The Liberation of Rietburg – A game in the World of Andor – is a new stand-alone board game from Kosmos games. You do not need to own, or know anything about, the original “Legends of Andor” board game to enjoy the Liberation of Rietburg. The Liberation of Rietburg is a cooperative game that references one specific location in the world of Andor. The world of Andor provides the flavor and atmosphere for this new game.
What is Legends of Andor?
In 2013, Legends of Andor won the prestigious “Kennerspiel des Jahres” (Experienced Gamers – Game of the Year).
Legends of Andor is a popular cooperative board game for 2 to 4 heroes. The heroes are trying to protect the Land of Andor from evil creatures and complete quests along the way. The game is played in 5 “Legends”. Legends of Andor was very successful and spun off a handful of expansions. Legends of Andor is still in print, and you can find it at Amazon.com.
In the original Legends of Andor game, Rietburg Castle (in the NW corner on the map above) is attacked in one of the “Legends”. And the heroes must defend it. Rietburg Castle is being used again as a location in this independent, and newly designed game.
The Liberation of Rietburg Game Concept
From the manufacturer: “Rietburg Castle has been taken over by evil creatures. Without delay, you — the Heroes of Andor — apply yourselves to the task of rescuing old King Brandur’s fortress and protecting its remaining inhabitants. But time is of the essence. The dragon Tarok has already set out on his way to destroy the hated stronghold once and for all. The prophecy foretells that you can only prevent that if you are able to accomplish the four tasks that have been assigned to you. But which tasks are those?
Must you appease the Fire Spirit or kindle the Hadrian fire? Should you free prisoners from the creatures’ dungeons or submit to the will of the old Skral witch? You are going to have to find out. Deploy your hero cards with skill and defeat the creatures. But as soon as a hero has played all the cards, the top card of the narrator deck is turned over and new creatures enter the game.”
What’s in the The Liberation of Rietburg box?
As you can see in the image above, there are a lot of cards in Liiberation of Rietburg. The cards are nice quality, and are standard sized trading cards. The six hero standees are cardboard, and come with plastic holders (just like the original game).
There are six heroes to choose from in Liberation of Rietburg:
- Chada – Female Archer
- Thorn – Male Warrior (Sword Wielder)
- Kram – Male Dwarf (Axe Wielder)
- Eara – Sorceress (with Spell Books)
- Kheela – Female Wizard (with a Water Spirit)
- Orfen – Male Warrier (Sword Wielder)
Each Hero has a 3 to 4 card deck with unique powers.
The Liberation of Rietburg Gameplay
The game board is about 10″ x 13″. It does not take up a lot of room on the table. The board represents Rietburg castle, and has 6 locations on it: Throne Room; Forge; Outer Tower; Brandur’s Tower; the Dungeon; and the Gatehouse. The game is actually pretty easy to set up.
The goal of the game is to uncover, revealm and satisfy 4 of the 6 hidden Task cards. One Task card is placed face down at each location in the castle. Those Task cards are then covered by various monsters from the Legends of Andor at the start of the game. The monsters are Trolls, Gors, Skrals, Gorlots, Fluggers, Wardraks, etc. Some of the monsters will be face up, and others will be face down.
Liberation of Rietburg is played cooperatively with 2-4 players. Each player takes control of one Hero Token and that Hero’s deck.
Here is Chada’s Deck:
Chada’s Deck is a simple 3 card deck.
Chada’s cards are:
- Left – Attack something with 4 power / or Grab 1 Quiver and flip 1 Encounter Card Face Up / or use 3 Move Actions
- Middle – Attack with 2 Quiver Arrows (strengths vary) / or Flip an Encounter Card Face Up or Face Down / or Move 1 and Grab 1 Quiver
- Right – Take 1 Quiver and Attack with 1 Quiver / or Flip 2 Encounter Cards Face Up / or Take 1 Move Action and Flip an Encounter Card Face Up
Turns are easy. On her turn, the player controlling Chada will play one of her 3 cards face up on the table, and take one action on that card. Then her turn is over. She can not use that card again until she Revitalizes her hand (explained further below).
Play moves on to the next person. Thorn has 3 cards as well:
Thorn has somewhat similar actions on his cards. Except Thorn’s unique Power is the ability to take and use Willpower Tokens. Willpower tokens can enhance attacks to make them stronger. (Each character has a unique power).
