Armies of Death
Rumor has it that a demon named Agglax is amassing an army to the east. Of course you, brave hero, will do something about it. But this time, none of that “solo adventurer” rubbish!
With your reward money from the Trial of Champions, you bought a castle and raised an army. This time you’re going to take care of business the right way, with an army of knights, archers, miners, and mercenaries.
Review and Opinion
At first I was excited, that for once the adventurer isn’t going solo! If you’re going against an army, bring an army!
But alas, most of the time you leave the army behind and go solo. The first two thirds is pretty standard stuff: pick your path to the city, wander about the city picking up stories and loot, then trek through the caves and the forest toward the battlefield. Along the way you lose Stamina and there’s only 10 points of healing in the book (no potions, no provisions), and you probably didn’t pick up that random piece of junk at the pawn shop that the oracle will want as a required game item.
The last third of the book is The Big Battle, which is just a straight line of battle after battle, some of them single combat and some “roll 4d6 and lose that many from your army” For me, I find it tedious and dull and also a bit confusing.
So while I guess it was an okay adventure, it didn’t do a lot for me.
What I did like though, was the general plot and setting. Instead of some wandering adventurer single-handedly killing the wizard whom whole armies couldn’t touch, you’re the warlord with a force of 300 soldiers and a sack of gold. Yes, send the military for a change!
But sadly, even the new “skirmish battles” mechanic where horde fights horde, wasn’t that grewat. In this mode, a detachment of 10-20 soldiers takes on a horde of 10-20 enemies and rolls depending on the relative strength of the two hosts, until one team is depleted to 0. And once a side loses troops, the next roll will lose them even more. As a result, skirmish battles are usually over in 3 rolls. And by the way… if your team loses the skirmish, you’re dead too. No skill and stamina rolls, just 3 d6 rolls and that’s game.
So again, somewhat disappointing given that the wholly-new plot and mechanics could have made for a truly novel gamebook experience.
The book as a whole suffers some significant game balance issues. For one, there’s no healing in the book. There is one page where breakfast restores 2 stamina and one pill that restores 8, and that’s it. Compare that to being dinged for 2-8 points at a time (as well as 1-3 skill points and 4-5 luck) plus the 3d6-and-done skirmish battles, and it makes for an irritating experience.
There are two places in Zengis where you can buy a helmet (the goblin control officer in the sewer, and a pawn shop). But only the one from the sewer gives you a +1; the one from the pawn shop does nothing,
In the wyvern battle en route to Claw (399) you may be asked if Laas of the Northmen is with you. If he were, you couldn’t possibly be on this route. You only meet Laas if you ride the Toucan down the River Kok, and you only get to Claw by the walking overland route.
Written by Ian Livingstone
Illustrated by Nik Williams
Book 36 in the series
Other Players and Links
- MALthus Dire reviews Armies of Death
- Fighting Dantasy plays Armies of Death
- Dodd at BGG plays AoD
- Champskees’ best path walkthrough at FF Proboards
- Alison Cybe plays Armies
Tags to Other Adventures1988 Allansia Fang Fighting Fantasy Ian Livingstone Nik Williams Titan
First published June 2, 2018. Last updated July 18, 2023.