn, I'm glad I got on board on the last day of the group buy. I will get a full 'refund' in enjoyment out of this game.

The challenge of a (dungeon crawler) game has to be in the adventure, not in learning the rules. And this game has it. My characters have died a lot but never without a smile on their face.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jack Reilly
United States
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
kingspud wrote:
eke_warren wrote:
Nice write up, Jack. Your comments pretty much mirror mine. I love the game, and I've played it quite a bit since getting it. Looking forward to other adventure packs.

In regards to price, it does seem a bit expensive at the retail price. However, I think the value is about right given how much I enjoy the game. In full disclosure, I did get it during the crowd sale so it was a bit cheaper.

You guys need to remember the source "The Game Crafter" and then you realize exactly why this game is so expensive. TGC is normally a one off or a little more and I feel if and when this game get a kickstarter it will be way cheaper. If this game was made anywhere else besides TGC, you'd see way more sales due to a lower price tag. IMHO

Also, nice review Jack, I'm loving this game also.

Good point. There are several games I'd like to grab off GameCrafter, but I find some of the pricing tough to swallow.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jack Reilly
United States
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
manducator wrote:
Jack, you have done a pretty good job describing this game. And I really like playing it myself. 9/10 sounds about right.

Yesterday I was learning the rules of a new solo game and I took a break to play Iron Helm. To me it's that good, I can do without new games for a while.

To give an idea about variety; There are 12 different enemies in the game (18 cards), 2 ways of ambush and 2 ways of skirmish. Adding this together, will give you 48 different ways of encounter. And we all know dice rolls aren't predictable either. Picking 1 of 2 dungeon cards each turn adds to the variety (there's so much more than enemies in this game). And then there are already 2 expansion packs (which I haven't played yet). With a minimum amount of cards, you will have lots of different adventures.

The rulebook is clear, rules are easy. When I have doubts, I post my questions here and Jason Glover (designer and one of the artists) is very helpful and even entices us to ask whatever we want.

Setup is quick; just put a few piles of cards on the table and you're good to go. Setting up your character with skills and trappings is also easy and the first challenge you will encounter.

I like the art. I'm pretty new to board gaming and I can't compare the art to 80's games but I grew up as a (non-gaming) boy in the 80's and yeah, it brings me back to my childhood. The game has the vibe.

I almost missed out on this game because shipping to Europe and custom costs doesn't make it cheap. But damn, I'm glad I got on board on the last day of the group buy. I will get a full 'refund' in enjoyment out of this game.

The challenge of a (dungeon crawler) game has to be in the adventure, not in learning the rules. And this game has it. My characters have died a lot but never without a smile on their face.

Dirk,
I'm glad we're thinking the same thing. Just the other day, I've been thinking about how excited I am for Saturday night to try out a meatier game, but nights when I get off work and just want to unwind? I keep coming back to Iron Helm.

I'm very excited to try out the Adventure Packs and see what he has coming up
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Joseph Propati
United States
San Diego
California
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I have both packs but they looks so cool I hate to open them.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Timo Tischel
Germany
Sch├Ânaich
Baden-W├╝rttemberg
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
kingspud wrote:
I have both packs but they looks so cool I hate to open them.

JUST DO IT!
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls