The previous board game that I played, The Imperial Settlers, turned out to be great. However, it took quite some time for the set up and to put it back again in the box.
When I played with my friend in a café, the box is to big to carry, the components are too small. It is very easy for the components to get thrown away. We also need a big and long table just to play the game. Not to mention, the time the game will take to play.
So, Imperial Settlers is really for a home game, or at least not everywhere. Luckily we can play solo mode. With today’s life, it becomes harder to find the right time and the right place to play together with friends.
Then, my friend introduced me again with another game. Much more simpler game, easy to carry around, easy set up, quick play like just 20 minutes. The best part is the game offer more game modes so we can play it again without getting bored.
If you are looking for such game, you might want to try Hero Realms. A card game from 2016 with deckbuilding mechanism, fantasy theme, and only use cards, very easy to set up.
So, what is Hero Realms? How do we play Hero Realms? Can we play solo? Are there any expansions?
Those are probably just a few questions that came to mind after hearing about Hero Realms. Well, in this article, I’m going to share with you my Hero Realms Review based on my experience on playing them and what I can find on the internet?
Hope this could help. Is Hero Realms the best deckbuilding card game out there?
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Table of Contents
Game Name: Hero Realms
Game Type: Card Game, Deckbuilding
Designer: Darwin Kastle, Robert Dougherty
Publisher: Wise Wizard Games
Number of Players: 2-4 players
Playtime: 20 minutes
Age Range: 12+
Official Website: herorealms.com
Contents (Base Game):
Fire Gem Cards (16)
Score Tracker Cards (8)
Gold Cards (28)
Shortsword Cards (4)
Dagger Cards (4)
Ruby Cards (4)
Imperial Faction Cards (20)
Guild Faction Cards (20)
Necros Faction Cards (20)
Wild Faction Cards (20)
Expansions and Accessories:
5 Character Packs (2016)
2 Boss Decks (2017)
The Ruin of Thandar Campaign Deck (2017)
The Lost Village Campaign Deck (2020)
Ancestry Pack (2020)
5 Journeys Packs (2020)
Hero Realms Dungeons (2024)
4 New Character Packs (2024)
Adventure Decks (2024)
Watery Graves Campaign Deck (2024)
Release Date: 2016
Initial Price: $20
About Hero Realms and Designer
Hero Realms game are designed by Robert Dougherty and Darwin Kastle, professional players of Magic the Gathering. They are also the CEO of the White Wizard Games, publisher for Hero Realms and other tabletop game.
In 2014, they released Star Realms, which Hero Realms’ design was based on but with different theme. Some people may think they are both very similar.
Back in 2010, Robert Dougherty also became part of the designer for Ascension, another deckbuilding card game. To be honest, this deckbuilding genre is so popular, implemented by many other games.
However, most of them will have more or less similar mechanism. If this is our first time playing any game with this genre, we could get easily excited. But, after a couple of games, we can get bored easily.
Some may try to mix with other game components, or even other genre. As for the Hero Realms, they may not offer something new. At least, not from the base game. If we really want to get the most of this game, we should also consider purchasing the expansions.
We can even see from the base game box that they already have some art that is not meant for the base game itself. The art for the Dragon will come from the Dragon Boss Deck.
Maybe we can say that Hero Realms is just Star Realms game with better marketing and expanding potential, at least, for the publisher.
The publisher opened a Kickstarter campaign within the same year when they released the game which already offering several expansions like Character Packs, Boss Decks, even Campaign Starter Deck with three missions.
Expansions may be great but it doesn’t mean we can’t have fun with just the base game. This review is just for the $20 base game with 144 cards. Read on to find out whether they are worth to buy, including some preview for expansions.
The goal of the Hero Realms game, at least for the base game mode is to beat other players by staying alive, keeping our health points and reducing the opponent’s. The last player standing wins the game.
Beating other player, reducing their health points from 50 to zero can be done by using combat or attacking points from the cards we have in our hands. We can also buy more cards from the market using other cards that gives us Gold.
As any other deckbuilding game, players will start with 10 weak or low value cards and try to buy stronger or higher value cards which usually will be more expensive.
Players have their own personal deck and as they add more cards, they also need to make them more effective by reducing the card. This can be done from some sacrificing elements to get the weak cards out of the rotation.
This is the base mechanism for just two player game which one will fight against the other which can be used for more players game as well. There are other possible game modes with more players which will be discussed on other section in this article.
Here is the video from Watch it Played channel.
Health Tracking System Cards
Each player will start with the standard 50 Health Points. The game has a unique two cards for health tracking system for each player, ones digit card and tens digit card.
Each card will have two sides. The ones digit card will have numbers from zero to nine on one side and the other side will have additional 80+ also with numbers from zero to nine.
If the player’s health gets higher than 80, use the 80+ side. Then the tens side will have zero, 10, 20, 30 and 40 on one side, and from 50 to 80 on the other.
To use it, put the ones digit card at the bottom, facing up the correct side, and use the tens digit card on top of the first one. The right number of the tens digit card must be placed at the top of the card then line up the card right under the correct number of the first card.
We can move up or down the tens digit card, following the health points then rotate or flip the card for the right value.
The color doesn’t mean anything except just distinguish between players. It’s not limiting the cards we are going to get.
This is actually a nice idea to keep the game just with cards and no other form like using scoreboard and marker. However, the developer do suggest keeping track using pencil and paper to be more accurate.
Using the card as the tracking system can get bump by our hands easily. It’s good if we can remember the number, otherwise we have to place these two cards a bit far from the playing ground.
But still, with the game mechanism, where each card can add multiple points depending on the situation, pencil and paper can be a better solution. Or at least, some other forms to keep track whether some points has been counted or not.
After a couple of turns, getting more cards with more complicated mechanism and one card can affect the other, like drawing more cards and get more points, we will want to write them down.
This one below means the health is 27. From the second picture are 107 and 76 Health Points.
Set Up the Market
Market is where players can buy new cards for their personal deck. Starting with the market deck, which is consist of the non item cards. The base game offer 80 cards of action, champion and guards.
Each time a player will have 5 starting cards that they can choose to buy, depending on how much gold each player has in their Gold pool for that turn. In case the available cards are too expensive to buy, the market also offer one more type of cards, the Fire Gem cards.
These Fire Gem cards are meant to be infinite numbers, where players can buy as many as they can, even though very unlikely anybody would. The base game offers only 16 cards for this.
Players can buy each Fire Gem cards for 2 Gold as alternative instead of buying from the market deck. At least, this could improve the personal deck a bit since Fire Gem can give two Gold everytime we play it, better than just 1 Gold from the personal starting cards.
By using the deck, facing down, shuffled obviously, there is a random factor for the game. Players will have no clue of what the next card will be. The next card can be stronger, weaker, or have the same or similar value like the one we choose to buy.
To set up the market, we place Fire Gem Deck on one end, facing up, then the five cards from the market deck facing up, then the market deck facing down. Beside the market deck, we also need to spare a room for sacrifice pile.
Any cards getting sacrificed or out of the game will go to this pile. Each time a player buy a card from the market, then the empty slot will be replaced immediately by the top most card from the market deck.
Which is why if a player have enough Gold to purchase several cards, they can choose to buy one first, possibly with lower value, to see what the next card will be. So, there will be some planning and gambling a little bit.
All of these market will be placed between the players where any player can reach easily. For 2 players, they can set them on sides not really in the middle so both of them can have the same angle to look at the cards, not upside down for one.
Unfortunately, for 3 or more players, maybe an expert player might have to give the best viewing angle for the newer players.
The second picture above is just an illustration for starting game. The first player with the green Scoring Card, 3 cards for starting hand, a personal deck and the card facing up is just to indicate space for personal discard pile.
The market and the second player also has their own discard pile right next to the deck.
Each Player Set Up
For each player in the game will have their own personal deck, discard pile, cards in hand, and the health points tracking cards. For starters, each player will get 10 cards, consists of 7 Gold cards, 1 Dagger card, 1 Ruby card and 1 Shortsword card.
All of these cards are to be put in the player’s personal deck, shuffled and facing down. Each turn we will take 5 cards from the top most of the personal deck into our hand, except for the first turn of the first players.
For 2 player game, the first player will only start the first turn with just 3 cards in their starting hand. This way the first player will lower the advantage against the second player.
By using a deck mechanism, there is another random factor for the players. Not even that player himself will know exactly what the next card will be. Except maybe for the first couple of turns as they start with the predictable cards and they can track down just the next couple.
