Boardgame Review: Dawnshade Dreamhack 2020
Dawnshade Creator: Highborn Games Coming to Kickstarter May 19th, 2020
Do you love JRPGs like Final Fantasy, Persona, or Chrono Trigger? Have you ever wanted the same experience from a board game? Look no further because Dawnshade is here to satisfy all your adventuring needs and they are all packed up in one hexagonal box.
Dreamhack 2020, while it may not have been the main focus, had so many amazing digital and board games to check out. Among all the cool new indie games, there were a few new board games being displayed as well. One of these games stood out to be because of the strange genre it fit into.
Never in my life have I heard of a JRPG board game, yet there I was getting ready to demo this cool looking game. Right before I was able to start my demo however, one of the creators asked if I would like to be part of a streamed demo on the Dreamhack tabletop Twitch stream and boy was I glad I accepted.
Dawnshade is a JRPG adventure board game created by Highborn Games where you and a group of friends control a group of Petarukin heroes go on quests to ensure peace in the world. With the power to choose your own adventure you and your friends could play through many different scenarios in this exciting game.
In the scenario I played at Dreamhack, me and 3 others teamed up to strengthen ourselves so we could protect our village from a major evil threat. We started by boosting our levels to increase our stats to make gameplay more interesting. We did this by increasing the stats of our characters. There were six stats to take note of when leveling: there was HP, which allowed us more health tokens. The attack stat increased the amount of dice we could roll when attacking an enemy. The defense stat increased our armor, making us more resilient to our foes. Agility allowed us to increase the total amount of dice we could roll at a time. Increasing our item stat increased the number of items we could carry in our packs. Finally, the magic stat, which increases the number of magic dice that help with mana regeneration.
What was cool about this game was how much it felt like you were playing an actual JRPG. To travel, you would traverse the overworld where you could run into battles and other random scenarios. During my demo, we started by exploring the overworld and gaining some items from small side missions before we triggered a battle.
When we triggered a battle our attention zoomed in on the battlefield mat where our guide placed our hero tokens and the monster tokens. Combat was very interesting, we followed a randomly determined initiative order and took turns rolling our dice. Battle was very intense for our group, we nearly failed or mission right out of the gate. Luckily, we were able to gather our wits and work together to defeat the enemies.
Since we were running low on stream time, the developers decided to show us a few more aspects of Dawnshade. We decided to try out the mini games that were built into the board game. The first mini game we played had us flipping our hero tokens onto the map with the goal of trying to get your token closest to an item card. The second mini game was a challenge to roll your token on its side past stacks of coins successfully on the other side of the board.
There truly is too much to talk about with Dawnshade, but the most important thing that I felt when demoing the game was that even when situations were rough, I was having fun. I could definitely imagine myself on a weekend playing this game with a group of friends having a great time. Highborn Games has created a unique piece of art with this game and I am anticipating great things from them in the future. The game can be a little complicated at times, but it is fun at all times. I would rate this board game an easy 95/100.