Off The Shelf - Warhammer Age of Sigmar The Rise and Fall of Anvalor

Published: February 21, 2019 3:00 PM /

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Warhammer Age of Sigmar The Rise and Fall of Anvalor is a tabletop board game by Wizkids, under the Games Workshop License. Anvalor is a region in the Mortal Realms in the world of Age of Sigmar. In the Rise and Fall of Anvalor, players build their forces and attempt to repel the enemy assaults in the build up to the final assault. All of the players are working together to build up Anvalor and defeat the enemy attackers, but the player with the most influence at the end of the game is the winner, so be prepared for some crafty shenanigans as players push their own personal agenda. In this Off The Shelf article, we will fully unbox the product, along with a closer look at some components, then have a look into the rules. Our Off The Shelf series is always the first of two parts. Off The Shelf articles are unboxing and preview articles which are followed up by On The Tabletop, where we take the game to the tabletop, with several gamers from different tabletop backgrounds to get a rounded first impressions of the game. Check back soon for the On The Tabletop article that follows this one.

The Rise and Fall of Anvalor Unboxing

[gallery size="large" ids="275770,275771,275772,275774,275775,275776,275777,275778,275779"] Setting up The Rise and Fall of Anvalor is a matter of putting the playboard on the side with the amount of players (1-2 or 3-4), selecting the forces the players wish to play and also choosing the enemy you wish to fight against. There are six factions for the players to chose from:
  • The Hammers of Sigmar
  • Order Serpentis
  • Anvils of the Heldenhammer
  • The Free Guild
  • The Dispossessed
  • Fyreslayers of the Vostarg Lodge
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Each playable faction has a choice of four abilities. Players choose one to use throughout the game.
Once players have chosen their faction, they take all of the tiles for that faction, which are drawn randomly throughout the game like a hand of cards. Players also choose from one of four abilities that each faction has available, which have an effect throughout the game.
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Each enemy faction has four abilities that are attached to the details tile. The ability attached is dictated by the amount of players in the game.
Players then choose an enemy race to play against. The core set has three enemies: the followers of Khorne, warriors and berserkers of the god of blood, war and skulls; a mighty Orruk warhost made up of a green tide of fighters who know only battle; and the Skaven, the ratmen of the underworld. Once players have decided which enemy to face, an ability tile is attached to the enemy tile. There are four abilities tiles and these are all marked on the back by the number of players in the game. In the image above, "Blood for the Blood God!" is for a single-player game, "Khul is unstoppable!" is for a two-player game, "We are the crimson tide!" for three, and "Our gods are stronger!" is for four.
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Universal buildings are available for any player to add to the playboard.
During the game, players take turns putting tiles from their hand on the board, either buildings or units, or they can buy a city building from a central supply. If at the end of a player's turn there is an empty space on the City Buildings board, because a player placed one on the map, then a dice is rolled. On a 1 to 4, an enemy unit appears on one of the edges of the map. On a 5 or 6, the ability on the enemy details tile occurs (examples of the 5/6 roll can be seen on the Khorne enemy image above). If there are ever three enemy units on the same edge of the board, they attack in a wave and an Assault occurs.
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Attacks in the Rise and Fall of Anvalor are simple. Each unit has a combat dice on it's tile, players need to roll above the strength value of the enemy to defeat it. If they don't, they are eliminated instead.
During the game, it means that the players can control when enemies build up and attacks occur, by deciding when to buy buildings from the central pool. Players know that enemies will start from the outside, so some preparation for this can be made. When an assault occurs, the enemy units move across the board, automatically destroying buildings and fighting friendly units until they are removed or they reach the other side of the board. At the start of the assault phase, friendly units get to make an attack against any adjacent enemy units. Every unit has either a melee or a ranged attack dice listed on their tile. Players have to roll higher than the strength of the enemy unit using that dice. If they fail to roll equal to or higher and they're making a melee attack, the friendly unit is destroyed. These rolls can be boosted by other friendly units adjacent to the enemy unit or through buildings and faction abilities. Once friendly units have had a chance to attack, the enemy units start to move. They automatically destroy buildings and move through empty squares. If a player's unit in a square they would move into a combat occurs using the same rules as above, only no ranged attacks are made for the friendly units and no support is awarded for adjacent friendly units. Dice can also explode, which means that if you roll the highest number on the dice, you can roll again and add the result to your roll. Rolls of 1 are automatic misses and cannot be modified or re-rolled and if you roll a 1 during an exploding dice, the entire roll fails.
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Ever faction has its own selection of building and unit tiles available.
As soon as the last enemy tile is placed from the enemy draw pile, the final assault occurs. Enemy tiles are moved to one side of the board (which will be a maximum of five units) and the rest are discarded. Those units then complete an assault as it would occur in previous rounds, only the game ends once it's completed. Throughout the game, influence is gained by building City Buildings from the communal pool and also defeating enemies. The player with the most influence at the end of the game wins. After playing through the first few games, play can be mixed up by combining enemy forces, made easier by selecting two or more faction abilities for your force, or made harder by using higher player numbered abilities on the enemy tile. Solo games are played slightly differently. During a solo game a roll is made by the enemy every turn, meaning that the enemy forces are always building up. There is a solo score sheet for tracking your ongoing score against different difficulty levels with the different factions and their abilities.   There appears to be a lot of interesting challenge in The Rise and Fall of Anvalor and we're keen to see how the different factions play. We're also interested to see if theme carries through the game and if it feels like the faction you're playing feel different from the others, and if the enemies feel different and unique. We'll report back on this and more in our upcoming On The Tabletop report.   The copy of the The Rise and Fall of Anvalor used in this preview was provided by Asmodee UK.   Are you an Age of Sigmar fan? What do you think about The Rise and Fall of Anvalor? Which faction will you chose to play first? Which enemy do you want to play against? Let us know in the comments below.

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A Potts TechRaptor
| Senior Tabletop Writer

Adam is a Tabletop Specialist for TechRaptor. He started writing for TechRaptor in 2017 and took over as Tabletop Editor in 2019 and has since stood down… More about Adam