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Board Game Expansion Review – Thunderstone: Dragonspire

2013 April 30

Review copy kindly provided by Alderac Entertainment Group.

The Thunderstone games got some more stones of thunder in, Thunderstone: Dragonspire by Alderac Entertainment Group. See what’s new in Dragonspire compared to the original base set and what this expansion offers.

Designer: Mike Elliot

Number of players: 1-5

Age: 12+

Time: 45 minutes

Thunderstone: Dragonspire

Thunderstone: Dragonspire

What’s the game about?

A description from the publisher…

The Doomgate is open, and Doom has been released into the world! The forces of destruction stalk the lands, destroying all they touch. There is but one dim flicker of hope: the Thunderstones, scattered at the dawn of time. Two lie hidden deep within the Dragonspire.

Will your heroes be the first to reach them?

Dragonspire is a stand-alone expansion to Thunderstone. The cards within can be played with any or all of the past Thunderstone sets, or can be used by themselves as a fully playable set. Dragonspire adds a fresh crew of new heroes, along with new spells, villagers, and weapons all ready to help your stand against the darkness. They will be needed, for within new terrors have awakened: bloodthirsty undead, blistering elementals, wrathful dragons, and mighty giants! Dragonspire also includes brand-new dungeon settings, campaign rules, and an entirely new way to face Doom alone!

Basic idea in my own words:

Thunderstone: Dragonspire is a core game of Thunderstone and an expansion in itself, similar to the style of, Dominion:Intrigue. Dragonspire is a really nice upgrade to the base game in that there’s a new dungeon board that helps the players keep track of monsters in the dungeon. Which I know when playing the original, may have been a bit fidgety for players in keeping track of the dungeon and light values, but now its a lot easier.

Dungeon Board: Courtesy of

Dungeon Board: Courtesy of

Secondly, the game comes with plastic thunderstone pieces to keep track of your XP. The game also includes 500 new cards with new art. When I say new art, some of the cards from the base set, such as militia, iron rations, daggers and torches. Don’t let me mislead you, the 500 cards is not just replacement cards, it’s that plus all new cards!

While I will not be giving a full instruction on how to play, the game play is exactly the same as the core set of Thunderstone. You can read about how to play the game in my core set review, here.

Some new cards:




Half Orc Marauder

Half Orc Marauder

I will give my opinions on some of the things that are different in my breakdown, below.


Components: 4/5

I’ve upgraded my component quality opinion for Thunderstone: Dragonspire vs Thunderstone base because of the extra added items such as the dungeon board, the box organization and the plastic XP tokens. Alderac has consistently released games with quality components, in my opinion.

Theme: 4/5

As I mentioned in my original Thunderstone review, I really enjoy the theme. The theme here is roughly the same, with some extra added elements with new cards, guardians, etc.

Luck factor: 3/5

Shuffling is a huger part of this game, from the monsters chosen, to when the Thunderstone comes up, to your own deck. The luck is mitigated through deck building though, that’s what deck building is, but of course, there’s always luck in that mechanic.

Strategy: 3/5

There’s the strategy of deck building in this game. You must work best with what your hand is. If you have a lot of money, it’s probably inefficient to buy a low cost card. Working with what cards are presented in the game is important too. If you notice there’s a lot of weapons that require high strength hero’s to hold them, you better have a spell, or enough iron rations in your deck to be able to use them! Also, there’s the strategy of timing. Knowing when to attack and when to go into the village is a part of the strategy of this game.

Overall feelings: 5/5

I really love the Thunderstone series. And Adding Dragonspire to the mix really enhances it even further. Thunderstone alone was near perfect in my eyes, but adding Dragonspire to the mix really makes it that much better. Detail was paid attention to with the box and card storage. While I can’t store every single sleeved card in one box, Alderac makes a point to help out with this. The added dungeon board helps with knowing what light level a monster is at and keeping track of cards, and the XP tokens helps thematically and mechanically.

If you read my previous reviews of Thunderstone and the expansions, you’ll know my love for the series. But again, adding Thunderstone: Dragonspire to the mix just ups the ante.

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