I Kickstarted Valor and Villainy: Ludwick’s Labyrinth sometime ago: back in July 2021. This promised delivery back in September 2022 … it didn’t quite make it. My Kickstarter copy delivered to my house about May 7th, 2023. I have been looking forward to this game: it made the #10 position of my Top 10 Anticipated Cooperative Games of 2022!
Strictly speaking, Valor and Villainy: Lludwick’s Labyrinth is a standalone expansion to the original game Valor and Villainy: Minions of Mordock. See below.
The original of Valor and Villainy: Minions of Mordork was a one-vs-many game, where one player took the role of the Villain and the rest of team fought against him. This new expansion Valor and Villainy: Lludwick’s Labyrinth is fully cooperative and offers a campaign where all the players work together to fight the villainous bosses controlled by the game! Although this expansion is completely standalone, you can do some combining of it with the original game.
The Lludwick’s Labyrinth plays 1-6 plays, Ages 14+, and takes about 25 Min/Player. If you believe the box. Let’s take a look below.
Shipping Box Unboxing
This is the Kickstarter Deluxe Edition that came in a box … with a box within a box!
Note that I also got the expansion: Valor and Villainy: Antagonist’s Arsenal, which can make the original game of Minions of Mordok solo and cooperative, as well as the deluxe token token set! See below.
I am very curious about this Antogonist’s Arsenal expansion, because I can turn the original game into a co-op! That will probably have to wait until another day before we get through today’s game: Lludwick’s Labyrinth!
Today’s game is Valor and Villainy: Lludwick’s Labyrinth (are you following all these games in the Valor and Villainy universe?): It’s a cooperative boss battler game, with an underlying campaign. It’s a big boy.
This isn’t quite as big as The Isofarian Guard from a few weeks ago, but it’s close!
This big mama-jama takes up the entire box!
See the poor Coke can tremble in fear at the size of this box!
Upon opening the box, you see … a pizza?
Ah! On the other side is a discussion of this deluxe edition of the game! This is great! It discusses how the deluxe edition of the game works with minis, cardboard tokens, and how the upgrades work.
My favorite moment in this unboxing is reading the last sentence of the second paragraph: “Once you have read this sheet, you can -DESTROY IT!” This tips me off that the game has a sense of humor and has really thought about how to explain how the Deluxe Edition fits in. I think I knew I was hooked when I read that!
The rulebook is next: it’s a good size and very readable.
Note that the side of the box shows you how to put this back together! That’s awesome!
The next two books are the Campaign Book at the reference sheet. Note how thick the Campaign Book is! I also am worried about this binding … I don’t like it when books won’t just stay open on their own! we will deal with this by GASP folding the rulebook … I didn’t like it, but we had to do it!!!
See above as it doesn’t stay open without some help.
There’s a real nice reference sheet too!
Under all these books are … envelopes!
I said this was a campaign game: the campaign unfolds from the envelopes (you can reset the game: there are no legacy elements according to the rulebook). There are 8 chapters.
Underneath the campaign envelopes are the GameTrayz for the tokens. Note that there are two of them: one for each side of the table! This makes it really easy to unbox the game: just pull out the trayz!
Under the trayz are miniatures! Oooh! Pretty spiffy!
The little cardboard holder holds all the cards of the game. Be careful not to necessarily unpack all your cards right away! The order of these cards is very important: these cards will guide your campaign and need to come out in a very specific order!
Ah! There’s all of the miniatures!
Under the minis are the dice and boards for the heroes (and a few other odds and ends).
You may THINK we are done, but no! Under the tray with the boards are a BUNCH of punch out boards Seriously! They are kinda “secretly hidden” under the last insert! I didn’t realize they were there until I went looking for the Board of Doom!
If you get the the upgrade tokens, you won’t need to punch out everything, so hold off on unpunching these too.
What a fantastic looking game! I love how this looks! I was so excited to moving forward!
Unwrappening and Unpunchening
Before I could move forward and actually PLAY, I did have to devote some cycles to unwrapping, unpunching, and filling the GameTrayz. This was a little more chaotic than it should have been.
First of all, the Deluxe Tokens have to go into the GameTrayz! The game box side shows a picture, but they aren’t notated very well. I had to kinda go by picture and guess.
This was not as easy as it seems. First, it’s not 100% clear which deluxe tokens replace which cardboard tokens. And it turns out, you still need SOME of the cardboard tokens!
See above as I punch out the shields but NOT a lot of of other tokens? Because not all tokens have replacements, but most do!
I spent a lot of time trying to sort the tokens: probably too much. It was good, in the sense that I had a better sense of all the tokens in the game, but annoying because the deluxe tokens aren’t labelled. They are kinda labelled in the pizza sheet on top.
