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Published on February 9th, 2016 | by anatol

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Legends of Andor: A Challenging Co-Op Adventure

ANDOR needs you! The box warns anyone looking that danger is coming out of the forest and mountains, orcs, gors, wardraks and even a dragon are attacking the castle of King Brandur. You play a small group of heroes- with another friend or three- trying to prevent Andor from being overwhelmed by the dark enemies.

That all sounds very dramatic and thrilling and I can promise you: indeed, Legends of Andor is very dramatic and thrilling for a board game! The detailed and fanciful artwork the game creates a fantastic atmosphere, and not without a reason: the author of the game is one of the most famous artwork designers for Eurogames like Stone Age, Pillars of the Earth and even the newest re-design of Settlers of Catan. After doing the artwork for almost a decade, working on more than 40 other games, he decided to create (and illustrate) his own title.

It is a cooperative game, so the players have to team up for victory and work together, perfect if your friends and family are tired of you beating them in games. But Andor is not all puppies and kittens; there will be plenty of combat and fighting during your adventure. Each player chooses a character (all of which are available in a female or male version) and board for keeping track of the player’s attributes, equipment, and goods. The characters differ slightly regarding their special abilities in battles. And each turn is fairly simple: you can either walk or fight – that’s all! But the complexity evolves as the team tries to stem the tide against the constant forces.

Even the smallest enemy is hard to beat alone. You’ll roll a dice, boosted by force and willpower, but frequently fall short of being able to defeat the bad guys without help- and the clock is always ticking, with a strict time limit and plenty of tension behind every move! The team has to communicate a lot and discuss every move and the strategy to beat the game. One of your main goals is to always keep the castle free of enemies. Thanks to a unique board design, with arrows connecting every territory, you can predict how the enemies will move. But the unpredictable part is a random adventure card and occasional events, stepping through a story as you play.

The storyteller role and mechanic is pretty nifty. Sometimes, he brings new enemies into the game, but he can also initiate rather helpful events and sometimes new goals, which creates the feeling of reading a book as you do not know what may happen once you reach a new phase. There can be really surprising changes to your goals, switching everything around suddenly and forcing your plans to adapt. Pure strategy gamers may not like these changes of the goals because they are so unpredictable. But the game is well-balanced and it’s likely that if you play carefully you’ll have a good shot at winning, though it’s certainly never guaranteed.

One of the biggest advantages of the game is the quick start- there are just a couple of pages of rules to kick things off. While playing, you’ll organically learn more rules. The downside of this nice idea is that you probably won’t play the first legend again and if you want to introduce new people to the game, you will have to explain all the rules you learned at once, which may seem a bit daunting to some novice players. However, since it’s a cooperative game, it doesn’t really leave anyone behind..

There’s plenty to like about the Legends of Andor. If you haven’t played a cooperative game yet, this is a perfect start to try this new sort of game. Depending on the group’s discussions, one game takes approximately 90 minutes and some drops of sweat. You can play the legends multiple times, since there are enough elements for randomization, but there are also expansions that add characters, additional players (up to 6), and more legends. Legends of Andor costs around $47.99 online and in stores, and comes with six legends.

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