Fans of the adventure board game have nothing less than a furious finale The Legends of Andor III - The Last Hope expected. They got a noticeably heavier successor who does almost everything right. The third part of the Andor series proves that the creative achievements of illustrator and game designer Michael Menzel were no coincidence. With the Andor trilogy, the Krefeld native influenced an entire genre of board games. The announcement of the end of the popular board game series from KOSMOS was all the more sad for fans.  

In our review of the board game The Legends of Andor III - The Last Hope you will learn why even defeats are not fun killers.


The end of a long journey

The journey that has now come to an end began in 2012. It has now been five years since the first part of the Andor trilogy was published by KOSMOS. As a series of games The legends of Andor for the successful combination of playful pleasure and great stories, embedded in an atmospheric framework of visual pleasures. The jury bravely chose the fantasy board game The legends of Andor in 2013 for the Kennerspiel des Jahres. The reason that the board game is like a novel that enables players to immerse themselves in an atmospheric story was just as true then as it is today. Also Andor III - The Last Hope builds on the principle of an evolving action. As part of a cooperative game play, players experience seven new legends, of which the last story (legend no. 17) takes place on a specially designed game board. This reminds a little of Tolkien's Lord of the Rings and the two brave hobbits who cut their way through Mordor to destroy a ring (or THE ring) in the fires of Mount Doom. As epic as Andor began with the release of the base game in 2012, the saga also ends: the final legend alone comprises 35 cards.   

Board Game Review: The Legends of Andor Part III - The Last Hope
Board Game Review: The Legends of Andor Part III - The Last Hope

The background story ties in with the events from the predecessor The Legends of Andor - Journey to the North on. The battle-weary heroines and heroes return from the northern regions and find their kingdom in ruins. The Krahder have littered the land with death and devastation and, to make matters worse, captured numerous residents. Experienced role-players, at least, shouldn't be surprised that even tired heroes perk up in such a setting. And so, 2 to 4 players set off together on a journey south to cross the dangerous Gray Mountains and to reach the kingdom of the Krahd.

The predecessors are used to play The Legends of Andor - Part III: The Last Hope* not required. The final offshoot is designed as a stand-alone game, but continues to tell the background story that has already started. Even if it is possible Andor part III We cannot recommend playing without prior knowledge due to the ongoing story. Due to the significantly increased level of difficulty, there is no way around the predecessors for (inexperienced) adventurers. To the fact that the publisher, author and player benefit equally, because the entire Andor trilogy is worth playing anyway. Even if the stories within their narrative strands seem quite understandable and concluding, there are definitely passages that only find their narrative conclusion with the finale. After the excursion to the wetter areas of Andor, players return to their roots with the third part and thus to the mainland.  

The adventure begins with the rule of the lottery, known from the Andor series - in some board game groups, probably several times because of the comparatively hard start.

Andor success story: persistence instead of surprises

Michael Menzel also maintains the basic gameplay The Legends of Andor - Part III: The Last Hope fixed. True to the motto “Never change a winning team”, it is the heroes they have come to love who have to endure numerous adventures in a familiar way. A noticeably exciting play element is the so-called baggage train, which can always be found along the Zwergenstrasse. Instead of the safe castle, players find shelter in a mobile war camp that is tied to the baggage train. As the game progresses, players will encounter new game components such as creatures or the bridge part. Anyone who does not “spoil” the legend cards in advance when unpacking the game material retains the fictional character of The Legends of Andor Part III: The Last Hope and thus one of the greatest strengths of this adventure board game.

As in a good book, additional elements are gradually introduced into the game that make life easier for the heroes, but sometimes also make it extremely difficult. By looking at the double-sided game board, players get an impression of the extensive challenges that await them in the course of the games. Heroes who thoughtlessly plunge into adventures plunge into their doom. The fact that a hero dies in the hands of a player is more common than many a bold knight would like. at The Legends of Andor - Part III: The Last Hope Heroes are only heroic if the moves are cleverly planned in advance. 

The components of Andor III: As usual, good content

The third part of the Andor trilogy does not show any nakedness with the enclosed game material. In addition to the double-sided game board, which seamlessly connects to that of the second part, the game comes with 144 large and 33 small cards, 40 playing figures with plastic holders, 25 game dice and 4 hero boards. Another gem in the form of tokens and cardboard parts rounds off the contents of the package. A visual highlight from The last hope is also the baggage trainer that always patrols along the Dwarf Street and serves as a mobile warehouse for the heroes. As is so often the case in the fantasy segment, hero camps are the preferred points of attack for all kinds of villains - as is the case with Andor III. The baggage train wagon is therefore not an incidental place to relax, but rather a variable strategic game element that players have to take into account in their planning.

