Kick The Box Preview
Project By: MAGE Company
MAGE Company has just finished it’s most successful Kickstarter campaign to date with the reprinting of Among The Stars and show no signs of slowing down. Just days after the final seconds had ticked to a close, they were prepared for and have launched, Ancestors Legacy; an expansion for another hugely successful 2013 Kickstarter campaign of theirs, 12 Realms. I was one of the lucky reviewers to get a copy of the prototype to preview.
For those not familiar with 12 Realms, it is a 1-6 player, cooperative fantasy board game. The artwork has a bright, colorful, cutesy, cartoon style. Each player will choose from a mish mash of famous fairy tale and legend characters as their Heroes, i.e., The Nutcracker, Sugar Plum Fairy, Show White, Robin Hood, among many others and will set off to defend Fairy Land from the invading Dark Lords and their minions.
The original game consists of 4 Realms. You can use any number of them in a game. The suggested Realm count is equivalent to the number of players playing. The difficulty of the game scales well with the amount of players and can be easily ramped up or down, depending upon your player skill levels and difficulty of challenge wanted.
Each character has their own special talents. They can use, or exploit, these talents during their turn to move around the Realm, shop at the Town Center or Buildings for improved items, or most importantly, defeat the Dark Lord’s never ending spawn of minions and, eventually the Dark Lord himself.
In order to become victorious in 12 Realms, you must balance your time between keeping the onslaught of enemies entering into the Realms to a minimum and collecting the necessary Artifacts needed to defeat the Dark Lord before he spawns. The invasion track is the timing mechanism that is used to countdown when the Dark Lord will appear for the final showdown between the Heroes and him/herself.
Each Realm has their own separate Invasion Track. You will move the Invasion Tracker forward one number for each enemy that is in that realm; i.e. If there are three enemies in the Cherry Blossom realm and there are five enemies in the Silver Kingdom, than you will be moving Cherry Blossom’s Invasion Track up three numbers, and Silver Kingdom’s Invasion Track up five numbers. At number 16, the Dark Lord will spawn, and if the Invasion Track reaches 20 on any of the Realms, you lose. It’s important that you are balancing your time gathering items from the local shops, and defeating enemies in the Realms, so the Invasion Trackers does not shoot up to sixteen and releasing the Dark Lord before you are ready.
The 12 Realms base game is a wonderful, light, family gateway game. The setup and teardown doesn’t require a lot of time and it is fun to play. The art work on the cards, the Realm Boards, and Tokens are not only beautiful to look at, but is a perfect representation for the theme of the game.
Ancestors Legacy will not only contain more of the same as the base box, including four new Realms and, nine new character player boards and miniatures, but also adds a much needed new element; plots and an over arching storyline. The plots will be different scenarios that you will be able to set up and play through. Each plot is unique and will have their own character token and cards specific to that plot. The variety of different play mechanics that will be introduced into the game with this expansion, will breathe new life into it. The different plots will incorporate different mechanics into the game. You may be trying to capture witches that the Dark Lords have released upon Fairy Land, or chasing squirrels and carrying them back to their nests before they destroy everything, or you may just have two Dark Lords that you will have to defeat before Fairy Land is in shambles.
I’ve been enjoying the 12 Realms base game, but this expansion with the story plots adds a whole new element to the game that takes it to the next level. I’m loving the artwork of the new pieces, even in their prototype state, the various gameplay elements, and the different winning conditions of each plot.
Here’s a quick rundown of a couple of the plots to show you different styles of gameplay that will be included in the expansion.
Squirrel Raiders Plot: The Dark Lords have released wild and unruly Squirrels to run free across the Realms, breaking, stealing, and destroying all the valuable and magical things that the Heroes need to defend the Realms.
For 4-5 players. For every active hero, you will chose a Realm. 2 Heroes = 2 Realms, 3 Heroes = 3 Realms, etc. The only condition for choosing the Realms and Heroes is that at least one Hero has to have Gold as one of their abilities, and one of the Realms has to be the Fairy Forest. You will still fight the Dark Lords of the Realms but you will not need the artifacts to defeat them. Other than that the gameplay is normal. When the Invasion Tracker reaches 7, you will roll the Area Die for each Active Realm and place a Squirrel Nest in each Realm and place a Squirrel Token in every area of the Realms including the Town Center. Roll the Area Dice again for each of the Active Realms, and place one of the Dark Lords of the specific Realm in that area. Now each hero has to capture every squirrel and bring it back to the nest, while still fighting the never ending spawn of minions. A player can only carry one squirrel at a time unless they have one of the special mounts, then they can carry two, but never more than two squirrels at one time. The game is lost if any of the Invasion Trackers reaches twenty.
Find The Ninja Plot: The Dark Lords have recruited one of the Heroes to betray their own kind. Your goal is to find out who the traitor is and defeat them before it is too late.
For 5-7 players. Chose 5 or 6 Realms depending on the amount of players. The only condition for picking the Realms and Heroes is that you have to have Cherry Blossom as one of the Realms and one of the heroes has to have the Gold ability. You will be using the Black Fortresses, the Bonus Town Cards, and the Buildings. You deal everyone a Ninja Card. One of the cards will be different from the others and that person becomes the Ninja, aka the hidden traitor. During the game, and before the Invasion Tracker has reached 16 and The Dark Lord has entered Cherry Blossom and the Ninja is forced to reveal him/herself, the players can all accuse one player per round of being the Ninja. That player reveals their Ninja card. If the players are wrong, all the players will lose 2 talents permanently for the rest of the game! If they are correct, the Heroes will move to the area where the Ninja resides and exploit 8 random Talents to defeat him/her. If the Invasion Track reaches 16, both Dark Lords of the Cherry Blossom will appear and the Ninja will reveal him/herself and also move to the Cherry Blossom to help protect the Dark Lords. For the Heroes, the winning condition is to figure out who the real Ninja is and defeat him/her and then destroy the Dark Lord before any of the Invasion Trackers reaches 20. The winning condition for the one who has betrayed the 12 Realms is for one of the Invasion Markers to reach 20 so everyone else loses the game.
Chase Their Brooms Plot: The Dark Lords have once again used their powers to release another foul presence across the Realms. This time Witches are sent to cast spells upon the Heroes so they cannot fight the Dark Lords.
For 4-6 players. 1 Active Realm per player is used. There is one condition for picking Realms, and that is one must be the Silver Kingdom, and two conditions for choosing your starting heroes; one has to have the gold ability and the other must be the Sugar Plum Fairy. You will be using the Black Fortress, the Bonus Town Cards, and the Buildings. When an Invasion Marker reaches the number 7 in a Realm, the Black Fortresses come into play. Roll the Area Die for the Black Fortresses and each Witch Token per Realm, and place them in the equivalent areas. The goal is simple; capture all the witches. In order to do this, a player must have obtained one of the flying mounts from the stores in order to be able to bring a witch down to the ground. Once the witch is down to the ground, the Sugar Plum Fairy must reach the witch before she is able to fly again, and exploit one random Talent determined by the Talent Die. Once the witch is trapped, flip over the Witch Tile to the trapped side face up and remove the Invasion Counter for that region. That Realm has been saved! Rinse and repeat for the other Realms til either, the Heroes lose because one of the Invasion Tracks reaches 20, and the Heroes are victorious by trapping all the Witches!
If your in need of a great gateway family game that will also satisfy the cravings of a seasoned gamer, that offers cooperative, a 1 vs. many, or objective orientated gameplay, than you won’ t have to look any farther than MAGE Company’s reprint of 12 Realms and the Ancestors Legacy expansion already funded and available on Kickstarter right now.