Legends of Andor remains my favorite fantasy adventure game – a brilliant combination of euro-style puzzle mechanics and story-driven exploration set in a fantasy world. The first game as an eye-opener for me, and one of the only games in this genre that has enough mechanic meat in it to capture my attention.
Each expansion to Legends of Andor has added depth and intrigue with clever new mechanics and fantastic new takes on the core mechanics of the game. The Star Shield and the New Heroes expanded the core game past its initial set of chapters while Journey to the North took the game to a new level with ingenious ship mechanics and an entirely new type of map.
With The Last Hope, Legends of Andor comes to an end, closing out the trilogy and bringing the story to a conclusion. But does it hold up against the other content in this series, and does it do its job of ending what has been a magical journey the last half decade?
How Legends of Andor: The Last Hope Plays
Normally, this section is reserved for a brief summary of the rules, comparisons to other games and mechanics, and a high-level overview to help you decide if the type of game is a fit for your interests.
We’ve already talked about Legends of Andor at length in our original review, though, so you can read about the core mechanics there and what Michael Menzel has put together and built on throughout the different releases in the series.
What The Last Hope does, similar to Journey to the North, is add new mechanisms and twists to the formula to mix up the gameplay. In terms of story, things start on a dire note. The game picks up upon your return from the frozen north, only to find that Andor has been conquered by the skeleton army from the south – the game then revolves around your mission to liberate and free the Andori people.
In terms of mechanics, Andor III adds several new ideas. The first is the most controversial, the need to acquire food regularly – or risk losing willpower, which can lead to death quickly.
The second major change is the removal of money from the game, replaced by several new mechanics for getting equipment, along with new monster types and new special abilities. The map has also changed to represent the destruction of the skeleton army and there are several interesting twist mechanics throughout the different legends.
What We Like About Legends of Andor III: The Last Hope
The Last Hope is still a very good game. It’s hard not to be with the core gameplay still intact. The integration of new monster types (for real this time, not like the sea monster), is welcome, and there are some truly creative Legend cards this time around – throwing mechanics and ideas into the game I didn’t expect to see, but love experimenting with in a game that goes well beyond just another adventure story.
The thing that really matters when looking at Andor III is that base of the game. If you enjoy Legends of Andor and have played the first two big boxes, then this is a game you’ll absolutely enjoy and appreciate the differences in. If you have never played them, it’s a tougher sell, not just because the story has moved on, but because the mechanics build on what came before.
What We Don’t Like About The Last Hope
And this is where we get into some of the negatives. The game is still very good, but I feel it only works as a sequence and is not something I’d recommend to anyone who has not played the first two or who did and didn’t enjoy them very much. Yes, it’s a standalone and yes you can buy and play it alone, but think of it like an expansion, because that’s how the game feels.
The new food gathering mechanic is interesting at first but over time becomes frustrating. I’ve notoriously disliked Agricola for making me feed my people and punishing me heavily when I don’t – Andor III doesn’t get a pass on this either. Moreover, Legends of Andor is known for being a puzzle – one that you can attempt to solve, and while there are some random elements, it’s all about trying to min max your moves within the limited window you have. Throwing in the food mechanisms alongside some of the other cool stuff you see in this game’s Legend cards makes it a bit more random (more along the lines of a typical adventure game), and for me at least, it wasn’t quite as engaging.
Another issue we found is the difficulty scaling. This game assumes you’ve played the others and starts with a really tough first Legend, so much so that we eventually gave in and moved to the next one (I later went back and beat it solo, but it was tough).
The Bottom Line
As I said, this is a game strictly for people who played I and II and enjoyed both of them. Moreover, if you’ve played those and want more content but haven’t played Star Shield yet, get that as well, because with The Last Hope, you’re getting a cherry on top of a very good dessert, but without the dessert the cherry isn’t necessary. Think of this like a third season of a show you enjoy or the ending of a book trilogy. It is part of the whole and while not the strongest part of the whole, still well worth checking out.
SUMMARY & RESULTS
Legends of Andor III: The Last Hope is a great ending to a trilogy of adventure games that take puzzle mechanics in exploration style games to a new level. It doesn’t quite hold up to the greatness of I and II, but for lovers of the series, it’s a must play.