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Tips & Strategies (30)

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5
USA
Cross Hares fan
131 of 134 gamers found this helpful
“Who gets who?”

When you start to draw hero cards, plot out who to go after, and share the cards with people that have a better chance character-wise of winning against a general. For example, the Dwarf is great against Dragon-kin. Get him as many cards as possible to go against Sapphire. But don’t focus on only one character going against the general. Remember, there is strength in numbers. If you have 4 characters on the field, try to plan it so there are always two ready to attack the general.

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7
Knight-errant
Cooperative Game Explorer
Amateur Advisor
Gamer - Level 6
104 of 107 gamers found this helpful
“Delayed Tactics”

The game ramps up in difficulty with the first General that you defeat, and will continue to get more difficult as you approach the endgame. In the beginning, however, the game is somewhat lenient with the progression of danger, meaning that the heroes have some time to try and build up before dealing with the menace. Defeating a General too early can be more of a problem than a help, as there is a chance that the Generals will move faster and put the heroes more on the defensive. For that reason, the strategy is to delay defeating a general for as long as you can while completing quests and gaining hero cards. Generals rarely move, and players can let a general get within two spaces of Monarch City before dealing with it. This tactic increases the odds of survival for the endgame, though it does put the beginning of the game at more of a risk.

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9
Z-Man Games fan
Tasty Minstrel Games Fan
Plaid Hat Games fan
Indie Board & Cards fan
54 of 56 gamers found this helpful
“Have The Wizard In Your Party”

I find a good strategy for the game is to have the wizard as part of your party. This is for 2 different reasons: 1) The wizard can travel to any spot on the board for 1 action due to his teleportation ability and 2) The wizard’s fireball ability – This can be extremely powerful, as it allows you to discard a card of any colour minion you are fighting at the time, and destroy all minions on that spot for a result of 2 or higher on each die you roll

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9
USA
I play blue
Paladin
Master Grader
29 of 30 gamers found this helpful
“Gateway to Victory”

While I can’t claim to have a massive number of games to reflect on, I have looked for patterns in the victories (and losses). The pattern that jumps out is mobility and not from the characters chosen but instead from magic gates. This game demands that you cover the entire board at different times (particularly East – West and you typically must go back and forth). Therefore, it is more than worth your time to establish magic gates at both ends of the board to facilitate quick movement from one end to the other (or to the middle with the gate you start with).

Right from your initial draw look to see if you can create a gate at either end of the board and if you can run don’t walk to do so. I think one gate at each end is enough so keep the rest of your gate cards for other tasks but do build those two for a “gateway to victory!”

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7
Knight-errant
Cooperative Game Explorer
Amateur Advisor
Gamer - Level 6
50 of 54 gamers found this helpful
“Need to get somewhere fast? Use your Hero cards!”

A lot of people tend to forget that Hero cards can speed movement if used. Hanging on to Hero cards for that big battle can be important, but when you have a flight card in hand, you can cover a lot of ground. If a problem area comes up and you’re not sure if it can be handled by other players in time, expending cards to get to that location may be your best bet. In Defenders of the Realm, time is a crucial element, so taking care of problems quickly and efficiently is vital. Forming gates can also be helpful, but should only be done on relatively trouble-free turns; prepare for trouble before it happens, not when it happens.

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9
USA
I play blue
Paladin
Master Grader
39 of 42 gamers found this helpful
“Hit and Run!”

Almost every time I have lost this game it has been because the land has become too tainted. Consequently, I have adjusted my play strategy in several ways to avoid this problem that can sneak up on you rather quickly.

The number one thing to do I believe is to practice “hit and run.” My natural inclination when attacking monsters was to get them completely cleared out. In other words if on the first roll I killed say two of three minions at a site I would keep rolling until I got the last. Now, I know I need to move on more quickly to maximize my effectiveness. You simply must go after any spot that has three minions on it. However, even if you don’t initially get all of them move on to the next spot and hit there too. Typically, many adjacent spots will be loaded with minions so moving quickly to each one and rolling only once is the best strategy. I typically won’t bother hittig a site unless I am rolling at least two dice and preferably three. A site with three minions is in danger of immediate tainting whereas a site with only one is safe. Remember as well, that a site that is already tainted can be tainted again and again, so any site with three minions, even a tainted one, should be addressed asap. By not getting distracted by low minion sites you can move quickly around the board to true trouble spots.

In Defenders of the Realm you have to maximize your moves so don’t become fixated on perfection, instead practice hit and run to keep the land clear of taint even if it isn’t perfectly clear of minions.

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9
Gamer - Level 7
BoardGaming.com Beta 1.0 Tester
Petroglyph
Explorer - Level 3
38 of 41 gamers found this helpful
“How many dice is enough?”

