I Ain't Sayin' She's a Gold Digger--A Single-Take Review of Armadora

In today's review Jeremiah takes a look at Armadora, an area-control, filler game for 2-4 players. In a time where the Dwarves have amassed huge stores of gold, it's a full-on free-for-all as the Elves, Orcs, Goblins, and Mages want their (unearned) piece of the pie.

You, as a player, will take control of one of the four Factions trying to nab as much gold as you can by deploying your forces and trying to block others from getting in on your action.

So is Armadora worth a golden reputation? Or should you leaf this one alone? Let's find out!

The Components

While the box is small there is a lot of game packed into it. You get:

  • A Game Board
  • 64 Warrior tokens (split into 4 Factions)
  • 4 Reinforcement tokens
  • 6 Power Tokens
  • 40 Gold Cubes (yellow wooden cubes)
  • 35 Palisades (little wooden sticks)
  • 4 Screens

The Setup

The setup is fairly simple: You'll place the board on the table, make specific piles of gold cubes and place them randomly on the 8 gold mines on the board. Players select a Faction and use a specific number of the Warrior tokens (depending on the number of players in the game) and place them behind your player screen. And if you're using the advanced rules (and I see no reason not to use them) grab the matching Reinforcement/Power tokens, and make sure that the Palisades are next to the board.

The Gameplay

On a player's turn you have two options: place a Warrior, or place up to two Palisades. That's it! Have fun! Oh. You want to know why you do those things? Okay. So, the Warrior tokens have differing values (ranging from 1-5), and when you place one, you take it from behind your screen and play it face down. Placing Palisades will create different territories on the board. If, at the end of the game, you have the most powerful force in a territory, you win the gold in that territory. And, if you haven't guessed it, the player with the most gold wins!

How about those advanced rules? The advanced rules bring in Reinforcement tokens and Power tokens. Reinforcements can be placed on top of an already placed token to add to the power. Each Faction's power tokens give them different abilities, such as the ability to look at another player's token, place an additional Warrior, etc. You only get one or two of these (depending on the Faction), so use them sparingly!

The Verdict

For a game that's a small box filler, Armadora packs in a lot of strategy, and sleek decision-making moments. You're not going to get analysis paralysis playing this, but the puzzley strategy of the mechanics will definitely keep you engaged--even during your opponents' turns!

The  art and graphic design work perfectly for the theme. If I had one knock on the components it's that the board can be a little stiff for a while, making it hard to lay it flat and get the fold piles set up. 

Speaking of setup, the first time you setup the game it may seem a bit fiddly, but after that it's fairly straightforward.

The Final Verdict

Armadora is a great filler that packs a fun streamlined game into a small package. It's super easy to learn and has great replay value because it's truly a match of wits vs. your opponents! Armadora is a great balance of simplicity and strategy! Definitely worth a spot in your collection!

Thanks for reading!