The cards will remain in the player’s hand and will only be considered as played when they put it on the table facing up. After each turn, the cards in hand and the played ones alongside the one we buy from the market will go to the discard pile, facing up.
At the time our personal deck runs out of cards, we shuffle the cards in the discard pile, and put them as the personal deck facing down. We also draw the remaining cards from the top of the new deck to make up the 5 cards for each turn.
The rulebook does say that we should shuffle from the discard pile into a personal deck. Personally, I prefer to just turn the discard pile facing down. This way the cards will be more predictable, lowering the randomness.
It’s like a baseball when we know exactly who the fourth player is.
If the set up is done for each player, then we can start the game, with the chosen first player, take turns, going clockwise. First player only draw 3 cards for their first turn.
As mentioned before, playing cards means if the player place the card from their hand, facing up on the playing table. Usually we can just open any cards in our hands and activate each of them later.
Each card will give either, several or all of the Gold, Health and Combat with different amount. Health will be immediately recorded by the tracking system but the other two will go to each pool which only last until this turn.
So, if we play 5 Gold cards each will grant 1 Gold, then we have total of 5 Gold in our Gold Pool. We need to spend those 5 Golds to purchase cards from the market this turn. The remaining will not be carried over to the next turn.
The same goes for the Combat or Attacking Points which will go to the personal Combat Pool. We need to spend those to attack our opponents.
As mentioned before as well, we can buy one card and we can also buy the next card assuming we have enough Gold. Which is why there will be some planning.
Some cards will also have the ability to let the player get more cards, drawing from their personal deck. This will add more points to the pools, health or even draw more cards.
Which is why in later rounds, if we purchase the right cards, we may start with just 5, but we could end up playing another 5 or even more. Some cards also have the ability to force the opponents to discard the card in their hands so that players will start not with 5 but less cards on their next turn.
At the endgame, when we use not only 5 cards as the starting hand, with a couple of guards and champions, and probably some drawing abilities, it will be harder just to memorize the gold and combat pool we get. Then, we also need to memorize how we spend them.
Playing a card is not a must, even though it will be uncommon. The remaining card in hand will go to discard pile as well at the end of turn.
Buying Card – Building Deck
The basic gameplay for Hero Realms is deckbuilding. Buying new cards, possibly stronger cards is essential.
As mentioned before, we can buy new cards from the market by spending the Gold we have on our pool. From either of the 5 cards presented on the market or we can purchase the Fire Gem card(s).
Of course, if we don’t have any or enough Gold, there is nothing we can do but wait for the next turn. Hopefully get better set of cards.
The simplest way to play the game is just to buy as many cards as we can. However, for the long run, that might not be true. Or at least, not that simple.
We have to remember that we can only start every turn with just 5 cards. If we have too many low value cards, it will take a while before the higher value will get into our hands again, if ever. We could lose our health before that happens.
The idea should be buying stronger cards but we also need to get rid of the lower value cards. For example, Fire Gem might be a good alternative at the start or earlier turns but at the end of the game, we might want to get rid of them.
Which is why some cards has the ability to SACRIFICE the card we should be collecting as well.
If we sacrifice a card, then the card will not go to the personal discard pile. It will be out of the rotation so the higher value cards will come back sooner.
Other games might have a scoring system where having more cards at the end will grant more points to win. But that is not the case with Hero Realms.
Another ability to consider as well is those that allow us to DRAW more cards. This way, even if we only start with 5 cards each turn, if any of those let us draw more, we can speed the rotation up.
While doing so, we also have to remember that we need to stay alive in the game, bring down the opponents, and get more coins per turn.
The cost to buy each card can be seen at the top right corner of the card, from 1 Gold up to 8 Gold. As long as we have the Gold for the turn, we can buy as many cards as we want.
But, again, remember that this could slow down the rotation if we keep getting low value cards. There is no need to buy. We can let other player take them.
If we don’t spend the Gold, it will not be carried over to the next turn.
Type of Cards
There are several type of cards in Hero Realms game. Each will have a distinguish character and abilities.
Understanding each types of card will give a benefit for playing the game. The cards can be divided into ITEM cards, ACTION cards and CHAMPION cards.
We can see at the middle top of each cards, they will have to rows of words. The first one is the name of the card and the second row, the first word is the type of the cards.
ITEM cards are what we get as the starting deck plus the FIRE GEM card. We can only buy Fire Gem but not the other cards.
ACTION cards are cards those that can only be used once and right after that they will go to the discard pile immediately for recirculation.
The CHAMPION cards, on the other hand, are cards after we play them in one turn will stay in the game and can be used again on the next turn. That is, assuming they can stay alive.
Each champion cards have unique characteristic, very easy to tell which. They will have a shield logo a the bottom right corner. The number within the shield logo indicates the Combat points needed to take that champion down in a single turn.
By taking them down, those champions will go straight to the discard pile and will not appear on the player’s next turn, going to the cards recirculation.
Some champions can also be GUARDS with the black shield logo and the word guards above the shield. This means that other player must take down this one first before they can reduce the guard owner’s health point or any other Champions.
Also, it has to be done in a single turn or the champion will replenish their own health. It’s not like we can hit the champions just one point this turn then have the rest on next turn.
Cards with higher cost doesn’t always mean a champion or guards.
Each card on Hero Realms can have more than one ability that we can activate on single turn. The lower part of the card, below the picture will have at least one row. More rows means more possible abilities.
The first one is called the PRIMARY ABILITY. We can activate this anytime we play the card in our turn.
The second row is called the ALLY ABILITY, if they have one of the faction icon, from red, yellow, green or blue. We can only activate this abilities if there is other cards from the same faction in play.
It is possible that a card can have the third row or third ability, usually it has a trash bin logo with white background. We can activate this ability like the primary ability but we will sacrifice this card. Thus, we call it SACRIFICE ABILITY.
After we use the ability, instead of the card going to the discard pile, we sacrifice the card, out of the game, or rotation. It is possible that the card can have primary ability then the second one is the sacrifice ability, without ally ability. The Fire Gem Card is one of the example.
Each row can also have more than one abilities. So, it is possible that the card may only have a primary ability row but it consists of more than one ability that we can activate them all at once.
Some cards with higher cost can also have just the primary ability but it can do multiple things.
Some cards also has a text that serve no purpose for the gameplay or just for aesthetic. They will be written in italic, and will be put in the lowest row.
The last thing just for champions and guards, they will also have another logo like a turn left logo. This is called an EXPEND logo. Since they will stay around, not going to the discard pile after the end of turn, this is a way to remind the owner that the card has been activated.
We turn the card sideways to indicate the card has been expended and can’t be use anymore for that turn. Unless, the owner has a card in play with the ability to PREPARE them back. This way, we can use their ability once again.
At the end of turn, any expended champions or guards must be prepared again for the next turn.
Combat Pool – Attacking the Opponents
Attacking the other player to bring their health points down to zero is essential to win Hero Realms game. To attack, we must first play cards that has a red icon with a number in the middle from their abilities.
This number is then collected from all of the cards in play to the player’s COMBAT POOL. Players can decide how to spend this points.
For a two player game, they can just attack the opponent. However, for the game mode with more players, the combat pool can be spent separately.
If the opponent has a guard, then the combat pool must be spent to beat the guard first. So, having a guard is like having additional health points.
In case the opponent has more than one guard, we can choose on which guard we will spend the combat points Maybe we don’t have enough for the higher one we can still beat the lower value guard.
If there are more combat points left, they can hit the other player’s health or if they have another champion, with enough combat points left, we can bring the champion down as well.
So, if the opponents only have a champion not a guard, we can just spend all of the combat pool to reduce their health points. Especially if there is a chance to win the game right away.
Some cards also has the ability to STUN a champion. Stunning here means, the champion will be defeated right away regardless of their shield points and they will go straight to the discard pile.
If that happens, we can spend the combat points for something else. Stun first, then use the combat points.
Just like the gold pool, any remaining combat points that we don’t spend will not be carried over to the next turn.
Faction and Ally Abilities
In Hero Realms, the non item card can be divided into four factions, each with different color and logo to distinguish. We can see which faction the card belongs to by looking at the top left corner of the card.
As mentioned before, these factions can trigger the Ally Ability if there are other card from the same faction played within a turn. Having a champion can really help as they will stay in the game for the next turns, not going to discard pile immediately.
Each of those factions has a unique or signature ability which only that faction can have. Some can offer what the other do as well but lower value.
Imperial Faction (Yellow). Healing will be their unique abilities and we can get it from card with the lowest value to the highest.
Another unique ability of Yellow would be to Prepare a Champion. This way a champion can activate their abilities once more. If they have multiple, we can reactivate all of them.