How many dice do you need to attack a general and hopefully kill it?
RED GENERAL- 12 is minimum, 14 is good. Not because you need that much, but because you will lose 1 or more cards to his special ability before you attack.
GREEN GENERAL-Max 12 or 13, no more and 10 is probably optimum. This is because with his special ability, the more you have the more parries you will probably roll.
BLACK GENERAL-12 is the minimum. Due to his ability you cannot re-roll or use your character’s special powers, so with 50% chance of hitting you want a little cushion against one player rolling badly.
BLUE GENERAL-10 Dice minimum. Statistically 12 should be the minimum but 10 usually works out.

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7
Knight-errant
Cooperative Game Explorer
Amateur Advisor
Gamer - Level 6
40 of 44 gamers found this helpful
“Keep the area around Monarch City clear!”

With so many ways to lose the game, it’s easy to forget about one crucial element in the middle of cleaning house. There are Darkness Spread cards that can produce enemies quickly in the form of Orc War Parties. Also, in the later stages of the game, more Darkness Spreads cards are drawn. If four minions arrive in Monarch City, the game ends, so for your benefit, clear the locations in and around Monarch City before they become a problem. Overruns can happen when you least expect it, and every unit in Monarch City is one step closer to doom.

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6
Tactician
Professional Advisor
Tinkerer
Senior
57 of 63 gamers found this helpful
“Player Count and Party Size”

The rulebook doesn’t seem to mention this, but the designer has said elsewhere that the game was balanced for 4 heroes, and that playing with less than that is a challenge.

Smaller groups have more trouble covering the board and can’t hoard as many hero cards for the big general fights. When you get below 3 heroes, you’re going to have a hard time even holding enough cards to reliably kill a single general, due to the per-hero hand limit.

If you have fewer than 4 players, consider having some play multiple heroes, especially if you don’t have much experience with the game.

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10
Critic - Level 5
Professional Advisor
Expert Reviewer
Marquis / Marchioness
39 of 43 gamers found this helpful
“Watch out for randomized Global Effects in Expansions”

The three Hero Pack expansions each include, along with the new characters, six global effects cards. There are a total of 28 global effects cards (not including those in the Dragon Expansion).

The Hero Packs do not have a set distribution; the cards will be random. You can also buy a promo pack from Boardgamegeek ($5 w/shipping) to get ten global effects cards, but these will also be random. Buying the 3 expansions and promo pack will likely not get you a complete set.

The designer of the game has stated that he’s actively looking into options for people who are completionists and want one of each card, but may not get them due to the random distribution.

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10
Critic - Level 5
Professional Advisor
Expert Reviewer
Marquis / Marchioness
38 of 42 gamers found this helpful
“Try the Official Summer Campaign Scenarios (FREE!)”

Defenders of the Realm benefits from a designer who actively supports updates to the game. There are a number of expansions available for purchase.

Additionally, there are a set of five official scenarios, set as a continuous story, that are available for FREE from the Eagle Games website. They are .pdf files that contain all the rules needed. There are lots of cards/tokens/creatures that are new which you will need to cutout, but again, it’s free!

They can be found on the product page under the DOWNLOADS tab from Eagle Games. At the time of this comment, the first three are there. Having played through a few, they definitely add a challenge, while keeping true to the main game. Highly recommended for experienced players looking for a challenge!

http://www.eaglegames.net/ProductDetails.asp?ProductCode=EGL1000

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6
Tactician
Professional Advisor
Tinkerer
Senior
51 of 57 gamers found this helpful
“Fighting Generals to Draw Cards”

When you defeat a general, only one player gets the corresponding “slayer” title, but everyone who helped draws 3 hero cards. Even if you don’t have many dice to contribute to the fight and there’s little risk of your allies failing without you, it may be worth going a bit out of your way just to participate and get the extra cards; depending on how far out of your way it is, it may be more efficient than rumors at the inn, and more dice in the general fight always improves your odds.

However, you should not necessarily expect your allies to wait for you–if the general moves before you strike, you’ll need to spend a whole extra round gathering at his new location. If you’re just joining for the cards, arrive early.

Note that (according to the FAQ) you need to contribute at least 1 die to the fight to count as “participating” (though that die doesn’t necessarily need to come from a hero card).

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6
Tactician
Professional Advisor
Tinkerer
Senior
67 of 75 gamers found this helpful
“Designer's Errata”

The designer has posted a large FAQ here:
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/filepage/58401/defenders-of-the-realm-faq

The FAQ is 19 pages long and contains a lot of clarifications and background commentary, but it also contains a number of rulings that I would consider “errata” – things that I don’t think could reliably be deduced from the stuff that comes in the box, even with extreme thoroughness. Since the FAQ is huge and doesn’t separate these out, I’ve made a list for easier review…

1. Varkolak’s general ability prevents the use of the quest reward from “Amulet of the Gods” (+1 to dice rolls), but does NOT prevent the rewards from “Find Magic Gate” (+2 dice), “War Banner of Valor” (ignore effects of losing), or “Amorak’s Blessing” (cancel general’s ability).