Board Game Review: The Legends of Andor Part III - The Last Hope
Fully equipped: The material of the board game is impressive - visually and qualitatively.

What is not included in the final part of the adventure board game series is game material for large game groups. Fans currently have to be satisfied with a maximum of three players, also because The Legends of Andor III - The Last Hope not with the game expansion New heroes* is compatible. The planned mini-expansion provides a remedy Dark heroesthat makes the game tangible for five and six players.

Overall, the double-sided game plan is the secret star of the final offshoot of the Andor trilogy. The front shows the southern part of the Kingdom of Andor including the Gray Mountains and the Dwarf Road. The back depicts the kingdom of the Krahd. With a love of detail right down to the shadows of the trees, Michael Menzel has created a graphic masterpiece for the gaming table at home, which creates a great fantasy atmosphere. 

Andor III - The Last Hope: Sometimes hopeless

Where so much game material is available, players in a fantasy adventure board game can expect different types of opponents who make life difficult for them as heroes. And of course there are new creatures in the final part of the Andor trilogy that are just waiting to be fought. Sometimes the adversaries even actively seek confrontation. This is especially true of the new enemy types of skeletons, who are magically attracted to the brave group of heroes. The bony bushes are quite affectionate and always anxious to cross the paths of the heroes. This play element is probably one of the greatest innovations, because with the introduction of the skeletons and an alternative movement system, car chases become exciting, but still easy to understand in a playful way.   

Andor 3 in the test

Because also The Legends of Andor - Part III: The Last Hope Oriented closely to the well-known game principles, experienced Andori will find their way around immediately. Changes to the rules are gradually incorporated into the course of the game, so that even new gameplay can be easily learned. This applies in particular to the mechanics of the aforementioned baggage train. What the castle is in the first part of the Andor saga is now the mobile warehouse. The war camp of heroes attracts adversaries and accordingly has to be defended again and again. The train wagon always moves over the underlined number fields (around 203) that form the so-called dwarf street. With every sunrise, creatures approach the camp, also via the underlined number fields. If confrontations are to be avoided, heroes can drive the baggage train on adjacent fields, which, however, also costs time resources. Also new are mountain gorges, which form the counterpart to straits from the second Andor part. Because thick clouds of fog hide the depths of the gorges, heroes can only overcome them on their own if they have the appropriate willpower. This is indicated as usual by numerical values. 

The combination of all the innovations results in tricky situations in places that can frustrate even the most hopeful of heroes. But since Game of Thrones Defeat is part of epic sagas as naturally as knights and beautiful virgins.

Furious end to a terrific series

As an adventurer in The legends of Andor Having found a popular series of games, you feel at home straight away as soon as the first game preparations have been completed. The recognition value is enormous, which is helpful and desirable in a board game series based on a trilogy. Each hero can be played as usual in a female as well as a male variant and has a starting amount of strength points as well as seven willpower points. The values ​​change in the course of the game and are responsible for different areas of efficiency. While strength primarily makes a statement about the fighting strength of a hero, willpower points symbolize on the one hand the pool of life and on the other hand the degree of exhaustion of the characters. As is usual for good role-playing games, the equipment also has a great influence on the warriors' quick-wittedness. Also not to be underestimated are the special skills of the heroes, which connoisseurs of the series should be at least partially familiar.

The day-night processes in the kingdom are an essential element of the game. Each hero has a total of seven hours per day with which the figures can be moved across the game board. Even civil servants in this country would be happy about a pleasant 35-hour week, while this is not the case with the additional weekend services of the heroes and the numerous creatures that ripped into many a steel-protected hollow of the knee. Opponents are fought either alone or together with fellow players - but always using hourly resources. If necessary, the working days can be extended by three more hours, which costs eager heroes but willpower points that are then missing elsewhere. The Legends of Andor - Part III: The Last Hope is always built around decisions that are sometimes more, sometimes less important.

Andor 3 review

At the end of the day, the narrator continues with his story, which is indicated by advancing the narrator marker. At predetermined times, narrator cards are also revealed, which represent the neuralgic points of the adventure board game. So gradually new creatures are introduced or hero orders are given, which are essential for winning a legend. Because time is often tight and the narrator relentlessly strives for directions to legends, weighing up decisions and good agreements between one another are essential for victory or defeat. Since several events take place on the game board at the same time and an eye must always be kept on defending one's own camp, efficient moves and forward planning are extremely important. 

