Product– Albion’s Legacy
Price– At your local con. Gaming Stores can’t get this one yet!
Set-up/Play/Clean-up– 120 minutes (2-4 players, expansion to 6)
TL; DR– Arthurian Arkham Horror 93%
Basics- The kingdom is threatened and Arthur must ride out to face the threat! In Albion’s Legacy players take the rolls of various heroes (and in the expansion villains) of Avalon who must stop different threats to the kingdom. There is a lot to this game, but it’s also surprisingly simple to play.
Players start by selecting a hero. Each hero has a power and a personal quest. The power is a constant power they have through the game, and the personal quest is a character specific goal that will grant the character their awesome ability or item that will make them that much more powerful. Each hero also gets a starter weapon and armor. These don’t do much besides block hits, so better items are a must. Players also get destiny points that are used in challenges (more on that later).
Players then select a quest to go on. The quest is the way the players will win. Each quest outlines specific places the player must go, enemy’s to kill, and with the expansions adds extra enemies and locations for the players to visit. These describe how set up is modified as well. Players also select a start player who starts with a key token. This key token is used to keep track of the number of rounds the players have played as well as determining when the game itself take a turn to move all the enemies and effect the players as needed.
After setup, players all start in the round table room of the Camelot board. Camelot has several different locations for the players to go, with all the different locations revealed. Starting with a key players, each player gets to move their characters around the board. The characters all start with a move of four spaces, but they don’t have to go all four spaces. For the most part, a character is free to move as many or as few spaces as they want. Characters only cause events to happen when they enter a space that has an encounter marker on it or moves onto an enemy’s space. Encounter spaces cause the player to draw an encounter card, and any time a character and a monster share a space, all other play stops and the character must fight the monster! I’ll discuss combat and monsters in a bit. Character can keep moving until they use up their movement either moving on known tiles, or revealing tiles for them to move on. The player’s turn ends when they stop moving and they can elect to use the location ability of their space. These space abilities range from healing the character, repairing armor/weapons, getting new items, or other good effects.
Combat is quick in this game. Each character has several knightly attributes ranging from courage, prowess, altruism, and so on. Every monster or challenge has different attributes that must be select for a combat along with a number of successes that must be obtained. After the player has selected their attribute, the player rolls the number of dice their character has for that attribute. These dice are six sided dice with five of the sides being the different attributes and the sixth being a mana burst which is worth two successes. A player rolls these dice and counts the successes. If the player succeeds, the monster is beaten or the challenge won. If not, the player now must make a few choices. The player can take a wound and continue the challenge, break (flip the card over) an armor or weapon and continue the challenge, discard a armor or weapon to flee combat, or spend destiny points to reroll dice. The destiny points allow a player to select a second symbol on the die, reroll one die, and see how the combat progresses with the player winning, spending armor/weapons, or taking damage. It’s quick, simple, and VERY deadly as most characters only have one damage! Take your second damage, and your player retires out of the game and you have to take a second (or third or more!) character.
After all players take their turns, the key player gets a second turn. When they finish their second turn, the monsters all have their turns. Most monsters move, a brazier is extinguished, some events trigger, and the key marker moves to the next player. Then play continues as above. When the players finish their original quest, they win the game! If they last virtue plaque is removed or last brazier extinguished, they Kingdome descends into darkness, and the players have lost!
Mechanics– I’ll compared this game to Arkham Horror. The base mechanic is choose one of your six attributes, roll the number of dice you have in that attribute, and hope for that symbol or wilds to appear. This is basically the same as the d6 with fives and sixes being successes of Arkham Horror. Aside from that, the base mechanics of tiles revealing monsters and the basic ideas of the quest you’re on are the major story-based mechanics of the game. All together, everything is easy enough to run, but hard enough to succeed at to keep players playing again and again. My major problem is the game does not scale well for less than four players. If you play one player, then you run all four characters. If you play two players, then each player runs two characters. If you’re playing three players then one person runs two characters. I’d just rather see more scaling stories. Instead of having to go to eight difference places to get fragments in one mission, why not make it two places per character? Maybe fewer monsters on each threat card for fewer players? The quest coins scale, but the rest of the game doesn’t. That isn’t game ending by any means, but it a slight annoyance. Otherwise, the game runs quickly and is quite fun. 4.5/5
Theme– Homerun. This feels like a hard, but beatable, co-op game of Arkham Horror set in the world of King Arthur. All the threats feel like Arthurian legends. The monsters feel monastery enough, but also the variety of things needed to beat the monsters and threats is interesting. Sure, the mechanics are basically choose a number besides 6 to roll, but the fact that the numbers of the six-sided die have different names makes this feel more like an RPG and a quest. While I won’t quit Arkham Horror over this one as I still need my Cthulhu fix, Albion’s Legacy has found a spot in the co-op rotation of games that my wife and I will play when we want to go on a quest together and save the world. 5/5
Instructions– This game is an example of a game that has everything you need to play written out decently, but not laid out in a way that is as helpful as you might need. Overall the rules have exactly what you need to play. But, it will take you a few read-throughs to get all those pieces together. The rulebook has pictures to really help guide you in, but there are a few blocks of text that could use a break up to make things smother. But, if you need it, I promise it’s there. Here is my example. I was confused over the virtue plaques. These are plaques that give your character a bonus, but if the players have used them all up, you all instantly lose. My wife and I couldn’t for the life of us figure out how to use them. But, after rereading the rules, they function exactly like any other space and resources on the board- go to a location, take your turn ending action to use the space, and get a plaque. Its written right there in red and white, but something you, like me, might miss on your read through of the rules. It’s not poorly done by any means. Maybe I’m just used to having similar things spelled out repeatedly to me in different rule books. It does read quickly, but you have to be extremely careful that you might miss an important rule that could drastically change your play experience! 4.25/5
Execution– Overall, I really like what’s here. I even did an unboxing video of this game: http://youtu.be/KG6ZPLTsync There are a ton of parts to this game! The box is large enough to hold them all, but you’re going to need to provide your own organization! While I love the game, I’d like some Ziploc bags to come with it. It’s a minor complaint, but it’s an important one. Games like this (Arkham Horror, World of Warcraft board game, Caverna et al) are full of awesome components, but if you don’t keep this monster organized, you will spend more time setting than you ever could playing! But that aside, the art is great, the characters look good, and the cards read well. I’d like a few more of the attribute cards to help you determine what the spaces mean or how to fight each type of monster, but again, that’s nitpicking. Overall, that game is well put together, but a few more additions would help put this over the top. 4.75/5
Summary– Cards on the table, I’ve never heard of Lynnvander before. I think they are a newer gaming company, so I’m honestly surprised by the quality and quantity of this game. Albion’s Legacy is an ambition game for any company to put out. Some multimillion dollar gaming companies completely blow the launches of games like this. It’s FULL of parts, has a ton of options, and is simple to run. And all that for the basic intro price of $45. That’s not bad! I went with the deluxe of $60, and I got extra characters, quests, and tiles. That’s well worth the price of admission. It’s got a few issues-the rules could use another pass/edit, the mechanics don’t scale exactly well with the player count, and I’d like some Ziploc bags for my parts. But, what is in this box is amazing. If you want a co-op game that works like a dungeon crawl version of Arkham Horror in Avalon, then it is well worth your time to check this game out. 93%