Lords of Hellas Board Game Review

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10 Jul 2019 00:00 #299498 by WadeMonnig
 To me, Lords of Hellas is a hanging curve ball,...

And, lo, Moses came down from the mound and said “Bring me a hammer and chisel, my top 10 list has changed.”

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10 Jul 2019 08:02 #299499 by hotseatgames
Great review, for a great game!
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10 Jul 2019 10:02 #299503 by WadeMonnig
Lords of Hellas is the type of game that I loved from the start. Maybe I'm pessimistic, but I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop, some fatal flaw that would rear it's cybernetic head but I was pleasantly surprised when that never happened. And seeing all four victory conditions play out in my games gives it a thumbs up for balance. Now, if I can secure some expansions (I do have the terrian set, which replaces any standers in the games and gives the cities depth)

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10 Jul 2019 11:07 #299506 by hotseatgames
I've still only played once. I have the 5th and 6th player expansions and the one vs. many expansion. Troy looks like an interesting area. In our 3 player game, one player was Cassandra, and of course took Sparta because why wouldn't you, but if Troy was in play, I'd take that for sure.

The 5th player board with the factory temple looks cool too; I like the idea of having a giant monster to send out and terrorize.
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10 Jul 2019 12:45 #299508 by Gary Sax
I hear so many good things about this, you never know when one of these monstrously overproduced Kickstarters is just going to be really good (see Cthuhlu Wars)
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10 Jul 2019 14:07 - 10 Jul 2019 14:08 #299515 by hotseatgames

Gary Sax wrote: I hear so many good things about this, you never know when one of these monstrously overproduced Kickstarters is just going to be really good (see Cthuhlu Wars)


And that is of course the problem... usually they just aren't, and when you let one pass you by, only to hear 2 years later that it was in fact good, by then it's too late unless you want to get held up on ebay.

I'm experiencing that right now with the positive buzz around Jagged Alliance, a game that looked pretty generic to me when it was on KS.
Last edit: 10 Jul 2019 14:08 by hotseatgames.
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16 Jul 2019 07:05 #299682 by Josh Look
I played this for the first time last night. Oh man, is this game really, really good. Zeus was the popular pick when it came time to send priests out, which did lead to a monster hunting win, but towards the end we all started to see the value in more leadership and speed. There’s a lot I would do differently next time, but I still had a blast with it. Can. Not. Wait. To play again.
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16 Jul 2019 10:18 #299687 by ubarose
I really want to play this!
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17 Jul 2019 02:10 #299727 by Scott_F
Guess I'm in the minority here. Played it once and the four of us found the game very average. Nobody really liked the monster hunting aspect as it felt like a way to ignore the territory control focus of the game. The upgrades almost had a kemet vibe to it but less transparent and less fun, and the combat felt the same way. Dumped my all in pledge. Dan Thurot has a good review of it that does a better job of pointing out flaws. I'd rather play Blood Rage/Rising Sun/Cthulhu Wars/Cry Havoc for this type of game.
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17 Jul 2019 08:57 #299731 by hotseatgames
Last night we had a four player game, and it was FANTASTIC! It was my friend, both of my 12 year old boys, and myself. One son and I had one prior game under our belts, which my son won.

Everyone loved it, including my other son who has never stayed focused on a board game for that long. It actually took 3 1/2 hours plus instructions, which was longer than expected but it frankly flew by. The only other board game that has kept his attention for a long time was Fallout, and definitely not to this degree.

I lost every battle I was in, which really had me struggling for any sense of area control. I shifted my focus to killing monsters, which was going well since I got to get the last hit on the Sphinx, and had a protracted battle with Cerberus but needed more cards. I was one turn from killing it when my son won his second game by nabbing 2 lands. Had I been paying attention to him, I could have usurped all of his territory, but ultimately all that would have done was hand a victory to one of the other players.

I continue to be impressed with how this game allows for shifting focus as it relates to victory conditions. If you set down one path and someone thwarts you, it's relatively easy to start trying for a different condition.

Everyone loved it when Typhon showed up on the board. He's basically Mecha-Godzilla with assault rifles. He looks awesome.
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17 Jul 2019 09:13 #299735 by charlest
Yes it has a very clever quality baked in where it feels as though you can instantly pivot without putting yourself way behind. The way it controls pacing (allowing this to happen while not forcing the game to end too soon), is pretty remarkable.

Although, 3.5 hours is way longer than my longest game of this. We always clock in right around 2 hours. I've played 3 player games of it in 60 minutes.

We're playing tonight with the Poseidon expansion and new monsters/events/combat cards from the Dark Ages expansion. Pretty pumped as it's been a few months since we last played. Group chose this over Gods War unanimously.

I'm still sort of shocked by your reaction Scott. I'm less surprised by Dan who also isn't a fan of Cthulhu Wars and some of the more Ameritrashy area control games.

This is a hybrid, but it's much looser and chaotic than something like Kemet, Cyclades, or Inis (which I also love but for different reasons).
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17 Jul 2019 10:01 #299739 by hotseatgames
I've had the Dark Ages combat cards in the mix the entire time, there's no problem with them.