Hunger Games in the Kingdom of Andor

What the board game The Legends of Andor - Part III: The Last Hope The increasing exhaustion of the heroes gives additional tension and challenges players. The warriors recharge their batteries with provisions. If a player ends his turn within the protective camp, the supply is not a problem. Every stay in the wild leads to the consumption of food packages: this is the only way to save heroes from total exhaustion. If no provisions are available, this costs the heroes an insane eight willpower points, which in turn leads to a loss of strength and thus a loss of combat strength. The provision regulation results in quite a vicious circle that needs to be broken. Players find food resources in the course of the game, but comparatively rarely. This makes it all the more important for part of the group of heroes to always keep one foot in the protective camp - also because the entire troop could never be efficiently supplied. Hunger hovers like the sword of Damocles over the heroes, who in any case cannot afford to reduce their willpower due to the ravines. If the path to the rescue camp is still blocked by an opposing blockade, the stress level rises inexorably. The pressure of an impending defeat is always palpable, power The Legends of Andor - Part III: The Last Hope but also extremely exciting. The set of rules is excellently worked out in its details and always a tightrope walk between success and failure. 

The tactical demands are enormous even for experienced board players. In the course of the games, a profound story develops that makes Andor III the playable novel that has received so many praise.

As a player, you don't want the Andor trilogy to end like this, you want it to continue. This happens on a small scale with the mini-expansion Dunkel Helden, but it does not appear on a large scale - unless the author baptizes his legend Quadrology after all. The last hope is known to die last.

Images of The Legends of Andor Part III - The Last Hope

Infobox

Number of players: 2 to 4 players
Age: from 10 years
Playing time: 60 to 100 minutes
Difficulty: medium
Long-term motivation: medium

Publisher: KOSMOS
Author: Michael Menzel

Year of publication: 2016
Language: German
Cost: 40 Euro

Summary

With its third part in the adventure series The legends of Andor Illustrator and game author Michael Menzel had to face the judgmental board game reviewer without the thought of puppy protection. Was the base game of The legends of Andor As an outstanding first work and perhaps a benevolently rated one-hit wonder, the expectations for the sequel were much higher, but the once again outstanding creative achievements were rated more as coincidences. From the grand finale Andor Part III, the players expected nothing less than another hit, which, due to the adventures that had already been mastered, had to be a worthy end to the popular fantasy series among board games. And you shouldn't be disappointed.     

The Legends of Andor - Part III, The Last Hope* is aimed at experienced adventurers who have already gained experience with the previous titles. Andor III is not a shallow finale with conceptual indifference, but a creative fireworks display that can also be understood as a thank you to the loyal fan base of the fantasy board game.

The entry into the third part of the series succeeds as smoothly as before, with the restriction that the story goes directly to it The Legends of Andor - The Journey to the North as well as Chada & Thorn connects. Previous knowledge of the background story is not required, but role-players should not miss the events from parts 1 and 2. Would The legends of Andor not conceived as a trilogy, all board games could be viewed as stand-alone experiences - however, there is no way around the epic overall story for adventure, which gains in depth through its excellent illustrations.  

If you couldn't get enough of the drug Andor even then, you can spend leisurely hours reading the novel The Legends of Andor - The King's Song or use one of the countless fan legends. 

Andor Part III - The Last Hope is an outstanding cooperative adventure game that is visually inspiring and playfully challenges. Even the beginning is noticeably harder than in the predecessors. Even beginners could be frustrated by the rule of drawing lots - but more motivated if they are ambitious. With the first “correct” legend after the introduction, the level of difficulty increases significantly. Having to go through several game games for a successful conclusion is not uncommon. This is obviously good for the game, because despite its beginner-friendliness, wanted The legends of Andor never be a trivial gaming experience, the tasks of which role-players and adventure fans do in passing. 

Facing the challenging legends entertains and forces players to be more deliberate than ever before in the kingdom of Andor. The stubborn opponents demand some planning from the adventurers and the use of the extended hero skills is anything but a playful sideline. Anyone who fails in certain legends despite all their ambitions can choose to resort to relief in order to be able to advance the story. Real fans will probably not use such "easy modes" and will simply die to success.  

Which is particularly positive The Legends of Andor III - The Last Hope is noticeable is the always necessary communication requirement. This makes the third part of the Andor trilogy an ideal image for cooperative game design. Because dice results are unpredictable, the luck factor must be weakened as far as possible through clever planning, so that the tough legends in particular are feasible. Errors are made at Andor part III sometimes forgiven, but often lead to defeat, from which real heroes emerge strengthened. Nevertheless, the great finale of the trilogy draws its fascination from the increased level of difficulty, also because experienced board players can no longer dismiss the adventure series as a trivial role-playing game.

Without doubt: Andor III is a terrific finale. This adventure board game is the most difficult, but at the same time the most sustainable part of the Andor series. And if The Legends of Andor - Part III: The Last Hope If you do one thing wrong, then it is the simple fact that it arouses the desire for a successor in players.

Author