A while back ago Blue Orange Games sent me some of their older titles to review along with a new one they were pitching. Armadora was one of those. It’s a little game where you’re trying to get the most gold by placing influence and walls around the various hoards on the board. There’s also advanced rules where the different playable races (mage, elf, goblin, and orc) have different special actions they can take. It’s simple, quick, portable, and great with a full compliment of players.
The number of players determines how many warriors each player gets for the game. Power and reinforcement tokens are give to the players if the advanced rules are being used. Gold tokens are then placed into different sized piles and randomly places on the goldmines on the board, and the wooden palisades are placed off to the side to form a general pool.
There’s only 2 actions to take each turn if you’re playing the basic game.
- Place a warrior face down on the board. Each of the warriors in a player’s pool has a number on it which determines how much influence it has.
- Place up to two palisades on the board. Palisades may still be played even if a player is out of warriors.
Play continues until each player passes their turn, then the game ends.2
The goal of the game is to have the most influence over each pile of gold so you can claim it. Palisades create borders that separate influence pools, so at the end of the game you’ll have several areas to score to see who earns each pile of gold. The player with the most gold at the end of the game wins.
The advanced rules play a bit differently. On each turn a player may take one of the following actions:
- Place up to two palisades.
- Place a face-down warrior on the board.
- Place a reinforcement on top of one of their warriors that have already been placed on the board.
Players may also activate one of their powers before performing one of the three actions mentioned above. Each faction has their own powers, as listed in the rules.
Reinforcement tokens can only be placed on a full territory (an area surrounded by palisades that has no free spaces open), and only 1 may be played in a single territory. This bolsters that player’s total value by 1.
The game end and scoring conditions are the same as the basic game.
Armadora is small and sturdy, like a dwarf. The box, board, and cardboard chits are stocky and feel great during play. The wooden palisades and gold cubes are excellent quality, and the ones in my copy had little to no defects.
Overall I like Armadora, though I have to admit I enjoyed the basic game more than the advanced rules. With how light and quick the game is, it almost felt like the advanced rules needlessly extended the game. I do wish the goldmines weren’t in fixed locations on the board, but randomly distributing the different sized gold piles helped a bit with this. It’s a good one to play with the family with its simple rules, quick setup, quick playtime, and satisfying play.
In the end is it worth the $25? For some gamers, yes. Armadora is a good game if you know what you’re getting into. It’s nothing heavy, yet more than a filler. Better played with family than a game group.
A copy Armadora was provided free for review by Blue Orange Games
Media personality Rob Kalajian has been a staple in the board game world for many years. As a former writer for Purple Pawn and the owner of A Pawn’s Perspective, Rob focuses on board game reviews, events, and news. A self-proclaimed geek, Rob loves all things toys and games and even helps raise his four kids in his spare time.