We’re back from our vacation where we played a lot of new games across a lot of different tables. Now to get to the task of talking about all of them starting with Armadöra. In Armadöra you play as one of 4 races in a magical land seeking to control the gold mined by the local dwarves (who don’t seem to mind at all apparently that their gold is stolen, but that’s not important now). To do this you must strategically place palisades and troops on the board working to maintain control over areas while trying to block your opponents. The game is for 2-4 players ages 8 and up and plays in 30 minutes or less. Its small box and compact playing area make this one of our go to games for travel bags.
The game sets up quickly, each player chooses one of the 4 factions and takes the appropriate amount of troop tiles (numbered 1-5) as outlines in the rules depending on the number of players. One player randomly sets piles of gold on the board on the various mines (the amount of gold in the piles is outlined in the rules). On a player’s turn they may place one of their troop tiles face down so that no one can see its value), place two palisades, or pass (if they have no other actions left) and play continues until all players have passed. Once all players have passed the troop tiles are flipped over and their values are added up in each area (as created by the palisades). The player with the highest value in an area wins all of the gold inside of it. This can create lots of warring strategies between the players working to build palisades around areas they want to control and block other players out. While the game is easy to pick up and learn the strategy available is very fun and has kept us coming back for more.
If the basic game is not offering enough of a challenge the game comes with components and rules for an advanced game. In the advanced game each player gets a special ability which corresponds to their race and reinforcement tokens. In the advanced game players may perform either of the two basic actions, place their reinforcements, or activate their special power (followed by another action). The special powers offer a small bonus which can give the players an edge if used at the right time. They are as follows: Wizards – twice per game may secretly look at the value of another players placed warrior token, Goblins – once per game may place two warrior tiles instead of one, Orcs – once per game may place a third palisade, and Elves – twice per game may shoot an arrow at another player’s warrior tile in the same territory reducing its end-game value by one.
Reinforcement tokens may be placed on top of one warrior token inside of a full territory (where no other warrior tokens can be placed) increasing that tokens value by 1 point. In addition to this, if the territory score is a tie between the factions the one with the reinforcement token wins the gold inside. Players only get one token per game and 1 or 2 power tokens (depending on faction) per game so while they add a little extra to the game they do not drastically change the dynamics.
This game has become one of our favorites because it offers a fun time in such a small box with a small footprint.
I liked that you don’t know tiles what the other people have placed until the end of the game when you see who won that area and gets the gold. If you have less people playing you have more tiles which scales the game up and down for more or less players. I enjoyed blocking people off with the palisades and keeping them from getting the gold they thought they were going to get.
I like that if you decide to place walls you get to place two of them and that you can use them to block people off. If you make. I liked being able to play the advanced version or easy version depending on what we wanted to play. My favorite strategy was using the palisades to block people off from areas they wanted to be and potentially put their troops into an area with no gold.