Call to Adventure: The Stormlight Archive Review

Call to Adventure: The Stormlight Archive is a game by Chris & Johnny O’Neal, published by Brotherwise Games. It is for 1-4 players. In this standalone expansion for Call to Adventure, based on Brandon Sanderson’s The Stormlight Archive series of novels, players will tell the story of their lives by developing their character and following different paths in the world of Roshar. Along the way, they just might be able to become one of the Knights Radiant, historic defenders of Roshar. In the end, the player with the greatest Destiny score will be declared the winner.

To begin, all of the different card types should be separated by the card back. Each individual deck should then be shuffled thoroughly. Each player is then dealt 6 Character cards; 2 from the Origins deck, 2 from the Motivation deck and 2 from the Destinies deck. Players choose 1 of each to keep. The remaining cards are returned to the box. Each player is also dealt a Hero card and is given 3 Experience tokens. Players should keep their Hero card a secret from their opponents. Players are given a player board and a Hero marker. The player board is placed in front of the player and the Hero marker is placed on the third level from the top of the Corruption track. Players will now place their chosen cards on their player board. Their Origin card is placed face up on the left space. The Motivation card is placed in the middle face up and the Destiny card is placed on the right space face down. It should be noted that the player may look at their face down card at any time. The Story decks are shuffled separately and set up in the middle of the play area as follows. In a column from top to bottom should be placed the Act III, Act II and Act I decks. Beside each deck a number of cards are laid out in a face down row. The number of cards is determined by the number of players. If playing a solo or co-op game, the Odium card and his deck are setup as follows. First the Odium card is placed face up on the table. The players choose one of the Adversary Quest cards and place it face up on the table. All of the Antihero cards that are marked with a skull at the bottom are shuffled and placed near the Odium card, face down. Five experience tokens per player are placed on the Odium card. This completes the solo/co-op requirements. The Hero and Antihero decks are shuffled and placed at the end of the Story deck rows. The Rune tray with all the Core Runes, Ability Runes and Dark Runes are placed within reach of all players. Once everyone is ready, the Act I cards are flipped face up. The first player is chosen and play now begins.

For this review, I will mainly be discussing the solo and co-op play. For more information on how to play the normal multiplayer game, please follow the link below for a review of the base game.

https://jlnelson73.wordpress.com/2019/04/03/call-to-adventure-review/

For the regular game, the object is to gain the highest Destiny score. For the solo and co-op game, the object is to defeat Odium and make sure that he has no more experience tokens. There are a few additions to the regular setup when playing in solo or co-op. First the Odium card is placed on the table and one of the Adversary Quests is chosen and placed face up beside the Odium card. It is recommended for the first time playing this way, to use the Radiants United Adversary Quest. Next all of the Antihero cards that are marked with a skull icon at the bottom are set aside to form Odium’s special deck. A number of experience tokens are placed on the Odium card based on the number of players. The rule is 5 experience per player. With all this done, play now begins.

Solo and co-op games are played a lot like the competitive game with the idea that players will need to play cards to deplete Odium’s experience and then be able to defeat his challenge card. Once a player begins their turn with 9 story cards, then they must face Odium. The remaining players must also use their next turn to face Odium as well. To do this, the player will choose 2 abilities and then cast all of their runes of that type. They may use Hero and Antihero cards but are forbidden to use Dark Runes against him. If the player is able to meet or exceed Odium’s difficulty level, then the player succeeds in defeating him. For every success the player achieves over Odium’s difficulty level, that many experience tokens are removed from his card. If every player that face Odium is able to defeat him and if he has no more experience tokens left on his card, then the heroes win. The players gain a Radiant icon and 9 Triumph points. If any player fails to defeat him or there are still experience points on his card, then the players lose.

One last thing I’d like to mention, there is one special rule when a player gets a draw a hero or antihero card result on their rune. First they will draw one of the chosen cards like normal but then they will also have to reveal the top card of Odium’s special deck of Antihero cards. Before the player resolves their attempt, the effects of Odium’s card must be applied. It should be noted that the players is able to use their own hero or antihero cards in response to Odium’s card, including the one that they just drew. Other players may also help out and play their own cards in response. After the attempt has been resolved, the player will then discard any Odium cards and end the effects of that card.

