Andor: The Family Fantasy Game

 I am a big fan of Legends of Andor and have even been playing it during the pandemic, by utilizing multiple cameras so my fellow players can see the board and play remotely over videoconferencing. This is not something I would do for just any game, but I greatly enjoy Andor's combination of puzzly challenge, heroic narrative and gradually unfolding mystery. Now, publisher Thames and Kosmos has released a simplified version of the game that's fun for the whole family. I tried it out with my family and I am here to tell you - they loved it!

Andor: The Family Fantasy Game, sometimes known as Andor Junior, brings to the table all the mechanisms that make its progenitor a top-rated fantasy board game, but streamlines the game such that players as young as seven years (or younger) can understand the options and make their own decisions. Like the original, the game is cooperative, so all players win or lose together - this is great for teaching teamwork and working towards a common goal, and eliminates hurt feelings and over-competitiveness. Let's take a quick look at the game and then I'll go over what my family thought of it.

Game board and character boards, set up and ready

As you can see, the game has the same great look as Legends of Andor, courtesy of popular board game artist Michael Menzel. The idea is for the characters to make their way from the castle (top left corner above) and across the kingdom, fulfilling a set number of quests until they are deemed ready to venture into the mines (lower right corner) to find and rescue some lost wolf pups (having just gotten a canine pup of their own, my nephews were very much into this). Along the way, the adventurers will pick up and reveal those gray tokens scattered across the board, which might have useful items pictured on the other side. They will also have opportunities to purchase items. And they will be rolling dice to battle monsters, which (when the players are victorious) will help slow down the assault on the castle. Each one of the four characters has a different specialty, which guides each player's decisions and makes things interesting. But the players mustn't waste time - there is a timer in the game in the form of a fearsome Dragon making its way to the left across the top of the board - if it reaches the castle, all is lost. This lends a useful bit of tension and excitement and keeps the game from going on too long.

My nephews (age 5 and 7), their parents and I were very pleased with the Family Fantasy Game. It was simple enough to learn and teach from the rulebook (although I was already familiar with how to play Andor) and the kids jumped right in. They loved having their own character who was different and especially good at something. They were excited about discovering useful items on the fog tokens. And they loved working together to rescue the young wolves. They were so into the game, that after it was over, they later went and set it up to play again completely unsupervised! Young kids will need some guidance the first couple of games, but it was obvious how much they like this game - they could not wait to play again. This one shows signs of being a long-time favorite they will want to go back to again and again.

I highly recommend The Family Fantasy game for any family looking for a cooperative board game experience.
Flushed with excitement - he can't wait to play!