If you’re a fan of tabletop games, especially tabletop RPGs, then Armello is a fantastic game to spend some downtime on. Armello by the League of Geeks is a game where you play as a hero of one of four animal clans who must work to take the throne from the corrupt king by any means necessary. A blight known as The Rot has fallen on the kingdom, and anything it touches it both poisons and strengthens at the same time. Unfortunately the once good natured king has fallen to The Rot and is now corrupt and mad, and now must be stopped before his corruption spreads across the kingdom.
The game is played with four players (or computer players) controlling a hero of one of the animal clans. Each clan has its advantages, disadvantages, and its preferred method of winning. The wolf clan and rat clan both have advantage during night cycles while the bear and rabbit clans have advantage during day cycles. From the beginning of the game you are given a choice of quests to take on, each one requiring you to use a different stat, and in return grow that stat upon completion. You will start by choosing whether or not to use a card which can have several effects on you, your opponents, or the environment. You then get the ability to move up to three spaces around the hexagonal board either towards your quest, towards a town to claim it for income, towards a cave to look for good cards, towards other players to fight, or towards the castle to attempt to take it from the king. I won’t go too deeply into all of the little mechanics, but fights are resolved based on your stats and dice rolls giving a large element of chance to winning or losing a fight.
The are four strategies to beating the game through regicide, cleansing, prestige, or rot. Most of these entail breaking into the castle and attacking the king. In order to do this, first you must take down the traps at the castle walls requiring a dice roll, then you must fend off the soldiers within the castle who will immediately attack you. The big downside to this is that after you have taken down the traps and soldiers, other players are free to walk in without any obstacles. But then the king is available for attack. A regicide victory means to defeat the king in standard combat; this is the suited path for the wolf clan. A cleansing victory means to gather four magic stones, then confront the king in battle to secure an automatic win, which is suitable for the bear clan. Another strategy is to become corrupted with rot yourself and overpower the king with your own corruption; this strategy is made with the rat clan in mind. Lastly, you can wait out the timer in the game to the point in which the rot will kill the king on its own, and if you have the most prestige points gained through quests and defeating other players, you will win without ever having to fight the king which is suitable to the rabbit clan.
At the end of every round of turns the game will shift between daytime and nighttime. When it turns to night, anyone in a forest space will become hidden from view, the rats and wolves will gain advantage in fights, and the king will present the prestige leader with a choice of which awful command he’ll place on the kingdom that will most assuredly negatively affect one or more players. When night turns to day the bears and rabbits gain advantage in fights, anyone with rot including the king will take a point of damage, and the game will be that much closer to ending.
In my opinion this game has just the right amount of complexity to offer a variety of strategies as well as making you react with the world, but not too much complexity that it becomes an overbearing wall of text. After several playthroughs I haven’t been able to secure a rot victory as it usually requires you to get your rot score built up very quickly which really comes down to chance. However I have noticed that even when it seemed like I was likely to lose a match I still somehow came up in first place, and I can’t say for certain on whether it’s programmed that way or if it was just plain luck. Lastly, Armello is also available on all computer operating systems as well as PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch which are all recommended above the mobile ports as they include a second hero for each clan that you can choose from with different starting stats, and an option to purchase the DLC to gain access to the bandit clan, the rival clan, and the dragon clan. I haven’t tried the DLC out myself to know how they play, but any game where you can play as a dragon already deserves some praise.
If you’d like to purchase Armello for your computer, you can click the link below to buy it off of Humble Bundle, where a portion of your payment will go towards charity and a portion will help support me and my article writing! And hey, if you’re really invested into the game, they also have a book series detailing the backstory of the king and the four original heroes!