The Lords of Rock, by Dave Killingsworth of SolarFlare Games, mixes the unlikely thematic duo of mythology and a cosmic battle of the bands. In this game, 2-4 players will take control of a mythological Pantheon of gods and attempt to out rock the others for control of the universe!
The review copy that I received is a late stage prototype that appears to have much of the final art and fairly complete rules. Some rules may change before the end of the upcoming Kickstarter, but this review is based on this version alone.
In Lords of Rock, players will select a mythological pantheon (Greek, Aztec, Norse, or Egyptian) from which to create their band. Each pantheon has two band leaders, one male and one female. A player must select one of these no matter what. After selecting a leader, players select the rest of their band from the available gods as they wish, but must have exactly four band members with each having a different primary skill: Vocals, bass guitar, lead guitar, and drums. When selecting the make-up of their band, players will also want to consider the secondary skills of their performers as these can come into play depending on where the gigs are played.
Prior to choosing the gods in their band, all players will be given four random venues, two of which they will use during the course of the game. Each venue has a size, a list of the skills to be used, a set of reward based on the where players finish, and some even have an additional bonus for the winner. Players must consider the venues they have in hand when deciding which gods to choose for their band.
As mentioned earlier, each player will have a band made up of four gods. Each god has a primary skill and a secondary skill that may be used if they are applying the other during a gig.
Each player will take 7 set list cards at the start of the game. These will be played during shows at the various venues during the game. They generally consist of positive modifiers that players play face down in their own area, negatives that are played face up on other players, and roadies that can help to deal with negatives a player has been targeted with by another player. The use of these modifying cards is to help players raise their strength or lower that of their opponents as the total will determine the winners at each venue.
After all players have selected and resolved their second venue, the player with the most souls is the winner. In the event of a tie, the players involved in the tie have one last battle of the bands at a random venue with the victor being the winner of the game.
The Lords of Rock is a light and fun game that perfectly integrates its unique thematic combination of mythology and rock music! The art of the mythological figures as “Rock Gods” is perfect and really adds to the flavor of the game. While The Lords of Rock is short on strategy it is long on fun. Clearly, it is designed as a filler game, but there is still room for some clever decisions and sneaky moves. Although many players dislike “take that” mechanics, and The Lords of Rock certainly has that element, the game is short enough and humorous enough that it adds rather subtracting from the game.
I have very little in the way of negatives to say about The Lords of Rock. Obviously, it is lighter than my normal tastes in games, but it is exactly what it is trying to be. If you are looking for hardcore strategy look elsewhere, but if you are in the market for a humorous game this will not even be a negative. It can also be a little heavy on the mathematic computations, as each battle of the bands is essentially a sum of modifiers and skill totals. I do not generally have an issue with this, but people often do, and thus it is worth mentioning in a review for potential buyers/backers. That being said, these are minor details and The Lords of Rock will be a big hit for you and your group if you are its target audience.
Overall, my wife and I thoroughly enjoyed The Lords of Rock. It is very much in the vein of other products from SolarFlare Games that I have played, having a tweaked sense of humor, simple rules, and quick play time, but is their best to date in my opinion! If already a fan of their games you will not be disappointed, making this a must back/buy. If you are not familiar with their work, but like social games that are funny and easy to play chances are that you will have a good time with The Lords of Rock as well! The Lords of Rock hits a perfect note for the type of game that it is trying to be, and that is all any game can try to do!
Let it be known to all readers and government officials alike, that Life in Games received a free copy of this game for the purpose of providing an objective review. No further compensation of any sort changed hands between myself and the publisher.