Monday, April 11, 2011

World of Warcraft: The Board Game

by Fantasy Flight Games             Published in 2005

World of Warcraft. This is as close to WoW as I have ever gone. I do like the original Warcraft games very much, yet I have never played WoW... I guess I don't want to dedicate all the time needed to really get into the game. So here is my World of Warcraft!

In this game, the player takes control of 1-3 traditional Warcraft heroes from one of the factions (Alliance or Horde), and fights monsters with them in order to gain experience, gold and items. At the end, the heroes should be strong enough to challenge an Overlord in the last big fight.

World of Warcraft: The Board Game does not come with solo rules! But I actually found it pretty easy to make my own: The only thing missing in solo game, is the interaction between the two factions - in other words, solo game is fully cooperative, while the normal game would also have a big element of competition in it. But I like cooperative games, so I have no problem with that.

The game board depicts regions and areas, where monsters appear throughout the game. The heroes have quests to resolve, but all of these quests are just about killing one or more monsters, so this game really is all about fighting.
The fighting, however, is very well done and the mechanics offer plenty of room for strategizing.

The game has a LOT of components, including over a hundred plastic figures, 21 dice, and hundreds of cards and counters.

I play the game with two heroes, this time from the Alliance.

Burbonn Fang.
A Dwarven Hunter, with exceptional ranged combat. He may also call pets to aid him in combat.

Alissi Quicksting.
A Gnome Rogue, with some less than orthodox skills and strategies. This character may be a bit difficult to play efficiently... but her skills are interesting.

The monsters that those heroes are fighting, come with hugely varying difficulties... from the weakest Murlocs to the mightiest Infernals. Then there is also the Overlord, which in this game will be Kel'Thuzad.

Kel'Thuzad, the Lich, is waiting for the heroes at Stratholme, which is a place far north on the region of Plaquelands.

Kel'Thuzad is kind of a trickster of an Overlord; he adds some nasty event cards in the game, and while his combat stats are not overpowering, his other abilities will make the final battle very challenging.


Both of the heroes begin with some training. Burbonn learns a "Hunter's Mark" to hone his marksman's skills, and a "Scorpid Sting"- special attack.
Alissi learns her first finishing move, the "Eviscerate", as well as a special attack "Sinister Strike" to charge the finishing move. The Rogue's most prominent skill is her ability to charge "finishing moves" with other maneuvers, then unleash the stored power in one attack. Rogues also have a choice, whether they want to use a bow, or if they'd rather rely on stealth.

Gnolls are easy opponents for inexperienced adventurers, so both of our heroes find themselves a Gnoll.

Burbonn attacks his Gnoll with a deadly shot form his Old Blunderbuss. His newly learned Hunter's Mark aids, and the Gnoll is killed with a single shot. Burbonn levels up and learns a new talent: "Lightning Reflexes".

Burbonn claims two items as trophies from the Gnoll: A Bent staff, and Soldier's Armor. Both of these will probably be sold to the merchant.
The Armor would be efficient, but neither of the heroes can use "mail"- type of armors... they are too heavy.

Alissi confronts her Gnoll. This fight is not quite so smooth and fast as the previous one, but Alissi slays the creature nonetheless, using some of her dirty tricks. Alissi also gains a level, and learns "Ruthlessness". This talent makes her surprise attacks more efficient.
Alissi trains a "Stealth"- skill.

Burbonn takes a zeppelin flight back to Southshore, the Alliance city where our heroes started their quest. There he sells the items and learns to summon a bear as a pet. The bear will be of great assistance in the future combats.

Lots of Murlocs right next to Southshore!

The heroes probably should try to kill them off.

The heroes decide to join their forces, and attack the two Gnolls at Hillsbrad Fields together. It's two against two:
Both Burbonn, and Alissi attack the Gnolls with extreme fury! One of the beasts is killed right away. The other one fights back, but is no match for the two heroes.

This "Combat area" is the figurative space on board, where the combats are resolved. The Hit Tokens and Armor Tokens are placed on the Damage, Defense and Attrition spaces according to the combat rules. (This system is the heart of this game, and it would not be easy to explain it fully, so if you are interested, check the rules from the manufacturer's website.)

Minor healing potion, and a Robe of Apprenticeship is found. Alissi takes the potion and Burbonn takes the robe.

The heroes are determined to clear the Silverpine Forest from these critters, so their next target is a group of three Murlocs over at the Azurlode Mine.
This time the heroes' combat is not as organized as the last time. (the empty Attrition area tells that Alissi's finishing move didn't work).
Burbonn shoots one Murloc down. The other two Murlocs attack back, and wound Alissi slightly. The heroes manage to kill another Murloc with their combined melee fighting. Now only one monster is remaining.

