If I train enough, I will be able to take down that huge monster that can destroy the whole island!

10/10, Dice Rolling, Drafting, End Game Bonuses, Hand Management, Set Collection, Variable Player Powers, Worker Placement -

If I train enough, I will be able to take down that huge monster that can destroy the whole island!

Tidal Blades: Heroes of the Reef

Designer: Tim Eisner, Ben Eisner
Artist: Lina Cossette, David Forest
Published: 2020
Players: 1-4
Playing Time: 60-90 Mins
BGG Rating: 7.5
BGG Ranking: 997
Publisher: Druid City Games
Mechanisms: Dice Rolling, End Game Bonuses, Hand Management, Open Drafting, Set Collection, Variable Player Powers, Worker Placement
Sleeves: MUS 41x63mm, S65 65x65mm, STN 57,5x89mm, BST 70x120mm



Game Description:

Welcome Heroes! Many magnificent contestants have signed up for the tournament but only a handful will be chosen to join the Tidal Blades, the elite guards of our island realm. To succeed in the Tournament and be chosen as a Tidal Blade, you must compete in Challenges held in the 3 Arenas, rise to the top of the Champion’s Board, and protect the realm from the ever increasing threat of the Monsters from the mysterious Fold.


Quick play overview:

You will send your worker around the islands (leaving a token behind to show that the space was used this round) collecting fruits (used for buying stuff), shells (used for rerolling bad rolls), drawing cards, more dice etc.

If the island that you visited has an ARENA, you can also attempt a challenge which is the meat and bone of the game.

You select a card that you have in your hand and that matches the ARENA you are in and try to roll the right results to complete it. You can even push it and get some extra bonuses.

By completing the challenges, you will improve your hero stats which will in turn give you more Dice, refreshes,… and also get points at the end of the game.

The last and usually the most attractive option is to fight the monsters that are attacking the islands. By dealing damage to them, you will LOSE dice (not just use them, but actually lose them) for points and other bonuses.

The idea of the game is that you will fight/challenge…by rolling a lot of dice and reroll them… but the dice will get used, so you will need to find a way to refresh them or you will roll too few dice on your future tests.

After 4 rounds the game ends and the player that has the most points is the winner.


Final thoughts:

This game just clicks with my preffered playstyle. It's a worker placement game where you have a lot of options how to build up your character and there is just the right amount of dice rolling and roll mitigation that the winner is not decided by luck, but at the same time there will be a lot of »OHHHHH and AHHHHHH« moments because someone rolled fantastic or really poorly.

The shells for rerolling mechanism is just perfect. Not only that you can reroll many times, you can then also use the »used shells« for some extra one time effects.

And did I mention that each character has a personalized deck of cards for leveling up? Your shells might be even better, but your opponent will have other amazing abilities.



Gameplay & How often I want to play it: 10/10

This game has a perfect mix of worker placement with dice rolling ratio.

I hope to play this game a couple of times each year.


Art & Graphic Design: 10/10

This game will stand out with it's beauty and radiance.

Graphic design is great. Colors are vibrant and text and icons are clearly visible


Rules & Complexity: 10/10

This game has plenty of rules that make sense once you go through the teach. There is a lot to this game but the gameplay is rewarding, so the it's worth to learn it.


Theme & Mechanism fit: 10/10

Leveling up heroes in the arenas to then send out to fight the monsters fits perfect with the theme. The art is so beautiful that I just want to help these people fight the bad bad monsters.


Fun & Replayability: 10/10

Each character can have a few different builds that allow you to play differently, and then your opponents plans might push you in a different direction. There is plenty of room to explore and have fun doing it.


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