This Tiny Epic Defenders review was made after playing the game five times.
What is Tiny Epic Defenders?
Tiny Epic Defenders is a cooperative adventure board game designed by Scott Almes and published by Gamelyn Games. In this game, hordes of treacherous monsters are approaching your capital city. You and your friends must fight, defend, and ultimately defeat the Epic Foe in order to save the city.
Tiny Epic Defenders Gameplay
Players select one of the 10 heroes, each of which has his or her own special ability. Throughout the game, you and your fellow heroes will be moving around and trying to keep the six regions that surround the capital (and the capital itself) from being destroyed.
During each round, you will draw and resolve a card from the turn deck. These are usually enemies attempting to attack the outer regions of the kingdom. Enemy cards show a location that is affected, and you move that area’s threat counter up by 1. If a location’s threat level ever reaches the top of its meter, that area is destroyed. If a destroyed region is attacked, the attack hits the capital city.
The tougher enemies in the game are called Dire Enemies. These monsters are a little more powerful, but they also give you Artifacts when you beat them. Artifacts give players one-time abilities that make it a bit easier to defend the kingdom.
Each location has special abilities that characters can use on their turns. However, you will lose those special abilities when the locations are destroyed.
The turn deck also contains Ally cards, which can help the players throughout the game. These cards allow heroes to take actions, which they can use to move around, use the locations’ special abilities or use Artifacts.
Once the turn deck is depleted, players pull a card from the Horde deck, shuffle it into the turn deck, and create a new turn deck for the next round. This is continued until the Horde deck is depleted, revealing at its bottom a randomly-selected Epic Foe (the boss).
If you can destroy the Epic Foe before the capital city is destroyed, you win!
If you want a full write-up on how to play Tiny Epic Defenders, check out the official Tiny Epic Defenders rules on BoardGameGeek.
Check out Tiny Epic Defenders at Amazon
- The artwork for this game is very solid. The artists did a great job giving the region cards a uniform look, and the Epic Foes look like legitimate end-game bosses.
- Even though it would have been nice to have more cards so the Horde would be more varied each game, the system does work pretty well. It forces you to plan ahead for the cards that you know are going to pop up, which makes cooperation that much more important.
- Those who want a quick co-op game might actually really like Tiny Epic Defenders. Once everyone knows the rules, you can definitely get through a full game in 30 minutes or less. There are other short cooperative games out there, but most aren’t as consistently quick as this one.
- It’s probably possible to make an epic game that comes in a small box, but this isn’t it. There just isn’t enough content to call it epic, and it honestly gets a bit boring after playing it a four or five times (well, for us it did).
- There is nothing wrong with this type of game, but it’s borderline false advertising to promote it as an “epic” experience. It might have a more epic feel to it if they make an expansion or two that add to the Horde deck, though.
While Tiny Epic Defenders looks great and was a great idea, most of the people in our group think it’s a bit too repetitive to be a keeper. It doesn’t bring anything new with its action point system, and there isn’t enough content in the box to warrant too many plays.
If you do end up enjoying this game, you will probably also like Tiny Epic Kingdoms and Tiny Epic Galaxies. Those aren’t co-op games, but people who have enjoyed one of the games in the series usually end up liking all of them.
UPDATE: There’s now a new second edition of the game, which is supposedly quite a bit better than the first edition.