Lords of Hellas Board Game Review & Ultimate Guide

Is it possible that what people of Hellas saw as Gods were just beings from another planet, bringing advanced technology to our world?

Do you find the idea of a half-man, half-bull monster to be a bit tame? Or does the God of Thunder leave you feeling a little… meh? Well, Lords of Hellas might be for you.

Adam Kwapiński has combined Ancient Greece and cyborg technology to produce a chaotic board game of conquest, courage, and exploration. Have you got what it takes to emerge victorious?

Lords of Hellas
  • In Lords of Hellas, you control an asymmetric hero, developed by...
  • Enter the Dark Ages of Greece, ruled by mighty Gods wielding...
  • Control asymmetric heroes and choose your path to victory, either...

Brief Overview of Lords of Hellas

Lords of Hellas Board Game

In Lords of Hellas, your Hero traverses the map of Ancient Greece, defeating Monsters, battling opponents for control of territory and building Monuments to the Gods.

As you progress, your Hero develops new skills and collects Artifacts to support them on their mission to achieve victory ahead of the other players. There are several different ways you can win. So, alongside developing your own tactical plan, you’ll need to keep a close eye on others to stop them from achieving theirs.

One thing’s for sure: this isn’t going down without a fight.

Versions & Expansions

Lords of Hellas Board Game Expansions

There are several expansions for Lords of Hellas but… most of them are hard to get outside of Kickstarter. The Terrain Expansion, however, is available on Amazon in March 2020.

Lords of Hellas: Terrain Expansion
  • Contents: 22 terrain models

For the price of the Terrain Expansion, you’d assume there’ll be something in there to really spice things up. However, don’t get too ahead of yourself. The Terrain Expansion is just a few replacement miniatures to take the place of the cardboard city and temple pieces in the original, rather than any innovation on the actual gameplay or characters.

That being said, the miniatures do look great and hugely improve the look of a busy board. So, if you’re into your miniatures, then you likely won’t be disappointed.

The cynical ones among you would be forgiven for thinking it feels a little more like a cash grab than an ‘expansion’, though.

Unboxing Lords of Hellas

Lords of Hellas Board Game

Lords of Hellas comes packed full of awesome miniatures. Here’s what to expect in the box:

  • Game board
  • 4 Hero Boards
  • 4 Army Boards
  • 4 colored plastic rings
  • 4 Help Trays
  • 1 Persian Invasion Tray
  • 7 Monster Trays
  • 128 Cards
  • 4 Hero miniatures
  • 60 Hoplite miniatures
  • 16 Priest miniatures
  • 7 Monster miniatures
  • 1 Monster Die
  • 133 tokens

The box itself is great. Zeus’ commanding image on the front does well to capture the mythical and technological elements that run through the game. It’s also nicely embossed and feels like you’re getting good value for money (and it did cost quite a bit!).

When taking out the board, you’ll notice that it’s a little on the large side, but feels nice and sturdy. It’s well designed with an impressive map, however, it can end up looking a little cluttered once the game is underway. It’s also double-sided – one for solo play, the other for competitive play, which is a nice touch.

A big plus is that you get a lot of miniatures in this game. There’s plenty of smaller Hoplite pieces in four different colors, representing each players’ armies. However, the main draw is the Monster and Monument miniatures, which have been produced to a fantastic level of detail. Again, the balance struck between the mythical and technological qualities is on point – ideal for painting, if that’s your thing.

The Monuments, especially, really stand out. They come in several pieces and get built up throughout the game, but this doesn’t detract from how glorious they look once put together. Zeus and Hermes are both included, however, it’s Athena that was my favorite. Very imposing.

How to Play Lords of Hellas

Lords of Hellas Board Game

The Aim of the Game

In Lords of Hellas, your Hero moves around the map hunting down Monsters, battling to take control of Regions and building Monuments to the Gods. To win, you need to meet one of the four different Victory Conditions:

  1. Warlord of Hellas: take control of two Lands (a Land is an area encompassing all the Regions of a single color).
  2. Favored of the Gods: control five regions with temples.
  3. Monster Slayer: slay three Monsters.
  4. King of Kings: when a Monument is fully built, the timer starts. Whoever controls the monument after three turns wins.

Once one of the Victory Conditions is met, the game ends!

Selecting Your Hero

At the start of the game, each player chooses a Hero. You have the choice of Helen, Achilles, Heracles, and Perseus. This is important, as each Hero has their own special abilities and starting powers, so it can greatly affect how you play the game. Achilles, for example, has stronger armies than his foes, whereas Perseus is better-equipped for hunting Monsters.

Your Hero also has three Attributes:

  • Leadership – this determines how many Hoplites you can move each turn.
  • Strength – determines the number of Combat Cards a player draws when starting a Hunt.
  • Speed – the number of Regions your Hero can move each turn.

Taking Turns

Each turn, your Hero has the chance to make as many Regular Actions as they like, followed by one Special Action.

Regular actions include using an Artifact, sending a Priest to a Monument (which will improve your Hero’s attributes), moving your Hero between Regions or marching your Hoplites. If you march your Hoplites into a Region controlled by your enemies, then you battle! Should you win the battle, then the territory becomes yours. This is how you try and take over the map.

Once you’ve made your Regular Actions, it’s time for a Special Action. These can only be used once (until someone Builds a Monument, when they reset), so it’s important that you choose wisely.

