So, you’re one of the people who love excruciatingly long games, with virtually no player interaction and a downtime you need a pillow and/or a good book not to bore yourself to death with? Yes, I’m talking to you, anonymous World of Warcraft: the Board Game owner/fan! You are a freak of nature! Or maybe you’re one of the sane people who hated the game, but really like WoW universe and/or are looking for a nice and light adventure game to play with some Ameritrash-lovin’ friends?
Actually, it doesn’t matter which one you are, for you are basically thinking the same thing: ‘Will the game that uses some of the components from WoW: tBG (little plastic homies) be just a smaller copy of it’s big sis’?” Will buying the new game mean that you are in for the same wonderful/painful experience?
Well, yes and no. I wrote this comparison to answer some of your questions.
I’m a sucker for plastic, so I actually ordered WoW: tBG on a whim, seeing the magic number: 130. Yes, 130 figures and a very nice map are the sole reason I didn’t have the heart to sell that damn gargantuan box. Only looking at it on my shelf makes my joints hurt (never had a table big enough, so we played on the floor) and my eyes close .
Anyways, we know there are about seven million chits in the WoW: tBG, which you need to strategically put “within everyone’s reach” and spend the next day putting back in the box after the game’s over. Is it the same in the Adventure Game?
Obviously, no. The box is smaller (although that doesn’t necessarily mean there are much fewer components, vide: Arkham Horror) and it contains only four plastic figures, a handful of ability card, some challenge/item cards, quests and only four basic type of chits (I hereby refuse to talk about the flimsy challenge/item card holders: the crappy buggers went straight into the trash bin after my first game). The end. The setup and the cleanup are fast, nice and easy. You still need a rather sizable table to play the game, but I managed to put the board, all the other components, some soda, beer, glasses and a stereo remote on the one I have in my living room. So, yeah, time-and-space wise: it’s way better.
Of course, the components are high-quality (apart from those damn holders), so if you're a person who enjoys heroic fantasy illustrations, and do not mind somewhat face-lifted screens from the game (challenge/item cards), you will be satisfied. The figures are also nice – but if you own or have played WoW: tBG, you already know that.
As all of us should remember, World of Warcraft: the Board Game was all about frantic running around a humongous board, messing up monsters and gaining rewards. One of the most irritating things about that game was getting the 'wrong' quest cards. That meant you had to travel for two full turns to kill the first Murloc, in reality spending most of that time idly looking at your opponent(s) beating the ever loving crap of the quest monsters residing but one step from their characters’ starting locations. The ‘spread’ of the quest locations was a great problem, since the faction who had the bad luck to get the wrong cards would have to waste their time on travelling and fighting the worthless (and with the Shadow of War expansion: next-to-worthless) bad boys Blue. The other faction would then get the upper hand: an edge impossible to annihilate because of the turn constraint.
Well, it seems a whole lot different in the Adventure Game. The quests seem rather well balanced. What's even nicer, they not only include running around with an axe, slaughtering everything in sight, but also some planning and (oh, God, yes!) some diversity. The diversity means that you sometimes just have to visit places (which is infinitely easier and more fun than in WoW: tBG) to collect some tokens, kill a specific type of creature (well, yes, but you do that by just shifting through challenge/item cards, so it’s fine, really), dump some items or abilities in a specific place or places (makes you more bent on receiving all sorts of stuff), watch other players hunt and kill each other (you can sometimes strike a deal or two here) or… well… get yourself beaten up by a fellow player (which you can strike an even better deal on). The bottom line here is that it’s actually fun.
Also, the game mechanics make the combat fast and straightforward, which shortens the downtime and allows everyone to actually get a hold of the dice once in every three or four minutes (with four players, that is). Furthermore, hunting and fighting your dear friends is much easier and more profitable – not a total waste of time as in WoW: tBG.
Another thing that seems superior in WoW: tAG is that combat is not the only way to interact with other player characters. Apart from bartering with them, when it comes to questing, you can also set traps for them to fall into. It works in a very nice and simple way: every now and again you may get a hold of a random encounter token you have to put somewhere on the board. The encounter may be something good or something nasty (only the player who puts the chit on the board knows it), so placing it cleverly is essential to helping yourself or surprising a friend with a nice little bomb.
Now, those of you who remember the so-called ‘wars’ from World of Warcraft: the Board Game, an instance of pitting the factions against each other and making them interact (via three-thousand-dice driven combat), know that it was an exercise in futility. The XP for winning a war was appealing only in the beginning of the game, where you rarely had the time and/or the possibility to travel to distant regions to get 1 XP per character. Eventually, wars were won by chance – if it so happened that the two regions were taken by two characters on their way to clobber some more monsters. The only instance when the characters from the two factions would interact, was during the optional final PvP combat to the death. I know it was removed with the Burning Crusade expansion and I could say that I’m glad about it, because in a six-character game it turned out that the metric ton of tokens provided by FFG was not enough, when it came to counting the number of ‘hits and shields’ generated by a set of experienced characters. Oh, and by the way, the final combat of two equally experienced factions would be another two hours of your life you’re never getting back.
