Time to learn the game (translation = read the rules so that four adult lifelong gamers felt confident enough to play without asking too many questions) = 4 hours
Time to play fifteen turns which is half a session before losing to the head honcho bad guy because we were a whopping level two = 3 hours.
now I'll be the first to say that we made a few mistakes along the way but it was really our first time ever playing the game and making it through 15 turns of a 30 turn game is not bad.
It's not a bad game, it just takes EVERYTHING that the MMO did for you and gave you a mechanic for it. this game is NOT for your boardgame fanatic - unless of course you like half a bazillion tiny pieces, a load of d8's, mechanics for everything except breathing and needless complication. The rules made it harder than it was. By the time we got the hang of it, we were already three turns into it and making sound choices.
It really is a team game. You have to make choices with your team/faction on what to do and how to do it. You win or lose with your team/faction not alone. So I liked that part. Now that I've played it once, I'm better prepared to play it again. It wan't a bad game, but I'd sooner play Settlers of Catan or Carcassonne.... they are less complicated and easier to learn as you go.
While dedicated WoW players will get a kick out of the screencaps used to detail the different monsters, items, spells, abilities and tech tree abilities that are pulled directly from the game, there is little for the non-WoW player. We played because we were with friends and were having fun. I think if given a choice, we would have ended up playing Flux or Three Dragon Ante or even The Great Dalmuti before finishing setting this up ourselves!
Pros: 1.) Uses real things from WoW MMO as items/spells/abilities/talents
2.) Team game so teamwork is encouraged
3.) Great game to play with a social group
Cons:1.) Literally HUNDREDS of pieces
2.)Incredibly complex. needlessly so IMHO some rules don't need to be there (if there are three layers and 4 xp, determine who gets the remaining xp randomly... uh why can't we just say "Joe, take the xp!"??) I see most of these rules being house-ruled in the spirit of what is best for the team
3.) Even the beginner quests are often pass/fail
overall: while the game is 12 and up. I would make sure everyone at the table either has a GREAT amount of patience or that an adult and long time gamer has a FIRM grasp of the game so they can walk younger gamers through it as the game is taking place.
A hawk selects its prey as carefully as a falcon. Stalks it with the same unerring conviction. And fails as frequently - which is never.
I choose, I commit, I pursue, I adhere, I attain. And that, is an absolute.
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