Thunderstone and Thunderstone Advance, Board Game Review

Thunderstone is a deck-building recreation by Mike Elliott, revealed in 2009, one yr after Dominion hit the market, making a frenzy with the introduction of a sizzling mixture of recreation mechanics: deck constructing and card drafting. In video games utilizing these mechanics, gamers select playing cards from a typical pool laid out on the desk, and attempt to progressively constructed one of the best deck of playing cards with which they may purchase probably the most victory factors. The theme of such video games could differ however the principle thought stays the identical. With this evaluate we’ll have a look at 2 video games, the unique Thunderstone launched in 2009 and the brand new Thunderstone Advance, which is a brand new improved implementation of the unique recreation.

Recreation Overview

In Thunderstone, you’re the chief of a heroic get together of adventurers arriving at Barrowsdale, close to Grimhold Dungeon the place the primary Thunderstone, an artifact of evil energy, is stored. You search to seek out the Thunderstone however so as to take action, you need to battle highly effective monsters that guard the dungeon. You have to construct a deck of playing cards, consisting of adventurers, weapons, magic spells, meals and different gadgets.

Earlier than starting the sport, you need to setup 3 totally different type of decks. Keep in mind that in every recreation of Thunderstone you will not be utilizing all playing cards out there within the recreation however every time the playing cards you utilize might be totally different:


  • Dungeon deck: There are 8 totally different courses of monsters. You select 3 or extra courses at random, take all monsters belonging to those courses and shuffle them to kind the dungeon deck. Shuffle the particular Thunderstone card with the underside 10 playing cards of the Dungeon deck. Now you’re able to populate the corridor which is the world the place you struggle the monsters, positioned subsequent to the Dungeon deck. There are 3 ranks of monsters within the Corridor Space. The cardboard farthest from the Dungeon deck is rank 1 and the one closest is rank 3. These ranks are populated with monsters from the Dungeon deck. The rank of every monster, is related to a certain amount of Gentle penalty, subtracted from the heroes assault energy. This ingredient of the sport tries to simulate an actual scenario in a dungeon, the place the farther you advance into it, the much less mild there may be, inhibiting you to correctly see the monsters, thus decreasing the facility of your assault. Every level of sunshine penalty subtracts 2 factors of energy out of your assault. Monsters positioned in rank 1, give a lightweight penalty of 1 (thus assault -2), monsters in rank 2 give 2 factors of sunshine penalty (thus assault -4) and people in rank 3 give 3 factors of sunshine penalty (thus assault -6).
  • Village deck. The village deck consists of Heroes, Magic spells, weapons and varied gadgets. These are chosen randomly every time you play, utilizing randomizer playing cards, simply as monster courses are chosen. Nevertheless there are 4 primary card varieties that can all the time be current within the village: Militia, Torch, Iron Ration and Dagger. In every recreation you’ll select 4 totally different Heroes and eight totally different Village playing cards to populate the village together with Fundamental playing cards. All these playing cards populate the village. Every time you select to go to the village as your motion, you should buy certainly one of them.
  • Beginning Deck. Every participant is dealt 6 Militia (6 Regulars in Thunderstone Advance), 2 daggers (Longspears in Thunderstone Advance), 2 iron rations (Thunderstone Shards in Thunderstone Advance) and a pair of torches. That is your beginning deck which you’ll progressively develop, filling it with playing cards from the village and monsters you defeat. You shuffle your deck and place it face down in entrance of you. Draw the highest 6 playing cards of your deck and you’re prepared for journey.


