Defenders of the Realm
List Price: $84.99
Your Price: $67.99
(Worth 6,799 Funagain Points!)
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"Our Liege is in a desperate hour! From what grievous cause have these accursed races arisen? Orcs, Dragons, Demons and the Dead make haste towards Monarch City. The King and Countryside of Monarch City are in need of valiant Heroes!"
Will you answer the King's call?
In the ancient Citadel of Monarch City, the King calls to arms the finest Heroes to defend against a Darkness that engulfs the land. You and your allies must embark on a journey to defend the countryside, repair the tainted lands, and defeat the four creature factions before one of them enters the City, and they approach from all sides -- fast populating Orcs! fierce Dragons! Undead that bring terror! And demons! -- all tainting the land in their wake. There are several paths to defeat, but only one path to victory, and only the most valiant Hero will be named King's Champion.
Defenders of the Realm is a cooperative fantasy board game in which 1-4 players take a role as one of the King’s Champions (Choose from Cleric, Dwarf, Eagle Rider, Paladin, Ranger, Rogue, Sorcerer and Wizard). You, as one of the King's Heroes make use of strategy, special abilities, cooperation, card play and a little luck in Defense of the Realm for a unique experience every adventure. But be forewarned! There is never time to rest. As each Enemy General is struck down in battle, the remaining dark forces only grow more difficult to vanquish and their march to Monarch City gets faster with each Hero victory!
Players: 1 - 4
Time: 90 or more minutes
Ages: 13 and up
Weight: 2,748 grams
Language Requirements: This is a domestic item. Manufacturer's rules are printed in English. Game components are printed in English.
- Game Board
- 8 Hero Character Cards
- 8 Hero Miniatures
- 4 General Character Cards
- 4 General Miniatures
- 100 Minions:
- 25 Black (Varkolak’s Undead)
- 25 Blue (Sapphire’s Dragonkin)
- 25 Red (Balazarg’s Demons)
- 25 Green (Gorgutt’s Orcs)
- War Status Board
- Deck of Darkness Spreads Cards
- Deck of Hero Cards
- Deck of Quest Cards
- 12 Tainted Crystals
- 5 Magic Gate Tokens
- 12 Dice: 3 each of Black, Blue, Red, Green
- 7 Status Tokens:
- War Status
- 4 General Wound Markers
- Sorceress Status
- Eagle Rider Status
- 42 Life Tokens
Average Rating: 4.2 in 2 reviews
Here's a tasty recipe for gaming success:
- Start with some gameplay concepts from a successful cooperative game (Pandemic)
- Add generous dose of fantasy theme (no pasting)
- Add one famous fantasy game designer (Richard Launius, creator of Arkham Horror)
- Add one famous fantasy artist (Larry Elmore)
- Add quality looking components (including 100+ plastic miniatures)
The game revolves around the protection of Monarch City, which is being assaulted by four accursed races: orcs, dragons, demons, and undead. The King of Monarch City is in need of your help to defend the countryside, repair the tainted lands, and defeat these four races before one of them enters his city. In this cooperative fantasy game for 1-4 players, you and your friends each choose a role as one of the King's Champions (Cleric, Dwarf, Eagle Rider, Paladin, Ranger, Rogue, Sorcerer, or Wizard), and must work together to protect the city.
Components: The components are high quality, and the inclusion of so many miniatures is a big plus for this game, adding to visual appeal. No little wooden cubes in Defenders of the Realm - and let's face it, when you're playing a fantasy adventure game it's far more fun to move around miniature dragons and orcs than wooden bits!
Game-play: The cooperative system of Pandemic is one I enjoy a great deal, and converting this for a fantasy game is an excellent concept. To some extent, the engine itself has already been tried and proven in Pandemic, and Defenders of the Realm just takes this in a new direction. Tension increases as the game progresses, and the dice based combat makes for exciting gameplay that suits the fantasy adventure genre perfectly. I particularly like the fact that there are nine different hero characters that players can choose from - this helps give the game flexibility and enhances replayability, making each game a new challenge, depending on the roles chosen and the random placement of minions. The dice-based combat and minion placement based on card draw certainly result in random elements, but these lend themselves perfectly to the fantasy genre.
Cooperative game: In many respects Defenders of the Realm shows evidence of an underlying game system that we've already seen in Pandemic. But unlike Pandemic, the random elements of dice-based combat result in a different feel. You cannot calculate everything in advance, and the unpredictable can happen. There are also individual quests that give the possibility of achieving personal glory. In that respect Defenders of the Realm includes an aspect of story-telling and adventure that Pandemic can't provide, and despite some similarities, the two games don't really overlap and have a very different feel. Pandemic is more of a calculating puzzle, while Defenders of the Realm is more of an epic adventure. It's like comparing a family sedan with an SUV - both are vehicles, but driving the SUV off-road is a totally different experience of adventure than being on a highway in a family sedan. Defenders of the Realm is that kind of SUV: while it has four wheels just like the sedan in the garage, it's a very different beast.
Fantasy adventure: The theme is strong. Over the years I've played several other fantasy adventure games, including Runebound and Prophecy. Neither was entirely satisfactory for me, in part because I wanted to see more interaction without the games becoming too confrontational - making the fantasy adventure game into a cooperative endeavour solves that neatly, because it requires a high level of interaction without being nasty. The game length of Defenders of the Realm also seems to be more ideal for the kind of game I look for when playing with family or friends.
Is Defenders of the Realm for you? If you like fantasy adventure games and cooperative games, you'll be hard-pressed to dislike this one. Not everyone is going to be the target audience, particularly those who can't stand those genres. But the rest of us can expect to enjoy it a lot. Get your game, and prepare to defend the realm!
When I first opened the box and looked at the pieces I was slightly disappointed by the minion miniatures. The advertisements for this game said over 100 miniatures and even though this is true about 100 of these miniatures are the same sculpture! It wouldn't have been too much to ask for 4 different sculptures for the different minions. Alas to say once I played the game I forgot about this component discrepancy.
The game is very good. It is mainly a cooperative game with very manageable rules. The first time we played we lost horribly so we played a second time with the easy version of the game and it was still very intense! It also is a good solitaire game. I played it by myself using the easy level of play and found it to be a very tense game. I think if we or I play it again we probably will use the average difficulty level this time since we know a little bit more about what to do. In the end, if you like fantasy-themed games you will probably like this game.