Previously, I already mentioned that games are basically just rules. However, tabletop game publisher will try to give good production value to the component as the added value for the game.
Sometimes it can be just a gimmick like marbles in Gizmos or a beautiful art on the card or game boxes. It seems that this practice can also be applied to a micro game.
Usually a micro game already comes with small package and tiny, small amount components. But for this next one, Tiny Epic Defenders game, the designer can still add a toy factor for their game.
Tiny Epic Defenders, the 2nd Edition, uses a meeple or a pawn shaped like a human figure called ITEMeeple. On this plastic figure, we can put on another plastic pieces as their weapon or equipment.
While I still think they are mostly gimmick, they do improve the table presence for the game. The game is also part of the Tiny Epic game series by the same publisher that a lot of people seem to like and collect them.
So, what is this Tiny Epic Defenders game? How do we use those meeples to play the game? Can we play the game solo? Are there any expansions for it?
Those are probably just a few questions that came to mind after hearing about the game. Well, in this article, I’m going to share with you my Tiny Epic Defenders (2nd Edition) Review based on my experience on playing the game and what I can find from the internet.
Hope this helps. Is Tiny Epic Defenders going to be the best board game out there?
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Table of Contents
Game’s Title: Tiny Epic Defenders (2nd Edition)
Genre: Medieval Fantasy Settings, Action Points, Variable Player Powers, Cooperative Game, Modular Boards.
Designer: Scott Almes
Artist: Ian Rosenthaler
Publisher: Gamelyn Games
Number of Players: 1 – 4
Playtime: 30 – 60 minutes
Official Website: Tiny Epic Defenders (gamelyngames.com)
Release Year: 2018
5 Hit Point Tokens
7 Threat Tokens
10 Equippable Items
29 Large Cards (87 x 124mm):
Hero Cards (10)
Region Cards (7)
Epic Foe Cards (6)
Dire Enemy Cards (6)
25 Regular Cards (63 x 87 mm):
Defender Cards (6)
Enemy Cards (9)
Artifact Cards (10)
The Dark War Expansion (2018)
Promo Pack (2018)
Game and Player Mats (2018)
About Tiny Epic Defenders (2nd Edition)
This game has a generic medieval fantasy settings. Players are heroes or heroines of many different races like Elf, Human, Halfling, Dwarf and many more.
Each of them has their own unique and special abilities and will give different ways to play. They are trying to defend the Aughmoore, especially Edenmoore, its Capital City from the hordes of attacking enemies.
The Capital City is surrounded and protected by 6 outer regions where enemies will start coming and destroying the region before advancing to the city. Players can move to that location to defend or secure that region.
The challenge is that, in general players can only move to adjacent location. Sometimes the enemy can show up in the opposite region and players will take more time to get there.
On the other hand, these regions also has unique power that we can activate. They may heal the heroes or even the region, teleport or even trap some enemies.
After fighting enemies, the heroes may need to go back to the Capital City to heal themselves. So, positioning and figuring out when to go back or stay in the region is important.
As the game progresses, more enemies will show up in different location randomly. Sometimes with one or more stronger, Dire Enemies.
Heroes can choose to defend the region against these dire enemies. For that, they will get a random artifact, a powerful item with also a unique ability that only the owner can use it.
If the enemy manage to destroy an outer Region, it will increase the threat of the Capital City. Once the threat level reach the highest point, we will lose the game.
It is basically a tower defense game. If we can hold them long enough, eventually, the big final boss will show up. To win the game, we will have to defeat this Epic Foe.
The base game comes with 6 Epic foes which can be a Dragon, a Giant, Demon, Kraken or anything. Each will show up in specific region, have a unique power and different ways to defeat them.
With different combination of heroes, artifact, enemies, dire enemies, epic foes and regions setup, the game has a lot of variability. If we add the expansion, no only we get more contents of those elements of the base game but they also introduce new features.
The heroes can gain experience and level up or spend those experience to do a lot more things like learning skills. It also introduces a campaign mode.
We have to complete three games in a row, each with a General that we have to defeat before we can fight against the Epic Foe. The progress we get from one game will be carried over to the next one in the same campaign.
Tiny Epic Defenders is the second game in this Tiny Epic Series, designed by Scott Almes and published by Gamelyn Games. The series is known to offer games in small size box but each with totally different main mechanism.
It is a very popular series mostly because they are portable and affordable. At this point there are about 10 games in this Tiny Epic series and they will probably add more in the future.
The first edition of Tiny Epic Defenders was released in 2014. They released this second edition in 2018 with upgraded art and their signature ITEMeeples.
It’s a component which the meeple pawn can equip items, first introduced in Tiny Epic Quest game. In the same Kickstarter campaign for the second edition, they also introduced The Dark War expansion.
This next video by Watch It Played channel is a tutorial for how to play the 1st edition of Tiny Epic Defenders.
Any game in this Tiny Epic series comes in the same box size. The size is about 18 x 12 x 4cm. I have to admit that the box is very thick and probably the sturdiest among board games.
The box has a great art with water paint style showing some of the heroes and heroines including the Dragon Epic Foe. We can see a Spot UV finish for the title and the publisher’s logo.
The inside of the lid also shows an art. I wish they also put a different one on the inside of the bottom.
The back of the box will show us what the game will look like with a list of components inside the box. They even tell us the recommended sleeve size for the cards should we want to use them along with the expansion.
It says that the sleeve size should be 63 x 88 mm for the regular size and 88 x 125 mm for the large card. That large card size is specific for Tiny Epic series.
The cards will be in sealed plastic while the other components come in zip lock bags. While the size is right for the components of the base game with some extra rooms, but I don’t think it can fit the expansion in the same box.
I also worry about the plastic items that we can put on the meeples. They are not sturdy enough. I am still looking for mini plastic container that can fit in this box just for those items.
The box has a room for mini container up to 10 x 3 x 3.5 cm for the items, meeple and tokens. Maybe something for jewelry or sewing tool or just make our own insert. The rest of the box can fit for cards with sleeve.
I think I only use sleeve with 60 microns thickness and it seems it already take all of the space just for the base game content. If it is just more cards with regular size, I think I can add another deck to it. But with the large card, we definitely need another box.
I cannot find the digital file of the rulebook on their official webpage. The publisher did share the file on BGG but in the first edition entry, here, not in the second edition.
The rulebook has 16 page with almost the same size as the box’s footprint. As far as I know, they only released the second edition in two languages, English and French. Some of the fans translated the rule in other different languages like Portuguese and Spanish but not sure if that is the first or the second edition rule.
Here are the table of contents of the rulebook that I got in the box.
Cover (Page 1). The cover of the rulebook uses similar character arts as in the box but in different configuration. They put a QR code which they say will bring us to a instructional video for how to play this game.
Somehow it only bring us to the publisher’s page but I cannot find any specific video for it.
Components (Page 2). The illustrations on this single page actually show us all of the components that we get in this box. However, they didn’t put a complete list of details for each card.
Prologue and Overview (Page 3). The prologue part gives a bit of the story of this Tiny Epic Defenders’ game setting. Here they mentioned that this is a sequel of Tiny Epic Kingdoms in terms of story.
The Overview part gives a general idea of the gameplay, like what we will be doing and how the game can end.
Game Setup (Page 4 – 5). This is a step by step guide to setup the game. It also show the illustration of what the game look like when everything is set up. The exception is that, we will have 2 defenders or character at least while the picture only show one.
It also doesn’t say that each character can have up to 3 Artifact cards right next to the Hero Card. I think it will be helpful reminder that later when the Epic Foe is revealed, we need to place that Epic Foe Card next to one of the outer region.
Some of them even will move around to different regions and we will need to leave extra rooms. There is also a bit of further explanation regarding the two sides of each Region card.
Creating Card Decks (Page 6 – 7). These 2 pages are step by step guide to create the Turn and Horde Deck based on the number of players or characters we play. We can also find how to increase the difficulty.
I think we should start with the bottom part of the entire illustration. That is what we will have at the end of this process. During the first round, Defender cards are all at the bottom or last turns. For Dire Enemy we should shuffle them along side Enemy cards so they may appear even in the second round.
Gameplay Overview (Page 8). This page explains the overall round structure, followed by the win and lose condition.
Draw and Resolve Turn Cards (Page 9). This is the first part of each round. Basically we just draw the top card and resolve the action or effect then discard it.
Defender Cards (Page 9). This explains the two types of Defender Cards and how to resolve them, mostly about spending the action points. What is missing from this is about the sharing turns from All Defender Cards. Heroes can have multiple turns in any round because of that All Defender Cards.
Sacrifice Health (Page 9). This explains how we can exchange 1 hit point for 1 Action points. The important note is that we can only do that once per turn, not per round. We also need to spend the action points immediately.
Defender Action (Page 10 – 12). This section explains all of the actions that we can activate by spending Action Points. It covers further explanation for MOVE action, SECURE, USE ABILITY or FIGHT action, each with its own subsection.
Defenders becoming Exhausted (Page 12). This explains about what will happen if the Defender loses their Hit point down to zero. While we can still spend the Action Points but not for several actions.
Abilities can still be activated during this condition as long as it’s not related to Secure, Defend or Fight. That applies to the heroes’ ability, region ability and artifact abilities.
This part also explains how the Capital City can heal the Defenders. As long as they can spend 1 action point, it is considered as a start of their turn to get the full hit points back.
Enemy Cards (Page 13). This explains how to resolve an Enemy Card from the Turn deck. It may increase the threat level or destroy a Region and increase the threat level of the Capital City. The next part of this section explains how Defenders can choose to defend an Outer Region.
An important note is the order of the two regions. We need to resolve the left one first and then the right one. This matters when the first Region is destroyed because of this card in which we don’t affect the second region.
Another thing is that we can no longer Secure or Restore a destroyed region but we can still defend it.
Dire Enemy Cards (Page 14). This explains how to resolve the Dire Enemy cards.
Gaining Artifact (Page 14). The thing that I miss from this rule is that Defenders can only hold 2 Hand Artifacts and 1 Back Artifact. We can replace the existing one and return the discarded artifact back to the deck. I guess that means putting those items to the meeple is a reminder.
Reshuffle Turn Cards and Add a Horde Card (Page 15). This part explains the second part of each round. It is about how to prepare for the next round. Either we add 1 new card and form the Turn Deck or just shuffle the discard pile plus reveal the Epic Foe.
Revealing Epic Foe (Page 15). The setup for Epic Foe when it is revealed. I guess the important note is that there will be an additional rule that should be triggered when specific Epic Foe is revelead.
Solo Variant Rules (Page 15). Basically, we control 2 heroes and use the setup for 2 players for this solo variant.
Credits (Page 16). So, the back of the book is not for summary or reminder. Instead, they use it for credits. We can find the name of designer, artist, and developer and some contact for the publisher. The QR code on the last page only leads to a service to create that QR code.
I think the rulebook does a decent job explaining how the game works but in general. There are definitely some details that they need to explain further like TURNS, mostly when each character can have multiple turns.
The rulebook does use a lot of illustrations with almost every section has one. These really help describes how the game works but more in physically like move tokens, flip cards.
The biggest problem is when each variant of the card gives extra complexity to the rule. Each of these Heroes, Epic Foe, Dire Enemy, Artifact and even Regions are all unique with unique abilities.
The rulebook should have explained them one by one and how each of these variants interact with other elements. Some can be clashing.
For example, the Serpent and Minotaur of Dire enemies are bending the rules a bit. From the Epic Foe, Colossus or Hill Giant may require further explanation as we can kind of “ride” on them.
There are also some differences from the first edition like artifacts that are one time use or not. While there are a lot of fans will give the answers right away but it seems like neither the publisher or the designer care to join in.
I think there was an attempt to create a FAQ in a single article that we can find here. But I’m still not sure if it covers everything. I can only hope that I can compile them all in this article, at least for the base game.
The next thing we can find in the box are 4 ITEMeeples. They come with 4 different colors either red, green, yellow or blue to support up to 4 players or running 4 different characters.
Meeples are pawns shaped like a human or person, popularized by other board games and become a signature in this industry. Most of them are wooden pieces.
Gamelyn Games as the publisher for Tiny Epic Games came up with an idea to put equipment or items to these plastic pawns. So, these pawns have holes, two at the front and another 2 at the back.
We can then put plastic ITEMS into the holes so they look like they are carrying or wearing items. Hence, the name ITEMEEPLES.
The size of these pawns are about 2 cm for width and height with 1 cm thickness. I think they are in good quality, definitely a good production value, at least for the meeples. More about the ITEMS next.
In this game, we will constantly move these meeples from one Region card to another. I guess the use of bold colors on these pawns really helps them to stand out from the art of the card.
The Artifacts Items
These small pieces are the plastic items that we can put on the ITEMeeples. The game comes with 10 ARTIFACT ITEMS.
These represents, the 10 different artifact that a character can get during the game. Each of them has an exact shape as illustrated by the Artifact cards.
So, while the pawns have generic shape, we can easily tell from their equipment by looking at them about what they have.
In a way, they do increase the experience. That being said, it is not helpful if we are not familiar with what the artifacts are. Personally, I have to keep checking the card again to find out what the abilities are.
Each meeple can only equip 2 hand artifacts and 1 back artifact. That is the actual limit from the game. I totally forgot about that rule because I don’t really like putting those items. So, they are like a good reminder for it.
My issue with this is, they are very small and have unique shapes. Some parts are just too thin. I feel like I can easily break them with just a small pressure.
Another issue is with how we put them into the pawn’s hole. For the hand artifact, it is very easy. However, there is still a chance that the part where we put them in become thinner and the hole becomes too big for it.
It’s even worse for the back items. Since, we need to insert two parts of it, the distance of those hands from the items are closer than the distance of the holes. Because of that, I cannot put them in easily. Maybe I can force it with the risk of tearing them.
Those small plastic pieces also come with just a zip lock bag with a hole. Luckily, I manage to find a plastic mini container to put them in and can fit in the box. Otherwise, I feel like somebody can accidentally break them.
Because of these, I feel like they are pretty much useless. A great production idea but poor execution. Maybe it’s just my copy but I’m not sure that I will use them even if they are easily fit with the meeples.
Hit Point Tokens
The next component for Tiny Epic Defenders are the Hit Point Tokens. These are the wooden tokens with a heart shape with 5 colors. Red, Green, Yellow and Blue tokens are meant for our characters while the Black one is for the Epic Foe.
Since there is only 1 Black token, this indicates that we will only play against one Epic Foe. There is no other variant to play against multiple bosses. Since they serve the same purpose, we can also use the other color from the characters for the Epic Foe and vice versa.
The purpose of the components is to track the health or hit points. We will put these on either the Hero’s Card or the Epic Foe cards and constantly move it as we lose and gain health or hit points.
The size is about 1 cm for the width and height and about 0.7 cm thickness. Of course, people can say that we can just use cubes as how they did it with the previous or prototype version tor replace these tokens.
It’s unnecessary but a nice component upgrade. We don’t even need to color as there will be no exchange use between two characters. Those tokens will stay on the card from the start to the end of the game.
In this game, there will be no character elimination for the heroes. When they lose their health or hit points down to zero, they are still in the game but they just cannot do certain actions.
