Do you know that saying when one door closes another one opens? They take that saying quite literally in Chronicles of Drunagor: Age of Darkness.
In a world where Darkness is about to rule, we found out this might not always be a good thing. The saying usually means, if one thing fails, another opportunity will present itself. But in Chronicles of Drunagor, it's always the question if the opportunities are for the enemies, darkness itself, or for you and your team.
Chronicles of Drunagor has a big rulebook that fortunately is pretty well constructed. The rule book however is still way too big to explain the game in only a couple of words. Be sure to check out the rulebook for any in depth questions.
Playing the game...
You start the campaign with a character of your choice, basic equipment, a role of your choice and 5 action cubes with different colours. The role you chose will indicate where you are placed on the initiative track and who goes first. On your turn, you can move in all directions up to 3 spaces and choose to play up to two action cubes. Each different colored action cube, will give access to different kinds of actions. On top of that, each character and role have unique abilities as well. The game is very strategic and has a lot of depth because of this. Other then strategic, Chronicles of Drunagor also has a lot of exploration, roleplay, dice rolling, is cooperative and has a modular 3D board. The campaign is played over several scenarios, but each scenario can also be played in a single shot.
With a rulebook of 55 pages, we were happy to see the game has a tutorial. We were a little disappointed however with how the tutorial was constructed. First piece of advice? Skip the tutorial. We stumbled upon too many unanswered questions. We ended up playing the first scenario step by step with the rulebook, not with the tutorial. Once we got started with this massive game and understood the basics, we got hit with the amount of depth this game has. The game starts with easy simple scenarios to explore the basics.
The campaign however quickly introduces you to more elements of the game, like better gear, different enemies with different abilities, skills and even your own camp to rest and upgrade. Other than different elements to discover, the choices you have to make while playing are not always easy as well. There are just so many possibilities. All characters have skills that can be used not only on adjacent areas, but on the entire map. This means that some skills can travel through the entire map and target every enemy or player of your choice.
If you keep in mind that enemies also have abilities that might also have a big reach or even cover the entire map, you can see that choices are not always easy to make. There is a lot of combat in this game and for some rounds, we found ourselves thinking for 10 minutes just to make sure we were doing everything in the best way we could.
Navigating the darkness...
Even though the amount of choices are overwhelming in the beginning, we enjoyed the freedom we are given in this game a lot and even more so once we got better in making the best strategic choices for the game. What we didn’t like was the darkness. Every round at the end of the initiative track, darkness will spawn and there is not really a way to stop this.
Darkness comes with negative effects for players and positive effects for enemies. While we like the darkness in the theme and think the effects are fitting to the game, we think the amount of darkness that often spawns and in what way it comes into play is not only overwhelming, but also is a lot of work to physically spawn this on the board. It’s like an unwanted extra mini setup every end of the round.
We also found that the scenarios can get quite repetitive as there is just a lot of fighting.
That however doesn’t take away the excitement we got every time when we could open a door and see what setup, enemies and possible treasures it contained. The best and most unique part about the game for us is the interaction book and the story. While it is very exciting to open a door every time, we found it even more exciting to see what we are facing in more detail when we interact with an interaction point.
We are over halfway with the game now and we can definitely say it has been an incredible journey so far. With the amazing artwork, miniatures and modular board this game provides, it’s a lot of fun to build your character and explore the game further with every scenario.
This being said, we can imagine the game is not for everyone. While the rules are good to follow once you’ve played a couple of scenarios, people who have trouble making decisions will have a hard time playing this game with all the skills and abilities. Also, if you value story and exploration over fighting, we advise you to watch some gameplay before dedicating yourself to this game, since most of the gameplay is fighting enemies.