2. The Cleric’s “Turn Undead” ability happens before taking damage for ending your turn (in conjunction with #16 below, this implies that it happens at the end of the daytime phase, NOT at the end of your turn as printed.)

3. The Cleric’s “Turn Undead” ability is optional.

4. The Cleric’s “Sanctify Land” ability rolls only 1 die per action.

5. The Eagle Rider’s “Ground Attack” style can only be used to reroll ALL dice in an attack or NONE of them, not just some of them.

6. The Ranger’s “Archery” ability attacks all minions in one adjacent location, not in all adjacent locations.

7. The Sorceress’ “Ambush” ability grants a bonus on the first attack made during a turn AND the first attack after each movement (e.g. you can ambush minions in your current location, move somewhere else, ambush again, move back to your original location, and ambush again, all in a single turn).

8. If you run out of minion tokens, you can take the minion on the Sorceress’ character card representing her shifted shape, BUT she suffers 1 wound if you do so.

9. If the Sorceress is forced to return to Monarch City as a result of losing a battle against a general, she automatically shifts back into human form.

10. The Wizard’s “Fireball” ability can be used by discarding a card matching the color of any minion you are fighting, and works against all minions you are fighting.

11. The Wizard’s “Teleport” ability can be used to go to any location on the map, even locations that aren’t reachable by actual magic gate travel (such as inns, or Monarch City when there is no gate built there).

12. If the Wizard uses his “Wisdom” ability to discard the Monarch City darkness spreads card, you still reshuffle the decks. If the Monarch City darkness spreads card is drawn for a “general movement only” step, you still reshuffle the decks. (There is nothing in the FAQ that says what happens if you discard it as part of the “Dark Vision” purple card–I would guess you reshuffle, though the order of steps becomes important.)

13. The purple hero card “Magic Gate” cannot be used to place a gate at an inn.

14. When performing two consecutive “Rumors at the Inn” actions, you may change your called color between the two actions if you wish.

15. Minions defeated by the “Battle Fury” purple card count towards quest requirements. Minions defeated by other purple cards do not.

16. Wounds for “ending your turn” in a space with minions actually occur at the end of the daytime phase, before drawing cards.

17. Participating in an attack on a general is optional. A hero is considered to participate if they contribute 1 or more dice (whether from hero cards or otherwise).

18. Balazarg’s general ability corrupts all cards used against him, not just red cards as the rulebook says.

19. Balazarg’s general ability requires you to roll separate for each card you are using and discard that card if a 1 is rolled, not just “a card”.

20. Gorgutt’s general ability “parries” an attack for each natural 1 rolled (that is, for each physical die that shows a 1, before applying any bonuses or penalties from abilites).

21. If a general has multiple red wound boxes, they heal at the slower rate (one per round, rather than one per turn) as long as their health is in a red box, not just for the first wound.

22. Consistent with the text on the “slayer” cards, but not the rulebook, a hero with a “slayer” ability can spend a single action to defeat all minions of that color in his location AND perform a normal attack against other colors of minions in the same location.

23. The “slayer” cards do not work in combination with the Ranger’s “Archery” ability. (Note: the reason the FAQ gives for this appears to be in error. It’s not clear whether that means the answer is wrong, or the answer is right but the reason is wrong.)

24. If the active hero is wounded as a result of losing a battle against a general, wounds are taken first from that hero’s unspent life tokens for the current round, meaning his number of remaining actions will also be reduced.

25. At the end of the Evening Phase, all players must discard down to 10 cards in their hands, not just the active player (this can come up due to the extra cards drawn when defeating a general).

26. Minions are never placed on an inn location, even if an adjacent area has an overrun.

27. When adding 2 minions at once to a single location, a maximum of one taint and one overrun can occur in that location (even for demons).

28. When a darkness spreads card calls for 1 Orc to be placed in each “empty” location, a location with heroes or generals is still considered “empty”, but a location with ANY kind of minion is not.

29. However, when a darkness spreads card calls for 1 Orc to be placed in each location with “1 Orc and only 1 Orc”, that affects all locations that have exactly 1 Orc, regardless of the presence of other minions.

30. The purple card “Battle Luck” allow the “active player” to reroll his combat dice. When fighting a general, the “active player” is considered to be whichever player is currently rolling, not necessarily the player who is taking his turn.