We need to heal them back so they can go back to do those actions again. For the Epic Foe, it’s a bit different.
Epic Foe will start with 10 Hit Points and if we can bring it down to zero, we win the game. From the Epic Foes in the base game, none of them have the ability to heal themselves.
For moving up and down the tokens, I don’t know if that will eventually ruin the cards. Instead of sliding, we can just pick the token and put them on the right spot.
The last issue with this token is specific just for the Epic Foe. Some of the Epic Foes can move from one location to another in which we have to move its card while keeping the token at the right point. One of them is constantly move and it can be a bit annoying.
These are the last wooden pieces in this game. They are all identical with a flame shape and color. For the overall size, the width of these tokens is about 1 cm, and 1.2 cm tall and 0.7 cm thickness.
The purpose of these tokens is to track the THREAT LEVEL of each Region, including the Capital City. In this game, there are 6 Outer Regions, each with 4 Threat Level and Capital City Region with 8 Threat Levels.
Similar to the Hit Point Token, we put one Threat Token to each of the Region card and move them up or down to indicate the threat levels. They will stay on the card from start to finish.
If the Capital City reaches the highest level, we lose. Before any Enemy can go to the Capital City, they need to destroy the Outer Region first by increasing the threat level to 4. Then the next hit on any destroyed Region will affect the Capital City.
What we will be doing in this game is to maintain these threat levels by using various actions. We might not be able to defend every Region but the goal is so it will take longer time before the Capital City reach the highest Threat Level to give more time to beat the Epic Foe.
While the shape of the token is a nice upgrade than just cube but I feel like I always worry about the pointy part of the flame. Hopefully they are not going to break easily by being too thin.
Maybe the issue is the size, more specifically for the Capital City Card. While the size of the token is fit enough for the tracker, sometimes they are just too close to each other. If somehow we don’t place them correctly and bump the table, we might forget where it was.
This is less of a problem for the Outer Regions. The tracker has bigger space but the same can still happen.
I think another issue is that some elements of the game will require us to switch the position of these Outer Region Cards. We have to be careful when moving them without changing the Level if we don’t want to memorize them.
This is the first type of cards with the regular size, not the large one. At the back of these cards we can see a word ARTIFACT with a chest icon with dark green background and gold frame.
I guess some may say that the black border will get ruined very quickly.
The game comes with 10 unique Artifact cards. As mentioned before, for each card, there will be a corresponding plastic item that we can put on the meeple.
At the front of the card, we can see several information. We can see an illustration for that item as the focal point with its name right below the art.
At the top right corner of the card we can see an icon either a palm or a body. This represents the type of artifact. As mentioned before, each character can only hold up to 2 hand type artifacts and 1 body type artifact.
The base game comes with 8 hand artifacts and 2 body artifacts.
Everytime they get a new artifact they can choose to discard the existing or the new one. Lastly, at the bottom, we can see a text that will tell us the ability and requirements to activate them.
In this game, we can collect one of these randomly after defending against a Dire Enemy. These will form a single deck face down and we will use all of them in every session.
The different order of how they come out will add some variability but not really a big replay value. Although, we will not see every card in a session unless we play with 4 characters.
Each of them will give an extra unique ability that only the owner can activate. The abilities may require the player to spend action points or it will be triggered automatically if we meet the requirements.
Some of them can only be activated once per turn but they are not just one time where we have to discard it after using the artifact. This is a bit different from the first edition of the game.
With the rule from the base game, artifacts cannot be transferred to the other characters. I heard that there is a way to exchange by using the expansion, but I’m not sure.
Since there is only 2 body artifacts, only two characters will have them. If we play with more than 2, the rest will not get any body artifacts and stuck with just 2 hand artifacts.
For 2 characters, it will be a problem when the character that already has one, get another body artifact. In that case, we can only switch and the discarded one will be going to the deck again, shuffled.
It’s not that the artifacts will significantly make the game easier but it means we are losing health or hit points defending a region from Dire Enemy for nothing. Getting an artifact is already random to begin with so it feels suck when that happens.
With 10 artifacts from the base game and if we play with 2 characters fighting against 2 Dire enemies, getting through all of them is possible. Of course that the dire enemy must come out the second and third round for that to happen.
That means, with 3 or 4 characters, it’s a good chance that we will see every artifact cards.
I do feel that some of these artifacts are very powerful that can really help us win the game. Some can be useful but we may not have the chance to activate them.
Since they have some requirements, activating them are very situational. There were times when I forgot about having them because only during the last few rounds they can be activated. I also find that the artifacts where we don’t need to spend any Action Points, will more likely to be forgotten, unless we know how to use it immediately.
Because of the way we can acquire these artifacts, we might want to let the Dire Enemies actually stay active instead of letting them destroy a region and they will not come back ever. Then again, we don’t know for sure what we will get.
I think we also need be familiar with all of the game system and a bit of the general strategy to understand the good use of these artifacts. Otherwise, we can just easily ignore them while they can actually help us a lot.
Details for Artifacts
Name: Celestial Idol
Ability: Spend 2 Action Points while in the Capital City to reduce the threat by 1. It can only be activated once per turn.
This is a bit tricky to use. We need to be in the Capital City in order to use it. However, most of the time, we go to the Capital City to heal from any Outer Region. By the time we reach the City, it is very likely that we already spent all of the action points or only have one left.
In that case, maybe we can use sacrifice for 1 extra action point. With Elixir of Errand, they can be a good combo.
Then, during the next turn, we probably have to spend those action points again to return or move or secure any Outer Region. Of course, there were times when I got to use this artifact but like once or twice per game at most.
Most of the time we will not stay in Capital City. If we have some left over action points, we will probably be at the Outer Region.
I think the best use is with Oryk, the Centaur Druid. His ability allows him to take the damage from even the Capital City. So he can stay there, get healed and secure the Capital City.
This Celestial Idol can definitely buy more time. Maybe during the last round, it become matters since we only need that extra turn to defeat the Epic Foe. So, if the owner of this artifact get their turns first, we might want to consider spending the action points for this, if the owner themselves cannot defeat the boss during their turn.
Name: Elixir of Errand
Ability: When you sacrifice 1 HP, gain 2 Action Points instead of 1.
Sacrifice action can only be done when the specific Defender card is drawn. That means using this artifact is also limited and cannot be used with the All Defender cards.
Also, Sacrifice action can only be done once per turn. That means, we can only get to use this once as well.
The exception would be Um’Tak, the Orc Barbarian as his ability allows him to make multiple sacrifices. If he sacrifices 3 times, he can get a total of 10 action points during his turn with this artifact.
This is actually useful for a couple of scenarios. One is when we try to go to the Capital City to heal. Maybe we don’t have enough action points to reach the city but we still have 1 HP left. We can sacrifice that and get a couple more movements.
As mentioned above, this can be a good combo with Celestial Idol. We can just sacrifice our left over HP to gain 2 AP to reduce the threat level of the City.
Another use is for the final round. Maybe we have two left over HP and spend one of them to gain 2 AP which is enough to defeat the Epic Foe.
Maybe the best use is with Gurmund, the Dwarf Cleric as he can heal. Or at least if he is one of the character we play.
Another good use is if we play with the A side of the Coast Region. we sacrifice to gain 2P to restore our HP. That is if the Coast is at level 0 threat.
Name: Hammer of Might
Ability: Immediately reduce 1 threat level in the Outer Region where you end your turn.
This is one that putting the plastic item to the meeple can really help. I always forgot that I had this one. It can actually change our plan if we include this one because we probably don’t need to secure the threat level of the Outer Region we end up on.
Since we can have up to 3 turns each round, that is an extra 3 action points from this artifact. That is if we can utilize it very well.
I guess it will be less useful when we have to defend a destroyed Outer Region. Since we have to end our turn on that location, this artifact cannot restore that region.
That means, we cannot assign the character who own this to defend that region. The other character must do the job. Hopefully a Dire Enemy is there to give that other character more artifacts.
Name: Horn of Command
Ability: Spend 1 Action Point, choose a Defender in the Capital City and move them to an adjacent Region. They are restored to full health.
This says that we can move a Defender in Capital City to an adjacent region, not any Outer Region. I guess if both characters are in the Capital City, we are basically transferring 1 AP to that other character just to move 1 location.
This is a useful one if the target region is 2 spaces away from the Capital City. In that case, that other Defender can save 2 AP from just moving.
That means, once any Defender has this, we need to change their overall plan. We should examine which Region is be the target and when to activate this accordingly. In any position, we always only have 2 adjacent regions, with the exception for those near the Capital City itself.
If then the target region is just east and west from the Capital City, maybe this is not very useful aside from transferring the AP.
Name: Shield of Aughmoore
Ability: When Defending against a Dire Enemy, lose 1 fewer health.
This one is very useful if this is the first artifact that we get by defending against a Dire Enemy. Otherwise, it is rather useless since we cannot use it for other Enemy type.
Without this, we can only take damage from the Dire Enemy up to 2 times before we need to heal. By having this, we can get damage 4 times which is a huge saving if we consider how many action points we have to spend just moving back and forth to the same region.
This is definitely a must have against the Minotaur. Then again, some may argue that we should just not defend against him at all.
If this one comes out late, we probably already switched our focus to the Epic Foe, no longer care about getting more artifacts.
Name: Spear of Valor
Ability: Spend 2 Action Points for Fight action, to deal 3 damage instead of 1. It can only be activated once per turn.
This is a good one for fighting against Epic Foe. With 2 Action Points we can deal 3 damage to most of the Epic Foes.
The problem is that we can only use it once per turn. That means in a single round we can probably get up to 3 times, which is enough to defeat most of these bosses.
We cannot use this against the Colossus if the owner of this is in its mouth. The other can still use it by attacking from the region.
Spear of Valor is actually very useful against The Ancient. We still need to pay 2 but with this artifact, we deal 3 damage instead of 1. During the Epic Event, instead of spending 3 AP, we only need 2 AP and still deal 3 damage, according to the designer on this thread.
Name: Staff of Control
Ability: At the start of your Turn, you may move the Epic Foe to any Outer Region.
This is very useful, especially against the constantly moving Epic Foes. Or even Demon Lord since he move us away. We don’t even need to spend any AP for this artifact.
That means, at the start of our turn, we can just move it to our character’s region. If the owner is not up to do Fight action, maybe we can even move it to another Defender and let them do the job. I guess it is less useful for the Dragon but we can still predict it.
Alternatively, we just need to move it so it is closer to the Capital City, possibly to regions adjacent to it. That way, the other Defender will use less AP just to move.
Name: Timeless Hourglass
Ability: When your Defender card is drawn, instead of taking your turn you may place your card onto the bottom of the Turn Deck. When it is drawn again, gain 1 additional action point. It can be activated once per round.
I think this one is not very useful as I thought it would. At most it will give just 1 extra AP. I think the best benefit is that we know for sure that there will be one more turn for the owner instead of just guessing which card is the last one. Hopefully that can help make some decision.
From what is stated on the card, it implies that the owner is not getting their turn at all, or even do an action when the first time the Defender card is drawn. This is a bit confusing with the Elf Commander, Laishom.
His ability says that as soon as the Defender card is drawn, we activate the ability. If activating his ability means getting the turn, that means, we cannot activate both, his ability and the artifact’s ability.
I thought at first we can get 2 bonus AP by combining both. Not that it’s going to be that useful.
The card says that we can only activate it once per round, not once per turn. Of course, the specific Defender card can only come out once per round but there is a way to bring it back in the same round like the Ruins Region Ability.
Nevertheless, we still cannot use it multiple times in a round.
Name: Wings of Zephyr
Ability: Spend 1 Action point to move to any Outer Region of your choice. It can only be activated once per turn.
The card says that we can move to any Outer Region but it doesn’t say from where which I assume includes the Capital City. That means, it is very powerful to get us back to where the Epic Foe is after we are healing.
This is also very useful against Epic Foes who constantly move. While we still need to pay 1 AP but like against Dragon we will need to pay 2 without this artifact just to follow the foe.
It is also only once per turn. But that means, we can do it up to 3 times per round. I guess the problem is that we cannot go back to Capital City with the help from this artifact.
If we do play with the Coast that let us heal, maybe we can use that instead. But we also need to consider the AP we need to spend maybe not just to heal but to secure the region first.
Another problem is specific against the Colossus. The publisher said that if we are in the Colossus’ mouth, we still cannot escape from it using this Wings.
The other issue is against The Hill Giant because it is not considered as an Outer Region but a special location. While we can still move from the Giant’s card to any Outer Region, we still need to spend extra AP from the Outer Region to the Giant’s card again to Fight.
Name: Zodiac Cloak
Ability: When an Ally’s Defender card is drawn (including All Defenders Card), you may sacrifice 1 HP to immediately gain 1 Action Point.
This one is a bit tricky mechanically. It says that the owner will get 1 AP by sacrificing when an ally’s Defender card is drawn. It could be a specific defender card but also the All Defender card.
The issue is about gaining a turn for the owner. If it is triggered by the other character’s specific Defender card, then the owner doesn’t get a turn but they can get an action that they need to spend immediately. This will matter for healing in Capital City. The owner of this artifact cannot do that.
In that case, the owner of this has to resolve their additional action immediately before the other character should they want to use it.
If it is triggered by the All Defender Cards, it depends. The owner should get a turn if they get additional AP. That means, including the AP from sacrifice, the owner should get at least 2 AP.
If that happens, the owner can heal by starting in Capital City. For this situation, the owner can do spend all of their AP after the other character.
It is also said that we can combine the effect with the Elixir of Errand Artifact to gain 2 AP by sacrificing 1 HP if the owner has both.
This artifact can easily get forgotten especially if we are not familiar with when to do the sacrifice action.
That is all of the Artifact cards that we get from the base game of Tiny Epic Defenders (2nd edition).
Cards for Turn Deck
The rest of the cards with the regular size are cards for the Turn Deck. All of them has the same art on their back. In horizontal orientation, we see a scene of monsters or enemies attacking a castle.
In this game, we will create a deck with cards that have this back face down. Each round we will flip the top card and it will tell us what to do. They can be a DEFENDER CARD, an ENEMY CARD or a DIRE ENEMY card. Each of them will have their own way to be resolved.
Most of the time, we will shuffle them all so we don’t know exactly what will come out next. But we do have some idea and over the course of the game, we probably can memorize some of them and make decision based on that.
The round ends after all of the cards from this deck have been depleted or resolved. For the next round, we will add one more card, also randomly from the reserve pile or horde deck to this Turn Deck, shuffled.
We know what the previous cards are and we have an idea what may be added to the deck next round but we don’t know for sure. One might say that this game has a healthy amount of memory element required to play it well.
All of these cards serves as a timer because we know from the setup, the exact number of cards. It also becomes a randomizer especially with the Defender cards to tell the turn order of each character.
Maybe this round the first character will go first while the second one is the last card of the deck. Later the order can switch and both cards can be right next each other.
Because of that random element, we have to play a bit tactical, with opening the possibilities that characters may have to switch roles. We may even have to change plan.
While we will keep facing the same cards over and over again but there is a way that the card can be removed from this deck, especially the enemies card. If somehow the Enemy cards manage to destroy an Outer Region, that card will be removed from the deck and placed on the destroyed region face down.