Alissi forgets about the stealthy approach, and draws her Ashwood Bow. The last Murloc is shot and killed by Burbonn's gun and Alissi's bow.

More potions were found from the Murlocs' stash. Burbonn takes a Minor mana potion, and Alissi takes a Minor Agility potion.

The heroes part their ways. Burbonn is exhausted, and stays behind to rest for a while. Alissi continues to take on another pair of Murlocs at Dun Garok.

Kel'Thuzad's evil is beginning to affect the surrounding area! The Lich spreads a plaque across the accordingly named Plaquelands.

Alissi enters a stealth-mode, and attacks the Murlocs. The Murlocs severly injure Alissi, but Alissi stays in fight by quickly drinking her healing potion. After this, Alissi slays one of the Murlocs with her Eviscerate. But the other Murloc manages to strike Alissi - lethally.
The Rogue is defeated and transported back to the city for resurrection. This will slow down Alissi's levelling.

Burbonn moves to finish the other Murloc off. His initial ranged attack fails, but Burbonn enters the combat with his bear, and mauls the Murloc down.

The Murlocs had a lot of gold with them, as well as Cured Leather Armor and a Scimitar. Since Alissi suffered a death while fighting these the monsters, Burbonn decides to give the Armor and some of the gold to her.
Burbonn will keep the scimitar though.

Burbonn reaches the third level! He improves his "Hunter's Mark"- skill. This skill has proven itself very useful.

Some more dangerous monsters are showing up; an Ogre is seen at Ruins of Andorhal!

Alissi takes a good rest in the city of Southshore, and regains her strength and energy. Burbonn also stops by to give Alissi some gold, and the Cured Leather Armor. Burbonn also learns a new attack; "Multi-shot". This should further increase his ranged combat capabilities.

The heroes move south to Purgation Isle. Both of them hunt down some Murlocs. At this point, Murlocs no longer should pose any threat to our heroes.

Alissi reaches her third level, finally. She learns some new assassination tricks; an "Improved Ambush", and a "Cheap Shot". I can't wait to see her in action!

Burbonn attacks a dangerous Naga!
His newfound skills prove their worthiness, scoring a lot of damage on the creature. However, Burbonn's defense was left a bit open... the Naga hurts the Hunter badly, but Burbonn wins the fight anyway.

A lot of interesting items were found from the Naga's belongings: A Greater agility potion, Felstone Good Luck Charm, and a Skullsplitting Crossbow! Burbonn will definitely replace his Old Blunderbuss with this weapon.

Burbonn also gains a level again. His new talent is "Mortal Shots", improving his accuracy to extreme levels.

The heroes have learned a lot since the beginning!

Burbonn heads back to city, where he sells the Greater agility potion for some good money. Then he upgrades his pet from a bear into a White Tiger!

Alissi takes a flight up north, to the Plaquelands. There she cures some of the Kel'Thuzad's disease, gaining some experience in process. The disease also makes the monsters stronger in that area, so it is strategically a good move to get rid of it.

A lot is happening on the board. Alissi continues to treat the disease at Plaquelands, while Burbonn rests to gain strength for his next challenge: He is going to challenge an Ogre!

The two heroes - dwarf and gnome - are small in size... They are the two grey figures on the board.

Burbonn attack an Ogre in the Ruins of Alterac with great success! The opening ranged attack is almost strong enough to kill the Ogre... But while the Ogre does get a chance to attack back, Burbonn takes the hit effortlessly, finishing the Ogre off with the help of his pet tiger.

Burbonn finds a large amount of gold, a Lesser agility potion, and a Scroll of Greater strength from the Ogre's lair.

Meanwhile, Alissi finishes her job; Kel'Thuzad's disease is removed.

Both of the heroes now roam the Plaquelands. Time running out, and the final combat against Kel'Thuzad must be fought soon.

Alissi attacks a Wildkin! This beast may be too powerful for her, but none of the weaker enemies are around.

Alissi's stealth attack is moderately well executed, she definitely has a fighting chance!

She did it! The Wildkin survived the first round of combat, almost killing Alissi in a melee... but the Rogue backed away, drew her trusty Ashwood bow and fired an exquisite shot at the monster. The Wildkin dies.

Alissi finds a Lesser healing potion. She also gains a hard-earned level! She learns a talent of "Premeditation", which improves the use of her finishing moves.

Burbonn takes on another Ogre, this shouldn't be too difficult for him anymore:
The Hunter's attack is extremely strong. The Ogre is instantly killed with the shots from Burbonn's Skullsplitting Crossbow!

