Home Game Reviews Disney Sorcerer’s Arena Chills and Thrills Expansion Review

Disney Sorcerer’s Arena Chills and Thrills Expansion Review

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Sorcerer Arena Thrills and ChillsOne of my only complaints about Disney’s Sorcerer’s Arena was that after a handful of battles, it becomes slightly repetitive due to the limited characters in the core box. A good portion of this is dependent on players’ preferences as some people will want to try every combination while others will latch onto some favorites like those cards are caught in a tractor beam.

As stated before, but worth disclosing again, I am employed by the Walt Disney Company as an engineer at the Parks and do not have any connections with anyone working on games for the company or its licensees. And I present this as my impartial review of the expansion provided by The Op.

Thrills and Chills brings three new characters including Jack Skellington and the Black Cauldron’s Horned King to this Dead Man’s Party. Who could ask for more?

Gameplay Overview:

For the sake of brevity, I’ll point to my previous review for how to play the base game and focus on what this expansion introduces to the game.

Sorcerer Arena Thrills and Chills Horned King
I get heavy metal album cover vibes from some of the Horned King cards. Except Foul Follower which feels more hip hop hanging with his buds.

He who was not named in the Prydain Chronicles has two novel features that he brings to the cauldron. The first is character token minions he summons that can move and attack. Cauldron-born can’t hold victory point spaces but they do clog up the arena and can whittle away your opponent’s health.

The Constant Ability is the second new feature, which is essentially another skill. For the Horned King, it spawns cauldron-born whenever you gain a victory point. The biggest difference between a Constant Ability and a Skill is constant abilities can be activated any time that character is in the arena, even during the other Summoner’s turns.

Going from the Horned King to the Pumpkin King Jack Skellington brings a new status effect: Afraid. Characters affected with this status must use each of their movement phases and, if they are adjacent to a rival at the end of that movement the afflicted takes two damage.

Lastly, Mother Gothel is another stealthy character like Aladdin that will gain stealth tokens and then use that condition to upgrade many of her other abilities.

Sorcerer Arena Thrills and Chills Gameplay
Sully is in trouble if Jack applies the Fear status on him. Also those tokens should’ve been red side up.

Game Experience:

Certain characters will always appeal to certain playstyles, but you could sum up these characters as Jack is all about applying statuses, the Horned King summons and controls minions, and Gothel uses stealth and can remove statuses from other players so your individual enjoyment will depend on if these sound like your types of villains or (anti-)hero in Jack’s case.

Sorcerer Arena Thrills and Chills Cards
Jack, Mother Gothel,, Mickey (base game) with some of Jack’s cards. Look at that adorable Zero. Who’s a good ghost doggy?

Jack feels overpowered when he plays Pile on the Gifts which dumps three status effects on you and then hits you one damage per status effect. Much like Malificent’s Dragon Form card, this attack of Jack’s is devastating when applied perfectly, but it’s all about timing and whether someone else can remove one or more of those statuses. He has six cards that can add the status of Afraid on a rival. That’s a lot of potential damage for players that can limit their opponent’s mobility. Jack pairs well with the Horned King who can make for a cluttered board and strategic players who box their rivals in. A side benefit of Afraid is it forces your rival to attack at range, potentially reducing their effectiveness or taking damage from being adjacent to someone on your team.

Mother Gothel uses stealth to do extra damage and has the ability to move rival characters around with deft manipulation. She also brings a bit of healing with Exert Control which does one damage to every princess in the arena and then heals her one for each character she damaged that turn. That is very situational depending on the rival’s team (making her a solid third pick in the character draft). Her leveled up ability allows her to see a rival’s hand and banish two cards from any one character. Her skill allows her to banish cards from their rival’s deck if the one drawn matches a character she’s adjacent to or she gains one stealth token. Of the three characters in this expansion, I felt like I under-utilized her the most but I think that’s due to me not managing her abilities well and not taking advantage of her skill (which can banish a rival’s card or gain a stealth) and stealth to boost her up.

Sorcerer Arena Thrills and Chills Gothal
Mother Gothel with some of her cards. She’s drama as indicated by the bottom middle card.

The Horned King is all about managing his cauldron-born workforce. He’s the general giving orders while his troops do the heavy lifting. The Horned King is not winning any foot races with his base movement of one but he can get away with being on the sidelines coaching while his two-to-three-person skeleton team Hanson Brothers their opponents. Overall, I like how these expansions introduce new mechanics. The Turning the Tide expansion also added some mechanics around ocean tiles while Thrills and Chills added Summons. This allows the scope to expand as the players’ grow but at each consumer’s own rate. Despite my grumblings with getting scared to death by Jack Skellington, I think the balance is really good and the skirmishes have been really close with these new characters mixed with the original ones. If there’s power creep through expansions, as is sometimes the case as games develop (looking at you Marvel United X-Men), it’s very subtle.

Final Thoughts:

Like most expansions, if the base game isn’t working for you, I doubt there’s much here to change your mind. If you enjoy this game and want some more variety, I think Thrills and Chills is a good addition to the base game. Meanwhile, the only reasons for fans of the game to not to get it is if you don’t like these characters or they don’t sound like they’d be fun for you to play. And between this, the first expansion (Turning the Tide), and a soon to be released third expansion go for the characters that you like the best or just Pokemon the whole thing and get them all.

Expansion BuyHits:
• More characters
• New Afraid status and Summons abilities

Misses:
• If the new characters don’t appeal to you

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