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Game Review - Armello

When you think of games like Civilization or Monopoly the traditional wordage is:

Strategy...Simulation...Varied...Long...Boring...

 

While the Board game/strategy simulator genre has been declining over the years there has been a resurgency in indie board game devs. Enter stage left, Armello.

  • Tile System...Check
  • Dice Rolling...Check
  • Lovable Characters...Check
  • Dark Enemies...Check
  • Environmental Challenges...Check
  • Opposing Factions/Players...Check
  • Single Player Friendly...Check
  • MP optional...Check
  • Quick Paced...Check
  • Rich Backstory...Check
 

If half of the things on that list raise your fancy I would highly recommend looking into this game. It's light-hearted yet dark foreboding gameplay is extremely enjoyable. Every game is different with new goals, new strategies, and new situations to discover and explore.

The object of the game is simple, defeat the corrupt king (a lion) who has slowly slipped into evil via Rot. Rot will be a reoccurring theme throughout the game and your missions. 4 controllable characters (either MP or AI controlled) battle on a medium sized battle board of hexes to search ruins, capture towns for gold, complete faction's missions for stat increases, find companions, defeat banes, fend off the King's corrupt guards, attack other faction's players, and ultimately defeat the king through 1 of 3 ways.

Armello is at its core a medium sized game that doesn't try to be more than it has to be. Unlike Civilization where the map size is always expanding, players are wanting deeper gameplay, and mods make the game complicated to the point where new players feel lost just simply at the first screen in game, Armello simplifies everything down to a board game feel. I get a very "Settles of Catan" or even "Dominion" feel from this game. The game is focused on the castle that is ever present in the middle of every map/game. You constantly are rotating around the castle in your quests encountering challenges, players, and enemies. This helps keep your attention focused which Civ V just can't do. In the end Armello really sets out to define almost an entirely new genre of video games; the Digital Board Game. While you can get digital versions of "Settlers of Catan" or even Ticket to Ride none of them really feel like they even closely attempt to expand on their original board game. They refuse to budge from their original content and therefore feel extremely stale. Armello has already released dates for new DLC and with the randomly generated maps and quests you never play the same game twice.

The combat is stat based which indicates the amount of dice rolled for each side. Cards gathered at the beginning of each turn can be burned or played to give players advantages either in combat or outside of combat during their turn. Player strategies are vitally important due to the ways in which you can win the game. Knowing which direction you want your character to build in at the early stages is extremely important. A minor gripe that I could state is that at the moment the game does side towards 2 of those winning conditions...heavily. However due to the fact that each update to the game is not just a patch but a complete overhaul of lacking fundamentals, new characters, new abilities, new dice, new cards, and new map encounters these "gripes" are readily listened to by the devs League of Geeks (LOG) . Their communication with their community which includes streams on twitch is perfect.

 

Armello is a game that I HIGHLY recommend and the development team at League of Geeks (LOG) is potentially the best example of an indie studio I have ever seen in my life.

You can find Armello on steam for $20 as of August 20th.