That is the other purpose of these cards. While we may lose some benefit from the Region but maybe it’s not a bad idea to have one less Enemy card.
Choosing which card that we will allow to be removed is a big part of the strategy.
Defender and All Defenders Cards
These are cards for the Turn Deck that has a big shield icon on the front side. They indicates the turn order for the player while the other Turn Deck cards are for the Enemies.
There are 2 types, a Defender Card, with a specific color and All Defenders Card. A Defender card is assigned specifically to one character while the All Defender Cards can be applied to just one or all characters.
In this game we will only use up to 4 of these depending on the number of characters that we use. If we use 4 characters, none of the All Defenders cards will be used.
That means, each character can only get 1 turn with 4 character game. While with two characters, we will use two of the All Defender Cards and with 3 players we only use one of the All Defender Cards.
So, it is a way to scale the game for different number of players or characters.
With more characters, we will get more abilities to activate as each character has their own unique abilities. We also get more HP because each character will have 4.
On the other hand, with less characters, each character will be more flexible in terms of doing action. Instead of just 3 or 4 AP per round, one player can have up to 12 AP. Either way the total is still up to 16.
Some may say that 2 characters is the easiest most of the time. More characters to play will also bring additional Dire Enemy card as part of the setup.
These Defender cards have another purpose. It’s to indicate getting a TURN for any character. As I have mentioned earlier in this article that these cards are not the only way for characters to take actions.
Actions are based on their Action Points but in this game, only when it is granted by these cards where the character will be considered as getting a TURN. The only thing that matter regarding to this is related to healing while starting the turn in the CAPITAL CITY.
If it’s not a TURN, the character will not heal even though they can still spend their AP to do actions. Other than that, it doesn’t really matter.
More specifically with the ALL DEFENDER CARDS as it allows us to share the AP to multiple characters, once per turn is a bit different. Since we can go A-B-B-A, the second time the A goes, doesn’t mean a start of a new TURN. It’s more of like a set of TURNS one might say.
NOTE. With All Defender Cards, the character cannot use the SACRIFICE action. So, sacrifice action can only happen once per turn for the most part.
Defender cards have 4 different color, Red, Blue, Yellow and Green. For colorblind players, they include a specific shape for each color with hex (yellow), circle (green), diamond (red) and cross (blue).
Other than that the rest of the information are identical. While we can mix and match with the meeple, the HP token and the background color of the character, I think it will be easier if we use the matching one.
It’s just that we may want to use two characters with the same background color like between Laishom and Oryk which both have green. It can be a bit confusing.
The 2 All Defender Cards are not identical. But the only difference is that the number of meeples at the bottom right corner. One only has 2 and the other has 3. These indicates which card we use in different player count.
For 2 characters, we use both while for 3 characters, we use only one, which is supposed to be the one with 3 meeples only. However, since the rest of the information of the card is identical, we can use either card as long as we just use one.
The only information stated in any of these cards are the amount of AP. Any of them will say that we can spend 3 AP or 4 if there are destroyed regions.
For All Defender cards, there is a word collectively added. We can share them in any combination like only one character takes them all or equally divide them.
The switch between 3 to 4 AP per turn is inevitable. One of the Outer region will be destroyed no matter what. It’s just we don’t know which and when that will happen. This does create an interesting game arc.
It’s not totally random but still depends on the setup that we do randomly. Maybe in the third or fourth round we will figure it out which region we need to let it get destroyed.
It is possible that we cannot prevent that even if we try because of the randomness. While we get extra actions, we probably don’t want it to get destroyed too soon.
This is the next type of card for the TURN DECK. There will be 9 Enemy Cards each will show two distinctly pictures and 2 icons at the two bottom corners.
Each of the card indicates the two Outer Regions where the enemy will attack. With 9 cards, all 6 Outer Regions will get the same number of attacks with 3 attacks on each. That means, a single region will not get destroyed in a single round from threat level 0 just from these Enemy cards.
As part of the setup, we will not use 3 of them. Three will be the starting one and we will add another three in subsequent rounds randomly. That way, we will not see every card. It’s not necessarily going to be a huge replay value.
The way it works is, we flip this card and we increase the threat level of indicated regions. If there is a Defender in that region, they can choose to defend the attack and taking the damage.
We also have to resolve it the left one first and the right one right after. This will matter when the first one successfully destroyed a region. In that case, we take this card, and put it on that destroyed region without resolving the second one.
It’s a way to trigger the 4 AP and reducing the amount of attack in subsequent turns.
I guess 9 cards is not that many to memorize, not just which cards are in the deck but which combination. It will help make the game easier but I don’t think it is necessary to win.
While the number of regions shown are the same, the order for first or second attack are not the same. Ruins, Forest, and Mountain have 2 first attacks while Coast, Plains and Deserts only one.
Here are the details.
Mountain (1st) – Ruins (2nd)
Ruins (1st) – Coast (2nd)
Desert (1st) – Mountain (2nd)
Ruins (1st) – Plains (2nd)
Plains (1st) – Forest (2nd)
Mountain (1st) – Plains (2nd)
Forest (1st) – Coast (2nd)
Forest (1st) – Desert (2nd)
Coast (1st) – Desert (2nd)
While the card has a great art with all of the monsters, in this game, different monsters doesn’t mean anything. They are more like flavor picture. The way we deal with them are always the same, aside from its location.
Sometimes we may not even have to deal with them directly. In this game’s point of view, we don’t necessarily have to defend the region from it. We can always choose to secure. Let them increase the threat level and we decrease it later.
Defending costs a HP and most of the time, we can only heal by returning to the City. Without HP, we cannot even do secure action and secure action only costs the AP which will be replenished automatically in the next turn.
Enemies from these Enemy cards may not be much of a threat but combined with the Dire Enemies or even the Epic Foe, they can overwhelm us.
Dire Enemy Cards
The other type of enemy that will go into the Turn Deck is the Dire Enemy Cards. There will be 6 different and unique Dire Enemy Cards.
Each of them also has the same art on the back so we will not know which card will come out next. The difference with the regular Enemy card is, Dire Enemy Cards only depict one enemy character. They will also only attack one Region, increasing the threat level.
However, if no heroes were on the same Region to defend against them, these Dire Enemy will also activate their unique abilities. This special attack can be many things like all characters will lose 1 HP or all regions will increase their threat level by 1.
On the other hand, if we choose to defend, we will not only lose 1 HP but at least 2 HP. But, as mentioned above, the Defender will get 1 Artifact randomly.
So, there is a trade off. Whether we choose to defend or let them destroy a region, the choices are not that easy mostly. Sometimes we want to defend but other times maybe we can just let them be.
At the front of the card, we will immediately see a single picture depicting that dire enemy on the left side. The bottom left one will tell us which Region that Dire Enemy will attack.
All 6 of them will attack different unique locations. That means no location will get multiple attacks by multiple dire enemies.
At the right side, we can see their name at the top. Right below it, we will find their unique ability. This ability will happen if no character is defending the target region.
At the bottom right most, we can see a sign that says DEFEND with 2 hearts then an arrow pointing another icon that says GAIN with a chest icon. These icons are the same for all Dire Enemies.
It is a reminder that if we choose to defend against them, our character will lose 2 HP and gain that 1 Artifact card. The rule says that in order to defend against Dire Enemy, the character MUST LOSE 2 HP. If the character doesn’t have enough HP, they cannot defend.
There is also a chance where multiple characters will be in the same region where that Dire Enemy is attacking. Regardless, we can only choose one character to defend and only that character will suffer the consequences and gain the reward. We cannot choose to split the effect.
Like the regular enemy card, if these Dire Enemies manage to destroy a region by their regular attack, not their abilities, we will flip their card to cover the region card. In that case, we will no longer see them again for the rest of the game.
The general idea is that if a region is destroyed by a special ability whether from Dire Enemy or Epic Foe, we have to use the unused card to cover the region. For that case, in my opinion, none of the ability from the Dire Enemies in the base game can actually destroy.
Some may argue that the Manticore’s ability can be interpreted as the ability that can destroy a region. However, it seems the general consensus is that the basic attack is the one that triggers it.
Details for Dire Enemy Cards
Name: Giant Wasps
Ability: STING. Each defender (regardless of region) at full health must lose 1 HP.
For this one, if we don’t defend, it’s like we only has 3 HP or 4 for Oryk. After that, we can just ignore it then. It also doesn’t matter if the character is in the Capital city.
The next turn the City will heal the character back again. This one can be a problem when we have to deal with another Dire Enemy. If we only have 3 HP, we can only defend once and immediately have to heal again.
So, if there is only this one Dire Enemy, we may not need to care that much but it’s different when the second one is coming. The exception would be against Minotaur.
Ability: FRENZY. All Outer Regions at Level 0 threat must increase to Level 1 Threat.
This one can be very dangerous to play against. On one hand, if we let it activate the ability, it will just increase the threat level of all Outer Regions to Level 1. It’s like because of this the Outer Regions only has 3 Threat Levels.
After that, it’s like there will be no ability and we can just ignore this enemy. On the other hand, multiple Outer regions can get destroyed instantly and we have no choice but to prevent this one.
If we use the side A of Mountain Region with the Meditate ability, we can just defend against this one without losing our HP. Since it is still considered as Defend action, we will get the artifact.
Ability: RAZE. Increase 2 Threat Level instead of 1.
For this one, if we choose not to defend the region, the Manticore will just increase the threat level by 2 as its ability. If we defend, we will still just lose 2 HP. I assume that when the Outer region has been destroyed, every attack to that region will also increase the threat of Capital City by 2.
The possible question is whether Manticore destroyed the region using its regular attack or it’s ability. If it is considered as just the regular attack, where the region was already at level 3 and get destroyed by this, we flip the Manticore card to cover the destroyed region.
I can see that it can be interpreted differently if the Outer Region is at Level 2. Manticore’s attack will definitely destroy it but the second hit can be considered by its ability. If that is the case, we will have to use a different card from the box to cover the region and we still have to deal with Manticore.
However, it seems that the designer has stated that we should just flip the Manticore card. This one will be easier to play.
Ability: TOUGHNESS. Lose 3 HP when Defending.
The ability for this one doesn’t work the same as the general rule. It will activate when we choose to defend against it. In that case, we lose 3 HP instead of 2. So, the information in the ability part and the DEFEND part with 3 hearts are the same.
It’s like the ability part only explains the 3 HP on the Defend part. Maybe the better writing for the ability is LOSES 1 MORE HP or so with the Defend part only has 2 like the other.
On the other hand, that means without anybody defending the region, Minotaur still only increase the threat level by 1. As mentioned before, we might want to get that Shield artifact against this one. Or just let the enemy increase the threat level and we secure it later.
If anything, maybe we can choose to defend from the regular enemy to protect the forest.
Name: Sea Serpent
Ability: TSUNAMI. Before any player may defend, all Defenders in Outer Regions must move 1 Outer Region clockwise.
This one confuses people the most. For one, it activates the ability even though we choose to Defend it. Another reason is because the ability is activated before the Defend action. Lastly because it affects multiple regions and probably some Epic Foes.
I’m not even sure that we got a definitive answer from the designer regarding this. But this is my interpretation.
The way it works is, if nobody is defending, we increase the threat level and move every Defender in Outer Region 1 space clockwise. If there is a Defender to defend, that defender will lose 2 HP, and we still move all Defenders in Outer Region clockwise but we do not increase the threat.
So, we will always trigger the ability. The difference is just the artifact and between the threat level or HP.
Somehow I can even interpret that if nobody is defending against the Serpent, they will not trigger the ability which is similar to Minotaur. Another interpretation is that since it is always activate, the Defender who got moved to the Coast region is the one to Defend.
The last part is how this interact with other cards. Some of the questions that got asked were related to Giant Hill Epic Foe, Colossus Epic Foe and the Mountain Region’s Ability.
For the MEDITATE ability from the Mountain, the character will still get affected by the Tsunami.
Regarding the two Epic Foes, these are the two where we need to move our Meeple on to the Epic Foe’s cards. For the Giant Hill, the designer said that it is considered as not in the Outer Region and therefore cannot be affected by the Tsunami.
The problem is that the Colossus doesn’t get the same treatment. While in its mouth, we are still considered being in the Outer Region and can be affected by the Tsunami.
For this, I suggest not using it at all or just decide which interpretation to use.
Ability: DRAIN. The Defender with the most HP loses 2 HP. If tied for most, choose which one.
For this one, in general, we might as well just defend against the Wraith. We will lose the same amount of HP but we will get an artifact at least. Even more so if we have that shield of Aughmoore artifact.
This artifact can only help against their basic attack but not the ability. That means, the owner of this artifact will still lose 2 HP.
The only exception would be if the character with the most health is in the Capital City. Even if that character loses some HP, by the time it gets to their turn, they will be healed back already.
This is the first type of cards with the large size card. The game comes with 7 Region Cards, that we will use all of them in every session of this game.
The regions are the Capital City as the non Outer Regions, Mountains, Ruins, Desert, Plains, Forest and Coast as the 6 Outer Regions. Each of them are also double sided but the Capital City one are identical for both sides.
From each card we can see the great art for each depicting the location also in water painting style as the focal point. I wish that the arts are different for both sides.
At the bottom left corner we can see the name of the region and its symbol. For the Outer Region cards, we can see a tiny letter, either A or B that indicates the side we are using.
At the middle bottom part, we can see a text. This is the unique ability that we can activate if the meeple is on that location. Both sides of each Outer Region will have a different ability.
As part of the setup, we can mix and match in with either side. We don’t need to use the same letter or all different. That gives a bit of replay value.
The last part, on the right side of these cards we can see a tracker for the Threat Level. Outer Regions only have 4 while the Capital City has 8.
On these trackers we will be placing the Threat Level token. If any of them ever reach the highest level, the Outer Region will be destroyed and for the Capital City, we will lose the game.
When an Outer Region is destroyed, we can no longer use its ability. So, they are not permanent. They can be useful in specific situation but we don’t need to rely on them.
These Region cards will create the central board of the game. In this game, we will be placing the meeples on these cards, starting from the Capital City. Then we will move them back and forth between these cards, by spending AP.
As setup, we will be placing the Capital City at the center, surrounded by the 6 Outer Regions. Two Outer Regions will be on the left and right side of the Capital City. Then we place two more on both the upper side and the lower side of the Capital City.
The Outer Regions are Modular boards where we can always mix the position but in the same one overall configuration. However, the adjacency matters because we can only move the meeple to the adjacent location for each AP we spend.
The Capital City is only connected to the Outer Regions on the left and right side but not the other four. From that region on the left, we can move to either the top left or the bottom left. The similar goes with the right one.
The two on the top are connected to each other and the similar things can be applied to the two at the bottom. That means, the Outer Regions create a circle path surrounding the Capital City.
I don’t think we need any of these to win the game. There will be a point in the game where some or even all of these regions can no longer be activated. Because of that, unless this is a bad game, there is no way that the designer will make players rely on them to win.
However, knowing how we can potentially use any of these regions’ abilities can be helpful. Most of them are very situational but maybe it is enough to get that one extra turn.
I think my favorite combination of these regions would be side A for Forest, Desert and side B for Coast, Mountains, Plains and Ruins.
