The older I get, the more I drift towards the warm comfort of simple board games. I love a game I can set up and play without the weight of knowing there’s a scroll of rules to follow and tricky mechanics I’ll never master. It means I treat most new board games with a hint of suspicion, wondering how much time it’s going to suck before I can actually enjoy it. Luckily, with Andor: The Family Fantasy Game, I had no such trouble.
While the board game and setup here looks mighty complicated, it’s actually quite a simple game at its core. It’s also a bunch of fun and perfect for a light spot of questing with family or friends. All you really need to do is pick your character, discover your quest and set off on a grand adventure to recover lost wolf pups before the city of Rietburg is attacked by a dragon.
Be careful, though. In the world of Andor, the fog can hide deadly secrets.
Setup and how to play
Setting up a game of Andor: The Family Fantasy Game is a long task, and you’ll want to dedicate a good 5-10 minutes to preparing your play area before you set off on your adventure.
First, you’ll want to lay out Andor‘s excellent game board and place fog tokens in every region not occupied by a bush, forest, well or mine. Then, you’ll need to place mine tokens in the mine area, well tokens where the wells are and any quest tokens revealed by the story cards as instructed.
To kick off your game, you’ll play through the first two challenges of Andor: collecting two of the same herbs and helping an injured falcon. Only once these quests are complete are you able to cross a bridge and head towards your real ‘end game’ goal of rescuing the wolf pups and saving your town.
As you travel, the dragon hovering in the skies will get closer to Rietburg. But if you complete your assigned quests and rescue the wolf pups before it reaches the city, you win the game and everyone is safe.
Throughout gameplay, Andor operates on a ‘day’ and ‘night’ cycle in which you can spend tokens to travel to a chosen location and uncover whatever goodies are on that tile. Sometimes, you’ll discover an enemy to fight. Other times, you’ll find coins or valuable items to trade.
All of these play an essential part in completing your quest.
Up to three other players may join you as you travel, with everyone taking a uniquely powered character. Elves can travel further than their companions, dwarves can use tunnel short cuts, warriors are strong and magicians have a unique blast attack. Every character works differently and tweaks gameplay in new ways.
You can’t play solo — there are particular challenges which require secrecy between players — but taking a friend along for the ride is excellent fun and spices up the game in a way that a solo adventure wouldn’t.
No two games of Andor are the same
Chance plays an important part in Andor: The Family Fantasy Game, from what tiles you land on to how far the dragon advances each turn. You can also change what two quests you tackle in each game and the character you play. Every decision shakes up the formula and gives you a chance to experience the action in a whole new way.
Not every combination is a winning one, and you may find yourself facing down the dragon quicker than you expected if you stumble onto the wrong square or make a poor roll — but winning or losing doesn’t really matter here. The gameplay itself is fun and rewarding enough that you’ll enjoy every minute.
Whether you’re running after evil Gors, trying to pick stray flowers or finally venturing into the wolf-filled cave, every piece of Andor is a real joy. New turns always bring surprises, and the variety of quests means no two games are the same.
Best of all, the gameplay here is simple and easy to teach.
The basic mechanics mean you can focus on the game’s story over learning complicated elements and actually get involved with your quest to save Rietburg. As you nab goods, fight beasts and work to save your kingdom, you really do feel a sense of accomplishment and adventure.
Not every quest is easy, but they’re all still fun, endearing and enjoyable.
While Andor: The Family Fantasy Game requires a hefty setup that’ll eat into your game time, the adventure makes the effort entirely worth it. Whether you’re discovering flowers in bushes, uncovering the meanings of secret letters or just trying to rescue those wolf cubs, every quest in Andor feels fun and rewarding — and with elements of chance in every fog token and dice roll, no two games you play will be the same.
Once everything is set up, the gameplay itself is fairly standard and there’s nothing too surprising along the way, but all that means is the game is easy to understand for players of all ages. After all, Andor: The Family Fantasy Game is simple for a reason: so everyone can participate. Whether that’s younger kids or older adults, everyone has a role in your quest and nobody gets left behind.
It is fairly easy to lose the game by chance because the dragon advances with a dice roll, but once you conquer your first adventure and grasp the mechanics of the game, you’ll be able to work out those trickier mechanics and work actively to beat the dragon and complete your quest.
Win or lose, Andor is a fantastic time and a great way to spend a magical afternoon with mates.