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6
Tactician
Professional Advisor
Tinkerer
Senior
43 of 48 gamers found this helpful
“Eagle Rider Home Base”

The Eagle Rider has the lowest base number of actions, but he can move up to 4 spaces with a single action, and he gains an extra action if he ended his previous turn on the ground in a blue location or in Monarch City.

It turns out Monarch City is within 4 steps of everywhere. That means an Eagle Rider currently in Monarch City can go literally anywhere on the entire board for 1 action.

I found it highly effective to have him use “ground” tactics and end each turn on Monarch City (until he was needed to fight generals). Go anywhere on the entire board, every turn, to complete quests or perform surgical strikes against monster hotspots that other heroes can’t easily reach. With the reroll from ground tactics, you will usually only need one attack to defuse a potential overrun, so you can hit two spaces per turn (as long as the 2 spaces aren’t on opposite ends of the board) and always get back to Monarch City with your extra action for ending your previous turn there.

It’s a simple but effective formula.

Gamer Avatar
9
Gamer - Level 7
BoardGaming.com Beta 1.0 Tester
Petroglyph
Explorer - Level 3
34 of 38 gamers found this helpful
“base game-who to whack, when”

There is no carved in stone order to kill generals in. They are all 4 spaces away. That being said there are priorities when possible. The 2 most common ways to lose are by not being able to put out green minions when needed and by having all 12 taint crystals appear on the board. So going for the red and green generals first is usually a good choice. Once you kill a general you will move to midwar status(more darkness spread cards drawn at end of turn) so you want to try to get your second kill as quickly as possible thereby giving you more “safe” cards to be drawn for general movement during Darkness Spreads. You will then have some time to complete quests and reduce the # of minions on the board as much as possible. When you go for the 3rd general try to have some of the cards if not all you will need to attack the final general.

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6
Tactician
Professional Advisor
Tinkerer
Senior
50 of 57 gamers found this helpful
“Hidden Benefits of Quests”

Many of the quests in this game give fairly pitiful rewards. If you compare the actions needed to complete a quest to the actions needed to accomplish a similar effect using your basic actions, you’ll find that many quests are actually worse than regular actions unless you happen to be visiting the quest’s location anyway.

But a few quests give incredibly powerful rewards. A unicorn that lets you move 2 spaces for one action and improves all your combat rolls; boots that give you 2 extra actions on every single turn. A lot of the time, your main incentive for completing a quest is actually the ability to draw another quest, because that means one more chance to draw one of the quests that are actually good.

This has important repercussions for deciding when and whether to complete a quest. Completing quests is often more desirable in the early game (when you’ll have more time to complete the new quest and exploit an ongoing reward), and the speed of completion is often more important than the usefulness of the printed reward (unless the reward is one of the awesome ones). If the quest tells you to discard it after a single failed attempt, that’s often a good thing, since it makes it easier to rid yourself of that quest and draw a new one.

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3
Critic - Level 2
Intermediate Grader
49 of 56 gamers found this helpful
“Official Defenders of the Realm variant cards”

You can get Official Defenders of the Realm variant cards here.

http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/673912/click-to-buy-artscow-deck-of-official-defenders-of

Note: These are legal until Eagle decides to print them.

Gamer Avatar
7
USA
I play red
The Bronze Heart
136 of 159 gamers found this helpful
“Quests”

Quests can be important, but dont lose sight on the bigger picture, you have to slow down and kill the generals before it is too late. Watch the taint as well

Gamer Avatar
9
USA
I play blue
Paladin
Master Grader
26 of 30 gamers found this helpful
“United We Stand; Divided We Fall”

Technically you can keep track with a suggested scoring system to determine which defender of the realm would be honored at the end of the game as the top defender. I heartily encourage you to not do that. Frankly, it is the one thing that seems out of place in this great co-op game. Defenders of the Realm gives you a role-playing feel in a true board game and in the tradition of heroes, typically all get recognized and celebrated at the end for their unique contributions rather than being divided and ranked. I think the great co-op spirit of the game really deserves to be protected and consequently we always ignore figuring who was the “winner” – we win (or go down fighting) together.

I might note in addition, that by not worrying about the scoring you can more strategically determine who the slayer (the character who strikes the killing blow) is likely to be of each general and thereby put your team in a better position to ultimately win (i.e. the special abilities gained from striking the killing blow are best utilized if each character has one rather than one character “hogging” them all).

Gamer Avatar
9
38 of 45 gamers found this helpful
“dice for all”

The game takes up table space. Passing the dice around gets tiresome as well as leading to a case of where is the 3rd green die, etc… For ease of use and to help speed up gameplayna little create a second set of appropriately colored dice and give 1 set to each pair of players.

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