We can get most of the resources evenly from this faction. However, the amount is actually not that much.
Guild Faction (Blue). Stun a Champion will be the most valuable ability from this faction. No need to worry about Guards or champions and we can save up the Combat Points for reducing the health points.
Another unique ability from Guild Faction is they allow us to immediately use some cards we buy from the market. Instead of going to discard pile the card will go to either the deck or even our hands to use in that turn.
Red faction can also do this but not many cards.
Wild Faction (Green). Green faction can hit hard even with the lowest value card. Their primary ability usually have higher combat points and from the ally ability, will add a little.
The unique ability would be forcing other player to discard a card from their hand. This could slow their progress of building a deck.
Another unique ability from the Wild Faction is they let us draw more cards from the personal deck. However, we have to discard the same amount of cards as well.
This could speed things up, get other alternative from the deck. If the next card we draw from the deck is better, we can then discard the one in hand. Otherwise we can discard that next card immediately.
Necros Faction (Red). These cards from red faction are known for sacrificing a card. By sacrificing lower value cards, the higher one can return for playing faster.
Some even let the player get more combat points after sacrificing. This makes this faction very deadly. Most of their primary ability may not hit that hard, but the ally could immediately end the game.
Ten turns to get rid of the starting deck. That is assuming only one card with sacrifice ability. If they are champions or guards, this can happen even faster.
Once that happens, we might already have a winner. We can still earn gold from this faction but very small amount.
Since the game has several random factors in play, we can’t really rely on just one faction. We have to remember that the ally ability only works if there are other card from the same faction in play.
If we want to rely on the ally abilities, focus on collecting champions will be essential. Otherwise, we should buy cards where the unique abilities are in the primary one.
Discard and Draw Again
Playing cards, from buying, attacking, healing, draw more are considered as the main phase of Hero Realms. After we have nothing else to do, then we should proceed to the Discard phase.
Every card we played or we didn’t use and still in our hands will go to the personal discard pile. Leaving only the champions as they get prepared for the next turn.
To close the turn, we should draw again 5 cards from the personal deck. That will be the end of a player’s turn. If the deck doesn’t have enough cards, turn the discard pile into a deck again.
While waiting for the next turn, other player could have an ability to force us to discard a card. If that happens, we could just select one and the next turn we will start with less than 5.
After the draw phase, the next player in clockwise order will play. They will keep playing, taking turns until only one player left.
Below is the video of 2 player game of Hero Realms from What It Played channel. They used Character Packs to replace the starting deck.
That is just the basic game mode. The rulebook from the base game also offer another variants to play Hero Realms. There are Hunter mode for 3 players, Hydra modes for 4 players or Emperor mode for 6.
The last one will require another copy of Hero Realms or expansion packs. Hydra and Emperor mode are played in teams.
Some people may look for a way how Hero Realms can be played in Solo mode. Read more on another section below as how we can play solo or cooperative play for free with no additional cards required.
Alternatively, there is a campaign that we can also buy for more gameplay and cards.
If there are more than 2 players, then the first player will start with just 3 cards. The second player starts with 4 and the rest with 5.
Hunter mode for 3 players or more, have two more variants. One is called the First Blood. In this game mode the winner will be decided right after one player is out of the game and the winner is the player to the right of the losing.
Each player also can only target the player to their left or the champions belonging to the player on their right or left. It doesn’t matter who give the finishing blow, so we have to play carefully.
Another variants from the Hunter mode is Last Man Standing. The difference is that they will keep playing until only one player left. The person to the eliminated player’s right will gain 10 health points and draw a card.
Hydra game mode, with 4 players in two teams, each team will share a health points, starting with 75. Each player will still have their own cards in hand, personal deck and discard pile.
Those from the same team will play in the same turn from the main phase until drawing phase. Each player also has their own Combat and Gold Pool but they can work together on how to spend them.
Guards will protect the team. So, as long as there is one from any player for that team, other team will have to take the guard down first.
In this game mode, the ally ability can only be triggered from the same player not from their teammate’s card.
We can say that this game mode is like a 2 player game, each handling two different decks. This is actually a fun game mode since the team can work together to build two decks. They can decide which player will get certain card.
One can have lower value cards and the other can have the stronger one. Alternatively, each player could have just two factions, making it easier to trigger the ally abilities.
Assuming we play randomly with all cards from the market deck, the game could end even faster. Even with just Gold cards, we can easily buy like 10 Gold worth of cards right from the start.
One thing that we should keep in mind while playing this mode is that the team only share the combat, gold and health pool. Some abilities may not affect the teammate.
Emperor mode is a 6 player divided into two teams of three. Each team will decide which will be the Emperor and others will be the commanders. Those with character packs will be the emperor. When the emperor is defeated the other team wins.
Each player will play like the basic game, with their personal deck, starting hand and discard pile but all from the same market deck. They will be paired to play against the player from the other team with the same rank. Commander against a commander and emperor against the emperor.
After a commander has successfully defeated the opponent’s commander, they can focus on taking down the Emperor. Emperor on the other hand can also attack the opponent’s commander.
Another additional rule is that from the same team, they can spend one gold to move the card from a player discard pile to the teammate’s. If a commander is defeated, the Emperor may take one of the cards and add it to the discard pile.
Tibus, The Guild Lord (Solo / Co-Op Mode)
The base game of Hero Realms was intended primarily for multiplayer game mode. However, with just a couple of additional rules, we can turn this game for solo mode.
The White Wizard Game as the developer did run a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter for Hero Realms. For some backers, they offer two additional cards with rules on the back as to how players can play against Tibus, the Guild Lord. One card for solo mode and the other for cooperative play.
The mechanism itself requires no additional card, we can use just the base game. The additional cards are just for aesthetics, we can play this game mode without them.
How to Play
Read the official rules to fight against Tibus here. Alternatively, we can read another version of the rules from the Card Gallery of the official website.
For starters, Tibus has 40 Health Points if we play solo. For cooperative play, we add another 40 per additional player. That means, the more player playing this game, isn’t going to make it easier since. Four player and Tibus get 160.
The standard rules and set up still applies. Tibus will play right after each player’s turns attacking that player. That means, the more players, Tibus will get more turns.
So, it’s not after every player has played theirs but right after each player.
On Tibus turn, draw one card from the market deck and place it in front of Tibus. The cost for acquiring that card will be the combat points for Tibus and the faction of that card will determine what will happen to Tibus.
If the card is Imperial (Yellow), then Tibus will get 5 Health points. For the Guild or Blue faction, Tibus will keep the card and draw again from the market deck.
We will get two options if the card is Wild or Green. Tibus will stun the champion if there is one in play or the player has to discard two cards.
If the card is Red or Necros faction, Tibus will sacrifice every card in the market row. He also get additional 5 Combat points.
Tibus will always attempt to attack Guards with the strongest defense first. If there is no Guard, then Champion will be the next and the player will get the remaining. Unless, there is a chance for Tibus to defeat the player immediately, then he will ignore the non Guard Champions.
If Tibus gets a Guard, the Guard will protect him even though that Guard will do nothing. It means, players will have to take the Guards out first before they can hurt Tibus.
Players can still use the discard ability on Tibus. But instead of Tibus sending the card to sacrifice pile, player can steal one of Tibus’ card and take it to the player’s discard pile. This only works for action cards not champion.
Tibus also has one more special attack. If Tibus has at least one card from each faction in front of Him, then he will discard all of those cards. Then, Tibus will gain 15 Combat Points and will attack the unlucky player. It might be the end for that player.
If we can bring down Tibus’ Health down to zero before him to ours, we win.
Remember that Tibus will only attack after all of the ability from the card has been resolved first. So, when Tibus do get the fourth faction card, resolve the ability, add the combat points to the pool first. After all of that, then Tibus will spend the combat points.
Comment and Suggestion
First of all, the rules on the website’s article and the one on the back of Tibus card has slight differences. The article was written for like a story. Some people might get confused with it.
After giving it a try, I have to say, maybe playing with more players will make Tibus easier to beat. We might have to lose one player but we can easily beat him since Tibus will trigger his special ability faster.
At first, this ability will be the endgame but at the same time it will take some pressure since Tibus will have to discard all of his cards. A one time fifteen points is nothing compared to several cards with 8 for its cost that will be carried over to the next turn.
Another thing that I realize is that the hardest part is just on earlier rounds, especially if Tibus is lucky enough to draw cards with higher value. But if we can stay alive long enough, build a strong deck along the way, we can easily beat him.
Essentially we are buying his decks. Sooner or later, every guards and champions will be ours and nothing will protect him anymore.
