Designed by: The Brothers Chaps & James Ernest
Published by: Harmless Junk Inc. in 2019
Players: 1 – 6
Time: 30 – 60 minutes
Age: 14 & up
In Trogdor!! The Board Game, players embrace the righteous goal of defending Trogdor’s inalienable right to burninate! So until EVERYTHING is burned, the game is not over.
Trogdor’s not just another ravenous, beefy armed, bloodthirsty monster. His dragonly courage is so inspiring, he’s garnered a loyal band of “Keepers” devoted to protecting him with their mystic powers. In setup, the 25 terrain tiles are laid out in the pattern of a 5×5 square, and each player draws one “Keeper” card to determine which Keeper’s power he or she may use during the game on their turns.
There are 12 “Keepers of Trogdor” available: Galgabudge, Hardybardy, Stonklar, and others. And the Keepers are not some bunch of interchangeable buffoons! Each Keeper has secret special skills to help keep Trogdor’s majesty alive. . . and a special item (such as the Ring of VOIP, which allows Trogdor to teleport to any tile). The Keepers’ special items are recharged when a certain condition is met; for example, the Ring of VOIP is recharged when a cottage (or a terrain tile with a cottage on it) is burninated.
The game’s mainly about area control. The “wrap-around” effect, enabling movement off the map (and immediately back onto it again) — can make this serf-ridden, bucolic thorp incredibly dangerous! Even for Trogdor!
Trogdor will take damage if he is “arrowed” by one of the archers, stabbed by a knight, or clobbered by one of the dreaded “Troghammers”. Conversely, Trogdor will heal a point of damage whenever he “chomps” a peasant (i.e., biting off the peasant’s head — NOT mere burnination).
As a cooperative game, the spread of special abilities among the Keepers is well balanced at any number of players. At lower player numbers you will have less special abilities, and therefore less strategies to choose from, but at higher player numbers you will have less opportunities to use specific special abilities thus limiting your strategy variance in another way.
The considerable variety in distribution of Keeper powers, magical items, and terrain tiles (not to mention the game’s capture of the whimsy of the source material) helps keep the gameplay fresh.
Play Length: Your first playthrough may go slowly, but climbing up to box time should only take 2 or 3 playthroughs, and overall the playtime is perfect for a game of this difficulty level and theme.
Components: The game really shines here. Fans of Strong Bad’s original presentation of the “dragon” Strong Bad e-mail will recognize many of the other characters’ attempts to draw Trogdor. Components include the original beefy-armed Trogdor, Strong Sad’s chiaroscuro-shaded rendition, a planarianesque specimen, and the “DAGRON” inscription carved by Strong Mad into a desk.
Difficulty: This is not a difficult game. There are strategic choices, but they are not the sort that keep you agonizing for hours or lying awake at night.
Player engagement: There’s not much direct player engagement, since only one player is moving at a given time, but there’s plenty of opportunities for players to confer about what the next move should be. Personally, I think that was a significant part of the overall fun for our group.
What I liked Most: The creativity of the “Items” and “Keepers of Trogdor” cards. Their sense of humor felt like an organic expansion of the Trogdorverse, as if Strong Bad himself were writing them. And the cleverness of their unique effects enriched player choices in delightful ways.
What I liked least: There’s not much challenge in speculating what your next move should be; any strategies you formulate are likely to quickly fall into the categories of “good” and/or “bad”.
Is the game worth buying: If you’re a big fan of the cartoons on the old Homestar Runner site, than the answer is a definite yes.