Lucky Duck Games is fast becoming one of the most talked about board game publishers in the current era of gaming. It’s not nothing thanks to securing the rights to convert huge properties like Jetpack ride and Kingdom rush in board games. Kingdom Rush: Rift in Time, which will hit the market in the next few weeks, has hit over 5,000% of its Kickstarter target – and we’ve got our hands on a first production copy.
Now while Kingdom Rush: Rift in time, comes in a huge box, only about two-thirds of it is used, unless you choose to upgrade to deluxe components (exclusively available through the Lucky Duck Games website). Even so, there’s a massive amount of content in the box, which was a huge surprise to me considering that Lucky Duck is a company that does so often with so little.
Through their use of augmented reality in games like Crime Chronicles and The Time of Legends: Destinies, and given the history of Kingdom rush, I have to admit, I expected less physical parts and more focus on application-driven elements. As it is, there is absolutely no digital element to Kingdom Rush: Rift in time, despite the inclusion of a fully cooperative campaign that spans multiple missions.
Instead of, Kingdom Rush: Rift in Time is built on some very solid board game mechanics that bring the tower defense genre of Kingdom rush to life without ever compromising the quality of the turn-based experience. The boards are modular and change from mission to mission, and players choose from four characters who each feel very different as they progress through the campaign.
To go into more detail, Kingdom Rush: Rift in Time is actually a polyomino placement game in which players use the powers of their characters, the characters themselves (represented by miniatures), and their towers to defeat the boards of the horde. A horde board is only defeated once every enemy is “covered” and if nothing is done, the horde boards will move to the exit space, ultimately damaging players and potentially defeating them. .
While this is basically as simple as it sounds, Kingdom Rush: Rift in Time uses a number of mechanisms to spice things up a bit. First, the towers of the four different types can only be placed in specific locations on the board, and each lasts only one turn before returning to the hand of whoever played it.
This, in truth, is probably due to the fact that each turn attacks in a very specific pattern and at a set distance, so on the turn you choose to place a tower it will probably be ideal, but on the next turn it won’t. may not be the case. If the towers remained in play all the time, then it would be possible for players to create an impossible to win board state. Thematically however, the Kingdom Rush: Rift in Time tradition says that this “removal” of turns is due to the antics of the Time Mage, so the game actually makes players think they are at a disadvantage due to the loss of turns, when in reality the game does them. aid.
There are a few other smart features in Kingdom Rush: Rift in Time that remind us that we’re dealing with a smart and experienced design and release team, rather than the kind of outfit that could take hold of an IP like Kingdom rush and pull out an inferior product just to gain a few pounds. Turns can be improved between turns by players passing their turn cards to their neighbor on the left, for example, encouraging and encouraging teamwork that actively prevents a single player from dominating the turn strategy and repeating their plays .
I really like the way towers get more powerful – both in terms of achievement (passing towers and removing them from the game for a turn during leveling) and the perks that come with each upgrade. While the default towers typically have limited range and shoot a polyomino in a fixed orientation, upgraded towers can address these issues by covering more spaces, allowing the player to shoot in multiple directions, or adding range to the attack.
Likewise, the four characters in the base game (and arguably the expansions I haven’t seen yet) are well balanced, varied, and customizable. The base game includes Ignus, Alleria, Magnus, and Malik, each with their own strengths, weaknesses, and leveling path. Alleria, for example, has low health but can deal ranged damage and has a summonable savage ally as an upgrade action. Malik, on the other hand, is designed to engage in melee (which can damage him) while using abilities to devastate horde tiles in powerful ways.
The Horde also has a few goodies up its sleeve, including portal tiles that can defeat players instantly upon exiting the board, and there are several types of enemies even among normal maps (not to mention bosses). These more powerful enemy variants come with adjustments to the standard rule set, but offer greater gem rewards when defeated. This, again, is a smart mechanic to get players to spot and understand the types of enemies that might be lost in the art of small cards, without the way the game trains players for the reward. improved.
It goes without saying really, but everything in Kingdom Rush: Rift in Time is beautifully presented. It’s not just a big box, it’s also a box full of fantastic gifts. These plateaus of the horde that I keep talking about; they are actually plastic boards in which a horde card is placed to allow easy movement around the board and to some extent to âtrapâ the polyomino tiles that players place on them.
The modular decks are bright, colorful and thick, giving the game an eye-catching tabletop presence that is truly vibrant and exciting for players and spectators alike. Likewise, the card art on towers, horde cards, and character boards is excellent, with bold lines and clear features that mirror the original. Kingdom rush play as perfectly as you expected. The miniatures are a good size, but more importantly, they also match the source material to a T-shirt.
The instruction manual is clear and well presented, and a separate campaign booklet details each of the ten scenarios that make up the campaign mode. Kingdom Rush: Rift in Time Also includes both a single player variant and a number of components and rules to create “random” games that increase the longevity of the game, essentially making it endlessly replayable – especially taking into account the differences between the characters players.
To sum it all up, I actually end up with few complaints about Kingdom Rush: Rift in time, but then again, nothing is perfect. So far, only two things of note come to mind; the first being that the difficulty level increases rapidly. The first few games seemed a bit simple, maybe even easy, but things quickly picked up and got really, really hard. We lost some scenarios, and in particular, it seemed like it was because one or the other (or sometimes all) players threw in the towel over a very tough decision as to where to use their actions at best.
That said, we never felt like the game was too punitive – just that the decision space was getting overwhelming. The only other criticism is a little weird, and is that the Horde Planks can be blocked by placing any character on it, whether it’s a hero or a minion. This effectively means that the board will not move on the next turn, but any horde board that appears will jump over it. It’s never a good thing to have a “healthier” horde board jumping on a damaged board to start its journey to the exit, and that just didn’t make sense to me as a rule.
You will be happy to know that I have checked our interpretation of this rule and that it is correct, but exceptionally for me I do not have a house rule in mind for how to correct it that would not lead to a load of unmanageable if and but scenarios. This is perhaps indeed the same conclusion that the designers (much more experienced than me) have come to, and so we are where we are. Either way, it’s just not a major issue for me.
Ultimately, the success of Kingdom Rush: Rift in Time should probably be measured against the quality of a tabletop adaptation of the source material. Honestly, that said, it’s a very different experience. Kingdom Rush: Rift in Time is strictly turn-based (thank goodness) and the polyomino feature is very playful. Even so, because it sticks to the fundamentals of good board games and not real-time apps or gadgets, Kingdom Rush: Rift in Time is without a doubt the best tabletop tower defense approach I’ve seen to date, even beating the excellent Dwar7s Winter, which was my favorite precedent.
You can grab a copy of Kingdom Rush: Rift in Time from Lucky Duck Games.
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