Campaign adventure boardgames -- the new hotness?


Should Mage Knight and Champions of Hara count?

Gloomhaven (physical version, on hiatus from the campaign), JiME, and Descent. Thanks for doing this thread.

Descent is the ancestor of Imperial Assault, so yeah, similar deal there. I would say Mage Knight doesn’t count, but that’s probably mostly just because I don’t like it. I don’t know Champions of Hara!

Legacy games seem to me to be a sub-genre of campaign games, so yeah. I haven’t really found any I like yet though (I haven’t played Pandemic Legacy). Well, ok, I liked Charterstone well enough, but that doesn’t seem to fit here.

This kind of seems like a different boat altogether. But I haven’t played them, except for a tiny bit of Game of Thrones back when it first converted from a CCG to an LCG.


Generally a page or two per scenario. There’s not a strong plot arc, or if there is we missed it because you generally have 10 different scenarios open at once and we didn’t remember which were which plot thread if any.

Tainted Grail:

A huge one.

Hexplore It:

One is in development (and super extensive) for volume 1, with campaigns planned for at least the first three volumes. If you backed Sands of Shurax they’re distributing PDFs of the WIP version as they finish chapters. Everyone else is out of luck until the hardcover ships with Domains of Mirza Noctis fulfillment.

Imperial Assault:

Descent got an app, people clamored for IA to get an app so eventually they did, and those were so popular they made Mansions of Madness 2E entirely app based and now JiME and the upcoming Descent thing are both entirely app based also.

There isn’t. Also it’s not so much dice based combat as dice based skill checks, which occasionally is a physical conflict. It’s not a hack-n-slash game and there’s not (from what I’ve seen) a lot of direct fighting.

You buy advanced skills with XP and have permanent “discovery” upgrades and stuff so I would call that campaign and character progression. There is no between-curse progression other than you learning the continent layout better, but those are basically different campaigns.

It does. Your characters can (over the full campaign) progress as high as Soul Rank VII and get stat increases and get to pick new skills as they gain ranks. (Plus of course there’s gear and I think the new Ancient Chronicles campaign has more progression systems besides.)

No, except in the sense that Mage Knight games can last several hours. They’re single session games.

Arkham LCG hits all the notes you mention, but I think it’s the only one that really does.

A couple others:
Etherfields - the second big narrative campaign game from Awaken Realms, based on navigating a dreamworld and unlocking mechanics along the way. Haven’t played enough to have a clear sense of where it’s going.

Chronicles of Drunagor - a big KS dungeon crawler with multi-level terrain trays, little pamphlets representing what you find when you open doors, picture book interaction displays, and an interesting cube-allocation action system that is fulfilling either now or imminently. I didn’t back it at the time but watching playthroughs I vaguely-but-not entirely regret it.

I’m not sure I’d call either narrative, but it’s possible that Kingdom Death: Monster or Shadows of Brimstone would be close enough in that they have lengthy campaigns with substantial progression elements. KD:M is more about settlement meta progression (with arbitrary death for your individual survivors) and boss fights, and Shadows of Brimstone is a long form semi-roguelike sort of dungeon crawl with loads of random elements - it reminded me of what I understand to be how classical Warhammer Quest worked, also.

Oathsworn: Into the Deepwoods - campaign based boss fighting with character progression and unique classes - some narrative elements but not heavily story-oriented.

7th Citadel - more story-oriented followup to 7th Continent

Aeon Trespass: Odyssey - kind of a combination of KD:M and 7th Continent style map exploration and storybook stuff, in a wild sort of sci-fi ancient Greek setting.

ISS Vanguard - the third Awaken Realms narrative campaign game, about interstellar exploration

Stars of Akarios space tactical combat but also a progression based narrative campaign. beyond that, dunno really, I didn’t back.

Primal: The Awakening - I don’t think there’s going to be loads of story, but it is a campaign with big monster fights and gear progression at least.

Myth: Dawn of Heroes - this hasn’t even hit KS yet but Ulisses Spiele took over the Myth license and is planning to reboot it in a more campaign-oriented design that looks like it’s way more coherent and functional than Myth ever was in the hands of its original creators. And will still in theory work with stuff poor suckers like me got back in the day.

The Isofarian Guard chip-based bag-builder campaign game with loads of narrative stuff (including professional audio narration), crafting, etc. I hadn’t heard of it until I started hanging out on a coop game discord but now I’m planning on late backing (available until 6/30).

My only LCG experience is Arkham Horror LCG, and it definitely fits the bill as your characters advance by building better decks created with xp from earlier scenarios. an AHLCG cycle is typically 8 campaign scenarios that normally take an hour or two to complete at a time.

Let’s fix that.

Ah, good to know. Thanks, malk! I think I was making assumptions based on their Galaxy Defenders game. Although, come to think of it, I think that has character progression, too?

Can you tell neither of those games made much of an impression on me? :)

Did you like Sword & Sorcery? How do you feel that rates compared to other similar games? As I mentioned, I only ever played the first scenario.

Oh, lordy yes, on both counts!