Details for Region Cards
Region: Capital City
Ability: REST. Replenish all of a Defender’s HP if they start their Turn in the Capital City.
By starting our turn in the Capital City, we can replenish our HP back to full. A TURN means it must come from any of the DEFENDER CARDS. Any additional action we get from an ability will not trigger this REST ability.
For example, the Elf Commander will give 1 extra AP at the start of the turn to the other character. Even if that character is in that Capital City, that character will not heal.
On the other hand, we still can use that extra AP to move that other character into the City. That way the next time we draw a Defender card for that character, they will heal.
The exception is if we use that Horn of Command artifact. Even before that other character start their turn, that character will be healed.
1st Ability: REJUVENATE. If the Coast is Level 0 Threat, restore to full HP by spending 2 AP.
Even though this maybe very useful, in reality, it is very difficult to make use of it. Most of the time, in addition to spend 2 AP just to activate the ability, we also need to spend the AP to Secure the region down to level zero.
Especially towards the end of the game, we probably will not be able to afford it, assuming it is still available. I guess if the attack to this region is not that heavy, maybe we can occasionally use it.
While it is cheaper to heal in the Capital City, we will probably spend the same amount of AP just to move back and return. Maybe the best use is to stay on the Coast and Defend any attack on that location.
This is definitely useful for the Druid, Paladin or Barbarian. But it is still just for Defending which is not enough to make us win the game.
2nd Ability: DISPATCH. Move ANY Defender to any Region by spending 1 AP.
Based on how it is stated, we can probably use this one to go back to the Capital City. The longest distance is 2 spaces before we can reach back to Capital City, which is equal to 2 AP.
But then, if we have to move to the Coast first and have it transport us to the Capital City, we might as well just move regularly. That means this ability is mostly to get to other Outer Regions within 3 spaces distance.
If the focus of the attack is on this Coast region, and we have to occasionally move to that farthest one, this is a useful one.
Another point is that we can use it to move the OTHER CHARACTER. This is very useful considering that there are a lot of times when we have to stay in 1 place but we still have some AP left.
In that case, maybe we can spend it to move the other character to the Capital City so they can heal. Or just another location to defend against the Dire Enemy.
Another possible use is with the Elf Commander. He may give that one extra AP to another character. Maybe that character is in this region and can move any Defender to anywhere.
With artifact, that Horn of Command may be a good combo. We can move a Defender to the Capital City and move it back again with full HP.
1st Ability: MIRAGE. While in the Desert, lose 1 HP to reveal the top 3 cards of the Turn Deck and then rearrange them in any order and place them back on top. Once per turn.
This is similar to the Oracle’s ability but instead of spending AP, we will lose 1 HP. But that means we still have full AP for the actions.
I guess this will work well with the Plains’ Prayer ability or the Ruins’ Rectify ability, assuming they are also in play. Maybe the Dwarf can be a good combo with this one as well since he can heal himself back. Otherwise, we still to go back to the Capital City.
The problem is that we still need to deal with the random card. All of those 3 cards can be all Enemy cards or all Defender cards or any combination of them. Regardless, we still get a good info of what we will be dealing in the next couple of turns.
What that means is we may want to activate this in the middle of the rounds. After we saw a couple of cards from the Turn deck and we can try to use our memory to find out the rest that have not come out.
We start with 3 Enemy cards plus 4 Defender cards and gradually add 1 card per round.
I feel like this becomes more crucial in later rounds when the 2 Dire Enemies already came out and one of the regions is or about to be destroyed. But at that point, we probably have other things to spend our AP or HP on.
2nd Ability: BURY. While in the Desert, lose 2 HP to place the top 2 cards from the Turn Deck, without revealing them, on this card’s slot. Once per round. At the end of the Round, return and shuffle the buried cards back into the next round’s turn deck.
I guess this is similar to the Rectify ability from Ruins Region but instead of using AP, we have to spend our HP. That means we also still have full AP to spend for the actions.
The problem is, again, we don’t know which card that we will remove. It can be any of Enemy card or any of Defender card or both. Activating this will not give us additional information so we can make better decision. Unless we use that Oracle’s ability or other way to figure it out, this is not really helpful.
1st Ability: ENCHANT. Secure 1 threat level of any Outer Region by spending 2 AP.
We can activate this regardless of the Forest’s threat level unlike the second ability. Spending 2 AP may sound more expensive than just Secure action. However, if we consider moving to that exact location, which may take 2 AP more, this can be good deal.
If we place Nyrra in this region, at least she can Secure 3 regions with just the regular 1 AP per threat level. This ability is for the other 3, just helping the other character.
If the Forest is adjacent to the Capital City, we might want to sacrifice 1 HP to get 1 AP that so we can activate this and then go back to the City to heal. But that is only with the specific Defender Card.
2nd Ability: HARMONIZE. If the Forest is Level 0 Threat, SECURE 1 threat level in the Capital City by spending 2 AP.
This is a bit tricky to use as we need to secure the Forest first. We can use it as many times as we want as long as we have enough AP. But 2 AP is a lot for Securing 1 threat level.
If we already have 4 AP per turn, that is just 2 Level, assuming we don’t need to spend any to secure the Forest itself.
I guess this should not be the main way to play. In my opinion, offense is a good defense for this game, especially when the Epic Foe is already show up. This one is just to give extra turn which can be very helpful.
This raised a lot of questions. Mostly about whether we can still do another action without losing the ability’s condition. For example, can we still secure it or with Nyrra, can we secure the adjacent regions or do we need to get out first and lose that ability?
Another example is, if the character owns that hammer artifact, will that take effect if we end our turn by spending the AP for this ability? I also wonder if the effect is carried over to the next round?
Sadly, there was no definitive answer to this from the designer. I assume, thematically, we forfeit any access to the other actions or abilities by being in that spot.
Another question related to this is how this will interact with the Serpent, Dire Enemy’s ability? The general consensus seems to be that yes, the Serpent can move the character away from the Mountain and make them lose this ability. It is less of a problem with the second ability and if we use it against the Serpent.
My other question is whether multiple character can use it at the same time. Not that it is going to be a good strategy though.
1st Ability: MEDITATE. Place your Defender in the circle by spending 1 AP. When the Mountains are attacked, move out of the circle to Defend without losing HP.
While this is still a good one against Harpy, the Dire Enemy for this location but that’s it. We still cannot protect the other regions. So, if the enemy attacking this one is very low, we are just wasting our AP just to hide here.
If Harpy is in play, we can get artifact without losing HP. However, we don’t know that or even if we will start our turn before the Harpy.
2nd Ability: LEAP. Place your Defender in the circle by spending 1 AP. When any Outer Region is attacked, you may immediately move to that Region and Defend it and paying the HP as normal.
This is very useful to get artifact by defending against any Dire Enemy. We lose the same amount of HP but we probably will save AP from moving our meeples.
While we can always do that to regular Enemy as well but I prefer Secure to Defend action. It might be worth it for protecting a destroyed region.
1st Ability: PRAYER. Spend 2 AP to draw the top card from the Turn deck and immediately discard it. Once per turn only. If it is an Enemy card, reduce 1 threat level in the Outer Region matching the symbol of the Enemy card. On the other hand, if it is a Defender card, reduce the threat level of the Capital city by 1.
This is another one that will be powerful if we know for sure which card from the Turn deck will come out next. If it is an enemy card, instead of getting hit on two locations, we actually secure them both which in regular way we need at least 4 AP.
But we don’t know which of them will come out. It may be a card that is already at Level 0 threat or even a destroyed region. That will be very wasteful as we cannot restore it back.
We really need that Merfolk Oracle or the hourglass to combine with this.
So, there is a chance that using this ability, we are removing a Defender card. For that we can secure the Capital City by spending 2 AP, which usually we cannot do that in regular way.
We can get the same result from one of the Forest’s ability but we can still get 1 or 2 AP, assuming it is available for that session. Combine with the Elf Commander and the hourglass artifact, we probably will lose more.
Of course, there is always a situation where we may need to secure the Capital City. One threat level could mean winning the game. This one is very situational to use.
2nd Ability: SAFEGUARD. You may defend the 2 adjacent Outer Regions as if you were on them.
This can be a good combo with the Dwarf Cleric. He can take the damage and heal himself if we put him on this location. That way, we can protect three regions without the need to move around and waste AP.
I think we can even combine that combo with Oryk. If we place Oryk at the Capital City, and the Plains is adjacent to it, Oryk can be take the damage from Defend action by the other character on the Plains and just replenish his HP.
But that is just protecting half of the board. We probably need one more character to protect the other 3 outer regions.
Other than that, I’m not sure that I can find a good use for this. Personally I would rather choose to Secure which is more flexible than Defend. Of course there will be certain situation where this can be useful.
The thing is that if we choose to defend, that means we have to end the turn on this location. Either we know for sure that the next card will attack this regions and the adjacent ones or we will end up just wasting AP.
Maybe with Nyrra, the ranger, if the Dire Enemies are within this 3 regions, we can choose to secure the regular Enemy attack and Defend the Dire Enemy. But that is very unlikely to control.
1st Ability: ENTOMB. Spend 1 AP to place any 1 card from the Discard Pile onto this card’s slot. At the start of the next round, place the Entombed card directly into the discard pile. Once per ROUND.
This is a bit problematic if we are not allowed to check the discard pile. With this ability alone, we will end up checking them all.
Initially, I thought, this can be a good idea to remove a Dire Enemy. They may hit us once, and we can go to this location and just keep removing them from any subsequent round using this ability.
Then, we are losing a chance to get any artifact that may help us win the game. So, maybe the better use is to remove some of regular Enemy card, especially if we know that some regions are getting too many attacks.
Even then we still have to spend a lot of AP if we are trying to keep them out everytime.
Another possible strategy is just to let the regular Enemy destroy a region but not the Dire Enemy. For that, we entomb the dire enemy until the region has been destroyed.
2nd Ability: RECTIFY. Spend 2 AP to swap the top 2 cards of the discard pile with the top 2 cards from the Turn Deck. Once per Turn.
The Rectify ability actually made me realize that we should separate the card we just draw from the Turn deck and the discard pile. Initially when I draw the card, I immediately put them to the discard pile. Because of that I thought the Defender can get infinite number of actions.
While it’s not infinite, by using this ability, the character can still get more turns but in very specific situation where two or more defender cards came out in a row. In that case, on the second or third card, we can activate this and return the previous one to the Turn Deck.
This can be done if we know for sure that the next card is also a Defender card, maybe as the last Defender card. It works well with the help of the hourglass artifact or the Merfolk Oracle’s ability.
The problem with this is that there is a chance that we will also return the Enemy card back to the deck. According to the designer, we are not allowed to check the discard pile. While we can see the top card, we probably need to memorize the second one.
It can go either good or bad. Like if it is a Dire Enemy, maybe we can get more artifacts. It will be better if we can memorize them.
Another issue with this ability is that we may end up removing a good card from the Turn deck like another Defender cards. So, unless we have a very good idea about what the next cards are, this is not really a good ability to use.
Epic Foe Cards
The next type of large card in the Tiny Epic Defenders game is the Epic Foe cards. These represent the final bosses that we have to defeat in every session of this game. Only one boss per game.
The cards are in vertical orientation unlike the other large card. All of them has the same back of the card that says PREPARE YOURSELF FOR THE EPIC FOE. I guess we should choose them randomly without knowing what’s on the front until the last couple of rounds.
The game comes with 6 different Epic Foes. Each of them has the same amount of total Health or hit points. We need to decrease that health down to zero in order to win the game.
Each of them also has a unique ability and event that can happen and start in specific unique region. All Outer Regions will have just one Epic Foe from this base game.
Some of them will just stay in a region and some other can move around from one Outer Region to another. A few can move or affect the Defenders or even attack them and increase the threat level.
We will have to play differently to counter them. Some even have a unique way to deal damage to them.
I guess some people find it weird in this style and setting that the final bosses almost do nothing. Especially if we look at the art, some of them seem like they are ready to inflict some damage but they just stay there taking damage from Defenders.
They don’t even increase the threat level of the region like the Dire Enemy. I guess, it’s more of the game aspect and it may be too difficult and complex to let the Epic Foe do the damage to the region.
In this game, when this Epic Foe show up in the last couple of rounds, we still need to deal with the other enemies whether a regular or Dire enemies. Those small enemies are the attack but in order to win, we have to attack the Epic Foe while still trying to defend the regions.
Once the Epic Foe loses all of their HP, the game ends immediately and we no longer need to care about the rest of the attack. So, it is possible that we only just 1 threat level away of losing but if we can defeat the Epic Foe first, we win.
On the front of each Epic Foe Cards we can see some information, starting with the stunning art as the focal point, which take like 70% of the card area. We can see the name at the top and right below the art, an icon of the Region where this Epic Foe will start appearing.
The bottom part shows a text with two parts. For the top part of the text it will tell an ability of that Epic Foe followed by what we will need to do or what will change from the basic gameplay.
Separated by a horizontal line, the second part of that text is the EPIC EVENT, indicated by a black flame icon. This will happen when the Epic Foe reaches certain hit points and we have to resolve it. Only one Epic Foe from the base game doesn’t have this second part.
Some of these abilities are very clear, simple and easy to understand. However, some will take longer text so the font size for those are smaller.
I feel like some of them that change the basic gameplay rule actually need more further clarification. They should have put it in the rulebook or some glossary.
I personally don’t mind if they put the clarification on the back side removing the secrecy. Mostly because when I play this game I do not randomly choose them, just cycle them from game to game. So, I know exactly which Epic Foe I’m going to fight against.
Lastly on the left side we can see a tracker for their health or hit point. This is where we will put that Black Hit Point Token, starting with at number 10. As we attack or do Fight action to the Epic Foe, we move the token down.
On certain number, we can see that EPIC EVENT icon again which indicates that we need to resolve it. Each Epic Foe will have these event icon on different numbers. Most of them have up to 3 events, with 1 only has 2 and 1 with no event.
Each Epic Foe also has different background color on this front side. For the token, since some of these bosses will move around next to the region cards, it can be a bit annoying. We have to be careful not to lose the position of the token, if we have to lift the card and the token. It also increases the table space that this game takes.
In the rulebook where they show what to do when REVEALING THE EPIC FOE, some people find it a bit confusing. It seems like the Epic Foe card will cover some part of the Region cards that may change that regions.
That is not the case. We should just put the Epic Foe card next to the region card without it covers any part of it.
NOTE: as general rule, if somehow we can deal more than 1 damage like the Spear of Valor artifact, we still need to activate the event, instead of skipping. It’s like we move the token one by one and the event is eventually get triggered.
Details for Epic Foes
Epic Foe: THE ANCIENT
Ability: TIMBERWARD. Spend 2 AP to Fight the Ancient.
Epic Events: Spend 3 AP to Fight the Ancient instead of 2 (at HP = 3, 2 and 1).
This one doesn’t move, hit or even increase the threat level. However, we need 2 AP at least per Fight. So, if we have 4 AP, we spend 1 to move to the same region, we can only Fight once. We need to sacrifice 1 HP if we want to get another Fight action.
Even with Spear of Valor, we can only use it once per turn. From my understanding, during the Epic Event, when we use Spear of Valor, we still only spend 2 AP and deal 3 damage. That means, we need like 4 turns at least with Spear of Valor.
