This is the second of what I hope to have as a semi-regular series of posts (by semi-regular, I mean at least once a month!) to highlight a game that I really can’t wait to play. It might be a game that is not out quite yet but is going to be coming soon. In those instances, there might be links to preorder pages, and other early promotional material to discover. Other times it might be a game that is already out that I either have never played, or have played only once and it has left me craving so much more. Which is the case this time around, since I have played the game once and it has since leapt to the very top of my wish list for board games. Either way, I hope to spread the word about some games that may not be on your radar quite yet, but they have somehow found their way onto mine.
As a note: This series of posts are all strictly done by me and of my choosing as a fan of a game. There has been no compensation, nor encouragement, by the publishers/designers to make the post. This is purely a labor of love, with the intention of spreading the word about a game I really want and think more people should know about.
I’ll be sharing this again at the end, but here is a link where you can order the game and/or expansions via Backerkit through May 31, 2017, along with the games and extras for the three other Legacy games in the series so far (**Note: The values shown on there are in Canadian dollars)
Without further delay, here is a little bit about Albion’s Legacy!
Albion’s Legacy is a fully cooperative modular-adventure game for 1-4 players (expandable to 6 with expansions). It plays in about 90 minutes and was published by Lynnvander Productions and Jasco Games. The game was designed by Thomas M. Gofton, Aron Murch, and Cameron Parkinson.
In Albion’s Legacy, King Arthur and his allies explore Albion in search of specific Realms, while trying to collect enough Quest Coins to win the game! As the Realms are explored, various Enemies will stand in the way, and must be Challenged by rolling the Stones of Chance! Meanwhile, Despair threatens the land! If the Flames of Hope are extinguished, or all Virtue is lost, the kingdom falls! It’s up to you to triumph against overwhelming odds!
This is not an easy game by any means! You begin in Camelot, on a board with a handful of areas to travel to and explore. Yet the game’s objectives, found on whichever one of the three Story Cards you choose to play, will force you to explore beyond that board, exiting through one of three different spots on the board. As you travel beyond, you will flip over a tile of the matching terrain type and place it down along the path. The vast majority of the areas are modular in this manner, creating a different experience for each and every play of the game.
Not only must you be lucky enough to draw the area tiles you are seeking, you must also combat hordes of enemies who get generated through many of these tiles. Every time a threat tile is flipped, the top card of either the Roaming Threat or the Severe Threat deck is revealed. A die is rolled to determine the number of creatures of that type to spawn. After resolving the threat card, a token is moved on top of that deck to indicate the other deck is used with the next threat tile. Which means every other tile brings out a Severe Threat, which are usually Named Characters who are difficult to defeat and come with their own set of baddies to slay.
Victory will come from completing the tasks set forth on the Story Card AND through collecting 3 Quest Coins per player in the game. Defeat will come at the end of the tenth round, through not having enough Quest Coins at the beginning of the turn after the Story Quest is completed, or having all of the Flames of Hope extinguished.
Each player will control at least one character from Arthurian Lore (2-Player game has each player controlling 2, 1-Player game you control 3). These characters have starting equipment, slots for new equipment, enemies they are favored against in battle, starting stats in five different categories (which determines how many dice are rolled), and their own special, character-specific quest they could complete in order to earn their own unique item. Combat is as simple as choosing one of two stats that are usable against the enemy type you are facing, rolling dice equal to your stat. Each die that shows that symbol is 1 hit, and there is a Burst symbol that is a “wild” side and counts as 2-hits regardless of what stat you are using. Standard enemies usually need 3 hits to be defeated, named enemies usually need 4 hits. If you fail to defeat the enemy, you can discard a Destiny Token to reroll dice, or take a wound. Some equipment can be “broken” in order to prevent a wound. Most characters can take a maximum of two wounds before they are retired from the game.
What comes in the box:
- 8 Playable Character Cards and Standees (King Arthur, Queen Gwenivere, Myrddin Emrys (Merlin), Sir Gawaine, Sir Lancelot, Sir Mordred, Dame Ragnelle and The Lady of the Lake)
- 4 Plastic Character Bases
- 3 Story Quests
- 12 Metal Quest Coins
- Over 100 Enemy Tokens
- 133 Playing Cards (Items, Armory, Stables, Threats and more!)
