Return to Dark Tower, the most prestigious product ever produced by Restoration Games, is a board game that has a legacy in more ways than one. It was also funded on Kickstarter in February 2020, less than a month after the COVID-19 epidemic changed our world forever. Despite its limitations, it now has a towering chunk of black plastic that is every bit as novel and singular as the original.
In a memorable televised advertising campaign, Dark Tower was a legend in its own time, which included an iconic circular board that was concealed with harmful beeps. Every time it was brought to the table, it''s appearance spooked and amazing.
The concept of this new release is framed as a sequel rather than a reimagining. The tower, which is locked in a ruin for an age while significant evil stutters, is now in the structures reawakening.
Players are able to play with keen heroes such as the Relic Hunter or Brutal Warlord. There are four options in the box, each with a unique ability and play style. Return to Dark Tower is now a fully cooperative design, with a secondary competitive mode being offered that mimics the original format. The asymmetry of characters supports a strong foundation for the collaborative structure, which allows actors to leverage their niche.
This activity involves spending a lot of time traversing the kingdom and cleansing the land from the tiny skulls ejected from the tower. This includes gathering resources such as fiery spirit to help your growth or nameless warriors to join your retinue. Characters progress, unlocking new abilities and items, which helps to enrich the fantasy RPG identity. Ultimately, you meet with a boss who emerges from the central citadel and uncover the consequences of the scenario.
The mix of the settings and the mechanics is spectacular. First, the motif is dark and contemporary, evoking a peculiarly Lord of the Rings feel that is accompanied with an ominous nature but never crosses the line into grim. The world feels fantastical, yet it is more crisp and evocative than the original.
The transition to a cooperative format is both remarkable and powerful. With hit releases such as Pandemic and Gloomhaven leading the way, this board game has become popular. It''s a great option for those who want to move the Dark Tower family into a fantastic shared experience. Instead of the competing race of scooping up keys found in its forebear, it is a great choice.
My first encounter with the monolithic tower was uneasy, although it was not in the intended theme. My tower was stuttered and locked up the first time I turned it on. It appears to have only affected a small minority of users. Restoration Games was extremely quick to send out a replacement.
I was quite surprised that the tower began functioning correctly, dominating with its table appearance and simply by having a very large silhouette. I admire that its somewhat obnoxious and too tall, obscuring your vision to the opposite side of the board, forcing you to crane your neck to catch glimpses of the shadowed surface at the kingdom. This is remarkable because the tower is imposing, combining themes of suffocation and dominance, combined with an absolute and powerful immersion.
The tower, however, is located in a strange zone of being a complicated slice of digital wizardry and an unintelligent automaton. It''s an illusion of sorts, capable to hypnotize a willing participant, but only one who does not look beyond its moment-to-moment activities.
The magic primarily occurs between players'' actions. At the end of each turn, players drop a plastic skull into the top of the tower, which might trigger an event. This is an elegant way to randomize feedback and avoid cluttering the table with additional card decks. It also creates a moment of shivering tension.
As new monsters are spawned and skulls are ejected to protect the land, the tower rotates in your face, and your opponents take steps to get rid of them. However, in my games, certain players became concerned about the dangers, even if the behavior was evidently random and unintelligent.
If you look at what the tower is doing, then you may realize that it might provide more. A cynic might depict the citadel as a glorified dice tower, merely randomizing what drops the skulls you drop in plop out of, giving some gnarly sound effects. The tower''s performance is certainly breathtaking and provides a captivating backdrop to the ongoing battle. It''s a fantastic theatrical prop.
Surprisingly, the required companion app does much more than simply drive the eponymous Dark Tower. It is the primary mechanism for combat, managing resource attrition, and character influence. There are also dungeons that occasionally appear on the map, indicating that the actors will use the app to discover them, resulting in a micro-level narrative. These are also well-developed, which keeps them more exciting.
Another feature of this game is to randomize the games content. A pleasing feature of this game is that it offers several different scenarios and many different foes of different abilities. These choices are powerful, particularly the scenarios, as they range from escorting caravans to discovering treasure to discovering a number of mysterious dungeons.
Return to Dark Tower is notable because it is extremely smooth in its technology usage as well as its ability to utilize modern design principles. It''s a simple and streamlined game that I can play with my 8-year-old daughter, but it''s also strategically dynamic enough to stand up to a group of adults interested in learning the hobby. The only downside is its price.
Return to Dark Tower was purchased for a whopping $125. It has now risen to a cool $190. That''s an incredible price point for a board game, which is difficult to swallow. The game is placed as a collection centerpiece and restricts its appeal.
Certain may be dissatisfied with the fact that this modernization did not commit completely to a more lengthy and complex strategic design as opposed to the accessible current approach. However, it''s truly remarkable how well it takes on a logical level of appealing to young people as well as adults who enjoyed this earlier approach. In this way, it''s a breathtaking adventure.
Return to Dark Tower is now offering its crowdfunding campaign to supporters. Backerkit will be printing a second copy. Vox Media has affiliate links, but these don''t necessarily influence editorial content. However, Vox Media may earn commissions for products purchased through affiliate links. Polygons'' ethics policy is also discussed here.