Adventure in Aventuria
Back in 2019, I purchased Aventuria and its first two expansions on the Geek Market. To my great surprise, I realized that the former owner was no less than BGG user jwml, one of the key figures of the 1PG and co-founder of Solitaire Times. At that time I was a fresh and, frankly, lost member of the Guild so it was scary, intimidating, and felt like quite a honor (I still feel a bit lost, and I would still be intimidated and honored).
Well, I wasn't quite up to the occasion as I only played the game yesterday. I actually wanted to play the game before pledging for 200€ in the new campaign that expired two days ago, and since I couldn't, I didn't.
Just like a good noob should do, I started with the tutorial adventure which very much felt like a tutorial indeed. The goal was to save "Slivtana", or whoever. I didn't really bother, this is just a pretext to fight some orcs and an annoying Kobold. To be honest, the story didn't make any sense. I played the Elf that shoots arrows and the Dwarf with an axe (original, eh?). Actually the Elf ended up being a one-Elf killing machine with blasting spells, Elven bow, and a long sword, while the Dwarf mostly took blows (and performed throat-singing).
You first read the narrative and perform a series of skill checks. This felt completely arbitrary and on rails -okay, nice, I rolled good, I really deserve my reward now. Then the fight begins. I got plenty of rules wrong but didn't quite care (ignoring the Armor of the opponents for instance...). The rulebook is OK, but it's split between the Duel part and the Adventure part, so you don't know which parts of the "Duel" rules really apply to the Adventure. It was quite confusing and I would have preferred a consistent "Adventure" rulebook without the useless Duel mode.
Over the course of the game you become really powerful, so that's satisfying (but a bit unthematic since you are supposed to play a succession of Acts in an adventure, and this "character progression" will happen within each Act). But it also felt rather repetitive (once you have plenty of weapons it boils down to "attack and roll, roll, roll").
The "twist" of the adventure I played is that the boss is a feeble Kobold protected by a charm: he is invulnerable while you don't know his name, but singing (?) will force him to reveal it. Since singing requires a test of "Craft", and since the Dwarf has a good Craft stat, it explains the throat-singing part (I assume Dwarfs are throat-singing).
The game lasted a bit more than a hour. It felt long for what it was, but it was fun anyway. It reminded me a lot of Heroes of Terrinoth, a game I like, but that makes me feel like you are optimizing too much over the mechanics rather than playing an adventure. Mechanically the two games are very different, but in both you face a series of foes while trying to fulfill some side mission to move on. Aventuria seems less interesting gameplay-wise, but more engaging thematically, which matters a lot to me.
I plan to play through the next adventure, and then the two expansions I own, but I don't regret not backing the latest content.
Note: you need more table space than what is pictured (I had to make do with that though...). You also don't have to play with two characters, I just prefer to do so. I'd love to manage all four, but that would become a chore. Two was fine.