Shifting Realms can survive without the expansion, but is life sweeter with the expansion? In my opinion that is a yes. So why not live life to its fullest.
Publisher: Soaring Rhino
Designer: Jeff Van Ness
Designer: Craig Van Ness
Artist: JJ Ariosa
Game Type: Area Control
Game Type: Modular Board
Initial Year of Release: 2020
Age Range: 10+
Expected Playtime: 60
Number of Players: 2-4
Theme and What is it?
New realms have been discovered and the time has come to explore these before other realm traveling factions beat us to them. We must discover the power hidden within each realm and learn to control and harness it. Other factions will be doing the same thing, but they only seek power and subjugation of all other factions.
All you know at this time is one realm deals with minotaurs and their infernal need to build labyrinths. The other realm deals with demon lords and their desire to entrap the souls of weaker beings.
You must travel to these worlds and do all you can to save the universe as we know it.
What Does It Add
The Darkness Revealed adds two new realms to explore. These realms are added into the five existing realms in the base game to create even more varied game boards. The new realms have their own game ending conditions as well as story and task cards.
The realm of Knossos adds exploration and labyrinth walls. As more structures are built, more walls are constructed making it harder for players to explore.
The realm of Gehenna is a world all about messing with other player’s soldiers and scouts. You can move another player’s units and disrupt their strategy and, in some cases, even trap their units in demon structures.
What Does It Break/Fix
I really like the exploration element of the Knossos realm. If done properly, it can really boost a player’s resources allowing them to build more structures. The labyrinth walls were a bit cumbersome, but I guess that is how it should be. And maybe it is just because I have a pre-production prototype. They may feel less clunky on the board in the finished product.
One thing that I wanted to see more of in the base of Shifting Realms was messing with other players. You could do it to a minor extent through combat, but there was not a focused way until this expansion. The Gehenna realm is all about the “gotcha” moments. By moving other player’s units and even freezing some for the duration of the game, you really jack up their strategy. It makes for wonderful fun.
Do I Want This
Yes, this is a want. I liked Shifting Realms without the expansion. I thought it had great replayability because of all of the board options. Adding the Darkness Revealed expansion provides even more variability and provides a few new mechanics with the exploration and messing with other players.
Having new ways to play games I like will always fit solidly in the “want” category for me.
Do I Need This
I need air. I need water. I can’t live without these. Can I live without the Darkness Revealed expansion? Sure, I can. The base game of Shifting Realms is fun all on its own. But would I rather play Shifting Realms with some of the additions that Darkness Revealed adds? Yep.
So, the need question is hard to justify, but easy to rationalize. Shifting Realms can survive without the expansion, but is life sweeter with the expansion? In my opinion that is a yes. So why not live life to its fullest.
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