12 Realms: Ancestors Legacy Review

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Four new worlds opened up. This expansion takes you into the mythical and mystical realms of Ancient Greece, Egypt with its pyramids, the Kievan Empire and the legendary Golden Caliphate. With these realms come new heroes, but also new threats and enemies. You can go on exciting missions that tell you a different story and give you different goals every other game. Are you ready for a new challenge?

Overview

What do you get for your money?

4 Realm Maps (Kievan Empire, Nile Valley, Olympia, Golden Caliphate), more than 150 Invader, Treasure, Artefact, Poison and Talent tokens, 30 Squirrel tokens, 5 Squirrel Nest tokens, 8 Magic Carpet tiles, 5 Trap tokens, 6 Witch tiles, 11 double-sided Hero boards, 76 Realm cards, 12 Event cards, 10 Tablet cards, 30 Pyramid cards, 12 Pantheon cards, 6 Ninja cards, 4 wooden Invasion markers, 11 new Hero miniatures, 4 Fortress miniatures,  1 Pantheon building miniature, 1 Pyramid building miniature and the Plot and Story Guide.

How do you play the game?

The rules of the game, when you add this expansion, are basically the same as the base game.  However this expansion adds seven plots and those plots have their own special rules and components.

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For instance, the plot called Pantheon Path adds a Realm, Olympia, and a building, the Pantheon to the game. In this plot two players must collect one artefact from every realm and then travel to Olympia and enter the Pantheon by paying a tribute of one gold and one swiftness. There’s a catch, because once a player enters the Pantheon, he out of the game, so you really need the plan ahead. The other rule that this plot changes is that the first Dark Lord appears together with the first fortress, when an Invasion marker reaches seven. The Pantheon also is a building with its own stack of building cards, like Zeus’ Thunders or Calypso’s Deception. Every player can only buy one and they are a bit more expensive than regular building and town cards.

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In another plot, the Pyramid of Time, you’ll find these Tablet cards, one per Realm, which show a number. You’ll have to activate each card by moving the Invasion marker onto that specific number by activating Pyramid cards. If you do so, the Realm ‘closes’ and no Invaders will come out. When you’ve managed to do that for every Realm, you win.

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Pyramid cards can only be obtained from the pyramid in the Nile Valley by two, appointed at the start of the game, heroes and can only be activated by another predetermined hero. Every pyramid card has a hand pointing forwards and a hand pointing backwards and by exploiting the right talent the hero can move the Invasion marker a couple of spots to the designated spot shown on the tablet card.

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Review

Gameplay

This expansion adds a lot to the game. Every plot tells a different story and adds new mechanisms to the game. In the base game you could change the difficulty level, but you had the same goals, game after game after game. Now the goals are different with every other plot you choose.

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I already gave you an idea of  two plots in the explanation above, but there are more. In the Double Challenge plot you’ll have to defeat two Lord per Realm and the beginning of the game you roll both the talent and area die and then you get a choice; do you want the extra talent token you’ve rolled? Yes? Then the Invasion marker must be placed at the number the area die indicated.

The Find the Ninja plot adds a kind of traitor aspect to the game. The Forgotten Lamp adds magic carpets that take you from one realms to another and there are plot tokens which you’ll have to exploit to find the lamp, but be aware, some of them are traps. And these are just examples, there’s even more.

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These plots as you can see make this game much more interesting, exciting and add a whole lot of replay value to the game. The addition of the new mechanisms does make it less of a family game and takes it more into the gamer’s realm.  

Flavour and Theme

This expansion adds some mythical realms and heroes to the game and every plot has its own flavour too. 

Looks

The game with expansion looks just as good as without it.

Quality of the  components

I can not judge the quality of the components, because I haven’t got a final version of the game, just some printed bits and pieces.

Fun

Does this expansion make the game more fun? Yes, of course it does. These plots are great. I haven’t been able to play every single one of them, but reading the rules alone of the ones I haven’t played makes me excited. The new stuff you can  and must do makes the Ancestors Legacy expansion is a very good one if you already like the base game and want to take it a step further.

If you want to keep it more family orientated, then you probably don’t need it. The game becomes more complicated with the addition of the plots and while gamers might love it, non-frequent players might be a bit daunted by the new mechanisms.

I consider myself a gamer and I approve this expansion.

 

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Many thanks to Mage Company for providing me a preview copy. Visit them at their website and support their upcoming Kickstarter campaign if you like 12 Realms.

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