World of Warcraft: The Board Game
As you might have surmised at this point, and as most people in our little group know, I love adventure style games. I particularly favor cooperative games, but the occasional competitive spark is really a treat when I’m in the mood for it. Last time around we gave the Runebound expansion a try, but we never finished it. We all concluded that it felt a little weird because despite it being a board game, everyone was operating throughout the game world doing their own thing, racing to complete their goals before the others with a distinct lack of interaction. With that in mind we sat down as a group to play the World of Warcraft board game, in all of its big box glory.
If you have played the PC game to any degree, you have a good idea of the general feel of the game. If you come to the table planning to focus on certain talents or skills and have a good group mentality with a strong focus on completing quests quickly, you’ll dominate the table and have a hell of a lot more fun. If you haven’t played, don’t worry. The game is still a blast. It just might not feel like it until you get into a groove. Don’t be afraid to get banged up a bit until you figure out how to work the game into your play style.
The basic flow of the game is pretty similar to Runebound, but with teams. During setup you split into the Alliance and the Horde, and from then on you and your buddies operate using your own unique quests and challenges. You cruise around the overworld, looking for challenges (quests) in order to find treasure, cash, and experience points. As time passes you’ll find your paths crossing from time to time. You can also attack other players, which can really slow their progress, especially if you manage to get one of them alone and weakened. The ultimate goal is to either defeat the evil overlord first, or to make it to the end of game turn 30 and defeat the other team in a full-on PvP onslaught.
We found that while we were playing, the team dynamic really made the game a lot more entertaining and social than you would expect. It is definitely greater than the sum of its parts. You could easily play this at a gathering at your house and take a few turns here and there while enjoying some refreshments [I spent half the game cleaning -Ed.]. With an enforced turn limit, the added pressure really makes the teamwork aspect of the game shine. Everyone really has to work together to get geared up for the final battle, whether it is versus Nefarian the black dragon or your friends across the table.
The game takes a little while to play unfortunately, but if you have at least 4 willing players its a pretty entertaining experience. Overall I’d recommend giving it a go for any adventure game enthusiasts out there, and especially those who like a bit of friendly competition in their games, even if you have no plan to ever set foot into the virtual world of Azeroth.