The Warrior is sharpening his axe near the door. Center of attention is The Mage as she rakes in a small fortune at the poker table. The Healer sips a drink at the bar, alone. Perched in the corner of the room, The Scout has eyes on everything and everyone. The crew is set. Meet the…
Heroes of Terrinoth is a cooperative card game set in the same universe as Fantasy Flight Games’ other titles such as Descent, Runebound and Runewars. While every game will (usually) have slightly varying victory conditions, the basic objectives remain the same: explore locations, defeat enemies…and survive!
To begin, players have a choice of archetype: Warrior, Scout, Mage or Healer. Adding depth to this choice is your option of character. Each archetype has 3 characters to choose from, each with a differing special ability.
This is currently the highlight of the game. Not only do you have the choice between 4 archetypes and 3 different special abilities, but throughout the game your hero will upgrade. At this point, players choose between 2 classes and select 1 of their 4 actions to improve, but be careful: all subsequent upgrades must be within the same class.
The action cards are the heart of the game. Your actions are: Attack, Aid, Explore and Rest. Acting as companions to every action are the dice. Taking an action is not without consequence. If enemies are engaged with you, they will counterattack. Even worse things can happen if you roll a skull side of a die.
These 4 actions will be used in conjunction with one another, attempting to find efficient and powerful synergies between your own actions and also your fellow heroes’. Here, the game shines. Balancing actions and tasks between the heroes is a fun, tactical experience. It could have been reduced to a simple, “wash, rinse, repeat”, but you are constantly attempting to figure out the best strategy for the current situation. The Warrior attacking at every chance possible might not be the smartest move.
Teamwork will play a major factor during the game. You may think you know what your fellow heroes should do, but wait… each hero’s Aid action is not the same; neither are Attack, Rest or Explore. These slight differences do a great deal to promote teamwork and cooperation, at the same time mitigating any potential alpha player syndrome and adding replay ability.
Replay ability is certainly important in a game like Heroes of Terrinoth, where each game you follow a Quest sheet which completely sets the scene. You’re given backstory, which enemies and exploration cards will be present, as well as which locations will be explored. You may think that these Quests are one time play scenarios, but they are not. Even when playing this game solo (controlling 2 heroes), there is incentive to replay, as you can choose the other 2 archetypes. Not only that, but after choosing the archetype, you can select a different character (special ability). Not only that, but during the game, while upgrading your hero, you can choose a different class to upgrade into, as well as different actions to improve! There are many different archetype/hero/class/action combinations to dig into.
Heroes of Terrinoth is a quick game that can play in under an hour when the rules and mechanics are well-known. Players experience aspects of dungeon crawl games, hacking and slashing hoards of enemies in an attempt to defeat a final boss. The action selection is strategic, in that you will want to have the correct actions “readied” at the opportune times. You do not want to be facing a crew of Goblin Archers with no Attack action available! Poor dice rolling is mitigated by the extra abilities on the action cards, and can also be helped by efficient action selection. Even when rolling poor, you do not feel it as a negative, but more as a missed positive. Each scenario has value in being replayed, though this may wear thin if you have played all the archetypes, characters and classes many times over. I do not see this becoming an issue with the base game. Future expansions replay ability might not be as great as the base game, with the knowledge of archetypes, characters and classes at that point in time. I suspect this will be offset by the features the expansions will include. It is almost a given that we will see campaign style game play integrated. There is room to add archetypes, add characters, add classes…there is room to simply add more Quests to tackle. The possibilities are near endless, which makes me glad that I jumped in at the start. Heroes of Terrinoth is a quick game that is fun at all player counts; it deserves a spot on every shelf.
Designer: Brady Sadler & Adam Sadler
Artist: Sebastian Koziner
Publisher: Fantasy Flight Games
Player Count: 1-4
Game Length: 45 minutes
Have you played Heroes of Terrinoth? What are your thoughts on this FFG card game? Drop a comment below and let us know! Don’t forget to check out our other Board Game Reviews.