For the record, I’m currently broken up with Champions of Hara. The designer and publisher have pretty much scuttled my interest in the game with their lack of post-release support – talk about death of trust – not to mention being actively assholish to me for trying to resolve the situation.


This looks interesting. What’s not clear to me is, is this a campaign game? Or do you play through it in one go?

I kinda love the idea that Magic Realm is listed as playable for up to 16 people.

Has there ever been an era in the 45 years since AH originally published it that 16 people who had full and total fluency in how to play Magic Realm ever existed within some reasonably accessible geographic area all at the same time?

First two non-Milton Bradley or Parker Brothers games I spent my own lawn-mowing money on as a 7th/8th grader: Luftwaffe and Magic Realm. That is an amazing hit-rate on historically janky rules systems in boardgames.

ISS Vanguard is definitely a campaign game.

Galaxy Defenders has a little bit of character progression, yeah, but not much.

And I like what I’ve played of Sword & Sorcery but I haven’t played very far into it. I don’t think I feel strongly about it overall? The setting has not demonstrated any reason for me to particularly care about it, nor has the story so far. I do think it holds up pretty well in the overall pack of fantasy dungeon crawlers, and I certainly like it more than my time with Descent (not least because it has full coop without an app). I think the enemy AI design is fairly clever, I like the class designs (and the way each character can go in two related but distinct directions usually based on alignment is neat and increases replay) and the timer mechanics on active skills. It does a decent job of branching and revealing story content. Being able to float around and mess with stuff as a ghost when you die is a unique idea. It’s challenging. But also, it’s still dice and minis and pretty generic fantasy, and I think it’s got a lot of competition that does more innovative or noteworthy stuff, like Gloomhaven or Middara. As well as a lot of competition that is doing very little of note, like Descent or Dungeon Saga. YMMV. Ancient Chronicles sounds to have added quite a few interesting wrinkles but I haven’t got my copy yet and may have opted for wave 2 shipping.

I should note by the way that I have one (1) play of Middara under my belt (on TTS) and while that single play has ignited an enormous craving to play more more more, I don’t want to be like “this is the next great thing” until like, scenario 5 or 6 at the earliest. But if you can tolerate TTS at all the Middara mod is one of the most luxurious mods on the workshop and it is fully supported and authorized by the publisher so it is totally worth a try.

(I have a very very heavy Middara box still in shrinkwrap on my shelf with a bunch of addon nonsense but nobody to play in person with yet, so, TTS.)

Yeah, I’m somewhat intrigued by MIddara. Might see if I can get a group to try it on TTS. I listened to the opening audio and was a little put off by it, but maybe it gets better.

While I’d probably be up for that, I’m not qualified to run it. I have played in a forum game in the past (on BGG), and it was good times, but I don’t remember the rules well enough and I don’t have the tools to host a forum game. It does need a non-playing host, though, I think.

I haven’t seen it or attempted to play it, but Magic Realm looks like one of those Avalon Hill games that was more an exercise in rules-writing than in creating a playable game. I’d give 50% odds that the creators never playtested it from start to finish (apparently a not-uncommon phenomena in those wargaming days).

I can imagine it being fun for a certain type of gamer to read the rules, look at the components, and marvel at the thoroughness of such a game. I can see it being fun for a certain type of gamer to try to slog through setup (one board can apparently take an hour to arrange before starting) and a few turns as a challenge of will and intellect. And I sincerely think both of those forms of fun are legitimate. But I can’t imagine Magic Realm being a fun game to actually experience as a player.

I’m guessing the newer Warhammer Quest games also belong here, like Backstone Fortress or Cursed City?

Miniature-based semi-randomised dungeon crawls with a metagame involving balancing character and difficulty progresson across a campaign.

I came close to almost buying the Cursed City but now it seems sold out everywhere here.

I didn’t bring them up in the sense that they have no narrative to speak of (and I’m not convinced they’re any good, either), but hey, if Shadows of Brimstone counts, they would too. SoB just looks like it’s a better realization of that form. And I don’t even know if I want that. (well, okay, I do know - I don’t. it’s a sprawling mass of finicky bits of product, you have to assemble the minis and they are copious, and there’s absolutely no provision for condensed, player friendly storage. But as a game to play, I don’t know if I would like it.)

I can assure you I have played it, and it is good. Much better than 99% of the “draw a card to see what happens” fantasy adventure games we’ve gotten in the 40 years since. But the cliff is just too dang high.

Exact reason I don’t have SoB. Same for Warhammer Quest, I guess! I love the idea of dungeon crawls on randomised maps, but the above turns me off too. Though at least Warhammer minis snap together, I think.

If I’d had more lawn mowing money I would have joined Armando in buying it after reading about it as a teenager. It looked great but even then I realized that my brother and I would read, fiddle, and play a few turns but we’d never get anyone else to play.

Am I really gonna plunk down $250 (including shipping) for ISS Vanguard? That’s the price without the miniatures expansion box. It’s dumb, but I might. I figure if it sucks I can always sell it for… probably $50. Maybe.