I would recommend just start with higher Health Points. Other people have been saying that Tibus will be hard if we use just the base game.
Starting too high, the game will become meaningless later. If we want some challenge maybe we should add limited number of turns to beat Tibus.
Another way that I have tried was if 50 is not enough, instead of losing the game and start over, we can just add another 50, continuing the game. This way we can find out how much Health Points exactly do we need.
He will be a lot easier with the character pack. Some even suggest increasing Tibus starting health about 20 points if we play character.
I think the green card with the ability to force Tibus to discard one of his action card will be the key to survive. Get the red to thin the deck, and try to get guards as many as we can to survive from Tibus special attack.
I think, the basic game mode for Tibus, is best played by 4 players.
For 4 players mode against Tibus, then we have to add pen and paper to track Tibus health. If we have any expansion, we can play with more players.
Since the game will still depend on the market deck, that means we can still customize the deck for more variants. Maybe add some more house rules.
For example, we could exclude some faction but let Tibus trigger his ability with just the available factions. Another idea would be to have two separate decks, one for the market and the other for Tibus.
This way we can then customize each deck. Maybe we can set Tibus’ deck so each time he draw card, he will always get different faction. This will trigger his ability faster.
Another idea to customize the deck would be to set so the lower value cards will come out first. This way, Tibus will not hit hard right from the start and we can easily buy them out.
We can also set up higher or lower health points for players or Tibus himself. If the game is too hard, we can even set Tibus to play only once per team, not per player.
How about combine the game mode with Hydra or Hunter? Where we are going to compete against another team and see if we can be the one giving the final hit to Tibus?
With expansions, they will open even more possible variants.
If we want to get the official print of the card, we might be able to get it from another Kickstarter promo if they have another campaign in the future. Based on the previous campaign, they did add the card from previous campaign.
The Hydra Challenge (Solo or Co-Op Mode)
Another free game mode that we can play with just Hero Realms base game is to beat the Hydra challenge. Just like Tibus, we can play solo or we can play with multiple players to beat Hydra as the boss.
There is no additional card required but if we want, the official website do offer a print and play file. We can print the Hydra card but like Tibus, it is just for aesthetic, the mechanism relies on market deck.
Check the link for pdf file on the next subsection for rules and the illustration for Hydra card. Hydra is a snake that if we cut off one head, two more will take its place. We need to beat the head first before we can hit the body strategically or there will be too many heads to handle.
How to Play
Like Tibus, Hydra will start with 40 Health Points per player, or in this case, his body. Hydra will also start with one head per player, which serve as like a champion with 4 defense points.
We use a card from the market deck, facing down to indicate the head, place it in front of the Hydra’s card or the health points card. If the player use the character pack, each head starts with 3 cards.
For multiplayer mode, each player will have to face this head in their own area but they are fighting against one and the same Hydra’s body.
If we have 4 Combat points or more, we can cut this one head. Otherwise, we can attack his body and when it reach zero, we win.
However, as mentioned before, cutting one head and not killing the body right away, Hydra will grow two more heads.
We start the game like the basic game mode, starting personal hand, play 5 cards for every player. After each player, then it’s Hydra’s turn, not waiting for all the players to play their turn. Just like Tibus.
On every Hydra’s turn
These are series of steps for each Hydra’s turn and it will only happen to the head in each player area. Other player will have their own.
In every Hydra’s turn, STEP 1, we first pick one card from the end of market row, choose the other end from the deck. We will then place this card on Hydra’s head. If there are more than one head, we place the card on head with the most cards, facing down, except for Imperial card.
That card’s faction will determine what happen next. If the card is Imperial or Yellow, place it face up, and Hydra will gain health with the number of cards on that head as the health amount.
Another thing is, by getting a face up Imperial Card, this head then become a Guard. Player has to beat this one first before they can attack the body.
That Guard head will have another +2 defense points per face up Imperial Cards. So, player will need at least 6 combat points to take this guard head down.
If the card is Blue or Guild, we place the card on the head, with the most card as well, facing down. Then we will have to add again to that same head. We can draw the card from the market deck.
If the card is green or Wild, we also place the card on head, with the most card as well, facing down. The additional ability is this will force player to discard 2 cards from their hand randomly.
If the card is red or Necros, we don’t place the card on head but instead it will become another head, facing down as well.
In the case where there is no head and only the body, we will have to sacrifice the card from that market deck. Unless the card is red and it will create a new head.
STEP 2 of Hydra’s turn, is we slide the remaining cards from the market row so the empty one will be the slot near the deck. Then we have to draw one from the deck to fill that spot.
STEP 3 of Hydra’s turn, is we add another card, facing down for each other available heads. So, if there are two heads available, one will get card from the market row, with the faction based ability and the other will just get more card.
We can take the card from the market deck as well. If the head is just one or no heads, we can skip this part.
STEP 4 of Hydra’s turn, is the Hydra will gain Combat Points based on every card from the available heads in that area. Not counting the total in the game.
STEP 5 of Hydra’s turn, is Hydra will spend those Combat Points toward the player the heads are facing, not counting the total in game. First, they will target the Guards if the player have any in play, starting the highest defense he can stun.
Then, if there is no Guard left, Hydra will take the remaining Combat Points trying to take down the player in a single attack. But if he has less, then he will try to instead stun the available champion, starting with highest defense if he can. He will keep doing this until no other Champion he can stun.
Hydra will then use the remaining Combat Points towards the player.
STEP 6, of Hydra’s turn, is Hydra will grow two more heads for every heads taken down since the previous turn. So, if the player didn’t kill any head on the very previous turn, no additional head will grow.
We can use the cards from the deck again to indicate the head. Place it face down as well.
These two heads will not get additional cards (STEP 3) and will not contribute to add the Combat Points (STEP 4) for this turn. That will only happen next turn.
Remember that all of these steps only happen for the player fighting that head. After the next player’s turn, that player will run all of these steps with the head he is fighting against.
On Every Player’s turn
Player can still use some of the ability from the basic game. Stunning will destroy the head. But, remember the consequences for Hydra growing two more heads later. We may stun or not at all.
Player can also use the discard ability from the green faction. This will remove one card from any head with more than one card. They can even discard the face up Imperial card that make that head as the Guard.
By doing so, the head will no longer a Guard and player can attack the body or other head, assuming there is no other guard.
For this specific game mode, one player can also use the healing for other adjacent player. However, we can only do so if neither of those players has any Guard Head they are fighting.
With the same principle, if player has no Guard Head in his area, he can also attack the head from another adjacent player area, helping the other player. This way, that other player can use his Combat Points later for attacking the body.
Other things from the base game that will only affect the player not the opponent, remains the same. However, like buying cards, it’s better if we can prevent the head from becoming a guard.
Comment and Suggestion
The rules can be a bit confusing for some people but after give it some time, we can get used to it very quickly. I have to say that this one is actually very fun to play.
This one is rather easy, assuming we play strategically. The longer it takes the harder the game will become. I can win against it very soon with just 50 Health Points or stretch it and see what it feels to fight against 10 heads.
The basic strategy would be to just let head becomes stronger and don’t kill it right away. If we do plan to kill the head, make sure it already has more than 4 cards at least.
Green faction with the discarding ability will be another key to remove the card from the head without killing it. Buying strategically will be a good idea too.
We don’t just buy cards for the sake of building our deck but we can prevent the Hydra to grow more heads or becoming a Guard. For multiplayer, we work together how to help the other player build their deck.
Unlike Tibus, we won’t actually fight against the card or any ability from that card. They are just indicators for head and maybe the ability. So, it doesn’t matter if the card that goes to the head has high value. It may just take a while before we can acquire them.
We can even substitute with other things or cards. But if we do use the cards, that means, it will be limited to play with more players.
And like Tibus, if we play with 4 and just the base game, we will need something else for Hydra Health cards.
I don’t know if this will make it fun but maybe we can still modify this one as well. For example, we can set the rules so the head will only grow one instead of 2 after it got killed. Another example is to set just one other head each turn that will get additional cards.
Like other game mode, we can modify the starting health points for players or Hydra, or the market deck. With the character packs or expansion, we can even get more variant.
From the base game of Hero Realms, we will get 144 cards to play with up to 4 players with the rulebook included.
The size of the box is 15 x 10 x 4.3 cm. It can fit all of the cards from the base game with sleeve. It is small enough, to bring along anywhere.
Some people say that once we buy any expansion, the box will not be enough. Either we buy an additional rubber band or replace some cards.
