I encountered an interesting little tabletop game at Play NYC 2017, and here I am nearly one and half years later writing my Hero's Crossing review. Its Kickstarter has come and gone, and I've had my hands on a proper production version of the game for some time now. This particular tabletop game mixes mechanics and themes from a lot of things that I personally enjoy: running a shop and building out a town.
A game of Hero's Crossing begins with each player being handed their meeples and four dice. Each of the four dice are a different color and represent one of four separate resources. You're then given a randomized set of building tiles and the game can begin as soon as you've selected who goes first.
There are eight different actions to complete in Hero's Crossing as part of your turn. These actions, however, are paired up with another random action and you're able to do both at the same time. As an example, if "Produce" and "Move" were in the same row of the action card, you could produce resources of the appropriate color and then immediately move them in the same turn. This Dual Action card changes out with every new round, forcing the player to adapt their strategy as the game goes on.
[gallery columns="2" link="file" size="full" ids="164037,272193"]
Left: A single town can be built up to a pretty decent size as the game goes on; you'll probably need at least a 3' x 3' (1m x 1m) space for a four-player game. Right: the various Level 3 Heroes all have heavy-hitting powers that can make or break your chances at victory.
As the game progresses, players will attempt to acquire new tiles for their town so that they can produce more goods. These goods are subsequently used to gain heroes to join your cause and earn Victory Points. The game concludes a few turns after the last of the Level 3 Heroes are revealed. It's very possible that a game ends without all of the heroes entering play; that exact scenario certainly popped up more than a few times during our gameplay sessions for this Hero's Crossing review.
That's the broad strokes of the game and not much has changed since we first got our preview copy back in 2017. (Please check out our preview of the game to get a more detailed look at the rules and gameplay.) I did play a few rounds with my tabletop group over several weeks for our Hero's Crossing review and I found the game just as enjoyable as it was back in 2017. What is new to this version is a set of solo rules, something that tries to keep the challenge of the game going without any real opponents.
To compensate for the lack of players, the solo version of Hero's Crossing makes some modifications to its rules. The player has a goal of attaining 40 Victory Points before you reach the end of the game as per the normal rules. Adding to the challenge is the "Phantom Player"—essentially a special set of rules to accommodate the lack of competition. This makes things slightly more challenging. As an example, you'll have to have higher numbers on your dice than you might otherwise have had to in a handful of situations. That said, the majority of the game is spent trying to bring out the biggest dice numbers possible so it's not that huge of a change.
The final item of note is something I wasn't able to really address in my preview of the game: the quality of the materials. The preview copy was certainly made of sturdy stuff, but you can't really say for sure what the production version will look like. I'm happy to report that Hero's Crossing has not only maintained that level of quality but improved on it in some ways.
The material used for the land tiles and fold-out game board is plenty sturdy. It arrived unscathed and held up for hours of gameplay and I'm sure it will hold up for even longer than that. The cards, too, are great quality. The quality of cards is one of many places I've seen games fail to produce good products and Hero's Crossing has avoided that mistake entirely.
Out of everything in the box, the meeples have to be one of the most delightful surprises. As this is a tabletop game based somewhat on video game tropes, the fine folks at One Method Monkey elected to have special pixel meeples made. It's certainly appropriate considering the style of the game. I want to emphasize that they really had no strict need to do this other than a vague Kickstarter goal of "increasing the meeple quality". It's a nice touch that adds charm to an already charming game.
Hero's Crossing Review - The Bottom Line:Hero's Crossing is a game that merges a bunch of different themes. 16-bit RPG nostalgia, economic games, city builders, and more all mesh together into an interesting competitive experience. It's solo mode works well enough, but the game plays best when it's with your friends. I think it'll make a fine addition to anyone's collection.
Get this game if:
- You've always wanted to run your own item shop.
- You enjoy dice-drafting games.
- You want a nostalgic, retro experience.
Avoid this game if:
- You don't have plenty of room to play.
- You don't want to mess around with placing tiles.
- You're not fond of economic games.
This copy of Hero's Crossing was provided by One Method Monkey.
What do you think of our Hero's Crossing review? Does the game seem like it'd make for an interesting experience or would you prefer something a little more complex? Let us know in the comments below!
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