In the shadows of London, terrors stir. Powerful overlords conspire against one another, amassing hordes of monsters to do their bidding. Only one will claim the night and all within it as their prize.
Terrors of London is a deck-building game with a Victorian horror theme. Each player will take on the role of an Overlord, each with their own unique ability and two influence cards. Throughout the game, players will collect monsters from four distinct factions to their deck (Beasts, Mortals, Spirits, and Undead), all of which may assemble hordes for deadly combinations. Players will also obtain magnificent relics, which they may instantly use to enhance their special powers. The player who is the first to lower their opponent's life to zero wins the game and the night.
Let’s Get Ready for the Battle
You begin by selecting an Overlord and two of their special 'Influence Cards' (cards with unique Overlord powers), as well as five 'Cultists' (these each provide one coin to allow you to buy new cards) and three 'Fanatics' (these each grant one 'power' the value used to attack opponents). Then you build a marketplace with a stack of 8 Acolyte cards (each of which grants you 2 coins) and a 'street' of 5 monster/relic cards. As part of your turn, you will use your collected 'currency' to purchase cards from this marketplace. The players mix their initial deck of ten cards, then the first player draws four cards (5 after the first round) and the second draws five to form their starting hands.
May the Best One Win!
Terrors of London moves through 3 phases: The Action Phase, The Clean-up Phase, and the Draw Phase. In the action phase, you can do six different actions. Those actions are:
- Attack your opponent (you may combine cards to build a 'Horde' and trigger extra actions/effects)
- Use played cards to purchase new cards from the Acolytes' stack or the 'Street.'
- Relic cards are automatically placed in your 'Relic area' (next to your Overlord Card) and can be used that turn.
- Use a Relic. These provide additional values or unique powers. Opponents can compel you to discard them, and you can only hold a maximum of three.
- Perform an Overlord Action
- Pass (ends your turn)
In clean-up, the player places all played and purchased cards in their discard pile (certain cards including Relic cards do not go back into the discard pile). After doing the clean-up phase the player will be doing the draw phase. In which you just draw five cards into your hand.
Are You In My Team Or What?
Buying cards and attacking your opponent is straightforward. You just add the value of coin or power (attack) icons to determine how much you must spend and how much damage you deal your opponent (unless they have a card with armour). Terrors of London adds a lot of extra flavour with a range of special abilities and even some tokens on these monsters, these allow you to do take a range of additional actions:
- Claim - allowing you to place a purchased card on the top of your deck.
- Command - allowing you to return a discarded card into your hand.
- Curse - force your opponent to either lose 2 health or discard one card from hand.
- Destroy - force an opponent to return a card to their discard pile, or permanently trash a card from the street (marketplace).
- Haunt - place a ‘haunt’ token which allows certain cards to persist between turns.
- Muster - allows you to draw additional cards to your hand.
- Rage - gain either 2 power (attack) or 2 regeneration (healing).
You Can’t Do Anything Against My Horde
You can make hordes by playing cards from your hand. Hordes are formed by matching the symbols at the bottom of the cards. Creating hordes could allow you to have additional actions. You can extend your horde if you can match the correct symbol on the outside of the cards that are already played.
Was This a Good Fight?
Terrors of London is a horror-themed card game. The artwork, flavour text, and thematic integration of the actions and game mechanisms are all outstanding. The artwork alone is distinctive and spooky, putting the game above many others in its genre. The asymmetric powers of each Overlord (including varying amounts of beginning health in certain cases), the more subtle way to activate allied abilities, and the limited Relic cards, add depth and body to the game, making it a lot of fun to play. I might have also enjoyed this game because I am a horror fan. Which makes me feel more pleased with everything that the game provides. I would 100% recommend this game to horror and deck-building fans. I also loved that this is a two-player deck-building game, as there aren’t that many deck-building games that work well for two players. If you want to play with more players, there is an expansion pack called Terrors of London: The Reptile Tomb Expansion. Overall, I think this game offers a very nice balance between accessibility, depth, and theme.