Legacy of Dragonholt Review | Board Games | Zatu Games UK

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    Awards

    Rating

    • Artwork
    • Complexity
    • Replayability
    • Player Interaction
    • Component Quality

    You Might Like

    • Group experience
    • Multitude of choices available
    • Lasting consequences to choices through the Oracle System
    • Rare replayability for this type of game

    Might Not Like

    • Requires right group to bring it fully to life
    • Reading. Lots of reading.

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    Legacy of Dragonholt Review

    Legacy of Dragonholt Feature

    Opening Dragonholt

    Greetings, traveller. Why don’t you and your companions put your feet up by the fire, drink a draught of ale and listen to my story of Legacy of Dragonholt from Fantasy Flight Games? It is a tale of perilous journeys, brutal battles and conspiratorial intrigue set in the Runebound universe. What’s that? You would like to hear it! Well, traveller, tell me what you want to know.

    1001: Beginnings

    To hear about building your character, read 3456

    To hear about how to take part in adventure, read 4885

    To hear my reflections on my adventure (requires story point B3 to be marked), read 9421

    3456: A Test of Character

    The innkeeper clears his throat with a cough. In Legacy of Dragonholt, players become characters in a manner similar to an RPG. Players design their characters using the character sheet (easily copied from the rule book or downloaded at Fantasy Flight’s website) and the character creation guide. You will give your character a name, a race from the six options available, and a class. You will also give your character a backstory, appearance and personality that will help you make decisions in character if you want the full-on role-playing experience.

    Based on your choices, you select skill traits for your character. These are partly determined by race and class and the guide suggests ensuring other skills fit in with the general character description you have created. A shy gnome thief might not be naturally given to performance, but might be a master of stealth. Applying starting skills is a balancing act. Additional skills come with a stamina cost. Skills will open doors to more interesting narratives in the game, but you might find yourself too weak. Being too strong might limit your choices in terms of skills.

    The innkeeper suddenly stops and stares at you, expecting you to speak.

    Time passes. Mark story point B2 or if B2 is already marked, mark B3 instead.

    if B3 is unmarked: Ask the innkeeper about how to take part in adventures, read 4885

    or if B3 is marked: Ask to hear the innkeeper’s reflections on his adventure, read 9421

    4885: To New Roads

    Of course, you want to get to the meat of the story! The innkeeper clutches his sides and roars with laughter as he speaks. Your journey in Legacy of Dragonholt will take you through a number of encounters spread across seven adventure books. You may not use all the adventure books in your journey, because quests are unlocked by doing certain things in a certain order at a certain time.

    The game is a co-operative choose-your-own adventure. Players take turns being the active character, reading the story and making decisions. Some of the choices available are limited to characters with certain abilities, so picking the right character for the right task is important. The game further limits options through its innovative Oracle System.

    As the game progresses, the group is instructed to mark off story points on a chart. Often the game will require a certain story point to be marked or unmarked to progress in a certain way. Finally, time is marked for each adventure and encounter. The amount of time that has passed and progress you have made can also impact the direction of the narrative. So, without giving spoilers, it is best not to dally or rush, as both can lead to dire consequences for you and the inhabitants of Dragonholt.

    Working through the quest books, the group does all the things you’d expect from a fantasy role-playing game: fight, win fame and fortune, uncover treachery, build knowledge and skills, gain powerful items and spells and take drugs on the village green. Yes, I did say that last one. It’s not too much of a spoiler and serves as a warning that the 14+ age recommendation on the box is probably about right.

    You begin to get suspicious that the innkeeper might be trying to sell you something as he knocks a strange looking weed from his pipe.

    Time passes. Mark story point B2 or if B2 is already marked, mark B3 instead.

    if B3 is unmarked: Ask the innkeeper about how to build your character, read 3456

    or if B3 is marked: Ask to hear the innkeeper’s reflections on his adventure, read 9421

    9421: The Encounter is Complete

    ‘So, what do you think?’ Sighs the innkeeper, as he leans back into his armchair. With the right group of fellow travellers, Legacy of Dragonholt, is a fun way to spend an evening together. My group and I really got into our characters, asking: "What would Pago Chumbeard the dwarf do in this situation?" The answer: almost always burst into bardic song or start swinging his axe. Like most good role-playing games, Legacy of Dragonholt provides a setting, but it’s down to you and your friends to bring the flavour and fun.

    This is helped by the writing being, for the main, above the standard usually found in story-driven fantasy games. While I may have fond memories of choose-your-own adventure paperbacks, the writing was often doggerel. However, it would be remiss not to mention a couple of flaws in the fabric of Dragonholt.

    While it must be challenging to write a branching narrative where decisions have lasting consequences, the story does sometimes become disjointed and confusing. Sometimes major events happen off-screen, so to speak.  Additionally, it can be hard to work out where the narrative wants you to go. In the Dragonholt Village book for example you are free to visit locations at will… except not. This means a lot of time is spent reading passages only to discover a shop is closed today or not open until later or nothing is happening in that location right now. This is frustrating and can lead to a dull session. In trying to keep things so open-ended and sandboxy, the game can sometimes lose focus altogether.

    Overall though, my friends and I have had great fun exploring the world. And, unlike some story-driven games, I think there will a value to revisiting it with different characters. Maybe not straight away, but in a few months or a year. After all, there are all the roads not taken, all the quest books not even opened and more secrets of Dragonholt to unlock. Now depart, traveller, and may you and your companions have many silly, thrilling adventures on your quest.

    The encounter is complete.

    Zatu Score

    Rating

    • Artwork
    • Complexity
    • Replayability
    • Player Interaction
    • Component Quality

    You might like

    • Group experience
    • Multitude of choices available
    • Lasting consequences to choices through the Oracle System
    • Rare replayability for this type of game

    Might not like

    • Requires right group to bring it fully to life
    • Reading. Lots of reading.

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