Monday, July 15, 2024

Avatar The Last Airbender: Crossroads Of Destiny Transforms Aang’s Journey Into A Fun Co-Op Adventure

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We’re big fans of the Avatar world here at The Fandomentals, and this year is set up to be a good year for the franchise thanks to a live-action series and other rumored franchise developments set to unfold. So naturally when Funko Games gave me the chance to check out their game that adapted Avatar: The Last Airbender to the tabletop I jumped at it. Avatar The Last Airbender: Crossroads of Destiny is not the first game to bring the series into the world of board games nor will it be the last. Yet despite the series’ enduring popularity this title felt deeply overlooked when people discuss the board games of 2023. Could be it was overshadowed by Magpie’s TTRPG release, could be that people still refuse to give Funko’s releases a fair shake. Either way, let’s take a look at Funko’s newest foray into the world of Avatar. Yip-yip!

What’s In The Box?

  • Book of Challenges
  • Book of Challenges Clip
  • Rulebook
  • Journey Tracker
  • 2 Journey Tracker clips
  • 3 Enemy Strength cubes
  • 14 Enemy Movers
  • 8 Enemy cards
  • 12 Wound cards
  • 9 Ally cards
  • 4 Hero mats
  • 4 Hero mat clips
  • 4 White Lotus tokens
  • 88 Action cards
  • 15 Encounter cards
  • 4 acrylic Hero movers
  • 12 Element tiles
  • 10 objective tokens
  • 6 challenge tokens

How’s It Play?

Avatar The Last Airbender Crossroads of Destiny hero cards
Aang player mat and skill cards

The basic idea of the game is similar to other adventure games that utilize an adventure book. Rather than a set board, the game moves between different pages of the book and each one contains its own board and scenario. Each scenario gets more difficult over time by adding new challenges, new enemies, and more complex goals to overcome. The different boards also spread out resources and movement area to increase the difficulty while new enemies like Azula begin to replace the basic Fire Nation mooks. Everything is co-op and each round the order of play can change. No one person goes first. The strategy in the game is as much about setting up your allies to best use their powers as it is about simply completing objectives.

Each player picks one of the members of The Gaang, each of whom has their own health bar, ability, and deck of skills. At the beginning of the game your skills deck is limited but as you continue on you can add to it and customize it, allowing you to not just show the growth of your character but have their skills better fit the needs of the party as a whole. It’s a slightly understated change to regular deckbuilding but it’s an interesting one. These skill cards are what you do to attack, defend, heal, and do most things on the board. Some actions are “basic” and reside on your player mat and instead are accomplished by discarding skill cards. Attacks, movement, and interaction are all basic actions. What their cost is in number of cards played varies between characters and can change as well.

Combat relies simply on dealing damage up close or at range, with enemies of the same type all sharing the same strength (health bar). Players also have a health bar, which when it drops low enough gets you a “wound” card. It’s not a complex system but the game is more focused on strategy and problem solving than exciting fights.

You can do individual scenarios or you can take part in a “journey,” where you follow Aang & Co’s adventure while raising your own strength and lowering that of the Fire Nation. As you go you’ll get new cards, new allies (once a game cards with powerful abilities) and replay some of the memorable stories from the original show. Many of these take the form of challenges, which are fun little memory, stacking, or matching puzzles that help break the game up and work some different parts of your brain.

The Verdict?

The Avatar series doesn’t have the world’s strongest pedigree for mind-blowing games, but fans have never been short on titles that lovingly render the world of the show on the tabletop. Crossroads of Destiny is no different, perfectly tracing the total arc of the show from beginning to end with engaging gameplay that has much of the charm you’d expect from a Prospero Hall design. It has many similarities with other storybook games but easily distinguishes itself with some quirky puzzle and storytelling elements. I particularly like the way the game melds the mechanics with the story, which is kind of essential for titles like this. Is it something a non-fan of the title will enjoy? I don’t think so. But for people still champing at the bit for more Aang, Katara, Toph, and Sokka you can’t get much better than this.

You can grab Avatar: The Last Airbender: Crossroads of Destiny from Amazon or your FLGS at an MSRP of $32.99

Images via Funko Games and Nickelodeon

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