Tobold's Blog
Monday, September 05, 2022
Lands of Galzyr

During 2020 and 2021 I have backed a number of board games on crowdfunding platforms, mostly on Kickstarter and Gamefound. Board game crowdfunding projects usually take 1 to 2 years, so I now start getting games I backed a while ago. Given the long timeframe, I kind of forget about the games I backed until I get a shipping notice, and then it’s a nice surprise. But there was one board game I was really looking forward to, and now it arrived: Lands of Galzyr. And me and my wife are having a blast playing it.

Now I will not try to tell you that this is the best board game ever. From a gameplay perspective, it is very much on the light side. You play an anthropomorphic animal going out on adventure. You have 4 skill points, divided over 6 possible skills in different colors, with a maximum of 2 points in one skill. The 6 skills are arranged on a wheel, and having a point somewhere also gives some benefit to the neighboring skills. Gameplay is very simple: You move up to 2 spaces, and then play through a scene. The scene could be from a quest card you have, from the location you are on, or if you have neither, from an event you’ll draw. Every scene has a bot of story, some decision points, and usually around 2 skill checks. In a skill check you roll 5 dice, with the default dice being black and having each skill once on it. But any skill points you have in the skill you are testing or neighboring skills allows you to replace those black dice with colored dice, which have a higher probability of giving you the result you want. You can reroll once, and your items, companions, and statuses might give you additional bonuses or rerolls. But otherwise, this is the whole gameplay: You roll the dice, count the successes, and read the outcome,

There are interesting choices: For example, you might have the choice of resolving a situation either with an easy combat check, or a medium persuasion check. So you not only need to consider what skills you have and how many successes you need, but also things like a failed outcome of a combat being potentially worse than a failed persuasion. But there is no deep tactical or strategic gameplay, and despite a bit of dice manipulation by rerolls, there is a large luck component. But that doesn’t really matter; even a failed outcome is usually interesting and moves the story forward. You are never stuck or forced to do a check again. It is more like a roleplaying game, where interesting stuff happens, based on your choices and some dice rolls.

Lands of Galzyr is basically an endless game. There are nearly 400 scenes, and with you only playing one scene per turn, this is going to take a while. But there are rules in which you play for a limited number of turns, and then either declare the player with the highest prestige score the winner of that session, or cooperatively add up all the prestige scores and let the game tell you whther that was a good result or not. All the scenes are on a website, so you need a computer, tablet, or phone to play. But the app only works like a “choose your own adventure” story book, it doesn’t play the opponent or anything. Still, there are people who won’t touch board games with apps, so you have been warned. :)

The very light gameplay with lots of story to read is ideal for me and my wife to play together. It is less ideal for larger groups. With two players, one player is always doing his turn, while the other is reading the story aloud, so everybody is always busy. With 4 players there would be a lot of downtime, and as you can’t spend that time for strategic planning, it might be a boring wait. On the other hand my wife and me found that more strategic games we prefer to play with 4 players rather than 2, because the actions of the players are usually what changes the situation in those games. Lands of Galzyr we clearly play as light entertainment, for the story and the adventure. It isn’t very hardcore, but it is a lot of fun for solo or 2 players. Recommended!


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