In the case of WoW: tAG there are no endgame fireworks. A character reaches a certain number of victory points (called Valour Points in the game) for completing enough quests and, well, wins. No godawful, mind numbing dice throwing, with card and chit shifting… for the next million years.
Well, to be absolutely frank, it seems there is some underlying similarity between the two games. It’s hidden under the obvious layer of corresponding theme and artwork. Perhaps it’s the idea of adventuring in the colourful, heroic-fantasy of Azeroth. Possibly, it’s the common idea of having to complete quests and some clever character maintenance. The thing is, that with World of Warcraft: the Adventure Game it’s all so much simpler, more fun and less time consuming. I’m not saying here that WoW: tAG is the best game I have ever played, It’s just good. No more and no less.
Now, if you didn’t like the bigger, older, bloated sister, you may like the younger one. If you have the gargantuan box on your shelf, the newer, smaller and slicker product is something different, something for a lighter, more diverse gaming night. So weather you agree with me or not in terms of WoW: tBG, the Adventure Game may be something to check out in the time to come. Finally, if you are a person who did not play the Board Game, but for some twisted reason got to that point of my review/comparison… read a real review of WoW: tAG or just take my word for it: it’s a good game. Worth a couple of bucks, even if it may seem a little incomplete (more characters, quests and challenge/item cards coming soon to milk you).
On a side note, if I had the knowledge of the two games I have now, but did not own any of them, I would definitely invest in the Adventure Game. Yes, I know that collecting all the characters (and other expansions?) to come will most certainly cost me an arm and a leg (plus, a kidney perhaps), while I get all the plastic and paper in the Board Game box for much less, but to me, the sheer fun factor is much more significant.
Let me use a bit of a metaphor here: WoW: tBG is like a very big, old cruiser – with shining chrome bumpers and a new, flashy paintjob – that, however, leaks oil, occasionally creates an embarrassing cloud of black smoke and consumes more petrol than a fire engine, being, at the same time, unable to outrun one. WoW: tAG, on the other hand, is like medium-sized Honda: faster, slimmer, easier to park, easier to drive but sometimes much less awesome. Now, if you want to get places fast, choose the Honda. If you have a lot of time and a heart for engine home-improvements, take the cruiser. And if you’re just a rich fan of cars: they are different enough, to have them both in your garage. Your choice, really.
Dear World of Warcraft: the Board Game lovers, please, do not take offence. I really have nothing against you – I just have a lot against that monstrosity of a game you like playing. But believe me when I say I don’t want to make your life miserable. After all, I do have the bloody box on my shelf as well. I was even marooned into byuing an expansion. And I am unable to get rid of it. Plus, God obviously dislikes you, since he has you lovingly spend half of your life with that abomination, so how can I make it any worse?
Peace, brothers and sisters!
- Last edited Wed Aug 13, 2008 8:30 pm (Total Number of Edits: 2)
- Posted Wed Aug 13, 2008 4:44 pm
An excellent comparison, just the kind of thing I was looking for. I've got tBG and have similar feelings towards it, and that put me off buying tAG when it came out, but after reading this I might just consider it.
An excellent comparison, just the kind of thing I was looking for.
Thanks. It's my first review on BGG and now I feel encouraged to write more.
- Last edited Wed Aug 13, 2008 7:39 pm (Total Number of Edits: 1)
- Posted Wed Aug 13, 2008 6:56 pm
I think it's very important when reviewing WOW:TBG to consider how utterly different it is (or can be) as a solo or 2-player game than as a 4-6 player game.
I say this, because if my first experience with WOW:TBG had been a six-player game with six newbies who didn't know the rules, I would've run screaming from the game, and/or died of boredom in the 7th hour.
However, as a 2-player game, there's little downtime, things move pretty fast, and frankly, I've had a lot of fun with it. When my girlfriend and I play, we ignore PVP entirely, and treat it as a race to beat the Overlord. And we've really enjoyed it.
I'm only suggesting here that some of the biggest criticisms I see against WOW:TBG can be mitigated or negated entirely by playing a 2-player game (1-2 characters each) with a house rule or two.
Have you played Prophecy? I'd love to read your thoughts on that one.
Thufferin Thuccotash!! It'th Cold out Here!
I have never considered either of these two games untill recently when I saw WOW the Adventure Game on sale, with some of it's expansions. I read your comparison review because I have found your later, "Don't Buy this Game if..." reviews helpful and enjoyable reading.
As you have accomplished so well in your other reviews, I have found this one to be all I needed really to make a decision on the WoW Adventure Game.
Thank you for your outstanding reviews, and for this comparison review in particular.