Whoever has this artifact should just focus on fighting the Ancient while the other will do the defending and securing. Without the artifact, during Epic Events, we need the two characters to attack.
Even with sacrifice, we can only do 1 attack per turn unless we have that Elixir that will give us 2 AP for 1 HP. Or if we have that hourglass, we can get 5 AP and do sacrifice to get 6 total and do 2 damage. Staff of Control can definitely help if we are not in the same region as the Ancient.
Epic Foe: COLOSSUS
Ability: SWALLOW. When a Defender’s card is drawn, that Defender is placed into the Colossus’s mouth (only if no Defender is currently in the Colossus’ Mouth). A Defender can only Fight while in the mouth and it costs HP instead of AP.
Epic Events: The Defender is spit out and lands in the Outer Region opposite of the Colossus’s Region (at HP = 7, 4 and 1).
This is the first one Epic Foe where the card will create another region. It is also the one that is very different compared to others. We can say that the Colossus can actually kill itself. However, only if the Defender that it swallow always have enough HP.
I assume that since we don’t spend any AP to fight, after we get spat out, we still get full AP. That means we can return to the Capital City to heal, maybe even secure some regions along the way as long as we always have full HP when the card is drawn. The Epic Event is always in interval of 3.
This is where it becomes problematic. Some people have been asking whether we get healed first or get swallowed right away without healing when we start the turn in the Capital City. It seems that the general consensus is, we still get healed.
The challenge is that, if when we get swallowed, we have less than 3 HP, we can get stuck in its mouth. On the other hand, that means, the other character can move freely and attack.
I assume that we cannot use Spear of Valor when fighting inside its mouth as we don’t spend the AP. But the other character who is free still can use it and attack from outside.
This one also doesn’t scale very well since Colossus doesn’t swallow during the All Defender cards. But since it can only has one in its mouth, it is not that significant. It is still easier with less characters.
Another gameplay issue is that the designer says that we are still in the Region while swallowed by Colossus. The only problem with this is when we also play with the Sea Serpent Dire Enemy. Otherwise, unlike the Giant, the only action we can do is Fight while in the mouth.
Epic Foe: DEMON LORD
Ability: ENFEEBLEMENT. When a Defender’s card is drawn, increase 1 threat level to the Region that Defender is in. Then, flip that Region (not the Capital City) to tis opposite side (keep the threat level). If that Region is (already) destroyed, the Capital City increases 1 threat level instead.
Epic Events: none.
This is the one that doesn’t have any Epic Event. However this is also the only one that will increase the threat of the Region and eventually hit the Capital City.
The problem is that we cannot do anything to prevent that attack, other than staying out of that region or keep securing it.
For this one, we have to move and switch the Region cards instead of the Epic Foe card. It can be a bit annoying.
I think this is also the one that doesn’t scale very well for different number of characters that we play with. With 4 characters, we get 4 hits while we only get 2 with just 2 characters. Demon Lord will not attack during the All Defender Cards. Some may suggest to use house rule where the All Defender cards will trigger the Enfeeblement as well.
I think the key is that every character should not start and end their turn in the same Region. There is a chance that we can defeat this Epic Foe with just a single round but with losing one or two regions where this Epic Foe is in.
In my opinion, this one is problematic with the gameplay. I’m not even sure how this one works. Sadly, nobody is asking about this.
The card only says that we increase the threat level and flip the region card to the opposite side. My question is, do we also move the Defender and if the Defender is in the same region, do we also move the Epic Foe? I think I can interpret it in either way.
I also assume that the Enfeeblement can affect the Capital City as well if the Defender starts their turn there. It’s just we don’t flip with to different position.
So, the more we try to heal in Capital City, the sooner we lose the game. The only way to mitigate that situation is if the other Defender has that Horn of Command artifact. They can move out of the Capital City and heal the Defender without any Defender card is drawn.
Some people say that this is rather easy compared to the others. The reason is without that Epic Event, we can just defeat the Demon right away, no built in system to stop the attack.
Epic Foe: DRAGON
Ability: SCORCH. When ANY Defender Card is drawn, immediately move the Dragon clockwise 2 regions.
Epic Events: All Defenders lose 2 HP (at HP = 6 and 2).
This one will constantly move. Since the Dragon will move with any Defender cards, each round it will get at least 4 movements. It will get more if we can use some of the region’s ability to return Defender cards from the discard pile back to the deck.
Because it always move 2 regions, that means it will always occupy the same 3 regions. So, it is very predictable. One of them must be the one adjacent to the Capital City, which makes the battle easier. Again, Staff of Control will definitely help.
The Epic event will always hit any Defenders wherever they are. It really doesn’t matter if the Defender is already in the Capital City. On their next turn, they will just heal again.
Some may ask whether the Mountain’s ability can protect the Defender from it. I assume it won’t and I assume the Defender doesn’t lose the hiding situation for securing or defending. We still cannot use it to Defend against this Epic Foe though. The Dragon is not increasing the threat level.
I guess thematically, we get hit by the heat of the scorch, not necessarily the scorch itself. The Shield artifact will not reduce the hit.
Epic Foe: HILL GIANT
Ability: TOWERING. A Defender must spend 1 AP to climb onto the Hill Giant (on this card), before they can Fight. If Defenders jump off (free action), or get knocked off, they lose 1 HP and land in the Hill Giant’s Region.
Epic Events: Knock all Defenders off the Hill Giant and move the Hill Giant clockwise 1 Outer Region (at HP = 7, 4 and 1).
This is another one that the card creates a new type of location. The designer says that by being on the Hill Giant card, the Defender is no longer in the region. Therefore, we cannot secure or defend the Region that the Giant is in.
The question is whether Nyrra can still use her ability to secure. I assume she can’t but thematically, she should be able to at least secure where the Giant is in.
The same goes with the Sea Serpent’s ability. We cannot be affected by that Dire enemy’s tsunami while on the Giant’s card.
On the other hand, Wings of Zephyr will not allow us to move to the Giant immediately. It can only move us to the Region and then we need to spend 1 AP to climb.
So far, nobody asked whether the Horn of Command can move the Defender from Capital City to the Giant immediately. I assumed we cannot.
The Hill Giant will not attack or increase the threat level. He will just move, which while predictable, may still take a lot of AP to follow. Staff of Control artifact can definitely make it easier.
It seems like the card implies that we can have multiple Defenders on the Giant’s card. However, I’m not sure if that is the best strategy because the Giant will just knock all defenders off.
Epic Foe: KRAKEN
Ability: DEMOLISH. The abilities of ALL Outer Regions cannot be Used.
Epic Events: Move all Defenders in the Kraken’s region to the Outer Region directly opposite (at HP = 7, 4 and 1).
This one doesn’t attack the Defenders or increase the threat level. While we cannot use the Outer regions’ ability but we can still heal in the Capital City.
I think this is easier with less characters. Because, with the All Defender cards, we can just split the AP so before activating the Event, we can move one Defender out of that Region and move back in after the event. With 4 different characters, it’s not that flexible.
It is also easier if we have Staff of Control artifact. Even if the non active characters get thrown out, the next turn the owner of this artifact starts, they can just move the Kraken to the same region.
Disabling the region’s ability is not that big of a deal but it can definitely change the strategy. Maybe it will be more impactful with higher difficulty setting.
The last type of the large cards which is also the last component type is the Character cards or Hero cards. From the base game, we will get 10 different characters, each with a unique ability.
On the back of these cards, we can see a bigger art depicting the character, their name and race type, followed by a flavor text, describing that character. Reading the story of these characters will not necessarily make us play them better but I guess, it’s a nice touch.
Sometimes they mention new names related to the character. That may teases our curiosity to find out more as if it will be a bigger universe but sadly they do not release any follow up content.
While the back is in vertical orientation, the front of the card which we will be using to the actual play is in horizontal orientation. Here we can find a lot of information. Most of them are the same regardless of the character. The only difference is their ability and probably the HP on one.
We start with the middle left column, we can see the same art, their name and their race in this universe. Notice that a character has a background color behind the name associated with them.
We can try to follow this color to match with their HP token and meeple color. It’s not necessary but it will be easier not to get them mixed up. The problem is, there is only one character from the base game that can be associated with red color.
The left most column is their HP tracker. This is where we put the HP token and we will move the token up and down over the course of the game.
Almost every character will start with the full HP of 4 and one character will get 5. Notice that at the bottom or at 0 HP, there is a big red cross followed by three words. These three words are the action that we can take for the character during their turn.
What this icon means is that if their HP ever reach 0, we cannot perform these 3 actions but we can still do the other things. We can find all of the actions that we can do in this game on the right most column of this card.
So, this card is also a player aid. Each character can choose to either MOVE, SECURE, USE ABILITY or FIGHT with the cost of AP or action points. We can also choose to DEFEND or SACRIFICE which doesn’t cost any AP but instead we will lose HP.
MOVE action means, moving the meeple or pawn from one Region cards to another. The card doesn’t say but as general rule, we can move to 1 adjacent region by 1 AP.
SECURE action means reducing the threat level of Outer Region by 1 for 1 AP. We cannot do this for the Capital City. We cannot use this action with 0 HP.
USE AN ABILITY means activating either that character’s ability, the ability from their Artifact or the ability of the Outer Region where they are in that requires AP to be activated. Most of them may require 1, 2 or even 3 AP.
Some may say that it can only be activated once per turn or even once per round. Otherwise, we can keep activating as long as we have the AP.
FIGHT is the only action to deal damage to the Epic Foe but not to the other type of enemies. This is important to win the game. We cannot use this action with 0 HP.
DEFEND action can happen during the enemies’ turn. If they attack a region and a character is there and we choose to Defend, then that character will lose their HP.
We cannot choose this action when the character’s HP is zero or not sufficient to take the damage. This matters against Dire enemies as they will deal 2 damage.
SACRIFICE action means we choose to transfer our HP by 1 for 1 AP. This can only be done when the specific Defender card for that character is drawn but not the ALL DEFENDER CARDS.
We can also only do this once per turn. While every round we can only get the standard is one specific Defender card, there is a way to get this activated multiple times. So, it’s not necessarily once per round only.
Since healing is not easy in this game and we need certain level of HP to do certain action, we might not want to use this action very often. However, when we do know we are about to heal, maybe it’s not a bad idea to sacrifice 1 HP to get 1 extra action.
Maybe to move to Capital City or to give the finishing blow to the final boss.
Then the last part of the card, which is at the bottom right corner is the DEFENDER’S ABILITY. Each character only has this one unique ability that only they can use it, in general.
Like any other ability, some may require AP to activate and probably has a limit. There are some that will always activate the abilities when the requirements are met.
They will definitely change the way we play the game. I think some can be considered as significantly stronger or easier to play with compared to the others.
These 10 different characters will definitely give a lot of replay value. Not to mention the combination we can get from them for different character or player count.
The way we use the card is we just place this on the table face up with tokens on it. That means, we will never see the back of the card during the game at all.
Somehow I feel like maybe these cards should also have a tracker for Action Points to with their own token. Most of the time, how we spend the AP is rather simple where we can just memorize it.
However, as they introduce more cards with unique abilities that may give AP, a tracker can be helpful. The HP tracker is also big enough to have 2 tokens on it, or with smaller cubes or so.
Details for Characters
Name: ETHAIRNA (Elf Sorceress)
Ability: LIGHTNING. Spend 2 AP to reduce 3 Threat Levels in your current Outer Region.
I keep saying that I prefer Secure action to Defend in this game. This Sorceress’ ability is supposed to be great for that idea.
For 2 AP we can secure 3 level instead of 2. As the game progresses, we can save a lot of AP right? I don’t think that is the case.
First of all, the attack will be distributed over several regions. It is possible that some will eventually get 3 attacks in a round but before that, we won’t be using this ability that often.
It is also great if several regions that get heavy attack are adjacent to one another. The Sorceress still needs to move around and spend AP for it.
With the starting 3 AP per Defender cards, 2 of them is for securing. We need the other probably for moving. When we get to 4, we probably can do it twice. Aside from it, we maybe need to sacrifice to do something else.
That means, mostly we can get extra with once per round. All Defender cards don’t allow us to sacrifice.
My other problem with this is we need to wait until a region reach to level 3 threat or this ability will be useless. And that is not necessarily a good way to play.
The Sorceress has to be in position to take advantage. She probably has to Defend before her turn so the region doesn’t get destroyed, losing her HP in the process.
I assume that the ability is not considered as SECURE action, but with better result. If that is the case, she can still activate it while having 0 HP. She still need 2 AP each so any extra 1 AP like from Commander will be useless.
Even with artifacts like Elixir, to use her ability very well might be very situational and not flexible enough.
Name: EZRU (Lizardfolk Warrior)
Ability: COURAGE. Reduce 1 threat level in the Outer Region you are in at the start of your turn.
On one hand, his ability is useless if Ezru starts in a region with 0 threat level. So, if this card comes first, we will not getting any benefit.
I guess that means, if we want to use it, we need to figure out which Outer Region is getting a heavy attack and place this Warrior there. Even still that ability will only secure by one level.
We might think that maybe we should not secure that region down to zero, spend the AP to something else. Hopefully, if the region get attacked, Ezru will secure it immediately at the start of his turn.
My problem with that strategy is we don’t know when the next time Ezru’s card will show up. It can be after several attacks which either Ezru has to defend or let the region get destroyed. In that case, Ezru still cannot restore it back.
One way that I can think of is if the other Defender has that Horn of Command artifact. That Defender can move Ezru to that specific region. Similar strategy can be applied when playing with the DISPATCH side of the Coast region.
I guess, this is a good combo as well with the Commander. The commander can assign that 1 AP to allow Ezru to move to an attacked region.
Maybe Ezru will be more powerful if we play it with less characters. Those All Defender cards can help give Ezru more turns.
I feel like this is also an ability that I easily forget that it is there. We may not use this much at the start and it is activated automatically.
Name: GURMUND (Dwarf Cleric)
Ability: HEAL. Spend 1 AP to gain 1 HP for yourself or another Defender in your Region.
Since there is not a lot of ways to heal, the Dwarf Cleric can be handy. For me, I prefer Secure action to Defend. So, this is mostly for Dire Enemy, and of course, the Epic Foe.
The Cleric can stay in one place where we know that a Dire Enemy is there and be ready to defend. He can then heal back, at least so he has enough HP to defend again.
The same goes with the other Defender. We don’t always need to heal back to full HP. That way, the Cleric can spend the AP for something else.
Sacrifice action is useless for himself or just to heal himself back. But it is useful to transfer some HP to another Defenders.
I assume that if we play against the Colossus, the Cleric still cannot use the healing inside the mouth. So, he can also get stuck there.
While Cleric is easier to play than other because of the obvious use of his ability, it may not be that powerful. We still have to spend AP that we can spend on other things like FIGHT.
Healing is more of a defensive play. In this game, especially when the Epic Foe has shown up, offense is a better defense. If we stuck with just prolonging the game by keep spending AP to heal, we might not win.
Name: K’GLF’LR (Merfolk Oracle)
Ability: SCRY. When your Defender Card is drawn, you may then reveal the top card of the Turn Deck. You may return that card to the top or place it a the bottom of the deck.
