I have not upgraded to the replacement tiles. I’m bitter about this, because to do it WizKids made me walk through a rather annoying process (“You have to sign up for our rewards program!”) and then basically said “No physical receipt? Sorry.” I think there was something else annoying, but I don’t remember.
There’s a lot of text in the book, and a small font. Coupled with my new-ish glasses, I’ve been not inspired to read the rule book. Also, I don’t particularly care for most of the four round scenarios (2+2). I tried Life and Death before, and it had a lot of rules. However, I did just play the four round scenario against the Evil Elementalists and it was a nail biter (with us barely winning on the last round, needing every spare point). So … that was good, but I still disliked the relatively sparse options (only two types of Dragons, only 8 green tiles).
I played a few more games just randomly mixing in the new creatures (with no bonus tiles, just +1 Fame right away, b/c I feel that having the starting orcs not level you up is a pretty big deal), and they are starting to grow on me. However, drawing the early Vampire (??? Brown 5 attack Vampiric, 5 Armor + 5 Elusive) is a huge issue for an early dungeon crawl. Even worse than a Gargoyle (where you can sometimes scrap up 10 attack if you eat the wounds). Also, hitting the Vampiric dragon (8 Attack, 8 Armor + 8 Elusive, Vampiric)
Honestly unless we bump up the difficulty its not a challenge, so its fine. (If I were playing competitive I think the variability may be more of an issue, as one player draws a cakewalk token and another draws a beast that can be the difference in the game, and it’s not a short game).
I haven’t tried the start a higher level game, because even so 1 day + night seems short. But I suppose if I ever wanted to play 4 players it might work.
During these games the TaoLing also pulled off one of the most impressive turns I’ve ever seen, and on the first night (when it is usually too early to do anything really great).
- Play Mana Storm to use three extra dice
- Play Tranquility to draw a card
- Blood of Ancients(?) to gain a wound but get a new card into hand
- Play Magic Talent to gain a new spell (discard pile) [He used Blood of Ancients to instantly grab Magic Talent on the first day].
- Spend a bunch of cards to move (an annoying swamp).
- Play Time Bending to take back all his played cards (except itself) into his hand and take a bonus turn! (The first day’s Magic Talent got Space Bending, and with his opening hand on the first night, he prepared to get this as the final piece of the puzzle).
- Then again, Mana Storm, Blood of Ancients, Tranquility to remove the two wounds that BotA caused, but this time Magic Talent was used to merely cast a spell to easily win a combat, etc.
Considering that if you level up to level 7 you only get four advanced actions (plus maybe buying a few at monastaries or getting a few via Training or Blood of Ancients) I typically end a game with six-ish, but sometimes four and rarely double digits. The TaoLing ending with thirteen advanced actions and six spells (plus a few artifacts).
Note to self, don’t ignore Space/Time Bending as much as I do.
(I think for my 250th game I may do a large 4 player game, with the TaoLing and I each taking 2 hands).