Header AD

Heroes of Land, Air & Sea: Order and Chaos Expansion Review


Quick Look: Heroes of Land, Air & Sea - Order and Chaos Expansion

Designer: Scott Almes
Artists: Chad Hoverter, Adam P. McIver, Ian Rosenthaler, Benjamin Shulman
Publisher: Gamelyn Games
Year Published: 2018
No. of Players: 1-6
Ages: 14+
Playing Time: 120-180 minutes

Find more info on BoardGameGeek.com

Heroes of Land, Air & Sea Gamelyn Games Order and Chaos Expansion Lionkin Gladiator Glider; Photo by Benjamin Kocher 2020


Review:
There is little in this world that gives me as much joy as placing dudes on a map, exploring, and making them fight. I love a good 4x game (eXplore, eXpand, eXploit, eXterminate), and Heroes of Land, Air & Sea is my top choice these days. Every time I play it just gets better and better. With the base game’s four factions, there are a lot of variable powers to consider, and the gameplay is just wonderful. So wonderful, in fact, that the base game’s four-player maximum seems a little low.

Enter the expansions:

So far, there are two expansions for Heroes of Land, Air & Sea—Order and Chaos and Pestilence—and a few mini-expansions that include mercenaries, war machines, and Nomads. This review will focus on the Order and Chaos expansion, including what it brings to the table. (Pestilence review coming soon!)

To start, I will mention that this is not an in-depth review of Heroes of Land, Air & Sea. You can find a review of that elsewhere (there are many, and you can bet that most of them will give it high praise, as I would if I had written a review for it). Instead, this review will focus only on the Order and Chaos expansion. (You can find my review of Pestilence here.)

The expansion map sidles up nicely against the other map, making a richer Aughmoore.
With the Order and Chaos expansion, you can still play your regular 1-4 player games. Each new faction comes with a double-sided faction board that works for human and AI players alike. However, if you have a larger game group and you’d like to get Heroes of Land, Air & Sea to the table, the expansion map is a much-needed accessory. The expansion map adds two more continents. While the addition of two extra continents allows for two extra players to get involved, it’s really the four new factions that sets this expansion apart.

Lionkin Faction

Heroes of Land, Air & Sea Order and Chaos Expansion Lionkin Faction; photo by Benjamin Kocher 2020

The Lionkin can end up collecting a lot of resources. Better yet, some building abilities let you choose which resources to collect. While resources are obviously a good thing, Lionkin take it a step further and gain some good battle benefits as well. Their balance seems strong, but they’re certainly not invincible. Deserts become a valuable region to Lionkin, and spells can also rack up some points due to building abilities.

Yes, this faction loves the desert, which is great, because the same can’t be said about any other faction. While everyone else avoids the desert regions, the Lionkin flock to it…at least, once they have some buildings built, such as the Temple.

Heroes of Land, Air & Sea Gamelyn Games Order and Chaos Expansion Lionkin Airship Glider with Warrior and Serf; Photo by Benjamin Kocher 2020

With Temple, controlling the desert provides a wild resource. At level two (and with a tower), the desert delivers two additional resources of the player’s choice. That’s some good stuff! That right there makes the desert invaluable, but with the Monk hero, deserts just got even more important.

The Monk’s level one ability states that “All Desert Regions are considered adjacent to the Monk.” Then, at level two, the Monk may travel with an additional unit using the level one ability. Then, at level three, the Monk gets +2 power for battle if the level one ability results in battle. Let that sink in for a minute.

Heroes of Land, Air & Sea Gamelyn Games Order and Chaos Expansion Lionkin Units; Photo by Benjamin Kocher 2020

Alright, enough sinking in. There are some deep implications with these deserts. The Monk can travel quickly from continent to continent, exploring or fighting at will. But with the level two ability, exploring just got safer, as did battling from the moment since the monk will gain +2 for their attack. Move the Gladiator with the Monk and you’ve got a pretty powerful two-unit army. But it doesn’t end there. Traveling with a serf could let you build towers in multiple desert regions, not only making those regions adjacent to your capital but also claiming an additional two resources of whatever you like. This ability is one reason I love the Lionkin as much as I do. Fantastic stuff.

