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Thunderstone Advance: Caverns of Bane» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Some opinions after one scenario play-through. rss

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Elliott Lockwood
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In full disclosure, CoB came the other night, and we've only had a chance to play the Halls of Black Flame scenario out of the book. It had the greatest compliment of new cards, so we started with that. This is just a brief collection of first-impressions, and not a full review.

Card Quality
The feel of the cards is nice, and I would say improved over Towers of Ruin. They're slightly matted, ala Shadows over Camelot, which is a nice, premium feel. It is entirely possible, however, that ToR cards felt similar, but I've used them so much I don't notice anymore. No matter. The increased color saturation around the borders (to greater differentiate card types in your hand) is not all that changed in regard to the printing. I do feel like the artwork and description portion of each card (particularly the heroes) seems washed out, making them seem worn before we even play a game. It's not a big gripe, but worth noting.

Treasures
The treasures are a fun addition! I hadn't played Thunderstone before Advance, so treasures are all new to me. They work very basically. They recommend using the treasure randomizer in the monster randomizer deck to determine whether they're used or not, but we just decided to skip that and just use them (as I suspect many people will). During gameplay, when a treasure is revealed in the dungeon hall, place it in the left-most empty spot, and draw another card from the dungeon deck to place on top of it. The monster is consider to be carrying the treasure, and it gives it effects that help it (more health, etc.) When you defeat this monster, you receive the monster, plus its treasure into your deck. The treasure has a second effect that helps you when it comes into your hand, and is also worth gold and a VP, which is nice. I really like the feel of this, and it gives a taste of the feel of the Diablo PC games when "looting" your enemies. It's very satisfying, especially on the odd chance that two or more treasures appear back to back and stack with a monster that ends up carrying significant booty!

New cards
Besides treasures, you'll pick up this expansion to Thunderstone Advance because of the heroes, village cards, and monsters! They're a fun a new addition, and for someone who had only Towers of Ruin, this breathes new life into a game that I love but was growing tired of. I won't go into specifics about how the cards interact (since I've only played one game), but they are enjoyable. Additions like the "Ooze" monster group just crack me up.

Wrap-up
As I said, this isn't a full review, and you shouldn't take my enthusiasm as the gospel regarding whether you should pick this up. But it is a nice second step in the Advance series, particularly for those of us that didn't jump on the Thunderstone ship until this reboot. My biggest qualm, however, is that there isn't... more... Some new familiars, avatars, or card abilities would have been welcomed. Instead, this expansion really babies you with more of the same mechanically. Literally, there is one page in the rulebook entitled "New Rules", and it just talks about treasures, and that's it! I still enjoy it, and let's be honest, we're really in it for the new cards, aren't we?! Still, it would've been nice to see some more substantial changes. That being said, this expansion got integrated into my ToR box with tons of room to spare before I even sat down to examine the cards! It's a keeper, but it may not totally and utterly "wow" you.
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Nice review! I'm excited to try this out, I too started with Advance, and just got this expansion but haven't played with it yet.

I am ok with them not adding too much more than just "more of the same". It's the variety I am looking for, and don't need the game bogged down with too many extra rules. The game is already a bit lengthy and I don't need more stuff or complications to make it last longer.

As for the washed out look, I am not seeing it on my cards. I've seen all the complaints and the scans someone posted, but when I look at my cards, the artwork seems as colorful as ever. Putting them side by side, if it wasn't for the border changes (which I think are for the better), I wouldn't be able to tell they are from two different sets if I didn't know ahead of time.

I also would have liked more familiars, seeing the same ones over and over is kind of a bummer. Oh well, hopefully in the next one.
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Mike
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Nicely done. I agree that this expansion breathes new life into the game. I also started with Advance, and having more variety is always nice.

I just played Goron's Den, and had a lot of fun with the new cards. The theme is neat, and the card synergy makes for fun play. So far the new monster groups are interesting, though I've only played with the Trolls and Chiroptids so far. The Trolls are pretty standard brutes, but they work. I especially love the Skullcracker raid effect. Putting Trolls in the monster deck is worth it just for those moments. I wasn't very excited about the Chiroptids at first glance, but they ended up being surprisingly intimidating (in a good way). They aren't just fodder monsters. We often had to decide whether fighting them was worth the XP, since they have nasty battle/raid effects that can be devastating if you have an unlucky draw. It made for fun play.

And yes, The Oozes made me laugh too.
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Anthony Martins
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kuroppo wrote:
I wasn't very excited about the Chiroptids at first glance, but they ended up being surprisingly intimidating (in a good way). They aren't just fodder monsters. We often had to decide whether fighting them was worth the XP, since they have nasty battle/raid effects that can be devastating if you have an unlucky draw.


Yeah. Playing yesterday we realized many of these guys add a random card's cost, not the value it produces, to their health. That's a crazy swing.

I was a thief that kept buying dancing swords, so the options of how much +Health they could have ranged from +0 to +8 starting pretty early
 
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