Thunderstone is a deck-building game by Mike Elliott, published in 2009, one year after Dominion hit the market, creating a frenzy introducing a hot combination of game mechanics: deck building and card drafting. In games using these mechanics, players choose cards from a common pool on the table and gradually build the best deck of cards with which they will acquire the most victory points. The theme of such games may differ, but the main idea remains the same. This review will examine two games: the original Thunderstone, released in 2009, and the new Thunderstone Advance, a unique, improved implementation of the original game.

Board Game

Game Overview

In Thunderstone, you are the leader of a heroic party of adventurers arriving at Barrowsdale, near Grimhold Dungeon, where the first Thunderstone, an artifact of evil power, is kept. You seek to find the Thunderstone but to do so; you must battle powerful monsters that guard the dungeon. It would help if you built a deck of cards consisting of adventurers, weapons, magic spells, food, and other items. Before beginning the game, you have to set up three different kinds of decks. Remember that in each match of Thunderstone, you won’t be using all cards available in the game, but each time, the cards you use will be different:

Dungeon deck: There are eight different classes of monsters. You choose three or more courses at random, take all monsters belonging to these classes, and shuffle them to form the dungeon deck. Shuffle the special Thunderstone card with the bottom ten cards of the Dungeon deck. Now you are ready to populate the hall, which is the area where you fight the monsters, placed next to the Dungeon deck. There are three ranks of monsters in the Hall Area. The card farthest from the Dungeon deck is rank 1, and the closest is rank 3.

These ranks are populated with monsters from the Dungeon deck. The level of each beast is associated with a specific amount of Light penalty, subtracted from the hero’s attack power. This element of the game tries to simulate a real situation in a dungeon, where the farther you advance into it, the less light there is, inhibiting you from properly seeing the monsters, thus lowering the power of your attack. Each point of light penalty subtracts 2 points of power from your attack. Monsters placed in rank 1 give a soft sentence of 1 (thus attack -2), anomalies in rank 2 give 2 points of fair punishment (thus attack -4), and those in rank 3 give 3

Points of light penalty (thus attack -6). Village deck. The village deck consists of Heroes, Magic spells, weapons, and various items. Those are chosen randomly each time you play, using randomizer cards, just as monster classes are selected. However, four basic card types will always be present in the village: Militia, Torch, Iron Ration, and Dagger. In each game, you will choose four different Heroes and eight Village cards to populate the village along with Basic cards. All these cards inhabit the town. Each time you decide to visit the city as your action, you can buy one of them.

Starting Deck. Each player is dealt 6 Militia (6 Regulars in Thunderstone Advance), two daggers (Longspears in Thunderstone Advance), two iron rations (Thunderstone Shards in Thunderstone Advance), and two torches. This is your starting deck, which you will gradually grow, filling it with cards from the village and monsters you defeat. You shuffle your deck and place it face down in front of you. Draw the top 6 cards of your deck, and you are ready for adventure. In your turn, you can choose to do one of the following actions: