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World of Warcraft: The Adventure Game» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Review: World of Warcraft, the Adventure Game rss

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dave de boer
Canada
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The Adventure Game is a great name. My Webster's pocket dictionary says that an adventure is a remarkable happening or bold exploit. In other words, it is something outside of the ordinary routine of life. I like adventure. In a game, that is. I agree with Sam's observation to Frodo that adventures in real life tend to be dangerous, uncomfortable and time consuming. Who wants to miss their second breakfast? World of Warcraft: the Adventure Game offers adventure from the comfort of your gaming haven. But does it live up to what it offers.

I have never played World of Warcraft online, and I haven't touched the Board game version yet, though my friend has a copy. But he lives 2 hours away. I also haven't tried any other adventure games like Talisman, Return of the Heroes or Prophecy. I have tried Runebound for two short sessions, but not enough to really get into the game.

Without comparing WoW:tAG to anything else then, does this game produce adventure. Adventure begins in WoW:tAG with selecting a character. 4 are included in the base game (with 4 more announced as future expansions - the expansions will also include new quests and encounters, keeping the game fresh). Starting out as either an Orc warrior, a Dwarf hunter, an Undead mage or a Human warlock, players are given quests to accomplish. Some of the quests are your typical killing of X monsters at location X, but there is a variety of other quests which will have you visiting various locations, engineering your own death at the hands of an opponent or defeating a powerful overlord character. Early quests are worth 1 or 2 points; later quests are worth 2 or 3. 4 points can be had for defeating one of 4 overlord encounters on the board, or you can get 1 point by visiting the Booty Bay Location with a matching set of three potions. The first person to reach 8 points is the greatest Adventurer and wins the game. So the game is essentially a race.

In order to accomplish quests in WoW:tAG, the adventurer naturally has to travel. The board is a series of locations that are linked by pathways. You move through the pathways by roll of the dice, and on each step you meet an encounter. The encounters are color coded. Grey is easiest, then green and yellow, then red. Players cannot enter an area until they have the matching level for their character. Each encounter produces a combat between the player and the encounter. Combat is easy: roll a dice, factor in special abilities, compare attack and defense values. If you succeed in defeating the encounter, you flip the card and on the back is an item, a sword, bow, staff, wand, robe, piece of armour, scroll or some other arcane stuff (my wife's favourite is the Recombobulator). The item will hopefully help you in your next encounter and make your character more powerful.

Part of the adventure in WoW:tAG is in developing your character. There are only 4 levels to achieve, providing improvement in attack, defense, damage and health. Most of the character development is provided by the items that you find. Some items cannot be used by your character (a warrior cannot use a wand, etc), but items can be traded in on your next visit to the city, and each item doubles as a potion for health, speed or magic. Each of the four characters also uses a 23 card ability deck that reflects its race and class. Ability cards make use of energy (provided by your dice roll), and can be played during movement or combat to help you along. FFG has done a great job of letting you develop your character, while at the same time keeping it simple. At the end of each game, my wife and I compare our items and quests to see what we've made of our characters.

By the way, WoW:tAG is definitely not a multi-solitaire race. Along the way, players have many a chance for interaction, hindering each other from reaching goals. Besides direct player vs player combat, players can also place discovery tokens in each other's path, which will cause them to get lost, or catch a disease, or trigger a bomb or get ambushed. Loosing even one turn while you heal up can make the difference in this game between winning or losing.

There is a lot you can do in WoW:tAG. There are combats to be fought, quests to be filled, damage to be healed, levels to be gained, potions to drink, items to find, overlords to challenge. The danger is to get sidetracked by these things while your opponent goes ahead and wins the game. It will take more than a few plays to exhaust the fun in this game. And even then, FFG has announced expansions that will keep this game going for a long time.

What I admire most about this game, and what makes it a great success in my books, is the simplicity of it. There is a tonne of variety in the locations on the board, the quests and in the 160 (with more on the way) items and events that you reveal at each encounter. But the game play itself is streamlined and easy to pick up. Turns fly by, there is no down time, and yet it seems like you are doing a lot of different things. Slowly your backpack begins to fill up with stuff, and your quest log gets new entries, and you begin to wonder whether you should go for a quick victory by killing an overlord or stick with the sure thing by finishing that quest where you have to drop off 3 potions in Light's Hope Chapel. But, then your opponent might finish his stuff first. All this is accomplished with the minimum amount of accounting and fuss, with just a few tokens and no charts. A full 2 player game, with learning the rules, takes no more than 2 hours. A 4 player game with players who all know the rules will be just a little bit longer.

So, does WoW:tAG come through on its promise of adventure. For me, absolutely, positively, yes! The game is full of tension as you meet each encounter, find some new and exciting item that is just right for your Dwarf Hunter, or chase your opponent around trying to complete a quest by damaging him. And each game is a race: who can get to eight points first. Frantically, you throw diseases, traps and false maps in his path, but will it be enough? FFG has a winner here, an accessible game with a great adventure theme.

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Zippadeedoodah
Netherlands
Amsterdam
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Quote:
Turns fly by, there is no down time, and yet it seems like you are doing a lot of different things.

Quote:
All this is accomplished with the minimum amount of accounting and fuss, with just a few tokens and no charts. A full 2 player game, with learning the rules, takes no more than 2 hours.

These are all the hallmarks of a good game for me. I am glad I finally ordered it. Great review.
 
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Matthew Watson
Scotland
Edinburgh
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I'm looking forward to playing this. I got it last week, but it's a birthday present for my daughter, so it's in shrinkwrap until August 15th...
 
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Ender Wiggins
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Fantastic review - thoroughly entertaining and informative! (now I really want to try this game!)

Hail the new Tom Vasel!
 
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