Advanced Guildhall the Gathering by AEG: Review

Theme and What is it?

Advanced Guildhall Fantasy is a set collection game where players take on the role of guild masters trying to recruit adventurers into their guilds. It’s the most recent in an expanding series of card sets for a game originally published in 2012. The newest set features updated rules and new role choices. There are also a few variants for mixing up the game a bit.

Gameplay Mechanics

Guildhall places its focus around a series of six different guilds, such as Alchemists, Duelists, and Warlords. Each class has a special power that improves depending on how many members of that class a player has in their hall. By using a combination of set collection and special powers players work to be the first to score 20 points and win the game.

One of the core mechanics of the game is the difficult choice of when to play characters into a guild set. Once a guild set has one of each member the set closes and its special powers are no longer available. However, once a set is closed it can no longer be adjusted, stolen from, or effected by other players. Additionally, you need completed sets to purchase victory point cards, making them a necessity in the game. The hard choice comes from knowing that a set with most of its members will have a decent advantage, so when is the right time to trade them out. 

 

Initial Impressions

I first learned about and played Guildhall many years ago at an AEG Big Game Night event at Gencon. After learning about the game and finding out about its theme and some of the ideas behind it, I remember being pretty interested in playing. For this updated version, I was curious about how the game would work and since I already enjoy the game was looking forward to cracking this update open.

Game Build Quality

The game components are nice. I would have preferred the cardstock be a little thicker but sleeving can fix that. The insert is functional, but I suspect it’s being used as a placeholder until a player can get one of the other sets with the much larger box with more room. The rule book is fine, easy to understand with plenty of examples. It’s a little dark, I would have liked a brighter page back to facilitate reading. The ding I do give the game is the extensive symbols used in the game. There are a lot in this one and it gives the game a bit of an entry barrier I’m not fond of.

Artistic Direction

The art in the game is fine. They reuse the same image for each card in a given class. The art is pretty standard fantasy hero images. It doesn’t clutter the cards and get in the way of the game play but it isn’t anything spectacular either. The best word I can come up with here is serviceable. 


Fun Factor

As evidenced by an earlier statement, this game is still in my collection; I enjoy it. It’s a nice quick filler that, once you understand the symbols, is fairly easy to play.

Age Range & Weight

The Box says 14+ and I think that’s dead on. Younger kids will get frustrated with the symbols and the strategy. Beyond that the game is pretty straight forward with the exception of one or two timing issues that take a little while to get used to.

Conclusions

Right off the bat, if you like Guildhall and are thinking of adding Advanced Guildhall Fantasy to your collection then I would say go for it. It’s just more of the same and only serves to give you more choices. While you normally only play with six guilds there are rules included for shuffling all of the sets together and mixing and matching the heroes into types of guild. You may enjoy that, it wasn’t something I really enjoyed, but the rules are there.

If you’re new to Guildhall and wondering if it’s for you, then I’d say try it out. It’s fast and fun, has some neat ideas, and can fill a decent place in any game day or short break. It can be a little mean spirited in some of the interactions but not to the point where I would define the game as a take that style of play.

 

The game is fast and falls into the category of chit chat games I do enjoy playing sometimes. It’s easy to play and have a conversation while waiting for your turn since it doesn’t require a lot of attention or deep thought to take your turn. If you want a quick game to start a game day or catch up with friends while playing, Guildhall is a nice fit.

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