I just rocked this game out again and it is a thing of beauty!
This is a bit of a re-review , I got this game back in 2010 it had a great time playing its on my top 10 and a keeper but it got shelved but still wistfully looked at and recent forum comment piqued me to play it again.
its has been enjoyed multiplayer and solo and each is equally valid and fun, unlike most coops which tend to be better solo in my opinion
for this re review I played solo 2 characters and got twonked so utterly beat down it was sorry to see, each turn was a desperate look at the board and a hard choice but it was beautiful and tactile, I love the parts of the game the little shadow robe clad miniatures for the minions and the great dragon general and the dramatically posed heroes of course and finally the retro coloured board and classic fantasy images of Larry. Elmore
I planned to write an epic story and session with pictures every 5 ish turns of the Dwarf and a Ranger and how they saved the realms but this will be a story for another time it was such an embarrassing show, the pictures will be destroyed so no one ever knows!
one reason the game was shelved was its imagined set uptime, but im glad I played again as the set up time was all but nil under the 5 mins mark and that’s with the box content spilled scattered and mixed!
Set up is just a few decks to arrange and shuffle ,the board to place and some random starting baddies and your off
(quest, darkness, hero cards decks) pull 12 cards for starting location ala pandemic but no memory issue like pandemic this games a bit more random to me that’s more fun,
the premise the story the theme is epic defend the realm! and its evident when you place your 4 evil generals especially the great blue Dragon in there start areas beat this nefarious team before its to late,
during play you place minions to invade and taint areas, when the minions start the swamp the board, panic sets in and overrides good play, once you’ve played a few time you expect the orcs to swarm when they don’t its so much its a pleasant distraction and surprise and a requires a tactic revaluation quickly,
the game as a few end criteria, you watch for taint, monarch city invasion, and board over runs by a particular minion type, and each turn has you weigh up each possibly before you turns ends, have you culled enough orcs or other minion types.. is the taint level ok, are you in the generals path for a combined strike?
general movement is an interesting factor, this epic fail session only one general moved the evil Torvak the Undead he moved with such rapidity normally for me its the dragon or orc that move, I’ve not looked into the frequency to see if one is more prevalent over another and I’ve play enough to notice. or not in this case
i love that some games can be 20 mins and a loss these often mean a quick reset and replay to the game which last 1 hr and 20 mins a loss is still as fun as a 30-60 mins loss or win!
I love the choices on your turn, how far to move , what to fight, risk a kill or wound on the roll of a dice, lose a card on movement, risk a general movement, this game packs a little info into a lot choices this rereveiw game I felt overwhelmed quickly and scrapping minions is not the way, I went straight for kill of the orc general and was wasted with epic dice roll fails I had 6 hits only 1 wound!, I recommend heartily to quest a little for bonuses even the minor boons like prevent a move or placement can help in a big way,
losing a boss fight in this game does seem like a game loss but I know from experience I’ve swung back from these situations in the past so I battled on,
and as i've said before letting evil have one over on you is just part of the story this game tells.
a game comparison moment "death angel", you feel your there and have had your entrails ripped out by a evil alien or dragon in this case its horrible yet fun
I like the game as it mostly always feels winnable till the last moment and looking back you think could have prevented a loss if you did something just a little different you can manage the luck of the card draw or general movement in some way
I really want to try the expansions such as the heros, global cards, and generals that are now out,
and that my re review still a solid 10 in my book I’m glad i took it out again to get rid of the set up time ghost which stopped me playing it more..
a fun fantasy adventure/war game, with risk like elements and dice rolling totally worth the price
North Carolina (NC)
Defenders is my most played game with 27 plays accounted for. So one can only assume that it is a very good game by my standards. It is a very good game but with nearly 30 plays in, the quest deck of 24 cards is quickly becoming stale. I know which 5-6 quests are the awesome rewards and which are a means to complete in order to dig for the awesome quest ones. But I'm not worried with the new 110 quest deck coming out this year(at least thats the word on the street).
I'm glad you refound the awesomeness of Defenders, let the Quest/Catacombs expansions be quickly approaching our gaming tables.