My first game from Garphill games was Paladins of the West Kingdom. I loved the combos you could pull off in this game and the great solo mode, but at a play time of around 2 hours it was a bit hard to find the time to get it to the table. If you haven’t tried this excellent worker placement game yet and want to find out more, I share my thoughts in our Paladins of the West Kingdom review.
Over the last few months, I started hearing a lot about Hadrian’s Wall and it seemed to promise the great combo factor I liked from Paladin’s but using a flip and write style game and a far shorter playtime. So, I decided to get a copy.
After having Hadrian’s Wall for around a month and playing it 6 times, I decided I would share my first impressions. Did it hit the mark in terms of what I was looking for? In short yes. I’ll explain why below, but first a quick overview of the game.
Hadrian’s Wall Overview
Play Time: 30-60 Min / Players: 1-6 / Complexity: High / Age: 12+ / Publisher: Garphill Games / Designer: Bobby Hill
Hadrian’s Wall is a flip and write game set in the North of Britannia during Roman Emperor Hadrian Augustus rule. It puts players in charge of constructing a section of the wall and a milecastle. To do this they will need to gather resources, recruit the support of citizens, engineers and others to accumulate renown, piety, valour and discipline which generate points in the game.
They will also need to keep the invading Picts at bay to avoid accumulating disdain which can affect their score. The majority of the game is played using the two large sheets provided. Just about everything you focus on will result in some sort of reward or bonus as you utlise your workers to bolster defenses, increase your resources or construct improvements. The abundance of rewards is what results in so many opportunities to chain together actions for combos.
My First Impressions
So, did Hadrian’s Wall turn out to be what I had hoped for? Resoundingly yes. I initially wanted a combo packed game, which played well solo, and took less than 45 minutes to play. On all those points Hadrian’s Wall delivered.
Setting up and tearing down is quick and easy, meaning there is little barrier to getting it out on a weeknight for a game. The fact that it’s a flip and write means plenty of options can be packed into the game without the need for a lot of fiddly components.
Notwithstanding the fact that the game looks quite intimidating at first with plenty of choices available for players, the game is pretty intuitive. I think this is in large part to the familiar Garphill style of clever use of icons. If you have played a Garphill game before it will all seem familiar fairly quickly.
Now that I am quite familiar with the options available, I can usually get a game knocked out in 35-45 minutes, which is perfect for me. This is a big plus as it means I can usually find the time to play on a weeknight.
I also love the solo campaign included in the rules, it provides plenty of incentive to come back and play over and over. Each game in the campaign also offers some goals to unlock benefits in the next game which I really like.
Most of all though the combo factor here is huge. Everything you do seems to unlock more resources or workers, even when I lose a game it is still hugely satisfying.
Are there any negatives here? Well, there is very little player interaction here, for those that like their games with a lot of interaction, Hadrian’s Wall may not be for you. For me that isn’t an issue.
So, for now at least I can say I am very pleased with my purchase.
About the Authors
We are parents who love board gaming. We have three children and have been enjoying board games as a family ever since we had our first child. We share our real unbiased experiences and opinions on board games so you can decide if they are right for your family. We also write guides and articles to help you get the most out of your family game time. If you enjoy our content and want to support us you can do that through our Ko-fi page by clicking on the button below.