I posted last month how, as part of the celebrations to mark International GM’s Day, one of my generous Players gave me a copy of Hero Realms. I really am a very lucky GM.
Hero Realms is a fantasy deckbuilding game designed by Rob Dougherty and Darwin Kastle, published by White Wizard Games in 2016. The page on Boardgame Geek describes the game as follows:
Hero Realms is a fantasy-themed deck-building game that is an adaptation of the award-winning Star Realms game. The game includes basic rules for two-player games, along with rules for multiplayer formats such as Free-For-All, Hunter, and Hydra.
Each player starts the game with a ten-card personal deck containing gold (for buying) and weapons (for combat). You start each turn with a new hand of five cards from your personal deck. When your deck runs out of cards, you shuffle your discard pile into your new deck. An 80-card Market deck is shared by all players, with five cards being revealed from that deck to create the Market Row. As you play, you use gold to buy champion cards and action cards from the Market. These champions and actions can generate large amounts of gold, combat, or other powerful effects. You use combat to attack your opponent and their champions. When you reduce your opponent’s score (called health) to zero, you win!
- Learn more at Boardgame Geek
- See the official page at White Wizard Games
- I reviewed Hero Realms here last month
As a way to expand Hero Realms, White Wizard released a set of character packs. These resemble conventional CCG boosters, and contain the basic hand, special abilities and rules cards for a character. The range of options resembles the basic classes for D&D, which are broad fantasy tropes.
To expand my options with Hero Realms, I bought two character boosters: Ranger and Wizard. I was impressed with the presentation of the characters. Each basic deck has a custom frame, to help distinguish these expansion cards from the basic set. The full-length portraits of the character are double-sided, with male and female versions. The special abilities cards have the rules on the reverse, representing efficient use of space.
Starting with the Ranger, this deck pushes the Player to recruit lots of champions. My experience with the Ranger special abilities is they are of limited use. I cannot recall ever using the Headshot ability, while Players tend to forget the Track option. The Ranger is not a bad build, but seems to win as much because of the high starting life total, rather than the abilities.
In contrast, the Wizard seems more powerful. The emphasis on actions is a distinct difference from the Ranger. I find this drives me towards playing all the spells I can buy, regardless of colour. The Fireball special ability has proven very powerful, capable of stunning multiple champions and really changing momentum in the game.
Overall, the characters have added to our enjoyment of the game. The game play feels more like playing Magic decks with different philosophies. The characters are definitely worth buying, as they add enough to the game to keep it challenging and varied. Yet, they each only add a couple of new rules, so there is no sense of being overwhelmed by new options.
I hope to buy more character boosters on our forthcoming trip to UK Games Expo. A third Hero Realms review may be posted once I have the chance to play with them.
- The last boardgame I reviewed was the basic game of Hero Realms
- The next boardgame I reviewed was Tiny Epic Galaxies