I’m super excited for this week’s Kickstarter Game of the Week – Time of Legends: Joan of Arc by Mythic Games!
Whoa. This Kickstarter includes so. many. miniatures. In all, the core game comes with 238 miniatures (there’s more with stretch goals, and of course, backers can get optional add-ons to up the miniature count). This is far more than most miniatures games typically include, and it took me a minute to discover, but Time of Legends: Joan of Arc uses a different-than-normal scale for its miniatures. (Mythic calls it the “Legendary scale,” which Mythic just confirmed corresponds to 15mm height for a human miniature.) In days of yore, aka: my teenage years playing wargames with smaller scale miniatures, this meant moving around a bunch of blobs of plastic with indiscernable features. But oh, how times and technology have changed. The miniatures in Time of Legends: Joan of Arc have killer detail, despite their small size. Check out some of the Heroes from the French army below:
Of course, the small scale has a lot of inherent advantages, as well – beyond just being able to fit literally hundreds of miniatures in the game box. For one, Joan of Arc doesn’t requite a massive specially-built gaming table to play. Time of Legends: Joan of Arc can be played on a regular kitchen table, and still feel like a huge, epic battle. Second, terrain features are also smaller, so Mythic is able to include 3D plastic terrain in the game box. The core game includes a giant church, houses, walls, trees, and tons more. There’s even a Siege expansion add-on that–in addition to siege engines and troops–includes a keep, castle towers and walls, gates, and even elements you can use for ruined sections of the castle for when the attackers have succeeded in their assualt. A third benefit of the smaller scale miniatures is that the large, legendary monsters actually feel large and legendary when compared to the human-sized figures. The dragon that comes with the Dragon expansion is downright massive. It’s impressive on its own, but when it’s next to the humans in Joan of Arc, it really feels like a proper legendary dragon.
Of course, a miniatures game is just a bunch of miniatures if it’s not a really great game as well. Not that there’s anything wrong with the collection and painting aspect of the hobby – but I definitely consider myself to be much more of a gamer these days since I don’t have the time to devote to painting. But in terms of gameplay, Joan of Arc does not disappoint. It’s billed as a “narrative miniatures board game” and not a wargame, and although the distinction may seem like simple semantics, there’s a lot going on with the gameplay of Joan of Arc to earn its designation.
It’s truly a narrative game, in that the scenarios in Joan of Arc take historic events, give them a mythic twist, and hurl players into the middle of those events. The scenarios in Joan of Arc are more about storytelling and players attempting to complete objectives as they fit into the narrative, rather than just smashing two armies against each other. Of course, if that’s your thing, there’s a battle mode as well. Battle mode allows players to create their own armies and go head-to-head without any narrative getting in the way.
The “board game” nomenclature is also well-earned. While Joan of Arc may seem like any other wargame at first glance, it actually uses a board composed of large hexagonal tiles. Gone are the most annoying trappings of a wargame – the dreaded tape measurer and line-of-sight checker (I can’t tell you how many arguments I’ve been in over the calibration of a laser pointer). Joan of Arc’s gameplay is more rooted in Euro style board games–focusing on interesting choices and resource management–rather than positioning miniatures behind cover and 1mm out of someone’s range and then rolling gobs and gobs of dice. Joan of Arc features a brilliant unit activation system that forces players to think about which units they’re going to move, and when they’re going to be moved. In that respect, it’s more akin to modern miniatures games like Infinity, rather than any of the older Games Workshop offerings.
It’s going to be very difficult for me to not add on every single expansion when the pledge manager finds its way into my inbox. Time of Legends: Joan of Arc is a complete masterpiece, from its phenomenal miniatures and artwork, to its stellar and innovative gameplay. I just don’t want to miss out on a single thing! My habit for FOMO always causes my wallet to suffer.
If you guys are into miniatures games, or even if you aren’t and want to check out just a really amazing board game – head over to the Time of Legends: Joan of Arc Kickstarter page. As of writing this, there’s 18 days left to go!
Until next time, gang. Keep it plucky,
Edited on 10.25.17 to clarify Legendary scale as 15mm.