I have an embarrassing confession to make here. I am of the age where I remember the height of the Homestar Runner craze. I have friends who have been Homestar tragics since well before it was a thing to call oneself a “tragic”. Yet I have never watched anything Homestar Runner, except one episode of Strong Bad Emails that featured one of the previously mentioned friends (hi, Lee). So with that hit to any geek-cred I may have had, let’s just move on. Shall we?
Let’s start with the important part: Trogdor!! The Board Game looks like a great game. It would be easy to dismiss this as a cheap attempt to use nostalgia-laden schlock to draw old-time fans back into a brand that’s rebuilding itself. But they brought in James Ernest as one of the designers. If you don’t know who that is, he is a legendary game designer, with decades of success, who is known for relatively easy to play games, that pack a ton of humor and fun into them. That factor alone ensures this game will be worth the price.
There is a video episode of “Six-Sided, Die” on the Kickstarter campaign page that walks through a few rounds of play. I watched it AFTER typing the majority of the last few paragraphs, and I stand by my initial suspicion. It looks great. Play is split into two phases, Trogdor’s actions and the Countryside’s actions. For Trogdor’s actions, the player will draw a card from the Trog-deck and choose to use the card they drew or the card they had saved. The card they choose to use will have X number of Action Points that Trogdor may use to move, devour, and burninate; as well as a special ability that may also be used that turn.
The Countryside phase is further split in two. The player draws a card, and resolves the Peasants. This may involve adding new Peasants to the board, moving the Peasants, and potentially repairing tiles that Trogdor has burninated. After the Peasants have peasant-ed, the Knights and Twin Archer move in whatever pattern is listed on that same card. When the Twin Archer completes its move, they shoot an arrow across the board in each direction wounding Trogdor if he is hit, but do nothing if they move through a tile with Trogdor in it. The Knights, however, only do damage to Trogdor if they move into the tile he is in.
[NOTE: The playthrough video only lasts a few turns, and actually ends without Trogdor being damaged. Some of the damage descriptions above are only extrapolated from the comments made during the video, and may not be totally accurate.]
One of the really neat mechanics to this is that Trogdor gains health by devouring peasants, but when new peasants come into play they similarly come out of Trogdor’s health. The goal of the players is to have Trogdor burninate the entire board, the goal of the Countryside is obviously to prevent this.
Before getting to the Thank You mentions at the end of the campaign, this felt a bit like Dragoon, from Lay Waste Games. While they aren’t mentioned in the Backstory section about the game’s design, Lay Waste did get a thank you, which makes me that their (really great) game was at least partially an inspirational starting point for this game.
The first couple pledge levels are the important ones. $40 (USD) gets to the basic games, including wooden meeples. $60 gets you the same, but also with plastic miniatures that you can use instead of the wooden ones. Above that, the levels move into specialty, handcrafted, wooden boards and accessories by Wyrmwood Gaming. The Wyrmwood pledge levels run between $200 and $1800, but if you are the sort of person who wants a seriously fancy experience, they are very much worth it.
The first two stretch goals were easily met, and the third milestone (5000 backers) was crossed while I was typing this. The stretch goals and add-ons above that haven’t actually been announced, but honestly, the game already has enough value even without them. This campaign crossed my desk about an hour after it launched. At that point it was about 50% funded already, it fully funded in under 3-hours, was at 400% funded when I started writing this Spotlight, and is already over 430% as I near the end of it.
If you are, or were, a fan of Homestar Runner, you need this game. If you have no idea what Homestar Runner is, you should still get this game.
This gif from the campaign amuses me more than it probably should: