Warcraft: The Board Game
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The magical world of Azeroth is being torn apart by a bloody, devastating war. The Orc hordes are on the rampage once more, trying to reclaim their lost glory. The Human Alliance has gathered to face the Orc Menace, but is being troubled by mysterious plagues and death cults. Driven by the terrible Lich King, the Undead Scourge is spreading Plague across the land and swelling its ranks with the corpses of the fallen. The mysterious Night Elves, protectors of the forest, fight to defend their home against those who would defile it.
The award-winning Warcraft computer game explodes off the computer screen and onto your game table! In Warcraft: The Board Game, you take control of one of the four mighty races and charge into battle for control of Azeroth. To win, you must manage your resources wisely so you can train and upgrade your troops while fighting furiously against your opponents.
In a time of chaos, do you have what it takes to survive?
In Korea, Warcraft the computer game is phenomenally huge. The only computer game that dwarfs it is Starcraft, its younger brother. Both games can be found being played in tournaments on TV twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Every kid I run across plays them, and strategies and tactics are discussed in magazines, the newspaper, and the internet. With this kind of broad praise and support, Warcraft: the Board game (Fantasy Flight Games, 2003 Kevin Wilson) had a lot to live up to. These fans of the game (of which I am one) had certain expectations for the game, and it would have to be a game of an incredible sort to live up to these expectations.
So we got it, and played it. Then, we played it again. And again, and again, and again, etc. It was so fun, and so true to the computer game that everybody who played it (especially those fine critics the addicted Warcraft teenagers) had high praise for it. It is not exactly like the computer game, of course but it is the most accurate simulation of a computer game to board game that I have ever played. I found it fun, fairly quick, with tactics, strategy and replayability. It will be played quite a few times this year, as it is currently my most requested game.
Warcraft is a light war game that follows different scenarios. The book includes five of them, each one using a variety of layouts. It has several duel-sided pieces, each of multiple hexes, fit together to form myriads of different layouts. Each player starts with one of four races (Humans, Orcs, Undead, and Night Elves) and takes all the pieces associated with that race. This includes:
- 10 Melee Units, 7 Ranged Units, and 4 Flying Units
- A deck of cards customized for that race
- 8 Worker Units
- 9 Unit Tiles and 8 Building Tiles
- 5 Gold tokens and 5 Wood tokens
- One town interface tile
Obviously, this is a lot to start with, so setup takes about 10 minutes or so. Each player places 3 melee units and 3 worker units on their town space on the board, and all the remaining wood and gold tokens are placed to the side of the board. Each player stacks their unit tiles into three piles one for each of their type of units with the lowest valued tile on top of each pile. Each player draws three cards from their deck of cards, and the game is ready to begin, with one player randomly determined to go first.
Each turn is split into four phases, with all players completing each phase in turn order. The first phase is the Move phase, in which each player can move all the units they currently have on the board. Flying and worker units can move two hexes, the other units can move one. Only three fighting units and/or three worker units of one player can ever finish movement in the same hex. Terrain does not affect movement, with the exception of mountains, which can only be moved through/into by ranged units. After movement, if units from two different armies are in the same hex, battle occurs.
The next phase is the Harvest phase, in which workers collect gold and wood from gold mines and wood hexes. Each worker in one of such hexes rolls the resource die, and collects the amount of resources shown on the die (1-3) of that type. If the worker rolls a 3, however, they must place a partial depletion token on the tile they are harvesting. It the tile already has a partial depletion token, they must place a full depletion token on the tile, and nothing can be further harvested from that tile. The third phase is the Deploy phase, where units and buildings that were built the previous turn are deployed onto the board.
The fourth phase is the Spend phase, where a player may do only ONE of the following:
- Train units and workers: For each building that builds a certain unit, the player may pay the cost of that unit to the bank and place one unit of that type on the building tile. Each building may only build one unit per turn. If the player already has all the units of a certain type on the board, they cannot build any more until some of those units die.
- Construct buildings: A player may take a worker that is on their town space and move it to their player interface (which is considered the same space). There, after paying two wood and two gold, a player may construct a new building that builds units of a certain type. (Each players interface starts with two buildings one that builds melee units and one that builds workers.) The worker is placed on the building, which is kept face down until the deploy phase of the following turn.
- Upgrade units: A player may pay two wood and two gold to upgrade one of their unit types. To do this, they must have at least as many buildings built for that type as indicated on the top unit card. If they meet this requirement, they can upgrade, and place the top unit card on the bottom of the stack, revealing a more powerful unit card. Each race has different stacks of unit cards (i.e. The orcs have more melee unit cards, but fewer flying cards than the other races.) Once the last unit card of a type has been reached, the player can no longer upgrade that type. Many units gain a special ability when reaching their final level.
Battles are interesting affairs, involving the units on the hex involved, as well as all units in adjacent hexes. There are three rounds of combat, with ranged units rolling first, having casualties removed, flying units next again removing casualties, and melee units last. Once one side loses all their units in the battle hex, the battle is over. In each combat phase, the players simultaneously roll dice for the units they have (if any) of that type. If they roll lower or equal to the number shown on the corresponding unit card for that type, they get one hit and the opponent must choose which pieces take the hits. (Exception: Flying units cannot be hit by melee units usually).
Every time a battle occurs, each player involved draws a card (and the winner gets another card). These cards can be used in battles and other times in the game to give advantages to their owners. There are four types of cards that all races have, and then each race has an additional four types of card in their deck.
