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Flashback Friday - Defenders of the Realm

U Updated
Defenders of the Realm review

Game Information

There Will Be Games

Love it or hate it? Do you still play it?

Defenders of the Realm got a lot of ink here on the site - at least 9, including a Monty Python expansion designed by Grudunza, not to mention the infamous "Comic Sans Thread" in Trash Talk. 

What did you think about it when it was first released? So what do you think about it now? Do you love it or hate it? Do you still play it?


There Will Be Games Defenders of the Realm review

Defenders of the Realm review
Shellie "ubarose" Rose  (She/Her)
Managing Editor & Web Admin

Plays boardgames. Drinks bourbon. Writes code.

Articles by Shellie

Defenders of the Realm review
Shellie "ubarose" Rose
Managing Editor & Web Admin

Articles by Shellie

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jpat's Avatar
jpat replied the topic: #283013 12 Oct 2018 10:33
Heh. From the 2010 comments: "Seventy-five [dollars] is the new forty."
Jexik's Avatar
Jexik replied the topic: #283014 12 Oct 2018 10:48
I've never played it.
the_jake_1973's Avatar
the_jake_1973 replied the topic: #283015 12 Oct 2018 11:24
I bought it and sold it soon after. It did nothing for me.
Shapeshifter's Avatar
Shapeshifter replied the topic: #283016 12 Oct 2018 11:30
I was actually surprised that so little people made fuzz about the fact it "borrowed" almost every mechanic from pandemic to build it's engine.
hotseatgames's Avatar
hotseatgames replied the topic: #283017 12 Oct 2018 11:32
I still have my copy, and sometimes I look at it and think about playing it again at some point. The graphic design is terrible but I do like the game. I think I mainly keep it for sentimental reasons. It was the one game I bought at my first Origins, which was when my first published game was released, and I was demoed this game by Richard Launius himself. This was the first time I had met him and I didn't actually know who he was at the time. He would go on to give me all sorts of industry advice over the following years.

I also think the very first post I ever made on this site was about this game.
Jackwraith's Avatar
Jackwraith replied the topic: #283019 12 Oct 2018 11:59
I'm with Jake. ("It's Chinatown.") I bought it because we were into co-ops at the time. The art design and overall production was the ultimate generic fantasy (and people criticize Runebound...) and halfway into our first game, we were like: "This is Pandemic, but with orcs, and not even nearly as challenging." We won the first game in a walk, tried it again just in case we were missing something, and discovered that we weren't. It sat on the shelf for a while until I traded it for Sword of Rome.
NeonPeon's Avatar
NeonPeon replied the topic: #283025 12 Oct 2018 16:21
Sounds like how Wizard's Quest is risk with orcs... :)
Colorcrayons's Avatar
Colorcrayons replied the topic: #283027 12 Oct 2018 18:06
This game is risk with orcs.

On a more serious note, I used to own it. Played it a few times. Then traded away without a second thought.
Gary Sax's Avatar
Gary Sax replied the topic: #283028 12 Oct 2018 18:29
It's way uglier and definitely clunkier than Pandemic but it can do a good job creating some drama. It's ok. My recollection was the thing where you could not challenge a boss and lose while still winning the game except maybe the first one was very irritating.

I'm also not sold on the "you triumph against something, we make the game arbitrarily harder" mechanic. It works fine, but it doesn't fit my gaming emotional headspace very well.
Josh Look's Avatar
Josh Look replied the topic: #283031 12 Oct 2018 22:21
I’m going to get all kinds of sappy, but I’m fresh out of fucks to give.

Many years ago, I had made a post on F:AT about a local comic shop. I had been posting for probably a year or so at that point. Uba saw my post, she was like, “Wait, where do you live?” Turned out we lived in the same town this whole time and neither of us knew. We made plans to get together a the LGS. Defenders of the Realm was the first game I played with Uba and Al. It’s been almost 10 years now, the three of us have shared many laughs and good times every Thursday night, regardless of the quality of the game we’re playing. It’s such a bright spot in all of our weeks, sometimes when we need one the most. These two wonderful human beings whom I am so thankful that I get to know and call friends have picked me and talked me off the ledge on more that a few occasions, as well as let me off the hook after behaving like a total asshole when I lose sight of who exactly I’m talking to and what they mean to me. No exaggeration, I love them like family. And it all started with this game. This kind of ugly, goofy, derivative, Comic Sans laden game. Goddamn Defenders of the goddamned Realm. Who knew? I may not care if I ever play it again, and you can all shrug your shoulders at the game, you can shit on it if you want, it’s not entirely undeserving though it’s really not that bad of a game, but it’s always going to hold a place in my heart.
ubarose's Avatar
ubarose replied the topic: #283037 13 Oct 2018 09:47
Oh, Josh, I am totally crying now.

Love you like a baby brother.

I can’t write anymore now.
stoic's Avatar
stoic replied the topic: #283039 13 Oct 2018 09:57
I still play the game. I like it better than Pandemic, and, in fact, I traded away Pandemic for Defenders of the Realm. I own all of the heroes and each one plays differently and is unique. I like the artwork because of Larry Elmore and his old school D&D style. I added the Summer League expansion and bought the ArtsCow cards for it.

I like to roll dice. It's easy to teach.

I'll never get rid of it. I painted all of the miniatures.

On the downside, it's too long for what it is. The miniature quality sucks. The board layout makes it hard to find the locations.

southernman's Avatar
southernman replied the topic: #283050 14 Oct 2018 02:28
Never played or even saw it when it came out, I do remeber the Comic Sans intenet hue & cry. I bought Defenders of the Last Stand this year and we have great fun playing it, can't see it leaving my house any time soon but I have no idea if it is the same, improved or just different to DotR. It is a bit long for what it does and it does have the worst quality minis of any game I've played I reckon, except Risk Star Wars Edition.