Armello: Deluxe (Review)
Armello is a game that evokes a lot of feelings. It’s challenging and plenty of fun once you get the hang of it, but it is filled with those uncontrollable moments that completely dismantle your chances of victory in a flash. Ultimately, this is a game that provides rewarding entertainment through deep mechanics, but is also prone to being frustratingly random at the same time.
Armello presents a charming backdrop to a tabletop-like gameplay formula. The plot revolves around the Kingdom of Armello, a land inhabited by various animal races that live in a time of cautious peace with one another. After the king becomes infected by a type of dark magic known as the Rot, the various clans set out to try and save the land by taking the throne themselves. Essentially a fight for power, Armello’s Game of Thrones-meets-Kung Fu Panda theme has just as many lighthearted moments as it does acts of betrayal.
On its surface, Armello is like a board game with RPG elements. Four players, each with their own character-specific stats, move their heroes around the board. Along the way, players are encouraged to complete quests that can raise their stats or provide them with cards that can give them a strategic advantage. Players will often work together to achieve mutual goals as well, albeit with the knowledge that betrayal is likely to follow — a mechanic that raises the stakes and causes some fun moments of tension when playing online with friends. Coming up with a plan in advance is key to victory, as eventually you will need to outmaneuver the other players and challenge the king himself.