Quick Look: Valroc – Win The Wizard Tournament (SEE FRENCH REVIEW HERE!!)
Designer: Thomas Carlier
Artist: Sophie Garcia
Publisher: Haumea Games
Year Published: 2023 (Currently on Kickstarter)
Welcome to Valroc, the famous city of wizards. You are one of them competing in a great tournament to acquire the Archmage title. With the help of your assistant, earn skill points in each of the 4 elements (Fire, Water, Earth and Air) and enter the arena to tame and chase the most dangerous creatures from the land. Will you take risks in fighting mythical creatures, use black magic or rely on your own knowledge to achieve this actions? Train yourself, attend magical lessons and make offerings to the gods… As many possible strategies as imaginable but only yours will lead you to victory!
In Valroc, you play wizards in competition to acquire the Archmage title. For that, you will have to defeat terrible creatures (or tame them). The first player who has defeated or tamed six creatures ends the game. The winner is the player with the most Prestige Points.
The game is split into two different phases :
• The first one is a draft phase in which the players must select the creatures they will have to fight. Thereby they will prepare their tournament as well as possible.
• The second phase is the tournament in which the players will fight against each other by a worker placement mechanism.
Disclaimer: The publisher provided the prototype copy of Valroc – Win The Wizard Tournament. The opinions expressed in the review are completely my own.
My two favorite mechanisms in board games must be deck building and worker placement.
I already talked about deck building in my Volfyrion Guild Kickstarter preview. Well, I’m glad to talk about worker placement today.
Classical worker placement games tend to have players chose action and the order in which they are taken on a board to be able to take the advantage on their opponent. Fortunately, board game developers have found innovative ways to let asymmetries in, from the start or due to slight changes through the game. Those include, starting asymmetrical powers (that might be the most common), numbers of meeples and different sorts of workers.
Well Valroc is one of those games that lets you use 3 to 4 workers a round that are all different in use and have their specificities, restraining their use and allowing you to refine your strategy. One big question that can only occur with specialized workers is, to know which worker you want to place first in order to secure that really sweet action on the board.
The game feature 4 types of workers, a mage that can complete the most difficult of tasks but can’t use black magic, his assistant that can do all simple tasks, a mercenary that costs money to play and he’s greedy and a monk that plays like the assistant but is good and can’t use black magic.
Those slight changes in the workers and their balance defines the game dynamic.
The Game as such
Valroc plays in two phases. The first being more of a preparation one that is the draft phase to select the hand of creatures that one player will have for the second phase. This detrimental phase plays as most drafts, players switching hands and selecting cards until the right number has been achieved by all.
The second phase is played in a series of turns where each player places all its worker before resolving the actions in a second time.
Most actions are supporting actions letting the player gain the right knowledge in the 4 elements and gathering mana and money as well as supporting powers. But the most important one is one of the 8 available actions that allows the player to battle or tame the creatures they drafted during the first round.
Although some additional points are won and lost with different actions, it all comes down to the end to the mage that was able to win fights against the most ferocious creature.
Although this seems straight forward, while playing the game and due to the high cost of the determining actions, one might loose the purpose of the game from sight which makes it somehow more difficult to find the right move to be played each turn.
Disclaimer, the material displayed is an early prototype and might be slightly different from the one that will be delivered through the KS.
All in all the art style is pleasant and fluid, without too much risks, pastel lead to an overall relaxed experience.
Cards and tokens
The cards have been efficiently designed and each contains more than one indication, making good use of all the sides and edges while still displaying all the indications in a proper way and enjoyable way. This is especially true for the Action cards.
Unfortunately for some, the designer might have pushed this efficiency too much for inexperienced players. Creature cards are linked to one or two elements. These are displayed in two ways, from the creature itself (because, a phoenix’s elements are fire and air duh!) and the official way from the background of the cards, which is a bit confusion for inexperienced player.
Cardboard of the prototype wasn’t the most satisfactory as some pieces were really small but it is expected to be different in the KS, as this is also the type of purpose that prototypes serve.
The board is richly decorated and indications on it are easy to follow and use. Special shout out to the slight smart indication on the side of the board, that switch from the natural black to white to indicate where each deck should be located on the side of the board. This should become a new standard !
What more ?
Not fully available yet while writing this review, Valroc KS is bound to come with an extension that would introduce a coop campaign, can’t wait to see how this is being done ! Actually it is now LIVE on Kickstarter!
Find out more at BGG.
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QuelqunQui (literally Someone who in French) is an eclectic who can’t stop doing more than one thing at a time.. Quelqunqui is a harpsichordist and gamer at heart that doesn’t abide by rules he doesn’t believe in. When not playing he’s traveling the world for the Belgian Air force.
See QuelqunQui‘s reviews HERE.