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 overcome. However, one of its hottest storylines follows the downfall of the hero Arthas and his subsequent rise to develop 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 similar title, 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 common MMO. It has iconic heroes, distinctive skills, battles towards the Scourge, and questing along with your social gathering, and it is all uniquely layered on the basis of the common Pandemic collection 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 house inside Blizzard’s common universe.
What’s in the Box
From the second you crack open the field, you possibly can inform this board recreation was created with consideration to element and many 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 symbolize 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 various 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 little thing on this recreation, the Hero Sheets are adorned with beautiful authentic artwork from the people at Blizzard. There’s additionally a deck of 63 Hero Cards used all through the course of the recreation that every one characteristic detailed paintings as properly. I used to be shocked that hardly any of the paintings was reused from Hearthstone — Blizzard’s common deck-constructing recreation based mostly on the World of Warcraft universe — making this really feel like an entirely new journey and never merely a repackaged money-in.
Additionally, you’ll find 10 Quest Sheets, 30 Scourge Cards, Reference Cards to assist players during gameplay, various markers, and a punchboard containing high-quality cardboard cutouts to assemble Strongholds and a large replica of Icecrown Citadel. Press-seal bags are included to store everything between play sessions, and as with many of the other Pandemic series games, I’m surprised at just how little space is wasted in the game box.
Rules and How to Play
The goal in the World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King board game is simple: complete three quests to obtain unique rewards before storming Icecrown Citadel and putting an end to the Lich King once and for all. However, the Lich King’s Scourge steadily spreads across Northrend, and you must complete your task before it consumes you and your party.
Each player begins by selecting one of seven heroes to play as, all with unique abilities that can contribute to the team’s overall success in some way. Every Hero Sheet has a set of numbers across the bottom that represents that character’s health, which players must manage carefully as they explore and fight across the map.
Turns play out similarly to the original Pandemic board game, with each player taking four total actions that include moving across the game board, fighting enemies, questing, or healing up. Instead of simply curing diseases, though, players are much more engaged in the moment-to-moment gameplay. Players will also accumulate a hand of cards such as attack and defense to aid in battle, healing cards to replenish health, or travel cards to quickly move around the board. There are also a limited number of Stronghold cards that can be added to the deck that allow you to place Strongholds around the map to act as a sort of “fast-travel” location for you and your workforce.
As the Lich King’s undead military expands throughout the map, gamers can select to combat 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 arms to help in battle. Characters on the similar house may even workforce up in battle, making it actually really feel such as you’re in a celebration collectively mowing down waves of enemies.
In addition to combating, gamers also can select to partake in a Quest as one of their flip actions. Since finishing Quests are a key element of the workforce’s win situation, it’s vital to at all times regulate the social gathering’s Quest progress. The recreation board is split into three areas, indicated by the shade of the areas inside. Each area incorporates one of three Quest Sheets (with a complete of 9 accessible) that the workforce 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 arms, and assist from teammates, and require loads of coordination.
Every Quest Sheet has a singular 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, corresponding to lowering the quantity of cube that may be rolled, forestall therapeutic, and extra. Once gamers attain the finish of the Quest, a singular reward is revealed that gives a strong single-use card that the workforce can use to assist flip the tide of their favor.
While the Quest system positively works nice, I might have favored to see it fleshed out a bit extra. It primarily boils all the way down to shifting a marker alongside a linear path and doesn’t really feel as lively or partaking as the battles. It appears like a missed alternative having all these iconic raid bosses featured on the Quest Sheets and by no means really attending to work together with them in any significant method. That goes for the last Lich King encounter, as properly, which is successfully an extended “Quest” that doesn’t increase the stakes all that a lot.
That being stated, the second-to-second gameplay of strategizing along with your teammates as you push again the encroaching Scourge on the board whereas attempting to finish the Quests completely encapsulates that signature stress felt whereas taking part in different Pandemic board video games. Every motion taken have to be fastidiously thought out as issues can get out of hand in a short time and one unsuitable transfer may result in your inevitable defeat.
I discovered the Wrath of the Lich King board recreation to be barely harder – even on the best problem – than the conventional Pandemic board recreation… and that was with a full group of 5 gamers. Turns are a bit extra sophisticated as you’re not solely managing the recreation board, but in addition your personal 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 growing difficulties that make the Scourge stronger and scale back the quantity of Strongholds accessible. There’s even a solo play mode, which I nonetheless discovered to be an enticing expertise. However, the enjoyable on this recreation actually lies with workforce-based mostly choice-making.
With seven distinctive heroes and 9 quests in whole, there’s loads of replayability right here that may present enjoyable for dozens of recreation periods. The cooperative nature of the recreation coupled with cube-based mostly 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 out there at the following retailers: