Game Review by Debbie Winkler
Creator: Mike Elliott, Artist: Jason Engle
Publisher: Alderac Entertainment Group & Edge Entertainment (2009)
# of Players: 2 – 5 (best with 3)
Target Age Group: 12 and up
Average Game Play: 60 minutes
Type of Game: Card Game
My Rating: 4.5/5 stars
“For ages the vile Doom Knights have sought to gather the remaining Thunderstones to fulfill a prophecy of corruption over the lands. Now the first Thunderstone has been discovered in the Dungeons of Grimhold and the Doom Knights have sent their minions to claim the relic. The Villagers of Barrowsdale gather brave souls to face the dungeon and keep the Thunderstone out of the hands of the Doom Knights.
Thunderstone is a new and exciting fantasy deck-building game from Alderac Entertainment Group. Fight the evils of the dungeon to prove your worth. Gain powerful weaponry and level into new and mighty hero classes. Claim the best cards and survive to take the Thunderstone. Featuring beautiful art from Jason Engle, Thunderstone is a welcome addition to any fantasy gamer’s collection.
- Will you claim the Thunderstone?
- A Fantasy Deck Building Adventure.
- Amazing Replay Value.
- Build Up Your Character as you Play.
- Over 500 Cards.
- Challenging Game Design by Michael Elliott.
- Stunning art by fantasy artist Jason Engle.” — Alderac Entertainment Group
Okay, so I love this game! I think that it is really fun to play and the cards are absolutely beautiful so there is always something new to ooh and aah over while you play. There are a lot of different card categories so the game is different every time you play as the heroes, weapons, artifacts and monsters change each time depending on which random card you select from the deck. The game also changes depending on who you are playing with – are they building up their deck? upgrading heroes? collecting gold? – you may think that you have this game all figured out, but someone can come along with a different strategy and change everything about the way the game is played.
The main point of the game is to collect victory points, but I always get distracted and end up buying a bunch of cards and losing because I didn’t beat enough monsters in the dungeon. I have played this game twice and have lost both times, but I keep thinking that I am on the verge of understanding what I should do to win the next time. My cousin always dominates this game, but that is okay because he plays games like this all the time.
The first time we played, we played with 3 people and that was just about perfect. By the time you calculated out your next move, it was your turn again. The last time we played, it was with 4 people and the game moved quite a bit slower. You can play it with more, but I think that it would really slow everything down a lot. The first part of the game is going to be slower no matter what you do because everyone is trying to figure out which cards from the deck are out on the table and what they all mean. With 4 players, it probably took us a good 90 – 120 minutes to play so that is just too long for a card game for most people. And keep in mind that each card has the skill information and points on the bottom so you have to be able to read and process the information, which is what keeps the age limit up at the 12 level.
Also, this game is actually a bit harder to jump into than it first looks as you have fighting points, strength points, gold points, light points, special skills and special problems that pop up throughout the game. It takes quite a bit of time to set up and a lot of time to explain and really get comfortable with. If you have a group of friends you enjoy playing games with on a regular basis, I think this is a good one to add into your rotation. If you are just starting out with games that require a bit more thought and effort, I am not sure that this is the one to begin with. Just getting the cards out of the original box they came in and separated is quite the chore! Good news is that the expansion pack comes with a box with individual pockets to put the cards in so that the game doesn’t take you 15 – 30 minutes just to set up! If they had a faster set up with a better box, this game would have been a 5 star game, but it just was not quite all the way there for me.
The fantasy illustrations on the cards are absolutely gorgeous! The artist really did a wonderful job, but almost all of the female & male humanish characters – including the monsters – are attractive. The monsters include females like succubi and other scantily clad females, but I don’t think that there is anything unique or unusual about the illustrations in the fantasy realm. Appropriate for children of any ages to watch, recommended for ages 12 and up to understand the game rules best.