For character packs, each with 15 cards, we might want to buy at least a pair of them, so we can play a 2 player game. We can replace them with the Gold Cards or other cards from starting deck, assuming we just want to play with two.
With sleeve, the card at the bottom might get stuck. The bottom of the box has a divider that we can take them out or to help get the stuck card out.
I’m not sure but maybe we can use the space from that divider for more cards. Assuming we do use rubber bands to hold the box.
Since the character pack will not come with its own box, to store at home, we might want to have another one. The official do offer a storage box specifically for Hero Realms.
The rule is printed on 11 inch x 14 inch (almost 28 x 36 cm) hard paper on two sides, folded so it can fit the box. We can see the content from their official website using the link below.
The developer will keep updating the website with more expansion or new game mode that we can try. The rulebook also suggest that we should check the website for more information.
At least, when we don’t have internet access, the information from the rulebook included in the box is enough to play.
So far, there is not much other info we can find from the website regarding just the base game. Except for this article about analysis for each faction.
The website also has a card gallery, complete with picture, and every data of every card available, not just the base game.
We can even access a spreadsheet file from that page. Before buying an expansion, we can see all of the cards from that gallery page.
There are a lot of articles that can help from their website regarding expansion. Try to check their BLOG page as well.
One of the great things about Hero Realms is that there is no other components. We can play just with cards, including cards for the score or health tracking system.
Even though the designer suggest using pen and paper for tracking the score or health, it won’t be hard to find one where we play. There is no need for us to worry about losing a component while playing like in a café.
Using card sleeve is recommended. As moving the cards from hand, to deck, in and out of the box can easily ruin the edge of the cards. The card size is about 6.1 x 8.6 cm so we might want to use the sleeve with 6.36 x 8.8 cm.
The sleeve will also help players to shufflet the cards. However, for the scoring or health card, we might not want that.
Almost every card use the same back of cards just with Hero Realms logo, except for the scoring system card. They are 8 double sided cards which will need a clear sleeve.
Unless we have some left over, we should just buy all with the clear sleeve. The expansion may include some cards with different size. So far only The Ruin of Thandar Campaign Deck will have that.
Each card has a black border, rounded edge. Half of the card display an illustration for the card from various artists which we can see the credit at the bottom of the card.
For each faction they have their own theme and design following the same template. Some expansion might use slightly different design.
Cards may display a character like human, ogre, mage, as the art to illustrate the card and some may display an action or situation. The art doesn’t necessarily follow the type of cards.
Some of the art can be very easy to tell the difference between one card to another. However, for some other we may have to look for other info from the card or we really just don’t care.
One thing that stands out from Hero Realms is the character, at least for some people. Unlike Star Realms, the predecessor, we can only see mostly just ships or fortress.
The theme and the characters are not something out of ordinary. We can see those same characters from other games or movies with the same theme. Maybe they have one from the expansion or they could add them later.
Tips for Playing Hero Realms (Base Game)
Some people consider Hero Realms game as unbalanced. We could generate health very little and other times can have a burst of health.
On the other hand, with the right set of cards, we could suddenly defeat our opponent in a single turn. Get the right card and they could lead to a better one.
Some people even think that acquiring certain cards might guarantee a victory.
With random deck, using all of the cards, we will finish the game with just twenty to thirty cards. We will play like 20 minutes for a two player game.
Of course, we could just consider that as intentional. A speedy game just to kill some time, not really a serious one. It’s not like we can’t have fun.
Even with four players, we would probably just use half of the cards. This one might take an hour or more. That is, if every players only try to hit the one with the highest health.
Even the developer on their website suggest that some factions are even stronger that the others. Get Wild and we can win easier.
I think 4 player game mode free 2 all, is the most balanced game mode for Hero Realms.
Some may say that Hero Realms is really more for a cooperative play instead of one on one. We need to buy expansions for that or we can just try the Tibus or Hydra campaign.
However, it doesn’t mean we can’t do anything with just the base game of Hero Realms. There are some rules that we can modify or customize that maybe can change the game a little bit.
Customize the Game, House Rules
First, from the starting health points, we don’t need to start with just 50. We can try 75 or 100. I think 50 is suitable for 4 players mode, maybe we can try 75 for 3 or 100 for 2.
That is just an idea, it’s not necessarily going to change the game. The card we can get from the market will play the main role.
For that, we can customize the market deck. In general, we don’t have to use all of the cards. As mentioned before, we would probably only use like 20 up to 40 cards from the market.
If we really want to use all of 80 cards, we will need to do some sorting for the market deck. Even the developer suggests that Wild or green faction might be the most lethal one. The next would be the red, then blue and yellow is the last.
So, we can set the deck so we will need to buy yellow card first, then blue, red and green will be the last. I tried this and managed to buy out every cards with 2 players mode. Another rule that I add was to let the lower value cards come first.
Not saying that would be a fun game, just giving some idea. Other user also suggest that we should separate the market deck based on factions.
From five cards on the market, we let at least one of them for each faction. I already tried this one as well but since the green and red faction hits very hard, the game ended just like regular mode.
So, we can say that we should avoid green and red if we want to play longer game. By playing with one faction at first, we can easily trigger their ally ability in earlier rounds. If we play yellow, we will get a lot of healing.
When I tried playing that way, I could get from 50 to even more than 150 for both players’ health points. For red, we will easily thinning the deck.
Since most of red’s ally abilities will hit harder than their primary one, the game will end really soon. If we do play this way, the later cards or the last faction, we might not even get the chance to play them at all, maybe just once.
Another idea would be to start not with the item cards but instead we use the 1 Gold worth faction cards. Each faction will have 3 of them each. If we play with 3 players, we can just divide them evenly.
However, for 4 players, we need to set some combination. We can replace 3 or 4 of the Gold cards first. I haven’t tried this, and again, it’s just an idea.
Maybe we can also set rules to keep the card we don’t use to play from the hand instead of discarding them. Then, for the drawing phase, we draw less than 5.
I don’t know if we really can play Hero Realms in strategically. However, the developer did mention about how we can focus if not for one faction but a pair of factions in their article about each faction breakdown.
By understanding how each faction characteristic, maybe we can take advantage of certain abilities. At least, we know what to expect. A lot of people might be thinking that those factions are the same.
The fact is, they are not. Some can have certain abilities that only that faction will have. I already mentioned this on other section.
From Imperial (Yellow) faction, the developer says that this is the low risk but not that powerful or low reward. We can get almost anything from Gold, Health, Combat.
The notable ability would be to Prepare a Champion but relies on ally abilities. There are only two cards for that.
Healing will be another unique ability. Eleven of the cards will let us heal right away but 7 from the ally. Drawing cards might be more reliable for their primary ability. Five cards will let us draw more cards.
We can get up to 10 Champions with 6 of them as Guards giving additional 23 health points. Three of the guards has cost 4 or lower.
To earn Gold, nine of the cards will give us Gold right away up to 16 Gold. Three of those nine will give additional Gold from ally.
The developer suggests pairing them with Green or Wild as the backup plan for focusing with Imperials. We need to plan ahead if we want to get the most from this yellow faction.
For Blue or Guild Faction, their best and unique ability will be to stun a champion. There are four cards that allow us to stun champions. Two from primary ability and the other two from ally.
Eleven of their cards will grant us Gold right away up to 24 Gold. Another two will add more gold from ally.
Blue faction only have 7 champions and just 3 of them are guards. None of the guards are low cost, 5 gold or higher. The developer suggest buying one from other faction.
Four of their cards will let us draw more cards right away and one more from ally.
Another unique ability from Guild faction is they let us use or reuse the card right away. One card will let us buy card and use it immediately, the other 5 cards will let us use the card next turn but from ally ability.
If we collect blue right from the start, we could easily build up Gold to buy a lot of cards or those expensive ones. Assuming of course, if those cards are available right from the beginning.
For Necros or Red Faction, faction for thinning our deck. They allow us to sacrifice low value cards like the starting deck. Half of the cards let us sacrifice at least one card from hand or discard pile. Most of them are high value cards, with the cost 5 or higher.
Another notable ability from Necros would be to draw more cards. Five of their cards will let us draw more cards but all of them are ally ability.
So, if we can keep collecting these cards, we can easily get higher value cards sooner. It is even possible that those cards won’t stay as discard pile that long.
Necros has 9 Champions and four of them are Guards for additional 17 health points. The problem if we only collect red would be the Gold which we can only get from 6 cards, up to 14 Golds.
A couple of Blue or Yellow faction cards can help to generate more Gold. Most of the Necros may not hit so hard as their primary ability.
However, their ally abilities will be enough to take down some Champions. With almost half of their cards as champions, triggering ally abilities may not be that hard.
