Sword & Sorcery by Ares games, a long awaited kickstarter arrived this week. The box and contents were in perfect condition which is always pleasing to see from the postal lottery. A few models needing the usual warming up and cooling to straighten the weapons, but this was very easy and the plastic responded well to this task.
My initial impressions on the contents were that this is a top quality game. The models are awesome by plastic miniatures standards, i was so impressed by the detail, with alternate poses for the enemies, and the plastic is not brittle but solid enough to the touch. The hero model detail beats Descent 2nd edition, and while there is not quite the monster variety in the first storyline, enemies do come in three colours (green, blue, red) which have different abilities and responses which will increase gameplay variety. However the kickstarter set does have a lot more monsters for forthcoming expansions, so there will be a lot more choice in the future after you finish the first storyline. The purple boss models are quite superb, and whilst I was certainly not planning to paint this set, some of the models are so tempting now.
The tiles are also fantastic, double sided with lovely detail and artwork, and i liked the slightly darker colour shade when compared to the bright glossy Silver Tower. These are good competition for Descent, which set the benchmark visually at least and certainly beat the blandness of Gloomhaven tiles. I also like the way larger tiles are only subdivided into two or three areas, rather than a whole grid of small squares, and these may well be my favourite tiles of any fantasy game. There are loads of cards for skills and items and it will take time to digest all the various options, and I have never seen so many different tokens in a game, there is a lot here to explore. I do have to say the kickstarter edition thick hero cards are superb, much nicer than the thinner retail ones, and this alone made me really happy to have backed it. Also i received an extra purple token bag, and a card holder which are not essential items but the extra hero is really nice, and the hero cards may become sought after items.
The rule and storybook are well done, the quality is very nice, there is an index, and whilst there seems a lot of rules to digest, they make sense and are easy to understand. It takes more learning the ropes than Descent 2nd edition i feel, but this also makes a deeper game once the initial curve is over. Of particular note is that heroes can be played as either lawful or chaotic nature, which also changes their skills, and this is a pretty neat idea not seen in any of its peers.
The next step is to get a feel for the gameplay, which is where it will ultimately stand or fall against my existing fantasy adventure games. The storybook approach looks great and will build a very engaging campaign, similar in style to Silver Tower and Hammerhal. The initial feeling i have though is that pride of ownership for content quality is near enough top of my list. Whilst Gloomhaven has a great card mechanic and branching story, with good hero art, it does not quite give you the same excitement when you take the monsters and tiles out. Sword & Sorcery made me immediately want to show my son how good it looked. So far at least, i am very happy with this new game and my only disappointment is that i did not also buy Vastaryous Lair and the extra heroes at the same time.
I have now added the game to my favourites list here > Sword & Sorcery