Legends of Andor is a thematic board game designed by Michael Mendez and published by numerous publishers. In the game, players control 2-4 heroes through different scenarios in a high-fantasy setting. The game combines strategy, luck, and resource management in quite a pleasant way. Basically, the players wander through the map completing quests and fighting against enemies, while the game’s narrative keeps proceeding every turn. Players are required to keep track of the time, money, and hp as they tackle all the obstacles the game throws before them on their journey.
While the story is definitely one of the greatest parts of the game, I don’t want to spoil a thing about it in my review. Still, I can’t completely disregard narrative elements as the game does outstanding work with the story’s progression. The time track, which advances as the heroes spend enough actions, forces players to evaluate their actions carefully. In some cases, the narrator moving through the time track triggers a legend card, which contains parts of the narrative. Practically, the story progresses through these cards that indicate what is the current objective. If players take too much time, the story will progress to its end, resulting in a game over. I truly enjoy that the narrative is integrated into the very mechanics of the game because it makes me think about every single action cautiously.
The game is also very easily approachable for a thematic adventure. I have rarely seen such a compact and informative manual. The manual contains all of the rules and other relevant information in just seven very clear pages, which I, for one, welcome wholeheartedly. I am not a fan of extremely long setups and complicated rule sets, which are painfully common with thematic fantasy board games. It’s refreshing to play a board game that can be started fast but still contain enough depth in its story. Furthermore, the fighting mechanics are quite simple and straightforward: rolling dice, adding the highest roll to the battling characters’ strength, and then comparing those values determines which one will hit the other. The game’s difficulty derives from the limited time rather than complex mechanics, which makes strategizing more important than, for example, memorizing huge rulebooks.
Legends of Andor is definitely a recommendable board game with outstanding illustrations and surprisingly difficult gameplay. Completing all scenarios should be a decent challenge even for experienced board game fans, but the mechanics themselves are simple enough even for younger players.
Designers: Michael Menzel
Publisher: KOSMOS, 999 Games, Albi, Arclight, Devir, Fantasmagoria, Fantasy Flight Games, Galakta, Giochi Uniti, IELLO, Korea Boardgames Co., Ltd., Piatnik, Zvezda
Release date: 2012
Number of players: 2–4
Playing time: 60-90min
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