It's time once again for some Tabletop Co-Op! This month, we're taking a look at an expansion to one of the board games we've previously featured here at Co-Optimus: Defenders of the Realm. Since the original is my favorite co-op board game, I eagerly grabbed the first expansion, and absolutely love it. The Dragon Expansion, as it is called, adds more customization options, variant rule sets, and, best of all, new generals for the heroes to fight against. (And they are even painted!)
For those who are unfamiliar with Defenders of the Realm, it is basically a cross between the virus-spreading mechanics of Pandemic and the fantasy combat of Talisman, HeroQuest, or other similar games. Four evil generals, each with an army of minions, are invading the land. The heroes have been given the task to defeat all four generals before it is too late. A variety of defeat conditions ensure that the players are very busy, requiring a high degree of teamwork and planning, in order to win. It is tense and exciting from start to finish, and gives a great experience even when you lose.
So what exactly does the Dragon Expansion bring to your table? The most obvious inclusions are the new generals, three in number. Red, green, and black dragons, with fully painted minatures, join Sapphire, the blue dragon from the base game, in an all out draconic assault upon the kingdom. The green dragon, Hemlock, shares a mold with Sapphire, and Onyx and Brimstone, the black and red beasts, are also similar. I took the liberty of painting the blue dragon so she would match the others, which only adds to the imposing feeling you get when seeing four horrible dragons marching towards Monarch City.
Along with the new generals come new minions, or at least, new rules for the minions. The orcs, undead, and demons that accompanied the old generals are gone, replaced by imps, zealots, and fire elementals. Imps are particularly irritating, stealing cards from players in their location. Zealots are brutal in combat, dealing wounds back to heroes who do not kill them all in the first strike. Fire elementals burn the land when three gather together, as does the red dragon general, Brimstone. If too many locations end up in flames, the game is lost, putting the valiant Defenders of the Realm in even more danger.