The Dwarves Big Box Review

30 September 2022
Orc pandemic

The Dwarves (from the novels of Markus Heitz), originally released ten years ago, has finally got the ‘big box’ treatment. This means we get some new versions of the miniatures, a unified look between the various books and expansions for the game, and lovely box.

The core loop of the game is one of quests and dice rolling. Each statistic on your character sheet shows the number of dice you’ll roll to overcome a quest or a monster in your path. Those quests might be a little specific however – having you dash all over the board in an attempt to even have a go at completing them. And this is a board that is being overrun by orcs, trolls and élfar who perish the land as they move through it. And, beyond that you’re also having to deal with the Dwarven Council – which if not managed properly can fall to the favour of a grumpy councillor that will make your life a lot harder.

It’s got a fantasy-Pandemic-on-foot feel, with event cards being turned to create more problems as you go. The star of the show for us is this dwarven council board, it’s the modifier for whatever you want to do in the game – and also easily forgotten when you have the choice of fighting back the hordes, completing a quest or… sending a fantasy email to your representatives? This tension as the land spoils and quests go unfinished while you’re talking to some unhelpful dwarves is a great reminder that even in fantasy the power to do anything isn’t inherently in the hand of the sword.

Players will watch as the blighted land spreads, using a system of arrows on the board (a little like the Legends of Andor enemy system) and a familiar ‘outbreak’ style of expansion and only though smart management and a couple of good dice rolls will they push things back.

But those dice rolls might get you in the end. There is a completely missing sense of satisfaction in The Dwarves when it comes to failure. Unlike games where the evil that’s coming after you feels inevitable (say, Spirit Island) your failure here does feel like chance. We love the way our characters got stronger and levelled up during our adventures, but it wasn’t always enough to turn the tide. One for those who don’t mind the repeated struggle at the heart of the game, it could be a winner – but for most it’s going to feel a bit of a slog.

Christopher John Eggett


For those who love the series or love the books, this is a great collection. For those thinking about setting out into this world, maybe start on another path.

Buy yourself a copy here


Looking for a bigger challenge with a fantasy twist? The Dwarves Big Box might be a hit.

Buy a Copy Here

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Read the full review here

Want to know which Pandemic Expansion to Buy?

Designer: Michael Palm & Lukas Zach

Publisher: Pegasus Spiele

Time: 60-90 minutes

Players: 2-6

Ages: 10+

Price: £50

What’s in the box?

  • Game board
  • Dwarven council board
  • 12 Hero boards
  • 12 Hero figures
  • Hero marker
  • Doom marker
  • Council marker
  • 75 Army of evil troop meeples (Orcs, Trolls, Élfar)
  • 30 Attribute modifier tiles
  • 36 Perished land tiles
  • 21 Book specific tiles
  • 11 Diamon tiles
  • 212 Card (across five books and two expansions)
  • 15 Threat cards
  • 22 Equipment cards
  • 9 Spell cards

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