Sunday, January 13, 2013

Thunderstone Impressions – After one play

I had the opportunity to give Thunderstone a try the other day. Thunderstone is a deck building game similar in play to the most well known deck building game, Dominion. There is the similar game mechanic of buying cards and building your deck. Thunderstone is difference in that it has a fantasy theme, where players use their cards and heroes to go down into the dungeon and kill various monsters. Each monster is worth a certain number of points and the player with the most points when the Thunderstone is revealed is the winner. The artwork is good and the components of suitable quality, similar to Dominion.

While I enjoy the occasional deck building game, they are not my personal favourite. I tend to more strategically oriented games. However, I enjoyed Thunderstone. It plays very much like Dominion, but while I find Dominion games can become all about who can chain their deck in the most efficient manner, Thunderstone adds the element of having to choose between starting your turn in one of three areas, the Town, Dungeon or at Rest. If you stay in town you can do such actions as buying more cards and leveling up Heroes. The Dungeon is where you go to fight monsters. Rest allows you to get rid of a card. This separation of various key actions allows a bit more strategy to the game. In Dominion your choice comes to buying a card toward victory or to build your deck, or perhaps both. Thunderstone forces you to chose the buy action or the get victory point action. In addition, if you buy you must decide to between weapons, magic, light (to get in the dungeon) or heroes. This separation forces another decision onto players and prevents the game from becoming a churn-through-the-deck fest. To be honest, I prefer Thunderstone to Dominion because it increased the amount of choices a player has to make. This makes for a slightly more complex game. Or perhaps it's just because I happened to win this game.

If you enjoy deck building games and like the fantasy theme, give Thunderstone a try.

Please note that this first game was with the suggested starter cards. The base game has numerous other cards that can add other strategies. In addition, there are quite a few expansions available that add other cards.

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