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Thunderstone wasn't very popular with my gaming group, but it has been a huge hit with my son and we have played quite a lot of it together. We really enjoyed what Wrath of the Elements brought to the table so we were very much looking forward to the second expansion. Having now played our first game using the suggested setup, I wanted to share a few brief impressions of the new mechanics.


First, a few nit-picks about the components. Overall, it's a very nicely produced set. However, there are a few issues:

Box: The box is the same size as the wrath of the elements box, and it contains the same foam block and divider system introduced in the first expansion. I suppose that for players who skipped that one this will be useful. For those that already own the first expansion this feels like a huge empty box for no reason. Upon opening the box, I was shocked at how much empty space there was.

Rules: The rules adopt the same format used in the previous expansion, which is fine. I did notice some inconsistencies in the suggested starting setup, which is unfortunate (ex: Squire instead of Doomgate Squire).

Cards: The finish on the cards does not seem to match either of the first two sets. I don't sleeve my cards, so the difference could be wear and tear, but it seems like more than that. This doesn't bother me, but it might bother others.

Now, onto the game mechanics:

Treasure cards: One of the new elements of this expansion is "treasure". The game ships with two types of treasure and they are integrated into the game exactly like traps. They are mixed in with the monster deck and when a player defeats a monster and flips a new card, if it's a treasure they get to add it to their deck. Treasures are cards that can be destroyed for a one time bonus. This addition was fun, but I felt the traps introduced previously had a more interesting impact on the game.

Special diseases: One of the most interesting aspect of the expansion is the new disease deck. When a player gets a disease card, they now draw from a face-down deck of diseases that can range in their effects. Some will take away VPs, some reduce the strength of a character, etc.

Monsters/ heroes/ village cards: Effort appears to have been made to expand on certain rules that were not getting much mileage in the earlier sets. Far more cards use diseases now in interesting ways (such as a creature gaining life points if you have disease cards in your hand). Certain cards effects will vary based on how much gold a player has in their hand, such as the Drunari hero, a thief that does additional damage if cards worth 3 or more gold are in the player's hand. Lastly, and most welcome, is that many cards are now modified by the amount of XP a player has available unused. For example, the card "Spirit Blast" does 1 damage per XP the player currently has, to a maximum of 6.

Overall, I feel that the game is still fleshing out legitimate avenues for expansion. Some of the new game effects are certainly more complex than the basic game ones, but the integration of several of the new elements (special diseases, traps, treasures, guardians, etc) has been done with surprising elegance. It's still too early to tell how well balanced the card mix is, but the new mechanics have been nice additions to the system.

At this point, I think the game would benefit from a larger variety of treasures, traps and guardians than from the addition of new mechanics. Hopefully, the next set will focus more on creating variety inside of the new elements instead of adding new ones. Also, I would personally prefer having a wider variety of monsters vs. an ever growing assortment of heroes (both are nice, of course, but the variety in monsters is more fun!)
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Ian Toltz
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agent easy wrote:
At this point, I think the game would benefit from a larger variety of treasures, traps and guardians than from the addition of new mechanics. Hopefully, the next set will focus more on creating variety inside of the new elements instead of adding new ones. Also, I would personally prefer having a wider variety of monsters vs. an ever growing assortment of heroes (both are nice, of course, but the variety in monsters is more fun!)


Hear, hear. I was very disappointed when I first learned there wouldn't be any new traps.
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