I already mentioned this in the Region cards section that this Oracle’s ability will work well with RECTIFY, PRAYER and BURY. So, if we don’t use the side with any of them, this Scry ability is probably not that useful.
Sure, we can still see the next card and make decision based on that. I guess it’s not that helpful is the Oracle’s card is the last one of the round. The similar goes if the Oracle’s card comes out early in the round.
That one card can tell us something but not the rest of the deck. The useful part is that we can choose to move the card to the bottom of the deck.
Sometimes we get several Defender cards in a row and it can be very wasteful. If it is a Dire Enemy, then we can be prepared. Maybe just to defend immediately or do other things because we push it to the bottom.
I feel like if we play it very safe, like in standard difficulty, I don’t think we need this one. In higher difficulty, this can definitely help even though it doesn’t mean we can always mitigate it.
Name: LEALITH (Human Paladin)
Ability: RETRIBUTION. After you Defend, you may also choose to pay 1 HP to either give 1 HP to any other Defender or reduce 1 threat level in your current Outer Region.
I’m not sure about the best way to use the ability from this one. Mostly because I would rather secure than Defend. The only exception is when we are defending against a Dire Enemy.
So, this ability is almost like sacrifice but it happens not during the Paladin’s turn. By losing 1 more HP, we can either secure the current region or transfer it to the other Defender. I think the other Defender must be in the same Region as well which is not going to happen most of the time.
The thing is that the Paladin already lose her HP from Defending and she has to lose 1 more. If she is defending against a Dire enemy which makes her lose 2 HP, she no longer has enough to defend the second time without healing.
Maybe in certain situation it can be helpful. Like that 1 HP that she gave to the other Defender will allow her comrade to Secure or even Fight which can lead to winning the game. So, it is very situational but I don’t think it can really happen.
I guess one good use is to combine it with the Mountain’s LEAP ability. This way, she could immediately Defend any Outer Region. But she still need to find a way to heal. Without HP she cannot even Defend, let alone activating her ability.
Maybe she can work well with the Druid with his Martyr ability to absorb the damage from Defending. It is still a lot to sacrifice just to make this ability work.
Name: LAISHOM (Elf Commander)
Ability: COMMAND. As soon as your Defender card is drawn, you may choose another Defender to gain 1 AP to spend immediately and then continue your turn.
On his own, this Elf Commander doesn’t do anything special. He relies heavily on the other Defender by letting them get 1 AP which can be 1 extra action.
That other defender can choose to do standard action like move, secure, fight or use any of the abilities that requires AP to activate. That means, if that other defender is low on HP, this extra action is probably not as useful.
I’m not sure about how this one work exactly, especially with other things in this game. While the Commander can give 1 AP but from what I understand, it doesn’t mean that the other Defender is getting a TURN.
If that is the case, the other character cannot use that extra AP as if it is the start of their turn to heal in Capital City. They can move out of the City but not healed.
On the other hand, depending on the ability, it can be a powerful action, significant enough to win the game. Based on Defender’s unique abilities, the Commander will only work well with either Nyrra, the Ranger as she can just secure the adjacent region or the Dwarf Cleric to heal.
The other defenders’ ability is more passive one. Ethairna needs more than 1 AP for her Lightning so it’s not a good combo.
If the other Defenders have artifacts or being in the right active regions, maybe they can spend that extra AP to activate those. From the artifacts, the useful combo can be with Wings of Zephyr and Horn of Command. The others are not working very well.
With the Horn if we only play with 2, that means the one that we can move from Capital City is the Commander himself and he already has full health at that point. But we can still save some AP.
I’m not sure about the Wings. The card implies that the owner needs to get a TURN in order to use it. So, there is a chance that we cannot combine it with the Commander’s ability. Otherwise, we can move to other regions, saving some AP.
Another problematic one is the Hammer. The card says that it will happen at the end of TURN not the action. That means if that action to move and end on certain region comes from this Commander’s ability, this is not a legal way.
We cannot use anything related to Sacrifice as the other Defender can only sacrifice using their specific Defender card.
From regions’ ability, we can still spend the AP for MEDITATE, LEAP, ENTOMB and DISPATCH. That is if the other Defender is on the right location.
Because of those limitation, I feel like we should just use it for standard actions. I think to play it very well, we need to have a strategy instead of just being tactical where we just decide when it happens.
My favorite way is to use that AP to enter the Capital City to heal. That means, we should end the other Defender’s turn on the adjacent region next to the City and spend the AP for other things. Then, when the Commander’s card is drawn we move that Defender in.
Assuming the Commander can get the Hourglass artifact, I would always let him get the additional AP himself. This is also to make sure that he can move that Other Defender into the City.
I assume that with Hourglass, we do not get to activate the Commander’s ability twice.
Name: NYRRA (Dark Elf Ranger)
Ability: FARSHOT. You may Secure from adjacent Outer Regions.
In my opinion, Nyrra is probably one of the best character. Basically, she can secure 3 regions without moving. Thematically, it’s weird that she cannot secure from inside the Capital City, not that it is the best place for her.
Her ability will save a lot of AP just for moving around and that will give her a lot of flexibility to do other things. This can lead to more Defending against Dire Enemy and therefore getting more artifacts.
If she gets that Wings, it’s like she can cover regions with less AP. Very efficient.
The similar goes with other artifact or abilities that require AP to activate.
At the start of the game, in earlier rounds, if feels like she will be underutilized. Either she can secure everything back to zero and the other character will not have anything to do or she will still have a lot of wasted AP.
If we play with her, the other character must try to Defend against one of the Dire Enemy at least and focus on that while Nyrra will do the securing. That way, the other character will get more things to do.
Maybe the best if we also play with the Leap side of Mountains region. The other character can just use it to move around.
If we also play with the Druid, the Druid will just enhance Nyrra. Nyrra will do the Defend as well but that can limit her flexibility if we rely on the combo too much.
My favorite is a combo with the Commander. If the Commander give 1 AP to Nyrra, she can spend it to secure one of 3 regions or to move in to the city. Then when her card is drawn, she will be in full health again.
I think she will be at best with lower character count. Most of the time we will spend the AP from All Defender cards for her.
Name: ORYK (Centaur Druid)
Ability: MARTYR. When a Defender in your Region or an adjacent Region Defends, you may lose the required amount of HP instead of them.
This is the only character with 5 HP. If I understand correctly, the Druid will only take the damage from Defending. He will not move or replace that Defender who is defending. The designer says that he will simply absorb the damage.
Because of that, the one who defends will still get the artifact, no this Druid. With the shield artifact, I think the one who defends must be the owner, not the Druid.
The problematic part is whether he can absorb the damage more than his HP.
The one who actually defends can definitely take the Defend action as they probably has full health. But can this Druid take the 2 damage points while having only 1 or can they share the damage?
Sadly, nobody is asking this. I assume the Druid can’t but feel free to have different interpretation.
A good strategy would be to put the Druid in the Capital City as he will heal during the start of his turn. But that will only protect the 2 adjacent regions, probably 2 more with Nyrra.
Or at least, place the Druid in the regions adjacent to the city and be ready to move back to the city. Another possible scenario is placing the Druid in Coast region, assuming we use the REJUVENATE side. He can still spend his AP to secure and activate it during his turn.
I guess maybe the Druid is more powerful if we play with more than 2 characters. With 2 more characters, his ability can work for both.
But that will be his only purpose. It’s possible that he loses his chance to defend or gain any artifact. Figuring out which Regions is at the most risk and placing the Druid and other defenders accordingly is important to get the best result.
Name: RANDAL (Halfling Bard)
Ability: BEFRIEND. On your turn, you may use abilities of adjacent Outer regions and Defenders in the same region as you but you must still pay their AP cost if applicable.
This is probably the most complex and interesting character to play. Depending on the other character that we play with him, we may have to come up with different strategy.
Then it is also very problematic. If I understand correctly, Randal can use the ability of adjacent regions as the first benefit. Secondly, Randal can use the other Defender’s ability if they are in the same region. Somehow I can interpret that the other Defender can be in the adjacent or the same region as Randal.
With the Sorceress, Randal can reduce 3 threat levels with 2 AP, which can be useful but situational. If Randal is with Ezru, he can reduce 1 threat level at the start of his turn but then Ezru might be useless during Ezru’s turn.
Healing from Cleric’s ability can be handy but probably when a Dire Enemy has come out. They can heal each other.
With Oracle, Randal can also peak at the top card and make decision based on it, another situational thing. I don’t see any use with the Paladin.
With Druid, I’m not sure if we want Randal to take the damage as well. The Druid will become pointless then. I can see some use with Barbarian but Randal must do the sacrifice before moving out of the region.
Like the Barbarian, Randal can then spend the extra AP to do a lot of things. Maybe to go to the Coast to heal or so.
With Nyrra, it’s not that useless but very limited. Randal can secure the adjacent regions if he is with Nyrra. That might be useful if the adjacent regions gets more damages than Nyrra can secure.
With the Commander, Randal can then give this extra AP as well. But who? Back to the Commander? It’s not that powerful.
I guess, we should to rely on the abilities from Outer Regions. I assume that if we place Randal in the City, the adjacent Outer Regions still work. That means we can use a lot of Mirage or Bury from the Desert region.
Harmonize from forest needs to be in threat level 0 so occasionally, Randal has to go there and secure it. It is easier for the Enchant side and without moving, Randal can secure any region.
Dispatch from the Coast can be a powerful one. Randal just need to move the other character anywhere. Rejuvenate is nice but like the Harmonize, we still need to secure it first.
Safeguard from the Plains can be powerful. With Randal there, it’s like he can defend and use the ability of the adjacent regions. He just cannot secure them without moving. I’m not sure the Prayer is a good one mostly because of the random nature of that ability.
Similar goes with Rectify from the Ruins. I guess Entomb is nice but not because of Randal.
Mountains region is a bit tricky. While Randal can activate from regions adjacent to it, it seems that we still need to move Randal’s meeple to the Mountain to get the benefit.
So, Randal can be very powerful if we can find the right 3 adjacent regions that he can keep activate. Maybe we might want to setup the board not randomly.
I think Harmonize from Forest, Safeguard from Plains and Rejuvenate from Coast can be powerful combination. Randal just need to Defend from the Plains if it is in the middle. I don’t know the other combination but I guess he is a bit situational.
Another good use of Randal is even if the region is destroyed, he can just stay there and activate the adjacent region’s ability. He is still limited to AP.
Not to mention, that the regions might get destroyed and Randall will become less effective. Clearly, he is not very good against Kraken because we cannot use any region’s ability.
Maybe we should not let him fight against Dire Enemy. We let the other characters do the defending and get the artifact so Randal can focus on the regions.
Name: UM’TAK (Orc Barbarian)
Ability: BERSERK. When your Defender card is drawn, you may use SACRIFICE multiple times (as long as you have HP to pay). After sacrificing however, you may not end your turn in the Capital City.
For this one, the restriction of the ability is very thematic. It’s very obvious that after going Berserk, the Capital City will be at risk for being there. It also gives a challenge so that we cannot always use it.
Some may argue that why didn’t this affect the Outer Regions. Maybe they could just instead of forbidding to end the turn, they can say it will increase the threat level or so, a penalty instead of restriction.
My issue with the current rule is that there is a chance that we may forgot not to end the turn in Capital City. The ability only happens when we do multiple sacrifices but not the first one. There is no reminder.
If we want to play correctly, we have to plan ahead how we do the actions one by one without moving the token. Then, once we know it’s legal, we resolve it. But that is not the way I play.
Sometimes I need to move that tracker to help us figure out the actions and return it when I know the plan will not work.
Aside from that, the Berserk Ability is a very strong one. We can have a total of 7 AP by sacrificing down to just 1 HP in a turn. With Elixir artifact, we can get double the extra AP even.
If we play with the Rejuvenate side of Coast region, it is even possible to heal back and get more AP to sacrifice. Because of that we can even defeat the Epic Foe in a single turn.
However, it is a very situational. Some Epic Foes will prevent us to keep doing Fight actions in a row.
If we try to use it do secure outer regions, we will still lose some AP for moving around. We even need to find another way to heal because we cannot go back to the Capital City.
Maybe if we play with the Elf Commander, that one extra AP will allow the Orc to enter. Even that can happen if the Orc start their turn first.
Because we choose to transfer the HP to AP, the Orc will lose his ability to Defend. The time he loses all of his HP, those extra AP will be useless.
Maybe with the Dwarf Cleric, they can be a good combo. But it is very situational, not very flexible.
That is it with all of the components to play Tiny Epic Defenders, 2nd edition. Now we can learn how to play with them.
How to Play
Tiny Epic Defenders is a cooperative game for 1 to 4 players. We can play it solo but we have to control two characters at least.
With different player counts, we will be using different number of enemy cards from the regular size. We still only fight against one final boss regardless of the player count.
There will be no player elimination in this game. We can lose early but we can only win if we defeat the final boss.
The gameplay and rule is a bit different if we use the module from expansions. This section will only discuss how to play Tiny Epic Defenders with just the base game.
This next video is a tutorial from Board Game Explained channel for Tiny Epic Defenders, 2nd Edition.
1st. Create the game board or game map using the 7 REGION CARDS.
We star by placing the Capital City at the center of the table. Then we put the 6 Outer Region cards in a circle around the Capital City card so that we can get a 3 rows with 2 cards at the first row, 3 at the second and 2 at the third row.
There should be 2 Outer region cards to the left and right of the Capital City at the second row. The order and placement of the Outer Region cards can be done randomly.
We can also choose any side of each Outer Region cards to play with. It can be all A or all B or only one A or no B and so on.
2nd. Place 1 THREAT LEVEL TOKEN on each Region card. The card will have a tracker on the right side and we put the token on the lowest level, or 0 space.
3rd. Each player takes one PLAYER or CHARACTER CARD. For single player, take 2 Character cards. We can then put the card on the table with the horizontal orientation facing up in front of us.
4th. Each player can choose a color and take the ITEMeeple and HIT POINT TOKEN of the corresponding color. All of the meeple will be placed on the Capital City card.
Players then place the Hit Point token on the Character card, at the Hit Point tracker on the left. Each character starts with full HP.
5th. Shuffle all of the ARTIFACT CARDS to create a single deck. We then put the deck face down within reach of all players. If we want to use the ARTIFACT ITEMS, we can put those items near this deck.
6th. Shuffle all of the EPIC FOE CARDS and choose 1 randomly. We put the card face down on the table near the playing area and return the unused cards back to the box without revealing them.
Then, we also put the BLACK HIT POINT TOKEN on this chosen Epic Foe card or near the card for later use.
7th. We now need to create the starting TURN DECK. This one includes DEFENDER CARDS and 3 ENEMY CARDS.
First, we take the DEFENDER CARDS matching with the chosen player colors. Depending on the number of players, we add 1 or 2 ALL DEFENDER CARDS (for 3 or 2 players) and shuffle them with the DEFENDER CARDS.
This will create the bottom part of the TURN DECK face down.
From the 9 Enemy Cards, we randomly choose 3 of them and put them on top of the Turn Deck, also face down without shuffling them again. So, the Enemy cards will always be at the top of this starting Turn Deck.
8th. Next, we create the HORDE DECK. This one includes ENEMY CARDS and DIRE ENEMY CARDS.
