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Lord of the Rings Roleplaying Early Access

TGG Reviews Defenders of the Realm

Defenders of the Realm (Eagle Games)Game Name: Defenders of the Realm

Publisher: Eagle Games

Designer: Richard Launius

Artist: Larry Elmore

Genre: Tower defense board game

Players: One to four players

Ages: 13+

Playing time: 90 Minutes

MSRP: $84.99

If you’ve ever wondered what you might have if you mashed up Pandemic and Castle Panic into one game, Eagle Games’ new Defenders of the Realm is going to be right up your alley.

Defenders of the Realm is a game about a group of heroes valiantly fighting against an onslaught of creatures laying siege to the kingdom. It is a cooperative game, with the person who completes the most quests being crowned the King’s Champion.

Each player starts in Monarch City (the center location on the board) with their hero. Four generals (Orc, Demon, Dragonkin, and Undead) begin at the four corners of the board with their troops already beginning rampant run through the land. The object of the game is to slay the generals before they reach Monarch City or overrun and taint the land.Every hero has several special powers. The Wizard can teleport and cast fireballs, the thief can pass through enemy units and gains extra cards, the elf can attack from adjacent spaces and gains a bonus in wooded areas, and so on. Players also start with a hand of five hero cards and a quest card. The quests are tasks that may be attempted during the course of play and are universally helpful. When one quest is completed another is drawn immediately.

Defenders of the Realm Board (Eagle Games)

The cards are used to augment movement or clean the land of taint or, most importantly, fight generals. Each card has a suit representing one of four generals, one or two dice icons, a location and a symbol representing different types of movement. There are also a few special cards with specific effects in the mix.

Each Hero has 5-6 action points with which they move, fight, or perform actions such as building gates (to speed up travel) or delving for rumors. Once created, players may move between permanent gates for one action point. Building a gate or two is usually crucial to winning the game! Heroes move one space per action unless they have a special movement power. Players can discard a card with a movement icon for extra movement or to jump to another space listed on the card. Cards with icons of Horses move two, Rocs move four, and gates let you jump.

The monsters quickly flood the map and players will be busy driving them from the land. For an action point you can attack every minion in a space regardless of how many there are. You roll a die for each monster. Orcs are killed on a 3-6, Demons and undead on a 4-6, and dragonkin on a 5-6. Damage is taken if a hero ends the turn in a space with remaining monsters.

Each opposing army has its own unique challenges. Orcs spawn ridiculously fast, the Undead cause two damage per unit instead of one, Demons taint the land faster, and the Dragonkin are just plain difficult to kill. Whenever three monsters inhabit an area and more are called for, they spill into all the adjacent areas – one of the mechanics very similar to Pandemic – thus leading to more monster mayhem. Also, four minions in an area – three if they are demons – cause the area to become tainted.  

Defenders of the Realm Cleric (Eagle Games)

The players lose if too many areas of the land become tainted, if a Darkness Spreads card is played calling for more minions to be added to the board and none are left to draw, or if five minions or a general are in Monarch city. How do the players win? Simply by killing the four generals before any of the previously mentioned situations arise.

To kill a general, the minions in area must be eliminated. Then a player discards cards of the general’s suit and rolls a die for each die icon on each of the cards. The generals have the same target number as the troops but each general has a special power that makes the fights more challenging. Slaying the general by landing the killing blow grants the slayer title, making the troops of that general much easier to kill. However, more often than not players must team up to contribute enough cards in order to create a larger dice pool in order to bring the general down.

As generals are slain, the game picks up more steam. Toward the end, as the taint and minion count population skyrockets, it’s a mad dash to take out the last general as he hurdles toward Monarch City!

Seeing I’m one of those few people out there who wasn’t really enamored by Pandemic (yes, burn me at the stake) I was fairly reserved when I sat down to give Defenders of the Realm a try. Maybe it’s due to the theme, or the abilities heroes have and gain throughout the game, or the various actions to be taken in a given turn, or maybe even the epic feel but I’ve enjoyed each and every game. Keep in mind, even with the comparisons, you’ll find that Defenders of the Realm takes quite a bit longer to play than Pandemic.

Jeff McAleer

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7 Comments

  1. This photo used in this review was taken by me (EndersGame), and is a copyright picture that was taken from boardgamegeek.com and posted here without permission. I do sometimes allow my pictures to be posted elsewhere, but only with appropriate credit and upon request, neither of which happened in this instance. Please request permission to use this picture in the appropriate manner, out of courtesy, and as required by copyright law. Thanks!

