World of Warcraft’s universe has been steadily increasing since its launch practically 15 years in the past, including loads of new characters, lands to discover, and enemies to beat. However, one of its hottest storylines follows the downfall of the hero Arthas and his subsequent rise to turn into the Lich King. For these seeking to return to Northrend and storm Icecrown Citadel as soon as extra, this board recreation will certainly scratch that itch for you.
Based on the enlargement of the identical identify, World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King – A Pandemic System Board Game (wow, that’s a mouthful) is a cooperative tabletop recreation for as much as 5 gamers that features all the trappings of the widespread MMO. It has iconic heroes, distinctive skills, battles in opposition to the Scourge, and questing together with your social gathering, and it is all uniquely layered on the basis of the widespread Pandemic sequence of board video games. This isn’t only a easy re-pores and skin, although, as each component of gameplay has been faithfully tailored to really feel proper at dwelling inside Blizzard’s widespread universe.
What’s in the Box
From the second you crack open the field, you may inform this board recreation was created with consideration to element and lots of care showcased in each element. The sprawling recreation board measures roughly 20″ x 30″ and options dozens of acquainted places from throughout Azeroth, together with Naxxramas, Dalaran, Ulduar, and extra.
It additionally options seven iconic characters from the Warcraft universe: Thrall, Jaina Proudmoore, Sylvanas Windrunner, Varian Wrynn, Tirion Fordring, Muradin Bronzebeard, and Lady Liadrin. Each playable character comes with an in depth mini figurine to signify them throughout gameplay. Of course, there’s additionally an extremely detailed figurine of the Lich King himself, in addition to his horde of undead cronies that embody three abominations and dozens of small ghouls. One factor to notice is that there are numerous extremely sharp factors on some of these collectible figurines, and after poking myself one too many instances I needed to be extra cautious when grabbing them.
Each playable character additionally comes with a Hero Sheet, full with distinctive skills, a well being bar, and a few lore on the again. As with every part on this recreation, the Hero Sheets are adorned with attractive unique artwork from the people at Blizzard. There’s additionally a deck of 63 Hero Cards used all through the course of the recreation that each one function detailed paintings as properly. I used to be stunned that hardly any of the paintings was reused from Hearthstone — Blizzard’s widespread deck-constructing recreation primarily based on the World of Warcraft universe — making this really feel like a completely new journey and never merely a repackaged money-in.
Additionally, you’ll discover 10 Quest Sheets, 30 Scourge Cards, Reference Cards to help gamers throughout gameplay, numerous markers, and a punchboard containing excessive-high quality cardboard cutouts to assemble Strongholds and a big duplicate of Icecrown Citadel. Press-seal baggage are included to retailer every part between play periods, and as with many of the different Pandemic sequence video games, I’m stunned at simply how little house is wasted in the recreation field.
Rules and How to Play
The objective in the World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King board recreation is straightforward: full three quests to acquire distinctive rewards earlier than storming Icecrown Citadel and placing an finish to the Lich King as soon as and for all. However, the Lich King’s Scourge steadily spreads throughout Northrend, and you should full your activity earlier than it consumes you and your social gathering.
Each participant begins by choosing one of seven heroes to play as, all with distinctive skills that may contribute to the group’s total success indirectly. Every Hero Sheet has a set of numbers throughout the backside that represents that character’s well being, which gamers should handle rigorously as they discover and battle throughout the map.
Turns play out equally to the unique Pandemic board recreation, with every participant taking 4 complete actions that embody shifting throughout the recreation board, preventing enemies, questing, or therapeutic up. Instead of merely curing ailments, although, gamers are rather more engaged in the second-to-second gameplay. Players may even accumulate a hand of playing cards comparable to assault and protection to help in battle, therapeutic playing cards to replenish well being, or journey playing cards to rapidly transfer round the board. There are additionally a restricted quantity of Stronghold playing cards that may be added to the deck that will let you place Strongholds round the map to behave as a kind of “quick-journey” location for you and your group.
As the Lich King’s undead military expands throughout the map, gamers can select to battle the Scourge as one of their flip actions. By rolling two cube, gamers can deal harm or block incoming assaults, in addition to play playing cards from their fingers to help in battle. Characters on the identical house may even group up in battle, making it really really feel such as you’re in a celebration collectively mowing down waves of enemies.
In addition to preventing, gamers also can select to partake in a Quest as one of their flip actions. Since finishing Quests are a key element of the group’s win situation, it’s essential to all the time keep watch over the social gathering’s Quest progress. The recreation board is split into three areas, indicated by the shade of the areas inside. Each area comprises one of three Quest Sheets (with a complete of 9 out there) that the group should work collectively to finish throughout the course of the recreation. Quests will take a number of participant turns to finish utilizing a mix of cube rolls, playing cards from their fingers, and assist from teammates, and require loads of coordination.
Every Quest Sheet has a novel boss enemy featured on it that offers harm to the questing participant, in addition to some type of mechanic that gamers might want to strategize round, comparable to lowering the quantity of cube that may be rolled, forestall therapeutic, and extra. Once gamers attain the finish of the Quest, a novel reward is revealed that gives a strong single-use card that the group can use to assist flip the tide of their favor.
While the Quest system positively works tremendous, I’d have preferred to see it fleshed out a bit extra. It primarily boils right down to shifting a marker alongside a linear path and doesn’t really feel as lively or participating as the battles. It seems like a missed alternative having all these iconic raid bosses featured on the Quest Sheets and by no means truly attending to work together with them in any significant means. That goes for the last Lich King encounter, as properly, which is successfully an extended “Quest” that doesn’t elevate the stakes all that a lot.
That being stated, the second-to-second gameplay of strategizing together with your teammates as you push again the encroaching Scourge on the board whereas making an attempt to finish the Quests completely encapsulates that signature stress felt whereas enjoying different Pandemic board video games. Every motion taken should be rigorously thought out as issues can get out of hand in a short time and one mistaken transfer may result in your inevitable defeat.
I discovered the Wrath of the Lich King board recreation to be barely tougher – even on the best issue – than the conventional Pandemic board recreation… and that was with a full group of 5 gamers. Turns are a bit extra difficult as you’re not solely managing the recreation board, but additionally your individual hero’s well being. As with most video games, I think about as your group turns into extra skilled you’ll be capable to anticipate setbacks and plan forward accordingly. And, for these able to tackle extra of a problem, there are three rising difficulties that make the Scourge stronger and scale back the quantity of Strongholds out there. There’s even a solo play mode, which I nonetheless discovered to be an attractive expertise. However, the enjoyable on this recreation really lies with group-primarily based determination-making.
With seven distinctive heroes and 9 quests in complete, there’s loads of replayability right here that can present enjoyable for dozens of recreation periods. The cooperative nature of the recreation coupled with cube-primarily based battles and quests makes the Wrath of the Lich King board recreation really feel like a very lite model of D&D that may be accomplished in about an hour.
Where to Buy
The World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King board recreation has an MSRP of $59.99 and is accessible at the following retailers: