Legends of Andor Review

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Legends of Andor is a game by Michael Menzel, published by THAMES & KOSMOS. It is for 2-4 players. In this game, players take on the role of mighty heroes in a medieval world of fantasy as they work together to save the land of Andor. They will embark on several quests that will be played out over a series of scenarios. Each movement and decision that they make will ultimately change and advance the scenarios. If they are not careful the land will be overrun with monsters and all hope will be lost. In the end, it will take careful planning and cooperation to save the day and become winners.

This game is a deeply story driven game. As such, there’s a lot of information that is not revealed until the players progress to that portion of the game. So, to keep this review spoiler free, I’ve decided to explain how to set up the first initial game. This is the basic first set up that everything builds off of. As you continue playing extra parts and pieces will be added to that are a bit more complex and a lot more exciting. I hope you enjoy.

To begin, the large Legend cards should be sorted out. Those cards with the words “Legend 1” will be used in the initial game. The rest can be set aside or returned to the box, for now. The 12 silver backed event cards and the one with the green arrows on it, will be used as well in the first game. The remaining cards may be set aside or returned to the box as well. Players will then choose a hero board which they will place in front of them on either the male or female side depending on which they prefer playing. They then receive the corresponding game figure, as well as 2 wooden discs, 1 wooden cube and the dice of the matching color. This is noted on the hero board which color belongs to which character. The board is then placed in the center of the play area with the Land of Andor side face up. The 7 large blue tokens are placed face up on the board in various locations as noted in the rules. Players place one of their wooden discs in the sunrise box at the top of the board. Each player’s hero figure is placed in a different location as noted in the rules. The gold tokens are placed near the board within reach of all players. The white wooden narrator pawn is placed on the A space on the Legend track, located on the right side of the board. The Legend 1 cards are sorted alphabetically with A1 on top and N at the bottom. These cards are then placed beside the board’s Legend track. Each player places their wooden cube on the “1” space of the strength track on their hero board. Their remaining wooden disc is placed on the “7” spot of the willpower points track. Play now begins.

The game starts by one player reading the Legend Card A1 aloud. Players then take turns performing 1 action. In the introductory game, players learn mostly how to move their characters. The move action allows a player to move their hero figure any number of spaces but it will cost them 1 hour on the time track for every space that they move. This is noted by moving the player’s colored disc an equal amount of spaces forward on the time track at the top of the board. To begin with, the player only has 7 hours available so may only move up to 7 spaces. If a player chooses to move less than 7 spaces, they will have more hours left to be able to do other things later in the round. If the player’s hero figure ends their movement on a space that has a token on it, the token is activated and the instructions on it are carried out. The player also has the option of passing. This moves the hero’s time marker ahead 1 hour. Once a player is done perfoming their action, play passes to the next player clockwise. This continues going around until all players have either completed all the tasks or have used up all 7 hours from the time track. A new day then begins.

Once all the tasks have been completed, the board is set up for the next Legend card. Players keep all the items they gained through the opening scene. The heroes’ time markers are returned to the sunrise box. Whichever hero entered the castle places their marker on the rooster box. They will be allowed to take the first turn of the next part of the game. The large blue tokens that were not already removed, are returned to the box. I will now explain a little more about the game without revealing too much information so as not to spoil any of the story for you.

As the game continues you will be adding new tokens to the board in various locations. Well tokens are added to several spaces. A red X token is set aside to be used, as is a parchment token. Star tokens will be placed on several different spaces of the Legend track. The event cards are shuffled and set face down with the green arrows card placed on top. Creature figures will be set to the side of the board to be added when needed. The battle board is placed with the equipment board on the rear side. The “End of Battle” and “Fighting Together” Legend cards are placed side by side beside the board. The red creature dice will be placed near the creature display, while a red disc is placed on the “4” space of the creatures’ willpower display. A red cube is placed on the “2” space of the creatures’ strength. Fog tokens are added to several spaces after removing 4 of them as noted in the rules. After this is done, play commences again following the previous time rules with one extra addition. This time around, players are able to use more than 7 hours at a cost of 2 willpower points for each extra hour used, up to a maximum of 3 hours. A hero can end their turn early and place their marker in the rooster box of the time track, becoming the first player on the next day.