I wish I could keep going on about all this faction can do, but where’s the fun in that? You be the captain of your own Longboat and find the best tactics for you. With Lionkin, there are a lot of directions you could go. Flexible and well-rounded, Lionkin is one of my new favorite factions.

Lizardfolk Faction

Heroes of Land, Air & Sea Gamelyn Games Order and Chaos Expansion Lizardfolk, Photo by Benjamin Kocher 2020

These scaly creatures are all about speed, fighting, and magic. Of course, there are other perks mixed in here and there, but these are the ones that stick out to me. 

The Lizardfolk are highly mobile, with each hero unit gaining movement perks as well as bonus battle strength. The buildings, too, offer movement and battle bonuses. Consider the Ziggurat. Armies may move into a swamp, explore, and then have their warriors continue on, moving to another region in the same turn. Warriors can be used to follow Capital actions as if they were serfs, and after winning one battle, you may move to an adjacent region and start another battle. The Ranger hero has a similar ability, in that it may start combat in a region adjacent to it, then after winning that battle, may move into the conquered region and start another battle adjacent to them. If you’ve got the resources, the Lizardfolk can clean house faster than a freshman in the dorms who forgot cleaning checks were in five minutes.

Heroes of Land, Air & Sea Gamelyn Games Order and Chaos Expansion Lizardfolk; photo by Benjamin Kocher 2020

Another great perk the Lizardfolk bring to the table is being able to mix and match resources for spells and resources. Using the Voodoo Hut building, you may use food and mana interchangeably when paying the cost of a spell. With the Thieves’ Den, swamps grant resources (yay!) And at level three, you may use any resource type to pay for tactic cards—and that’s in any combination, too!

Heroes of Land, Air & Sea Gamelyn Games Order and Chaos Expansion lizardfolk; Photo by Benjamin Kocher 2020

The Lizardfolk are a flexible race, able to move quickly, hit hard, and make do with the resources available to them. If you like to go on the offensive and sweep continents clean, you may be in heaven with these folks.

Goblin Faction

Heroes of Land, Air & Sea Gamelyn Games Order and Chaos Expansion Goblin faction; photo by Benjamin Kocher

If you like to go on the offensive, take a good hard look at the Goblins. Sacrificing themselves for the good of their race, the Gobs are a force to be reckoned with, but with their suicidal tendencies, you’ll want a flow of resources to keep up with recruiting. Speaking of recruiting, the Throne building allows you to recruit two warriors at a time, and the Rage Cage allows you to recruit three serfs at a time. This is a good way to bolster your numbers, but it does cost a bit more. 

Heroes of Land, Air & Sea Gamelyn Games Order and Chaos Expansion Goblin Chopper; Photo by Benjamin Kocher 2020

The Tyrant, King Glut, cares little for his peons. One of his abilities is to sacrifice a serf from his army in order to give +1 combat bonus to all warriors in that army. For the greater good, I suppose. And then there’s Krackul and Pop, the Pyros hero unit. Before tactic cards are played in battle, they can explode, destroying a tower or unit of their choice. Pretty powerful. But it gets better. The number of units and towers (or a combination, since there’s only one tower per region) you can destroy increases with each level of your capital. Sure, you loose the unit, but you’re taking out a good chunk of the enemy as well! Likewise, the Chop Shop allows you to pay resources to explode a tower. While this isn’t ideal if you’re trying to build up a tower network, it’s better than allowing the enemy to win. You see, exploding the tower destroys all units—including your own—in that region. Kaboom.

