Review of Dwar7s Fall from MAGE Company by PaladinElliott Productions
Game Design and Artistry: Luis Brueh
Published by: MAGE Company, Vesuvius Media, Mysterious Island Games, Mosigra, Mandala Jogos
Reviewed by: Jason Elliott
Edited by: Stephanie Elliott
Number of players: 2-4
Time of Play: 20-60 minutes
Age recommended: 12+
The year of release:2016
The story so far: Winter is coming, and the Dwarves need to be prepared. You will need to deal with Frost Giants and Dragons as you collect Gems and Food, and build your Castles.
Our final thoughts on this game: This is a game that I felt has tremendous theme. Your Dwarves must prepare for winter, while trying to hinder other players. All the things you think about with Dwarves are here, you have your Mining, Gems, Dragons, Castles, Kingdoms, etc.
We like that fact that you are laying tiles, and that placement is key. Players of Carcossone will recognize this and will probably feel at home in this regard. Meeple placement is big, and you will have lots of options to place your Meeple for maximum effect. You will have Trading Goals (publicly known Victory points that you trade your resources for) and Secret Goals (privately known Victory points to attempt to accomplish by end of game). You will be able to send Ogres to remove Meeples, move Dwarves, steal Gems, steal other Ogre cards, and swap opposing player's Meeples.
The biggest drawback encountered is there is no mechanism in place for players to gang up on someone. If that happens, rest assured that the player will ultimately be knocked down and in far worse shape then before. The game plays quick once it is taught, and the rules were in good, straight order. The game is very colorful, and it is a lot of fun to have Dwarf Meeples to use!
You have to be able to see how your Kingdom is progressing versus the other player's Kingdoms. You may at one point being sharing two Kingdoms, then stack a card and close off one Kingdom, or some other type of manipulation. You will need to focus on how to best increase, strengthen, and solidify your Kingdom, while at the same time hindering the other player's Kingdoms as best as you can.
Overall, if I were asked how often I would play it out of 10 times the game is mentioned (my interpretation of the BoardGameGeek scale) I would give it a 5. I would play it roughly half the times it was offered. It is a solid game, that pulls a strong theme with recognizable mechanics to make the game easy to teach, and fun to play!
Mechanics and concepts found in this game: You have your fantasy setting that you will want and expect to be true for Dwarves. You will be building territories and using tile placement. You will work on set collection to purchase Victory points. You will have some "take that" moments through the use of Meeple placement, and the using cards you have collected.
The game components:
36 Kingdom Cards
10 Trading Goal Cards
7 Secret Goal Cards
34 Gem Cards
13 Ogre Cards
7 Dwarf Meeples of each color (Red, Blue, Green and Yellow)
1 Rule Booklet
1 Game Box
Expansions you can add:
Dwar7s Fall: Empires
Dwar7s Fall: Royal Decrees
Winning conditions for the game: You will need to have the highest amount of points by collecting the following:
-Your Kingdom size, where cards will either give or take away points from your Kingdom. If your Kingdom is not in play you will receive no points for this.
-The Gem cards in your hand, monsters you have defeated, and your completed Goal cards.
1. Shuffle the Trading Goal cards, make a deck and reveal 3 of them
2. Shuffle the Secret Goal cards, and deal one to each player. Keep it secret, keep it safe.
3. Sort the Gem cards by type, and have them face up.
4. Sort the Kingdom cards by color. Each player will choose a color, and get 9 cards that correspond with their color.
5. Each player takes the 7 Dwarf Meeples that correspond with their color.
6. Shuffle the Ogre cards, and place the deck where the Booklet shows.
7. Make sure you leave enough area to lay the Kingdom cards on.
8. The youngest players starts the game, and clockwise turn order to follow.
How to play:
Each round will have three phases.
1. Perform Actions
Perform Actions: You can perform 3 a turn, or 4 if you have your Castle in play. These are repeated as long as the situation allows. You can use any combination of them in whatever order you believe to be the most beneficial.
1A. Play a Kingdom card- You will place a card(s) adjacent, or on top (stacking) if applicable. You can orientate the cards however you want (walls matching or not, connected to your Castle or not)
Special Notes- During the first turn the first player places the first Kingdom card anywhere on the table. You can only stack a Kingdom card if it has a shield with either a homeplate icon, a house icon, or a tree icon.
1B. Place a Dwarf- You can place one of your Dwarves on any free space on the Kingdom cards out on the board. That means it can go on any player's Kingdom. You can use another player's Kingdom to dig. You will need as many Dwarves as the card says to complete a task on that card.
1C. Move a Dwarf- You can move any Dwarf you have on the board to one adjacent card. You can't pass through walls, and there must be a free spot on the card for the Dwarf to go there. This also applies if you are moving more than once, each card you move through must have at least one open spot for you to pass through.
1D. Play an Ogre card- Playing an Ogre card is a FREE ACTION. You can play more than one of these during the Action Phase.
2. Resolve-This is where every card that has the correct amount of Dwarves for completing a task goes into effect. All the Dwarves completing a task MUST HAVE THE SAME COLOR. You will move Dwarves that completed tasks back to your Dwarf pile. If they do not complete a task they stay out on the board. If something forces your Dwarves back, but the task is not completed (such as a Dragon) you get your Dwarves back in the pile, but with out receiving anything for the task you were trying to accomplish. If you have more Dwarves on a card when it completes versus how many you need to complete the task then the extra stay in place on that card.
3. Discard- You may never have more than 9 cards in your hand. Any moment that would put you over you must discard. The cards that you count towards this hand limit are:
The types of Kingdom cards are:
-Castles: Having this out allows you count connecting cards as your points for your Kingdom. Having your Castle out also allows you to take a bonus action every turn that it is in play.
Special note: You can dig a stacked card, but you will need two of your dwarves placed on any Castle in play. If you do so, then take one card that is a top of a stack and place it on the bottom of the stack without rotating it. You can only choose a top of a stack if it has no dwarves on it, and the card you are choosing can not be a Monster card. You can only dig if there are no Monsters in your Kingdom.
-Mines: You need these to mine for Gems. You need the Gems to trade for Goals that award you Victory points. You will need the correct amount of Dwarves to complete this, and if there isn't any more of the Gem card then you will not receive anything for Mining there.
-Monsters: Dragons and Frost Giants make it so you can't stack where they are, Dragons stop all mines in a Kingdom from working while Frost Giants cancel the extra action given by a Castle. To defeat this monster, you will need 5 Dwarves of the same color on that tile, and the tile is removed. It will count as Victory points in the end (3 Victory points each at the end of the game).
-Taverns: This is where you can get Ogre cards, and they do bad things to the other players! If the Ogre deck runs out, just reshuffle the used cards back into a deck.
-General Stores: This is where you trade your resources for Traded Goals (Victory points). Once taken, you draw the top card from the stack to replace the one you just selected.
Endgame: When any player has completed at least 3 goals at the end of his or her turn, then you are in the last round, and any players who have not taken their turn get to do so before the round, and therefore the game, ends. You can have any combination of Traded Goals and Secret Goals to make a grand total of 3 total goals.
Thank you so much for reading my review of Dwar7s Fall by Luis Brueh and Mage Company!