Andor: The Family Fantasy Game is a new board game from Kosmos Games. It is based on the popular Legends of Andor board game series. The original “Legends of Andor” game won the Spiel des Jahres Kennerspiel des Jahres in 2013, which is kind of like winning the Academy Award for Best Board Game. Additional expansions for Legends of Andor have been released since since 2013.
The “Legends of Andor” is a cooperative board game for 2–4 heroes. Each hero takes on the role of a dwarf, archer, wizard, or warrior–each with unique skills–and all must work together to battle the ever-encroaching enemy forces in the land of Andor.
Andor – The Family Fantasy Game is a rethinking of the original game with families in mind. Think of it like a Legends of Andor Junior. It was designed by Inka and Markus Brand and it is a little easier to play than the original game.
Andor – The Family Fantasy Game is for 2-4 players, ages 7 and up, and it takes approximately 30-45 minutes to play a campaign. In this new version of Andor, you will be playing younger versions of the heroes from the original game, and you will go on missions just like in the original game. In the original game, your missions were called “Legends”, thus getting the title “Legends of Andor”. In this new version, your missions are simply called Tasks. Every mission involves solving puzzles cooperatively, and rescuing wolf cubs from a cave before a dragon attacks your home city of Rietburg.
Here is a look at the original Legends of Andor board layout vs the new Andor: The Family Fantasy Game board layout. Both have a similar feel to the.
Original – Legends of Andor:
New – Andor: The Family Fantasy Game:
What’s in the Box?
- 1 Game Board
- 18 Night Marker
- 4 Hero Boards
- 18 Characters (8 Heroes, 1 Bridge Guard, 7 Gors, 1 Troll, 1 Dragon)
- 18 Plastic holders for the game figures
- 12 Wooden Dice (4x blue, 3 x green, 3 x yellow, 1 x purple, 1 x red)
- 27 Wooden Sun Discs
- 3 Well tokens
- 3 Torch tokens
- 38 Fog tokens
- 10 Mine tokens
- 29 Task tokens
- 12 Task cards
The box is a typical sized game box that is 11.5″ x 11.5″ x 2.5″. The board opens up to be 22″ x 17″. The game board looks great on the table.
How does Andor play? What is the storyline?
A massive storm just hit Andor. A mother wolf in Rietburg has lost her 3 wolf cubs during the storm. As a young band of adventures, you and your comrades set off into the wilds of Andor to try to find the wolf puppies. And you need to find the wolf puppies before a sly dragon reaches your home city of Rietburg.
The game basically come with 4 different challenges (adventures), and 10 tasks for you to complete. Each challenge takes 30 to 45 minutes and the challenges get progressively harder each time you play the game. In the first challenge you essentially have 3 tasks:
- Find some special plants hidden in Andor. The plants will make you smell great, and the wolf cubs like you more.
- Help an injured falcon. Falcons help the heroes scout for enemies in the mines. You need to rescue the injured falcon and bring it back to Rietburg to heal it.
- Then, and only then, are you allowed to cross the bridge into the Dwarven Mine to look for the 3 wolf cubs.
There is no killing in this game. And your characters never get injured during a battle. Your group is usually tasked with finding items in Andor, and driving away Dragons, Gors and Trolls. Gors continually march their way to Rietburg, and you need to keep them at bay, while also exploring Andor’s fog.
Characters and Character Boards
Just like in the original Andor game, you can play either a Warrior, a Magician, an Archer, or a Dwarf. Each character has their own Hero Board, their own Standee, and their own unique set of colored dice. There are male of female versions of each character.
The Warriors and Magicians are great at driving away enemies. The Dwarfs can move quickly through caves and are great at finding wolf cubs in the dark. And the Archers are untiring rangers of the forest, and essentially get more more moves than the other character.
Your character card holds sun discs, your dice and a loot bag. You use up sun disc tokens to move around the board. A day consists of 6 moves for everyone, except for archers who get 9 moves per day.
There are over 60 different areas you can visit on the Andor map board. 39 of them are covered in fog. If you finish your turn on a space with a fog token, you must explore the fog (by flipping it over) and resolve the fog token. Some fog tokens are bad for your group. Some fog tokens are good for your group. You might get lucky and find money, swords, wood, telescopes, hourglasses or vendors. Or you might get unlucky and wake a Gor, or stir up the Dragon! These fog tokens make every game unique and dynamic.
The Dragon and Gors
The Dragon is essentially the game’s variable clock. The Dragon starts the game on the top of the board, a considerable distance from Rietburg. If the dragon ever reaches Rietburg, you lose.
Every night, the sly Dragon moves closer to Rietburg and more Gors come out onto to the board map. Gors that are still on the map at the end of a day also march ever closer to Rietburg. If Gors reach the castle, they sound an alarm letting the dragon know he can fly even closer to Rietburg.