Once the day is over the effects of the sunrise box now take place and will take place at the start of each new day from here on out. Everything is laid out in the box with a picture to remind you of what happens when. Let me explain this part of the game fairly quickly. Each symbol on the box stands for a different thing. First off the top event card is read out loud and it’s instructions carried out. Next all the small gor creatures move beginning with the one on the lowest numbered space. Their movement is determined by the small arrow points on the space they are standing on. It should also be noted that creatures can’t stand in the same space as another creature. This means that if they move into a space already occupied they must follow the next arrow points to the next space until there is an open space available for them to stop on. After the gors have all moved, the other creatures follow the same rules and move as depicted by the creature pictures in the box. After the creatures have finished moving, all well tokens are refreshed by flipping them over to their colored side. The last thing that happens is that the narrator pawn advances 1 letter space up the Legend track. When a star token is landed on, the corresponding Legend card is read out loud. It should also be noted that the Narrator is also moved whenever a creature is defeated. After all this has been done, a new day begins with the player in the rooster box of the Sunrise box.

Once creatures make their way onto the board, the heroes have another action that they are able to take aside from simply moving. That is they are able to fight. Let me explain how fighting works a little bit. A hero that shares a space with a creature may attack that creature. Likewise, a hero with a bow may attack a creature from an adjacent space. To attack a hero follows a few simple steps. First the hero’s time marker is moved ahead 1 space for each round of battle. The hero then rolls all the dice available to them as indicated by their current willpower points. They then add their strength points to their highest roll to get a battle value. The hero can then use a witch’s brew or medicinal herb if they have one and would like to use it at this time. At this point, the creatures react. The players note the strength and willpower points of the creature. The player to the left of the attacking player rolls the creature’s available dice. Just like with the player’s character, the highest die value is used. However if there are dice with an identical number, these are added together. If this number yeilds a higher value than the highest rolled number, this new value is used instead. The creature’s strength points are then added to this number to obtain it’s battle value. The difference between the two battle values is deducted from the willpower points of the defeated side. If the creature and hero still have willpower points, the battle continues and a new battle round takes place. This continues till either the hero has no more time left on the time track or they choose to disengage from the battle. Once the creature loses all of it’s willpower points, it is defeated. The hero player then takes their choice of gold or willpower points. The amount is determined by the strength points of the creature as designated on the creature display. The defeated creature is then placed on space 80 and the Narrator pawn advances 1 space. If by chance, the player loses all of their willpower points, they not only lose the battle but also a strength point to boot. He then gains back 3 willpower points and play passes to the next player. Players can also work together to attack a creature by adding all their available dice and then adding the highest value from each player together to get a battle value. That battle value number is exactly the same as if it was a single character attacking with the difference being subtracted from the loser(s).

The game continues until one of a couple of things happen. The game can end with the heroes victorious if they manage to complete all the Legend goals before the Narrator reaches the “N” on the Legend track. If by chance the Narrator does reach the “N”, the game is also over but in this case, the heroes lose. Another way the game can end for the heroes is if too many creatures enter the castle. Any time a creature enters the castle, they are placed on one of the golden shields next to the castle. The number of shields varies for the different number of players. If a creature enters and there are no more shields left for them to be placed on, the game ends and the heroes are defeated.

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COMPONENTS
WOW! This game has a ton of stuff packed inside the box. If you like cardboard, you’ll love this game. I’m just gonna give you a summary of what all you get. There are hero boards for each character that are double sided. One side is for a male character and the other side is female. There are standups for each character. Yes, there’s one for both the male and female characters. There are lots of creature standups as well in 4 different types. There are also special standups for the dark mage, Prince Thorald, shield dwarves and a witch. There’s also a huge dragon and a tower that must be put together. On top of the standups, there are tons of tokens for gold, poison, medicinal herbs, stars for the Legend track, farmer tokens, parchments, rune stones, wells, rubble tokens, gemstones, red Xs for marking out different things, equipment tokens that fit into special areas on the hero board, fog tokens, creature tokens, several large tokens for the opening game, wineskins, telescopes, witch’s brew, and helms for the hero boards as well, and the “N” token for the Legend track. If that don’t get you excited about the game, then nothing will. The different standups have colored bases that they fit into which help keep things easy to pick out. The artwork on these pieces is great looking. I really love how the equipment and helm fit onto the hero boards to affect the way your character looks. If you character has a shield, it really looks like they’re carrying a shield now. It’s quite cool. Those are just the cardboard pieces. There’s also all the small event cards and fate cards as well as the larger Legend cards. Once you make it to the second Legend, you can pick from easier or normal level cards to make the game harder or easier. These are easily distinguished by color. Needless to say, this game requires a lot of table space. The board is HUGE! My poor little table barely holds it all. In any event, everything in the box looks amazing and is great quality. You will NOT be disappointed with the components for this game. I gurantee it.
9 out of 10