And this just made me laugh: you are REQUIRED to keep the cardboard skeletons! They are needed to prop up up the inserts after you punch out what you need!! I was laughing my head off at this! I am the only person I know that keeps Cardboard Skeletons!! (I did a whole article on them here) So, it was funny to see a game require them! See below as the punchboard skeletons go back in the bottom of the box …
A lot of the other punchouts are either (a) tiles to explore or (b) backings for cards.
You have to be careful with the cards: I initially unwrapped all the cards, but the order of the cards matters! A lot of these cards are revealed as you play!
Notice the DO NOT EVER SHUFFLE!
It’s also a little chaotic because you are uncardening and it tells you GOTO THE CAMPAIGN BOOK!! But but but … I am not ready!! Nope, get over to the campaign book now!
And that leads to the first play.
The base rulebook is quite nice.
The rulebook gets an A- on the chair test: it sits on the chair right next to me very well (very little droopage). I used the rulebook a little, but the tutorial was so good, I didn’t really need to…
This is probably one of the best, if not the best, tutorials I have done! This really felt like I was doing an in-game Video Game Tutorial that taught all the basic rules! Two decks (Story deck and Event deck) guide you through an entire game!!! The decks showed WHAT to do, what NOT to do, explained what your choices were, how the game unraveled, how you explored, how to set-up the dungeon, how to fight, how to upgrade, how to get loot. Seriously, this was the most fantastic tutorial I have ever seen. Take a look at how intricate and well-spoken the tutorial card above is.
You can see the tutorial decks above: the Event deck and Story deck. These were so good at laying out the game. I feel like I haven’t seen a tutorial this good since Tainted Grail (see our review Part I and Part II here) And you know what? If I had a tutorial this good for The Isofarian Guard, I may not have sold that game.
This Tutorial filled me with confidence: I still see a large rulebook full of rules, but I feel like I understand a lot of the game from this tutorial. That really helps take the edge off how daunting this game looks.
Bright and A Sense of Humor
In case it’s not clear from the art and some the monsters … and the pizza on top of the game as you open it … this game has a sense of humor. I think that’s why I gave this a chance on Kickstarter: the game doesn’t take itself too seriously! I love the art! This game doesn’t feel like every other depressing fantasy game (speaking of Tainted Grail) out there! The art is bright and crisp! The game looks silly but still professional and fun!
It is still a boss battler with a lot of rules (which the tutorial really helps with), but you are chasing demons who stole the pizza making guy. Seriously! Or should say, … not so seriously. Grin.
This game would be a contender for my Top 10 Cooperative Games With a Sense of Humor.
The tutorial took me through my first play. See the Game set-up above (and we had to fold the Campaign book to keep it open! Nooo!)
Something that is a little weird is the border: it’s easy to set-up (surprisingly so: just follow the marks), but it constrains the dungeon to be no more than 5×5.
The first play has you play two characters: Welliam …
… and Rowan.
You use their miniatures on the map, and the Tutorial guides you through movement, combat, exploration, treasure. It tells you places you could make different choices, as well as things you CANNOT do. Like I said, a fabulous tutorial.
I had a great time. The nice thing about this tutorial is that it scales for 1-6 players: each player just alternates reading the cards, and all players just play the two characters out. Once you start getting into the game, you get to play your own character.
We used the same tutorial to play through with 4 players. It worked great.
I promised my group that if we tried this game, we’d watch the intro video on the big screen! See above, with the silly animation showing the kidnapping of Guiseppe, the pizza-making guy!
The video was silly but it gave a nice backstory and sense of what’s to come. It also doesn’t take itself too seriously: I get so tired of depressing fantasy.
As a group, we played through the same tutorial I played as a solo player. At the end, I asked the group “Do you want to continue playing?” The answer was: yes! We’ll be starting the full campaign next week. The real question is: will this be like Tainted Grail where we played for a while and stopped because were sick of it? Or will this be like Roll Player Adventures where we played all the way through and loved it? Only time will tell!
So, Valor and Villainy: Lludwick’s Labyrinth is a silly boss battler with amazing components and just about the best tutorial system we have ever seen. This tutorial gives both me and my group a lot of confidence to move forward and try the full campaign. We’ll be running through the campaign over the next few months!
My game group has finished Roll Player Adventures and are looking for a new campaign (Spoiler Alert: We loved Roll Player Adventures! It made the #3 spot our Top 10 Cooperative Games of 2021). At the moment, we are intrigued by Valor and Villainy: Lludwick’s Labyrinth: a funny, well-produced, brilliantly presented, cooperative boss battler. Check back in a while: we’ll let you know how it’s going. I suspect this will end up in my Top 10 Cooperative Games of 2023! (Or will that be Top 10 Cooperative Expansions of 2023? Strictly speaking, this is an cooperative standalone expansion for the original Valor and Villany!)
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