Get ready to take up your swords, fellow gamers! The only way to survive the virtual reality game of Sword Art Online is to fight your way out, together. Face fierce battles against foes and keep an eye on your health because if you die in the game, you die in real life (and, your friends will lose the game too, which sucks, of course). Secure your fate and the fate of your friends by overcoming your enemies! Let's take a closer look.
What Is It?
Sword Art Online Board Game: Sword of Fellows, besides being a game of an incredibly long name, is a cooperative dice game for 1 to 4 players that brings the well-known anime to life. Players face 3 levels of baddies, plus the final battle to try and escape the game and live to see another day. They must work together and discuss the best strategy for their rolls (and roles, actually) in order to activate the strongest of their sword skills.
Who Is It For?
I'd definitely recommend this to fans of the anime since, from what I know of it and what fans have told me, it follows the story well. I'd also recommend this to dice fans because that is the main mechanic and it definitely gives you that rush when you get the perfect roll.
The game box recommends ages 10+, but I thought it was simple enough that some younger kids (maybe 7 or 8+) could also easily enjoy it. Especially since players work together, I could definitely see kids/families having fun with it.
Finally, if you're someone on the fence about co-op games, this might not be for you. There's not a lot going on in the game (no hidden info, real-time elements, et cetera) so full co-op fans will enjoy.
Quality of Components
There's not a ton of components (it even comes in a nifty tiny box), but the components that exist are pretty solid. A bunch of cards and cardboard chits, all your average quality. Art is overall very vibrant and clear, nicely done and matches the show well. The dice have a really nice weight and feel to them (seemed like maybe they had some kind of matte finish on them?) and the special character dice were very clearly printed which was great. The rules are short, but they do have big walls of only text which is a bit of a peeve of mine, always makes rules harder to get through. Luckily, there are some examples which are helpful.
I would probably give this one a 2 out of 5 for difficulty. It's not hard, just roll the dice, hope, and try to use your ability at just the right time. Like I said, there is a lot of luck involved, so it can feel like the pressure is on, especially when you have a few bad rolls, but that can also add a bit to the fun/rush of it overall.
I'm not huge on co-ops in general, and, unfortunately, this wasn't life changing. I do love rolling dice, and I thought these character dice added quite a unique and fun feature as well. I definitely had a good time, but it's not a game I'd request often mostly because of its' length and repetition. I think big fans of the anime will really enjoy this and I also hope to introduce it to a few of my anime loving friends!
Designer - Seiji Kanai
Publishers - Arclight, GDM Games, Japanime Games, Kadokawa Shoten
BGG - https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/220368/sword-art-online-board-game-sword-fellows
BGA - https://www.boardgameatlas.com/search/game/HuPCkkVudj