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Game NameThunderstone – Thornwood Siege

Publisher: AEG

Designers: Mike Elliott and Brent Keith

Artists: Jason Engle, Brent Keith, and Hal Mangold

Year: 2011

Players: One to five players

Ages: 12+

Playing Time: 45 Minutes

Genre: Fantasy deck building game expansion

Retail Price: $34.99

Thornwood Siege is the fourth expansion for Thunderstone.  It brings new cards and new strategies, along with some new twists and turns to the games.  There are some new tokens to add a little persistence to effects in the game.

There are two new rules introduced in Thornwood Siege.  The first is Raid, which shows up on some monsters.  This rule lets monsters break loose in the village, causing havoc and destroying cards.  When a monster with the Raid ability is revealed, the active player is forced to destroy several cards in the village stacks.  Sometimes it could be two of the most expensive cards, or least expensive, or various other combinations.  So you were waiting to level up your Wizard?  Not anymore, the level three cards just got destroyed.

The second new rule is Stalk.  When revealed, a monster with the Stalk ability forces the active player to have some effect happen to them at the start of their next turn.  You might be forced to gain a disease card, discard a random card, or lose some gold, or be forced to visit the dungeon regardless of what cards you drew.  There are some tokens provided to you to remind you of what needs to happen on your next turn.

Monster classes introduced include the Centaurs, who all have the Stalk ability.  Zeuxis will automatically destroy one fighter during battle.  Siege Weapons have breech effects that destroy cards in the village and global effects that can really hurt.  You may end up having to destroy a hero every time you purchase one.  The Doomsday Bombard will destroy the top two cards from each village and hero stack when it breeches. Other monsters include the Abyssal Malformed, Verminfolk Animal (Ratmen), and the Humanoid Raiders, who have the new raid ability.

New heroes have emerged to battle these forces of evil.  The Nightblades are fighter-thieves .  At level three the Nightblade Assassin gets an extra +6 attack if equipped with an edged weapon with a weight of three or less, AND forces all the other players to discard a light item from their hand if they have one.  The Lurkers are simply thieves and at their worst will force every player to discard an item from their hand and can pick one up and use it in their current dungeon run.  The Veris are Wizards.  At level three all of your heroes will gain Light +2 and Attack +2 if they have weapons equipped.  The Enchanter himself also gains magical attack equal to the amount of light present.  The Krell are fighters and they go all the way up to level four.  At level four they get Attack +5.  All other players must reveal if they have any Militia, or discard one card at random.  You get an additional attack +2 for each militia revealed this way.

Other heroes include the Woodfolk Fighter-Clerics, Thornwood Archers, and Magehunter Fighters, each with their own benefits.  The underlying theme for the expansion though seems to be militia and mercenary cards, and there are many new village cards that fit this theme.

First and foremost among these are the Elite Militia.  Their ability, aside from the Attack +2 they get, is that they give you an extra buy and allow you to destroy one regular militia card.  Sweet.  Working hand in hand with the militia are the new mercenary cards.  The Drill Sergeant allows you to draw two cards and gain an experience point if you destroy a militia when you visit the dungeon.  The Highland Officer allows you to purchase a militia in addition to your normal buy in the village, and draw one card for each militia revealed when you visit the dungeon.  The Village Mob will add +1 to your attack for each mercenary you reveal, as well as allow you to shuffle a monster from the dungeon back into the top three cards in the dungeon deck and draw a new one.

All this is well and good, but does not cover some of my favorite cards, like Power Word: Kill.  Defeat a monster with victory points less than or equal to 2 plus the level of the highest revealed wizard or cleric.  No need to fight those horrible monsters anymore, just zap ‘em and collect your experience and victory points.

This is actually the card that prompted my wizard strategy.  Adding the new Plaguesmiter weapon to this mix adds a +2 magical attack, and destroys any disease you receive in its tracks (if you can get the strength to carry it of course).  Luckily, the delicious new Unicorn Steaks give you strength +2 and magic attack +1.

Other cards of note include the Guiding Light, which provides a light of +2 and also gives every player a Light +1 token that lasts until the end of your next turn.  For me, the light penalty was almost a non-threat throughout thanks to Guiding Light and the Veris Wizards.  Level 1 Veris Squire gives all equipped weapons Light +1, Level 2 Veris Enhancers give Light +1 and Attack +1, while the level 3 Enchanters add Light and Attack +2 to all equipped weapons, AND adds Magic Attack equal to the amount of light present.

The Stalking Spell is interesting, as it forces the other players to enter the dungeon on their next turn.  With a cost of only 3, if you can get this one out early you can really mess up the other players plans while you go shopping.  The card is destroyed on use, and can only be used when you are in the dungeon yourself, so it is not enough to build an entire strategy around.  You do get to draw two cards when you destroy it, so it is handy without being overpowering.

The Cursed Bow is just the thing for your Thornwood Archers.  It gives you an Attack +5, yes that’s plus five, against rank 2 or higher monsters.  The problem is that you gain a disease when it is equipped.  Curses!  Time Bend allows you to draw a card, then select a card from your hand to set aside.  After you refill your hand you are allowed to add the card that you set aside into your hand.  This will come in handy on those turns that you find yourself with squat, except for one good card.  Simply put it aside to use on your next turn.

The whole expansion does seem to mesh together well.  My first few games with a new expansion are always “New Expansion Only” games, and this really gives me a feel for what it is bringing to the table.  Thornwood Siege does “Bring the monsters to you” as promised, and this can really effect your overall strategy as you watch the piles of village cards disappear.  You’d better level up your heroes while you can; one turn of a card and your level 3 wizard cards can be sent to the destroyed pile before you can buy them.

Overall a nice expansion and fun it its own right.

0 VISITORS' SCORE (0 votes)
The whole expansion does seem to mesh together well.  My first few games with a new expansion are always “New Expansion Only” games, and this really gives me a feel for what it is bringing to the table. Overall a nice expansion and fun it its own right.
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Elliott Miller

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