Armello is one of my favorite games on Steam, but that confession comes with several caveats. First and foremost, the game is best played with friends. The March 2018 update has made that both simple and rewarding. Now you and a friend can engage Bot-AI in a private game, and still receive daily rewards. Also in a private game only one player needs to own the expansions. This means a player can experience the full game without having to purchase all the packs. Such a consumer friendly approach makes it a little easier to sell to friends.
At its core, Armello is a board game through and through. Each game lasts roughly an hour, and boasts a great a deal of strategy to win. It is a mixture of cards and dice played across a randomized board. Four players always participate, and choose from a varied selection of heroes. The more packs you own, the more heroes you can choose. Each hero dramatically changes how you play the game. Therefore, they take a lot of time to master.
With three core card decks, two sub decks, a random board, and myriad of different heroes — the game appears to lean heavily on randomness, but this is not the case. Hundreds of complex, predetermined, rules of probability run beneath its hood. This is what gives the game its odd sense of balance. Even though a veteran player can twist these rules to their advantage, this does not diminish the odds of a new player coming out on top.
As far as board games go, Armello is unique and fun — although you will not always have fun playing it. At times the entire board is against, you will never get the cards you wish, the players will always kill you, a bane spawns in every dungeon, and you can never reach that last quest. It can be rage inducing, and at times you may throw a tantrum or two.
But your opinion of the game may change when you get that one perfect hand. When you have just enough magic to play that one card, which moves you two spaces away from the castle, you have four Spirit Stones, and a Hot Rot Wine. In that instant, an hour of bad luck transforms into a cathartic victory. Which highlights one of Armello’s brightest attributes: there is more than one way to win.
The game will always provide opportunities. Whether you take advantage of them is based on how much you play. An experienced player is capable of turning a bad situation into an asset. Are Banes killing you early on? This can result in a swift Rot Victory. A player can gather corruption after being killed by Banes, then play corrupted cards, outpace the King’s corruption, and quickly score a victory. Perhaps Spirit Stones spawn near you? Maybe the game is suggesting another way to win. Okay, okay…. I’ve made you wait long enough, you can get armello for free on ps4, xbox & steam from this guys video: armello free.
If Armello had a tagline, it’d be “The best-laid plans of mice and men often go away”. To focus on one goal is temp defeat. Adaptation is the name of the game. You must choose cards from the right decks at the right time; be able to play all of those cards in a single turn; carefully manage your resources; and monitor your enemies. Map awareness and the capability to fulfill multiple victory conditions is the key to enjoying the game.
It is also important to highlight Armello’s reward system. Very expensive microtransactions are available from the start. While everything is cosmetic, do not mistake that as praise. After each multiplayer game all players get a chest regardless of who wins. Players earn dice, which change seasonally, or fragments which combine into random hero skins. As there is no in-game currency, items fetch lucrative prices on the Steam Marketplace. Grinding, and access to the Marketplace is required if you wish to get anything good.
Finally, leveling in the game is entirely superfluous beyond level 10. It is a cruel joke that they restrict certain Amulets, which are used to adjust hero stats, behind leveling restrictions. You level faster only if you win a game. Other Amulets are rewarded for completing achievements, which can be easily earned via Bot games. Otherwise leveling is just a measure of how long you’ve played, and nothing more.
In conclusion, I have more love than hate for Armello. While it may frustrate me at times, I come back it again and again. Its unique experience tickles my love of card games, board games, and fuzzy animals. It’s a game I always recommend to friends and family. And its Australia-based developers are dedicated to growing and changing the game, which makes it new and refreshing each time I return to it. I’ve adored it as part of my Steam Library, and I strongly recommend you add it to yours.