COMPONENTS
While this is an expansion for the Call to Adventure game, it is also a standalone game that doesn’t require anything else to be able to play. Just like the base game, this one comes with player boards, hero markers, rune stones, experience tokens and lots of cards. It has 34 character cards, 72 story cards, 48 hero and antihero cards and 5 adversary cards. The cards come in two sizes with the character and story cards being tarot sized while the others are all normal playing card size. The artwork on all of the cards are very thematic and look absolutely astounding. Just like with the Name of the Wind expansion, I’m also unfamiliar with the Stormlight Archive series of novels. That said, I can’t really comment on how well the content of this game fits in with the theme of the novels. I will say that everything looks really cool and it has a definite fantasy style that I’m very keen on. The cards of this expansion look really nice alongside those of the core game, so players that are looking for more content will find this fits in quite well. I think for the most part all the cards look really good and they work well with the game. There are a couple of things that I would like to note about the other components that I’m sure have already been said by others. The main thing is the experience tokens and the player boards. In the base game, the experience tokens were all nice plastic pieces. That’s not the case with this one. This game comes with a punchboard of cardboard tokens that are nowhere near as nice. The player boards are very thin compared to the thick cardboard of the core game. While those of us that own the core game won’t have a big problem transferring the cards and other necessary components over to the core game, those players that don’t have this option may be a bit underwhelmed with the lower quality of pieces. That’s not to say that what’s here is bad necessarily, it’s just that the core game has so much nicer looking pieces of much higher quality. For me, I simply look at it as a way of adding more cards and content to an already great game. Looking at it in this way, it’s a win in my book. Your mileage may vary.
8 out of 10

RULEBOOK
Much like the rulebook for the core game, this one is also very nicely done. There are lots of great pictures and plenty of examples of gameplay. The first 10 pages of the book cover how to play the game multiplayer, which is the same basic rules of the core game. The next 2 pages cover the solo and co-op rules of this standalone expansion. The next several pages contain a glossary of terms and a series of frequently asked questions. The last couple of pages explain how to add this game with the core game and give an overview of the game components. The back cover of the book has a very nice quick start guide for the game which is very nice for those players already familiar with the game. I do wish that the solo and co-op rules were also in this reference but then again, it’s not like it’s hard to remember what to do. Just like the rulebooks before it, I think this one does an awesome job of covering the numerous ways to play this game and it looks good doing it. I’m quite happy with the overall look and design of everything.
9 out of 10

GAMEPLAY
For new players attracted to this game based on the source material, this may be something completely new to you. As for those of us already familiar with the base game, it doesn’t add that much as far as new rules. What it does add is a lot of new cards that really add on to a core game that I really love. That’s what really attracted me to it in the first place. Seeing as I really enjoyed the first game, this standalone expansion makes it possible to play either by itself or by adding in content from the Name of the Wind expansion or base game itself. Like with the Name of the Wind expansion, this adds a new concept with the addition of the Radiant icons. These are special story icons that allow players to unlock Radiant abilities. Something that I didn’t mention in the overview. They also add points to your end game score. Some of the new cards in this game will allow a player to unlock card abilities through the use of these Radiant icons, while others give a temporary Radiant icon to be able to use these abilities. These icons can be quite powerful and are almost essential to defeating Odium in a solo or co-op game. For all of us veterans to the game, this adds a lot more content that really expands the excitement and joy that I had with the core game. Being unfamiliar with the source material I can’t say how closely it relates to the theme and core concepts, but what I can say is that it’s a lot of fun. I think that fans of the game and especially those that like the Stormlight Archive series of novels will thoroughly enjoy this one just like I did. I will point out again, like I did in the component section, that the pieces aren’t quite as nice in this version. So if you really want the best experience, I would suggest the base game first and then add this later if the game and theme appeal to you. Is this a must have expansion? Not really unless like me you just really want more content to enhance your game with. Even so, this is one that I would definitely recommend.
9 out of 10

OVERALL
Call to Adventure: The Stormlight Archive is a standalone expansion for Call to Adventure based on the Stormlight Archive series of books by Brandon Sanderson. As an expansion it adds a lot of new content and material for an already great game. Play time for this isn’t that long. Most game sessions last around 45 to an hour. The components for this are nice but not quite as good as those in the original game. Cardboard experience tokens and thin player boards make this a step down in terms of quality. The rulebook is very well done and covers all the new concepts and mechanics really nicely, along with all the basic rules. The game/expansion itself is a lot of fun. With new ways to play both solo and co-op, I really enjoy what this brings to the table. The new mechanics and content are a welcome addition as well. Unfortunately I’m not familiar enough with the theme to say just how spot on it is, but it’s still a very fun adventure to me. Fans of Call to Adventure should really enjoy this one, especially if they’re a fan of The Stormlight Archive set of novels from Brandon Sanderson. This is one that I would definitely recommend. Explore the world of Roshar and try to defeat Odium…if you dare.
8 out of 10

 

For more information about this and other great games, please check out Brotherwise Games at their site.

http://brotherwisegames.com/

 

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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