Control medieval Clans in China trying to resist invading Mongol hordes.
The arrival of a new standalone boardgame from Awaken Realms is a treat, because as much as I’m impressed by their huge campaign adventure games, they make excellent ‘normal’ games too – for example Nemesis and Lords of Hellas. So even though I missed this crowdfunding campaign last year, when a copy came up for sale I had to grab it.
The Great Wall is an impressive production, with without doubt the best miniatures I’ve ever seen from the company, and some nice 3D card walls (you’ll need the stretch goals box to store them if you leave them assembled). The only thing that frustrated me was some unnecessarily small type, and the use of a font with terrible kerning – that’s the space between letters for all you non-graphic designers! Better typography really would have been the final perfect touch to an otherwise gorgeous production.
And after just one play, the game play doesn’t disappoint. It’s basically worker placement in order to gain resources and recruit warriors to fight the constantly replenishing hordes attacking the Wall and gain honor points to win, and while it seems overwhelming at first – not helped by a very busy rulebook – it all fits into place after a turn or two and feels fresh and, importantly to me, very thematic.
Two player games use a simple game-controlled third player that didn’t feel onerous to work with, and my only comment is that we never felt like the attacking hordes or the limited pool of shame tokens were too much of a threat; my opponent and I managed to keep both comfortably under control for the entire game. But further plays will reveal whether we just got lucky this first time!
This rules and reference covers the base game and all the expansions, and I think you’ll find the layout much easier to read than the rulebook. Now quick – to the wall!