The box for Tiny Epic Defenders is 7 inches long, 5 inches wide, and 1.5 inches deep. I’m no mathematician, but that is not a lot of inches. But Tiny Epic Defenders does a lot of things to deserve both the title of “Tiny” and “Epic” and still manages to be affordable. What’s not to love?
In Tiny Epic Defenders, players take on the roles of heroes banding together to fight a horde of creatures attacking the land on all fronts. There are evil fish in the sea, deadly bears in the mountains, and giant scorpions in the desert, all united in their cause to set the world on fire. Don’t ask me why or how fish are involved, that’s just part of the game.
Instead of taking turns around the table, teammates draw cards from the Turn Deck, letting Lady Luck decide who acts when. Depending on the card, a player can leap to the rescue or the horde wreaks havoc. You can never be sure when your next turn will be, so make your actions count. Heroes can move to different regions, use special powers, repair a war-torn area, heal in the capital city, or fight the Epic Foe, a big baddie that shows up at the end of the game. There are plenty of choices and timing your decisions is critical to the success for your troupe of warriors.
The opposite of success occurs when your capital city falls the enemy, overrun by evil fish and giant scorpions. Everyone wins or loses together, because when you work together, you learn together or something along those lines. Teamwork!
The waves of adversaries washing over the walls of your city are aided by Dire Enemies, powerful beasts with devastating effects, like removing all of your heroes’ special abilities for the rest of the round. Ouch. Don’t worry, because if you fight and defeat these monsters, you are rewarded with artifacts, letting you wield swords and shields of legend with great might. Huzzah!
When the Epic Foe reveals itself as the force leading the enemy horde, your kingdom will be in turmoil, but you must push on. This overlord adds a great sense of dread throughout the game, since at the beginning their identity is unknown. It is a great feeling to take down a tough Epic Foe after faithfully defending the lands you have stewardship over. You deserve to celebrate after a win like that.
I do have some issues with the rulebook and the different decks that need to be constructed at the beginning of the game, but once you get started, I think you’ll get a hang of this pretty simple game. Another problem may come up when one person is telling other what to do, but it seems like most cooperative games have this happen, so just try your best to work together instead of giving out orders. Nobody wants to be bossed around in a game.
One of the biggest strengths of Tiny Epic Defenders is the sheer amount of variety that comes from multiple heroes, double-sided regions, powerful artifacts, and an evil lineup of Dire Enemies and Epic Foes. It will be while before you play the same game twice.
With Tiny Epic Defenders, the variable setup coupled with solid cooperative play makes this inexpensive game a great value, and the small size is a huge bonus. You can even play this game by yourself if you somehow can’t find other people to play with. But when you do play this game, you are going to have a big challenge and a great time, whether or not you like evil fish. They don’t care what you think.