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Dwellings Of Eldervale 2nd Edition

RRP: 94.99
Now €84.27(SAVE 24%)
RRP €110.99
Expected Restock Date 31/05/2024
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Fight the Beasts, Dwell the Land, Claim the Magic! A long lost world of magical power awaits! Giant monsters roam while Dragons, Wizards and Warriors battle in 8 elemental realms. Dwellings of Eldervale blends worker placement, area control, engine building and unique worker units. Players take turns placing a worker in Eldervale or regrouping and activating their tableau of adventu…
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Awards

Rating

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

You Might Like

  • Incredible trays, inserts and components
  • Quick setup and great rulebook
  • Tons of content

Might Not Like

  • Player trays slightly squeeze faction boards
  • Hard to get a copy
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Description

Fight the Beasts, Dwell the Land, Claim the Magic! A long lost world of magical power awaits! Giant monsters roam while Dragons, Wizards and Warriors battle in 8 elemental realms. Dwellings of Eldervale blends worker placement, area control, engine building and unique worker units.

Players take turns placing a worker in Eldervale or regrouping and activating their tableau of adventure cards. Action spaces include realms key to power: a summoning portal, an ancient mill, the lost fortress, deep dungeons, and a crumbling mage tower and the elemental lands of Earth, Air, Fire, Water, Light, Dark, Order and Chaos! Magic cards grant spells, quests and prophecies to players.

Contents:

8 Dual Sided Player Mats
6 Dungeon, Resource, Hex and Core Gametrayz
72 Meeples
48 Custom Meeple Dwellings
48 Wooden Score Markers
53 Marbled Dice
1 Elemental Scoreboard and Underworld
32 Unique Elemental and Ruin Hex Tiles
24 Ghosts of Eldervale Solo Mode Cards
1 Ghosts of Eldervale Playmat and Watcher Meeple
60 Magic Cards
104 Adventure Cards
8 Starter Player Faction Cards
9 Monster Cards
9 Monster Standees
9 Glass Bead Orbs
120 Cardboard Tactics and Trove Tokens
5 Player Reference Aids

DWELLINGS OF ELDERVALE cover

There is something intimidating and equally intriguing when picking up a box as big and heavy as Dwellings of Eldervale. The realisation that not only are you likely going to need 2 hours to setup this behemoth, you will also need even more time to fully understand the depth of the rules to even get started. This was exactly what I felt as I pulled Dwellings onto the table, and yet my fears were unfounded, in fact I was set up and ready to play my first game in under an hour.

Setup Experience

So how exactly has designer Luke Laurie and publishers Breaking Games achieved such an amazing feat? Well, to start they’ve included an incredible insert and easy to use game trays for each individual faction, that immediately cuts setup time in half. Workers, tokens, resources, and reference cards all fit snugly and are held in place by double sided faction boards.

Adventure cards and tokens also come with their own trays ready to be used in play and the two remaining trays hold all resource tokens and cards in easy reach of the players. The insert and trays just go to show how much respect Luke and the publishers have for your time, and it genuinely makes me sad whenever I open a big new game and it doesn’t follow suite.

DWELLINGS OF ELDERVALE contents

Rulebook Reading

So, the setup has been addressed, but those wonderful inserts aren’t helping anyone learn the game faster. The reason I was ready to play so quickly, was due to the fact that at its core Dwelllings of Eldervale is a simple game. On your turn, you have two options – play a worker or regroup your workers. This combined with the main goal of building all of your dwellings makes your first game of Eldervale a quick start.

That is not to say that the game can’t be complex or doesn’t have any strategic depth, it really does. But it allows you to learn this on the go, giving you the chance to develop your strategies with further plays without hampering the experience.

To further aid the start, players can choose from 16 factions. Each faction is ranked from easy to hard, and all have two unique worker abilities. This allows you to quickly pick up the easier factions without having to worry about complex powers for your first game.

Playing The Game

We all play games to try and win, well maybe not all of us, but certainly most of us. The gaming experience is important but watching your victory point marker sit ahead of the rest is like the cherry on top. Dwellings of Eldervale gives you many paths to victory, that will scratch the thinkers itch many gamers desire when playing their games.

Players will be placing workers, gathering resources, battling players and monsters, unlocking special workers, and trying to travel up multiple tracks across the board, all working towards dwelling in Eldervale and collecting victory points.

There are 2 tracks to keep an eye on, besides the victory point track. The elemental track is determined by the factions players choose as well as a few additional elements added in based on player count. These represent the realms of Eldervale for your game and should be a major focus if you want to rack up a winning amount of victory points at the end of the game. This is where a lot of the strategy comes into play. The track will multiply many of your points at the end of the game for your Dwelling locations and acquired adventure cards, so it is important to utilise this track, whether you focus on one or two elements or try and get on them all, is entirely up to you.

DWELLINGS OF ELDERVALE meeples

The glory track is used to measure how well you do in battle with various rewards for climbing up the track. When battle is triggered either by a rushing monster or by placing one of your workers in a realm with an enemy unit, battle commences once you have finished your turn action. Players then determine battle dice, by pulling adjacent units into battle, using adjacent dwellings, spending sword tokens and utilising faction abilities.

Once dice have been gathered players (and monsters) roll simultaneously, then each single highest dice roll. The highest is the winner, with a tie meaning you move onto the second highest until a winner is determined. The winners gain glory for defeating their opponents and can choose either glory or elemental progress for defeating monsters. Defeated workers are sent to the Underworld, earning you a sword but with the cost of being unable to use actions on regrouping.