For Wild or Green faction, they are considered as the best to win Hero Realms. Their unique ability will be to force the opponents to discard cards from their hand.
At first, for the basic game mode, this will not be very useful. Especially if the opponents are still keeping their low value cards.
However, this ability would be ideal against those who collect Necros then. For the campaign, like against Tibus or Hydra, this ability is essential to keep us alive long enough.
Nine of their cards will force the opponents to discard the card and only 3 of them require ally. Another unique ability from Wild will be to draw more cards, specifically where we need to trade by discarding in return.
There are 4 cards that will allow us to do so. This could help speed up the rotation as well without sacrificing the card. If the next card is bad, we can just discard that card immediately.
Another 3 cards will allow us just to draw more cards but all of them require ally. Given that they are also champion and guards, it will be easier.
Wild faction has 8 Champions and four of them are Guards for additional 20 Health points. Another characteristic from Wild as opposed to Necros, most of their primary ability will hit hard. So, with Wild we don’t really have to rely on ally.
Expansion and Accessories
Ever since Hero Realms was launched in 2016, the game already has several expansion packs. Any player can buy those expansions for additional game play, experience, characters, bosses, or just cards.
The publisher also offers some accessories like playmat, dice, sleeve or even a bigger box to store every expansion available.
Here are some notes of what we can expect from those expansions. Hopefully this can help people to decide before buying one. For collectors or fans, maybe they can have a bit of description for the whole Hero Realms universe, instead of just the base game.
Character Packs (2016)
As mentioned before, expansion for character packs are recommended to buy. There are currently 5 packs available with $5 each.
The packs are Cleric, Fighter, Ranger, Thief, Wizard. Each has different job theme which will define their starting deck. So, player will start the game not with the same ten cards but with cards from these packs.
It is also recommended to buy at least a pair for 2 player game. Or else, we have to set a new starting deck for the base game user.
Even though the store will tend to bundle these 5 packs. Or, like the official store of White Wizard, they bundle them with the base game as well.
Each pack offers 15 cards. Ten of them are for the personal starting deck and five of them are the character based cards.
The Character Card will define the starting Health Points. Each character will also have 2 special ability cards which can be used every turn while the starting deck will go to deck and rotation.
One ability can be activated multiple times while the other can only be used once per game. The first ability also has optional action which we can choose whether to activate the main ability or use the 2 Gold to purchase cards.
The Character Card has two sides, one for male illustration and female for the other. For this and the score cards, we will need two sided clear sleeve for each packs.
Cleric Character Card (55), Bless Ability, Resurrect Ability, 2 Unique Score Cards
Starting Deck: Prayer Beads, Spiked Mace, 2 Follower Cards (Champion), 6 Gold Cards
Ranger Character Card (58), Track Ability, Head Shot Ability, 2 Unique Score Cards
Starting Deck: Ruby Card, Hunting Bow, Horn of Calling, 2 Black Arrow Cards, 5 Gold Cards
Fighter Character Card (60), Shoulder Bash Ability, The Crushing Blow Ability, 2 Unique Score Cards
Starting Deck: Ruby Card, Shield Bearer Cards, Throwing Axe Cards, Long Sword, 6 Gold Cards
Thief Card (52), The Heist Ability, Pickpocket Ability, 2 Unique Score Cards
Starting Deck: 2 Ruby Cards, 3 Throwing Knife, 5 Gold Cards
Wizard Card (50), The Channel, Fireball, 2 Unique Score Cards
Starting Deck: Cat Familiar, Fire Staff, Spell Components, 2 Ignite, 5 Gold
Boss Decks (2017)
Hero Realms game expansion also offers Boss Decks, currently two at the moment, The Dragon and Lich. Unlike Tibus or Hydra which are just a set of rules and illustration cards, these two bosses’ deck will have 30 cards each required to play the game.
So, by buying on of these, we can play as the hero or as the boss, from 1 hero up to 5 (required the base game and character packs at least). Like Tibus and Hydra, the more heroes, the stronger the bosses.
Alternatively, we can play boss again boss. Dragon vs Lich, or if we have another copy of the same boss, Dragon vs Dragon or Lich vs Lich. These decks will only replace the starting personal deck from the base game. We still need other cards from the base game to play.
The website suggests playing with 4 players for the best experience, which one of them will play the boss.
Dragon Boss Deck
1 Dragon Illustration and Rules Card
2 Unique Score Card
18 Cards for Starting Deck
9 Treasure Cards
Playing the Dragon will start with just 10 Cards but that is for playing against one other player. Each additional player will add two cards as the starting deck.
Dragon will have another deck for the treasure cards, separated from the playing cards. These cards can be used by either any player or the Dragon himself.
Dragon also starts the game with 50 health points per player against him. Since the scoring card only allows the health up to 159 points, the publisher suggest using pen and paper, the official dice from Hero Realms or additional score cards.
There are some other rules like Taunting the Dragon, which the taunted will take revenge only to that player.
Lich Boss Deck
6 Soul Jar Cards
10 Minion or GrimoireCards
1 Lich Illustration and Rules Card
2 Unique Score Cards
4 Action Cards
6 Item Cards
1 Special Ability Cards
To defeat Lich, players will have to destroy all of the six Soul Jars. Each Soul Jar will start different amount of Health Points for Lich. We need to use the health score card to track his health before the next Soul Jar add another one.
Like the Dragon with his Treasure Cards deck, Lich will have his Grimoire Deck, made from the Minion Cards. These Minions will serve like a Champion to the opposing player. They can stun them.
Like against the Dragon, playing against Lich will have some additional rules like STEPPING UP. A player can choose to step up and fight against Lich alone. Lich will not be able to target other player before defeating the one stepping up.
The Ruin of Thandar Campaign Deck (2017)
Campaign deck for Hero Realms is another set of cards for cooperative play. Player can play solo or with up to 5 players. There are currently two Campaign Decks available, The Ruin of Thandar and The Lost Village.
To play the second we will need the first campaign deck and the first also require the base game and a number of character packs following the number of players.
These decks are the advanced version of Tibus or Hydra campaign. Each will have several bosses to fight against with a story in an adventure book. Some choices can be made within the story and will lead to different outcome and scenarios.
Not only that, the campaign also includes a mechanism to level up the character and gain more skill. Player can then, use those leveled up character to battle against other player.
The campaign deck will have the modified version of special abilities card for each character. Of course there are new cards with new abilities as well.
Even those bosses can level up and make the quest harder to beat. Each boss cards are printed in an oversized card using both sides. One for the lower level and the other for the higher and stronger set of skills for the boss.
The Ruin of Thandar, cost about $20, has 8 bosses or Masters and total of 140 cards.
Here is the Rulebook of The Ruin of Thandar Campaign Deck. The game will have another book for the story or adventure book.
The Lost Village Campaign Deck (2020)
Another campaign, The Lost Village, is still not available in the market yet at the time of this writing. We can only preorder from their Kickstarter promo. This campaign deck will have 88 cards, 12 Master or Boss Cards, 2 Challenge Card, Rulebook and Adventure Book. The price is set for another $20.
Ancestry Pack (2020)
Ancestry Pack is a 20 card pack that will modify starting deck from either the base game or the character pack. If the character packs are jobs like Wizard, Fighter, Cleric, Ancestry pack will add a race identity.
We can play as Dwarf, Elf, Ogre, Orc or Smallfolks. So, with the character pack we can play as Dwarven Fighter, Elven Ranger, or Orc Cleric, etc. Each race comes with four cards.
One card will modify the health points, another one will be like the ability card which we can use anytime but only once per game. The last two cards will be added to the deck, replacing specified cards.
The price for the pack is $10.
Journey Packs (2020)
There are currently 4 different Journey Packs, Hunters, Travellers, Conquest and Discovery, each with 12 cards. The first two will add another champion and action cards for the market deck.
The other two will contain 6 Quest Cards and 6 Relic Cards. The quest are like challenge that we need to do something in the game play and the reward is the relic cards. For example, we need to Acquire 4 Cards in one turn or Sacrifice number of cards in one turn.
Relic cards are just Item cards for the market deck. Below are just the example. Currently we can’t buy each packs separately and only available with preorder for $20.
For those who don’t have any part of Hero Realms game, but planning to purchase maybe all of them, we can try purchasing from their Kickstarter Campaign.
Kickstarter is a crowdfunding platform for designer’s product like board game or movies. White Wizard as the publisher open a campaign there and people can preorder the game alongside their expansions and other add-ons. The production will take like a year and they will send the product right to our location.
