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Lords of Hellas Board Game Review
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.