Each scenario has different victory conditions, but usually they involve a player getting a certain amount of victory points. Victory points can be earned by holding towns and other key points on the map, upgrading units to their highest type, and certain cards from the experience deck. When any player reaches the predetermined amount of victory points, the game is over and they win! Of course, a player can also win by eliminating his opponents.
Some comments on the game
1.) Components: The components for the game are superb excellent bits that really shine when placed on the table. Some have complained that the pieces are not plastic miniatures (like the beautiful pieces in Age of Mythology), but the wooden pieces help simplify game play, and are very nice to handle and look at, in my opinion. I cannot stress how much I like the hexes for the board, and the fact that they shaped them in such a way that they can be fit together in multiple combinations, but that they also stay in place on the board and a short jiggle to the table does not cause Apocalypse. The cards are of good quality, as are the tiles and counters. All the artwork all over the game is absolutely astounding (of course, it could have been lifted from the computer game but still!) and the box is a good sturdy one with ugly faces all over to scare parents worldwide! J My only complaint about the components is the plastic insert in the box. Come on, Fantasy Flight Games! If youre going to produce a game with this many pieces, give us an insert to hold all these pieces. I had to bag everything myself and with this many pieces, it can be a real pain. What happened to the excellent insert that was in Game of Thrones! However, this is my only quibble to what are truly excellent components.
2.) Rules: The rulebook is long, colorful, and very easy to read. I found that as I taught the game to Warcraft players, they picked up on it right away, understanding the terms and how the game worked. Nothing about the game felt fiddly to us, and the resource gathering rule especially seemed rather elegant. Even players who arent familiar with Warcraft (few, but there are some) were able to pick up the game easily and enjoy it. The rulebook was excellent, answering any questions we might have had, but we had to refer to it very infrequently.
3.) Computer Game: Age of Mythology is a good game, and I enjoyed it a lot. However, it only bore some resemblance to the computer game it was named after. Other games have left me with the same feeling. But Warcraft did an extremely good job simulating the computer game. Of course, everything was simplified, because you just cant take a game with a computers complexity and run it just as smoothly on a board game. But Kevin Wilson has done a superb job copying the computer game, and because of that, anybody who is a fan of the computer game will like this game. Some did ask where the heroes were, where this thing was, etc., but these could possibly be re-released in a future expansion.
4.) Replayability and Expansions: Some have complained that FFG is going to release expansions to make money, and that they should have included them with the original game, etc. I think theyre missing the point. Warcraft is a fine, fine game on its own. If no expansions are ever released, I will be very happy, for the game feels complete and has a lot of replayability. The tiles, with their double-sided effect, scenarios posted at FFGs webpage, and the way each game plays differently makes the replayability of Warcraft: the Board game quite high.
5.) Players and Time: Because of the resources being depleted, the game is forced to come to a conclusion. Each side cannot build up, build up, etc. somebody is going to be forced to attack the others, because the resources will run out. This means that the game will not run on too long, and most games Ive played in have lasted less than two hours, which is good for a light war game. I also found that the game works just as well with two, three, or four players and each one has a different feel, depending on the scenario. Another thing that delighted me was that while the game played extremely well with youngsters, us older chaps still enjoyed the game and it spanned the age gap well (although the kids are constantly kicking my butt).
6.) Fun Factor: Warcraft is pure fun. There is strategy and tactics in the game, to be sure but the game is just a lot of fun to play! It has the feel of the computer game, but one also cannot win by being faster with the mouse. There is luck, as in most light war games, but it is mitigated by strategy and careful placing of units and purchasing of the right things in the Spend Phase.
7.) Races: One quick note about races. Some have complained that all races play the same. After playing many games, I cannot see how this is true. The cards and unit tiles for each race are different, and the Orcs and Night Elves could not be more different. There are many similarities, to be sure, but each army must be handled differently, and I really like the variety.
Well, if you couldnt tell before, I really enjoyed this game. It worked well with both teenagers and adults, and appealed to fans of the computer game, and those who hadnt played it before. It went fairly quickly, downtime was at a minimum, and all involved had a good healthy dose of fun. This will certainly make my dime list for 2004 (its almost there already), and the current definitive computer-turned-board game currently on the market.
Well this game really captures the feel of Warcraft and i say it's trully amazing.
If you are familiar with the game then you will be pleased to see that the essence of the PC game is in the box. And probably enjoy it right of the bat. Huh? how about people who are not familiar with the PC game? Well they like it a lot too, invited some friends who are not familiar with the PC game, heck, they even didnt know it existed (the PC game). And we had a blast. Easy to learn just 3-4 turns of a trial game and the noobs will get it. And battles are so intense that u might forgot to do or build something just to get even.
My friends and family played this game a lot and we had a lot of fun. This game is best in 4 player allied game but i suggest.. although it is optional.. is to not share resources with your ally.
Fast games for experienced players, lots of scenario and different ways to win but most of the time players quits(hey just like the PC!!). To some it up...the game is never boring, lots of strategy and very exciting battles. What more can i say.
Played this game with different groups of people. The serious gamers rather play Puerto Rico. My nephew likes it a lot. Like myself, he also played the computer version of WarCraft, so it's easy for him to catch the rules. I'm quite a serious gamer myself, and I don't think this is a bad game at all. The ability to change/customise scenarios basically value adds its worth. Four stars should probably be what it deserved. If they comes up with an expansion set, I'll definitely get it.