FALL has passed and SPRING is now here in the Universe of Dwarfs, created by Luis Brüeh and given top quality components by VESUVIUS MEDIA. Whereas FALL, the base game, came in an 8½inch square box, this stand-alone (can be integrated) game is in an 11 inch square box, 3 inches deep compared with the 1 3/4 inch deep Fall box. This size, along with its stunning colours (as opposed to the browns of Fall) makes it immediately more impressive and most likely to gain credence in games stores.
SPRING, in this game series, is like Spring in our calendar. It is not an extension (or expansion) of the previous season, it is an entity of its own, a new beginning, a brightness, the start of advanced life. A completely different game.
Unfortunately not everyone believes in enjoying the warm sun and soft winds of Spring. The Petrifier, Cyclops, Witch, Harpy, Frogling and Giant Spider (each represented by excellent iridescent blue chunky miniatures) have other thoughts; they prefer chaos. These critters are time wasting hazards that discourage adventuring, exploring and resource gathering. It may of everyone's concern to remove these from play as quickly as you can, but there's no discounting the amusement factor for you when other players are struggling against them.
The hexagonal Spring World of DWAR7S is created by randomly placed Petal tiles.
Each of the 2-4 players start out with an Empire Board, 7 Dwarf Tokens, 7 Starting Heroes, 12 Settlements and a Fortress, the latter three (Heroes, Settlements and Fortesses) being represented by solid plastic miniatures. All player components are designed to be in different colour sets to enable easy identification on the 'board'.
If you have the Kickstarter edition, with most of the stretch goals reached, then you will also have the excellent resin, metal and plastic resources;
This is a worker placement and land owning game, augmented not only by the aforementioned monsters, but also by Faeries and Dragons, with mechanics that require clever and skilful card play as well as resource control.
DWAR7S SPRING is a much more complex, without being over-complicated, entertainment than its predessor DWAR7S FALL. It has a frustrating, maybe not unique, method of gaining resources via the placing of Settlements.
The rules booklet is beautifully produced with page after page of illustrated examples and rules notes, as well as the rules themselves, of course.
Take for example the action of going on a Quest. All you require is to own the necessary resource requirements, you do not actually have to 'spend' them, so Quests are good fun and useful without costing you hard earned resources.
Faeries are magical creatures who can give players valuable Faerie cards if you place Dwarfs on the Summon Faerie space on your personal Empire board. Similarly, placing Dwarfs on Command Dragons spaces you may activate Dragons - these are great in combat and share their unique abilities with you, they may also reward you with a bonus of Faerie Power. Dragons and Faeries are indeed helpful and can be very useful when brought into play.
So here we have a game that is eye-catching due to being bright and colourful, is visually splendid because it has excellent 3D components, and thoughtfully brilliant due to its mixture of (mostly) well observed game mechanics. Its rules booklet allows it to be played very quickly after opening the box - they are so well explained and laid out that even I had no problem reading and understanding them.
At the end of the fourth Era (or if there are less than 6 cards in the Expedition Area) then its time to see how well you have done in the race for the most Victory Points.
Throughout play you should have been completing quests, defeating monsters, training dragons, gaining, using and saving Resources and carefully manipulating and maintaining your pieces on your personal Empire Board. There's a lot to do but the game play is still smooth and swift.
This is, as I have said, a much different and (for myself and players) more entertaining than Dwar7s FALL. Both games have small, square-box expansions that meld into the other games in the series, maybe adding a little here and removing a sore point there.
DWAR7S FALL can be found on eBay for the really inexpensive cost of £7.95, though it is more likely you'll pay about £20.00 for it.
DWAR7S SPRING has an eBay cost of just over £27.00, whilst it has a shop price of between £35.00 - £45.00.
It is classed in the 'engine builder' genre of game, though it utilises, as I have said above, much more than just one simple mechanic, it has a slew of Euro-game workings whilst keeping its head up and its style all alone.
The expansion for FALL is EMPIRES
The expansion for SPRING is ENCHANTED FOREST which also has pieces for WINTER
The expansion for WINTER is The LEGENDARY that is compatible with SPRING
All of these will be looked at on a later date.
Extra good news: SUMMER for DWAR7S is a-coming