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Weirdwood Manor Preview – Thrilling Gameplay and an Immersive Theme Combine to Create True One of a Kind Experience

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There’s no shortage of compelling concepts on Kickstarter these days, especially in the board game space. That makes it even more impressive when a game is able to stand out from the multitude of projects vying for attention, and Greyridge Games’ Weirdwood Manor is one of those true shining stars. Novel mechanics, layered character powers, stellar production, and an immersive theme are woven together to form a rich and satisfying experience that should not be missed. Weirdwood Manor gets even better the more familiar you become with its mechanics and powers, but if you’re still on the fence, here’s a more in-depth look at what makes the game so fun. You can find the full Kickstarter campaign right here.

In Weirdwood Manor players will attempt to defeat one of three Fae Monsters before the monster is able to defeat the owner of the manor Lady Weirdwood. To do that you’ll need to utilize your individual character powers (of which you have three), defeat Scarabs, and collect resources throughout the manor. Each room in the manor has a different ability that you can only use in certain situations, but you’ll need to clear it of any Scarabs or Fae Monsters to do so. This would be a challenge in and of itself, but there are two other big factors that will have an effect on your quest.

(Photo: ComicBook)

On your turn, you will play an Action Card from your Character Deck, and these cards allow you to do things like move, attack, gain resources, portal to other rooms, and more. When you place a card down to use, you need to choose one of our time of day slots above your Character Board to place it on. These are split into morning, afternoon, evening, and night, and when you choose one you will move the Time of Day Corridor Ring in the manor forward to a matching slot. When you end up moving to what would be the next day, you then move the Day Corridor Ring Piece forward as well, and this shifts which rooms are available to access.

This gives you access to new rooms as well, but it can also leave you in a bad spot, as you might find yourself closed in from the outer hallways, so if you want to move you’ll need to have a card or use someone’s ability that allows you to portal out (portals can access rooms in the manor without moving through doors and walkways). This also affects your enemies, as Scarabs won’t be able to escape and neither will the Fae Monster. The last element of this is when you fill up your available time slots, as to reset them you will need to initiate a Scarab phase that populates more of them in the manor, and this can overwhelm you if you aren’t always keeping the population down.

What gives Weirdwood Manor such replayability is the bevy of options at your disposal and how you can manipulate the manor to your advantage. You can recruit Companions that each come with their own special ability, but they also give you an extra time of day slot to utilize. You can recruit more Companions as well (with additional cost), further extending your options and the time between Scarab Phases. This is a fully cooperative experience, so you’ll want to use your special powers to help not just you but your teammates. Some allow you portal others to other rooms while others can help with resources, XP, or bonuses to attacks and defense, and some like Wally and Eugene allow you to steal Power cards from Monsters and get your cards into other players’ decks respectively.

(Photo: ComicBook)

Player powers all feel especially distinct and useful, and while your choices early on do matter, I still encourage you to put them into action when you can as opposed to hoarding Power Tokens. Also, most of the heroes have two variations of the power they can use, and though some won’t be as useful all the time, they can still be incredibly handy during specific scenarios. It took me a minute to figure out which characters suited my preferred play style best, but after all was said and done I discovered three characters that would easily be in my rotation, and half the fun was the experimentation along the way.

(Photo: ComicBook)

The strategy goes further though, as the action cards you play also have one side of an icon on either side. When paired next to an action card with the same symbol (or a wild), that symbol will be added to your total. For example, if you form a complete attack symbol, you will have one additional attack added to your rolls as long as it’s there. Same with blocks and resource symbols, but even if you have two different symbols you can still make it work thanks to Warden Tactics cards. These cards net you other symbols like attacks, blocks, and resources, and carry wild symbols on either side, which you’ll then place on top of an Action Card.

Then there’s the XP track, and as you earn XP you can move one of three different tracks. These are Power, Battle, and Tactics and as you move them up you will get things like Power Tokens, resources, health, attacks, blocks, Warden Tactics cards, and the ability to banish Scarabs. Some of your powers will let you gain additional XP or XP in lieu of another action, and some powers even give your teammates XP. There are rooms that will also dole out XP to other players, so you’ll have ample chances to move up the track and gain things that suit your chosen strategy.

(Photo: ComicBook)

The player’s side of the game is compelling on its own, but then there are the Fae Monsters, who all approach the game differently. The game features the Chaos Ogre, Min Wraith, and Therus, who all grow in difficulty and shake up their approach. The Chaos Ogre is a health sponge and punishes you for blighted rooms, which happen when more than one Scarab is moved into a room. The Min Wraith can move through walls and absorbs Scarabs to add to their health and damage Lady Weirdwood. Finally, there’s Therus, who is corrupting Lady Weirdwood and becomes more powerful the more corrupted she gets. All three were fun to play against, and even as Therus started to overwhelm the team, the fun never stopped.

Impressively there are even more elements to the game that I haven’t touched on, including the stylish and thematic board and acrylic standees, the gorgeous artwork, and how Lady Weirdwood can help battle your Fae adversary. The only downside to Weirdwood Manor is that I had to stop playing to write all this, and that’s the best compliment I can give. Weirdwood Manor is an absolute home run, and I simply cannot wait to jump back in.

You can check out the full campaign for Weirdwood Manor right here.

Will you be backing Weirdwood Manor? Let us know in the comments or as always you can talk all things tabletop and gaming with me on Twitter @MattAguilarCB!

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