From the remaining 6 Enemy cards, we take 3 of them randomly and put those card face down as te Horde Deck. Then, depending on the number of players / characters, we put the same number of DIRE ENEMY CARDS randomly to the Horde Deck.
So, the Horde Deck will have at least 3 Enemy cards and between 2 to 4 Dire Enemy cards. We shuffle them and place the Horde Deck face down on the face down Epic Foe card.
This number of Dire enemy indicates the normal difficulty mode. For higher difficulty, we can add 1 or 2 more Dire Enemy cards to this Horde Deck.
9th. Put the LEFTOVER cards back to the box. We might be using them later in the game. If we follow the instruction for the normal difficulty, there should be 3 Enemy Cards, between 2 to 4 Dire Enemy cards and 2 Defender cards in this leftover cards.
That’s the setup and we are ready to play Tiny Epic Defenders.
The game of Tiny Epic Defenders will be played over series of rounds. Every round, we have to go through the TURN DECK. Before we move to the next, we take 1 card from the Horde Deck and add it to the new Turn Deck.
Once the card from the Horde deck has been depleted, we reveal the Epic Foe. At this point we will keep going through a new shuffled Turn Deck without adding more cards.
The players will lose if the Capital City reaches the highest threat level. They will win the game if they can reduce the hit point of Epic Foe before the Capital City is destroyed.
To go through the Turn Deck, we simply reveal the top card, resolve it and discard it. Then we repeat the process until all cards have been revealed.
From this turn deck, we might reveal either a Defender Card, an Enemy card or a Dire Enemy card. Each of them will be resolved differently. After we resolve the card, we put the card to the discard pile and draw the next one.
Defender and All Defender Cards
There are two types of Defender cards, either ALL Defenders Cards which only be used if we play with less than 4 characters or specific Defender cards which has a specific color.
If the card we flip from the top of the Turn Deck is any of the Defender card, that means, the character is getting a TURN. The character will also get to spend their starting AP, either 3 or 4 AP.
There will be situation where a character may spend their AP but will not be considered as getting a TURN. This will matter for activating certain abilities. Healing by starting in Capital City is one of them.
As stated by the player’s card, the character can spend the AP to do several actions like MOVE, USE AN ABILITY, FIGHT or SECURE. This applies to both type of Defender cards.
With ALL Defender cards, players can choose to divide the AP to multiple characters however they want. For example, with 3 AP, 2 AP can be given to the first character and the other one to the second character. We can also assign all of them to one character or to 3 characters equally.
All of those characters will be considered as getting a TURN or a SET OF TURN. So, they can activate specific abilities that also require a turn not just AP.
By A SET of TURN, I mean with the All Defender cards where one character can go twice. The second one will not be considered as the start of the turn.
In addition to the 4 possible actions, only with a Specific Defender Card, a character may choose to do SACRIFICE action that allows them to trade 1 HP for 1 AP once per turn. This AP can be spent for other action.
This action means, we can move our Meeple 1 region per 1 AP. In general we can only move it to an adjacent Region. Each Outer region will always be connected with two adjacent Outer Regions.
Two of the Outer Regions will be connected to the Capital City. We can move in to and out from Capital City from those adjacent regions.
The only exception is when we have Wings of Zephyr artifact. The owner can move to any Outer regions by spending just 1 AP.
Other possible move action is by activating abilities from Outer Regions like Dispatch from Coast or Leap from Mountains.
This action means reducing the threat level of an Outer Region. If we choose to spend the AP for this action, we move the Threat level token of that Outer Region 1 level for 1 AP, in general.
We cannot do the same to the Capital City Region using this action. Also, we cannot do it once an Outer Region has been destroyed. Once a region has reached zero, we cannot Secure any further.
Another requirement for doing this action is the character must at least has 1 HP. They cannot do it if their HP is zero or in exhausted state. In that case, they need to find a way to heal first so that they can do the action again.
The character or their meeple must be in the Outer Region in order to activate this action. Some characters like Nyrra allows us to do it differently.
Use an Ability Action
Ability can about several things. It can be the Defender’s ability, the Outer Region’s ability or the Ability from an Artifact.
Some of the abilities may require us to spend 1 or more AP. They can also be conditional, in which if the conditions are met, we can activate it immediately.
Some may also require getting A TURN, which means that ability can only be activated after we flip any of the Defender cards. They may also say that we can activate them once per turn or once per round.
If it says once per turn, a character can activate it like up to 3 times in a round. Once per round means, we need to go through the Turn deck before we can activate it again.
For a Defender’s ability, only that Defender or character can activate it. The other characters cannot, with the exception for Randal.
For a Region’s ability, the character can activate it only if they are in that region, with the exception to Randal again. There is another requirement for this. If the region was already destroyed, we can no longer activate its ability.
For the artifact’s ability, only the character who owns the artifact and still has the artifact can activate the ability.
The Fight action allows the character to deal damage to the Epic Foe. One HP for 1 AP, except for the Ancient. We can activate this only if the character is not in exhausted condition.
In general, the character needs to be in the same region as the Epic Foe before they can activate this action. The exception for this is the Hill Giant or Colossus.
If we choose to do this action, we reduce the Epic Foe’s HP by moving their HP token down. There is a way to do more than 1 point damage and for that we have to move it one by one.
On certain HP level, the Epic Foe may trigger the Epic Events, indicated by the black flame icon in their HP tracker. Everytime the token reach this, we have to resolve the event.
Since we move the token one space by one space, we will eventually reach the Epic Event points. So, we still need to resolve the event even the damage will move the token pass that event point.
This is the main action that can make us win the game if we can bring the Epic Foe’s HP down to zero. The exception is using the Spear of Valor artifact’s ability.
This can be done only once per turn and can only be done with the specific Defender cards. If we do so, we move the HP token by one space and memorize that we get 1 AP to spend.
The only exception is the Orc Barbarian as he can sacrifice multiple times. With Elixir artifact, we will get 2 AP for every 1 HP that we spend using this action.
Sacrifice action can be done even if it makes the character become exhausted. However, they can no longer spend the AP for Defend, Secure or Fight action.
Trigger the Epic Foe Ability
For certain Epic Foe, if we draw specific Defender cards and/or All Defender cards from the Turn Deck, it may trigger the Epic Foe’s ability, before we can do the action for the characters.
This is true for the Dragon, Colossus and Demon Lord. Learn more about each Epic Foe and how to resolve their ability from the component section of this article above.
Some of them can move the Epic Foe itself or even the Defender’s meeple. Demon Lord is even capable of moving the Outer Region cards, increase the threat level or even make us lose the game.
Enemy and Dire Enemy Cards
If we draw an Enemy card from the Turn deck, the card will indicate which 2 Outer Regions will be attacked. For this we can either let them attack or do Defend action.
If we choose to let them attack, we have to increase the threat level of the Outer Region by 1 point and move the threat level token accordingly. Every card will show two Outer Regions and we need to resolve it one by one starting from the left one.
If after the attack, the Outer Region reaches the highest threat level, it will be destroyed. In that case, we take that Enemy card, flip it face down and put it on the destroyed Region card.
This represents that destroyed status and we can no longer use the region’s ability. Destroyed Regions cannot be restored. After an Outer region get destroyed, we increase the Capital City threat level by 1.
If the destroyed part happens on the first attack of the Enemy card, we do not resolve the second attack. So, we can take advantage of that.
If then the destroyed regions get another attack and we do not defend it, it will instead increase the threat level of the Capital City. In that case, we move the token on Capital City up and if the Capital City reaches the highest threat level, we lose the game.
If we draw a Dire Enemy card from the Turn Deck, it is resolved similar to the regular Enemy card attack with some exceptions. Each Dire Enemy card will only attack one Region.
It will still increase, in general, the threat level of the attacked region by 1 if we do not defend the region. However, again, in general, we will allow the Dire Enemy to activate their own ability.
It is possible that a Dire Enemy may destroy a Region. In that case we also flip the attacking Dire Enemy card and place it face down covering the destroyed region and increase the threat level of Capital City by one. This is similar to the regular one.
Instead of letting the region gets attacked, we can choose the character to do Defend action if the character is in that region. By Defend Action, the region will not increase the threat level but the character will lose their HP.
This character will only Defend the region that they are in. Since the Enemy card attack two regions, we will need one character to be in each region to defend both.
Defend action from Enemy cards can only be done if the character has at least 1 HP. With 0 HP or exhausted state, we will have no choice but to let the region gets the attack or even destroyed.
This is also the only way to Defend the Capital City. However, we cannot Defend it from the Capital City itself, The character must be in the attacked and destroyed regions.
If we choose to Defend against Dire Enemy, we will prevent the Dire Enemy’s ability to be activated. Some Dire Enemy cards will supersede this rule and the ability will happen before the Defend action.
On the other hand, if we defend a region from Dire Enemy, the character will suffer 2 HP instead of 1. One of the Dire Enemy can even inflict 3 damage points.
Also, in order to Defend against Dire Enemy, the character must have enough HP. If the character has less than that, they cannot choose to defend and let the Dire enemy increase the threat level and activate the Dire Enemy’s ability.
On the other hand, if we chose and succeeded in Defend action against Dire Enemy, the character will get an artifact.
Gaining an Artifact
Gaining an artifact means we draw 1 card from the Artifact deck and place it near the character who got it. If we want to use the plastic item on the Meeple, we take the corresponding shape and put it on.
Each character can only have up to 2 hand artifacts and 1 body artifact at a time. If they already have all 3, the next time they get another artifact, they can choose to discard the new one or the existing one.
The discarded will go back to the Artifact deck, shuffled. We may or may not see that artifact again for the rest of the game.
Preparing a New Round
Once we have gone through the Turn Deck, that signals the end of the round and prepare for the next round. To do that, we add 1 card from the top of the Horde Deck and add it to the discard pile of the Turn Deck.
We then shuffle the discard pile and create a new Turn Deck. At this point, we will not know which card from the Horde Deck gets added to the Turn Deck.
Start the round again by drawing the top card of the deck and resolve them one by one.
If there are no cards from the Horde Deck, we REVEAL THE EPIC FOE. After this, we can still go through multiple rounds and we will no longer add more cards to the Turn Deck.
We keep playing like this until the game ends either in Victory or Defeat.
Revealing the Epic Foe
The way it works is, we flip the Epic Foe card to reveal which final boss we need to defeat in this session. Then, we place this Epic Foe card next to the corresponding Outer Region.
We also place the Black Hit Point Token on the highest space of the Epic Foe’s HP tracker which has 10 points.
When we reveal the Epic Foe, some of them will have an ability that we need to resolve right away. This will add a new rule for the rest of the game.
The Epic Foe will not leave the game until they are defeated.
The game will end in either 2 ways, Victory or Defeat.
To gain Victory or WIN, we have to defeat the Epic Foe, reducing their HP down to zero. Most of the time it is by using the FIGHT ACTION.
We will LOSE the game if before we achieve the winning condition, the Capital City is DESTROYED. It will happen if the threat level reaches the highest level (8).
So, it doesn’t matter if some of the Outer Region cards get destroyed as long as we can keep protecting the Capital City, long enough to defeat the Epic Foe.
That is it with how to play Tiny Epic Defenders, 2nd Edition.
My Experience & Thoughts
At this point, I have not tried playing with the Dark War expansion. I think the expansion adds a lot and might improve the gameplay. What I write about my experience and thoughts in this section are just about the base game of Tiny Epic Defenders.
My first few sessions of this game, I immediately use the Cleric because he can heal. If we can heal, we can keep doing Defend, Secure or Fight action. I also tried to always Defend instead of secure.
Apparently, that is not a good idea. It really doesn’t matter the Outer Regions got attacked. While we can heal, relying too much on the Cleric still waste a lot of AP. He still need to be in the same region.
Or even if we try to heal to Capital City, we still waste some AP just to move between the Outer Region and the City. With the healing and defending strategy, I rarely won. Sometimes I couldn’t even make it to the Epic Foe.
Healing will help us stay longer in the game. But at the same time, this is a game where the longer it gets, the harder it is to maintain.
Then, I switched to a different strategy. Try to secure more than to defend because so we need to do less healing. I think I’m doing much better, especially with Nyrra.
At this point, I thought I should also avoid the Dire Enemy. I even tried to remove their card using the Entomb ability from the Ruins. Somehow I thought they are more dangerous than the regular Enemy. I also don’t like the idea of random artifacts.
If I have to let an Outer Region get destroyed, I tried to make it so the Dire Enemy will be removed. It didn’t do very well. I think it is easier to defend from Dire Enemy than the regular one mostly because we need to think about 2 locations.
So, it kind of forces me to try out some of the artifacts. Some of them can be very helpful and others are not so much. The good thing is if we try to always defend from Dire Enemy, it’s not that hard to go through the entire artifacts.
I don’t think getting artifacts are necessary to win. Maybe they are for some characters.
At this point I have not tried all of the characters or even all of the possible combination. I really think, some are not equally good. Some are specialized to do just one thing but it is very situational.
Nyrra and the Commander will give a lot of flexibility even though I think the Commander himself doesn’t do that much. With this 2, I think I can win most of the time.
I feel like getting a lot of different characters with unique power might increase the replay value but the quality is rather like promo cards. It’s like they have an interesting idea but it doesn’t mean they will do well.
I used to play with 4 characters because I thought we will have more HP. After several people said on the forum that it is easier with less characters, I gave it a try and they were right.
This is a game where AP or the Action Point is probably the most valuable resources. Anything that can make us more efficient in spending the AP will give us a lot of flexibility. Movement is probably the most wasteful action.
With 4 characters, we may have more HP but we still have the same amount of AP. While we can do more sacrifice, but it is still distributed into multiple characters.
Playing with less characters, using that All Defender cards, sometimes, we can save the AP from movement.
I already mentioned that healing and prolonging the game are probably not the best strategy. We need to end the game as soon as possible, especially when the Epic Foe comes out.
So, it feels like a huge switch of strategy from being defensive before the Epic Foe into full on offensive mode to take down the final boss as soon as possible. With the exception for the Ancient, in my experience, we can and probably should end the game within 2 rounds since the Epic Foe shows up.
At least, that is with 2 players. It may take longer with more characters.
Regarding the Outer Regions’ ability, some are also very helpful in certain situation but others are not so much. There is also no guarantee that we can still access those abilities later in the game. So, we cannot really rely on them.
Some says that certain regions in specific position can make the game rather easier but I’m not really sure which region or which side or which position. I definitely do not like the one that require us to deal with randomness and memory element.
Because of these imbalance abilities, I feel like I would rather choose the specific side of each region than do it randomly. Again, it’s not like it will significantly make the game easier.
We definitely need to play a lot so we can get familiar and figure out when to use those region’s abilities. However, the reality is, sometimes I do not think I have enough AP to activate them.
Clearly, in earlier rounds, I can activate them more, mostly because I have excess AP, again in 2 player mode. As the game progresses, we will be too busy dealing with a lot of attacks in various regions to even think that the ability is there.
It feels like the game want us to do hard break and stop to evaluate every possible choices. Not just the region’s ability but also probably the artifacts.
If that is true, I do not like that idea. I thought this should be a fast playing game. Having to stop and reconsider what to do next kind of ruins the experience.