    Reply
  2. I certainly meant absolutely no disrespect by posting the earlier image that was included in my Defenders of the Realm review over on The Gaming Gang. I didn’t pull the photo from BGG but from another website (of which I have no clue as to what it was at the moment) that had no indication that it was a copyrighted image of yours – or of anyone else. I did pull down the image as soon as I saw your comment in my email this morning and, to be very honest, also "unapproved" your comment until I was able to get home from work; writing a detailed apology on a Droid X, during a 15 minute coffee break, is a daunting task. Now that I have an opportunity to respond I once again approved the comment.

    I don’t pick and chose the comments that are posted on the site unless they are obviously spam.

    I screwed up and will take personal responsibility for using an image that I believed to be copyright-free and posted as public domain. Since the game isn't at the moment in my collection, I was reviewing someone else’s copy of the game and hadn’t had a chance to take photos of the game set up at all. Rick at FRED of course had given me permission to use any of thier photos available.

    Once again, I did not mean to be discourteous in the least bit, by posting the image, and I offer my sincerest apology!

    Reply
  3. Copyright violation? I just browsed through some of your reviews, and found two more of my images that have been pulled from BGG and included in your other reviews without my permission – both are dated after this first incident. I can appreciate an honest mistake the first time – but I find it hard to accept that it was accidental subsequently. As I mentioned in my initial post, I do get asked more often if my images can be used elsewhere, and in most cases I try to err on the side of generosity in giving permission, where appropriate credit is given. In both subsequent instances I was neither advised that my images would be used, nor was the courtesy of a request made – I only discovered this by browsing the reviews myself just now, and I’m disappointed to find out about it in this way. If there is an explanation, I would like to hear it. I’m not closing the door to you using my photos, by any means, but doing so without informing or asking me, or at the very least giving photographic credit, is both discourteous and inappropriate.

    Reply
  4. Ender please email me what two photos you’re talking about along with the associated copyright information for each photo and I will be happy to remove them from the site. To my knowledge the only photos we have used are A) from the company website itself – where we have permission to use them, B) have been emailed to us by a representative of the company, or C) used by permission where credit has been given.

    We don’t just troll photos from BGG willy nilly. So let me know what photos are in dispute and I will address them ASAP if they are under copyright to yourself.

    Reply
  5. Jeff has sent me a private message by way of explanation, thank you Jeff.

    Reply
  6. Once I finish editing the podcast I’ll be addressing this both here and on BGG. I was made aware that we also have a photo that Bruce Murphy took as well and I’m seeing if there are any other images that we should not have posted or should make edits to.

    Reply
  7. Just a quick rule note. Undead do not cause two damage per unit. They cause one damage per unit just like the rest of the minion types. But they also cause fear. Any space with any number of undead minions will cause only 1 extra damage from fear. So a space with 3 Undead will cause 4 damage and a space with 2 Orcs and 1 Undead will cause 4 damage.

    Reply

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Our Summary

TGG Reviews Defenders of the Realm

I was fairly reserved when I sat down to give Defenders of the Realm a try. Maybe it’s due to the theme, or the abilities heroes have and gain throughout the game, or the various actions to be taken in a given turn, or maybe even the epic feel but I’ve enjoyed each and every game.
9
Excellent
DoomTurtleJust a quick rule note. Undead do not cause two damage per unit. They cause one damage per unit just like the rest of the minion types. But they also cause fear. Any space with any number of undead minions will cause only 1 extra damage from fear. So a space with 3 Undead will cause 4 damage and a space with 2 Orcs and 1 Undead will cause 4 damage....
Jeff McAleerOnce I finish editing the podcast I'll be addressing this both here and on BGG. I was made aware that we also have a photo that Bruce Murphy took as well and I'm seeing if there are any other images that we should not have posted or should make edits to....
EndersGameJeff has sent me a private message by way of explanation, thank you Jeff....
Jeff McAleerEnder please email me what two photos you're talking about along with the associated copyright information for each photo and I will be happy to remove them from the site. To my knowledge the only photos we have used are A) from the company website itself - where we have permission to use them, B) have been emailed to us by a representative of the company, or C) used by permission where credit has been given.We don't just troll photos from BGG willy nilly. So let me know what photos are in dispute and I will address them ASAP if they are under copyright to yourself....
EndersGameCopyright violation? I just browsed through some of your reviews, and found two more of my images that have been pulled from BGG and included in your other reviews without my permission - both are dated after this first incident. I can appreciate an honest mistake the first time - but I find it hard to accept that it was accidental subsequently. As I mentioned in my initial post, I do get asked more often if my images can be used elsewhere, and in most cases I try to err on the side of generosity in giving permission, where appropriate credit is given. In both subsequent instances I was neither advised that my images would be used, nor was the courtesy of a request made - I only discovered this by browsing the reviews myself just now, and I'm disappointed to find out about it in this way. If there is an explanation, I would like to hear it. I'm not closing the door to you using my photos, by any means, but doing so without informing or asking me, or at the very least giving photographic credit, is both discourteous and inappropriate....
Jeff McAleerI certainly meant absolutely no disrespect by posting the earlier image that was included in my Defenders of the Realm review over on The Gaming Gang. I didn’t pull the photo from BGG but from another website (of which I have no clue as to what it was at the moment) that had no indication that it was a copyrighted image of yours - or of anyone else. I did pull down the image as soon as I saw your comment in my email this morning and, to be very honest, also "unapproved" your comment until I was able to get home from work; writing a detailed apology on a Droid X, during a 15 minute coffee break, is a daunting task. Now that I have an opportunity to respond I once again approved the comment. I don’t pick and chose the comments that are posted on the site unless they are obviously spam. I screwed up and will take personal responsibility for using an image that I believed to be copyright-free and posted as public domain. Since the game isn't at the moment in my collection, I was reviewing someone else’s copy of the game and hadn’t had a chance to take photos of the game set up at all. Rick at FRED of course had given me permission to use any of thier photos available. Once again, I did not mean to be discourteous in the least bit, by posting the image, and I offer my sincerest apology!...

