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Board Game Expansion Review – Thunderstone: Doomgate Legion

2011 July 3
by Michael Schroeder

Review copy kindly provided by Alderac Entertainment Group.

The monsters in this game just keep getting more and more brutal. Good luck trying to get the Thunderstone in…Thunderstone: Doomgate Legion by Alderac Entertainment Group.

Designer: Mike Elliot

Number of players: 1-5

Age: 12+

Time: 45 minutes

Thunderstone: Doomgate Legion

Thunderstone: Doomgate Legion

What’s this expansion about?

A description from the publisher…

Hiding away in secret for centuries, the order of the Doomgate Legion have guarded the Stone of Avarice from friend and foe alike. Their cult-like existence known only to a few, the Legionnaires dedicate themselves to the secrecy, protection, and worship of the stone. They are its champions. Its sentinels. Its vanguards.

It is up to you to defeat them.

The second expansion to Thunderstone adds more to the game of “deck-building with a purpose.” Doomgate Legions introduces the Cult of the Doomgate, who have guarded the Stone of Avarice for centuries. This cult, along with a sect of evil druids and other all-new monsters await your heroes as they race to secure the third Thunderstone!

Basic idea in my own words:

Thunderstone: Doomgate Legion is Alderac’s second small expansion to Thunderstone, which can be played with any combination of Thunderstone and it’s expansions. This expansion introduces new monsters, village cards, heroes, a third Thunderstone and specifically to this expansion, the type of village cards of type, Mercenary – which assist you in the dungeon and give you a list of abilities. Also most notably in this expansion are, Treasure cards. These are dungeon features, if pulled when your using randomizers. There are two types of treasures, Ulbrick’s Treasures and Amulets. I’ll get into more detail on all of this soon. In general, this expansion adds even more flavor and abilities to the world of Thunderstone, to the point where it’s really becoming to feel like a full fledged fantasy story through cards!

The game is played just like playing with the base game or with added items which you may now be familiar with from Wrath of the Elements.

I must say though, the added monsters really make this game seem to be harder and harder. The cultist humanoid and Evil Druid Humanoids in particular are nasty with abilities such as, “if this card is in the dungeon hall and the same class of monster is in the hall, add X health to this monster.” Or, “for every XP you posses, add that many health to this monsters health.” Ouch. So there’s more need for balance in this expansion of Thunderstone. In other words, yes, you want XP, but if you know this monster is in the hall, and your so inclined to fight it…waste your XP first.

New Monster Classes

The new monster classes in this expansion are

  • Unholy Guardian – 14 health! and to make matters worse, if he’s in rank 0 and the Thunderstone comes out, the Thunderstone must go to the bottom of the deck!
  • The Swarm – similar to Horde from WotE – it forms its own pile and for every swarm card that appears, you replace that generic card with the next strongest swarm card, oh ya and during battle, it gives you a disease. Thanks.
  • Abyssal Thunderspawn – these guys tend to have health around 4-8 and have such effects as Immune to magic/BREACH: each player reveals the top 5 cards off their deck, if any are clerics, destroy them – ouch.
  • Cultist Humanoid – these guys have such effects as, during battle, +4 health if level 3 hero is revealed and +3 health for each revealed level 2 hero.
  • Evil Druid Humanoid – these ones are really nasty, they have high health and have effects such as , each player gains a disease, and or this monster gains +2 health for each disease card revealed. also BREACH: each player gains one disease. I do want to mention though, that the toughness of these monsters is balanced due to such things as trophy effects like destroy a disease and the treasure cards.
  • Undead Stormwraith – average health, lots of immune to magic effects and such things as during battle, destroy one spell, Or a BREACH effect: destroy top 5 revealed cards that have magic attack (heroes).

Undead Stormwraith

Undead Stormwraith

Other new card types

Special disease deck – These new special disease cards are played separately from the regular disease cards. During setup, these are shuffled and laid facedown. When you need to gain a disease, you take off the top of the deck and find out what nasty surprise you’ll get. These are such things as the typical -1 attack, to suffer strength – 2.

Thunderstone: Doomgate Legion Assortment of cards

Thunderstone: Doomgate Legion Assortment of cards

Treasure Cards

The new treasure cards are really neat. They give you one time bonuses like +4 gold or +3 attack. How these come into play are if they are selected as a dungeon feature, throw ’em into the mix of dungeon hall cards. If, the active player, when refilling the hall, reveals one, they take it and put it to the side. These cards do not go into the players discard deck. Later on, to use it, you just trash the card after you use it. I find that these cards really help to balance out some of the high health that the newer monsters have. There are two types, Ulbrick’s Treasure and Amulets. Amulets are like the type I described already and Ulbrick’s have such effects as, if you defeat a monster worth less than 4 VP, you may destroy Ulbricks Gauntlets to take another turn.

Village Cards

The new village cards in this game are new weapons, like the Greed Blade…

Greed Blade

Greed Blade

…is just one example of a new weapon.

Spirit Blast is another good one to note – this card gives you magic attack equal to the number of XP you possess (up to 6). So if you have multiple of these drawn on one turn, you can really clean up!

Spirit Blast

Spirit Blast

Mercenary Cards –  These cards are like ally heroes, but just weaker but come with a plethora of special effects. The Border Guard is one in particular…

Border Guard

Border Guard

These village cards will come in handy, even though their initial attack is weak.

Hero Cards – There are 84 new hero cards given. Two examples of these are…

Slynn Bowman – Yes! another archer. These guys have attack + 2, and even more against rank 2 or 3 if you reveal a monster in your hand of the same type you are attacking. the level 3 of these guys gives you a base attack of +3, and a effect of, you can swap a monster from your hand with a monster worth up to 1 VP more from the hall!

Verdan Minstrel – sounds dainty, but he’s not. He gives a light, attack + 2 and every other player with 6 or more cards discards one card at random. I like when they throw in these cards that effect other players.

In summary – Thunderstone: Doomgate Legion is a fine addition to the Thunderstone family. Thunderstone has so many options of play now that each game is a unique experience and the game truly lends more to the story of Thunderstone where as I mentioned above, with more effects and cards like the treasures, monsters, etc., that the series is really turning into a fantasy story through cards, and not just a game. While you don’t walk away from this game feeling a connection to the characters, you do feel immersed in the universe with the great art, by Jason Engle (I’d say my favorite fantasy artist at this point) and all the effects and different cards offered now. I would highly recommend picking this expansion up, especially if your a completest like myself or you just want to add more variety to your Thunderstone game.

Notes:

These expansion reviews, from now on, where I recently reviewed a similar expansion in terms of box size and feel, won’t have the individual break downs of components and such. And also, my feelings on this expansion are give in the summary above. I find this to be a great addition to Thunderstone and a must have!

I also want to thank the BoardGameGeek users that post these photos of the game. I will continue to use your images in my reviews and want to thank you ahead of time and for my previous reviews. If you feel that you want to be individually recognized, please let me know and I will mention your name in the review notes.


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