Gamers is powered by Vocal.
Vocal is a platform that provides storytelling tools and engaged communities for writers, musicians, filmmakers, podcasters, and other creators to get discovered and fund their creativity.
How does Vocal work?
Creators share their stories on Vocal’s communities. In return, creators earn money when they are tipped and when their stories are read.
How do I join Vocal?
Vocal welcomes creators of all shapes and sizes. Join for free and start creating.
To learn more about Vocal, visit our resources.Show less
To adventure, kill monsters, take their loot, gain experience, and become more powerful than anyone could possibly imagine. RPGs do this, some video games are superb at it, and few board games do this well. Sometime an adaption of a video game into another medium doesn’t translate. Welcome to World of Warcraft: The Board Game where the adventures discovered in Azeroth are thrilling.
This project was collaboration between Fantasy Flight Games and Blizzard Entertainment. They tackled the mother of all online role-playing games in its 2005 glory. Christian T. Petersen led a rising star design team of Eric M. Lang, Corey Konieczka, John Goodenough, and Greg Benage.
Two expansions (Shadow of War and Burning Crusade) and a promo BlizzCon epic armor pack were released. A third one (Scions of Darkness) was announced but became vaporware. There are a lot of tokens, figures, and cards to bring you there and back again on this journey. The quest cards alone, if you read them all, have a Tolkien’s book worth of flavored texts. The item and class cards give high replay value and wonderful synergies.
This would make a modern Kickstarter game blush.
The game lays out on two maps, if you have Burning Crusade, and populates them with quest monsters and independent creatures. Through the rounds, you advance a character quickly up the first four levels, and push hard through the next two, for a total of six-character levels. Every level gifts new powers, talents, and items as you become stronger for tougher challenges.
Faster, hunter, kill kill. All you need is kill. It’s a race between two fractions to place the final blow into the big, bad Overlord, who may be roaming the lands or waiting comfortably in a dungeon lair.
In combat, there’s a lot of dice rolling, especially in the upper levels. You have potential to hit the limit of 30 dice: ten each in red, blue, and green. Depending on your powers, equipment, the creature you’re fighting, and the phase of battle you’re in, you will be rolling, re-rolling, taking away, and modifying the dice results. These are translated into three different “hits,” placed in two locations on the combat area, with some attrition raining into a third area. Once you compare the results, someone will bleed health.
Time gallops away when you’re the active player.
Everyone has two actions with the Horde and Alliance alternating their turns. In the original game, you had 30 rounds (15 for each faction) to kill the end boss or he came to you. But the expansion has no turn limits, and this song could be the one that never ends. It could go on and on, my friends.
The short turns start to go long, so you compromise during the Horde battle and allow the Alliance to do their next turn. They want to take two move actions, that’s four spaces and done. The Horde is still working on killing a purple abomination! The Alliance takes a break to start The Fellowship of the Rings extended cut.
The hobbits are taking their first steps leaving Hobbiton when the Horde are dividing experience, gold and item drops. They have leveled up and are debating on a new talent card. They pull a new quest card and place new monsters on the map. Then they decide, because they are there, to take a dungeon dive into Tempest Keep. Frodo has been stabbed on Weathertop and the Horde has taken out the first dungeon level. Their turn ends, but it doesn’t--the Alliance did their turn by moving four spaces.
The time marker advances twice. An Event card happens. A Destiny card activates. Back to the Horde.
The game started at four PM. It is now three AM. The lack of sleep has made you feel like you’re drowning. Aragorn is being crowned king as your team falls to Lady Vashj, the big bad Overlord, but no one cares because everyone has things to do later that morning. As the ship sails away with Frodo and credits roll, the game is packed up and headed back to the shelf.
It’s a personal test of endurance.
I ran into Eric Lang at Gen Con 50 and asked about his contribution to this massive game. He said that he made it end. I laughed and thanked him for that. John Goodenough designed both expansions. I wish I could ask him a few questions.
We played a majority of this at my bachelor party. It was a fun slog, but slowly we lost people at hour four. They opted to jump into Mount Doom rather than finish. The next morning, its corpse was spread along the dining room table, a coffee table, the buffet table, and several TV trays. Two of us with sleep still in our eyes, packed it away.
Over two years later, it’s still in its coffin box. It will rest in peace unless I go nuts and decide to paint the 170 monster miniatures, reorganize it, or photograph it for an article.
There could be another reason for its resurrection. When my son gets older, many moons from now, he may spark a curiosity towards this unwieldy artifact. I may break it open, show him the components, and tell him stories. If he desires to learn more, as the nostalgic feelings fog my brain, we will pick characters for both sides and set up the opening quests. I will ask Alexa to play the Lord of the Rings extended score, and teach him how to journey across Lordaeron, kill monsters, and take their loot.