By Rick Teverbaugh
The Herald Bulletin
— Thunderstone, though one of the earliest games in the deck building series, hasn’t lost any steam at all through the recent release of the game’s fifth expansion, Heart of Doom.
Heart of Doom adds well over 200 cards to add to the stockpile of options players have when adventuring with Thunderstone. There are a couple of new rules as well. But this expansion, more than anything else, feels like an ending of sorts to this first section of what I’m sure will be a continuing saga.
This is from the game description on the website at Alderac Entertainment Group:
“For years heroes have roamed the world searching for the legendary Thunderstones. Now, with seven in hand, the heroes must find the final stone of legend, to seal away the destructive entity known only as Doom. With the location of the eighth stone still unknown, he has begun to appear in the world. Time has run out, the heroes must face Doom on his terms!
“Thunderstone: Heart of Doom brings to a climax the battle that has been building since the first release! Heart of Doom introduces all new heroes, village cards, and new monsters to challenge your deck-building skills!
Heart of Doom also features the battle with Doom, including a special scenario to bring war to the ultimate evil!”
Certainly the Heart of Doom Thunderstone card should only be added to the mix only by the most time-tested of the Thunderstone players and only to games where several of the Thunderstones from past expansions are used as well.
One of the criticisms leveled at the game is that there is often very little consequence to losing a battle with most of the monsters that are encountered throughout the course of the game. That is certainly not true of the Heart of Doom. Failure to defeat that card means an instant ,loss for the player who didn’t pass that test.
Heart of Doom contains seven new heroes to help lead your group to victory. It also has 13 new items to be put in the village for purchase by your heroes. There are monsters fronm the following classes; abyssal, basilisks, doppelgangers, dryads, lizardfolk, spiders and the undead.
Heart of Doom can’t be played on its own. The gamer must already have the original Thunderstone or Thunderstone; Dragonspire to be able to use Heart of Doom.
When Thunderstone first appeared nearly three years ago, there was much enthusiasm and equal amounts of skepticism. The enthusiasm has continued unabated as many find it is the most thematic of the entire deck building genre of games. Much of skepticism has proven unfounded as well. Designer Mike Elliott has proven to have a wealth of ideas to keep fans entertained and challenged without making the game overly complex.
The game can still be played by two in an hour or less with playing time increasing as more players are added up to the maximum of five.
Perhaps the most encouraging thing about Heart of Doom in the long term can be found in large blue letters on the back of the expansion’s rules booklet. It says: “Thunderstone will return in 2012 with a new world of adventure.” Those of us who greatly enjoy this game system and the world it has carved, that prospect is an exciting one for sure.