Return of the Heroes
English language edition of Die Rückkehr der Helden
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Return of the Heroes is more than a game, it is your tale! You play a talented but inexperienced character. This will change during your adventures. You experience the progression of your hero. This game is your portal to the fantastic world of elves, dwarves, mages, fighters, and clerics.
Experience exciting adventures in the capital and the surroundings, barter in the markets of Zenda, fight against giants, trolls, or other dark enemies. Eventually you have to overcome the cruel Nameless in his tower and you will return a hero!
I had been looking to get this game for quite some time and I am pleased with the result.
- 16 fairly large square map pieces are placed together to form the map.
- Players choose a character which provides a bit of rpg taste to the game. Five standard types to choose from, (Fighter, Mage, etc...) each with ratings in three methods of combat (melee, magic, ranged) and a special ability.
- The games starts with many face-down random counters and more counters are drawn and placed during play. These include tasks (quests) to do, encounters, a few events and of course battles to fight.
- Each character also starts with a heroic deed, a series of quests to be fulfilled.
Move across the board, gaining experience points and gold, improve your combat ratings, reveal hidden counters (especially the ones you need to fulfill tasks and your deed!). Once a market is revealed, you can go there to buy items to help you (armor, weapons, etc.) Revealed trainers can increase your combat ratings.
Once you have built up some experience points and gold and have revealed the counters for your heroic deed, you can start working on the tougher tasks of your deed. Once that is completed you earn a precious stone.
Finally, once you feel you are powerful enough and have collected the precious stone, you may then attack the a guard at the tower of the 'Nameless' and then attack the Nameless himself and win the game!
THE NAMELESS - your FINAL ENEMY: Your final opponent is drawn from a number of possible enemies and is not usually revealed until you face him. He is placed on the board, as well as four guards surrounding his tower, when his counter is randomly drawn during the game (The standard rules do not have it even put into the drawing bag until AFTER one player has completed their first Heroic Deed). The timing of this arrival in itself generally means little to gameplay. BUT, at the same time, for every incomplete task all players currently have in front of them, a servant will also be placed at semi-random spaces across the map! At minimum this causes a travelling challenge with them as a battle you may not want to face, but some of them will pop up right where your quest items are located!
COMBAT AND TESTS: Generally, you roll 2d6 and want to roll lower than your combat rating in a particular area. Each foe or test indicates which combat ratings you can choose from to use. For example, many of the easier foes allow you to choose any of your three combat styles, melee, ranged, magic. But others will limit you to only two or may even specify which rating to use. And, there may also be modifiers included.
As expected, the combat ratings for each character are varied. For example, my Archer had to roll a 2 for a victory in melee! But, you CAN increase your ratings from trainers and with artifacts.
EXPERIENCE POINTS: Experience points earn you extra dice to roll! You earn experience points in each of your three combat styles. Sometimes you will earn a specific type of experience (e.g. only melee) and other times you will be given a choice or even earn points in two styles. Thus, as you gain more experience, you get to roll more dice and take the best two rolls as your final result.
An interesting facet of this mechanic is that it makes your decision of which style to go after experience points for and where to place them, important and maybe agonizing. You can offset the fact your Fighter has very little magic by pumping up his experience so he can roll more dice! But rolling that low even with more dice is still chancy, maybe it's better to simply make your main strength a virtual automatic success?
- HIDDEN COUNTERS: One possible drawback is that with all the counters on the map starting out face-down, and many more in a bag waiting to be drawn, it may be a while before a counter you need to complete the more difficult tasks and your heroic deed even show up on the board. (The heroic deed items are in fact in the bag to start the game).
The old waiting game (reminds me of the Enchanted Forest kids game) could make things drawn out.
But, there are also some things to offset this. First and foremost is that you want to do the simpler things early in the game to build up your experience and earn some money. So you don't need to worry about the quest counters in the bag to start. And the more smaller things you do, the more counters that will come out of the bag, and the faster you will have what you want.
This also gets you to move around the map and do more things!
You also get TWO deeds to start and only need to complete one. Plus the optional rule allows you to start with no deeds, but go to the kingdom and choose which one you want.
I have a mixed message to give you about the rulebooks.
First, let me say that Return of the Heroes is the kind of game that all you need to do have someone show you how to play. It is really very simple and you play part of a game and you've got it. Fantastic!
Second, There are three sources for the rules:
> CONDENSED RULES
All three on their own are fantastic! I was greatly pleased to see a narrative by the players reviewing the game mechanics in the Rulebook. The Condensed rules really outlined much of the mechanics and is a great reference item. he Glossary is filled with details on counters and other items, has pictures of each item and is easily referenced.
But, and I could go into a long dissertation, though these are terrific reference items for someone who has already played the game, something is missing for those who have not yet played.
You will see that other reviews had some similar comments, to keep it short, here's a couple of main points: 1) The 'rulebook' needed to broken into a regular rulebook and then have the character's walk us through examples of play. Using the character's to walk us through every bit of the rulebook made things tough. 2) The glossary is alphabetical, but it is not an all inclusive index, and so I found myself searching for the pictures of what I needed. For counters it would have better served us if they had been listed by type/color.
The more I play, the less this causes a problem, but for learning the game it was not as easy as it at first seemed.
- Have someone show you how to play, and it's easy as can be and you'll pick it up as fast as any other game.
- Great quality
- Great Replayability with ever changing map, different characters, timing of final foe's entrance and number of servants arriving, etc...
- The mechanic for the Nameless to appear and the unknown aspect of how many servants will appear and where is great.
- The experience point mechanic for extra dice and how it can offset low combat ratings is great.
- Different kinds of tasks to do, a Heroic deed to complete, encounters, training, events, combat, markets... a large amount of different type of things to do and experience.
- Counters not showing up when you need them and drawing out the game.
Negative: Rules - if you have not played the game yet and are learning the game on your own.
Me and my husband wanted to play an adventure game together. This one looked like we might like it. First of all instructions are sooooo bad!!!! It took my husband 2 evenings to figure out what is going on in this game and finally he decided that if we start playing the game maybe he will understand better. So we played for an hour and realize that this is one player game. Two players completely don't interact with each other, they each quest that they have to accomplish. We really wanted to play together not separately!!!! So my husband decided to change the rules so we will interact. That was 2 weeks ago and he didn't touch the game ever since. I bet we will sell it on ebay but after this review probably not... Waste of money.