By purchasing from this, we can save up some money, especially if we can order bulk together with friends from the same location. Some products are Kickstarter exclusive, which we can only get them by buying from this method, not from the local store later.
For some people, this could be a great deal but not for others. The shipping can be very high and they don’t send to some locations like Brazil, Russia, Kazakhstan, or Ukraine.
Another problem with this, based on previous campaign, White Wizard as the publishers, failed to deliver on time. For some locations, they might even need to wait for a couple more months.
They might open another campaign again but maybe a few years later. White Wizard also run and publish several different games like Star Realms, Epic Game, and the latest Sorcerer.
Follow the designer and campaign creator, Robert Dougherty.
Here is their first Kickstarter campaign for Hero Realms back in 2016. Below is one of the latest promo via Kickstarter.
For Hero Realms game, there are several accessories that are recommended to buy to help us at least store the game, and probably give better playing experience. Officially, White Wizard as the publisher also offers their own, with the Hero Realms logo on the product.
If you are really a fan, you might want to buy that. However, other similar product can do the same as well.
Sleeve for cards is a must, especially if we play the game quite often. It is very easy to ruin the card thanks to the game mechanism. Shuffling for the market deck, or personal deck everytime we run out of cards, sliding the cards on table while playing.
Then, we turn the champion and guard cards for expending and preparing again. Sleeves will be a good investment.
The official store has both one sided and two sided sleeves or we can just buy all clear two sided sleeve. The standard card size is 63 x 88 mm but there are some oversized cards with 80 x 120 mm.
How many sleeve do we need? Here is the official documents file regarding the number of cards. (Google Docs)
White Wizard also offers Hero Realms Dice which I think they are not necessary for the game. For $5 the product only offers 4 dices matching the color of the factions.
From what I know, they only use dice as alternative for Health tracking system. However, to do so we need more than just one d10 per player. We should or use other dices for this.
Storage Box is another product to keep all of the cards, not just the base game but the other expansions as well. There are currently two official products for this.
One is the long box, $20 that can hold up to 500 cards but not for the oversized cards. The other, currently preorder only, it is said it can hold up every cards up to this time and even with spare rooms for oversized cards, future expansions and playmat for $30.
The real purpose for the box is for the smaller packs with 15 to 30 cards each because the base game or campaign deck can hold up their own. And that is to keep it at home. I think it is very uncomfortable to carry the long one.
There are almost 200 cards, including the Kickstarter exclusive at this time.
We can use the storage to keep it home while using the base game box to carry around. Set some decks and we ready to play solo or with friends anytime.
Another problem with the Adventure Box or second one is the box is very big and heavy which will increase the shipping fee. It is recommended just to wait until we can have them from the local store. On the other hand, the long storage box, or the first one is out of stock currently on their official store.
The size of the Adventure box is 108 x 254 x 381 mm. We will get a promo card for purchasing this.
Playmats, another official product to play the game but not necessary. Currently we can only order them via the Kickstarter as well. They offer 6 playmats with different designs but with the same size, 14 x 24 inch. If we include the previous Kickstarter campaign, they also offer 3 more playmat designs just for the basic gameplay.
Two of them are for the player’s playing area, with the market deck. The other four are for playing the campaign mode against the master or bosses. The price of each mat is $20.
Adventure Storage Box (2020)
At the time of this writing, this Adventure Storage Box was the latest storage solution that will keep all contents related to the game of Hero Realms. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find the exact size of the box.
From pictures on BGG, it seems we can even put all of the small boxes inside this storage. At least, the base game and the 2 Campaign Decks can fit in the box and there are still enough space for one or two more of that same size.
Inside the box, there will be 3 big dividers to divide the box into 3 parts where we can store all cards standing. Within those 3 segments, we can use the 32 smaller plastic dividers for different types of cards.
This box also comes with 1 promo card: BOUNTY HUNT. This is a very powerful Guild card that can give us 3 Gold and 4 Combat, while allows us to Draw 1 card.
Hero Realms Dungeons (2024)
After a couple of delays of crowdfunding campaign for this one, the publisher finally run the campaign for Hero Realms Dungeons in January 2023. It was estimated to be delivered in February 2024.
Hero Realms Dungeons is a stand alone / expansion for Hero Realms in standard TTR box. As a stand alone game, this one comes with 4 standard starting deck as in the base game of Hero Realms and 80 new cards for the Market. This Market cards include 20 cards from each of 4 factions: Imperial, Necros, Guild and Wild Faction.
The art on the card is definitely new but not sure about the ability of each card. They can be the same or I assume different but equally good as the base game.
Aside from that, this big box also includes 2 new Classes: Alchemist and Barbarians. We will get not just the Character Pack for each but also the Adventure Deck, to level up the class through the campaign from level 1 up to level 24. A character pack usually contains about 15 cards for that character while Adventure Deck has about 33 cards.
The next content inside this box is the DUNGEON ADVENTURE. This is a story campaign to play Hero Realms Dungeons either in solo or cooperative campaigns. The story campaign will have 12 encounters, each comes in an envelope, resettable.
In each encounter we will be fighting against one big boss. We need to deal certain number of hit points to defeat the boss, track by Boss HEALTH DIAL. It also has to be done within certain number of rounds, track by the DOOM CLOCK DIAL which also comes in this box.
Two more accessories that we get from this Dungeon Box is a DOUBLE SIDED PLAYMAT and two HEALTH DIALS to support 2 players. One side of the playmat is to play PvP, competitively and the other for the Dungeon Adventure campaign.
New Character Packs and Adventure Decks (2024)
Besides Hero Realms Dungeons, that same crowdfunding campaign also introduced 4 new Character Packs: Bard, Druid, Monk and Necromancers.
As previous pack, they will come in a small pack that includes about 15 cards. Each has the Character Main card, 2 Special Ability Cards, and 10 custom starting deck which includes some Gold Cards. I assume they still includes the 2 Health Tracker cards.
Bard will gain bonus for acquiring more Champions. Druid can transform into animals when the player is in danger. Monk has Tao Lu cards that can accumulate the effect of an attack or healing power. Necromancer can control Skeletons as if they are Champions which come from 6 extra Skeleton Cards.
We can use any of these characters not just to play with the Dungeons, but also as PvP. It’s also possible with any of the Campaign decks but we need to purchase the corresponding ADVENTURE DECKS.
In Campaign Deck mode, we can level up the characters from level 1 up to level 24 which will unlock more powerful cards for that character. This idea was introduced in the Ruin of Thandar Campaign Deck for the first 5 Characters.
Now the publisher is selling the Character progression content in these Adventure Decks, one for each character. Adventure Decks for the first 5 Characters are also available.
Each Adventure Deck will have about 33 cards: 20 Treasure Cards, 1 Bonus Health Card, 5 Skill Tree Cards, 7 Ability Tree Cards. Treasure cards were introduced in The Lost Village Campaign Deck.
According to that Kickstarted campaign page, they have suggestion of how to use these Adventure Deck for PvP mode like a legacy style. Players will start each from Level 1, play multiple games and record the winner of each session. The first player to get 13 wins will be the champion.
Watery Graves Campaign Deck (2024)
Still in that same Kickstarter Campaign, they also introduced the third part of the Campaign Deck, called Watery Graves. This expansion contains over 100 cards, including 12 oversized Master Cards and an Adventure Book, continuing the story from the previous 2 Campaign Decks.
In this one, the campaign will happen on a ship that we can choose one out of 4. Each ship has their own unique abilities but also has limited hit points. If it gets destroyed, we will lose the game.
More Accessories (2024)
Still in that 2023 Kickstarter Campaign, the publisher is offering more new official accessories for Hero Realms. As introduced in the Dungeons box, we can also purchase more Health Dials. Each Character, including the new one will have their own variants.
The Dungeons box only comes with 2 Dials for 2 players. So, for more players, we might want to add some. The Dials would be a good replacement from the 2 card system to track health as the cards can get easily bumped.
For those who loves to play with the 2 Boss Decks, the publisher also has 2 BOSS HEALTH DIALS. The Dragon one can go up to 3 digit health while the Lich is similar to the heroes. So, probably only need to purchase the Dragon if not for the art.
They are also offering NEW PLAYMATS. There are 4 variants, 2 of them are for PvP mode, one for the Watery Graves Campaign Deck, and the last one is alternative for the Dungeon Adventure campaign. It doesn’t seem that the mat would be double sided like the one in the Dungeons box.
Hero Realms is a deckbuilding card game which we can play against other players up to 3 other. Like any other game with deckbuilding genre, we start with 10 low value or weak cards which we can use to buy a better one.