If you’ve ever played Cthulhu Wars, you come to fear Cthulhu’s Submerge action. Well, the Gobs learn from the best, because they have one, too. In their submarine, they may submerge into the sea and then pop up in any sea or shore region. And, when the Sea Dock is at level three, you gain +2 power for battle when surfacing into a battle.

Heroes of Land, Air & Sea Gamelyn Games Order and Chaos Expansion Goblin Faction Boat Submarine; Photo by Benjamin Kocher 2020

The Chopper air ship gains bonus power when battling towers and capital cities, so if your favorite X is “Exterminate,” then you’ve found the faction of your dreams.

Undead Faction

Heroes of Land, Air & Sea Gamelyn Games Order and Chaos Expansion Undead Faction; Photo by Benjamin Kocher 2020

It’s never good when the dead don’t die, but when they start increasing in strength for enemies killed, that’s when you start to really worry. The Undead are ruthless fighters, and they prey on the lowly serfs and warriors.

One of the coolest additions to any faction in the Order and Chaos expansion is The Underworld, which grants the Undead the ability to siphon souls and use them to become stronger. It’s frightening, yes, but also thematically sound. Souls in the Underworld grant battle bonuses via the Necropolis and the Lich hero, King Amdiak. That combination can make a Lich-Warrior army insanely strong before adding tactic cards or spells.

The souls in the Underworld also grant points at the end of the game, and can even be used to benefit recruiting, such as paying less to recruit (depending on soul count in the Underworld) and turning a soul in the Underworld into a serf or warrior in any region you control. Undead armies can grow quickly because of this, and for relatively cheaper as well. Once the Undead player starts reaping souls, you can bet that the endgame is quickly approaching.

Heroes of Land, Air & Sea Gamelyn Games Order and Chaos Expansion Undead Underworld; Photo by Benjamin Kocher 2020


A strong economy with the Undead is important if you want to reap souls since each soul costs twice its natural battle strength. Fortunately, the Undead are big fans of recycling. When losing serfs and warriors in battle, building abilities grant you with mana. So, while you may be losing units, you’re building up to become even stronger. There’s a special kind of ebb and flow when playing the Undead, and although they start off fairly average, they can escalate into any player’s worst nightmare faster than one might anticipate. 

___________

As you can see, there are some wonderful new powers in these new factions. Each faction brings with it a unique playstyle, so you can stick with the one you like or branch out and experiment with different strategies and play styles. Personally, I love the Lionkin faction, and the Goblins also offer some interesting play styles. I mean, blowing up towers as a plan of defense? Now that’s chaos!


Of course, the Lizardfolk are fun to play as and to fight against, and the Undead benefit from both killing and being killed, so there’s a horrifying element to them as well. I must say that the factions in this expansion are a welcome addition to the game. Each faction’s abilities allow for some interesting encounters, and it’s a lot of fun watching how other players use said abilities to their gain.

The Order and Chaos expansion for Heroes of Land, Air & Sea is a delicious addition to an already delectable game. New factions mean more options, and a larger board means you can play with a larger group (can’t go wrong with that!). 

From here on out, I’ll briefly discuss how Order and Chaos unfolds as an expansion, including what to expect when bringing it out.

Setup:
The setup for Order and Chaos is literally the same as the base game—get your units, tokens, and everything that belongs to your chosen faction, and set them up as normal. If you’re playing with five or six players, the Order and Chaos expansion comes with an expansion board for the main map. Make sure your main board (with four continents) is on the “5-6” player side and sidle the expansion map (with two continents) next to it. The graticules will all match, and now you’ve got a much bigger Aughmoore to conquer! I mean explore. (But really, you know you want to conquer it.)

Oh, and don’t forget to build the constructs before you’re ready to play. That’ll save precious time.

Gameplay:

Heroes of Land, Air & Sea Gamelyn Games Order and Chaos Expansion Gameplay 01; Photo by Benjamin Kocher 2020

The gameplay doesn’t change with this expansion. The only things that changes are the factions that you can choose from and increasing player count. I find that this game thrives with a full map, be it four players or six (or seven with the Pestilence expansion).

