Good gods, y'all!
War has come to Nerath, the default world for Wizards of the Coast's Dungeons and Dragons line. You take control of one of four factions and try and get enough victory points (or treasure) to rule the world.
Fourth edition Dungeon and Dragons rules aren't needed, this is its own stand-alone board game for two to four players. Playing time is 2 to 4 hours (or slightly longer in a 4 person free for all with sneaky players).
Conquest of Nerath has drawn comparisons to Risk but to me it's more like Axis and Allies. Either way the end result is the same: Move your armies and take land and try and win as much of the map as possible.
Opening the box you get a full color rulebook, a nicely done map and all the various counters and tokens and dice needed for the game. The box conveniently has labeled bins for all of the pieces for ease of storage, a Euro board game touch I am glad Wizards adopted. All the components from counters to troop pieces are designed to reflect the good or evil nature of their factions.
Which takes us to FACTIONS!
There are four. The Dark Empire of Karkoth, a collection of mustache twirling evil necromancers, the humans and elves of maritime and forested Vailin, the monstrous forces of the infernal Iron Circle, and the remnants of the collapsing Empire of Nerath, built by dwarves and humans.
The factions have strengths and weaknesses and, except in one game variation, the good forces allied against the evil forces.
The ally mechanic lends an interesting twist. The removal of it makes for a double dealer's paradise of negotiation and back stabbing.
Say Karkoth a couple of times. It makes you want to start a metal band.
The rules are easy enough and quickly learned. Units have a strength judged by dice type, the tougher the creature the larger the die. After that it is a roll versus a target number to damage another unit. Some units have abilities that affect this, as can event cards. Each faction's event deck needs attention, as it influences the play style of the faction. You have sea units that can lug land units around and air units that go where they please.
And castles, big mighty castles. As you take over land you can use the gold you gain from the land you control to increase your forces and continue your thug-like war-ish ways.
And then you have DUNGEONS!
Here the factions can send their hero pieces to kick in doors and collect treasures, another way to win the game. The dungeons are scattered around the map and have to be fought for, but are worth it.
Here's a fun thing for all the old school Dungeons and Dragons grognards.
All the dungeons have names of dungeons from first edition Dungeons and Dragons modules. So you have a Tomb of Horrors and you got your White Plume Mountain to go and trounce all over again.
Conquest of Nerath like other new Wizards board games, is really well done. I recommend it to anyone who likes fantasy and taking over the world, two of my personal favorite things.
Buy Conquest of Nerath right here.