RULEBOOK
The rulebook for this game is actually broken up into 2 pieces. There’s the Quick-Start Guide that’s a lot larger for diving head first into the game. It helps you through the setup and gets you started with the game, really quickly. There are lots of big pictures with explanations on what each piece is and does from the board to the hero boards. The last page has a great reference section that explains the Sunrise box and how it works. This works great for quickly looking back at if there are questions or just as a reference. The other book included with the game is the Reference Manual. This is almost completely nothing but text. This is the main book for the game. Everything is laid out really well with lots of examples. There are sections about fighting creatures as well as explanations of how each of the many tokens in the game are used. There’s a great overview on how the game is played from start to finish. Yes, it would have been nice to have had some pictures thrown in here and there, but this is used for reference not for looking pretty. Granted, the cover of the book has a full page of nothing but pictures of all the items in the game. Trust me, without it, I’d have forgotten some of the pieces when I went through the components earlier. In any event, the books work great together for the first couple of games and everything is explained really well and are very easy to understand. I’m very happy with the combined rules set.
9 out of 10

GAMEPLAY
If you’re looking for a grand sweeping fantasy story driven board game that will suck you deep into an epic world of adventure, you’ve just found that game. This is all that and more. This is a story telling game that really gets you involved in the world of Andor. Each time a card is read, it brings more of the story and world to life. Just because this is game rich with story, it’s not easy. Some times it will take multiple plays to get through a Legend. Even the easy ones are hard. At it’s heart, the game is co-op which is great because you don’t need someone to play all the bad guys and monsters. Everyone can play a hero which is awesome! Look the game takes a bit of time to set up and it’s a bit of a table hog. However, once you have everything set up it’s full speed ahead. Seriously! That’s one of the great parts of this game is that you can just jump right in there and learn as you play. No need to sit around and read 50 pages of rules. The theme, as you may imagine, is very rich and full of life. I love fantasy style games and this one brings out that genre really well. There are so many things that have to be done and that you’ll want to do, yet you won’t have the time for your characters to do everything. Like I explained in the rules section, when you beat a monster, the time advances. Once that Narrator pawn reaches the “N”, you’re done. That’s all she wrote. Game over! That means that random hack and slash techniques won’t cut it for this game. You have to really think about the big picture and what needs to be done. Then you all work together the best way to accomplish your goals. The game is very replayable. Sure, once you’ve finished all 5 Legends in the box, you’ll feel like you’ve done everything. However there are different difficulty levels as well as some variables that change up the way things are played. For me, I can see this being played numerous times. With expansions being made and even dowloadable legends available, it’s very much replayable. One thing to note is that the game is fairly long so make sure you have plenty of time to play it. Once you get started playing you will not want to stop. You’ll want to play one more Legend or try that one you lost just one more time. Fans of games that tell stories like Tales of the Arabian Nights or possibly Above and Below might enjoy this one as well. As for me, I thoroughly enjoyed it and look forward to many more adventures in Andor.
9 out of 10

OVERALL
Legends of Andor is a medium weight co-operative game of story telling goodness in a fantasy kingdom. The game can be quite long so make sure that you have plenty of time for both setup and playing. This can take in excess of a couple of hours, especially since you’ll want to keep playing. The artwork and components are all really well designed and look great. I love the hero boards and the double sided game board. However, this game is a monster and it takes up a lot of table space so be warned. The gameplay is one of adventure and exploration with some dice chucking monster fighting thrown in for good measure. It has a great puzzle solving feel as you’ll need to figure out the best way to accomplish all your tasks before the Narrator completes his travels on the Legend track. Fans of story driven games like Tales of the Arabian Nights should really enjoy this one too. The very thematic and rich with fantasy goodness. This is one that I’ve really enjoyed playing. I highly recommend this game. It’s one that will be played and replayed several times. Make sure that you give this one a try. You’ll definitely enjoy yourself.
9 out of 10

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For more information about this and other great games, please check out THAMES & KOSMOS at their site.

http://www.thamesandkosmos.com/index.php/kosmosgames

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About Gaming Bits - Jonathan Nelson

I'm a happily married man with 2 wonderful kids. I love my family very much. I'm a big fan of board, card and RPG games and have been playing for over 20 years. As a board and card game reviewer, I'm hoping that this blog will inform, educate and entertain you. If you like it, please tell your friends and have them join in on the conversations. Thanks and GAME ON!!
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2 Responses to Legends of Andor Review

  1. Pingback: Legends of Andor: The Star Shield Expansion Review | GAMING BITS

  2. Pingback: Legends of Andor: New Heroes Expansion Review | GAMING BITS

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