Note: This preview uses pre-release components and rules. What you see here may be different from the final, published game.
There’s game that has been bouncing around the BGQ offices lately and it’s called 12 Realms. If you haven’t seen it yet, 12 Realms is a gorgeous looking, cooperative board game based on the old fables and fairy tales. Fantastic miniatures, great artwork, and a family friendly theme are front and center to suck you into the game.
Today, we are going to talk briefly about the Ancestors Legacy expansion, which you will be able to get as part of their upcoming Bedtime Stories Kickstarter campaign. So let’s dive into it and see what it’s like.
12 Realms is a cooperative game where players take on the role of one of the characters from the fables such as Snow White or Robin Hood. The players must journey around the land (realms), collecting artifacts, fight off invaders and, eventually, defeat the Dark Lord to win.
While we haven’t done a full review of this game yet, I can give you a few of the highlights and lowlights. First, 12 Realms is foremost a family game. I think the mechanics and rules are going to be a bit too simple and easy for most hardcore gamers. But if you are looking for something to play with your young ones at home, 12 Realms certainly fits the bill for a number of reasons.
First, the theme is spot on. Just about every kid can relate to the Fables. Second, it’s a cooperative game, so no worries about the older sister ganging up on little Timmy. Lastly, the game is fairly easy to win. While that makes it a good choice for family game night, most gamers will find it a bit too easy for their tastes.
Now with those highlights, also come a few drawbacks. I have to talk about an issue we ran into during our plays. With 12 Realms, it is, unfortunately, possible to be stuck in a never-ending game. You see, the Dark Lord (who you need to defeat to win) doesn’t show up until a tracker moves to a certain spot on the game board. However, the tracker only moves as invaders are left alive in the realms. Therefore, if you do too well in the game, the tracker will not move and the game will never end. This has actually happened to us more than once in our plays. We had two choices. Start leaving invaders alive (basically do worse in the game) or just stop playing the game. In both cases we opted to just pack the game up. It was a little disappointing.
The good news is that we can now play 12 Realms again. The Ancestors Legacy expansion (along with the new Bedtime Stories) gives players a way to get around this massive issue. Ancestors Legacy comes with all the bits and pieces you might expect from an expansion. New characters, more gorgeous minis, realm boards, and all the other things you’ve come to expect from a quality expansion.
Buy what really piqued our interest was the variety of new ways to play 12 Realms. The game comes with a number of different modules, or plots as publisher MAGE Company calls them. These are each unique ways to play the game that change up the rules in some fashion.
So while the original version of 12 Realms just had players moving around the board, collecting equipment and, eventually, defeating the Dark Lord, that’s not necessarily the case anymore.
For example, one of the Plots is called Squirrel Raiders. To win this game, you have to capture all the squirrels once they appear and lead them back to their nests. The Dark Lords will still show up (much sooner I might add), but defeating the Lords is no longer a requirement to win. He’s just there to make your life harder.
I should note that many of the Plots do still make use of the Invasion Track (the one that caused issues in our first plays); however in most of these, events happened when the marker hit space 7 on the track. Unless you are really good at 12 Realms, there will probably be few games where it doesn’t at least reach space 7. In the base game, the track needs to hit space 16 for the Dark Lord to appear. Hitting space 16 was never a given, especially once you get your heroes powered up. With space 7? Yeah, that’s much more likely to happen.
Another interesting Plot is the “Find the Ninja” expansion. In this one, MAGE Company has thrown in a bit of deduction and a traitor element. There will be a number of Dark Fortresses around the map. As players destroy them, they must draw a ninja card from a hidden loyalty deck. One of the cards is a Ninja and the rest are false alarms. If a player draws the ninja card, they switch their loyalties to the Dark Lord. From that point forward, they are secretly working against other players. Like any good hidden role game, they can be called out and exposed. However if they aren’t exposed by the time the invasion marker reaches space 16, they must reveal themselves and can openly work against the other players. Although by then, it may be too late…
All together there were about 7 Plots in Ancestor Legacy to change up your 12 Realms game. This expansion helps to give the game a lot more variety and it also helps fix the issue of the never-ending game we had.
I should note that for most of the plots you will need at least 3 players, but preferably 5+. If your game group is mostly 2, then this might not be the expansion for you.
If you are completely new to 12 Realms, you can grab the core game and all the expansions (including Ancestors Legacy) in their upcoming Kickstarter. If you are already deep into 12 Realms, then Bedtime Stories can be picked up on its own for $55. New to the Bedtime Stories expansion is:
- More challenging scenarios
- Some plots will change the game into semi coop or even PvP mode.
- New components for each plot (a lot of them)
- New heroes for the players, including 2 Heroes who are played by 1 player but under specific rules.
As always, we don’t post ratings for preview copies as the components and rules may change from the final game. Check back with us after the game is produced for a full review.