Regroup actions allow players to use actions on their starting cards and adventure cards before they return to the player board, the starter actions being Dwell, Summon and Gather, but adventure cards will allow for even more interesting options.

The final method to score points is through magic cards. These are treated as a resource when needed and come in three types: spells, quests and prophecies. Spells are surprised one time use cards that can be triggered for free, usually under a condition listed on the card, the more powerful ones may require you to have a certain level of elemental power or cost before you can use them. Quests allow you to score VP during the game by achieving certain goals, when met you score these immediately. Prophecies are end of game goals that activate during scoring and allow you to gain VP based on meeting conditions listed on the card.

DWELLINGS OF ELDERVALE board

Don’t Dwell On It

Dwelling of Eldervale has a lot going on, in fact I’ve barely scratched the surface of it all. There are placement rules to follow, with special workers getting new rules and more battle dice. Monsters all have unique abilities that can change the game whilst they are active, and I haven’t even mentioned that Dwellings are created by putting cute little roof hats on top of your workers which means you no longer get to use them for the rest of the game. There’s even a great, challenging solo mode built into the game for you to explore if you can’t get the group together or just want to try out a new faction on your own.

All of this is best experienced by just playing the game, don’t try and do everything at once and just let the game reveal itself as you play it. By the time you finished your first game, you’ll be itching to pick a new faction, add in different monsters and explore a completely different strategy.

Have you ever eaten the perfect lemon meringue pie? Anyone can follow a recipe and make one, but sometimes those standard ingredients are put together and baked so well that the outcome is just awesome. Dwellings of Eldervale takes lots of standard game tropes and mechanisms and gives you something amazing.

Theme

Your task is to become the most dominant faction in the realm of Eldervale. At your disposal you have a handy band of six workers, a warrior, a wizard and a dragon. You cast spells, explore new territories and try to master elemental powers. You collect resources from the hex territories and spend them on adventure cards and to build dwellings. The theme is pure fantasy.

Components

The quality of the game trays in Dwellings of Eldervale make setting up a fairly complex game an absolute breeze. There are sixteen playable factions: two for each of the elemental powers. These come in eight custom trays. The adventure cards, magic cards and resources also come in custom trays. The board is constructed from land hexes which are randomised for each game.

In the standard version the monsters are card standees. In the deluxe version these are plastic miniatures. In the legendary version there are eight extra monsters and they all have bases which exude monstrous sounds every time that you move them.

All versions of the game come with four mini-expansions and two miniatures included. This is very welcome.

The game box is a divisive issue. When you buy the base game you get the standard components and two empty cardboard boxes that could hold the contents of the deluxe and legendary expansions. There are also slots to hold the sound bases. You may say that your box is therefore unnecessarily large, and that its galling to have a reminder of the components that you lack. You may equally think that this avoids having to buy the ‘big box’ at a later date or have multiple boxes for the same game. I own about a hundred games. This box is the biggest.

Rulebook

Dwellings of Eldervale is a complex game that is very clearly explained by the rulebook. The book has logical instructions with helpful diagrams and examples. The main book contains the rules for all versions of the game. This avoids you needed to check multiple books if you buy the deluxe or legendary editions later. There is a separate book for solo play and an appendix that gives more detail on all of the adventure cards.

Art & Graphics

The game box and rule book are adorned with beautifully drawn artwork showing dragons, wizards etc. The game hexes, adventure and magic cards all follow the same art theme, but the printed instructions and icons are clearly displayed. There are very few icons to learn, and the icons used are very logical.

Gameplay

The game board is constructed each game from five base hexes with three more added in each player’s colour, plus a further six in neutral colours. You can gain points by winning battles, buying and casting spells, and building dwellings. When you build a dwelling, you place a roof section on one of your workers, and so lose them for future worker placement use. This provides a tasty push-pull dynamic. Each faction should also vie for mastery of different elemental powers. The greater your control of these elemental powers, the higher the score of your other actions.

If someone occupies a tile where you have a meeple a battle ensues. Dice rolling determines the winner. If you have workers or dwellings in neighbouring hexes, you roll more dice. If you have collected sword resources or some magic cards you can mitigate the result. You can also take a regroup action; usually when you have placed all your workers on the hex board. This action involves recalling workers on your starting faction card, or on the adventure cards that you have purchased, to take further actions. Although actions pass around the game table, Dwellings of Eldervale does not involve rounds. The game ends when any player has built their sixth dwelling, or the last available hex tile is added to the realm.

Replay-ability

Dwellings of Eldervale contains sixteen playable factions: two for each of the eight different elements. Each faction has its own starting abilities. Each element has thirteen adventure cards that can be purchased. The number of elements that would be used in a game is equal to the number of players plus two so, for a three player game you would use five elements. As mentioned above, there are four mini expansions included with all versions of the game. This all adds up to amazing replay value.

Summary

Dwellings of Eldervale is a modern hybrid game that involves resource management, and dice-rolling for conflict resolution. There is also worker placement, area control and card play. Initially, this concoction can seem daunting, but the gameplay is very logical and everything fits together seamlessly. If your game group enjoys a big crunchy game with monster, dragons, magic and exploring, this is very highly recommended.

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Zatu Score

Rating

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

You might like

  • Incredible trays, inserts and components
  • Quick setup and great rulebook
  • Tons of content

Might not like

  • Player trays slightly squeeze faction boards
  • Hard to get a copy