Burbonn finds a Decapitating Sword - better than his old Scimitar. He also gains his fifth level - the highest level a hero can get! Now Burbonn needs to train one last time, and he should be more than ready to face Kel'Thuzad.

A mighty Doom Guard is terrorizing the Noxious Glade. This demon would be a good challenge for Burbonn's abilities, but the time is running out, Burbonn is going to have to pass this tempting quest.

Burbonn an Alissi make their final preparations in the Alliance City that is in Pestilent Scar, an area in the middle of the dreaded Plaquelands.

Burbonn spends his impressive amount of gold to learn a powerful "Immolation Trap", and to buy a Solid Iron Maul for Alissi. He also buys a healing potion and a mana potion. Alissi learns "Vanish" and "Rupture". Rupture will replace her old finishing move, the Eviscerate.

And so it begins! Our heroes arrive at the Stratholme, to meet the most dangerous foe they have ever fought. Kel'Thuzad does not only have terribly powerful attacks, but he also constantly repairs his undead body... For this, the best strategy would be to throw in everything the heroes got right from the start, and hope that it is enough to destroy the Lich before it regenerates.

Burbonn reads a Scroll of Giant Strength and launches his crossbow. His tiger rushes towards the Lich.
Everything is not going well, so the Hunter decides to deploy the Felstone Good Luck Charm... He also activates his new Immolation Trap.
Alissi ambushes the Lich from behind, but the super-intelligent undead isn't taken by surprise, and hurts Alissi with his magic. The Rogue drinks potions of Minor agility, and Lesser healing.

This picture has the different skills and attacks pointed out.

All of the participants take damage, but not lethally.
The fight continues and Alissi uses Vanish to enter stealth-mode again. Burbonn fires his Crossbow again, with deadly accuracy and force. Hunter's tiger also rends the Lich furiously. Alissi tries another stealth attack, but apparently a Lich cannot be surprised like that... Kel'Thuzad sees the Rogue and kills her with his horrifying spells... Burbonn is alone now.

The Lich is almost done for! Only one more hit would be needed, but will Burbonn survive long enough to enter a melee fight with the Lich...

Yes! Burbonn's loyal tiger is killed, and the Hunter himself is barely standing, but the last needed hit is delivered... Not even Kel'Thuzad's fast regeneration is enough to save him... The monstrosity is dead!

The game is successfully completed! Alissi died, but I guess she can be resurrected like she was after the defeat against the Murlocs.


This one was a really long game! WoW board game is always a long one, and with multiple players it would take even longer to play it... Still, if a game manages to occupy almost three hours of game time with just one player, it starts to be a bit too much. But for some reason the time really went by fast, I actually was surprised to see the time after I finished: The game was interesting, and I really wanted to see how it all would end.

Well I beated the Overlord, which is not an easy task. I was really proud of my level 5 hunter, it is rare to reach the fifth level... but when it happens, the resulting hero is usually a very tough one. The red Doom Guard would have been a nice challenge to test the hunter's limits, but there was no time.
The rogue on the other hand was left a bit weak. And it always seems to be the case with that class... Rogues are difficult to play with, maybe so difficult that I don't get the right strategies, but for some reason I never play well with rogues. Which is a shame, because I like the class very much.

But the rogue did offer me at least one good fight; the one against Wildkin. That was a good fight, as was the last fight against Kel'Thuzad.
While writing this, I realize that this game probably is not that exciting to read about... It's all about fighting and moving the tokens around - I'm sure, without knowing the rules, all that seems confusing.

RATING: 8 /10


World of Warcraft: The Board Game is not intended to be played solo. My solo rules are very close to the official rules (ask me about them, if you are interested! :>), but of course some elements are left our. Many of the most interesting events don't work in solo, and the whole Player vs. Player combat is out too.

But I think the game still has enough to offer for a solo player. The combat system is very innovative (maybe a bit abstract though), and it's very entertaining to watch the heroes gain strength and find powerful weapons and items.

If you like to play the real WoW - stick to it, I'm sure this game offers nothing new to you.
But for someone like me, who likes the fantasy setting and likes fighting monsters and finding magical items, but who also likes to keep it simple and "compact", this game might be worth playing.


  1. em, maby you can send me urs solo rules?:) I dont like rules wich is very dificulty from off :)
    Thank you

  2. can I get a copy of the solo rules? thanks in advance

    1. Sure, but could you give me an address in where to send them? :)

  3. hi Jani, thanks for the article. I just bought this game with two expansions from a guy who only set it up and never played. Painting the minis now, if you still have your solo rules could you email me a copy? scottabuchanan (at) yahoo (dot) com. thanks!!

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