For too long we have lived in peace and quietness. Our coming day seekers have been preparing us for a change to the worse for a long time. It all started with one ship. There were huge bloodthirsty monsters on it, and despite all these warnings, we were not ready. We lost a few villages, before we finally formed the defense. Now it is clear to us, that every sword and every tower counts.
We now call all players for defense. They can buy this game and help our people against unexpected invaders. Designer Guillaume Mazoyer lived in a world full of defense towers for several months and created board game Age of Towers. But before the release, he tested quality of his ideas in January 2018 on Kickstarter, where over 2000 fans confirmed, that he was on the right track. And so the game was released a year later through Devil Pig Games and in European distribution of Esdevium Games.
The seemingly white box offers plenty of fighters for victory. Some have green skin, others have long beards, but everyone on the lid has a large and dangerous weapon hanging on his back. Inside the box are four cities – players each choose one of them, and this board with perforated square holes (for the counter of defense points starting at maximum of fifteen) is placed in front of each other. He also gets other cardboard components, that carry his character – small path tiles and ten monster tokens, which they place in a random order on a board towards the mine. They will also receive wealth in the form of six crystals.
In the center, free space is filled with the remaining boards – a place for shuffled pile of event cards (selected based on the difficulty chosen), a section showing starting player and a round board of the main boss. Each player marks their starting position of his boss with the number one. They create a random offer of three task cards, tower supplies, enhancements, trophies and, of course, a pile of crystals.
Match is divided into turns, that represent individual days of attack. Everything begins every time with a daze, in which a new event card is revealed. All players must follow its instructions. Sometimes it can be a positive effect, sometimes a bad news. The only consolation is, that all participants always know, what’s coming for them next (new event is revealed).
But then the dark night falls on all the players‘ cities. It is just beneath its stubbornness, that all of the crazy attackers march towards the player’s city, step by step. For these purposes, the road is divided into parts. If one of the monsters arrives to the city, then its defense will suffer damage corresponding to creature’s strength. Subsequently, new monsters are emerging from the mine.
With first daylight, attackers reveal themselves in front of the defenders‘ eyes. If a player has built some towers, he will start firing at that moment, causing damage in the ranks of the raiders. Their projectiles can hit monsters on the adjacent spaces and cause one injury point. The monsters are hurt by the first hit and then the second successful strike captures them.
Only in the daytime players have enough peace to improve defense of their castle and prepare for the rising tide of monsters. They can not only build a new plastic tower by sacrificing crystals from their supplies, but also extend their way to the city. This will give defenders more time to destroy attacking monsters before they penetrate the walls.
For crystals, players can also buy task cards from the offer or from the deck. In total, however, each player can only make two actions. Then the end of the round follows, the day is coming to an end and players have to worry about surviving another night. Once one of the players has captured the boss, who is shuffled at the end of the monster attack pile, or when somebody’s defensive forces of the city are lowered to zero (on a scale), it is the end of the game. However, players will determine their success by counting the points for remaining defense, injuries to the boss and trophies. The one, who was the best, and therefore the most versatile, is the winner.
Age of Towers is a very interesting game of tower defense, which is unique because players are facing each other. This very popular genre of digital games has come to a new desktop incarnation. This is what carries with it both expectation and skepticism. It would seem, that the hecticity of the computer game cannot be replaced by anything.
Especially when nothing happens in real time. But the player is under pressure by having only a limited number of actions every round. It’s never possible to do anything that player wants. Instead, he must be content with emergency fire fighting just as if he was in a real raid. As a result, the difficulty gradually increases. Additionally, if players feel it being too simple and without challenges, they can increase the difficulty of choosing other (more damaging) events. These cards have the potential to greatly influence every round.
Most moments in the whole game are quite predictable. The only true luck is hiding in the order in which monsters emerge from hiding. There is also the chance to get the task card blindly from the deck (instead of public offer), but that’s just the decision of the player himself.
The biggest concern was, that even if the players sit at a table, everyone will only focus on their city and their way and will not be interested in the efforts of others. Fortunately, the task cards allow you to influence your opponent and make it difficult for them to defend against the raiders. But there is another situation that lets players fight directly among themselves: trophies. They are awarded only to a player who completes set conditions first. But if you do not like conflict, you do not have to use these rules.
There is even more in this. Players can improve their towers and increase their effectiveness. On the contrary, the monsters have their special skills in their enemy landscape, allowing them to flood player’s defense properly. But it only applies to the moment until monster becomes injured.
Thanks to the fact, that for most of the game time, everybody is fighting for themselves, it is not as important, how many participants there are in the game. Still, the game is better in higher numbers, although the turns are gradual. Two actions are quick and the game still keeps a reasonable time around ninety minutes. There will be plenty of situations for everyone to provide a rich of experience. On the contrary, you will usually feel, that the game is perhaps too short.
Greatest problem of the basic box is variability. While you’ve received a number of bonuses in your campaign, you’ll need to purchase an extension here. Basically, you only get one boss, which will be repeated in every game. This makes the game slightly repetitive even though attackers are still a challenge. But the game usually ends up by defeating the defense, because the monsters are moving really fast and can not be held forever.
Age of Towers has not disappointed our expectations in terms of gameplay. The battle for survival is a central theme, as players are constantly confronted with a lack of time. The atmosphere of the game works well and gives a strong emphasis on sabotaging opponents. Age of Towers is far from perfect, but it does not prevent it from being a good game.
Age of Towers is game, that does not end well. Monsters appear from a seemingly bottomless underground, and it's just about holding your ground longer, than your opponents. In doing so, players must be successful in performing various side tasks. But a big weapon is a chance to attack your enemy. The game is pleasantly fast even in higher numbers and the big weapon is processing. On the contrary, it will disappoint in the lack of variability of the content offered. Yet for fans of the tower defense genre this is an excellent game. Age of Towers has its drawbacks, but it's a good deal of fun.