Legend of Andor from Michael Menzel is a co-operative game for 2-4 players in which they are adventurers tasked with the job of keeping the kingdom of Andor safe. Players do this by taking on the Five Legends included in the game. Andor is certainly the type of game I would create if I was looking for something to play with my children, but it is also a game that can be enjoyed by adults.
The main issue with Andor is there are only five included legends and of those, only one is random enough to have replay value. While the legends themselves will likely need multiple plays to beat, it doesn’t change the fact that you know what is on that 3rd legend card each time you play.
Legend of Andor packs a lot in the box. Most of it you won’t use in every game. In fact most of it is used specifically for each legend. This can make sorting a real fun activity at times.
You will get 1 double-sided game board which is really well illustrated. The board has clear borders and the spaces are numbered which makes things a lot easier when looking for certain spots.
You also get 4 double-sided hero boards. A Dwarf, an Archer, a Wizard and a Warrior. Each character has different abilities and combat dice available to them. You also get dice and wooden markers for each character. Plus 2 card board stand up figures, one male and the other female.
Card board figures are also included for the monsters and additional card board for a tower and some other central figures that appear in the legends. I should mention all of these card board figures have plastic stands. I’m not a big fan of card board stand ups but at least in Andor they actually fit inside the plastic stands something others game so often get wrong.
There is a merchant inventory/battle sequence board which is used for reference. A rules reference book and a quick start book. Calling these items books is a stretch as both of them total about 8 pages.
The games has 72 big cards for the Legends. Each card is labeled by the Legend it is for and it’s sequence. For example Legend 1 has cards A1, A2, B1, B2 and so on. You also have 66 cards that are used for events, again legend specific.
Rounding things up there are 142 cardboard tiles & tokens for so many various things it’s not worth listing them all. A legend marker which acts as sort of a turn track marker that moves on the board.
Over all you get a lot of bits for the price and everything is great quality. I was somehow missing one card board chit but I easily substitute for it when I play that legend. The art work is very nice and if I’m not mistaken that was all done by the designer as well. I have no complaints about the components.
Describing Andor’s game play is going to be challenging not because it is hard but because it adapts per legend. The first legend is split into 2 parts with the intent on teaching basic game concepts. In part one you’re just learning to move and some of the basic options of the game. Each player has a wooden marker in the sunrise box on the time track and when they do something like move. They move it on the time track. This track has 7 spots for day time hours and 3 for night time.
So moving a space would cost you one time spot. Fighting a monster would cost one as well, continuing to fight the monster would cost another space. Some actions are free like revealing a fog token, or using the merchant but they end your turn. A player takes their turn until they stop or run out of time spaces. For example if I moved 3 spots and flipped over a fog token I would use 3 time spots, flip the token and get its results but my turn would end and the next player to my left would go,
Once the first player uses all 7 spots on the time track he puts his marker back in the sunrise box on the roster space, he will start next turn. This continues until all players have used up all their time spaces. Once everyone is back in the sunrise box you perform an end of turn sequence.
The night spaces on the time track are optional. Each one you use cost you 2 willpower. Since will power act kind of like hit points and effect how many dice you roll. Spending them with reckless abandon is not a good idea.
The end of turn sequence goes as follows. An event card is turned over and you do what it says. Then monster move one type at a time. The board has arrows on where a monster moves from space to space. Monsters can’t occupy the same space so if their move puts them in a apace with another monster the continue to move. This can cause problems in a hurry.
Next any used well tokens are flipped over to their non used side. Well tokens can be used by players to replenish willpower. Finally the Legend marker is moved up its track on the board. Each legend will have you put markers in certain spots on this track. If you land on one of these you turn over the next legend card and read it aloud.
I’m leaving out lots of little details frankly because they are too numerous and also vary by legend, but let me go over combat real quickly. Each character has a number of combat dice and that number can be effected by their current willpower. While the wizard has a single die that doesn’t get any better. The archer gets more dice if he / she has a higher will power.
You will only be fighting a single monster at a time. The monsters stats are on the board, his willpower, strength and how many dice he rolls. During combat the player rolls his dice and another player rolls for the monster. You select your highest die result, then add your strength attribute to it and compare to the monster roll. The higher wins the round and the loser reduces their willpower by the difference. Thus if I roll a 6 and the monster a 5, I win the round but he only loses one willpower.
Monsters damage doesn’t transfer from turn to turn so you need to kill them on your turn, likely spending more spots on the turn track or else they reset. To further complicate matters if a monster rolls doubles he adds up his value instead of taking the highest one.
Heroes in the same space, or an adjacent space in the archer case can combine their attacks and therefor dice. The hero joining in just spends a spot on the time track. Finally as I mentioned earlier each hero has a special ability and a lot of them effect die rolls.
So Andor is a pretty fun game with decent mechanics. I think the target audience for this is tween or teen aged gamers but fun can be had by adults. The main issues as mentioned above have to do with replay value and the spoon fed approach to playing the game. As each Legend introduces new concepts you are not really experiencing the full game until the final legend.
Making the legends difficult is a must for a co-op game but the fact they are so linear takes way any surprises if you need to replay them. This is really evident in the first legend as you can position yourself in prime positions when playing it the second time.
Even with the repetitive nature I still enjoy Legends of Andor a lot but you need to figure out if for the cost it fits in your gaming library.