While doing so, each player will start with a 50 health points which once it reaches zero, the player will be out of the game. The last player standing wins.
Each card will grant the player either one of, some, or all of the additional health points, Gold to purchase cards or Combat Points to take down their opponents. Player can also have some Champions or Guards which will stay around even after the player’s turn.
The other cards will go into recirculation which might take a while before the player can use it again. Which is why we don’t just get more cards, we need to efficiently buy possibly the stronger ones.
There is no other components but cards, at least for the base game, including the health tracking system cards. This makes this game relatively cheap and we can easily carry around, playing with friends anywhere.
Hero Realms is considered as unbalanced, which we can play in relatively short time like 20 or 30 minutes. This is because the game will depend on luck. A player can get stronger cards over and over again and instantly defeat their opponents while the other could get stuck with lower value cards.
However, there are ways and some factor of the game that we can still modify to minimize this randomness. From the market deck, starting hand, starting health points, from which we can get a lot of variants.
Hero Realms is also meant for expansions. At least, with a couple of character packs, they already add new elements to the game. Up to this time, we can purchase more cards, some campaigns to fight against several different bosses.
It’s possible for even a free one, where we can just add a couple of rules, no need for additional cards. Like against Tibus or Hydra, we can even play solo with just the base game. Those are just the official ones, with the community and fan, they could even add a fan made campaign.
So, with $20, 144 base game cards, we already have a couple of game modes. From solitaire game, battle against several players or even cooperative plays against a boss.
If we consider to buy the expansion where we can add from $5 of a character pack, the possibility for more game modes can be endless. We can play this game seriously, strategically or just a fun, fast game to kill some time like while waiting for a flight.
Since they are just cards, very easy to set up, no special or big table to play the game. For those who likes a card game with a fantasy theme, Hero Realms could be a good investment.
More Similar Games
There are many tabletop games out there whether a board or card game that might share some similarities with Hero Realms. Some people may look for those similarities that they enjoy. It can be the mechanism or even just the same theme or setting.
Usually, a board game will have a lot of elements. It is kind of difficult find another game where everything is similar. Which is why, in this section, I try to break them into things that I enjoy from the game and point out games that share the same experience.
These next games are just some games that I have tried, played and written a review for them, up to this point. Check out the link to each article to find out more and also check this Complete list for more games.
Deck Building Games or Similar
Clearly, people will be looking for more Deck building Games when they think about Hero Realms. Personally, this is not a type or genre of games that I like much but I’ve played a couple more.
One of them is The Big Book of Madness. This has fantasy setting but specifically in wizarding or sorcery world. Unlike Hero Realms, this one was designed as a cooperative game first.
In this one, we will still be buying more cards, usually a stronger one and we will add them to the deck. Instead of coins, we will be spending elements like win, fire, wood or water. We can either buy more element cards with higher value or we can also buy Spell cards.
The same cards can also be used to defeat curses and enemies from this Big Book of Madness. The opponent will then try to add more Madness cards and when those cards get to our hand, it will prevent us from doing other stuff because we have less cars. So, we will need to get rid of those madness cards or we can get eliminated.
The cooperative element is that we are allowed to assign a card from our hand, to the share area. Cards in this area can be accessed by other players so they can spend them to either buy cards or defeat curses. Another cooperative aspect is that we can help defeat the curses that are attacking our teammate during our turn.
That way, our teammate can use their turn to improve their deck or do something else. Another reason for helping the other players is because each player has the most dominant elements. Which may not be a good counter for the current curses. So, it’s like players will switch task for more efficient play.
The other Deck Building Games that I’ve played is Dale of Merchants. This is like Hero Realms, also a competitive game. However, instead of players trying to beat each other, this has a racing element.
Players are merchants trying to build their stall by combining cards. The Stall requires having 8 stacks of cards in ascending total value from 1 to 8. Each stack must also use only cards from the same faction, except for special case.
The cards we use to build stall are the same as cards we can use to purchase more cards or do unique actions. Once we played them as part of the Stall, we lose access to its value and it’s extra action. Whoever build the 8th stack of their Stall first, wins the game.
So, in this one, we cannot just buy cards with the highest value or purchasing power. They also need to synergize with the other cards so they can become the stack.
This next one, Quests of Valeria is not a deck building game. However, I do think they feel similar with their hand management aspect. In this one, players don’t have any deck at all.
We have to spend a number of character cards to get more cards in the market which can either go into our hand or to our tableau as recruited characters. The recruited characters can then be assigned to complete Quests cards for points.
Since we don’t accumulate cards and put them in a personal deck, every turn, we have to make sure that the cards we play is enough to have more cards for subsequent actions or turns.
The order of cards in hand that we should play first becomes matter. For me, that is similar in Hero Realms. We have to like play a card to draw more cards first, and then, play the rest, with 2 actions per turn.
Since the cards get cycled very fast, it feels like a deck building game where everything will keep cycling through. But without a deck and players have to make sure to still have cards at the end of the game.
That extra challenge of planning the combo is why I consider this as a better experience than just standard deck building while giving the similar feel. How to get just one more card or action.
Some people say that Deck building can be considered as a type of engine building game. I do think Imperial Settlers, can offer something similar but with more complex resource management than just drawing cards.
This one also has that hand management aspect where we have to decide which card to build first. Hopefully, the result can supply or help the next card.
I also think that The Castles of Burgundy: The Card Game can offer this feeling but very situational. This is one of the rewarding game where we can get bonus after bonus for completing just small things.
Certain type of cards will give us one more action as a bonus. There are also other cards that allow us to bypass the process of completing things. Since we know all available cards at the start of each round, there will be moments where we will evaluate the order to complete them with the best result.
Fantasy, Medieval Setting / Theme
This setting / theme is probably one of the most popular genre among gamers. So, there are a lot of games with this similarity. It’s about adventurers fighting against monsters. Unfortunately, it is also not the one I look for the most but I’ve played a couple that I can share.
From those that I’ve mentioned above, Quests of Valeria and The Big Book of Madness also fit this category. Maybe even Dale of Merchants for the fantasy part but less about fighting monsters.
Adventure of D is another one with this setting. In this one, we will be moving around pawns on a modular board to chase down monsters or visit certain places. We do so to level up a character and eventually become strong enough to fight the final boss.
For a tower defense game, Goblins vs Zombies also uses this setting where we will play as Goblins. As the last line of defense, we will try to stop the incoming Zombies from attacking the village. These 2 games are also hand management game with multi use cards mechanism.
The next one is One Deck Dungeon: Forest of Shadows. This is more like a dungeon crawler game but still try to defeat monsters along the way, leveling up character before fighting the final boss. The gameplay is a bit different as this uses a lot of dice as the main mechanism. If we can get dice with specific color and value, we can protect the characters from the opponent’s attack but also activate abilities, possibly to manipulate those dice.
Another tower defense game that I’ve played is Tiny Epic Defenders. This one doesn’t have that leveling up characters, unless we play with the expansion. In this one, we still try to protect the Castle and the surrounding areas from the horde of incoming monsters. Eventually the final boss will show up and we have to beat the boss as soon as possible to win the game.
The last one that I’ve played up to this point is Villages of Valeria. It actually shares the same setting as the aforementioned game, Quests of Valeria. While Quests is more about recruiting characters to complete quests, Villages of Valeria is more about city building game so the characters could come and stay in the city.
Each character requires the city to have a number of buildings with certain types before they will come to visit. So, we have to build various buildings first while trying to recruit the characters before the opponent does.
So, that’s all I can share with you about Hero Realms, a deckbuilding card game. This was my first introduction to this system. It’s not my favorite mechanism but people seem to love that idea.
As I have said in my other game review, I thought board or tabletop game will be a good idea for a way to spend our time without using the screen of our gadget. No need to play but it could be anything else, from reading a book, learning about cooking, or exercising.
I have to thank my friend again for lending me his copy of Hero Realms. Actually, I thought this will be a boring game at first like I would be playing just a few times. Not to mention that the base game was intended for multiplayers which will be hard for me to find times to play with friends or anyone.
After giving it some time to find out more about the game, when I found out there is a way to turn this game into a solo game mode, then this game becomes interesting. Hero Realms may not be the best game out there but it is probably one to keep.
If you have a better suggestion for similar game like Hero Realms, please do share using the comment section below. I would love to try them out, assuming I can get the copy.
Also, please share your thoughts, game play experience or other info regarding Hero Realms that I could have missed. I would appreciate that.
This article is just my notes about what I can find from the internet. Hope it can help those who are planning to purchase the copy. Thanks for reading.