Murder most foul. The heir of Dragonholt is dead and the circumstances surrounding the death indicate foul play. A group of heroes are needed to investigate and uncover the truth. Legacy of Dragonholt delivers fun, memorable story adventures in a rich fantasy setting.
It is with eager anticipation that I awaited the release of Fantasy Flight Games' beautifully illustrated cooperative narrative adventure game: "Legacy of Dragonholt." I had seen multiple previews for it and it looked like something special. For an old roleplaying gamer that loves choose-your-own-adventure books and the like, this looked right up my alley.
The physical presence of the game first caught my eye with multiple full-color adventure books, tokens, character sheets, cards, maps and props. The presentation is first class. The boxed set comes with a ton of items all for a retail price of $59.95.
Touted as the first game of its kind using a story play system called "Oracle," Legacy of Dragonholt accommodates one to six gamers. Play time is as long as you want it to be. A group or solo gamer can play for 10 minutes or 2 hours, picking up where the last adventure ended. Each adventure book (there are seven) in the game set has a convenient time duration right on the cover, so gamers know what they are getting into.
Where many of the roleplaying games I have enjoyed in the past rely on charts, tables and dice rolls, Legacy of Dragonholt relies more on storytelling. At the core of the game are the many choices that need to be made during a continuous narrative. Passages in the books provide a rich and detailed story allowing certain choices to be made if the appropriate skills, previous choices or time elements are present. This game can be compared to advanced versions of the many choose-your-own-adventure stories on the market.
Did I mention there are no dice? At this point some readers may be crying "blasphemy." A roleplaying game without dice? That's impossible. But it's not. Believe me, I was skeptical at first, but the game just works. Imagine reading the most developed, engrossing choose-your-own-adventure novel of your life, and you're close to what "Legacy of Dragonholt" delivers.
The first step for all participants is to create an avatar to explore the world of Terrinoth. Building a character took about a half hour. Character sheets are provided in the box. Players will choose a fantasy race, class, and skills along with fleshing out a background story, physical description and personality traits. I personally selected to play Nimblenose Tenderfoot, a catfolk apothecary (good at making potions) who is interested in all things magical.
Once gamers have their characters, the adventure begins by reading the first passage of the first adventure book. The text sucks gamers right into a narrative about traveling together with a gnome and an orc to the village of Dragonholt. The players are headed there because an old friend sent a mysterious letter requesting their help. As for the orc and gnome, you have to figure out why they're traveling to Dragonholt on your own. What's amazing about this game is the incredible level of detail and interactivity. For example, the letter summoning you to the village of Dragonholt is an actual prop that comes in the game. Players may read and study the actual, physical letter for clues as they begin to unlock a great mystery.
Besides the overarching mystery story "Legacy of Dragonholt" presents, players can become distracted by side quests, adventures, politics, friendships and more. The game changes and reacts depending on the decisions made by the players. Kill a certain character and it alters the game. Burn down a building in town and it ceases to exist. The possibilities are endless, which makes this game highly replayable.
The six separate adventures in the game are: To New Roads, A Sliver of Silver, Terror on the Prairie, Paper Faces, Whispering Leaves and Crypt of Kharthuun. There is also the thickest adventure book in the box, Dragonholt Village.
I love the way the game eliminates the problems created by one player dominating all of the decisions. It is by using decisions tokens. Each player has one and when he or she makes a decision in the game, his or her token is exhausted. Until it refreshes, that player can't make the final decision anymore. Tokens are refreshed when all players have made a decision that affects the game. This is a brilliant mechanism and makes the game enjoyable for all.
As the story progresses, the players' characters will grow and become better. They acquire items, learn secrets, increase skills and eventually unravel a grand mystery. The sheer scope of this game is absolutely amazing and I can't help but wonder how much time and detail went into it.
"Legacy of Dragonholt" is the perfect storytelling game for families. I can see an entire family sit down together and have a ball with this game. Keep in mind that it is a narrative storytelling adventure with some roleplaying. If that sounds at all interesting, you've got to try this game. If it does sound fun, go out and get a copy of it today. You will not be disappointed. I HIGHLY recommend this game and will personally be playing it and enjoying it for weeks and months to come. To find out more about this unique and exciting game, read the game description here.
In closing, I don't want to be greedy, but the future potential for this type of game makes me stay up nights thinking about the possibilities. I hope this product does well so there are more products like it in the future. Fantasy Flight Games is a great company and I have full confidence they will do a great job with it. They seem to have an excellent pulse about the people who enjoy their games. Speaking of pulse, mine is racing. I think it's time to head back to Dragonholt village. Where's my staff and cloak?