In your flip, you’ll be able to select to do one of many following actions:


  • Go to the village: The playing cards you’ve in your hand, offer you a certain quantity of gold cash. You should use this gold to purchase playing cards from the village as you see acceptable. In truth that is what you’ll primarily do in your first few turns, as you wil most likely not be sturdy sufficient to assault monsters within the corridor.
  • Enter the dungeon: Every hero has an assault energy, indicated on the cardboard. The mixed assault energy of all of the heroes in your hand is your whole out there energy to defeat monsters. Furthermore some playing cards, just like the torch, offer you mild, thus lowering and even eliminating mild penalties. In case you are sturdy sufficient to defeat a monster within the Corridor, making an allowance for mild penalties, you’ll be able to enter the dungeon, equip your heroes with weapons if out there, solid spells and defeat a monster. Every monster, when defeated, awards you with a certain quantity of victory factors and a few expertise factors which you should utilize to degree up your heroes.
  • Relaxation. By selecting this feature, you’ll be able to relaxation and should destroy one card out of your hand. It goes to the destroyed playing cards pile, to not the discarded pile.


On the finish of your flip, you discard all playing cards in your hand to the discard pile and draw six new playing cards. When your deck is depleted, shuffle all playing cards from the discarded pile to kind your new draw pile.

The sport ends when a participant collects the Thunderstone (by defeating a monster in Rank 1 thus inflicting the Thunderstone to maneuver to that open rank) or it enters Rank 1 as a result of a monster wasn’t defeated. Gamers depend up victory factors from playing cards they’ve collected all through the sport. The participant with probably the most victory factors is the winner.

In 2012, a brand new up to date model of Thunderstone was launched: Thunderstone Advance. The primary set of the brand new model is named “Towers of Spoil”. Playing cards from authentic Thunderstone and Thunderstone Advance may be combined collectively. Listed here are crucial new options of Thunderstone Advance:


  • Modified terminology: Gentle penalty is now referred to as Darkness. React is a brand new means that allows gamers to behave throughout different gamers turns. Raid is a brand new impact that happens when monsters are first revealed within the Dungeon Corridor.
  • Thunderstone: The Thunderstone card has been changed by the Thunderstone bearer. Now the sport ends when a participant defeats the Thunderstone bearer or he escapes the Dungeon Corridor (reaches Rank 1).
  • Recreation board: Thunderstone advance comes with a double-sided board that serves multiple functions. The sport board helps to arrange playing cards higher as there are slots on it to position monsters and village playing cards. Moreover it offers a extra balanced setup, by figuring out a particular variety of every card kind for use within the recreation. There are 4 slots for weapons, 3 slots for gadgets and three slots for spells. Throughout setup village randomizer playing cards might be revealed and matching stacks of village playing cards might be positioned on the suitable slot. If all slots of the revealed randomizer card kind have been stuffed, then one other randomizer card is revealed. The 2 sides of the sport board present for novice and superior play. The novice facet is named “wilderness facet”. darkness guidelines are simpler and there are 4 slots for monsters within the Dungeon Corridor. Superior facet is named “dungeon facet” with traditional darkness guidelines and three ranks.
  • Monsters: Monsters now have ranges. Throughout setup, one monster group from every degree (1,2 and three) is chosen randomly to populate the Dungeon Corridor. This fashion monsters have balanced energy and peculiar setups e.g. of most monsters being overpowered are prevented.
  • New motion: Aside from visiting the village, the dungeon or resting now gamers have the choice to arrange for his or her subsequent spherical, by inserting as many playing cards they like from their hand on prime of their deck and discarding the remainder.
  • New card varieties: Familiars are new particular playing cards that may be gained after defeating a monster. Every certainly one of them has a number of totally different talents that require a certain quantity of XP factors for use. Every participant can have just one acquainted in the course of the recreation, positioned face up in entrance of him. Curses have changed generic Illness playing cards.
  • Higher graphics
  • New beginning playing cards: Militia has been changed with Regulars who’re leveled up simpler and when outfitted with a Polearm, whereas within the Dungeon, you could draw a card. Iron Rations have been changed with Thunderstone Shards and Daggers with Longspears.