- Castle Camelot Playing Board
- 50 Modular Realm Tiles
- 2nd Edition Rulebook
- 8 Etched Stones of Chance (D6’s)
- 4 Reference Cards
And there are so many expansions!
The Deluxe version, available with the 2nd Edition Kickstarter that previously ran, included five expansions which added:
- +19 Playable Characters, including:
- Lady Dindrane
- Sir Percival
- Sir Palomedes
- Morgana Le Fey
- Countess Laudine
- Princess Iseult
- Sir Galahad
- Elaine the White
- Sir Ywain
- Sir Tristan
- Queen Argantel
- Sir Bors
- Sir Dagonet
- Sir Bedivere
- Sir Cei
- Sir Balen
- Sir Balan
- Tom Thumb
- +10 Story Quests
- +224 Playing Cards
- +6 Quest Coins
- New double-sided Playing Board (Avalon)
- Rules for Up to 6 Players
And the Old Kings Expansion (Expansion #6!)
Corruption is spreading through the land, and sapping the strength of Arthur and his allies. As the Realms of Albion erupt in chaos, and flash-fires and floods throw the Knights of the Round Table into disarray, a new set of heroes emerge from an age long past… Uther Pendragon and his allies march to Arthur’s aid, and raise their swords against the perils that threaten Albion in this brand new expansion…
This Expansion includes:
- 3 Characters (Includes: King Uther Pendragon, King Leondegrance and King Uriens)
- 3 All New Story Quests
- 20 Disaster Cards
- 2 Corruption Tokens
- 2 Despair Tokens
- 4 Wound Tokens
- 2 Flood Tokens
- 2 Wildfire Tokens
- 2 Mystic Rune Tokens
- 4 Companion Tokens
Albion’s Legacy, and the expansions included in the Deluxe version don’t have any cards that are drawn during the Key-Turn, or tokens that effect multiple Realm Tiles. The cards added in this expansion are drawn each Key-Turn and add new tokens to the play area. The Wildfire tokens, and Flood Tokens make traveling through the Realms of Albion an even more harrowing ordeal, and the Corruption Tokens deal damage to characters on all surrounding Realm Tiles. If you are especially daring, you can cleanse the corrupted Realms, and construct new Flames of Hope, increasing the length of the game!
And the SEVENTH Expansion, Errant’s Journey!!!!
Arthur and his allies have explored the Realms and saved Albion countless times. Now, new lands emerge from the mist, Outerworld Keeps, and the Lost Bastion… These ancient structures act as a refuge for Arthur and his allies, a much needed refuge in these troubled times… As Arthur and his allies explore the lands, they are attacked by more organized enemies intent on stealing their inventory, and hindering their efforts; brigands of all types stand in their way.
None of the previous content for Albion’s Legacy includes new boards for the heroes to explore. This expansion introduces 3 new side-boards: The 2 Outerworld Keeps are new, magical castles that can only be accessed through Warp Tiles, and the Lost Bastion is a new castle that can be connected to a Realm Tile far from Camelot, creating a refuge for the heroes.
This expansion also adds a series of Disaster Cards that turn core enemies into brigands that relentlessly hunt the players and force them to discard their Inventory Cards. These brigands can be challenged like normal enemies, but have to be dealt with before the Key-Turn to prevent them from stealing the players’ gear!
- 4 Characters (Includes: Sir Eric, Lady Enide, The 400 year old King, Evelake and The Bard, Taliesin)
- 1 All New Story Quest
- 12 Disaster Cards
- 2 Bridge Tokens
- 2 Pit Trap Tokens
- 2 Destiny Restoration Tokens
- 1 Brigand Mechanic Insert
- 1 Lost Bastion Side Board 2 Outerworld Keep Side Boards
Why this game is on my wish list:
- First and foremost, the Arthurian theme is outstanding. This game was clearly a labor of love by the designers, because there are so many Arthurian nods throughout the game to a variety of source materials. de Troyes, Malory, and more get their subtle homage in this game and I’ve hardly scratched the surface of exploring this game. I’ve played once, with someone else’s copy, so there wasn’t time to sit and revel in the Arthurian abundance. But I experienced enough to know that this game gives genuine homage to the source materials and is a must-have for any Arthurian fan. Only Tolkien rates higher for my literary fandom, but Arthurian has been a fandom of mine since childhood.
