I don’t consider myself much of a board game fan. I haven’t been for a few years now. But, after playing a couple games against the computer I found myself quite addicted to Armello. It’s a board/card game combo that not only plays well but also has an interesting bit of lore. I will point out that I didn’t try out the multiplayer functionality, which would be the main draw for a game like this, but I’m sure that it would be even more fun and addictive than just going head to digital head against an AI.
If you play through the tutorial missions you’ll quickly discover that the king of Armello has been corrupted by something called “rot”. Basically, this is a fancy term for the ruler going batshit insane and is taking the realm with him. That is where you come in. There are several heroes vieing for the crown and they each work against each other as they strive to take down the mad king. With four ways to win and with each character having their own strengths and weaknesses there’s a lot of replayability here. Most certainly a time sink and if you don’t pay attention hours can quickly tick away before you know it.
As mentioned above, there are four ways to win a match of Armello. The easiest ways would have to have the most “prestige” before the king bites the big one and to take down the king before he dies. You can also win by taking him down with a higher “rot” score or to grab four “spirit stones” to redeem him. Taking him down in combat shouldn’t be hard and I managed to do that easily. You can gain prestige by claiming towns, killing other players, and doing other tasks that grant it. Occasionally a spirit stone will appear on the map that you can grab and with four in your hands you can enter the castle to take the king down. Possibly the hardest path is in earning rot. I tried it and had a hell of a time gathering enough to win.
Armello is a cutthroat game. You’re constantly trying to kill off or otherwise hinder your opponents all the while making yourself look like the baddest mother ever as you work to storm the castle. There are three types of cards that you can draw on your turn: items, spells, and trickeries. The first two should be pretty self explanatory. They work just like you’d think. Trickeries, though, are like trap cards that you can play on hexes on the board or on other characters to hinder or hurt them.
There’s a lot of strategy involved in playing Armello and it’ll take a lot more time to explain every nuance and trick you can do. Suffice it to say that if you’re a fan of card games or board games you’ll love playing this game. It’s deceptively simple but still full of strategic depth that anyone of any skill level should be able to pick it up relatively quickly and find something to enjoy. I’ve only played a handful of games but each one was different from the last. You don’t always get the same cards and each character has their own unique abilities that make certain strategies easier or harder. I had to stop myself from saying “Just one more game” even to write this review. It’s that addicting.