The Epicenter of Epic Resides Within Dwellings of Eldervale

Dwellings of Eldervale - Breaking Games - $99.99+
dwellings of eldervale legendary edition bundle kickstarter pre order special kickstarter board game breaking games 13285026955308

Game title: Dwellings of Eldervale

Game description: Dwellings of Eldervale blends worker placement, area control, engine building and unique worker units. Players take turns placing a worker in Eldervale or regrouping and activating their tableau of adventure cards. Action spaces include realms key to power: a summoning portal, an ancient mill, the lost fortress, deep dungeons, and a crumbling mage tower and the elemental lands of Earth, Air, Fire, Water, Light, Dark, Order and Chaos! Magic cards grant spells, quests and prophecies to players.

Overall
4.5
  • Play (Mechanics)
  • Presentation (Art/Quality)
  • Plan (Rules)

Summary

Dwellings of Eldervale is a game I have had my eye on for quite some time, though maybe not as long as Tidal Blades. The largest, most ambitious game released by Breaking Games, Dwellings of Eldervale, is an epic design that combines worker placement elements, tableau-building, engine building, resource management, and area control mechanisms.

Pros

  • Amazing production quality
  • Multiple paths to victory
  • Clear and concise rulebook
  • Easy setup & storage thanks to Gametrayz

Cons

  • Hefty price
  • 3 different editions
  • Box is half empty if you don’t have deluxe/legendary components

Dwellings of Eldervale is a game I have had my eye on for quite some time, though maybe not as long as Tidal Blades. The largest, most ambitious game released by Breaking Games, Dwellings of Eldervale, is an epic design that combines worker placement elements, tableau-building, engine building, resource management, and area control mechanisms.

It only takes one glance at the box cover to understand what you are getting yourself into. There are giant monsters, dragons, wizards, elemental landscapes, and a whole lot of awesomeness. While it may seem a bit intimidating at first, it actually breaks down into several key sets of simple mechanics on its own but blends into a game of depth and complexity.

Dwell in Eldervale

dwellings of eldervale dwelling grande
Dwellings fit over your workers’ heads!

The goal of the game is to score the most points at the end of the game. The end game is triggered once a player has placed all six of their dwellings or the last terrain tile is drawn and place. You will score points from your dwellings, quest cards, card tableau, glory track, and placements on the elemental track.

With so many different ways to earn points, there are many different paths to victory. You can try to focus solely on one aspect, spread the wealth, or rely on a few core mechanics to boost your score and trigger the endgame. Be it building dwellings, focusing on combat, dungeons for cards, or pulling spells and quests, there are always interesting choices to make every turn.

There are even optional modules you can add to the game for added depth and opportunities. The Deluxe and Legendary Editions even include different terrain and more monsters to change things further.

What Dwells Inside

Dwellings of Eldervale
Everything in the Standard Edition

Dwellings of Eldervale comes in a HUGE box, which kind of seems the norm for epic Kickstarter games these days. It doesn’t matter if you get the Standard, Deluxe, or Legendary Edition of the game. The box is the same size. Everything fits inside beautifully thanks to expertly designed Gametrayz.

This also means that there’s some space inside the box if you get the Standard Edition. There are some cardboard spacers placed inside to make sure nothing moves around, which helps a ton. Still, it kind of stinks that there’s so much air if you do not have the fancy bits.

Each player color gets their own tray for their worker meeples, resources, dice, dwellings, score markers, and a double-sided faction board fits on top to secure everything. With eight different colors to choose from, that makes sixteen factions you can play as, each with their own special abilities

There are also trays to hold all the resources and magic cards, the dungeon cards and treasure tiles, and keep the terrain tile draw deck organized. Other components include a board for elemental and glory scoring, a rulebook, reference guide, and solo rules, monster standees, quick reference cards, and various other cards and tokens needed.

If you snag the Deluxe or Legendary Editions, you also get monster miniatures, wooden resources, extra tiles and cards, and even SFX bases for the monsters that let you hear what they actually sound like. One of these days, I am going to need to snag all that goodness.

Eldervale at Play

dwellings of eldervale standard edition game play grande
The score board in action

If you boil Dwellings of Eldervale down to its basics, you are either just placing a worker down on your turn or recalling your workers. Of course, that would be lame, but it emphasizes how each of Eldervale’s parts are pretty simple when you break them down. You will use your workers to earn resources, fight other players or monsters, build dwellings, expand the world, draw cards for your tableaus, or expand your workforce.

There are also three types of special workers that are good for moving, fighting, or other things. Each player has the opportunity to get their wizard, dragon, or warrior on the board, each with their own special abilities. All workers have the opportunity not only to be placed on tiles but can be placed on your card tableau when recalled instead of placing them in your ready pool.

As you are doing all these actions, you are also earning glory for combat and elemental points for dwelling in different terrain and drawing different dungeon cards. Each player has the ability to score in only four different types of elements and can earn special orbs to use for more points on either the orb track on or in their card tableau if they are the first to reach the top of a curtain track.

It almost seems like too much to take at once, but you can really only focus on one thing when it is your turn, which helps keep everything manageable and moving at a fairly quick pace. While Dwellings of Eldervale takes around 30 minutes per player, there is not much downtime. The rules are also written so that you can learn as you play once the initial setup is finished.

Dwellings of Eldervale Shall Dwell For Some Time

If you could not tell already, I am a big fan of Dwellings of Eldervale. More so than I thought I would be. Breaking Games certainly has a hit on their hands with this game, hitting so many high points during play while not having many downsides at all. It is beautiful, accessible, and satisfying to play.

Of course, as with most games, it is not for everyone. If you are turned off by fantasy, or longer games, steer clear. If neither of those things bother you, I would still check it out, even if you are not generally a fan of one or more of the mechanics. Everything blends so well in a thematic and genuinely enjoyable way.

Now, if I could just get those Deluxe and Legendary pieces…

A copy of Dwellings of Eldervale was provided free for review by Breaking Games

Liked it? Take a second to support us on Patreon!
become a patron button

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.