The game took around 45 minutes. Over 2 hours as my needy wife was needing things. I was on the 3rd of 4 deployments so it could have lasted 1.5 hours or so. I played with 3 Rangers. After some plays knowing cards better, could be down to maybe an hour.
There is a deployment turn which means you place minions and/or monsters/bosses on either of the 4 spaces. That takes no time.
The meat of the turn is the action phase where each ranger gets 3 actions (in a 3 player game) and they can move, attack, or recover. You need to try and remove as many bad guys as possible so that all 4 of the spaces do not get filled to their designated max with minions which puts those spaces into panic and ends the game.
The Rangers get 10 cards and can draw 5 of them at the start and also draw up to 5 at the start of any battle but their face down remaining deck is their health and if they get attacked and have no face down cards left to defend with, then they are eliminated. So, no health number, just the face down deck. So, at times you dont want to draw up to 5 as you might be low on face down cards and even though you might need an attack card that is in the deck, you might not draw it and then expose yourself to less defense cards. It’s a nice yin and yang for keeping the deck large enough but needing attack cards.
There are other interesting decisions in the game.
Say there are 2 putties in one area. You can move any number of Rangers to that area if they have actions left. Once there any Ranger can begin combat with an action and the other rangers in that space can join in the battle without using their actions. So, you need to think about which Ranger might need to recover if their cards are getting low and so you would need to keep those with some extra action activations.
Also, when fighting say 2 baddies, you lay out 2 baddie cards and you have to fight those cards. There are alternate turns…so it’s Ranger attack, then baddie, then Ranger, then baddie. Unless one of the baddie cards has a FAST keyword, then the baddies go first. BUT, no matter how many Rangers are part of that attack, not ALL the Rangers attack, just one of them. So, the more Rangers, essentially it’s the more cards you have to choose from, not upping the number of attacks you do.
So, studying the cards in each Rangers hand is crucial before thinking about which ones you send to an area for battles…one Ranger might have some non attack cards that wont be useful in one battle so that Ranger can head to the middle of the board to Power Up and shuffle all their cards in order to hopefully draw some needed attack cards for another battle while the other Rangers take out a few baddies in an area.
There is also energy tokens which need to be used for some card abilities. The better attacks need energy to power up. At the start of each battle, 2 energy are put in a shared area and each Ranger starts the game with 1. The best cards cost 3 energy so if you are fighting 4 baddies, you need to decide when to use the better cards, which Ranger would make better use of the shared energy tokens, etc.
There is a good amount to think about and strategize over.
The one negative for me is that in the deployment stage, up to 3 areas can get panicked right off the bat and so you really can be way behind the 8 ball during your first action phase…some unlucky deployments can end the game quickly after that even if you played one of your action phases perfectly. Also, dice rolls. The average number of hits from each die is just under 1. Most normal baddies have 2-3 health. I used 3 energy to roll 4 die with an advance attack card and got just 1 hit. Then, that baddie killed one of my Rangers. So, there is die roll randomness but it’s not too bad overall…most of the time, I took out who I was trying to.
Sorry to ramble…it’s an interesting game and now that I’ve been thinking about it so much, i need to play again!