Thursday, 13 October 2016

Fantahzee hordes and Heroes by AEG Alderac Entertainment Group

Its been far too long since i delved into a fantasy world in board games, i mean a true, old school style fantasy with skeletons, and orcs and heroes and such like. I think its time to remedy that!

Gather up a team of heroes in Fantahzee: Hordes & Heroes to defend the town, roll the combinations to activate their awesome abilities, and fight your way through the monsters to the bosses. Defeat three of the five bosses, then tally up your trophies from the day. Collect the most VP to win!

You may have gathered by the play on words in the title that this is a dice based game, and in fact the subtitle of "The game of heroic dice and slice" is fairly unsubtle about it.  It does help set you up though knowing what to expect.... cartoon style characters and a ton of dice... and honestly... that does not sound too bad at all to me!




 The Back gives you a little run down of contents, and some of the back story.  It says suitable for 2-5 players, but.... it CAN be played solo too! and you all know i love that ability in a game, again it should really mention it.

Play time 30-45 minutes, sounds about right, can be quicker once you know what you are doing and you can play fast.  Ages 14 and up.... i would probably agree with this, as there is a fair amount of dice rolling and matching which yes could be done by an age, but to get good you need to chain the combos together to bounce off other cards, so you COULD play with a younger gamer if they where competent.

Now lets pop it open and take a rummage inside........





 So you get a nice rulebook, some cards, a snazzy dice bag and a big old bag o dice
 A really nice touch is the box control, it has slots for all the cards, and in fact you may wonder why half the box is empty... well you get a nice little card explaining there is more to come in other packets next year, so its great that you already have the storage in the core box. An excellent idea.. very happy with that.
 The rule book is big glossy, and absoulotuley filled to the brim with examples and colour pictures so there is plenty to refer back to when playing to make your life easy.
 So the idea of the game is you draw from a deck of hereos and actions.  All illustrated in a cartoon style that i rather like, and some cool Steampunk elements too, this set does seem very themed, which is good as it allows some awesome themed expansions to fill up the box.

The game starts with you building 5 stacks of enemy decks, these each include a different boss monster, a number of level 2 monsters, and a number of level one monsters. so your tabletop will look something like this...


You draw your starting hand of 5 from the combined hero and action deck, place treasure deck down and the town cards at one end.  You want to try and avoid the vanguard monster smashing up the town you are protecting.... and they will if there one left at the end of your turn face up in the vanguard pile.  So how can we stop them?? with our brave heroes of course!

These heroes have a strength value in the top left, their class symbol, name and ability and theri activation cost.  This is usually a combination of dice, or could be an X which is any die, or XX which is a pair, XXX a triple and so on.  Each turn you can play down up to 2 heroes, and as many actions as you wish, dont worry about having to keep cards, as each turn you draw 4 again, and must discrad down to 5, so if possible you want all the cards you can out.  When your adventure party gets to 5 though you must discard one in play before you can replace him with a new adventurer.
The art on them is just great, with lots of cartoon style character, and plenty of variety too, you can really imagine whole themed sets coming out to add to these, i mean it says so in the box right?


On top of those decks you are going to start battling level 1 monsters.... how do you fight? well you gather up 5 dice and roll them, then assign to activate your heroes based on their requirements.  you can reroll your pool up to 2 times, but can keep dice out of the way in between.  The only dice you may not roll again are ones already assigned to an adventurer. once you have activated all you r heroes you add up their combined strength and remove that many monsters from the top of the varying decks. so for example we had 11 strength we could take out the orc mage (which would be nice as he would give us a treasure too we can then equip to one of our active heroes, then we still have 8 damage left to distribute... we can dig deeper on that same stack flipping over until we can not beat them and the remaing strength is wasted, or... pick off more on the top, that add up to 11, and left over strength is wasted.  You can see the XP in the right bottom corner, that's how many XP you earn for killing them and the end of the game the highest XP is the winner!  You then have to take any counterattack damage that the monsters have listed, this can be negated by Shields your party may have, which is on them, or could be provided by an action card... when the amount of counterattack is soaked up, if any get through you must then sacrifice members of your active party up to that damage level, which is nasty, as even 1 point of damage gets through that's one character dead. Then any monsters that have ambush attack the party.... again its the same you can use shields or soak the damage. Then you see if the vanguard monster is still alive and he sacks the town giving you one of the town cards, which when you flip them over is invariably something bad, either a lowering of your score or a nasty effect that's time limited.  then monsters are flipped over on empty stacks, and play passes to the next person.  When 3 boss monsters have been defeated the game is over, and you tally up your XP minus any from sacked town cards.. highest XP is the winner.

The art for the monsters is again dripping in character..... and i really like them, my favourite being the Blighter... hes a creepy looking git!
The boss monsters are suitably scary, with high counters, ambush and damage needed to take them out, so you best make sure you have your best party for the big game.  They do however give good rewards... you may think im getting near the bottom of this pile now, i don't want to flip anything over in case a boss comes out so he can damage my opponent rather than me, but then for the amount of XP they are worth i would rather go for them!

Some people may think.. wheres the strategy? well there is plenty.... its all about triggering things from cards, like activating one hero who does this which then activates that, which then does that that bounces here, and so on to chain up activation's, you need to know when to hold your dice (which by the way are nice hefty beasts) when to push on down a stack or back off, and how to split your damage well to get the best results.  Yes you may not get the epic storytelling or deep mechanics of for example Eldritch Horror (you know i love Cthulhu games), but thats not what this game is about, it doesn't pretend to be... what it IS is a fun, fast paced filler game that will kill 30mins to an hour with lots of dice rolling and some fun.... and that it does ok.  I think with the mechanics if it went on any longer it may begin to outstay its welcome, but played in that time frame.. its a good break where you can just roll some dice and look at some cool art, and if you go into mind expecting that you should not be disapointed.  The potential to expand the game though is a good thing, and of course as more come out that wills tart increasing the tactical options available to you.

As it is it all goes away very nicely in to the original box, and i really like that, and the fact there is room to sleeve the cards as well.

I wish it mentioned more how easy it is to play it solo, yes it may not be quite so fun as competitive, as you are really setting an XP goal for yourself, but its perfectly doable, perhaps see how many XP you can get before the village is sacked, and when the last village card goes, total up you points.  Set it as a goal and try again.  I have tried it that way and it works fine with no tweaks needed at all.  Of course even in multiplayer if you want to shorten the game, then you can remove one of the monster stacks, which will speed it up.

Its nice quality, its simple to learn, its easy to sort and transport too, plays fast and is fun, like i said don't go expecting the next mega deep experience, look at it for what it is, fun with nice characterful art ... and you wont go wrong.

With its RRP of  £36.99 you can head to Your Local game Store and grab a copy and get rolling them bones!