During the game, players will play cards from their hand to move, reveal monsters, and defeat monsters. When a player runs out of cards in their hand, they will have to “Revitalize” their hands in order to get their cards back. They must skip a turn and reveal a Narrator Card, and perform the actions on the Narrator Cards.
Here are examples of some Encounter cards. These are monsters you must defeat in order to work your way down to the Task cards. The monster’s toughnesses are listed in the Upper Right hand corners of the cards. Some defeated monsters will reward you with gold. Some defeated monsters will reward you with friends to add to your deck.
Not all Encounter cards are monsters though. Some encounter cards will actually be useful items for your decks. Item cards are 1 time use, but they will help you gain the upper hand during difficult times.
Of the 45 creature cards, 11 have red backgrounds. These are stronger than normal enemies. These can be removed from the game for beginner players. They can be added back as you get more experienced with game play.
When you earn a friend, you get to add the card to your deck for the rest of the game. Nice!
There are 15 Task cards in the game. Six random Task cards will be hidden underneath monster Encounter cards each game. In order to win the game, players will have to uncover, reveal, and complete 4 of the Task cards. And you must do it before time runs out.
There are 22 Narrator cards in the game. Narrator cards serve two purposes:
- They add new Encounters to the game. Each Narrator Card usually places two encounter cards in different locations on the board.
- and Narrator cards are the in-game timer. You will start each game with a stack of 10 Narrator cards face down. When players “Revitalize” their hands, they have to reveal a Narrator card, and perform the actions on the cards. The Narrator card is discarded after use. And the Narrator deck has just gotten smaller. You are running out of time!
When the last card has been taken from the narrator deck, the reawakened dragon Tarok appears on the horizon. There’s still time to complete the four tasks before another card from the narrator deck has to be turned over for the next hero revitalization. If you fail to do it by then, you have failed to free Rietburg Castle and you have all lost together.
Likes, Dislikes, and Final Thoughts
The Liberation of Rietburg is a fun and satisfying Cooperative Board game. The game is a co-op puzzler similar to Pandemic and Castle Panic. Monsters keep popping up all over the castle, and you have to get there and dispose of them. You will have to work together with your friends to figure out the best way to defeat the monsters. Can one hero take down a big baddie on his own? Or do you all need to get to that location and attack as a group?
The game is very simple to teach and play. Your turns are simple: you basically move a hero, reveal a monster, or attack a monster. And sometimes you two of those things. But you will need to strategically coordinate your moves and attacks with your teammates to assure victory.
I like the Friend cards and Item cards. These cards let you make your decks just a little bit bigger, delaying your need to revitalize, thus increasing your chances to win the game. Friends always stay in your decks.
The game is very replayable. Players can try different heroes each game. There are enough Narrator cards, Encounter cards, Friend cards and Task cards to make each game feel new and fresh.
The cards are nice quality. This game plays in 40 minutes, which feels about right for a game like this.
I know I said the game is simple to teach and play, but that is provided someone at the table has already learned the game. One player is going to have to spend some time learning the game in detail so they can teach everyone.
The rulebook is relatively small, and uses a tiny font. The pictures in the rulebook are small too. You can have a look at the rulebook here. I actually think the rulebook is better to read on a computer screen, as you can blow it up a bit. Watching “How to Play” videos online will help newbies too.
The rulebook is also missing an FAQ section. I don’t even think there is an FAQ on the internet yet. And there is no section explaining individual cards. I imagine an FAQ section will pop up on the internet in the next few months.
The game uses a lot of symbols, but they only includes one set of symbol overview cards with the game. It would be nice if each player had their own set of overview cards for reference.
Cardboard standies for the heroes seems a bit underwhelming and dated to me. Sure, this matches what players used in the Original Legends of Andor game, but I would have loved a cool miniature to paint. But the heroes work just fine.
I enjoy this game quite a bit. I have taught The Liberation of Rietburg to a few other people, and they all have enjoyed the game as well. This is a family style co-op game. It is not a deep co-op game like Dungeons and Dragons.
As long as one person at the table knows the rules, they will be able to teach everyone else how to play in just a few minutes. This would be a great game for families that are looking for a new co-op, or even their first co-op type game. Solving each game puzzle together and saving the castle is a fun and rewarding experience.
The board is small, but is laid out very nicely. The layout is easy to understand. Setting up each game is fairly simple, and not time consuming at all.
This game retails for $29.99. This seems like a fair price for everything you get in the box.