Of course, maybe that can be helpful but I don’t think we need them though. Again, maybe because it is easier playing just 2 characters. But then again, at that point where we need to reconsider the plan, we might not be in the right position or situation.
Maybe we cannot afford the AP or that we cannot move that much from a destroyed regions. So, it’s like it’s giving an illusion of choices that is just never there.
The randomness of the Turn Deck can determine the outcome. It’s possible that every defender card or enemy cards come out in a row. Maybe it’s better if the defender cards come out early than if the opponent cards.
We may have enough AP to maintain if the cards are spread equally. But if the enemy cards came out in a row, we may have to lose some Outer Regions.
This is also the reason why switching plan may not really work. We may reconsider our plan but the order of the cards just works against us.
Personally, I don’t mind that the designer is trying to make Tiny Epic Defenders as just a micro game with a small package and a lot of variety. I think the gameplay is very clever.
However, it feels like they are trying to condense a complex game into just small game. Usually that can end up sacrificing some experience.
As a result, they raised a lot of questions about the rule. Each new idea added to the game also add conflicts with the existing system and require further clarification.
I do not mind that if the designer is willing to do the job by creating an FAQ or something. Otherwise, I’m not sure whether I play correctly or not and it bothers me whether I win or lose.
I do not think this is a bad game. It’s just very disappointing to know that the designer keeps releasing new game without fixing the issue of their previous ones.
Expansions & Accessories
As far as I know, ever since they started the crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter for Tiny Epic Defenders game, there is only one major expansion. During the campaign, we can also get a deluxe version of both the base game and the expansion.
I’m not sure if the publisher still has some plans with this game. It seems that they keep releasing new titles for this Tiny Epic Series but not for the previous games.
Kickstarter Deluxe Promo Pack (2018)
This is the deluxe content of the base game for the Kickstarter backers. I’m not sure if we can still purchase this in retail. At this moment, we can purchase a set from BGG Store for $8.
The content includes 5 new Defenders, 2 artifacts, 2 Epic Foes and 2 Dire Enemies. Somebody says that the content is identical to this mini expansion of the first edition, except for the art.
Based on the BGG entry for this expansion, the Defenders are The Sullied (Human Necromancer), Brutus (Goblin Assassin), Gamelyn (Guardian of the Order), Kyrie (Valkyrie Avenger) and Methusael (Undead Revenant).
For the Epic Foes we get Overlord (Mountain) and Fire Elemental (Desert) while for Dire Enemy, we get Giant Snake (Forest) and Basilisk (Plains).
We also get Baal’s Bait and Gavel of Gamelyn as the new artifacts.
The Dark War Expansion
So far, this is the only major expansion for Tiny Epic Defenders. As far as I know, there will be two versions as well like the base game. One is what we will get in the retail and the other includes extra exclusive content from Kickstarter. This deluxe edition will not add new game element, only more cards.
We can learn more from the publisher page and find the rulebook for this expansion via this link.
The expansion adds more contents for the existing system but also introduces new game element. For the existing system, we get 5 new Defenders, 6 Epic Foes, 6 Dire Enemies and 6 new artifacts including the plastic items for the ITEMeeple.
The 5 new Defenders are Vink (Gnome Tinkerer), Harpier (Pigfolk Gladiator), Pteryx (BirdfolkRaptor), Adelphos (Lionkin Charioteer) and Mantodea (Insectoid Psion).
For the Epic Foes, we get Automaton (Ruins), Sphinx (Desert), Tyrannosaurus (Plains), Dracolich (Mountains), Ice Golem (Coast) and Lycan King (Forest).
The new Dire Enemies are Bog Fairy (Forest), Watchers (Deserts), Pterodactyl (Plains), Pirates (Coast), Yeti (Mountain) and Phantoms (Ruins).
For the new artifacts, we get 3 hand artifacts and 3 body artifacts. Like the base game, the items that we can put on the meeple have the same shape as illustrated.
If we get the DELUXE EDITION of this expansion, the publisher’s website says that we will get 3 more DEFENDERS, 4 more EPIC FOES, 2 DIRE ENEMIES and 2 HAND ARTIFACTS with a sleeve for the box. We can also learn from this entry on BGG.
Those are just the new components of the existing game element. There will be new features with some new components as well.
This next video is a review for the expansion by Ryan and Bethany.
The first one is the two game mode. We can either play in a campaign or 3 standard sessions in a row or just a single play mode. The progress in the DARK WAR campaign will be carried over from one session to another while the single GREAT BATTLE mode will immediately use all of the features.
So, we will get 1 MODE card, double sided to remind us which game mode we want to play with.
For the Dark War campaign, we only fight against 1 Epic Foe which happens during the third session. In the first two sessions we will be facing against a GENERAL, a new type pf enemy.
It is basically a combination between a Dire Enemy and Epic Foe. Generals will be using a regular size card but they have HP tracker. We need to deal 7 point damage to defeat them, similar to Epic Foe.
When a General show up, there will be a single event that may affect the gameplay and we need to resolve immediately. For example, one general may increase the damage of regular or dire enemy if we choose to defend from their attack for the rest of the game.
The expansion comes with 6 different General cards. Each of them will attack a single Outer Region. The rulebook says that any artifact that may affect Epic Foe can be applied to General.
In addition to new enemy, we will also get a new objective that we need to complete before we can defeat the Epic Foe with the CARAVANS. The expansion comes with cardboard pieces that we can construct to build a Caravan figure.
These represents villagers in the Outer Regions. So, we will get 6 of them, one for each Outer Regions and the objective is to escort them into the Capital City.
To escort them, everytime a Defender choose to spend 1 AP to move, they can also spend their XP, another new feature to lure those caravans. These Caravans will not be attacked but unless we can bring all 6 to the Capital City, the HP of Epic Foe will not go to zero.
The new feature with XP or experience points is to allow the Defender to LEVEL UP. From the expansion, each player will get an EXPERIENCE CARD with the XP tracker and XP TOKEN to move up and down.
A Defender can collect XP in various ways up to 8 XP. They can then spend those 8 XP to Level up. Leveling up allows them to take one SKILL CARD and restore their HP to full.
SKILL CARDS is similar to artifact but most of them has an ability that can be activated by spending XP. Some may have extra requirement like only on the owner’s turn or so.
The expansion comes with 12 unique SKILL CARDS that we will use all of them in every session in a single face down deck. Unlike artifacts, a Defender may have as many skills as they can.
Because of the way we can spend the XP, we might not want to always Level up. This XP system also add an additional type of action that a Defender can do during their turn. They can spend 1 AP for 1 XP.
Other ways to gain XP is by defending against a Dire Enemy, escort a Caravan to the City or defeating a General. All of these can be found in the Experience card.
The last new features can be found in the new REGION CARDS. There will be 7 similar regions but they do introduce new stuffs with each card.
Each of them will be double sided as well. For Outer Regions, one side is called Friendly side and the other is Hostile side.
Hostile side will not give us an ability but instead another threat that we need to overcome. Friendly side will then give a new ability that actually help us.
The way we use it is we will only use one of them with the hostile side and replace the original corresponding Region card. Then, depending on the mode, we will use the card differently.
In the Dark War campaign, the hostile side will stay like that until the next session. For the next session, we will flip that card to the Friendly side but we will add another Hostile card of another region. In the Great Battle mode, we immediately use one of each.
Each of the new Outer region cards will use additional components like cardboard construct or dice, which is included in the game.
Game Mat and Personal Mat
On the publisher’s website, we can see that they are offering a game mat, specifically for Tiny Epic Defenders game. It’s a neoprene, slip resistant mat and the size is about 24″ x 14″ or about 60.96 x 35.56 cm for $25, before shipping, I guess.
Based on the picture below, it seems that the mat is only for the communal component, not the player or character’s cards. It also includes a space for Skill cards which means this is suitable for the Dark War Expansion.
I think it’s weird that when we reveal the Epic Foe, it will not be in vertical orientation, if we follow the space from the mat. I also want to criticize that there are only spaces for turn deck and the discard pile. They should have one more for the active card because it will be confusing with some abilities in the game.
We can also buy a set of 4 Personal Mats also for $25. These will help us to organize anything related to the character like their Skill card, Experience card and artifacts. The size of each mat is about 9.5″ x 7.5″or about 24.13 x 19.05 cm.
I don’t think we need this. Somehow, it doesn’t seem to fit all of the artifact and skill cards that a character might have.
Session Reports and Pictures
Usually, I share a session report of playing a game on BGG. Here are the links of each session for this game.
I also put turn-by-turn pictures of a session and unboxing pictures for every game on my collection that anybody can find on my Instagram. For this game, search for #TinyEpicDefendersAtHomeOfMark on IG for all of the sessions.
Tiny Epic Defenders is one of the game in the Tiny Epic Series by Gamely Games as the publisher. They can be considered as micro game, always come in a small package and a lot of content in the box. Each of them will have a different main mechanism and genre so anybody can collect them all.
In this one, the genre is a cooperative tower defense game set in medieval fantasy world. We will be playing as heroes or heroines trying to defend the Capital City from enemy’s endless attacks.
If we can defend it long enough, the final boss will finally show up and we can win by defeating that Epic Foe.
The game uses large region cards as the modular boards with Capital City being at the center surrounded by 6 Outer Regions. We have to move the character’s pawn around these cards to do many kind of actions.
The game also uses a Turn Deck system which is a collection of cards in random order that will tell us whose turn it is, either the player or one of the enemy. We have to resolve all cards one by one as a single round.
In subsequent rounds we will be adding one cards each. Depending on the difficulty setting, after certain cards, we will reveal the Epic Foe. If we can defeat th Epic Foe before they enemy destroy the City, we win the game.
On our character’s turn, they can spend their Action Points, between 3 or 4 AP to either MOVE, SECURE, USE ABILITY or FIGHT action. The characters also only have 4 or 5 Hit Points and when they reach 0 HP they become exhausted.
They need to heal first before they are allowed to continue doing certain actions. Healing is very limited in this game so we need to manage between the two resources.
Almost all cards in this game are unique. With the exception for the regular Enemy cards, almost every card also has unique ability. Some may just modify the standard value but others can increase the complexity as it interacts with other cards.
We can play with at least 2 of 10 unique characters in the base game. The characters will not level up, at least with just the base game. However, they might get 1 out of 10 random artifacts if they can defend against a Dire Enemy.
The character can also use an ability from the Outer Regions as long as the regions are not destroyed. If an Outer Region get destroyed, the next attack on that location will increase the threat level of the Capital City.
Once the City reaches the highest threat level, we lose the game. We have to defeat the Epic Foe before that.
Because of that, the game has two parts. The first part is about playing defensive, trying to mitigate and manage the attack of these regions.
Then, when the Epic Foe is revealed, we get to the second part. At this point we have to switch from playing defensively to a very offensive one. The longer it takes the harder for us to manage.
Tiny Epic Defenders can support up to 4 players. We can also play solo but always with at least 2 characters. It seems that playing with less characters will be easier.
The way they scale the game is that we will still play the same amount of AP every round. But with more players or characters, those AP will be distributed equally to each characters and make them less flexible.
The game also comes with 6 Epic Foes. Each of them will change the rule when they show up and we have to use different strategy to defeat them.
With a combination of unique variety of every card in this game, we will get a lot of replay value. It’s just some are not equally as good as the others.
The biggest issue with this game is the complication that can happen when some of these unique cards interact with each other. They need further clarification that the designer didn’t provide in the easiest way.
More Similar Games
There are many tabletop games out there whether a board or card game like Tiny Epic Defenders. These are only some games that I have played that I think share some similarities.
Tiny Epic Defenders game uses medieval fantasy for their setting. We have heroes or heroines with different classes and races. Each with unique abilities trying to overcome different enemies like dragons and such.
Other games with the closest similarities that I have played is Adventure of D, which is also the second edition. This one also uses cards to create modular board. Instead of 7 large cards, this uses 12 regular size cards.
Unlike Tiny Epic Defenders which is essentially a tower defense game, this one is more of an adventure as the name suggests. We still have a Castle where we can return to and heal but in this one, we will have the enemy’s castle as the final stage.
Instead of cooperative only, we can play this one in competitive mode or even solo with just 1 character. With just the base game, we can already increase our character’s stats and skill that will help us win the game.
From the same designer, if we are looking for another Tower Defense game with some fantasy trope, I’ve also played Goblins vs Zombies. In this one, instead of defending a castle from all directions, we have to defend a Goblin’s village from just one direction.
We will not be moving around our pawns or meeples. But through hand management we need to decide which type of Goblins to deploy in order to either attack or generate more cards. Like in Tiny Epic Defenders, at some point during the game, we can fight against the final boss.
Another game with this setting is Hero Realms. This one, the main game mechanism is deck building. We start with low value cards that we can use to purchase more powerful ones to either attack or heal our opponents.
While the main game mode is competitive, we can also play the cooperative mode through a story campaign if we use some of the expansions.
Another cooperative deck building game that I have played is The Big Book of Madness. It still has fantasy theme but more in sorcery settings.
In this game, we are wizard students trying to overcome some monsters from a cursed book. We have to make sure that we will not descent to madness before we can face against the last monster and close the book.
Each student has their own specialty in one element of magic and over the course of the game, we can improve our magic not just the same element but to the other elements as well.
One Deck Dungeon is another one that I have played. In this game, we will play as heroines, exploring a dungeon. We will try to overcome enemies and traps along the way to level up or gain items. Eventually, we will fight against the boss.
The main mechanism is dice roll and we will roll several colors of dice that represent several different stats like attack, speed and magic. With some skills, we can manipulate the dice to get the right value.
By doing so, we can reduce the damage that we take from the opponents. For the boss, we will also attack them using the right type and value of dice. Like Tiny Epic Defenders, we can start with several different classes each with unique power and fight against one of many bosses like dragons, golems, and so.
One Deck Dungeon also uses going through the deck mechanism. Each time we cycle through it, it represents going to a deeper level of the dungeon. The difference is that we will be dealing with less number of cards but they game has its way to increase the difficulty or threat in deeper level.
The last two games that I have played only share similarities in theme, Villages of Valeria and Quests of Valeria. Both of them are about recruiting adventurers, in also medieval fantasy settings. Then we can deploy them to complete some quests or just create a guild to score points.
Find out the latest update from this Complete List. If we are just looking for portable games that we can play anywhere, there are more games on that list.
That is all I can share with you about Tiny Epic Defenders, 2nd Edition game. This may not be the most popular one in the Tiny Epic series.
I probably have missed something that I should have discussed regarding the game. Please don’t hesitate to point that out and share what you know related to this game and I will update this article.
I keep saying that these tabletop games can be a good way to spend some time without looking at the screen of our gadget. If we do have someone close, that we can play with, there are other games where we can play cooperatively or competitively but with a lot of player interaction.
The game can be very fast or like a filler type or it can take hours to play. Some games can also be played in solitaire mode and they are still more engaging than other entertainment activity.
So, what is your experience on playing this game? If you know other games similar or even better than this, please do share via the comment section below. I would love to learn and play that game, assuming I can get a copy.
This article is just my notes about what I can find from the internet. Hopefully this can help anybody who reads it.
Thanks for reading.