There’s a number of Special Actions, however the most notable are:

  • Build Temple – this lets you put a temple anywhere in your territory that has a Shrine. Temples allow you to up-skill your Hero. You could also use a Blessing Draft, which gives all players a little bonus.
  • Usurp – if you have a Glory Token that’s the same color as the Region your Hero is in, then they can immediately take control of it and gain a Hoplite to defend it.
  • Hunt – start hunting a Monster in the same Region as you.
  • Build Monument – add a layer to a Monument and everyone resets their Special Actions back to being unused. If it’s the fifth layer then you begin the countdown for the King of Kings Victory Condition.

Hunting

This is the most exciting part of the game. When you choose the Hunt Special Action, you get the chance to slay a Monster, such as Hydra, Medusa, Cyclops or Cerberus.

Each Monster has a number of Wounds it can withstand (from four to seven). Wounds come in different types and you must have the right Combat Cards to inflict them all. Combat Cards get dealt to you throughout the battle, so, unless you’re incredibly well-prepared, you’re almost entirely at the mercy of the deck as to whether or not you’ll win.

The Monster also gets a chance to fight back. If you receive too many hits, or you decide to retreat, then you’re unsuccessful.

You get rewards for Hunting Monsters, even if you lose. As a winner, you get a Glory Token and can also choose an artifact linked to the monster that you get to keep. Most coveted, though, is the Monster miniature. If you get three of them, you win the game.

Playing the Game

There’s a number of other aspects to Lord of Hellas that mix things up, such as Quests and Cities, which add to the color of the game. As you progress, you’ll unearth all sorts of Monsters and events. The key is remaining aware of what your foes are doing and not getting too caught up in your own game. If you want to win, the focus should be as much on stopping your opponents as it is achieving your own goal.

Your First Game of Lords of Hellas

Lords of Hellas Board Game

When playing your first game, be sure to follow the rules carefully for the number of players you have in the game. For example, the number of temples (six for 2-3-player games) or whether or not you can win by the King of Kings Victory Condition (not in a 2-player game). Not doing so can seriously affect the length and spread of the game.

Also, make sure you keep a watchful eye on your opponents at all stages. One of the most straightforward and fun (although certainly not easiest) ways to win is to defeat Monsters. However, to do so you’re going to need to have built up a hearty collection of Combat Cards to inflict the right Wounds – even then, you’re likely to still find yourself at the mercy of the Combat Card deck.

This means it can often take more than one turn to finish the job. As a result, be sure to stay well aware of what your opponents are up to. It’s very possible they could turn up at the last minute, after you’ve put in the hard work, to steal all the glory.

Pros & Cons

Pros:

  • Hunting monsters is great fun
  • There are lots of ways to win
  • The miniatures are great

The best part about Lords of Hellas is, without a doubt, Hunting Monsters. The excitement of drawing cards and the gamble of whether or not you should carry on is enticing.

Yes, your Hero may be one Wound away from defeat. Sure, you could easily throw in the towel now and still get a few rewards. But you never know: that next Combat Card could be exactly what you need to finish him off! “Just… one… more… card…”. Now there’s a Hero.

As I say, the Hunts are exciting. The system works really well and you’ll often find yourself deciding to focus on that winning condition simply because it’s such fun. However, the fact that there are four Victory Conditions is another big plus for the game. It keeps things interesting as you don’t always know for sure what your opponent is trying to achieve. Similarly, it means there are several different ways you might have to thwart the plans of your opponents. This can make for some very varied games.

Cons:

  • Not quite the expansive empire-building game I wanted it to be
  • A little anticlimactic

That being said, though, the nature of the Victory Conditions means Lords of Hellas is more a tactical game than a strategic one – more smash-and-grab than world domination. I found most wins came from either hunting down Monsters or controlling Temples, rather than whole Lands.

This aspect was a little disappointing. I was looking forward to developing my own Grecian empire, spearheaded by a colossal army of tech-enabled Hoplites (iHoplites?). Instead, it was all a little chaotic and tit-for-tat. You’ll spend more time concerned with getting the right cards or building Monuments to annoy your opponent than co-ordinating all-out war.

For this reason, I found the game to be a little anticlimactic. The rabble of soldiers on the board and sweeping map give the impression of an expansive and daring crusade. But, ultimately, someone would often win by knocking off a few Monsters. While the Hunt aspect is exciting, it did leave me feeling like it was all over before it had really gotten started.

It may look a bit like Risk. But Risk it ain’t.

TL;DR

In Lords of Hellas, your Hero traverses the map of Ancient Greece, defeating Monsters, battling opponents for control of territory and building Monuments to the Gods.

With so many different ways to win, this is not a game you can switch off from for long, with the excitement coming thick and fast. That said, if it’s an expansive and strategic battle you’re after, you’re probably best off looking elsewhere. Lords of Hellas is much more a game of smash-and-grab than world domination.

Conclusion: Verdict?

Lords of Hellas is a fun and tactical game that somehow manages to make battling evil, mythic Monsters of the dark even more intense than the real thing (I imagine). The Hunts alone make it worth buying, however, there’s a number of mechanics in the game that make for an enjoyable and well-rounded session.

However, it still doesn’t quite tick all the boxes for me. Despite the theme and presentation of the game creating the illusion that this is a game for conquerors, in reality, it’s your Monster battling skills that will win the day here. Sure, it’s not quite Pokemon. But it’s not Alexander the Great, either.

Lords of Hellas
  • In Lords of Hellas, you control an asymmetric hero, developed by...
  • Enter the Dark Ages of Greece, ruled by mighty Gods wielding...
  • Control asymmetric heroes and choose your path to victory, either...

Have you tried Lords of Hellas? Were you one of the 12,439 backers that pledged on Kickstarter? We’d love to know your thoughts. Drop a comment below and let us have it.

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Stats at a glance

Players: 1-4

Ages: 14+

Hard

60-90 Mins

Publisher: Awaken Realms

Published: 2018

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