The Dark War is an expansion for Tiny Epic Defenders. For more on that game, please see our review.
The Dark War (designed by Scott Almes) adds a host of new content to the game. This includes:
- Additional Heroic Characters.
- Epic Foes.
- Dire Enemies.
- New Features and Gameplay.
There is also a Campaign mode with enemy Generals, skills that heroes can learn through XP, advanced regions and caravans.
This review looks at the new features and how they interact, improve and change the gameplay from the base game. The core gameplay, turn structure and mechanisms from Tiny Epic Defenders is still the same and as such will not be covered.
One of the new features The Dark War is the addition of Caravans. These represent the homes of villages that have spread across the shattered Regions of Aughmoore with no place to go. They are trying to escape the evil that is spreading through the land.
As a Hero it is your duty to escort these Caravans back to the safety of the Capital City before players can defeat the Epic Foe. The escorting of Caravans costs one action and one XP. The expansion comes with 3D cardboard Caravans with one per turn being placed on a Region.
Skills are additional abilities that can be assigned to a Hero to grant them special powers and bonuses. These skills are represented by a skill deck and are activated with XP. Heroes can also level up when they gain a certain amount of XP. This grants a Hero an additional Skill card and replenishes their health.
XP is gathered from a number of actions including defending a Region against an Enemy or Dire Enemy, escorting Caravans back to the Capital City and defeating Generals.
The Campaign Mode allows players to progress through the game over the course of three rounds. At the end of each round (effectively a full game) the Heroes face off and defeat a General (instead of an Epic Foe).
From round to round the Heroes will retain their Artefacts, Skills and XP that have been earned. Each Hero also gains full health at the end of each round and the Threat of each region resets to zero, however, the Threat Level of the Capital City does not reset.
At the end of the campaign the Heroes will face off and defeat the final Epic Foe. The Campaign Mode provides players with more of an "Epic" feeling game with character progression and tough Generals to defeat. It is a nice addition to the original gameplay and doesn't add any more complex mechanisms.
The Dark War adds a complete set of new Regions to the game. These advanced Regions add new abilities and threats for each Region represented by various 3D structures and tokens. There is a giant Tree, a flying Manticore, sandstorms, mercenaries/barbarians and a whole load more.
Depending on the random set-up of the locations, a different ability and threat will be present in the game. As a result, this adds another level of replay-ability and variable set up to change up the gameplay.
Final Thoughts on The Dark War
Combined with the base game, The Dark War expansion adds a massive amount of additional content. The combination of the Heroes, Enemies, Dire Enemies and Epic Foes was pretty high in the base game, but coupled with the expansion it is off the charts.
On top of that there are a host of new Skill cards and Artefacts to play with. There is the added variability in the advanced Regions with the various abilities or threats that are played with each game. The Campaign Mode adds further to the gameplay, therefore giving players more of an "epic" feeling game.
The Dark War expansion does what every expansion should strive to do. It adds more of the good stuff as well as some new gameplay elements that don't take away from the base game and integrate seamlessly. The Caravans and XP/Skills mechanisms don't feel like they have been bolted on and fit easily into the gameplay of the base game.
This is a great expansion and is worth seeking out if you are a fan of Tiny Epic Defenders.