Disney Sorcerer’s Arena: Epic Alliances is back with its third expansion, Leading the Charge. Introducing another three characters and some new status effects, Leading the Charge has some of the best characters yet.
Sorcerer’s Arena, from publisher the OP games, is a 2 or 4 player game where teams of magic users from the Disney universe are battling each other to gain supremacy. Throughout the game, characters use different abilities from special decks, navigate player conditions, and try to gain enough points to meet their win condition before the other team. You can check out an overview and review of the core game here.
ELSA – FROZEN
Our first new addition to the canon of sorcerers is Elsa from the Frozen 2 movie. Yes, I know that Elsa is in both movies, but this iteration is from the second outing and gives her a wider range of abilities. Elsa enters the arena as a utility support character who specializes in freezing opponents to restrict their movements around the board. Elsa really does most of her damage at close range and can be vulnerable to ranged attacks, but her ability to become invulnerable to attacks for a round makes her powerful. Elsa also has the ability to heal teammates and relies on discarding and digging through her deck to get what she needs. When upgraded, Elsa has the ability to immobilize rivals and can combo the ability with other cards in her deck to set her teammates up for successful turns. Elsa has to be cautious in the cards that she discards, or exiles for her invulnerable ability, so she doesn’t cripple her abilities. Also, as a 7 victory point card, she can be a desirable target for the other team.
Buzz Lightyear – Toy Story
The second addition is Buzz Lightyear and takes his energy straight from his first appearance in the Toy Story movies. Buzz can do damage to multiple enemies a turn and chips away at defenses with fun combos. If he can get three enemies lined up, he can shoot a laser through all three. Buzz also has some fun movement cards that allow him to move through rival spaces to flank for attack and move allies with him across the board. Buzz really works as a great team player by attacking and moving enemies closer to their allies to attack as well. The key for Buzz is setting up multiple damage combos. His ability and upgraded ability allow him to damage rivals that were already damaged this turn. Combine that with some of his movement cards and Buzz can do a bunch of small damage in a bunch of different ways. Buzz can be bogged down with status effects since he normally needs a specific position to deal damage, so limiting his movement can be an achilles heel.
Scar – The Lion King
The final addition from this expansion is Scar, the regicidal lion from The Lion King. Scar truly wants to be king and many of his best abilities come from utilizing the VP crown spaces on the board. Scar’s basic ability allows him to discard a card and move any character one space. If that space is off a VP spot, he automatically moves there. His upgraded ability allows him to damage anyone on a VP spot at the end of the turn. When Scar is on a VP spot, rivals recover one less heart when healing. Scar has the power to manipulate other characters on the board by moving them in the best position to strike. Most of Scar’s attacks are adjacent ones, but gain more power around the VP spaces on the board. Scar does best when paired with other villains and needs them to divert attacks away from his evil schemes. Scar’s ability to maneuver allies and enemies around the board and even manipulate the other player’s deck make him a fun addition to the selection of characters.
As with the other expansions and core set, I would recommend sleeving your cards. The quality is not the best and constant shuffling will show the wear and tear quickly. The plastic insert in the box is also pretty poor quality. I have to pull the entire insert out to press from behind to get all the cards out of the box! With three expansions released and another expansion, this game will need a better storage solution so everything can fit into the core box.
Overall, this expansion may be my favorite yet. Each character has a very unique playstyle that pairs nicely with other characters. Elsa was probably my least favorite character of the three only because she seemed to get boxed in. The imbalance of discarding magic cards with the other players on her team seemed to cripple her early and give the other team a soft target for a big point boost. There will definitely need to be more plays to hone in on her best strategy. Buzz Lightyear was a ton of fun to play. Moving him around and setting up combos reminded me of his first introduction to the toys in Andy’s room. Scar is absolutely ruthless. Paired with a good villain team, Scar can manipulate the board to leech victory points the entire game. The creators of the game seem to come out with more complex characters each time and it would be a shame to sleep on this game.
Dan is an educator from Colorado. Growing up as an Air Force dependent gained him lots of new perspectives on the world and a love for making new friends, especially over a good board game. When not at school or playing a board game, Dan is probably at the gym, attending a local sporting event, or performing or attending theater. Dan loves heavy euros, deck builders, living card games, and great solo rules.
Disney Sorcerer’s Arena: Epic Alliances
A fantastic expansion to a great Disney themed two-player fighting game that brings more nuanced and deep characters.