October 22, 2007

The Burning Crusade World of Warcraft Board Game Expansion

Fantasy Fight Games has released The Burning Crusade [Amazon, Funagain] - an amazingly heavy expansion to the already obscenely large World of Warcraft board game. Not only does Crusade expand upon gameplay facets and already deep content of the original game, including quests, class abilities, encounters, etc, but it adds so many, many more things. Things Like:

  • New Classes: In true Burning Crusade fashion the Alliance faction can now play as a Shaman, and the Horde has access to a Paladin character sheet through the Blood Elf race.
  • New Level Cap: The game allows players to reach Level 6, and gain flying mounts which are used to explore regions of Outland.
  • New Map: There’s a new board containing the regions of Otuland, which players can explore Outland once they’ve reached a high enough level.
  • Purple Quests: a new level of Quests go beyond the difficulty of the Blue level quests.
  • Dungeons: New three stage boss battles with minions provide item rewards, and make leveling up much more dramatic.

Those of you who’ve played the original World of Warcraft Board Game might think back to some really long play sessions, and those of you who have a life might wonder why adding a whole new level would be “fun”. Thankfully the expansion comes with a new abbreviated experience track which has been gauged so that reaching Level 6 is actually attainable within a sane amount of time.

The addition of dungeons seem like a nice little mechanic shift as well. Littered throughout the original board and throughout Outland are new dungeons with three stages of boss battles. Some of the dungeons include: Shadowfang Keep, The Scarlet Monastery, Stratholme, and Scholomance in Lordaeron, and all have themed bosses and reward pulled right from the WoW MMORPG. Each boss fight is a shuffled deck of cards pre-separated, builds in difficulty through the stages. Each stage’s deck includes a few different Bosses, item rewards, and minions, which the players can band together to tackle one stage at a time. When the fight commences the pary involved pulls cards off the top of the Dungeon Deck until a boss appears. All items pulled off the top of the deck become the reward for downing the boss, and every minion that’s overturned buffs the baddie, which of course makes the fight oh so much more difficult. If a boss comes off the top of the deck early on, then the players can elect to keep drawing cards to increase the potential item rewards, but they also potentially increase the encounter’s difficulty. Very sweet stuff here – each boss fight is: somewhat random (shuffled decked with multiple potential bosses), includes some random rewards, and makes the previous map-based encounters seem a bit more straight forward, predictable and dry in comparison.

There’s also a new Overlord mechanic which is a final Dungeon and Boss Battle to end the game. This replaces the PvP battle royale which would traditionally cap-off the original game. We’re actually quite glad to see it go - it felt like a tacked on hour-long marathon of chit counting craziness, and after a long play session the battle dragged our brains through a snow blower and left us with a mind-numbing gaming hangover. You know - the ones where you can't see color anymore? But a boss fight is always great epic stuff.

In a nutshell – The World of Warcraft Board Game expansion The Burning Crusade is a box chalk full of new content. The dungeons themselves add a lot more personal narrative to the game, and breakdown some of the more tedious elements of world quests with less traveling and more killing within cool dynamic and well-themed encounters.

If you already like the World of Warcraft Board Game then you’re going to find a lot of cool new things to do here. Those of you new to the WoW Board Game should start with the original title and have a few sessions with that first – it’s a giant title and this expansion builds off that content and complexity by adding more to everything. It makes the experience that much deeper but it might overwhelm newcomers.

You can checkout the official rules here [pdf], and read on below for Burning Crusade’s official details:

”Beyond the Dark Portal lies a broken land of adventure, mystery, and unfathomable peril. The once beauteous world of Draenor has been destroyed by the plotting of the orc shaman Ner'zhul -- only Outland, a scarred and broken continent adrift in the Twisting Nether, remains. Return to your ancestral homeland as a proud warrior of the Horde, or search for the heroic survivors of the Second War as a noble soldier of the Alliance. Take your World of Warcraft: The Board Game experience to new heights of power and depths of peril with The Burning Crusade Expansion. Play as a Draenei shaman or a Blood Elf paladin. Unlock new powers and talents as you rise to level six. Challenge new Overlords, battle new monsters, purchase a flying mount, and venture into dangerous dungeons in both Azeroth and Outland. Includes new game board, new Heroes, new monsters, new quests, new items, new powers, new rules, dungeons, flying mounts, Outland, and more!”

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Posted by Critical Gamers Staff at October 22, 2007 4:50 PM

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