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28 Jul 2019 12:00 #300150 by hotseatgames
Last night we had an epic 6 player game. The Atlantis side board (5th player) was in play, as was the 6th player Troy board. This makes the entire board consume a LOT of table space, but it's pretty much required for there to be enough room for 6 armies to spread out. Note about Troy: it has this massive plastic wall that surrounds Troy and looks cool. BUT: they really missed an opportunity; the wall has these rectangular depressions, but they are just a bit too small to actually hold hoplites. It would be cool to place dudes on the wall.

I got to place my units first, and I could not resist taking Atlantis. My goal was to take the Factory and stomp around the countryside with Talos, the giant robot monster. Cassandra was NOT in play, so no one got to immediately occupy Sparta or Troy. These expansions DEMAND that you use Poseidon as the fourth monument. I don't like the inflexibility imposed here, but I assume it's because of the ports being in play that it really helps mobility. As an aside... the rules specify that you place the port tokens with the number side down. It then never makes mention of the numbers... are they for some other mode?

Two monsters started on the map; Typhon, which is a kick-ass mecha-Godzilla, and the alien from Nemesis. Awaken Realms threw this monster in as a bonus, and then half-assed the implementation by providing 2 regular sized cards that you are supposed to set side by side to make the full monster card. This monster also does not have its own artifact.

We started spreading out, and one player immediately, as in turn 1, started hunting Typhon. We told him he was ill-prepared to do that, but he pressed on. He has a history of making the goofiest plays, just to see what happens, so he's fun to have around. He values chaos over winning. He did not succeed, but did do some damage. Eventually on a later round he killed it. Meanwhile, I had taken all of Atlantis (the purple land) and built the Factory. I sent Talos north over the sea to the Troad (what they call the Troy land, brown) (next aside... why brown instead of orange? The main board already has a muted brown land).

Talos has a power you can fire off that kills a hoplite ANYWHERE on the land that he is on. I used this only once, and it was a mistake to send him north, but I'll get back to that.

I wound up last or near last in every Blessing draft, but wound up with some Poseidon blessings that would allow me to usurp neutral territories with no glory token. This was actually still going to be useful because, even after playing quite a while, we still had some, including Sparta, which was just 2 spaces away from my hero. I headed that way. A shrewd player, who also owns the game, noticed what I was up to, and warned everyone that I was about to win by controlling two lands. In fact, I would win on my very next turn, which was 3 players away. The next player thwarted me. FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK

Meanwhile, our chaos monster hunter was messing with the Alien (Adrestia, they call it) and managed to kill it. He was now one monster from a victory. He set his sights on Talos. Monsters were NOT coming out with any frequency, instead we got a lot of quests.

I never got more than 2 priests the entire game. Every time I would build a monument, someone built it before me; I think I need to be more aggressive with this, because having those priests to fuel your hero's growth is really important. This game has so many moving parts, there is no one viable strategy, but I know what I've been doing hasn't worked yet.

Anyway, by this point, one player had been thwarted from a different area control victory, and a third player thwarted the monster hunt victory of the chaos player by killing my precious robot, Talos. It is true that Talos had murdered one of his hoplites, so I guess it could be considered justified.

So about those ports, and Poseidon; Charlie had previously said that Poseidon broke the game because everyone camped him. This was NOT the case at all in our game. The entire time, only one person sent a priest to pray at Poseidon and raise his fleet strength. This essentially made the Fleet ability pointless and it was never a factor. I did use some port travel. I could absolutely see it being a different case in a four player game without the side boards. I would probably consider not using Poseidon for less than 5 players.

Back to the game... I continued trying to rebuild my forces in order to get my second land victory. My son was one of the players, and he kept engaging me in stupid battles to consume my combat cards. It was maddening, but effective. I never got the territory required. Meanwhile a couple of other monsters came out, including the sea-bound Cetus, which, as best I can tell, only occupies sea trails and can be hunted by any adjacent region. I say "as best I can tell", because THE RULES LITERALLY DON'T TALK ABOUT HOW CETUS FUNCTIONS AT ALL. One player only needed a single temple to claim the 5 temples victory. Before he could manage it, our chaos monster hunter FINALLY felled a third beast to end the game.

This game took 4 HOURS. We were not screwing around, either. I think we will try to cap to 4 players in the future, outside of special circumstances. Adding the 5th player board would not be too much. It was engaging the whole time, but did start to drag as each of us attempted victory, only to be dragged back. I was the first one to almost get there, and that was at the 2 hour mark!

My initial impression is, per usual, Awaken Realms has a great base game and some expansion material that is a bit suspect.
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28 Jul 2019 14:08 #300153 by WadeMonnig

hotseatgames wrote: My initial impression is, per usual, Awaken Realms has a great base game and some expansion material that is a bit suspect.


This. I am hoping city of steel is a more refined, play-tested expansion than the KS add-ons. I only have played the base game so far and it is disheartening to hear that the fluid and precise nature of the base-game is compromised with sloppy expansions.

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28 Jul 2019 15:40 #300158 by Jackwraith
What else have they done? I don't recognize the publisher name.

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