Sunday, August 26, 2007

Return of Return of the Heroes

With things gradually returning to normal around our house, I'm back to playing with myself. In particular, thanks to Andy Josefson's very nice translation and rewrite of the Return of the Heroes rules, I decided to try that one again. It's a stunning game - stunningly beautiful map cards, and stunningly bad rules. Anyway, with the rewritten rules it makes enough sense to play. I'm trying to decide whether Scrabblette was trying for the best shot of the game room decor or the best shot of my messy hair...

Anyway, onto the game. I was able to set the game up without spending 15 minutes searching through the manual for the section where it tells you what coloured tiles go in the bag and what gets left out. Already I was enjoying myself. I was the priestess. I set the royal castle (area J) and the Dark Tower (area H) at opposite corners of the board, and put my home tile (M) in another corner. The temple was close to my home, and the white village was in the 4th corner of the board.

With home, the temple and the castle all along one edge of the board, it was quite a while before I needed to go much away from that row of tiles. Solitaire rules start the big market on the board, so I went shopping and bought a magic staff and a pair of boots which I needed to give to a ranger should I ever meet him.

While I was traipsing around the solitaire rules dictated that servants of the Nameless One regularly appeared, and I started to notice that the locations they appeared in reminded me of the appearance of the dark riders in Lord of the Rings - a shadowy figure is seen around Don Hobiro's home, an evil being is seen in the very grounds of the royal castle, and so on. I started to warm to the game. The solitaire rules also suggest that you should complete the game in 45 turns or die trying... but as it turned out I forgot the quest I was supposed to be doing and didn't even complete the second part of it (take the orb to the king) until turn 48. The king wasn't even present for a long time - how was I supposed to do that quest? I did spend a lot of time completing tasks and investigating random encounters in the hope that tiles I needed would come out of the bag.

Anyway, I discovered that I could easily defeat some of the servants, and beat up quite a few of them until turn 55 when I finally completed my quest and hence was allowed to attack the Dark Tower. I immediately set off, but on turn 60 a troll beat me up at the base of the Dark Tower itself. The troll had 2 hit points, and the 2 hit point monsters are very dangerous indeed. Furthermore, he could only be hit by red and green which were my weak points. Early in the game I'd been badly beaten up by the knight as well, but I was still amazed that someone who thought she could challenge the Nameless One could be beaten by a troll.

Then followed a miserable period as I suffered 2 defeats and got lost in the forest on my way to the temple for healing. I risked my last life point fighting a servant of the Nameless One, but my armour had been destroyed. After being healed I passed through the market to buy some new armour then travelled to the white village for some more healing (inflicted by 4 servants) before attacking the Dark Tower from the direction that didn't have a troll.

This time it was easy - I defeated another servant, then a guard, and the Nameless One was revealed to me as the Deep One. I hit him 6 times in a row and victory was mine! So then I had this Dark Tower of which I was undisputed master, and what's a girl to do? Muahahahaha.

  • completed quest +5000
  • defeated Nameless One +5000
  • 1 magic item +1000
  • 24 experience cubes +12000
  • 8 gold pieces +800
  • 42 turns too long -21000
Which all adds up to 2800. Hmm. Well, at least it was positive.

Overall, I enjoyed this adventure. I think next time I will be stressing less about whether the game is going to suck and consequently will have more fun and be more involved in the story. I know a guy who has In the Shadow of the Dragon for sale... I've been looking for an excuse to buy that :-).


Ryan Walberg said...

Thanks for commenting on the game. I got bored of Runebound... is this a good next step?

Friendless said...

If you don't have both of the Runebound big box expansions you should get them first. As RotH contains less text it has less explicit story. I think Runebound excels in story-telling, but RotH is just pretty.