- This game pulls no punches. No doubt about it, this is a very challenging cooperative game. I have only the one play under my belt, but we came nowhere close to winning on the “easiest” of the three Story Cards. I absolutely love a game that presents a challenge dependent on more than just blind luck. Dice rolls will factor into things. The flipping of location tiles will factor into things. But in spite of those two random elements, there are so many approaches and avenues to explore that can help to mitigate those risks and help you to overcome the challenges. Even with three Story Cards in the base game, there is going to be a ton of play that can be explored. And the rulebook has both suggestions on how to make the game easier (if you like to win) or how to make it even harder (if you like to never win!) when you play.
- I really like the semi-modular gameplay of this. The board will never play out to be the same for two games. Many of the tiles in the stack have 2-3 terrain types shown, so even there you have multiple parts of the board where things can appear. How far you’ve explored helps to determine where the baddies can spawn. An early threat tile means the castle is likely to be swarmed. Later threat tiles can see those threats spread far from the castle, but it might place them along your path instead. It all blends together well to make a fun, replayable system that might be a little on the fiddly side but it ensures early tension in the game and a fresh experience every play.
- The AI for the enemies is very simple. They will either remain stationary, move toward the closest player, or move toward a certain objective. The card you flip will tell you how they are supposed to interact. What may start as a small, spread out series of enemies can eventually sweep into a massive, sprawling swarm that would make any colony of Walkers from the Walking Dead envious. The worst was having a named enemy who chased the nearest player and, if he was defeated, bad things would happen to us that would make the game end sooner. But by ignoring him, we not only had to avoid him but he also made it so certain enemy groups would never be eliminated completely and thus blocked those Quest Coins from getting collected.
- The game presents really hard decisions. You need to decide what way to explore. Where to place the enemies that spawn. What enemies are worth fighting and which ones are best ignored. You need to stop on a space with a weapon/armor/item icon in order to draw cards from decks that make you stronger, but that can feel like a waste of part of your turn. Named enemies will spawn that wreck havoc if left ignored, yet they might not be worth the time or resources invested to travel to them and fight them. Your health and rerolls are not in abundance, so they need to be managed wisely or you’ll retire a character and bring the end one round sooner. You can stop on spaces that boost the other characters’ rolls on certain attributes but, again, it might seem like wasted opportunity if you end movement early to land on that space. Should you try and meet your ally to swap items so you both have greater benefit from the cards, or just hang onto the less effective items and use them to absorb wounds? Every choice will feel like it matters.
- Which leads me to this: the overall experience is one that is rivaled by few games. You’ll feel like you are exploring in Arthurian areas because the tiles and enemies and cards evoke the theme well. The game will challenge you, forcing you to play time and again simply to defeat the three scenarios that come in the base game. It will change every time, so there will never be a chance to “solve” the game over the course of those plays. You’ll agonize over decisions and second guess yourself at the end, wondering if you did X differently or didn’t do Y then would you have won? Or at least come closer to winning. This is exactly the solo, and co-op, experience that provides memorable gameplay and becomes a long-lasting staple in a collection. This is a game that, after one play, I am confident has a chance to join War of the Ring as a permanent feature at the top of my game list each and every year.
It surprises me how little discussion I find about this game. I’ve had the chance to play it only once, but that was enough to leapfrog it to the very top of my wish list and there is remains, even after my very recent plays of Scythe (which would be my current #2 wish list game). Albion’s Legacy is a fantastic game, and it hits all the right buttons for a co-op game I’d want to play with others even if the theme wasn’t such an amazing one. I wish there was more buzz for this game and the others in their Legacy series: Sherwood’s Legacy (Robin Hood), Neverland’s Legacy (Peter Pan), and the recently-kickstarted Gascony’s Legacy (Three Musketeers). As of right now, Albion’s Legacy is sitting as the #4,113 ranked game on Board Game Geek, which is a massive shame. It easily deserves to be a top-500 game and is destined to be a top-5 game for me if I get to play it more. There are only 4 video reviews and 2 text reviews. I simply don’t understand that, because this is a fantastic experience and I am certain the other Legacy games are deserving of equal praise.
Do check out all four games. I’m leaving links to the BGG page of each of them below, as well as the current link where you can preorder the games and/or expansions via Backerkit through May 31, 2017 (**Note: The values shown on there are in Canadian dollars)