Every time you drive a Gor back though, you drive the Dragon back a square too. So it buys you more game time to defeat the Gors.
Likes, Dislikes and Final Thoughts
Andor: The Family Fantasy Game is actually a fairly simple game to teach and learn. You can teach this game to someone in just a few minutes, and everyone will be ready to go. An adult will have to read through the 12 pages of rules to learn the basics of the game. The rulebook might look a bit intimidating at first – being 12 pages long, but don’t let that scare you off. The rulebook is in full color, easy to read, and does a fantastic job of explaining the game. I would recommend reading the rulebook, and then watching a YouTube video on the game before your first playthrough.
I like the fact that there are heroes and heroines. I am the only male in my household. I can play a male character, and my wife and daughters can play female characters if they want.
The artwork in this game is perfect for the age range. The original Legends of Andor had beautiful artwork too, but it was more geared to adults. This family friendly version has more whimsical artwork, more akin to Saturday Morning Cartoons.
The components are nice, and there are a lot of pieces here. There are over 100 components when you add up all the characters, dice, fog tokens, task tokens, etc. You feel like you are getting money’s worth in this box.
The dice are great. Each character gets their own set of custom dice. The Magician only gets one die, but it is considerably larger than the other character’s dice, and has very powerful roll chances. You might need to roll 3 swords on your dice to scare away some Gors, but a Magician just needs to roll one Flash of Light to drive away any Gor!
This game plays well at all player counts. The dragon starts farther away from Rietburg in 2 player games. The dragon will start closer to Rietburg in a 4 player game, but you have more characters to fight off Gors.
Gameplay time. Your very first game might take a little longer than 30-45 minutes to play through. But after the first challenge, and after everyone learns gameplay, games won’t overstay their welcome. We played our 2nd adventure in just 35 minutes. Setting up the game board takes a wee bit of time though.
There can be a lot of luck in this game. You might have games where every fog token reveals a Gor. You might roll a 3 every time you roll the Dragon Die, and the dragon moves too fast towards Rietburg. You might be stirring the Dragon in the Dwarven Mine every time you try to uncover wolf cubs. That’s just the nature of the game.
All the characters are white. I think as the game is made in Germany, there isn’t as much diversity as we have in the United States.
Replay Value – Replay Value is a slight ding across all Andor Games. There are a specific number of adventures in each game box. This family version of Andor has 4 challenges and 10 tasks. After that, you have essentially beat the main storyline of the game. You can then create your own adventures by mixing up task cards, or look online to see if any fans have created adventures for the game. The official German game site has a new adventure for download, but it is in German. Hopefully it will get translated into English soon. 😉
Fantasy games usually have a good story behind them. I don’t quite understand the story behind this particular game. How does finding the 3 wolf cubs drive away the dragon from Rietburg? I don’t know. So, we came up with our own storyline … we decided that the mother wolf was a large Dire Wolf – like in Game of Thrones. And that Dragons are very scared of Dire Wolves. And that the mother wolf is too distraught to scare off the Dragon since she doesn’t have her pups. Poof! Now the story makes a little more sense. 😛
Andor: The Family Fantasy Board Game is very fun game. It is also a great introductory game before diving deeper into other “Legends of Andor” games. The gaming concepts tie together very well. The games are fairly similar, with this version being just a little easier.
The co-op nature of this game is excellent. Each character has a unique ability. And players have to work together to solve the tasks at hand. The very first task we had involved rescuing an injured Falcon. Discussion at the table was something like: “Dad, take your dwarf underground through the mines to other side of the map and pick up the injured Falcon. We will clear your path of fog. Then meet up with the Archer and hand the Falcon over to the Archer. The Archer has more actions during the day, and can run it back quickly while you sleep. The Warrior and the Magician will clear the fog and drive away Gors for you guys.” Then you all work independently on your tasks for the greater good of the team.
The Gors and the Dragon change the game quickly overnight, and throw wrenches into your daily plans. You might be really close to rescuing the wolf pups, but the Dragon is about to fly into Rietburg. Everyone might have to drop what they’re doing, and fend off all the Gors on the board to drive that Dragon back to a reasonable distance. Or if you were lucky enough to find a log in a fog token, you can run the wood back to the Watch Tower and burn it, and light a giant fire to scare the Dragon back too.
I realize there are only 4 adventures/campaigns in this box. One time adventure games (like the fantastic Exit Games) never really bothered me. Andor costs about $35 and thus each campaign costs about $9. That is cheaper than going to the movies these days
All in all, this gets a huge thumbs up from me. Andor: The Family Fantasy Game is a great way to show new gamers how fun cooperative board games can be.