15 November 2020
The real liberation was the friends we made along the way
Smaller recreations of bigger tabletop experiences can often fall flat. They either don’t have the spirit of the main game inside them, or they’re so obviously a cash grab it’s easy to dismiss them out of hand. That’s not the case here however. The mechanics of the game have changed a great deal, and we only really have six locations to move between, rather than a huge map, but the spirit of the game is here. And the spirit of Andor games is ‘get a move on there’s a quest to complete’. All of the games have a central conceit of there being more enemies added each turn, and the speed at which turns are taken are tied to how quickly players exhaust themselves.
In Liberation of Rietburg we have the familiar ‘bad guy management’ of other games in the series. Players use their hero standees and tiny deck of cards to play an action each turn. There’s three on each of the three starting cards, usually consisting of a single or combination of actions including: attack, turn an encounter card at a location, acquire a willpower or other consumable item, and move. Correctly choosing which to use and in which order is the trick, and ensuring you can beat the next monster in your path with what you have left makes for less wasted turns.
Visit a location, turn the cards, beat the monsters by playing a card with a higher attack value than the monster, and, eventually, reveal your quests. Complete four of these, and you’ve won the game. Simple as it sounds, there is a tax for refreshing your hand, which is flipping a narrative card. These play out more monsters in specific locations and make ‘digging’ for the quests at hand a little trickier. Certain monsters will give you the chance to draw from the friends deck, increasing the size of your had, giving you additional actions and delaying the refresh, which appears to be the real game here. These ‘friends’ are what, in most of our games, made the difference between a victory and a loss.
Quests are completed by discarding slain monsters for the most part, meaning there’s a certain troll-corpse kleptomania added to the usual mix. It’s pleasing to know that your actions are usually going to be working towards a quest once revealed, even if you don’t quite know what that is yet.
When played on harder difficulties the game becomes quite a challenge as all co-op games should, and provides plenty of chances to make working out the particular puzzle before the time runs out a bit more thinky. A good challenge with a small footprint that offers you the rushing thrill of a bigger Andor game.
A very tidy implementation of the feeling of bigger games set in the Andor world, while also remaining accessible and fast. It also doesn’t take a whole dining room table.
TRY THIS IF YOU LIKED: Legends of Andor…
Like the heavier version of this game, Liberation of Rietburg gives you that feeling of sprinting through a world to complete your goals before becoming overwhelmed.
Words by Christopher John Eggett
Designer: Gerhard Hecht
Time: 40 minutes
WHATS IN THE BOX?
- 1 Game board
- 120 Cards
- 6 Hero standees
- 18 Willpower tokens
- 16 Quiver tokens
- 6 Books of spells tokens
- 1 Axe token
- 1 Water spirit token
This review originally appeared in Issue 43 of Tabletop Gaming. Pick up the latest issue of the UK's fastest-growing gaming magazine in print or digital here or subscribe to make sure you never miss another issue.
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