Welcome to The Game Shelf!

After getting into the board game hobby at the end of 2014, we've decided to share our thoughts on the games we're collecting on our shelves. The collection has certainly expanded over the last few years and we've been making up for lost time!

Sometimes our opinions differ, so Amy will be posting reviews every Tuesday and Fi will post on Thursdays. We hope you enjoy reading some of our opinions on board games - especially those for two players.

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Tuesday, 19 June 2018

It feels good to be bad!:- Village Attacks


Game: Village Attacks

Publisher: Grimlord Games

Designer: Adam Smith

Year: 2018

Village Attacks is a 1-5 player tower defence game in which you take control of one of 5 classic monsters defending your castle from the revolting peasantry. Along the way you will strengthen your monster and deploy traps to slaughter the foolish invaders. Fighting back against you, the peasants will hire monster hunters and legendary heroes to help then lay siege to your dark home.

Village Attacks is a scenario driven game, the first 5 scenarios act as a tutorial to gently break you into the game. Each one introduces a new major rule that will be used from then on in. This is a great way to be eased into the game, the only flaw being in the layout of the instruction manual. I ended up learning all the rules for heroes and traps only to find out I didn't need them for 3 whole games! Once you have completed the tutorial there are still 7 more scenarios to play, each with unique mechanics, such as sealing up the breaches in your castle walls or sacrificing creatures to your castles' heart.


In each round of Village Attacks each player will get a chance to activate their monster, then the villagers will act and potentially a new event will occur. To use your monster you will roll 6 dice and then allocate them to perform actions. The dice have 6 unique faces, of which one is exclusively bad. Here the designers have done something I very much approve of - should you roll a triple (or more) of one symbol (even the bad one) you can collect all those dice and reroll them. You can complete this until you have no triples. It's still possible to have a bad turn in Village Attacks, but it's extremely rare that the dice screw you over completely.

The Banshee has used 3 dice to move and 1 dice to protect herself. Her final 2 dice are powering one of her special powers which should kill all the villagers about to run into her room.

The dice have simple actions: melee attack and ranged attack both deal 1 damage, either to your room or and adjacent, which is enough to kill peasants and hunters. You always have to kill the weakest enemies in a room first, the so-called heroes enjoy hiding behind human shields! The defend face reduces incoming damage, while the retaliate action embraces incoming damage in return allowing you to attack back. Each monster has unique ways of using these dice, for example the dullahan can use a large number of defence and retaliate die, while the banshee is able to move faster than anyone else! These individual strengths are enhanced as you level up. Once you kill enough villagers you get a new skill that can be activated using certain dice, allowing a level of character customization.

Once the monsters have finished their turns the villagers will activate, villagers will attack monsters in their room (or at range for hunters and some heroes) then march towards the castle heart. The castle heart is their true target, should the villagers reduce it's health to 0 then the game is over and you lose The victory conditions vary by scenario, though the standard, if you could even say there is one, is to reduce the villagers morale to 0, with morale reducing by 1 for every villager slain.

I have to compliment the miniatures in Village attacks, while many of them suffered a degree of bending on the slimmer parts, the miniatures all have a good level of detail and are oozing with character. While there are over 60 miniatures, there is a good chance that almost all of them will be on the board at once when things are going really badly for you! I can't wait to paint the monsters and heroes to truly make them stand out from the unwashed rabble. 

The castle board tracks the castle heart's health, the morale of the villagers and when the next event is due as well as holding all the traps that are available to buy.
For a miniatures game Village Attacks is very light, with games mostly taking about an hour. Set up is also comparatively easy. Each castle has a unique set up, but they are all made up from 5 different room types, if you aren't being petty about which room has which art (only the castle hearts really matter) you can throw together a map in minutes and get playing. There are a few fiddly parts to the game, for example when the villagers need to make a decision you flip a coin to decide which course of action they take. While this does prevent any arguments, and prevents you from manipulating the peasants into your traps (unless you are the succubus, but that's kinda her thing), coin flips aren't the fastest things to do, especially if you need to make 4 or 5 in quick succession!

Conversely the monster's actions are all very fluid, with simple but effective actions. Each monster has a unique role to play in your castle. There is tons of rooms for teamwork, for example luring or stunning villagers to allow other players to pass through and set up traps or recover. You'll need every ounce of skill you have though, as the game tends to cascade out of control, eventually it gets to a point where the villagers outnumber you to such an extent that even with all your power you are likely to fall to the humble pitchfork! I really love the unique theme of Village Attacks, it reminds me of the original Dungeon Keeper that I played when I was young! I also love that it's a miniature game that's approachable enough to get Fi to play!

8.5/10

Village Attacks was a pre-production review copy kindly provided to us by Grimlord Games.

2 comments:

  1. Sounds good! (And relieves me about my all-in pledge)!

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    1. Thanks Nick! I think extra content will really help with this game. If you give me 10 scenarios in the box I instantly think I can only play each one once, even though you could totally play them many times each.

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