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7 Comments

  1. This photo used in this review was taken by me (EndersGame), and is a copyright picture that was taken from boardgamegeek.com and posted here without permission. I do sometimes allow my pictures to be posted elsewhere, but only with appropriate credit and upon request, neither of which happened in this instance. Please request permission to use this picture in the appropriate manner, out of courtesy, and as required by copyright law. Thanks!

    Reply
  2. I certainly meant absolutely no disrespect by posting the earlier image that was included in my Defenders of the Realm review over on The Gaming Gang. I didn’t pull the photo from BGG but from another website (of which I have no clue as to what it was at the moment) that had no indication that it was a copyrighted image of yours – or of anyone else. I did pull down the image as soon as I saw your comment in my email this morning and, to be very honest, also "unapproved" your comment until I was able to get home from work; writing a detailed apology on a Droid X, during a 15 minute coffee break, is a daunting task. Now that I have an opportunity to respond I once again approved the comment.

    I don’t pick and chose the comments that are posted on the site unless they are obviously spam.

    I screwed up and will take personal responsibility for using an image that I believed to be copyright-free and posted as public domain. Since the game isn't at the moment in my collection, I was reviewing someone else’s copy of the game and hadn’t had a chance to take photos of the game set up at all. Rick at FRED of course had given me permission to use any of thier photos available.

    Once again, I did not mean to be discourteous in the least bit, by posting the image, and I offer my sincerest apology!

    Reply
  3. Copyright violation? I just browsed through some of your reviews, and found two more of my images that have been pulled from BGG and included in your other reviews without my permission – both are dated after this first incident. I can appreciate an honest mistake the first time – but I find it hard to accept that it was accidental subsequently. As I mentioned in my initial post, I do get asked more often if my images can be used elsewhere, and in most cases I try to err on the side of generosity in giving permission, where appropriate credit is given. In both subsequent instances I was neither advised that my images would be used, nor was the courtesy of a request made – I only discovered this by browsing the reviews myself just now, and I’m disappointed to find out about it in this way. If there is an explanation, I would like to hear it. I’m not closing the door to you using my photos, by any means, but doing so without informing or asking me, or at the very least giving photographic credit, is both discourteous and inappropriate.

    Reply
  4. Ender please email me what two photos you’re talking about along with the associated copyright information for each photo and I will be happy to remove them from the site. To my knowledge the only photos we have used are A) from the company website itself – where we have permission to use them, B) have been emailed to us by a representative of the company, or C) used by permission where credit has been given.

    We don’t just troll photos from BGG willy nilly. So let me know what photos are in dispute and I will address them ASAP if they are under copyright to yourself.

    Reply
  5. Jeff has sent me a private message by way of explanation, thank you Jeff.

    Reply
  6. Once I finish editing the podcast I’ll be addressing this both here and on BGG. I was made aware that we also have a photo that Bruce Murphy took as well and I’m seeing if there are any other images that we should not have posted or should make edits to.

    Reply
  7. Just a quick rule note. Undead do not cause two damage per unit. They cause one damage per unit just like the rest of the minion types. But they also cause fear. Any space with any number of undead minions will cause only 1 extra damage from fear. So a space with 3 Undead will cause 4 damage and a space with 2 Orcs and 1 Undead will cause 4 damage.

    Reply

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