While you’re eagerly awaiting the arrival of Thunderstone Advance, I’ll catch you up on the last two expansions from the original series. These both came last summer, when I was in the middle of a major move and had to pack up my games for way too long, so I never got around to reviewing them. Better late than never, right? These are expansions only, so you would still need one of the stand-alone sets (either the original or Dragonspire) to use them.
Thornwood Siege was released in June 2011. It adds another 284 cards: 1 Thunderstone, 7 new Hero types, 5 Monster groups, and 14 village cards. It also added some cardboard tokens to keep track of stalking and to make adding up your light a little easier. The two new rules are Stalk and Raid.
First up: the Stalk rules. The new Centaur group has “stalk” effects. Whenever you reveal a Centaur in the dungeon hall, you take the appropriate Stalk token, and then you suffer that effect listed on the monster. These can cause you to lose gold, lose cards, gain diseases, or even force you to go to the dungeon on your next turn, ready or not. (For some reason, though, the images on the tokens don’t all match up with the cards that cause the effects. Not a huge deal, but could be confusing if you’re not paying attention.)
The other new rule is Raid. There’s a group of human Raiders, and when they show up they do damage to the village, destroying village cards and even heroes. As soon as a monster with a “Raid” effect is revealed, the effect is resolved immediately. You can see a couple of the raid effects here:
Finally, one of the monster groups isn’t monsters at all — it’s machinery. The Siege Machines have some nasty global effects or Breach effects:
There are a number of other interesting cards that come in the Thornwood Siege set, like the Magehunter hero who gets more attack when there isn’t any magical attack present, or the Veris hero who can give your weapons extra attack and light. There’s an Elite Militia in the village who is stronger, can carry better weapons, and lets you destroy one Militia when you buy him.
But one of my favorite new cards in this set, purely for the humor value, is the Unicorn Steaks. Mmmm, unicorns. I wonder if it tastes anything like ThinkGeek’s Canned Unicorn Meat.
Thornwood Siege retails for $34.99.
Heart of Doom
The last expansion in the “old” series was Heart of Doom, released in August 2011. It includes about 300 cards: 7 heroes, 13 village cards, 6 Treasures, 7 monster types, 3 guardians, 3 settings, and a Thunderstone. There are two new rules introduced: expanding ranks for the Dryads, and the special Heart of Doom guardian.
When Dryads enter the dungeon hall, they add an additional monster rank at the back of the hall: you draw an additional monster and add it at the back. So you might have 5 or 6 ranks in the dungeon when Dryads are around. When a Dryad leaves the hall, you move all the monsters forward but collapse the hall back down one rank.
Finally, there’s the Heart of Doom itself, the nastiest Big Bad that all of this dungeon-crawling has been preparing us for. According to the storyline, the heroes have collected seven Thunderstones and are finally ready to perform the ritual to banish Doom (thus kicking off the events leading to Thunderstone Advance).
When you use the Rite of Banishment setting, the Heart of Doom goes at the very bottom of the monster deck. Up to seven Thunderstones are shuffled into the monster deck, and are claimed if you defeat the monster in front of it. The game ends when the Heart of Doom is defeated or reaches Rank 1. You’ll notice a few significant things about the Heart of Doom. First, its health is 25, which is a whopping number that is hard to beat. Also, at this point when a player enters the dungeon, all of their revealed monsters are immediately destroyed — that means points from your deck. Finally, any Thunderstones in your hand gain Magic Attack +6. If you attack the Heart of Doom but do not defeat it, you lose (and the game ends, since the Heart of Doom breaches).
So this is the final showdown, and it can be pretty rough. You’ll spend a lot of time refining your deck, because nobody wants to go up against the Heart of Doom until they’re sure they can beat it, or else they end the game and lose anyway.
Heart of Doom also retails for $34.99.
I like the new rules and cards included in both expansions, but I honestly haven’t gotten to play through all of the cards yet. If you’re a fan of the series, these expansions will round out your collection nicely. If you’re not sure, wait for Thunderstone Advance, and then go back and get these later on.
Disclosure: GeekDad received review copies of both games.