Ring Side Report- Board Game Review of Thunderstone Advanced: Numenera

Game-Thunderstone Advanced: Numenera

Producer– AEG

Cost– $60

Set-up/Play/Clean-up– 1 1/2 hours

TL;DR– Great merger of two great things 92.5%

 

Basics– Are you ready for the 9th world?  Thunderstone is a deck building game.  All players start with a deck that contains some regulars (basic fighters), some weapons, some lights, and two thunderstone shards.  What makes this game more involved then Dominion is the options presented to you on your turn.  On a players turn they draw six cards then decide to go to the village (buys cards/level up), dungeon (fight monsters for points/exp to level), rest (destroy cards from you deck), or prepare (discard some cards then draw to six).  When you shop, you reveal cards with a gold value then purchase a card from the village.  The village cards range from more heroes with special powers, items, weapons, villagers, or spells.  You can also level up heroes.  If you have enough experience point chips (cyphers) you can spend them to level up a hero to his/her next rank, destroying his/her card and gaining the better version of him/her.  The dungeon is also an important addition to this deck building game.  Monsters have hit points and other powers as well as a rank.  Rank is determined by how closer to the dungeon draw deck they are.  The higher the rank, the more light you need to fight the monster and not take a penalty to attacking the creature.  When you do attack, you need heroes to attack as well as weapons for them to equip and spells or items for more light or damage.  When you defeat a monster, it goes into your discard pile and it give you points at the end of the game as well as cyphers.  The game continues until the Thunderstone bearer is reveled.  When the monster is defeated of reach rank one, the game is over.  Players count points in their deck, and the player with the most wins.

 

Mechanics: This is a good addition to the Thunderstone family.  Thunderstone and Thunderstone Advanced seem pretty similar.  Not to generalize to much, but if you have played one deck builder, then you have played them all in that managing what goes into your deck is the most important thing.  However, I really love this game more the other games like Dominon as the dungeon adds a whole new level of play.  The dungeon really ties the whole RPG/fantasy part of the game together making theme and mechanics go well together right from the start.  This game adds a few new twists: cyphers, a location, and treasures.  Cyphers are experience points, but you can spend one per turn for an additional effect.  The cyphers come in a little bag and are multicolored.  The multiple colors represent different one time effects.  This is a great addition.  The location is a card that dictates a bit of random effects from the environment.  The location activates when players begin to spend cyphers. Again this is another fun, Numenera addition to the game.  The final addition is the treasures.  These are cards that are mixed in with the monsters.  When you draw one, you draw other monsters, and that monster then uses that item.  When you defeat the monster, you get the card and use its beneficial effects.  Again, it’s another cool addition to the game.  All and all this game is great fun if you love deck builders. 4.5/5

 

Theme:  I am mixed here.  The game comes with some awesome Numenera additions that really made me happy.  I did feel like I was in a small village building up a group of people to battle the unknown.  I loved that.  I loved the little bag with the cyphers.  I love the cyphers!  I love the locations!  But, what I missed was a bit of flavor.  I liked the monsters, but I don’t know who they are.  I would have loved a little flavor text to build the Numenera world a little.  The same goes for the items, locations, heroes.  All great, all flavorful, but I wanted just a little bit more.  The locations are cool, but what is going on here?  Give me a half paragraph describing the place.  Also, I love the heroes, but I hate the final level of them.  The Numenera structure is adjective noun who verbs for character creation.  So why are the heroes Enhanced adjective nouns?  I know size/typeset, but I’ll take smaller typeface for the real deal.  Same goes for money.  I know Thunderstone has a set card face, but why not make the gold shins?  I just had a bunch of little things that got under my skin here. 4/5

 

Rules: The rule book is think and intimidating, however it’s well written.  I like what I saw.  Cards with difficult explanations get a full write up in the book.  Lots of examples are provided, so you learn how to play a deck builder.  While it’s a tome, it’s a well built tome.  5/5

 

Execution/Art:  AEG is learned a lot from the first Thunderstone and Dominion.  The box is great and has those awesome foam inserts so more cards will fit (AKA I will buy more and put them in this game).  The separator cards are giant, so I can sort them quick.  I love the new board design, so I have a nice place to put all my stuff that looks great and not messy.  I am ecstatic with the little Thunderstone cypher bag and the little chits. You get great Numenera flavor throughout the whole game.  This is a quality game. 5/5

 

Summary:  Thunderstone is my deck builder.  I loved the base game and spent way too much on Facebook buying cards I own in real life to pay online.  I love Numenera.  These two coming together is like peanut butter and jelly and less like sushi and chocolate.  It could have gone horrible, but it’s come out amazing!  If you want a great intro product to Thunderstone, then this is a great grab.  If you want to try deck builders and are a RPG gamer, then this is a good grab.  I’m just happy I was able to get one. 92.5%

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