Minecraft: Heroes of the Village is a two to four player cooperative game in which you and your fellow players have gathered together to defend your village against the raiding Illagers. To do this you will need to explore the world to uncover new locations, collect resource blocks, fight Mobs and build defensive buildings to protect your village.
On your turn you can perform two out of the four possible actions. These include:
- Explore the World - Players draw one world tile from the stack and place the blocks depicted on the back of the tile into the bag. The tile is then turned face up and placed orthogonally adjacent to the tile you occupy.
- Collect Blocks - If the block you are situated on contains a gather icon then you can attempt to gather the depicted resource (wood, sand, stone). The player draws three blocks out of the bag. If the blocks drawn match the icon that you are attempting to gather then you can add these to your inventory. Redstone is a “wild” resource and is also added to your inventory. If you draw a darkness block then you spawn a Mob. If a location has a Mob on it, you can’t perform the gather action until it has been defeated.
- Fight Mobs - The player rolls a dice three times aiming to get the depicted number on the Mob to defeat it. As a reward player get to draw three blocks from the bag and keep one.
- Build - Players can trade in their resources at the central board space to construct or contribute building materials to the construction of one of the three structures. When a building has been completed the Illagers move back one space on the Illagers path.
At the end of a player’s turn they roll the Illagers die and perform the action depicted on it. This may move the Illagers one space forward or is blank and nothing happens.
The game ends when all three buildings have been constructed and the players win. If the Illagers reach the villager then the players collectively lose.
Minecraft is a very popular IP these days. There are several Minecraft games out now so how does Heroes of the Village play? Well, lets find out.
Heroes of the Village is very much a family/lightweight game. It is designed to be, and targeted for, an audience that likes the IP and wants a cooperative experience to play within the Minecraft world. There are, however, some fun elements within this game that makes it a very enjoyable game to enjoy with your family or friends.
The bag building element is quite fun. There are three stacks of map tiles face down with resources blocks depicted on them. You do have some element of control as to what gets added into your bag. If you need a lot of wood then selecting map tiles with wood displayed will add this resource to your bag, improving your odds of success when gathering for wood. For the younger players this is a big decision to make and helps them to understand probabilities and how to improve them.
There is the added timer in the game of the Illagers advancing closer towards you. It adds tension to the game, especially for the younger audience. There is always the audible gasp from the younger board gamers when you roll the Illager die at the end of your turn and the Illagers move a step closer.
Each player also has a pet which offers a unique special power/ability. They are not groundbreaking but they do offer some variation and uniqueness to your character. There is also a decent supply of buildings, all of which require different resources to build. This keeps the game fresh.
For the target audience, this game is solid. It plays quick, there are some interesting decisions to be made and the excitement of drawing blocks out the bag or defeating a well known Mob from the popular video game. It is not a deep, thinky strategy game, but it is not intended to be or designed to be. If it was, it probably would not work as well as it does.