Hero’s Crossing is a two to four player, town-building management game where your dice are a valued resource and trying to sell items to heroes is your plan, all before your competitors are able to claim these heroes for themselves. The game runs for about 90 minutes on average, so it’s slightly longer than what we normally play.
Trying to emulate early console-RPG towns, with a management twist, Hero’s Crossing has you spending most of your time building and managing your own town, in the hopes of attracting heroes to purchase your products.
The beginning of Hero’s Crossing can make or break your town. Instead of starting with a couple of ‘default’ tiles for your town, you and the other players select one from a hand and then pass the remainder right, repeating until all of the cards are spent. The first time we played like this it resulted in someone with a town that could instantly produce and sell, and someone else having to build from the community inventory of buildings. This is something to watch out for, as it can really put you ahead in the game instantly if you choose your cards right.
Setting up your town comes next, where different factories make different objects, which then need to be sold at their specific stores. These stores cannot be directly next to their factories, but I placed most of mine just one tile away, with no connection between the path areas. I am mentioning this as some players said that might be cheating, but technically, in the rules, it was not cheating and instead was strategy. Once you have your starting town set up, it’s time to play the game.
Everyone rolls their dice at the same time. These dice come in a few different colors. Each of these colors represent a different material — you can only use the same color dice as an item to make that item, and can only attract a hero to sell to if you have one of their colored dice. This means that your dice are really important to keep track of. During each turn, you are able to take two different actions, depending on that turn’s action card, until you run out of dice. These actions are linked together, so whatever one you pick has a partner that you must use.
There is a board at the top of the table, which displays the current town tiles that can be bid on by the number displayed on your dice, which increase in slots as your towns get bigger and you gain more heroes. The heroes of Hero’s Crossing are also on this board, at the top, showing what they want to purchase and what dice you need to bid for their attention. Selling to them gives you points, as does being the last to sell — which gives you extras at the end of the game.
We found that the dice color being so meaningful meant that there was a lot of strategy for the dice, especially as you can swap them using a special marker that you earn — you’ll need to really think ahead and plan accordingly.
The various heroes each have a different ability which can be used once per round — these are really powerful and can change how you play the game. One of my heroes allowed me to re-roll any or all of my dice while another allowed me to make an extra resource, something very helpful when trying to get more items.
The game itself is great once you get going, however, we did find ourselves getting confused when it came to the heroes needing a specific dice to be attracted to our town, while also needing that dice (most likely) to make the items and move them to their selling point. It was hard for us to easily tell the card without getting mixed up. We also felt the opening town should just be a set town, instead of passing the cards back and forth.
The graphics on each of the tiles and cards were really cute and we found the concept and gameplay both quite challenging and fun. It’s very easy to start screwing people over — adding spies to their town so they can’t move items, bidding against others for heroes they want, and quite a few other options. Undoing this frustration can take a lot of effort too.
Hero’s Crossing takes a normal concept and brings it to a new light with beautiful cards and a huge dose of strategy. We really enjoyed our time playing — and the game does have a solo mode if you want to play it on your own.
You can get a copy of Hero’s Crossing on the developer’s website.