Armello is a virtual strategy board game developed by League of Geeks. Players assume the role of one of eight heroes on a quest to destroy a plague known as the rot and become the new ruler of Armello.
Armello begins with a 4-part prologue designed to teach players the various functions of the game, each focusing on a different class with unique abilities. For example, the Sword Master gains extra attack in battle, while the Tomb Raider has a higher chance of finding rewards when exploring the map. There are eight classes total in the base version. Each game, players take turns moving on a tile grid, tackling quests, fighting monsters and each other, and gaining cards to gain advantages and ultimately win. There are four different win conditions, each centered around different stats or actions. One victory could have you kill the king directly, making you favor raw strength and durability over cunning. Another may have you build your reputation so that you’re the most likely candidate to rule after the King’s timely death. Each condition has players vying over different stats or items, keeping strategy and map position vital.
Combat is based on cards and dice. When two enemies intersect on a tile, they go into battle with whatever cards are equipped in their inventory. These cards can raise attack, defense, or add dice to their hand. Dice, when rolled, grant attack, defense, explode, or grant rot. Exploding dice allow for a reroll, while rot acts as a poison that can corrupt if it gets too high. Players can also recruit followers by completing certain quests. These followers add buffs such as extra dice, stealth, or more gold. Outside of combat, spell and trick cards allow players to add effects or sabotage players. Maintaining a solid hand and inventory is essential to win encounters.
To be honest, the strategy boardgame genre wasn’t one I was very familiar with nor interested in. Yet after playing Armello, I’m willing to give future titles a try. Between its interesting battle system, various ways of play, and wide variety of characters, the action didn’t feel stale to me. My only critique is the lack of offline multiplayer, though it does feature an online mode. Armello is a great pick for fantasy strategists looking for a fix on the Switch.