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Day 9 - Keep the heroes Out

Updated: Jan 14

Time to pay the rent! Our dungeon home is being invaded by pesky heroes but our troll landlord also wants his share of our treasure! Can we keep the heroes and bailiffs at bay? Keep the Heroes Out is an adorable little tower defence game with ten asymmetric player factions, twenty different scenarios and a fairly big problem of scaling difficulty.

On your turn you play cards from your hand to take actions on the board. Each player faction works differently. For example the Dragon is a single powerful monster than can fly, so has many move cards, or shoot fire, so has many ranged attack cards. While the Slimes are difficult to get rid of, splitting in two when attacked rather than being defeated.

As well as your own faction powers, players can take actions on the board to generate resources and then move and trade those for more powerful cards from a shared market. You can also activate portals on the board to allow for faster movement between regions. Finally players can push their luck, imprisoning a hero for additional card draw, at the risk of triggering a prison break.

In my opinion Keep the Heroes Out has two main problems. Player turns are long, with each player potentially playing eight cards a turn, each with multiple actions. This is less of a problem with experienced players or with fewer players.

A bigger problem is the difficult scaling feels way off. On "Family" difficulty you play one card a turn from the hero deck, spawning heroes into the dungeon at unthreatening rate that makes the opening turns of the game almost painfully slow. However on "Normal" difficulty you begin with two cards per turn which means you will struggle to keep the heroes under control, nevermind find the time to craft new cards.

This means there's no happy medium... yet. The upcoming expansion for the game seems to be offering a more nuanced difficulty scaling (along with new adorable monsters to play as) which will hopefully fix this otherwise delightful game.

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