First Impressions:

Upon opening the field of Thunderstone, you see quite a lot of playing cards and a few xp tokens. Paintings on the playing cards is gorgeous and detailed. After which comes the tough process of studying the foundations. Though the rulebook is properly written, there may be a lot info in it that one wants a while to soak up it and put it into use, particularly if you happen to by no means performed an analogous recreation, like Dominion. However even in case you have, Thunderstone offers superior mechanics together with intensive terminology and should at first discourage you from taking part in it. In fact issues get loads higher if there may be somebody keen to clarify the fundamentals to you, this fashion taking away the burden to learn all of the 24-page handbook.Thunderstone Advance makes a greater first impression by offering a board (it is also a double-sided one), which lets you simpler become involved within the recreation and perceive what’s taking place. There are slots drawn on the board for monsters within the Dungeon Corridor in addition to village playing cards and all appears higher organized and gamer pleasant. The 2-sided board serves as a method for each novice and superior gamers to benefit from the recreation expertise. While you attain the purpose of understanding how the sport works, gameplay is clean and you’ll quickly end up very engaged and captured by the theme, striving to seek out the fitting mixtures of playing cards to construct a working, and hopefully successful, deck!


The parts of Thunderstone are solely playing cards and a few xp tokens. Playing cards have lovely and thoroughly designed paintings. In Thunderstone Advance, issues get even higher. There’s additionally a gameboard, which supplies a way of organisation and playing cards are redesigned with extra selection in colours, much more detailed graphics and extra clear card format. (Thunderstone: 7/10, Thunderstone Advance: 8/10)


Gameplay is attention-grabbing and will get you actually concerned. The sport mechanics are well-thought, mixing the theme with recreation actions and skills. I believe the concept of utilizing the sunshine / darkness ingredient is a very good one as is the power to level-up your heroes with xp gained from beating monsters within the Dungeon Corridor. There are numerous extra small particulars that improve gameplay like dungeon results and spoils, and all show that gameplay has been designed very fastidiously. Nevertheless, throughout setup, it’s doable that bizarre mixtures of village or monster playing cards will come up, making the sport laborious to beat, or considerably uninteresting. Excellent news is that this drawback has been eradicated in Thunderstone Advance, which offers particular variety of slots for various village card varieties, in addition to monsters of various ranges. In Thunderstone advance, the additional choice of “making ready” as a recreation motion, permits you to design your subsequent hand and offers extra flexibility and the power to make the most of higher your technique. Furthermore the substitute of Militia by the extra environment friendly Regulars is a vital enchancment, permitting gamers to enter the dungeon faster and considerably lowering the existence of “useless playing cards” throughout late recreation. The facility of the sport lies in creating one of the best technique to win, through the use of one of the best mixtures of playing cards and in the fitting quantities. (Thunderstone: 7/10, Thunderstone Advance: 8/10)

Studying Curve:

The sport has a reasonably steep studying curve. The primary faceit boost recreation will final much more than 60 minutes and also you most likely should return to the rulebook and lookup some particulars all through the sport. Nevertheless, after this primary recreation, issues will run easily and you’ll most likely really feel glad for all these small particulars within the recreation, that make it a bit complicated however, in that method, extra attention-grabbing too. 6/10


The ingredient of theme is dominant right here, in distinction to Dominion, and also you continuously really feel the urge and anxiousness to achieve additional down the dungeon and beat these despicable monsters. There are numerous parts that contribute to the sense of immersion like the sunshine/darkness ingredient, curing illnesses/curses with Clerics and extra. 8/10


With dozens of various heroes, monsters and village playing cards, no two video games would be the similar. Randomizer playing cards can be utilized throughout recreation setup, to randomly select heroes, monsters and village playing cards that might be out there within the recreation. In the event you just like the deck constructing/card drafting mechanic of the sport, you’ll most likely spend many hours taking part in this recreation and revel in it loads. Various expansions have been launched and extra might be launched sooner or later, deliver to the sport extra heroes, monsters and village playing cards in addition to new card varieties, thus enhancing replayability. 8/10


The sport gives many thrills and may be enjoyable, though there may be little participant interplay. Perhaps an improvent on this subject, needs to be included in Thunderstone advance, with village playing cards that might mess extra with opponent’s decks. 6/10



  • Good paintings
  • Gameplay with depth
  • Replayablity
  • Immersion




  • Minimal participant interplay
  • Considerably complicated guidelines

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