Theme and Mechanics:

Heroes of Land, Air & Sea Gamelyn Games Order and Chaos Expansion Lizardfolk Gameplay; Photo by Benjamin Kocher

The fantasy theme is strong in this expansion. From Undead to the humanoid Lionkin, the setting of Aughmoore is ever-expanding, and their abilities match their factions, bringing the theme full circle.
In regards to mechanics, the only real different thing with the Order and Chaos expansion is with the Undead. When defeating serfs and warriors in battle, that player may pay mana (double the defeated unit’s war cost) and siphon its “soul” to the Underworld. This is done by moving tokens to the Underworld card, and bonuses are granted depending on how many souls are on the card. It’s a neat addition to the game and makes them a rather frightening faction to fight against.

Artwork and Components:

Heroes of Land, Air & Sea Gamelyn Games Order and Chaos Expansion Lich King; Photo by Benjamin Kocher 2020

The art matches the art from the base game and is evocative of the theme.

The components are also similar to those of the base game. The miniatures look great (albeit unpainted, in my case), and the cards, constructs, and tokens look and feel wonderful. You have the same issues with the constructs as with the base game (i.e. cardboard peeling if not assembled carefully), but that’s minor and really doesn’t affect the game.

The Good:
  • Four new factions, meaning four new threats and potential favorites
  • New faction abilities that play well with the faction and theme
  • Adds two more players, now playing up to six
  • Each faction board also comes with a Solo Enemy side
  • The expansion doesn’t change the gameplay at all, just the strategies you may elect to take
The Other:
When I review, I always try and think long and hard about any issues I felt the game has. In the case of the Order and Chaos expansion, I can’t think of a single problem. It does what it does, and there’s nothing to complain about.

Final Thoughts:

Heroes of Land, Air & Sea Gamelyn Games Order and Chaos Expansion Gameplay; Photo by Benjamin Kocher 2020

I love the Order and Chaos expansion. Not only does it make the game more playable by adding two more players, but the four new factions also provide some fun and interesting options to play with. Personally, the Lionkin are one of my new favorite factions. The others have their benefits as well, but I really like the hero abilities and abilities from their buildings. 

Even though Lionkin are a favorite, I always love mixing it up from time to time, so you can bet I’ll continue experimenting with the Lizardfolk, Goblins, and Undead. They’re all a lot of fun for me, and I personally consider this expansion practically necessary, especially if you want to play with more than four players. Some of the new factions (i.e. Undead) won’t be as accessible for beginner players, but once you’ve played the game a few times, you’ll start to appreciate their deeper tactics more fully.

Players Who Like:
If you like/love playing Heroes of Land, Air & Sea with just the base game, this expansion ups the ante with more unique factions and a higher player count. If you want more HoLAS in your life, this is your next step into a larger world.




Check out the Order and Chaos Expansion and Gamelyn Games on:

                   




Benjamin Kocher - Editor and Reviewer

Benjamin hails from Canada but now lives in Kentucky with his wife and kids. He's a certified copyeditor through UC San Diego's Copyediting Extension program. He's a freelance writer and editor, and covers everything from board game rule books to novels. An avid writer of science fiction and fantasy, it comes as no surprise that his favorite board games are those with rich, engaging themes. When he’s not writing or playing games, Benjamin loves to play ultimate Frisbee, watch and play rugby, and read the most epic fantasy books available. Follow him on Twitter @BenjaminKocher and Instagram @Kocherb, and read his board game-inspired fiction at BenjaminKocher.com.


See Benjamin's reviews HERE.
Heroes of Land, Air & Sea: Order and Chaos Expansion Review Heroes of Land, Air & Sea: Order and Chaos Expansion Review Reviewed by Benjamin Kocher on February 18, 2020 Rating: 5

No comments

Sponsor

Champions Coliseum