Updated: Nov 24, 2020
The self-styled king of the goblins, Splig, is terrorising the town of Goldhall. As the greatest heroes in the realm it is up to us to rid Goldhall of this menace. We must travel from our roadside inn, through the dark forest to find the bandit camp Splig calls home and break up his band of miscreants before they really cause trouble.
Heroes of Terrinoth is a retheming of Warhammer Quest the Adventure Card Game. The Sadlers are back behind the wheel with this one and they’ve made a few changes and streamlined a few things here and there but largely it’s the same game with a different skin. The biggest change is that now the game is comprised of 8 standalone scenarios rather than a 5 part campaign. This means that heroes level up during the game rather than in between, so you no longer spend the entire first adventure as a basic pleb, you can actually achieve levels of great power straight out of the gate.
The game play is relatively simple. Each player takes an action by exhausting one of their cards and performing each step on that card in order. There are four basic actions but they all function the same. Attack, roll dice and inflict damage for each success. Aid, roll dice and give success tokens to another hero for each success. Explore, roll dice and place progress tokens for each success. Rest, roll dice and heal wounds for each success. In addition, resting is the only way to ready all your other action cards.
Once players are done taking turns the AI runs the monsters. Each player picks a monster to activate, which follows a preprogrammed activation order until all monsters have activated. Then the peril token moves, activating any special events on the new space. Finally players can travel to a new region if they have placed enough progress. Then the round starts over, rinse and repeat until done.
I’ve now played the introductory scenario 4 times for Heroes of Terrinoth as I’ve taught the game to various groups and the thing that strikes me hard about this one is how mechanical it is. When I’ve talked about Warhammer Quest the Adventure Card Game in the past I’ve talked about how it feels like a streamlined version of Lord of the Rings LCG and Space Hulk Death Angel and all that is still true but now with Heroes of Terrinoth I feel I can see under the hood. I feel like I can see the piston firing and the gears whirring and instead of feeling immersed in a fantasy world I’m distracted by keywords and min-maxing.
I hope I’m feeling this way because I’ve only been teaching the game and when I’ve been teaching it I’ve been teaching the same scenario repeatedly. The thing is I like the mechanics, I like how Goblin Archers are deadlier at range and when they have the opportunity to, they run away. I like that Spiders poison you and Ogres are slow but deadly at close range. It all has a thematic reason for being but because it’s all preprogrammed, all predetermined, I feel it’s all a bit too clinical.
Heroes of Terrinoth is an improvement on the WQTACG. It is streamlined and the difficulty is much lower (at least on the introductory quests). It still suffers from needing 4 players (or 4 activations per turn) in order to remain balanced but I can forgive that, mostly. They have cleverly adapted how the various decks are built to improve the amount of design space they have for scenarios and they have added a lot more content to the base game. The graphic design is cleaner too.
So, overall then, it’s a solid game, but right now I’m not feeling immersed in it’s world and that makes me less inclined to want to pull it out.