There’s nothing I love more than epic fantasy and adorable things, so when I first saw the trailer for Armello, I was sold. A few of my friends and I downloaded it one weekend, set up our accounts, and decided to test out this strange title.
We couldn’t put it down.
Armello is a digital board game based around the idea of corruption in a high-fantasy setting. It’s won accolades all over the gaming industry, from IGF, Eurogamer, Indiecade, and the Australian Game Developers Awards. And honestly? It’s well worth the hype.
Let me show you why I fell in love with Armello.
The Rot – Armello’s Compelling Story
The kingdom of Armello is under siege from the inside. The once-loved king of the Wyld has fallen prey to the dreaded Rot, a magical corruption that overtakes the body. Now, his dark minions roam the land, and the clans – Wolves, Bears, Rabbits, Rats, Dragons, and more – have had enough.
You take on the role of an epic hero from one of the clans, and your goal? Dethrone the king by whatever means necessary and take the crown for your clan to save the kingdom from ultimate destruction.
The fun thing about Armello’s story is that it’s told through books you can unlock for free. And they’re real books! The developers included actual novellas that reveal the stories of the King, the Rot, and all of the heroes. You also get hints in everything from the prologue cutscene and the descriptions of the cards to the collectible dice sets and the hero load-outs.
All of it gives you an intriguing look behind the mechanics of the fascinating world the game is set in. As a writer, this was more than enough to get me interested and keep me hooked.
How to Dethrone the King – Playing and Winning Armello
Armello is a digital board game. This means that you play by moving your character a certain number of times per round through a board of hexagonal spaces. You can play item, magic, and trickery cards to yourself, your competition, and the board itself to make things easier for you and harder for everyone else.
When you encounter another player, a King’s Guard, or a Bane – a dark creature corrupted by Rot – you enter a battle. The combat system is simple; the outcome is determined by the rolling of dice based on your statistics. If you roll enough attacks to kill your opponent without dying yourself, you win!
There are four ways to win a round of Armello.
- Assassination Victories are exactly what they sound like – you can win by infiltrating the castle and defeating the king in one-on-one combat.
- Spirit Stone Victories rely on the mysterious Spirit Stones, which convey the life-saving power of the Wyld. Collecting four of them, entering the castle, and interacting with the king will purge the Rot from his body and kill him, letting you take the throne.
- Rot Victories are similar to Assassination victories, but with a twist – if you gather more Rot than the king before you kill him, you become the next dark, corrupted ruler.
- Prestige Victories are for those who prefer not to fight at all, but instead gather townships in their name and points of political power. If the king dies of Rot poisoning before anyone can kill him, then the player with the most Prestige points wins.
What I love about this is that there’s a way to win for every play style. You don’t have to build the strongest character to win, and you don’t even have to win as a good guy! The victory conditions can tell a thousand different stories depending on the character you play, which means that every round of Armello is unique and fresh.
Playing Armello with Friends
Honestly, one of Armello’s best qualities is its multiplayer capability. The game has some crossover capability – if you’re playing on Steam, you can play with someone using the Switch version. On top of that, setting up a friendly game is super fun. You and your friends pick your favorite characters (you can even select your NPCs) and then battle it out.
I’m terrible about playing trickery cards to my friends’ characters to get ahead of them. Unfortunately for me, my boyfriend is more of a Rot victory player, so he tends to stomp me into the ground. Having a bunch of different play styles together means you have to use all of your faculties to win.
Speaking from experience? You get sucked in for hours.
It’s also random enough to be entertaining. You get new cards with every round, new challenges set by the king, and even a completely new board setup to navigate. No one can have the advantage of memorizing layouts or cards, so everyone starts on a fairly level playing field.
It’s a great game to play if you’re competitive and enjoy regular board and deck-building games, especially with long-distance friends.
Armello is a ridiculously fun game. With simple to pick up mechanics, hundreds of collectibles, and a mysterious story to tear apart, it’s really got something for any tabletop player.
Armello is available on PC, PlayStation, Xbox, and Switch.
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Image courtesy of League of Geeks.
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