Welcome to the Game Night Blog Carnival for November! You can get more information about the carnival at the main Game Night site.
One of my birthday presents last week was the Castle Fortaan set for the LEGO Heroica game. Heroica is a relatively basic game where the board is constructed from LEGO blocks and the playing pieces are microfigures (smaller-than-normal LEGO figures that fit on a 1 × 1 space).
In a game of Castle Fortaan, each player takes the role of a hero trying to free the castle from goblins. The box comes with a knight, a barbarian, a wizard, and a druid. Because the board is made from LEGOs, it can be easily rearranged to different layouts. The box comes with three suggested setups which each have a different goal: killing the goblin king, retrieving the helmet of protection, or securing a map.
Each turn, you roll the custom die to determine how far you can move and then if you end up next to a monster, you roll again to fight it. If you lose the fight by rolling a skull, then you take damage based on how tough the monster is and are pushed away from it. On the other hand, if you roll a sword then the monster is defeated and removed from the board.
One of the most interesting parts of the game is the special shield icon on the die which lets you do special moves. Each class has a unique move that they can use when a shield is rolled. For example, if the barbarian rolls a shield while fighting, it kills all of the adjacent monsters rather than just one. In addition to each character’s base ability, they can get slightly weaker versions of other character’s powers by buying weapons with gold they find. This makes each character option special while still allowing players to customize their characters.
Thanks to simple rules, the game plays fast and only takes about 10-20 minutes. The box says that it is for players 8 and older, but a younger player could definitely handle the game as long as they have someone to help.
In addition to the Castle Fortaan set, there are three smaller sets that come with 2-3 microfigures and smaller boards. The other sets include rogue and ranger microfigures that add different character options for players. In addition, each set has a different set of monsters (even though they are all the same basic 1, 2, or 3 toughness guys in the rules). The boards themselves can all be combined to create a “super dungeon” game.
In addition to the cooperative game rules, the rulebook includes rules for running a game with one player controlling the monsters. In this type of game, the monsters are able to move and initiate fights rather than just guarding spaces.
Possibly the best part is that being made of LEGOs encourages you to tinker with the game by building custom layouts, entirely new tiles, adding microfigures from other LEGO games, etc. I think that makes Heroica a great game to encourage creativity and tinkering with game rules in kids (we all get more future RPG players that way). If you have a kid in your family who likes LEGOs then any of the Heroica sets could make a great Christmas present this year.
Next blog in carnival: The Learning DM (Get Bit!)