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Avatar: The Last Airbender Fire Nation Rising Board Game Review

Updated: Dec 7, 2022

WBG Score: 8

Player Count: 1-5

You’ll like this if you like: Thanos Rising, King of Tokyo, Hit Z Road.

Published by: The Op

There have been a number of "Rising" games. I covered the history and the Batman Who Laughs version here. The latest version from The Op who provided this game for review is Avatar: The Last Airbender. Based on a huge franchise that has made films, tv shows, and hundreds of comics, like the other games in this series, Avatar comes with a big following, but does it live up to this? Let's get it to the table and see how it plays.

Set Up

First place the main board, made up of three pieces together at the centre of the table. Let each player choose a character to play as, taking their player board, token and card, and placing it in front of them. In a solo game, take two for yourself. It works as a two player.

Then decide on the difficulty and place between ten and 13 Villain cards into the deck to suit your desired game style. Now shuffle this deck and place one card in each of the nine spots around the board. Place the fire nation statue into the central spot, along with the fire nation cards shuffled and placed next to the board.

Place the Pai Sho and damage tokens into a central location on the table, along with the dice pool and final battle cards for later use. Finally take the balance and ruin tracks and decide which difficulty you want to play. This is marked by the symbol on the bottom left of the balance track. Place the balance and ruin markers on the bottom spot. You are now ready to play. It should look a little like this, colourful huh!?

How to Play

Players will now take it in turns to place their character token into one of the three locations on the main board. Players are looking to recruit new characters to join their team and increase their powers and take out the villains that could end their game. If you ever loose all characters from the same team, or any ten then the game is lost for all players. In order to win, you need to build up your team during the first phase where the balance and ruin tracks advance, and then win the three final battles.

On your turn, you will place your token into one of the three locations on the main board, and then flip the top fire nation card. This will determine if the fire nation statue will stay in it's current location or rotate one space either way. It will then tell you to move the ruin marker up either zero, one, or two spaces.

Then, all Villains in the current location of the fire nation statue will activate, simply carrying out the actions on their card. Generally this will heal other villains or attack other characters. The fire nation statue itself will also attack, adding one damage to all hero's in its current location, including those in front of the active player if they placed their token into this same location.

Players then have the chance to fight back, by rolling dice. This is what this game is all about, and there are a lot of dice in the game. They feel and look great on your fingers and eyes with their embossed edges and bright colourful design.

As players roll dice, they are looing to match the symbols on the characters they want to recruit in the sector they are in, or on the villains they are looking to fight. Each character has its own set of dice to roll, and as you recruit new characters they will brig new dice to roll in this phase, offer re-rolls, or other useful powers. After you have rolled all your dice you must assign at least one to one card or action. Either fighting a villain, recruiting an ally, activating a power on your player card, or moving on the balance track. You can see some of the spots on the balance track need certain dice faces to be rolled in order to progress.

More so on the harder tracks.

When you assign dice to villains, if you manage to get one dice for each face needed, you can add one damage token to this card at the end of your dice rolling phase. Most cards have two to six damage spots, sometimes more. You need to fill a track before that card can be defeated. So, for the Pirate Captain below for example, it needs one water and one fire dice face to add one damage, and two damage to defeat it.

As you assign dice, you can then re-roll any un-assigned dice. This continues until all dice are assigned. If ever you cannot assign a dice, the dice is lost. One dice must be used each round. But remember you have four positive ways to use them, and re-roll to use. So I would say 90% of dice can be used in the game. But of course there is some luck here and a wasted dice is frustrating.

One way you can mitigate this, other than the re-rolls, is by using the Pai Sho tokens. These are gained via different character powers, or you can take one if ever you cannot use any of your dice to fight a villain, recruit an ally, or move on the balance track. Often you can flip two tokens, and choose one to take. You can then spend these tokens at any point to replace a dice face you haven't rolled yet, add an extra dice, re-roll dice, or remove damage.

Once all dice are assigned and activated, any villains defeated or characters recruited will be moved either off the board or into your play area. These cards are replaced from the top of the deck, and the next player will take their turn. This will continue until either side of the balance or ruin track reaches its summit. At this point, at the end of the players turn, all character's or villains with the black sun marker will be removed from play. If you reach the top of the balance track before or at the same time as the ruin track, the villains will go. If the ruin track gets to the top first then the characters will go. Any hero's lost this way are considered defeated and count towards the end game tally of ten or more. It is possible to still win the game if the ruin track gets to the top first, but it is a lot harder. Focusing on moving up on the balance track in the first phase is important.

Once all cards of either type are removed, the balance and ruin track is also removed from the game. You will now enter the second phase of the game. The three final battle cards are placed into their locations on the main board, and the game will continue.

Now, when the statue moves, the ruin track will no longer be activated, but the final battle cards will trigger. Players need to try and roll the dice faces shown on these cards when in the right location, and when there are no villains present. Each battle needs two damage to be defeated. When this happens, the card if flipped and an immediate bonus is awarded.

If a player can flip all three final battle cards before they loose too many hero's, they will win the game.

Is it Fun?

Playing Avatar feels very much the other Rising games. However, the balance and ruin track does add a new element to the game, with a new way to split the main phase and the end game phase. But the reason people will buy this game is the theme. With a Star Wars, Batman, and Avengers theme already out there, the designers of this game are staying firmly in the fantasy/comic book world. But I think that is because they know gamers are collectors as well as players. Hence this game being beautifully produced, and just like the other games in the series, coming with a real stand out miniature. If you already have one of these games, you probably want the others too. Hence the themes coming from similar genres. This is a Pokémon situation. And I want them all!

The art on the cards is bright, clear, and stunning. Fans of the show/comic will be very happy to see all their favourite characters beautifully and accurately represented here in the game.

The whole production is incredible, and I would want to keep this game even if I didn't enjoy playing it. But I do. However it is very similar to The Batman who laughs and the other games in the series. So, I can see why not everyone would want to have all of these games. You either need to pick the theme you like the best, or accept the fact that they are similar and just enjoy collecting them all!

But do you even want one? I would suggest yes. If you enjoy dice games then you will enjoy this. It's fun to be able to roll lots of dice, get more dice, be able to manipulate your rolls a little, and grow you powers as you build up your armies. The game has a lovely build to it, and it is incredibly simple to teach and get into. And the pay off is rewarding if you win.

I would recommend this game to anyone who is a fan of the Rising or Avatar series as a must have. For anyone else, this could work for you if you enjoy dice games, and want some theme to go with your rolls. Just check the many different games in the rising range to see which one works best for you.

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3 comentários

Membro desconhecido
06 de dez. de 2022

Hi, are you sure that you can not assign more than 1 damage to one villain/final battle card per turn? I understood it in a way that I can assign 1 damage for each set of matching dice. Maybe I got it wrong.

Membro desconhecido
07 de dez. de 2022
Respondendo a

I love Avatar's theme. Dice are superb. It is quitte pricy (I wouod not need the big figure. :) )

Gameplay wise I think its ok. I like that even without story text and with rather simple rules it makes a story in my head. (Who met who, www a fight looked, etc.)

I would recommend it to all Avatars fans but I wouod probably advice different coop game to someone who does not know the Avatar's universe.

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